Fighting for our future

BY:Sam Webb| June 29, 2011
Fighting for our future
This report was adopted by a meeting of the National Committee of the Communist Party, June 26, 2011.

No sooner had Republican governors finished their oath of office than they were demanding deep concessions from public sector workers in their respective states.

In Wisconsin, the Republican governor introduced legislation that cut wages and pensions and eliminated collective bargaining. Egged on by the ultra-reactionary billionaire Koch brothers, the governor attempted to railroad the legislation through the legislature, but before he could do so, he ran into an aroused people’s movement. 

In Ohio, the new Republican governor turned the state into a microcosm for right-wing social engineering and the scene of a mass rebellion by labor and its democratic allies. 

Governor John Kasich, who comes out of Fox News, Lehman Brothers and the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity, launched unconcealed class warfare. This includes a law, known as Senate Bill 5, that abolishes collective bargaining rights for all public employees and a budget that slashes $3 billion from the strapped public schools, cuts state assistance to local governments in half and privatizes prisons, liquor sales, the lottery and the turnpike.

Already many school districts, cities and county governments have begun massive layoffs and it is estimated the state budget cuts will result in the loss of 50,000 jobs. 

In addition, the Republican majority expects to pass laws to drastically reduce access to voting, promote fracking (hydraulic fracturing of rock to extract natural gas) throughout the state including in state parks, and outlaw use of state hospitals for abortions.

At the same time, the estate tax on the wealthy is being eliminated, funds for vouchers and charter schools are being greatly expanded and a law is being passed to allow concealed weapons in restaurants, bars and sports arenas. 

In Michigan, a state with double-digit unemployment, the Republican majority passed a budget that mandates a 48-month cap on welfare cash benefits. Almost 13,000 families face immediate loss of benefits. Shamefully, an $80 clothing allowance for poor children is also eliminated.

The governor’s budget cuts aid to universities by 15 percent and by $300 per pupil for K thru 12 education. Towns are being coerced into privatizing their workforce or face greater cuts in revenue sharing. 

What is more, the governor’s tax overhaul increased the state deficit by giving a $1.8 billion tax cut to corporations. How was that made up? By raising taxes on the working poor and by taxing the pensions of seniors. 

What alarms many in the labor movement and in particular public workers is the Emergency Finance Manager legislation passed by the legislature. It gives the governor the power to appoint managers with dictator-like power to replace mayors and councils and void union contracts – a power that he has already exercised.

I could cite other examples, but I think I have made my point that the rightwing-orchestrated assault is unprecedented in its scope and intensity. And for anybody who is wondering what a Republican election victory will look like at the national level next year, they need only look at states where Republicans rule this year.

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans, fresh from their victory at the polls last fall, are also pressing their advantage. As a price to pay for their agreement to lift the debt ceiling (to avert a government default on financial obligations with potential catastrophic effect on international financial markets) Republicans are demanding $1 trillion in cuts to the federal budget. If they have their way we can say goodbye not only to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and more, but also to any hope of economic recovery for the foreseeable future.

This behavior is worthy of gangsters and thugs. It holds the nation hostage to their narrow worldview whose overarching objective is to destroy the social contract and democratic rights – beginning with the right to organize into a union – that were won in the Depression years and consolidated in the decades following World War II. 

In doing so, these gangsters show their obeisance to the financial elite and the transnational corporations generally. 

To complicate matters, the bug of austerity has bitten the Obama administration and many Democrats too. While their deficit reduction plans are more modest, these are still the wrong medicine for a faltering economy. It’s akin to pouring gasoline on a fire. Rather than withdrawing monies from the economy, additional monies should be injected into it.

If we want evidence of the counterproductive nature of austerity, we need only look to Europe. There several countries – Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, etc. – that have been forced to solve their debt crisis by means of austerity find themselves mired in debt and economic stagnation.

