Dear Delegates, Friends and Comrades
Greetings from Australia. Your conference could not be more timely. The epi-centre of the economic crisis is the Euro-zone and the epi-centre of the political crisis is Britain. The economic and the political are linked indissolubly and each is feeding off the other.
In the Land of Oz there is a popular belief that the crisis is an external aberration and that Australia, because of its massive export of minerals, will be firewalled. As AWorld to Win commentaries have made clear, globalisation has put an end to all the illusions in national exceptionalism. The debt crisis cannot be contained in one country; it is a contagion that will spread through the capitalist system.
My biggest regret is that I cannot join you for the conference, but I will be following your deliberations with the keenest attention on your website.
Go strong, go true and go well.
Journalist and former editor of the News Line
I want to congratulate the tremendous work and effort AWTW has been doing during the past months putting together the Manifesto of Revolutionary Solutions which is a detailed resource of social-economical & environmental crisis that societies around the world are going through and our planet is paying the consequences, unfortunately.
The Manifesto of Revolutionary Solutions offers a point of reference for those who are committed to work for a better and more humanized world for everyone; emphasizing that problems are not disconnected, but showing they are indeed part of the same problem as a whole.
I truly think, that this first big step AWTW is making in order to become an international organization is the right one since, they are very aware about those main issues every nation in the world faces –at different scales.
To me, as a person who lives in a developing country – Bolivia, I used to believe, that people from developed countries are unaware of issues like poverty, hunger, corporative interest but when Ilearned from AWTW I became more positive. Now I know there are people who are committed to propose solutions for the good of all us.
Even though I cannot be at the Conference on May 22, I send my best wishes and support for all the team from AWTW from the very heart of South America. Do please keep working hard, inspiring people around the world and putting things into action.
French democracy is taking a hammering with Sarkozy’s right-wing government centralising power as never before and sacrificing historic political and legal rights to the so-called ‘war on terror’. The Euro is in crisis and it is ordinary working class people that are paying the price.
We face the same crises as the rest of the globalised capitalist world, and the French financial class have had an especially damaging role in the destructive actions of the financial markets.
Just as in the UK, France needs to Take the Revolutionary Road. So I’m glad to send my best wishes to today’s conference, and say how good it is to hear that AWTW is going to develop its international work in the coming months.
The manifesto you are discussing is a real achievement. The authors show in a clear way the interconnection between the economic crises and the environmental catastrophe facing our humanity. And, even more, this Manifesto is trying to draw a line to new, socialist and revolutionary solutions.
This clear vision is more than ever important now, because the fate of the whole of humanity depends on the ability of the people to realise and to implement the way out of the crisis.
Rght now, when the car of the capitalist economy is definitely out of order and the world bourgeois class cannot repair it anymore, there can hardly be more important task now than to claim and to persuade millions of people, that there is another car and another road. But in order to take it they have to wake up, throw the driver out and instead drive it themselves.
The main thing, however, is that this Manifesto should be not the end, but a starting point for further theoretical and scientific search for the answers to the questions that appear to be unexpanded.
The dialectics of the day is that we are so to say doomed to win, but we do only if do our best for this victory.
A member of the Central Committee and the Moscow Committee of the Russian Communist Workers' Party -- the Revolutionary Party of Communists.
Because of illness I will be unable to attend the Conference; I do pledge myself to the decisions arrived at based on the excellent work done in preparation, and the experiences of all those in various struggles, whether they attend or not. I am sure I am not alone in an inability to attend because of matters beyond one’s control.
The fact that the conference is occurring during 'a perfect storm', expressed in the above, BP's push for profits (with Obama's help) that cost 11 lives in the immediate sense, the shock unemployment figures in the US, Thailand’s struggle, Greece; the panic in the Euro-Zone - and so, so much more. These cannot be coincidences, can anything? They are brought about by decay.
I would like to add that no crises do they feel is beyond their ability to get out of, and in a sense they are right; but the cost to the mass of the worlds peoples, to all rights won in past struggles, to the planet, to the future; these are issues that must concentrate all our minds.
“There can be no doubt that massive confrontations are being prepared in Britain and globally,” A World to Win secretary Corinna Lotz said, opening the Taking the Revolutionary Road conference at the weekend.
A World to Win had stressed the depth of the economic crisis three years earlier, in the face of critics who claimed we were exaggerating and that capitalism was intrinsically stable.
But the financial crisis was now coinciding with an ecological debacle, described as a “mass extinction event” and “a landscape of market failures”, by the UN’s biodiversity report published the same day as the conference.
“Movements will emerge as people struggle for their rights in the face of cuts under the new coalition regime’s ‘age of austerity’. But grassroots movements, however powerful, cannot on their own resolve historic problems of leadership,” she said.
Economic necessity was behind the crisis of parliamentary politics following the election. The Lib-Con coalition was a return to a form of rule not seen since war-time Britain in an attempt to impose ferocious cuts. The ruling classes had the luxury of being in power to resolve their crises of leadership but those hitherto excluded from power now had to rise to the challenge.
