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FRSO Seventh Congress
Main Political Report 2014
International Political Report

Introduction

The United States has constructed an empire of exploitation and oppression that spans the globe. A solid analysis of the contradictions that exist on a world scale is vital to understanding economic and political developments here at home. Be it the issue of the outsourcing of jobs to the Third World and changes in the economic base in the U.S., or the persistent problem of national chauvinism, a good grasp of the United States' role in the world can shine light on, and improve our understanding of changes in the domestic landscape.

We maintain that the principal contradiction in the world today is between the peoples of the Third World and imperialism. The U.S. is the principal imperialist power in the world today and as such it is the main danger to the world's peoples. We say this because the U.S. is "exceptional" in some ways. The spider web of U.S. military bases is unlike anything that any other country has established at any time in history. No country wages so many wars, against so many people. Not one.

U.S. imperialism is not exceptional in the sense that it is immune from the laws of capitalism, or that it can escape the contradictions that it is mired in. Since the early 1970s the monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. have found themselves in a period of decline. The U.S Empire has an appearance of strength while growing weaker and more crisis prone. Underscoring this view is the great economic crisis that began in 2007, along with the defeat for the West that is unfolding in Afghanistan.

The largest single factor shaping the decline of U.S. imperialism in the past period was the economic crisis that engulfed much of the capitalist world post-2007. The net effect of the crisis has placed the U.S. in a weakened position, while it attempts to maintain a vast array of military alliances and multilateral economic and political institutions.

Throughout the era of imperialism (monopoly capitalism), where the world has been divided up by the advanced capitalist countries, there have been four basic contradictions at work: 1) between imperialism and the peoples of the oppressed nations, 2) amongst the imperialist powers, 3) between the working class and the capitalists and 4) between socialism and capitalism. All of these contradictions are sharpening.

Our basic approach to understanding the international situation is both materialist and partisan. We need to have a concrete analysis of concrete conditions and maintain a standpoint of working class internationalism. In a practical sense, this means that we reject the notion that the people of the U.S. benefit from empire. We think the opposite. The more setbacks and defeats for the monopoly capitalists who rule this country; the closer we are to freedom.

In addition, we need to struggle against those who are "socialists" in words, but national chauvinists in deeds. These social chauvinists take the view that in Libya, Syria and many other countries, those who are fighting back against imperialism should be opposed.

The slogan "working and oppressed peoples of the world unite," expresses the strategic task of building a worldwide united front against imperialism, that by necessity includes a wide range of class and national forces. (1) We are against intervention under the guise of "humanitarianism," and should never join the attempts to demonize those who are resisting imperialism.

Finally, working class internationalism demands that we oppose imperialist attempts to criminalize the movements for national liberation.

The U.S. responds to a world that is changing

On one level, there is a remarkable consistency to the United States' relationship with the rest of the world. It does not matter if the president is a Democrat or a Republican, a Kennedy or Obama, Reagan or Bush - policy, planning and the projection of force (wars and occupations) are all about maintaining, and if possible, expanding the empire. For the U.S. monopoly capitalists this means holding on to what they have, grabbing more when possible, and beating back potential competitors.

As the names of the politicians change, so does the international situation, along with the capacities of the U.S. The Bush administration used the events of 9/11 as a pretext to launch a war on the world; essentially trying to take by military means that which it could not obtain by political or economic ones. This was accompanied by a ramping up of the U.S. war machine. Obama continued this policy for a time, but under the weight of defeat and economic crisis, this course proved untenable. For example, in 2012, the U.S officially abandoned the decades old military policy of being prepared to fight two major ground wars at once. The new policy is to prepare for one major war involving troops and everything else in one region, while raining down death and destruction, in Pentagon lingo "imposing unacceptable costs," in another region of the world.

The U.S. is reorganizing its military to be leaner and meaner and it continues to have more capacity for destruction than any military in human history. Pentagon planners aim to use advanced technology to make the U.S armed forces more lethal and mobile while reducing overall troop levels. Current projections are that the U.S. Army will cut 80,000 troops over the next 5 years.