Our national debt is a problem in the longer term, but in the short term our real deficit is a deficit of infrastructure, renewable energy, education, health care, mass transportation, etc. None of these deficits can be addressed without strong, government-led, national strategies.

Moreover, such strategies will not only solve the immediate crisis in jobs, but also lay the material base for a healthy, productive and green economy, including a sustainable solution to national indebtedness. And, to those who say we can’t afford it, let’s remind them that plenty of money is available if we go to where it is: the wealthiest families, corporations, banks and the military. 

Working-class counteroffensive 

In tandem with this deep-going assault on the American people, a broad surge of struggle by labor and its allies is emerging against this assault. 

What began in Wisconsin has spread to other parts of the country. The struggle combines direct action, broad solidarity with labor’s allies and a heavy dose of independent political action. Demonstrations, sit-ins, voter referendums, recall and election campaigns (as in Wisconsin), massive petition drives (as in Ohio where thousands of volunteers have collected over a million signatures against SB 5), marches against corporate greed and more are among the range of actions taken. Every section of the labor movement is in the fight, public as well as private. 

The watchword is unity – broad inclusive unity of every constituency that is negatively affected by the program of the right.

Barely a week goes by without one or two major actions, not to mention the innumerable smaller ones. 

Along with the fight against austerity, the struggle for jobs is at the top of labor’s agenda. The AFL-CIO has a jobs program that deserves broad support, as do jobs hearings sponsored by the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the meetings of the Rebuild the Dream campaign.

While it is implied, it should be said: the labor movement, underappreciated by some on the left, is in the forefront of these battles. 

Not surprisingly the class mood, feeling and consciousness is at a different level – more consistent, more grounded and more militant. Tens of millions of people believe the economy doesn’t work for them, pin the blame for the crisis on the banks and corporations, welcome the call to tax the rich, and while not letting the Democratic Party off the hook, see the Republican Party as the main purveyor of this assault. 

Working people are also coming to the conclusion that self-organization and action is of critical importance in this era. 

Socialism isn’t yet embraced by large sections of the American people, but it is part of the broader discussion.

In a nutshell, a living, dynamic working-class-led people’s counteroffensive is emerging, but it is still neither broad nor deep nor sustained enough to turn back the Republicans’ offensive and compel the Democrats to adopt a progressive agenda.

In other words, the level of mobilization and ideological contestation doesn’t yet correspond to the scope and depth of the rightwing offensive. That will and must come. Otherwise the offensive will not abate anytime soon.

In these circumstances, the role of the left is to step up our efforts to energize, broaden, deepen, and, above all, unite the movement against the draconian plans of the Republican right and for job creation. Nothing is more important than the ideological and political strengthening of this movement.

Indeed, this movement is the necessary underpinning of any progressive turn in our nation’s politics. Take it out of the equation and only minor reforms are possible at best; at worst, the Republicans go on the offensive as they are currently doing, Democrats waver and give in, and politics shift to the right. But neither our nation nor the world for that matter can afford another era of rightwing-dominated politics. The price is too steep. 

Such a task is as much practical as it is ideological. In other words it is going to take tough nuts-and-bolts organizing and concrete initiatives along with efforts to bring clarity to tens of millions as to the causes of and solutions to the rightwing offensive and the capitalist economic crisis. 

At the core of this multidimensional struggle is the fight against racism. Quiet as it is kept, it remains the main obstacle to working-class and people’s unity. Nothing has the same potency to ideologically and practically derail the building of a powerful multiracial labor-led people’s movement as does racism. It is the nation’s most dangerous pollutant. In both coded and uncoded forms it is deeply embedded in every aspect of the rightwing ideological offensive – “Big Government” and the “Welfare State,” the “undeserving” poor, the “underclass,” “illegal aliens,” “welfare queens,” the “lazy” unemployed, a “Muslim, un-American” president, etc. For moral and material reasons, white people in general and white workers in particular must step to the forefront of the anti-racist struggle, and in doing so create the conditions for united struggle and social progress.

