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Declaration of the Fourth International on Drive to War

Declaration issued by the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, Paris, Sept 19, 2001
Declaration of the Fourth International

Throughout the world, working and oppressed peoples are looking to the future with great anguish. What will occur in the coming days, in the coming hours? A spokesperson for the Bush administration declared on Sept. 18, "We are at war. It will be a massive and long-term war." U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld spoke about a "protracted war effort that will last not days or weeks, but years."

A war that will be sustained over many years? Across the globe, including in the United States itself, millions of people are asking themselves: What is the meaning of a war that will be carried out over such a prolonged period of time? Will this war unleash further misery and destruction, and cause even greater harm to the exploited and oppressed masses the world over?

The convulsive events that have shaken the planet over the past days have confirmed - unfortunately in this most tragic form - the validity of the positions of the Fourth International. Without flinching, and despite difficulties of all sorts, the partisans of the Fourth International have affirmed - based on verifiable facts - that a system based on exploitation can only foster war.

Who today can deny the fact that the "New World Order" imposed by the U.S. leaders and their allies not only has failed to chart a positive course for the nations and peoples of the world, but in fact, in the name of the market economy, has simply deepened all the contradictions inherent in a system based on the private ownership of the means of production?

Ten years have passed since President George Bush (the father of the current U.S. president) hailed the advent of a "New World Order."

Over the past 10 years, the world has witnessed the heinous war carried out by the U.S.-led international coalition against the people of Iraq, a war that was followed soon after by a deadly embargo. Implemented as well in the name of the "New World Order," this embargo already has taken the lives of 1.5 million Iraqi children.

Over the past 10 years, the countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Sierra Leone and Congo have been torn apart by so-called "ethnic" wars. Millions of innocent people have been massacred, victims of clashes between various factions and cliques, all of them manipulated from beginning to end by the large "democratic" imperialist powers whose aim is to control the resources of the sub-soils of those countries.

Over the past 10 years, a succession of wars have torn asunder the peoples of the Balkans. Millions have perished under the blows of the different factions of the old bureaucratic nomenklaturas, all of whom had rallied to the privatization programs of the international financial institutions. In their quest to be the best proponents of the IMF and World Bank plans, these nomenklaturas lashed out at each other and, in the process, fueled the bloody battles waged in the name of "ethnic cleansing" and "regional purification."

Over the past 10 years, all the so-called "peace agreements" imposed by the large capitalist powers have only created new "ethnic" divisions and new massacres.

The truth is that this "New World Order" is no order at all. It is rampant unemployment. It is the destruction of all the conquests wrested through the class struggle; indeed, it is the destruction of all the conquests of human civilization.

On all continents and in all countries, at a time when the development of science and technology is now able to ensure a dignified life for everyone on this planet, what we are witnessing instead is massive unemployment and untold misery for the vast majority of the 5 billion people living on earth.

The simple fact is that with each passing day, the rich are getting rich and the poor are getting poorer.

With each passing day, the vast majority of humankind is plunged further into abject misery:

o In Russia, the average life expectancy has dropped dramatically in recent years, with official statistics forecasting that 40 out of every100 youth 16 years of age will die before the age of 60.

o In Africa, 50 million people are fated to die within the next 10 years. Forty-two percent of the population lives on less than one dollar per day. Three-hundred million live beneath the poverty level. Indeed, Africa, a crucified continent, is today beset by genocide resulting from wars, AIDS, malnutrition, and epidemics - all fueled and aggravated by the weight of the foreign debt and imperialist plunder. Ten of the African countries will see their average life expectancy plummet by 17 years on account of the AIDS epidemic alone!

o In Europe, Asia, and the Americas, the policies of privatization and deregulation increase by the day the levels of precariousness and insecurity facing working people and youth. The World Bank itself recognizes that in all the so-called "developing" countries (with the exception of China), the number of poor people has increased by 100 million over the past 10 years.

This past September 11, working people throughout the world were seized with horror at the sight of the thousands of victims killed in the attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The overwhelming majority of those killed were working people just like them.

But how can one not see through all the hypocrisy and the lies of those who today are beating the war drums?

All it took was a few hours for people around the world, who were horrified by the attacks on the workers at the World Trade Center, to learn that the presumed author of these attacks, Osama Bin Laden, had been trained by the CIA.

And as for the regime of the Taliban, it is now public knowledge that the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan with the political, material and financial support of the U.S. government. In fact, in the course of the first six months of 2001 alone, the Taliban received more than $120 million from the United States.

Today, the world is on the brink of war.

Who, for one second, can believe that the famished people of Afghanistan represent a threat to world peace? Who can believe that wars can ensure the independence of nations? Just take a look at what has been going on in Palestine: Is there not a progressive and peaceful solution to the unending war that has devastated this region for more than half a century? Is not such a solution the constitution of all Palestinian territory of a Democratic and Secular Palestinian Republic, without distinctions based upon race or religion?

Today, the world is on the brink of war.

The horrific attacks of September 11 have been manipulated by the U.S. government and placed entirely at the service of engaging the United States - and all other governments the world over - in the preparation of an all-out war. Let there be no mistake about it: It will be a war waged against peoples considered to be "accomplices" of the terrorists. It will be, as well, an economic and social war against the workers of the United States and the rest of the world.

Already, hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers are being hit or targeted by massive layoffs.

The $40 billion allocated to finance the U.S. military intervention in the Middle East was approved unanimously by both houses of the U.S. Congress. Also unanimous is the view in Congress that U.S. workers must bear the cost of this war, even if this means dipping deep into the coffers of the Social Security administration.

In a country where 43 million U.S. citizens have no access to healthcare insurance, this "sustained" war drive will inevitably drive millions more into the ranks of the poor and dispossessed; it will only accelerate the march toward social collapse.

In the United States - just as in all countries of the globe - the pressure will increase on the organizations of the working class, primarily the trade unions, to renounce their role as defenders of the material and moral interests of the wage-earners. In the name of forging a "national unity" against the "war on terrorism," in the name of the "general interests" of all society, the workers' organizations will be summoned to drop their struggles around their specific demands. They will be told to place their struggles against privatization and deregulation on hold indefinitely.

The workers and peoples of the world will face difficult moments ahead. The peoples always want peace, but it is always they who must pay the price for wars and armed conflicts.

In this difficult new period so rife with dangers of all sorts, the workers' movement in each country and on a world scale can remain loyal to its mission only on the condition that it does not stray from the basic principles upon which it was founded:

- full independence of workers' organizations, primarily the trade unions, in relation to the bosses, the States, the governments and the international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, WTO and European Union;

- defense of all conquests and guarantees won through bitter class battles; primarily the defense of labor codes and collective-bargaining agreements, as well as the defense of all the social protections systems, public services and public enterprises threatened with privatization;

- defense of all democratic rights; defense of the right to strike and the right to assembly;

- defense of the right to self-determination for all oppressed peoples.

The Fourth International has no interests that are separate and apart from those of the workers' movement as a whole.

The Fourth International has only one objective: to help humanity free itself from the chains of exploitation and oppression. It has only one method: to promote the mass action of all the oppressed and exploited, and to promote the defense and strengthening of the working class organizations while safeguarding all democratic rights.

No to War, No to Exploitation!

For Peace, Liberty and Democracy!

For International Workers' Solidarity!

For the Independence of the Organizations of the Working Class!

International Secretariat of the Fourth International

Paris, September 19, 2001




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