Creating a leadership with the aim of winning was decisive, according to Lotz. That meant a transfer of power from the ruling classes to popular control. The Manifesto of Revolutionary Solutions outlined ways to do this. She urged the conference to focus on finding ways to implement the Manifesto’s proposals.
“Instability is the key feature of the global crisis of capitalism”, A World to Win website editor Paul Feldman stressed.
“We have entered a period of extreme turbulence, volatility and uncertainty. a perfect storm. This is true of both the political and economic areas of society. Not just Britain but the rest of the world was experiencing shock waves of multiple crises, from Athens to Bangkok, from Madrid to London.”
The global crisis of the capitalist system was affecting every aspect of life on the planet. The struggle against climate change and to reduce global warming had been abandoned by the major powers. The financial crisis has moved from failure of banks to the failure of state finances, he said.
Debt contagion was affecting the Euro as major economies hovered on the edge of recession. In Britain the economic crisis has led to the formation of a coalition that required a coup by two major parties against their own members. The sole raison d’etre of the Clegg-Cameron coalition was to impose the crisis on the backs of ordinary people.
The new world disorder was shaking up people’s consciousness and provided once-in-a-generation opportunities for change of a revolutionary nature. But fighting the dictatorship of the financial markets meant putting an end to their control and domination.
“We can’t successfully fight for a real democracy unless we have an alternative to the rule of the capitalist state. That is the lesson of Greece and Spain and will become apparent in Britain as the government implements the cuts. That is why we campaign for People’s Assemblies,” Feldman said. “The urgent need was not just to co-ordinate resistance, but to go beyond it. A World to Win’s role in the assemblies would be to enable communities, workers, trade unionists, young people, older people, minorities to begin to challenge for power itself.”
John McDonnell MP, a long-time critic of New Labour who is now campaigning to get on the ballot for the party’s leadership contest, brought his greetings to the conference. He said great struggles would emerge against the cuts.
A World to Win had an important role to play in developing alternative policies and perspective. These would prove significant in providing the framework for creating an alternative society.
Leading human rights lawyer Bill Bowring said that considerable confusion was already being sown by the "libertarian" aspects of the Cleggerons' policies, such as revoking ID cards and cutting down surveillance. The Lib Dems were an individualistic and fanatically anti-collectivist and anti-trade union party, and are fully agreed with the Tories on smashing trade union resistance.
One delegate called for on the organisation to campaign for an indefinite general strike to oppose public expenditure cuts and proposed a united organisation which would turn defensive actions into an offensive movement. Another stressed that movements around the world, such as those in Iran and Thailand, demonstrated that what really motivated people on a grand scale was not simply economic issues but “the struggle for political rights”.
Gerry Gold introduced the concepts in the Manifesto which, he explained, embraced many ideas and improvements since the first version was published in February. The Manifesto dealt with some of the many parts which constituted the rapidly developing, universal crisis of the capitalist system.
International relations, democracy and state, the economy, the ecosystem, culture were not only driven by the sharpening contradictions of the capitalist system but they interacted with each other and in turn feed back into the universal crisis. It was a developing document which had to be updated and expanded to take in changes and areas which were still missing, such as education, schooling, training and theoretical work. The organisational proposals were the keys to putting the revolutionary solutions into effect.
Breakout sessions embraced a range of concerns and points of view – from the urgency of protecting ecosystems and halting global warming to how people could empower themselves. There was a need to allow people to discover their own strength, that they matter and that they can change society.
Generally people knew what they wanted and “it was time to say what we want”. But a leadership was needed that people could identify with. Education had to focus on showing how the essentials of life – food and energy – held the key to the future, one speaker said.
It was important to get across the spiritual aspects, especially to attract young people. Youth could be reached with music, hip-hop, poetry nights. Social events would help to raise A World to Win’s profile. Trade unions, especially those in the teaching profession, should be contacted. It was vital to talk to those who were affected by the cuts day by day, week by week. Information packs about A World to Win should be made available and sent out.
Achieving real economic power required political solutions. A World to Win itself had to be a “model of democracy” so that people who could not see democracy in parliament could find it in our own organisation. The point was to expand the concept of freedom – which was the purpose of the Manifesto – to embrace, not the “options” presented by the system, but to go beyond them and raise the stakes by “setting up our own options” for true freedom.
The concept of revolution itself created a stir within the conference. Those with experience of revolutionary transformation in Iran and Granada expressed sharply opposing points of view. Revolution was “the voice of the people”, according to one delegate. The Manifesto “had to stay strong and not beat around the bush,” said another.
A smaller, condensed version of the Manifesto should be made available, with more detail and updates available online. Local networking and groups could be developed. The new forms of social networking (including Facebook, Twitter, mobile telephony) all provided scope for rapid communication and organisation at more complex and more rapid levels.
The conference adopted the Manifesto as the basis for the development of A World to Win. The provisional co-ordinating group was strengthened by the addition of several new members, who also joined the organisation.
Messages of support were read out from Bolivia, Australia, Russia and France, as well as one supporter who could not be present due to illness.