An immediate task is the defense of the jobs of public sector workers where disproportionate numbers of African American and Latino workers are employed.

On the defensive 

For the moment the struggle is defensive in character. That doesn’t preclude projecting more far-reaching reforms such as a massive public works jobs program. But the winning of such demands hangs on rebuffing the current austerity drive this year and winning a landslide victory next year. Such an outcome will not only set the right on its heels, but will also prod the president and Democrats to embrace more progressive positions. 

As for communists and communist party clubs, the struggle against austerity and for jobs is the ground zero of our work. Everything we do and say and write should somehow relate to this task.

Every club should discuss the following questions: 

How can every member become more active in the struggle against austerity and for jobs? How can we draw others into activity in our workplace or neighborhood? What initiatives can we take? How can we build unity? How can we engage in the struggle over ideas? How can we expand further the online audience of the People’s World and Political Affairs

How can we build a bigger left and Communist Party – both of which are necessary for any sustained and far-reaching political advances? It is a fact that progressive and democratic breakthroughs in our nation’s history have been bound up with popular uprisings in which a growing left played a critical role. There is no reason to think it will be any different going forward.

Does it matter which party wins?

It is obvious that there is a growing feeling of frustration and even anger among supporters of the Democratic Party with its performance over the past two years.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, speaking for the labor movement, strongly expressed this unhappiness in some recent speeches.

I am also disappointed with some aspects of the Obama administration’s domestic and foreign policy.

But I don’t forget that this administration governs in a very hostile political environment in which the right is laboring overtime to wreck its initiatives at every step of the way.

In addition, there are the structural pressures of governing in a capitalist economy and state.

Then there are conservative pressures coming from congressional Democrats and members of the administration.

However, everything can’t be explained away by the objective context. The president and his administration can be faulted for a number of policy decisions.

But the main question from a strategic point of view is this: Does it make any difference, from the standpoint of the class and democratic struggles, which party gains political ascendency? 

Some – not the labor movement or other mass organizations of the American people – say no, it doesn’t.

Some even go a step further and say a Democratic victory creates popular illusions, which in turn weaken the people’s struggles. And the only way out of this vise is to form a third party now. 

Communists don’t agree with either one of these views. In our view, the differences between the two parties of capitalism are of consequence to class and democratic struggles. 

Neither party is anti-capitalist, but they aren’t identical either. Differences exist at the levels of policy and social composition. Despite the many frustrations of the past two years, the election of Barack Obama was historic and gave space to struggle for a people’s agenda.

If, on the other hand, the Republicans had been victorious in 2008 the character of class and democratic struggles would have unfolded very differently. Our movement would have been on the defensive from Day One, the Democrats would be running for cover, and the Republicans would have an unfettered hand in their efforts to liquidate the welfare state, roll back the rights revolution of the 1930s and 1960s, and crush the people’s movement – labor in the first place.

As for the wisdom of a third party, we have always advocated the formation of an independent people’s party at the core of which are the working class and labor, racially and nationally oppressed people, women, youth, immigrants, seniors, gay and straight, etc. It is essential for any deep-going social change. But its realization depends on more than our desire, more than our political-ideological attitude. Millions who have to be at the core of this party still operate under the umbrella of the Democratic Party, albeit in an increasingly independent fashion. 

Moreover, to separate ourselves at this moment from these forces would be contrary to our strategic policy of building maximum unity against rightwing extremism now and in next year’s election.

Now that doesn’t mean that we give up our advocacy of an independent people’s party, but we also understand that its formation is dictated by concrete political realities and strategic necessities. Nor does it mean that we push the mute button when the Obama administration takes positions that we don’t agree with. Just as we show no hesitation in supporting, and fighting for, the administration’s progressive initiatives, we should have no compunction about taking issue with the administration when it takes positions with which we don’t agree.

Which is what we have done. 

