US Imperialism Brings World to the Brink

4-28-06, 9:03 am

The Workers Party of Ireland International Affairs Motion Resumed Ard Fheis (Annual Delegate Conference) Dublin, Saturday 1st April 2006

At the same time as the US attempts to limit global action to prevent harm to the environment and to cut international commitment to the reduction of poverty, the US Ambassador to the UN has objected to language which urges nations to observe a moratorium on nuclear testing and to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. While choking developing countries with economic pressure the US is simultaneously and aggressively building up its military forces and presence throughout the world.

The US military budget request for the fiscal year 2006 is $4,416 billion. The current US military budget is almost as much as the rest of the world combined. The US and its allies account for between two-thirds to three-quarters of all military spending. By contrast the United Nations and all its agencies and funds spend about $10 billion every year.

Despite this the United Nations has faced a financial crisis which has forced it to cut vital programmes and which has inhibited its work. In 1997, for example, half of the US aid was military-related. When the tsunami struck South Asia, US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said that aid to the region was part of the US 'global war on terror'.

The United States emerged from the Second World War with an extensive array of military bases. Further bases were acquired in subsequent wars - Korean, Vietnam, the Gulf and Afghanistan. Despite the departure of the Soviet Union from the world stage the US continued to maintain its extensive system of military bases as part of its quest to run the world. Subsequent to September 11th and its attacks on Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq, the US rapidly increased the number and extent of its military bases. It has increased its presence in the Middle East, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and in a number of the central Asian republics. The US is in the process of expanding its military presence in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has over 730 military bases and installations in almost 60 countries.

The US also maintains its strong military presence on the Korean peninsula. For decades South Korea has been a major US arsenal. More than half of the US nuclear weapons in the Far East were deployed in South Korea. The Pentagon annually holds a large number of provocative military exercises in South Korea, the longest and largest being the 'Team Spirit' manoeuvres. On January 30th 2002 George W. Bush, in his State of the Union address, referred to the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea as part of the so-called 'axis of evil'. This was a clear indication of the continuing hostility of the US to the DPRK which was founded 57 years ago.

The US has systematically undermined the process of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula. In March 2002, in contravention of the principles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the US adopted a policy of nuclear pre-emptive strikes against seven countries, including the DPRK. Although the DPRK has clearly stated its desire to resolve issues through talks the US refuses to end its hostile rhetoric, aggressive military posturing and threats to the sovereignty and independence of the DPRK.

The US continues its attacks on the DPRK and also attempts to undermine all efforts at detente and peaceful co-existence and mutual cooperation between South Korea and the DPRK. It has raised the spectre of the DPRK developing an arsenal of nuclear weapons and of threatening the stability and security of not only SE Asia but also the US itself. It has also attempted to demonise the DPRK and indeed people who have supported the right of the Korean people to resolve their own problems peacefully and without outside military interference, by accusing them of many crimes including attempting to undermine the US currency and also of deliberate breach of international intellectual copyright law.

The presence of US military bases and installations constitute not only a direct military threat but also provides support for US economic and political objectives. The war in Afghanistan allowed the US the opportunity to create a secure corridor for US-controlled oil and natural gas pipelines from the Caspian Sea.

The US holds these bases with the intention of maintaining and expanding its political and economic domination. It uses and has used these military forces to exert pressure on those states which seek to assert their national sovereignty and to steer an independent political course. The unceasing expansion of US military power is an integral part of the global capitalist project.

In 1983 Washington unveiled the Programme of Democracy and Public Diplomacy which provided for the establishment of the National Endowment for Democracy. The NED's proclaimed function was to win peoples' minds all over the world by subsiding `democratic institutions' abroad. The use of funds in pursuit of this objective was far from neutral or democratic.

In 1984 the American Institute for the Advancement of Free Trade Unions used the endowment's money to assure the result it desired in presidential elections in Panama. In 1985 a secret report leaked to the British press revealed that the endowment had been financing a campaign to undermine the Left in the labour movement all over Europe. Money was provided to split the French trade union movement, to support reactionary anti-socialist groups in Poland and the Socialist countries, to fund a pro-NATO campaign in the British trade union movement and conduct`anti-communist' operations in Portugal. The National Endowment for Democracy, together with the CIA, funded reactionary, right-wing organisations across the world including attempts to overthrow the government of Ghana in 1983.

