The World Revolution & the Americas

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Before the Second World War, Leon Trotsky predicted that the U.S. would emerge from the conflict as the most powerful imperialist country on earth.  But he added that it would have dynamite built into its foundations.  By this he meant that the contradictions of U.S. capitalism would be so great, that despite the superficial appearance of military and economic dominance and invincibility, tremendous explosions of the class struggle would be inevitable. This perspective has been absolutely confirmed by events. But what Trotsky could not have foreseen in the 1930s was that much of that dynamite speaks Spanish.       

Since the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, U.S. imperialism has treated Latin America as if it were its private playground. Since its founding, the U.S. ruling class' attitude toward its neighbors to the south has been one of patronizing domination: "What's good for the U.S. is good for the rest of the Americas."  Its voracious appetite for profits and its willingness to "send in the Marines" has for nearly 200 years allowed American imperialism and its local allies to enrich themselves obscenely at the expense of millions upon millions of workers, peasants, and poor.

But every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The Latin American Revolution is spreading like wildfire, posing a mortal threat to U.S. control over the region.  The masses in Venezuela and Bolivia continue to push the process forward, and now Mexico has joined the conflagration, threatening U.S. imperialism right in its own backyard.        

For decades the Mexican people have put up with poverty, corruption, misery, fraud and repression.  But enough is enough.  The electoral fraud perpetrated by the PAN / PRI alliance was the spark that unleashed the pent-up forces of revolution. The emergence of soviet-like organs of workers' power in Oaxaca and the continuing resistance by millions to the imposition of Felipe Calderon are an inspiration to all working people.

These developments will have a far-reaching effect right here in the U.S.  Like the billions of dollars in private capital that are free to go from one country to another, unrestrained by passports and checkpoints,  revolutions do not respect borders.     

Forced out of their countries by the economic and foreign policy of imperialism, millions of immigrants have come to the U.S. in hopes of achieving the "American Dream".  But the reality of life under capitalism is closer to a living nightmare.  Millions of immigrants, who are among the most oppressed workers in U.S. society, are now part of the dynamite referred to by Trotsky.

The steady decline in wages, conditions, and overall quality of life is a direct reflection of the impasse of world capitalism. The root of the problem can be traced to the crisis of the world economy.  On paper, the U.S. economy is still growing. But this growth is not based on productive investment; rather, it is based on cuts, off-shoring, and the squeezing of every last ounce of relative and absolute surplus value from the U.S. and world working class.   

Nearly 5 years since the current "economic recovery" began, wages and employment levels are still below their 2000/2001 peak. Since February of this year, job creation has averaged just 119,000 per month – some 30,000 less than is needed each month just to keep pace with the growing workforce. 

In the first quarter of 2006, manufacturing output in the U.S. was up by a relatively healthy 3.8 percent; but wages rose only 1.9 percent, not even enough to keep up with the inflation rate of 4.1 percent.  In the same quarter, corporate  profits rose to a record $1.284 trillion.  For the first time in history, the top one-fifth of Americans now consume more than 50 percent of the national income.  The number of billionaires has tripled in the last decade to 341. The top 1 percent of American households now own 53 percent of the shares on the stock market.  Since 2000, the bottom fifth have seen their incomes drop by 20 percent. In other words, fewer workers are doing more work for less pay, while more wealth is concentrated into fewer hands. This is what passes for an economic "boom" at the beginning of the 21st Century. What will the next slump be like?

Just over a year ago, the whole world got a peek at this reality when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast.  The poverty, racism, and indifference of the ruling class to the plight of America's lowest-paid workers and the  poor was shocking only to those who do not already live in those conditions.        

The gap between rich and poor can also be seen in relation to the "war on terror". The Iraq War has cost tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.  But this hasn't stopped the CEOs of the "defense" industry to make a financial killing. These magnates of imperialist capitalism now make an average of $7.7 million a year – more than 308 times more than the average salary of an Army private (before September 11th it was 190 times more).      

Due to its position in the world, the economic, political, military, and social instability we are witnessing on a world scale will ultimately affect the U.S. more than any other country on earth.  As the old saying goes, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall."  But collapse will not come automatically.  The profit system will always find a way to claw its way back through the super-exploitation of the workers and poor of the world. It must be consciously overthrown by the revolutionary working class.

Capitalism can offer nothing to the vast majority of humanity, even in the richest country on earth.  On both sides of the US-Mexico border, the only solution is the struggle for socialism. We are therefore proud to announce the publication our new Spanish-language paper, El Militante Sin Fronteras, in collaboration with the comrades of El Militante in Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Argentina. We are confident it will be an invaluable tool for building the forces of revolutionary Marxism in the U.S. and beyond.       

In this century, we will achieve Simon Bolivar's dream of a united Latin America.  Shoulder to shoulder with the workers of Canada and the United States, the Socialist Federation of the Americas will be an integral part of the World Socialist Federation.

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