The political authority of the United States inside international institutions and on the diplomatic front is facing growing challenges too. Today, the U.S. is forced to acknowledge the existence of other rising powers - such as China, Russia, and an alliance of progressive regimes in Latin America. As a result of this growing isolation, the U.S. finds that it has to shop harder to find endorsements for its wars. For example, the U.S. was not able to get UN support for its attack on Libya, or for the use of force against Syria.

U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: This is what defeat looks like

In both Iraq and Afghanistan the projects of U.S. occupation have been by and large defeated, or are in the advanced stages of decomposition.

In the FRSO 2010 report on the International Situation, there was a tendency to overestimate the staying power of the U.S. in Iraq. U.S. troops left Iraq and the U.S. influence in Iraq has diminished. The massive U.S. embassy in Iraq is full of empty offices, as personnel of all kinds (including contractors) depart. Projections indicate U.S. Embassy personnel will be cut by two-thirds from their peak number by the end of 2013.

The Iraqi government that the U.S. military occupation set up is unstable and unable to govern the whole of the country. Under pressure from both patriotic Iraqi forces, and religious sectarians previously supported by the U.S. in Syria, it is fighting for what little legitimacy it might have. As a result, it has failed its masters in Washington D.C. who are pushing for new leadership of the besieged government in Baghdad.

In recent years the relationship between the governments of Iraq and Iran has developed in a big way, resulting in great progress in settling border issues and agreements to promote mutual economic development. Trade relations between the two countries are extensive. Moreover, Iran is providing military aid and assistance to the Iraqi regime besieged in northern Iraq, where anti-Assad forces control border cities and pose a real danger to neighboring Syria.

Hundreds of U.S. military forces have returned to Baghdad since the seizures of cities in northern Iraq. The White House is seriously considering airstrikes, or further military action. The U.S. wants neither a failed state in Iraq, nor an Iraq independent of U.S. control. The current crisis serves as a pretext for further military intervention to reassert that control. While Iraq's leaders invite the Empire's warplanes, patriotic Iraqis always reject U.S. militarism and the devastation it brings.

Unless there is a radical shift in the trend of things, the defeat of the occupation of Afghanistan at the hands of the patriotic forces is fully underway. While the national patriotic forces have many defects, the blows they have landed on the occupation are a great service to the people of Afghanistan and the people of the world. The U.S. and its allies in the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) have largely abandoned their attempts to "clear and hold" large sections of the country. Their government in Kabul is without legitimacy and it is a case of the "worst that money can buy." Western troops fear their puppet allies--who make military cooperation difficult at best. One result is that U.S. policy makers are exploring if it is possible to cut a deal with the Taliban.

The U.S. claims that it wants to end major combat operations by the end of 2014 and maintain some sort of residual force after that. Maybe this will happen or maybe not, but the dream of a stable puppet government ruling Afghanistan on behalf of the West is dead.

U.S. wars in the next period

The 2011 U.S./NATO attack on Libya was an important event that was indicative of the limits of imperial power. Libya's progressive government headed by Gaddafi faced Western-backed "rebels." Libya had made the mistake of giving up its programs to develop advanced weapons that could deter imperialist aggression. Under the banner of "humanitarian intervention," the West launched a brutal air war that tipped the balance of forces, allowing for a victory by the pro-Western "rebels."

What the U.S./NATO did not do was send in the ground troops and occupy the country, and absent that, it has proved to be impossible to organize a stable puppet regime. As a result oil exports from Libya have plummeted and the bottom line of energy corporations has taken a hit.

In the case of Syria, once again the limits on U.S. power are apparent. The U.S. and others are backing reactionary "rebels" and threaten military strikes. Fearing to undertake more "robust" intervention, the imperialists are being beaten back by the progressive government of Syria and its allies.

So will the U.S. still fight insurgents? It certainly will. It will continue to back the U.S.-dominated governments of Colombia and the Philippines to fight the revolutionary, communist-led forces of those countries. It will also continue to use proxy forces, drones and Special Operations Forces.

Since the 1990s the U.S. has employed a policy of trying to criminalize the movements for national liberation. It labels the Communist Party of the Philippines, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, and the patriotic forces of Palestine and Lebanon as "foreign terrorist organizations." By labeling freedom fighters as "terrorists" they are standing reality on its head.