The NED has a continuing and established relationship with the US state apparatus. Henry Kissinger, Madeline Albright, Frank Carlucci and Zbigniew Brzezinski all served on the NED Board of Directors. The NED is also deeply involved in Venezuela. In a report to the US State Department the NED said it awarded a large sum to opposition groups in Venezuela in the period before the attempted coup against the government of Hugo Chavez. These organisations included the Centre for International Private Enterprise. The NED has also supported right-wing Cuban groups based in Florida, including the Cuban-American National Foundation, which hate the Cuban government.

The National Endowment for Democracy is committed to neo-liberalism, is deeply hostile to socialism and seeks to undermine socialist and progressive developments, movements and states. It exists for the purpose of supporting US foreign policy. It is an integral part of the ideological apparatus of global capitalism. As such the NED serves the interests of imperialism, actively interfering in the affairs of sovereign states, including overt and covert operations designed to undermine peace, progress and democracy.

Last year, the Workers' Party, in solidarity with its international comrades, recalled the victims of fascist aggression in Europe. The invasion of Abyssinia by fascist Italy, the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and the strangulation of the Spanish Republic were steps on the road to the Second World War in which 54 million people died, 90 million were wounded and 28 million were maimed. Working people died in the trenches, the concentration camps and in their cities, towns, villages and homes. Fascism made murder and cruelty a way of life. The Second World War was the bloodiest, most destructive and most expensive war in human history. The future of humankind hung in the balance.

In 1945 fascism was defeated in Europe. The Soviet Union, the Red Army and the communist partisans and resistance fighters of Europe were instrumental in securing that defeat. Peace had come to Europe - but at great cost. The Soviet Union played the decisive role in that struggle and sustained the biggest losses. Twenty million citizens of the Soviet Union were killed; 25 million lost their homes; 1,700 cities, 70,000 villages and 31,850 industrial enterprises were destroyed.

At this time we must also remember the heroic efforts of the Serbian people against Nazism. Public demonstrations against the Nazis led to the brutal bombing of Belgrade. In 1941 the Axis powers invaded and occupied Yugoslavia. Serbia was occupied by German troops and Kosovo and Metohija were annexed by Albania under the sponsorship of fascist Italy. The so-called Independent State of Croatia established extermination camps and carried out acts of genocide against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies, killing over 750,000.

The brutal character of the Nazi occupation and the Croatian Ustasha regime generated a strong Serbian resistance. Many Serbs joined Tito's communist partisans to effect the liberation of Yugoslavia. The efforts of the Serbian people in the fight against fascism should never be forgotten.

Instead, however, the Serbian people have been falsely demonised as the cause of troubles in the Balkans. This myth was initially invented by the Austro-Hungarian Empire to justify its aggression against Serbia and the same tactic is employed today. Yugoslavia, led by Serbia, fought to defend its territorial integrity throughout the 1990's against imperialist powers committed to the disintegration of Yugoslavia.

It was the legitimate defence of Yugoslavia, its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity which led to the unlawful seizure of President Slobodan Milosevic to appear before the illegally constituted Hague tribunal. Louis Sell, a former US Foreign Service officer, who has written about President Milosevic has made clear that Yugoslavia's public ownership and Milosevic's defence of that economic system were central considerations in the US war against Yugoslavia. The US were concerned at Milosevic's portrayal of public ownership of the means of production and a continued emphasis on [state] commodity production as the best guarantees for prosperity.

The NATO war criminals who ruthlessly attacked Yugoslavia remain free. Slobodan Milosevic, who dared to challenge them, ended his days incarcerated at the Hague where he tragically died in March this year in suspicious circumstances - denied the right to basic medical care and treatment which might have saved his life.

The victory over fascism was achieved in the names of peace, progress, independence and equality between nations and peoples. The Workers' Party of Ireland applauds that struggle and commemorates the role of the Soviet Union, its army and Communist Party, together with all those men and women of all countries who resisted and defeated Nazi aggression.