When someone says we are not critical of the administration, what they usually mean is that our criticism isn’t as sweeping and categorical as they would like. 

We make criticisms, but we do it in a certain context and with a certain strategic objective in mind. We are keen to the fact that the agenda of the far right is to bring this administration and country to its knees, with a heavy dose of racism, lies and economic sabotage, setting the stage for a full-blown return to power of the most reactionary, racist, anti-labor, anti-women, homophobic and militarist grouping in U.S. politics. 

We want no part of that. We don’t have any illusions about the Democratic Party, but we don’t have any illusions about the Republican Party either.

Furthermore, we are also aware of the undeniable fact that no other party besides the Democratic Party stands a chance of beating the GOP next year.

World economic crisis 

An economic crisis is sweeping the world; only a few countries are out of its jaws and none of them have the capacity to drag the rest of the world along with them. 

This is no ordinary cyclical crisis in which a decline in economic activity is followed by a robust revival that raises income and creates jobs.

Not since the 1930s has the world experienced a crisis of such depth, duration and consequences for working people worldwide. 

It is as much structural and institutional as it is cyclical. 

The neoliberal model of bubble debt-driven growth and accumulation has come apart at its seams in country after country. Like Humpty Dumpty it can’t be put back together again in the same old way.

Most countries and regions are locked into slow growth and stagnation; only a few – China among them – are growing at respectable rates. In the Global South the impact is catastrophic. Deeper poverty is layered onto deep poverty. 

And Europe teeters on the edge of disaster. Greece is the immediate epicenter. Its economy is unraveling and the class struggle is intensifying, thanks in large measure to the draconian loan conditions imposed on the Greek people by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. A default on government debt is in the realm of possibility, which in turn could easily disrupt financial markets in Europe and perhaps elsewhere in the world.   

It’s no wonder there is little evidence that a dynamic and broad upturn on a global level is in the making. If anything, the prognosis for the world economy in the short and long run is not promising.

The only winners so far are the wealthiest families and corporations. Out of this crisis they have emerged with their profits, power and privileges intact. A few have fallen by the wayside to be sure, but only to be swallowed by bigger rivals – as Marx predicted.

For all practical purposes, finance capital, which includes non-financial corporations such as GE, Ford and others, continues to sit at the apex of the economy. 

Status of U.S. economy 

After a weak and lopsided recovery heavily favoring the capitalist class, the U.S. economy looks to be on the cusp of a new downturn. The much-talked-about double dip is knocking on the door.

The signs are everywhere.

The housing market is in the throes of another slide downward. Both housing prices and startups are down while foreclosures are up.

Consumer spending limps along too, as working people postpone purchases and pay down their debt.

Economic growth rates are paltry, failing to meet earlier very modest projections. 

Credit remains tight as banks are reluctant to lend. 

Investment lags as businesses, awash in $2 trillion in investible funds and underutilized production capacity, are reluctant to sink money into new plant and equipment as long as demand for goods and services muddles along.

Export markets remain weak, despite the fall in the dollar’s value on international currency markets. And there is little hope that this will significantly improve since much of the world — and Europe in particular — is in a similar or worse economic predicament.

Real wages are flat, contributing to the slack in consumer markets.

Worst of all, the jobless rate is 9.1 percent officially. And unofficially, unemployment is roughly 15 percent. All together 25 million people are either unemployed or underemployed. 

Behind these economic indicators lie people – real live people facing evictions, foreclosures, dwindling income, a jobless future, homelessness, hunger, worry, insecurity, broken spirits and shortened lives. 

Behind these economic indicators lies a crisis that is exacting its worst suffering on the poorest and most vulnerable members of our society. 

Behind these economic indictors lie young people who are out of school, out of jobs, and out of luck. 

Behind these economic indicators lies the scourge of racial and gender discrimination and oppression. This crisis, while indiscriminate in its destruction, exacts a higher price from people of color and women. This is reflected in every index that measures social and economic wellbeing. 