The U.S will also make use of drone warfare as it is currently doing in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Mali. This, however, is fueling resistance to the U.S., as more and more people object to these assaults on their national independence, and to the heavy losses of civilian lives from drone attacks.

There might well be more crimes of opportunity - like Libya. And there is the real possibility of major wars, for example a U.S. war on Iran. But even in the case of a major war with Iran it is telling that every credible war plan under discussion in the White House and Pentagon is about using air and sea power. There are no credible voices advocating an invasion and occupation.

While the U.S. is unlikely to wage large-scale wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan soon, the foreseeable future will be a period of continuous U.S. warfare.

Economic crisis

Western Europe continues to face a serious and prolonged economic crisis. Although there is very modest growth in Europe's leading economy, Germany, in a number of countries such as Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain the crisis continues unabated and unemployment is massive. We can expect that more moves towards austerity will create the basis for social explosions and a high level of struggle.

Generally speaking, the economic crisis in Europe and the ongoing relative stagnation of the economy in the United States has had the effect of weakening the position of the imperial powers.

When the economic crisis of 2007 first got rolling, many observers thought that the ruling classes of the Western powers would turn towards a capitalism that was more regulated, and that there would be much stronger intervention by governments. While there are aspects of truth to this - for example the big U.S. government bailouts for the banks and corporations or the "rescue packages" for faltering European economies - many of the political representatives of the ruling classes in the advanced capitalist countries have returned to advocating a privatizing, free market capitalist model.

An important effect of the crisis is an altering of the course of imperialist globalization. The U.S is placing less emphasis on large multilateral economic organizations like the World Trade Organization in favor of the search for regional trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In the context of stagnation, slow economic growth and crisis, there is the possibility that currents of protectionism - the policy of guarding home markets from foreign competitors - will grow in the advanced capitalist countries. This would serve to sharpen contentions between them and make conflicts or wars more likely. The growing economic power of China has placed it in the crosshairs of protectionist circles in the U.S.

On a political and ideological level, an important result of this period of economic crisis is a general discrediting of the capitalist system itself. There is in fact a great gulf between what the defenders of capitalism say about their system and what the masses of people are experiencing in their lives. This in turn creates a favorable political terrain to build the communist movement.

Middle East key for U.S. imperialism

The U.S. cannot maintain an empire that spans the globe without countering its declining influence in the Middle East. The recent "energy boom" in the U.S. does not change this, because the markets in commodities like oil are global. Control of the Middle East is of strategic importance.

In the current context, the liberation organizations of Palestine, the national resistance project in Lebanon, the progressive governments of Syria, Iran and allied national democratic movements in the Middle East constitute a camp of resistance to imperialism, Zionism and reaction. This camp of resistance is the main obstacle to Western domination of the Middle East and we are glad that it exists.

The outcome of the battle for Syria is of critical importance. We do not see it as a civil war, but rather a war of imperialism and Zionism to weaken the camp of resistance. This is the principal aspect and we need to be on guard for a wider war.

The pivot towards Asia

U.S. strategy is now focused on undertaking a pivot (or "rebalancing") towards Asia. What this means in the real world is that the U.S. is trying to counter the rise of People's China, and to maintain the relative hegemony that the U.S. holds over the Pacific region.

To make this "rebalancing" actually happen, the United States will need to expand its bases and sea power in the region, shore up its relations (military cooperation agreements, etc.) and deal with a growing number of regional contradictions - such as the territorial claims by the right-wing government of Japan that are directed against China. The U.S. will need to maintain its control over the Philippines, using it as a platform to project military power in the region.

The negotiations that aim at creating an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should also be seen as a means to strengthen the U.S. position in the Pacific at the expense of China. It is telling that there is now talk of including Taiwan in this trade framework.

In a long term, strategic sense, the overall policy of the United States is one of preparing for a war with China.

The U.S., Europe and Japan: inter-imperialist rivalry

The U.S., Europe (where Germany plays a leading role), and Japan are the three main centers of monopoly capitalism.