We must at all times be conscious of the possibilities of reaction and neo-fascism rearing their heads in Europe again. This is a very real possibility as seen by the efforts of the Czech authorities to ban the KSM (communist youth movement) and the recent manoeuvres by the ultra right in PACE.

On Wednesday, 25 January 2006 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) debated (but failed to adopt) a resolution which amounted to a serious offensive against communism. The pretext for this resolution was the adoption of a draft resolution by the Political Affairs Committee introduced by the European Peoples' Party which alleged the need for international condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes.

This resolution proposed a re-writing of history, calling for the revision of school books, the establishment of museums documenting these alleged crimes and introducing a memorial day for the victims of communism.

The real purpose of this resolution is revealed, however, in the wording of the report which states: It seems that a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive in some countries. That creates the danger of communists taking power in one country or another. This report should contribute to the general awareness of the history of this ideology.

The purpose of this resolution was to re-introduce a witch-hunt against those individuals and parties who have contributed significantly to world peace and social progress. It was an attempt to prevent communist and workers parties in Europe and beyond freely contesting elections and taking power, if elected. If there is any doubt about this the words of the report make the position clear where the rapporteur states: I do not share the position of some colleagues that a clear distinction should be made between ideology and practice.

At a time of increasing social unrest against rampant neo-liberalism the prospects for the world's communist and workers' parties have improved. The Left is making a serious challenge, including in the former socialist countries where capitalism has been restored. This report is an attempt to block that progress and to act as a precursor for repressive action against communists, including the banning of party symbols and the proscription of parties themselves.

Anti-communism is not a new phenomenon. However, recent years have seen an upsurge in the attacks against communism with attempts to ban communist and workers' parties and to arrest and imprison their activists. Anti-communism takes the form both of physical repression and ideological attack. It is the duty of all progressives to resist this onslaught from the right.

The Workers' Party of Ireland regards the recent resolution before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe as a shameless betrayal of the men and women who fought and died in the fight against fascism and a crude attempt to obstruct the struggle for peace and socialism.

The Workers' Party therefore congratulates all those parties, organisations and individuals whose combined work, agitation and organisation ensured that the anti-communist motion was not adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. We must however be aware that those reactionary elements who instigated this motion will already be colluding in further attacks on the political and organisational rights of communist and left-wing organisations.

We, the Communist and Workers' Parties of Europe, must therefore maintain our vigilance and unity.

The Workers' Party also reaffirms its solidarity with those countries and peoples struggling against imperialist interference and aggression and supports the struggles of our comrades in Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, Yugoslavia, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, Iran and Iraq.

Over the past few months the threat of a widening and worsening of the war in the Middle East has vastly increased. The US, along with its protectorate in Israel and its allies in the EU, have on a continued and sustained basis attacked and demonised Iran and raised the possibility of sanctions or even military strikes against Iran because of a perceived threat that it is about to embark on a nuclear weapons program. While we, as a socialist party, are totally opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons it is highly hypocritical that the attacks on Iran are led by the US (the world's largest and most dangerous nuclear power) and Israel (the owner of a large and illegal stockpile of nuclear arms built with US and Western European connivance).

The Workers' Party is conscious of the deeply reactionary nature of the Iranian regime and is aware that the stance adopted by Ahmadinejad's government also serves the purpose of distracting the Iranian people from the serious crises facing the country. This Ard Fheis applauds the efforts of our comrades in the Tudeh Party to form a broad front for democracy and human rights.

This Ard Fheis also notes with concern the deteriorating situation in Iraq. The continuing brutal occupation of Iraq and the atrocities committed by US and British troops has given rise to acts of counter terror. The recent electoral process was marred by fraud and intimidation. Secular candidates and parties were attacked with the aim of ensuring the dominance of sectarian political tendencies. The Workers' Party, which opposed the war in Iraq that has caused and continues to cause great suffering to the Iraqi people, calls for an end to the occupation of Iraq and the establishment of a modern democratic Iraq, free from outside interference and division on religious or ethnic lines.