Unfortunately, short of finding a new developmental path that restructures the economy, institutions and power in the interests of the world’s working people, it is hard to see how the U.S. and world economy will get their mojo back. 

Even mainstream economists see no easy solution to the financial crisis and the Great Recession. In a recent column, Lawrence Summers, the former economic advisor for the Obama administration, writes that we run the danger of a lost decade much like Japan if we don’t stimulate the demand side of the economic equation –  that is, create jobs and raise incomes of low- and middle-income people. 

Thus, an immediate question is: what is required to throw the economy and job growth on an upward trajectory? 

An anti-crisis program 

We favor a program that combines immediate measures with far-reaching demands. What worked in the early decades following World War II is inadequate now given the nature and scope of the crisis.

Then, working-class consumers were eager and able to buy goods and services, now they are weighed down by household debt; then the housing market was growing in cities and suburbs, now it is contracting. Then the growth curve of mass production industries, led by auto, was upward, now these same industries are smaller and employ far fewer workers; then the U.S. was an unrivaled economic juggernaut worldwide; now global markets are crowded and competition is fierce. Then a social compact existed between capital and labor, now capital has declared war on labor; then confidence in the dollar as a means of payment and store of value was high on international markets, now confidence is eroding. Then U.S. workers enjoyed ample job opportunities in a relatively protected labor market, now U.S. workers find themselves in a labor market that is worldwide, thanks to globalization and the entry of the working classes of China, India, and Russia. Then global warming and the environmental crisis didn’t imperil humanity’s future; now they do. 

In these new conditions, simple Keynesian policies – that is, stimulus spending (pump priming) – will ease the crisis, but won’t attack it in a fundamental way. Thus economic stimulus should be combined with a more ambitious program for immediate relief, jobs, equality, sustainability, and peace. 

1. Immediate relief

A moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Reset mortgages so payments are affordable. Unemployment compensation from job to job, increase benefits. Increase food stamps, WIC, children’s health insurance, and low-income energy assistance. Turn banks and financial institutions into a democratically-run public utility and democratize the Federal Reserve Bank.

Assist deficit-ridden state and local governments so they can preserve services and jobs. Fund “ready-to-go” infrastructure projects.

2. A peacetime, green jobs economy 

Enact massive public works job creation to make existing buildings energy efficient, construct new schools, hospitals, affordable housing, mass transit and bridges. Give priority to areas hurt by loss of manufacturing, loss of family farms and highest unemployment areas.

Major projects to increase efficiency and lower cost of solar, wind and biomass electricity generation. Immediate program to cut greenhouse gas emissions and for environmental cleanup. Restore federal energy regulation and encourage public ownership of utilities.

Enact the Employee Free Choice Act to enable workers to form unions without intimidation.

Extend Medicare to all. Fully fund public education from preschool through higher education and technical training. No privatization of Social Security or Medicare. Protect Medicaid. Expand and improve benefits.

3. Restore civil rights, the Bill of Rights and separation of powers 

Affirmative action in employment, education and housing. End the “school to prison” pipeline. Outlaw hate crimes.

Preserve Roe v. Wade.

Pass immigration reform with amnesty, a path to citizenship, no militarization of the borders, and no exploitative guest worker programs. Stop the raids and deportations. No human being is illegal.

Repeal the Patriot Act. Restore Habeas Corpus rights. No more torture.

Expand voting rights. Enact publicly-financed elections, same-day registration, and voting rights for ex-felons. Restore the Fairness Doctrine in media.

4. Strength through peace

Complete the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, with no bases or U.S. corporations left behind. Full care for returning veterans. No war on Iran. Withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Assistance to Iraqi people to rebuild their country. End the bombing of Libya and encourage a ceasefire and political solution to the conflict. 

Adopt a new foreign policy accenting diplomacy and respect for all nations. Renew commitment to the UN’s peace role. End trade policies that enrich corporations while destroying jobs. Ratify climate change agreements.