The relations between the competing centers of monopoly capitalism are always marked by two opposite tendencies: collusion against still other competitors to assert common interests, or more typically, contention. Both tendencies will be present in the coming period and barring unforeseen events, the interplay between these two trends will largely be determined by how the developments in their respective economies unfold.

European economic and political integration, including the currency union, is facing new challenges created by the economic crisis. There are sharpening conflicts within the euro zone, and its future is uncertain.

Massive European bailouts, backed up by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to countries such as Greece and Cyprus, have been accompanied by stringent requirements to implement extremely harsh austerity measures, in some cases pushing the unemployment rates to above 25%.

Popular opposition to European integration continues and this is a good thing for both the peoples of Europe and the peoples of the Third World, as such resistance tends to weaken imperialism.

Britain is somewhat different, insofar as it has been historically and is at the present time much more attached to U.S.

There are three other trends in Europe worth noting. One is that the class struggle continues at a high level; for workers in the United States it is something we can learn from. In Greece in particular, it is possible that a revolutionary situation may come into being.

Secondly, in many European countries, left political forces are vying to fill the political space to the left of the long-standing social democratic parties. European communists have the task of fighting to occupy that space.

Finally, there is widespread racism and national oppression directed at national minorities from former colonial possessions that is on the rise (for example, the oppression of the Algerian national minority in France). One of the main indicators of this is the rise of anti-immigrant political parties, such as the Greek fascist party "Golden Dawn."

In Asia, Japan has attached itself to U.S. imperialism, playing a similar role to Britain. It shares strategic objectives with the United States to contain China and destroy socialist Korea.

Japan's economy has been plagued by stagnation and bouts of deflation for the past two decades. Right-wing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, of the Liberal Democratic Party is responding by printing yen, hoping to increase Japan's exports, and pursuing a policy of reviving Japanese militarism.

Former socialist countries, the USSR and of Eastern Europe

For the people of the former Soviet Union, the collapse of socialism has been a disaster and the effects are still being felt to this day. The collective wealth produced by the Soviet people was stolen in the largest privatization in history. The result is nothing but misery for workers and farmers. The results of the counter-revolution in the Soviet Union, as well as the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, such as Albania, Poland and Yugoslavia, are vivid examples of a simple truth: capitalism is a failed system that cannot meet the political, economic or social aspirations of the vast majority of people.

Today many of the former socialist countries of Eastern Europe, as well as the Baltic states, are dominated by the West, are members of NATO, and are part of U.S. designs to encircle Russia.

In all the former socialist countries, construction of a Marxist-Leninist movement and new communist parties that fight for the re-establishment of socialism are extremely positive developments. In the face of serious difficulties and, at times, heavy repression, they are standing firm. We owe them our support and solidarity.

Russia and its role

Russia itself is emerging as an imperialist power, although it is a weak and unstable one with an uncertain future. To say that Russia is an emerging imperialist power is to say that the development of capitalism is a relatively new thing. When we look at the particular features of Russian imperialism - some of the features that we would associate with an advanced monopoly capitalist country are still in a nascent or less developed form. For these reasons, Russia is not on the same level as countries in the major centers of imperialism, nor is it capable of playing the same role as the United States, Europe or Japan.

In Russia, the monopolization of the economy is advanced - in part for historical reasons. Finance capital is merged with industrial capital - due largely to the process that was used to privatize the post-Soviet economy. Being in the early stages of development and due to the actual historical process that created it, Russian monopoly capital in its current stage has the particular feature that it exports more commodities (2) (mainly from the energy sector) than it does capital. (3)

Russia is in the hands of a new capitalist class that has been forged over the last 20 odd years. This class of oligarchs has its origins in the downfall of the Soviet Union. They began as, and still are, thieves. Like vultures, they fed off the wealth that the Soviet peoples created.

In the early years of the counter revolution, Yeltsin and his accomplices, including his aide Putin, used violence and large scale privatization as weapons to defeat those that fought to bring back Soviet power. The 1994 "loans for shares" program figured prominently in this effort.