The gross double standards of the US on this issue are also shown by the attitude of Bush to Pakistan, (a country with a proven and openly admitted illegal nuclear arsenal, and its leader President Musharef, a military dictator who deposed the elected government in a coup d'etat), which is offered the full protection and friendship of Bush and the US. President Musharef is however a loyal toady of the US in the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Nepal; whereas Iran is seen as being a centre of opposition to US hegemony. Should the US or Israel launch a military strike against Iran then, at a minimum, the Iranians will release the restraining hand which they have held over the Shi'ite population in Iraq which will result in further bloodshed, murder and mayhem in that country. In the worst scenario an attack on Iran could lead to a full scale regional war.

This Ard Fheis notes that in recent Palestinian elections the Islamic group, Hamas, secured victory. The US and Israel have refused to recognise any Hamas government and donor nations have threatened to cut off aid. The US, as usual, recognises the results of elections only when it suits. It is clear that the current peace process has broken down and cannot presently be conducted on an even playing field.

The US is not, and cannot be, an honest broker. Israel is the United States' client in the Middle East. Israel is the top recipient of US aid in the world, receiving many billion of US dollars per year and would be unable to maintain its occupation of Palestinian territories without this assistance. Israel uses US manufactured tanks, aircraft and weapons in maintaining its illegal occupation. Further, the US refuses to support international resolutions concerning Israel. It refuses to condemn Israeli aggression and violence and ignores Israel's continued violation of human rights and international law standards.

The US and Britain maintain the pretence of Israel as a victim rather than an aggressor in the region. They ignore the unequal power relations between the parties to the conflict, refuse to condemn Israeli actions, whether military aggression and the slaughter of Palestinian civilians, or the destruction of Palestinian agriculture and social, economic, education and health infrastructure, the denial of freedom of movement, the confiscation of scarce water resources and collective punishments. By contrast every act of resistance to occupation by Palestinians is condemned.

According to World Bank statistics 65% of Gaza's Palestinians are living below the poverty line and Gaza is currently facing a humanitarian crisis. Despite this the Israeli army has extended its policy of closing down and sealing off Palestinian areas. The continued Israeli occupation remains a fundamental obstacle to building a democratic Palestine.

The Workers' Party reaffirms its support for the Left, progressive and secular forces of the Palestinian Revolution which struggle for the creation of a democratic, secular, non-sectarian Palestine. This Ard Fheis supports the Palestinian right of return as set out in UN Resolution 194; demands an immediate end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and affirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.

We recognise the important role of those countries which have adopted the principles of socialism in their own particular conditions and we remain committed to our vision of a world where war, misery, exploitation, oppression and inequality have been consigned to history and where the dictatorship of capital has disappeared from the face of the earth.

In this context it is important to note important victories for the progressive forces especially in South America. The victory of Michelle Bachelet, herself a victim of the Pinochet dictatorship's policy of torture, and the massive victory of Evo Morales in Bolivia must be saluted. Also the defeat of the US puppet candidate in Haiti is welcomed by this Ard Fheis. The example and practical assistance which socialist Cuba and the Bolivarians of Venezuela, as well as the benefits of the Sao Paolo Forum are all recognised as contributing to these positive steps for mankind.

As Lenin stated in 'Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder': 'We can and must begin building socialism not from fantasy and not from human material that we have specially created, but from what capitalism has left to us as its legacy'. The battle for democracy is a fundamental plank in our struggle. Capitalism is the antithesis of democracy and the process of socialist renewal can be grounded in that struggle.

We can use this to broaden the social front against capital, to expose its inconsistencies and contradictions and to involve broad democratic and progressive forces in the process to effect the radical transformation of the society and world in which we live.

Nonetheless we must always be sure of our own position and aware of all attempts, whether national or international, to rewrite our history. It is only by a firm commitment to our own socialist revolutionary principles that we can effectively engage in broader struggles. While we must recognise the changes that have taken place in capitalist society we must be ever vigilant for all those influences from whatever source which seek to dilute our socialist identity and purpose, which seek to convince us that class conflict is no longer relevant or that there is no alternative to capitalism. The building of socialism necessarily implies the dismantling of capitalism.

The Communist and Workers' parties of the world must establish themselves as the most influential force with the broad labour movement. While a significant section of the working-class remain under the influence of social democratic parties, it remains the task of the communist and Workers' parties to pursue a policy of work within the working class movement to create conditions for unity of action based on the principles of class solidarity.