Greetings to the Comrades of the WIL!

Socialism can only be achieved as a world system. The Soviet Union degenerated into the monstrous Stalinist regime because of the tremendously underdeveloped nature of its economy at the time of the revolution and, more importantly, because the revolution remained isolated to one country. If we are to learn one precious lesson from that experience, it is that the struggle for socialism must unfold internationally.

Genuine socialism will therefore only finally be achieved when the workers come to power in all the major industrialized countries. Marx expected socialism to develop from the most advanced form of capitalism. Therefore the United States working class has a key role to play in the struggle to transform the world. A Socialist United States would not face the same difficulties as backward Russia in 1917. The US workers would have the most advanced industrial technology under their control. Thus a successful socialist transformation of the United States would give an enormous impetus to the struggle for socialism worldwide.

As in all countries, however, the tragedy is that the workers’ movement is dominated by labor and trade union leaders who have adapted to the needs of the capitalist system. This will inevitably lead to a conflict at some stage between the ordinary rank and file members of the trade unions and their leaders. In this struggle the US workers will have to find a path to the genuine ideas of Marxism, the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky.

That is why the launching of the Workers International League, together with its newspaper, the Socialist Appeal, is a key step in the necessary work of re-establishing the genuine ideas of Marxism in the United States. Although you may be small in numbers to begin with, I am confident that on the basis of correct ideas, correct methods and a correct orientation to the youth and the US labor movement and its mass organizations, you will be able to build up a sizeable tendency in the years to come.

The launching of this new organization and paper could not have come at a better time. American Imperialism had promised us a world free from war once it had dealt with the dictatorship of Stalinism in the Soviet Union. Stalinism has gone now. Yet we are far from living in a peaceful world. Today more is spent on arms than ever before. There has not been a single day without armed conflict since the demise of the Soviet Union and the establishment of the so-called New World Order. US imperialists want to preserve their dominant role in every sphere of the world. Despite the proclaimed isolationism of President George W. Bush when he came to power, the US has continued to be involved in every conflict of the globe. The American ruling class has no alternative to this. The reasons for this never ending chain of conflicts (between imperialist states and between the social classes) can be found in the basic contradictions of capitalism. On the one hand we have the formidable abyss between rich and poor and on the other in the wealth created by the labor of the working class we see the potential to give a decent living standard to every human being on the planet. The resources to wipe out world poverty exist if they were organized and used for the benefit of the people.

Now US imperialism is involved in a war against Afghanistan. Despite all their military power they have been compelled in the past to retreat. Now also in Afghanistan, America will be forced to retreat over a number of years. US imperialism, which has accumulated a mighty armory, never seen before in history, still remains impotent when faced with the resistance of the peoples of the former colonial world.

The attempts of imperialism to solve the problems of the Middle East at the expense of the masses has given a religious coloring to the resistance of at least some sections of the Arab masses. This is especially the responsibility of Stalinism (the Communist parties and the foreign policy of the Soviet Union) in this region of the world, which has compromised with the local bourgeois and feudal dictatorships and with imperialism. Nevertheless there is still a vacuum on the left in the Middle East that can be filled by the ideas of revolutionary socialism if the fundamental ideas are explained.

There is no way out on the road of Imperialism and its bombings. Only the socialist revolution can offer a solution to the masses of the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Religion can never solve their problems. It serves as a diversion from the fundamental method of social emancipation from oppression, which is the class struggle. Neither is the method of individual terrorism a solution for the oppressed masses. In the United States opposition to the new war will be ineffective if it is based on a pacifist program. If it is to begin to have an effect it must adopt a clear anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist perspective based on the mighty American working class.

The new generation in the Middle East, in Central Asia, in Pakistan, in India, in Europe and especially in the United States cannot merely base itself on the ideas that have dominated the older generation. It must break away from those ideas and develop a new position: that there can not be a solution to the problems of war, exploitation and oppression except through the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a Socialist Federation of the World!

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