In the beginning of the counter-revolution, many of these oligarchs cultivated close ties with Western capitalists. The then-President Boris Yeltsin was the political representative of these elements. By the end of the 1990s there was a group of billionaires and some multi-millionaires. The most important issue for this group is political power. They have accumulated wealth on a vast scale. They do not follow rules or laws, but as a group they cannot exist this way. One-time Yeltsin aide, Vladimir Putin emerged as the political representative of those who wanted capitalism with some kind of order - the kind of order that will preserve their wealth.

In 2001, Putin held a meeting of Russia's elite and made two points. First, the privatization process was over in the sense that the oligarchy could not plan on living off the dwindling supply of state-owned wealth. Sure, there will be opportunities to make money profiting from a relationship to these industries, but this is not buffet dining. The second message was that oligarchs should stay out of anti-government, anti-Putin politics.

Those that did not get the message suffered. The most important confrontation to follow would be with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was the owner of Yukos, a major energy conglomerate. He bankrolled the opposition to Putin and wound up in jail in 2003. A process was unfolding where the oligarchs were getting richer. There was a shaking out; some left the elite and new ones joined, and collectively they increasingly pushed an agenda for "capitalism with rules." The result of these developments is Russia as it exists today; a Russia that is relatively independent of the West and that has the capacity to pursue its own agenda.

Russia has played a positive role in helping Syria and in helping to block a U.S. military strike on that country. In 2013, it concluded a major $5 billion arms deal with Venezuela. Of special importance is Russia's opposition to Western control of areas that were once in the USSR (Georgia, Ukraine, etc.).

The events in the Ukraine mark an important milestone in the relations between Russia and the Western imperial powers. Many in the Ukraine, especially the residents of the southern and eastern regions, do not wish to live under the U.S.-backed fascists who took power in Kiev. (4) As a result Crimea has rejoined Russia, and there is a sharp battle underway that will determine the Ukraine's future. We stand with the progressive, patriotic and anti-fascist forces of the Ukraine. We are opposed to any sanctions on Russia.

Third World

Imperialism means national oppression. Third World countries face famine, poverty, war, epidemics, environmental destruction, restructuring and dismantlement. On a world scale, the main form of national oppression today is neocolonialism. Recognizing this fact, it should be stated that one of the particular features of U.S. imperialism is the reversion to what resembles the earlier form of direct colonial rule, as with the occupation of Afghanistan.

Objectively, the countries of the Third World are at the center of the revolutionary process and the gains made over the past period are remarkable.

The following sections of this report deal with general political situation that exists in the different regions of the developing world.

Middle East

The peoples of the Middle East are standing up to imperialism, Zionism and reaction of all kinds. Because of the region's strategic importance to Western imperialism, developments here can lead to a shift in the balance of forces on a world scale.

The unfolding of the Arab Spring is a complex development that has changed the political landscape of the region since its onset in 2010. Our view is the Arab Spring was a good thing in that it created more favorable conditions to resist imperialism in Tunisia, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and some other places.

In Yemen particularly, a growing Left, centered in the formerly socialist south of the country has emerged to oppose drone strikes and collaboration with US imperialism. Like the comrades in Russia and the former socialist countries in Eastern Europe, we owe them support and solidarity.

The struggle of the Egyptian people has been massive, determined and heroic. It has also had many twists and turns. We condemn the military coup and the repression that has accompanied it. We are confident that over the long run, patriotic forces will gain the upper hand and set Egypt on a national democratic course.

For their part, the imperialists have tried to utilize and manipulate the Arab Spring, at times with some success - such as in Libya. Also, some Islamist forces, backed by reactionary Arab kingdoms such as Saudi Arabia, have taken the side of the U.S. in targeting secular governments in Libya and Syria, and are spreading religious sectarianism that is harmful to the movements for national liberation.

The powerful and determined struggle of the Palestinian people has swept away repeated attempts to impose solutions that come up short of complete liberation. We support the Palestinian people in their fight to regain their homeland, including the right of return, and to create a democratic, secular state in all of historic Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.

There is a growing desperation in the Obama administration on the issue of Palestine. There is a consensus among U.S. policymakers that if a "two state solution" does not happen sooner, it will be impossible later. This has led to some contradictions between Washington and the Zionists who dream of "Greater Israel."