Enforce nuclear non-proliferation, work to abolish nuclear weapons. Cut Pentagon spending in half, close down U.S. bases around the world.

Of course, we aren’t so naive to think that we can win such a program at this moment; the balance of class and social forces doesn’t allow it. A necessary, but not sufficient, condition for its realization would be a landslide victory in the 2012 elections, to which I now turn. 

2012 elections 

The 2012 elections have begun. In the eyes of the Republican right, nothing is more important than the election’s outcome. Their plan to permanently transform the country in favor of the most reactionary sections of transnational capital hinges on their success in gaining control of every branch of government in next year’s election. 

No one on their side is going to sit out these elections; too much is at stake in their view. And whatever fissures exist among them will be buried in due course.

The elections are still a year and a half away, but they are “licking their chops” thinking about an election sweep.

For the people’s side of the struggle, the 2012 elections are of paramount importance too. No other struggle now or in the foreseeable future has the same possibility to effect a change in the political balance of forces in a progressive direction. 

Or to put it differently, the elections are the key link to decisively move the whole chain of class and democratic politics forward. 

Thus sitting home on Election Day is a non-starter. The same could be said about treating the elections as one of many struggles and issues. And those who advocate an immediate “strategic break” with the Democratic Party in 2012 are misguided tactically and strategically. Indeed, they are inadvertently playing into the hands of rightwing extremism. 

While millions understandably feel dissatisfied with the Democratic Party, they are also aware that it is the only viable alternative to the Republican Party at this moment. And the aggressive role of the right wing in recent months has only reinforced these sentiments. 

So what is to be done? 

For now the main task is to dig into the struggles against austerity, union-busting and everything else the right is throwing at us. The character of these struggles will go a long way in setting the tone for 2012. If they are mass, united and spirited, then the ground will be set for victory next year.

Pulling the plug 

At the core of the U.S. and world capitalist economy and crisis are the transnational corporations and banks.

The conventional wisdom has been that corporate capital is committed to the modernization of the state, economy, and society.

Some of you may take issue with this, but there was at one time more than a grain of truth to it. Coming out of World War II, a broad alliance, with U.S. corporations occupying a prominent position, expanded for various reasons the public sector, trained a skilled workforce, steadily improved wages and social benefits, renovated the infrastructure, built a national system of interstate highways, invested in public education, struck down the most egregious barriers of racial and gender exclusion, and promoted vigorous economic growth.

Corporate capital’s principal reason for being was still profit-making, but its profit-making strategy was tethered to the modernization of the domestic economy, state and society.

To a degree, it was a win-win situation insofar as both the corporations and the people gained, albeit very unequally, from this arrangement. The socialist Michael Harrington, in an analysis of this era, wrote, 

“The welfare state was thus not simply the result of socialist and liberal conscience and working class struggle. It was also a function of a capitalist socialization process, a way of allowing the system to absorb the enormous productivity of the new forms of collective labor.” 

But the arrangement didn’t last. By the mid-1970s, this commitment of significant sections of the transnational corporate elite began to fray at the edges, and then in the decades that followed it came apart at the seams, as the transnational corporations, with the assistance of rightwing extremists occupying powerful positions in government, began to drastically restructure the state, economy and society solely in the interests of the top layers of our society who own and control industry and finance and are largely hidden from public view (I’m not talking about sports stars and celebrities).

By the first decade of this century, the effects were apparent. 

On one side, wealth and power shifted to the moneybags on Wall Street and elsewhere.

On the other side, wages stagnated, the infrastructure deteriorated, the social safety net frayed, the public school system decayed, poverty and inequality grew, the manufacturing sector shrank, and more. 

What explains the change of heart of big sections of the transnational corporate/financial class? Why did they pull the plug?

The explanation in my view lies in the evolution, dynamics, and profit imperatives of the world economy over the past three decades. 

