This report on the international political situation will focus on the two most significant developments in the world situation in 2011 – the popular revolt across Arab world against their despotic capitalist regimes, i.e., the so-called Arab spring, and secondly, the post-Great Recession capitalist financial crisis.
Conference & Internal Party Reports
Comrades have now had six months to consider the specific amendments to the RSP Program that I presented at the June-6 NC plenum. These proposed amendments and (an accompanying report motivating them) have been available in the party’s internal bulletin since the beginning of the pre-congress discussion in June. As no-one has raised any objection to them, I will not repeat here the argumentation presented at the June NC report on them.
Comrades, at the founding congress of the RSP I presented a report motivating a proposal to drop from the Program of the RSP the idea of “transitional demands”. At this NC meeting, I am presenting a specific set of amendments to the RSP Program in line with that motivation for consideration during the pre-congress discussion, and for vote at the Second RSP Congress.
Comrades, on June 7 this year the DSP National Committee unanimously adopted a report given by Peter Boyle which proposed that it was “time for the DSP to make a decisive turn towards building the Socialist Alliance as our new party”. Right from this first sentence of his report, Boyle began his usual obfuscation. The DSP made the decision to build the SA as its “new party” in December 2003, ceasing to function as a public party and becoming the Democratic Socialist Perspective, defined as a “Marxist tendency in the Socialist Alliance”. What Boyle’s report really proposed is that the DSP dissolve into the SA., or as he preferred to describe it, “merge” with or “integrate” into the SA.
We have seen how the DSP leadership uses the phrases “transitional method” and “transitional demands” to justify the public presentation of left reformist politics as something that is consistent with its formally revolutionary socialist politics. The latest example is DSP NE member Simon Butler’s claim in the current edition of Green Left Weekly that “demanding that Australia’s capitalist government guarantee full employment” is “an important transitional demand that can open the road to even more radical developments”.2* In my opinion, such pseudo-Marxist centrism is given a certain “Marxist” authority by the notion, expressed in the 1994 DSP program, that there can actually be such a thing as a “transitional demand”.
Washington’s quick and apparently easy military defeat of the Iraqi Baathist regime – instead of putting the US political and business elite’s drive for global domination on a more secure and longer-lasting footing – is threatening to turn into a political debacle, exacerbating the very problems the US rulers hoped it would decisively help to overcome.
For a year now, US President George W. Bush’s administration has had as its top foreign policy goal achieving violent “regime change” in Baghdad. Sometime between late January and mid-February next year, the US military will attempt to achieve that goal by launching a massive bombing assault and ground invasion of Iraq. On the basis of a leak from the White House, the October 22 New York Times reported that the goal of the bush administration is to install a US military proconsul in Baghdad – along the lines of General Douglas MacArthur’s six-and-half year rule in post-1945 Japan – before handing Iraq over to a puppet government.
Comrades, a spectre is haunting Europe – and Australia, Asia, Africa and Latin America – the spectre of a US-led global economic recession. The end of year mood of the capital owning class was summed up in the headline on an article in the “Money & Business” section of the December 30 Sydney Morning Herald. It read: “After the cold snap, the big breeze”.
On Wednesday March 24, 1999, the secretary-general of NATO, former Spanish social-democratic minister of culture Javier Solana, told a press conference: “I have just given the order to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, United States General Wesley Clark, to begin air operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”
Since 1993 our party has held the position that the ruling Chinese bureaucracy has been presiding over the restoration of capitalism in China. However, our policy toward China has been ambigious: while taking an oppositional stance in our public press toward the ruling bureaucracy’s restorationist course, we have left it unclear as to whether we continued to believe that China is still a bureaucratically ruled socialist state.