We call for an end to all U.S. aid to Israel. Israel is a creation of U.S. and British imperialism - it is a dagger that the U.S. wields against the Arab peoples. The 2006 defeat of Israel by the Lebanese resistance demonstrated the underlying weakness of the Zionist state and the power of the Arab peoples. It also showed that the patriotic and progressive forces of Lebanon are an extremely important factor in building the camp of resistance to imperialism and Zionism.

Whatever weakens Israel or U.S. support for Israel strengthens the hand of the people of Palestine, the Arab peoples and ultimately the world's peoples.

In evaluating the situation in the Middle East, Iran is of real importance. The United States' threats of war against Iran must be taken seriously, even as the U.S. military is stretched to its limits. Iran's increasing political, economic and military strength, especially compared to its besieged neighbors, allows Iran to be relatively independent of U.S. domination. We uphold Iran's right to develop its nuclear capacity and oppose the U.S-Israeli nuclear monopoly in the Middle East.

Should the U.S. or Israel widen their war on the people of the Middle East, whether by attacking Iran or any other enemies of imperialism, the U.S. anti-war movement will need to orient itself towards whatever the principal contradiction is at that time, focusing on the battlefront that most strongly serves to weaken U.S. imperialism.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean have long suffered under the yoke of U.S. imperialism. Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, U.S. rulers have viewed this region as their own backyard. Neocolonialism is the main form of national oppression in Latin America today, and the U.S. does not hesitate to use political and military means to dominate the peoples of Latin America.

The exploitation and expropriation of wealth is the fundamental objective of imperialism. Economic instruments of imperialism include neocolonial structural adjustment projects, privatization and the massive debt foisted upon most developing nations and administered by U.S.-dominated multi-lateral financial institutions, like the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In Latin America, the policies of looting and theft are codified in international, bilateral and trilateral free trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, AFTA and others. Agriculture, public health, social services, public education, workers' rights and the environment all come under heavy fire from these agreements. In the end, thousands are left impoverished and unemployed while U.S. companies laugh all the way to the bank - tax-free. Imperialist domination further impoverishes the peasantry and pushes small farmers off the land.

The U.S. has dominated Haiti through both military and economic policies for almost a century. The 2010 earthquake merely provided the U.S. with an excuse to increase its foothold in the poorest part of Latin America. The U.S. efforts are focused on maintaining its control over Haiti and propping up its puppet government.

The contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed nations is intensifying across Latin America, where the great masses of people are unable to live in the old way and the rulers are unable to rule in the old way.

Colombia has been at the leading edge of this process, where armed revolution is meeting armed counter-revolution on the battlefield. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia have embarked on a peace process with the Colombian government that aims for a negotiated solution and justice for the masses of people.

Moreover, a profound revolutionary process is taking place across South America. This includes the progressive and patriotic governments of Venezuela and Bolivia. The elections of left-leaning governments, like the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and the FMLN of El Salvador amount to a rejection of the U.S. The social democratic government of Brazil has at times tried to chart a course that is independent of the U.S.

The growing challenge to U.S. influence in the region can be seen, as a growing number of countries have stopped sending their troops for training to the School of the Americas (SOA), now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).

Progressive forces in the U.S. have a special responsibility to support the progressive and revolutionary forces in Mexico. Since Mexico's 2012 election, in which the PRI party won the presidency under a cloud of illegitimacy, the PRI is rapidly pushing forward a broad neoliberal agenda of privatizations of key sectors of the Mexican economy - the state oil company PEMEX and the energy sector as a whole, as well as the "education reform" that attacks the teachers unions and public education. Controversy about the legitimacy of the PRI's election victory, along with their attacks on PEMEX and public education, have sparked broad, militant mass movements that are shaking Mexico. These movements can have a positive influence on inspiring popular movements in the U.S. too. (5)

Finally, note must be made of socialist Cuba - which is a beacon of liberation to people throughout the hemisphere. Socialist Cuba has built a health care system that is the envy of nations across the globe; thousands of Cuban doctors travel to Africa, Asia and Latin America to provide free services to the poor and needy. Cuba eliminated unemployment and created a superb educational system that eradicated illiteracy. Today Cuba is leading the charge in sustainable development and agriculture. All of this was done while under the intense pressure of the U.S. blockade. The leadership and example of Cuba has been a key factor in the resurgence of the left throughout Latin America.