The markets, supply of exploitable labor, and investment strategies of U.S. transnational corporations are worldwide in scope now. 

Their production sites stretch across regions and time zones, thanks to new technologies that, in effect, reduce time and distance. 

What is more, unlike in the early postwar period, the world economy is cluttered with powerful foreign-based corporations and new state competitors, like China and India – all of whom have no choice but to compete fiercely for resource control, market share and profits. 

This being so, the commitment of major sections of the transnational elite to a vibrant national economy, an industrial policy, an educated and well-paid workforce, and a modern government with ample public services has waned. The globe is their primary field of action and the global working class is their exploitable material. 

In fact, this elite is happy to turn the government into its personal ATM machine, strangle democracy, and employ the military juggernaut to do its dirty work abroad. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this social class, and especially finance capital, has become a parasite sucking the life out of our government, economy and society, while living in bubbles of luxury, racial exclusion and class privilege, while roaming the world for profits.

Thus it is no surprise that these transnational corporate exploiters fiercely resist any expansion of public spending to boost the economy and create jobs at this moment. This may seem like a self-inflicted wound, except for the fact that their field of operation is worldwide – not to mention that they can extract profits in a depressed economy. 

Herein lies the class source behind the rightwing agenda of austerity, not to mention reaction, racism and war.

End the occupations

The death of Osama Ben Laden and the disruption of al Qaeda creates a better climate to bring the troops home from Afghanistan and bring an end of the war on terror – a war that became the rationale to pursue aggressive policies abroad and impose anti-democratic measures at home. 

In the coming months the American people have the opportunity to end two occupations – one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan – and U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Libya. And in doing so, to save lives and utilize our resources in productive ways. 

In Iraq the American people should insist that the Obama administration comply with the agreement to withdraw all troops, according to the agreement signed in 2008.

As for Afghanistan, the administration announced this week that it will withdraw 10,000 troops this year and then another 23,000 next year, which should be seen as a small victory.

This decision that came in the face of fierce opposition from sections of the military and foreign policy establishment provides an opening for the peace movement and the American people to insist on a complete withdrawal by next year and the redirection of money to rebuild our country. 

Finally, the U.S. and NATO have no business in Libya. Among other things, it is a violation of the War Powers Act. The only option that makes any sense is a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement that hopefully brings both peace and democratic openings to the Libyan people. 

From some news reports it appears the Gaddafi government is ready to enter into talks with its opponents. 

The same can’t be said about the opposition or its NATO supporters. The opposition seems to believe it can oust Gaddafi with a continued NATO air assault, despite the growing potential for terrible civilian casualties. For NATO, regime change is the objective.

The danger in this situation is that NATO will escalate its involvement in order to break the impasse. 

Gaddafi, after all, is considered to be an unreliable steward of oil interests and a loose cannon in a region and on a continent whose geopolitical and geo-economic value to the powerful imperial states – first and foremost the U.S. – is inestimable. And this is likely to remain so as long as the economies of the world are dependent on the oil in which this part of the world is so rich. 

But are unending wars and occupations what we want in this region? Is that the best way to make us safe and keep the oil flowing? Is it the best way for peace and democracy to take root in the Middle East? Is it in the interests of the American people? The answer is obvious.


I have gone on longer than I intended. So let me say in closing that we live in trying times. There is much to do and the clock is ticking. Every day counts and every initiative and action no matter how big or small makes a difference. ¡Sí Se Puede!

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Chuckumentary





    Sam Webb is a member of the National Committee of the Communist Paryt USA. He served as the party's national chairperson from 2000 to 2014. Previously he was the state organizer of the Communist Party in Michigan. Earlier, he was active in the labor movement in his home state of Maine.

    He is a public spokesperson for the CPUSA, and travels extensively in the U.S. and abroad, including trips to South Africa, China, Vietnam, and Cuba where he met with leaders of those countries.

    Webb currently resides in New York City, graduated from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and received his MA in economics from the University of Connecticut.


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