A broad international movement exists that supports Cuba's sovereignty by continuing to demand that the U.S. end its blockade. In 2013, a record of 188 countries condemned the U.S. blockade in a UN General Assembly vote, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against the resolution. Also the movement to free the remaining Cuban 5 - the Cuban patriots imprisoned in the U.S. - continues to grow around the world, building support for socialist Cuba and opposition to U.S. imperialism.

Africa

The imperialists are trying to recolonize Africa. Africa is the poorest continent. It was conquered, divided and stripped of great amounts of its natural resources by imperialism. In past decades, Africans waged many victorious national liberation struggles. Unfortunately, comprador forces allied with neocolonialism seized power in a number of countries, thus reaping the fruit of many of these heroic struggles.

Increasingly, the Western imperialist powers have directly intervened in Africa. In Mali, the Ivory Coast and the Central African Republic, the U.S. and France have worked together to secure their imperialist interests. The imperialist powers undermined Sudanese national sovereignty by encouraging the succession of South Sudan, which was followed by direct U.S. military intervention in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan to secure oil and other natural resources.

With the aim of grabbing the resources, land and labor of the African peoples, the United States is utilizing domestic proxies, direct intervention, regional "security" agreements and military assistance programs.

In coming years it is expected that a massive oil boom will arrive in many African countries. Africa has huge mineral reserves, including copper, bauxite and uranium. The U.S. is moving to strengthen its control of key shipping and communications lines - for example, those that pass by the Horn of Africa.

In 2007, the United Stated formed a military command to focus on Africa (AFRICOM). Teaming up with its proxy, Ethiopia, the U.S. is waging a war on the people of Somalia. We support the patriotic people of Somalia who are fighting to free their country from foreign domination.

In Zimbabwe there has been an ongoing attempt by the West, headed up by the U.S. and Britain, to bring down that country's progressive government, and end the national democratic process that is taking place there. We are gladdened by the re-election of President Mugabe, oppose any sanctions against Zimbabwe and support the revolutionary measures adopted by its government, such as land reform.

China has played a largely positive role in assisting Africa's economic development.

Nearly every region of the continent has been ravaged by war. In general, the basis for these conflicts can be found in the legacy of colonialism and the ongoing maneuvers of the Western powers, especially the U.S., France and Britain. We are opposed to Western military intervention under any guise, including that of "peace keeping."

Asia

Asia is a focal point of the four major contradictions in the world. Thus, of anywhere in the world, Marxism is the most alive in Asia today. There are more communists here than in the rest of the world combined. There are huge mass movements led by communists in India and Bangladesh numbering in the tens of millions. There is also a growing armed struggle led by communists in India.

In the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines holds substantial liberated areas and is leading the masses of people in a national democratic revolution with a socialist orientation. Locked in a direct confrontation with the U.S. and its puppets, advances in the revolutionary process here are of real importance for Asia as a whole. The Philippines were the first big base of operations for the U.S. Empire in Asia, the point from where the U.S. projected its power. Victories won by the revolutionary movement in the Philippines affect the balance of forces in the region and set back U.S. imperialism's plans to build an anti-China alliance.

There are also more socialist countries in Asia than anywhere else. China, Laos, Vietnam, Korea all espouse Marxism-Leninism and see themselves on the road to communism. Taken as whole, Asia is a weak link in the chain of imperialism.

Note should be made of U.S. efforts to provoke a second Korean war. While the strength of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the patriotic movements in the south of the peninsula constrain the U.S., ongoing provocations, such as the fabrication of a "nuclear crisis" and war preparations (troop redeployments, deployment of advanced weapons, agreements with other countries to seize shipping vessels belonging to the DPRK) constitute a serious danger to peace on the Korean Peninsula.

In a similar vein, we understand that when the Pentagon speaks of a "regional competitor" in Asia, it means the People's Republic of China. We support the efforts of the Chinese people to achieve reunification with the Taiwan province and oppose U.S. efforts to threaten China with "missile defense," a system of military bases aimed at encirclement and subversion.

The growing international influence of China is also posing a challenge to U.S. imperialism. China has growing economic and political relationships with many countries of the Third World in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The 2013 oil and gas economic agreement between China and Russia will weaken Western oil interests.

China has been able to unite with other Third World countries in international forums on trade and the environment to challenge the hegemony of U.S. and other imperialist powers. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is a military alliance that includes Russia, China and other Central Asian countries, presents a direct challenge to the expansion of NATO in Central Asia.

Finally, the growing struggle of Afghani people to win national independence and liberate their country from U.S. and NATO control has made real strides forward. The U.S. is expanding its military attacks to Afghanistan's neighbor, Pakistan. There is growing opposition by the Pakistani people to their government's cooperation with U.S. imperialism.

Socialist countries

China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam and the Democratic Republic of Korea are countries where the proletariat has established power. These countries are an important factor in the world revolutionary process. Whatever strengths or weakness the respective socialist countries have, we count ourselves in the ranks of those who hold that actual existing socialism is a good thing.

A quick compare and contrast demonstrates that socialism has been extremely positive for the Third World. Those countries that overthrew imperialism and its local servants established New Democracy and transitioned to socialism under the leadership of the working class and its party improved the lives of their own people and inspired millions more.

For example, Cuba's infant mortality rate ranks far below that of Mexico or El Salvador, and even lower than that of the United States. On issues of equality, heath care, education, culture, housing and food, the people of the socialist countries fare better.

In the cases of Korea, Laos, and Vietnam, the mass destruction of U.S. wars attempted to send those nations "back to the Stone Age." However, due to the victories against U.S. imperialism, they have fared well compared with similar Asian nations.

However, socialist countries also face major contradictions from external and internal sources, including those stemming from market reforms and the opening of the economies to the world market. In spite of this, the socialist countries have demonstrated in practice the bright future in store for humanity.


Notes

  1. On a world scale, the working class in alliance with the peasantry - especially the poor farmers - is the fundamental force that stands in opposition to imperialism. Beyond that, depending on time, place and conditions, there is a broad array of other forces that can be drawn into the struggle against foreign monopoly capitalists, including the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie of the oppressed countries. The way we see it, the more forces that join the fight against imperialism the better. We also recognize that in all oppressed countries and nations, the issue of the working class struggling for leadership of the national liberation movements is an important one.
  2. This is not without precedent. We generally say the U.S. made the transition to becoming an imperial power in the late 1890s and/or early 1900s - when the Americans began the fight to get colonies in a world that had already been divided up - taking over of Hawaii, the war with Spain to seize Cuba and the Philippines, etc. At that time, U.S. commodity exports exceeded the export of capital. It was still an emerging imperialist power.
  3. One theoretical aside is this, the Leninist analysis of imperialism has never turned on the point that there needs to be quantitatively more capital exports than commodity exports for a country to have a system of monopoly capitalism (imperialism). The point Lenin was making is that in the developed capitalist countries it was more profitable to take capital accumulated and export it to the colonies, than to simply plow it back into the domestic commodity producing economy, as a result it was "predominant."
  4. In February, 2014 the government of President Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown by reactionary forces, who in some cases made use of legitimate grievances on the part of the masses of people. This is not a new thing; the U.S and other imperialist powers did this in the Ukraine once before - during the "orange revolution" in 1994. The U.S. used the same technique following the election of President Ahmadinejad in Iran, without success, and is now using the same methods in an attempt to topple the national democratic government of in Venezuela
  5. The Southwest part of the United States - Aztlan - was formerly Northern Mexico. A distinct Chicano nation developed in this region and there is a relationship between what takes place in Mexico and the developments in the Southwest. One indication of this is the inspiration many Chicano youth took from the uprising in Chiapas. Revolutionary struggle in Mexico weakens U.S imperialism, and will contribute to shaping the Chicano national movement.

FRSO 7th Congress Documents
2014 Main Political Report

MPR 2014: The U.S. Economy

MPR 2014: Domestic Report

MPR 2014: International Report

 

 

 

 

Freedom Road Socialist Organization is a Marxist-Leninist organization in the United States. This website contains information about our organization, our politics and some of our activities in the people's movements.
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