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No future without struggle for socialism

Published May 19, 2006 10:21 PM

Larry Holmes
WW photo

We have to be clear about what is historically necessary and how our role will be decisive, because while our comrades are fighting imperialism around the world, they are waiting for us to kick the shit out of imperialism here.

If we all do our job, we’ll look back on these opening years of the 21st century as the rebirth of the world struggle for socialism, the second phase. The first phase was interrupted by reaction, by counterrevolution.

We must convince this generation of revolutionaries, potential revolutionaries and all those who once were dedicated to the good fight for a new world, that there is no future without the struggle for socialism. We have to have this vision, and we cannot put it off.

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In Hugo Chavez’s speech to the World Social Forum late last year, he urged that Earth is in danger. If we don’t get to socialism soon we may lose the planet.

We don’t have our head in the clouds. We are in the day-to-day struggle. We are for every gain the workers can win-the right to a coffee break, a union, a street lamp. These things are important. But we never forget the vision-to take back the world from the imperialists.

We didn’t decide to put Che Guevara on the conference banner just to be in vogue. He is the most important internationalist of the last half-century. He was so obses sed with the necessity of world revolution that he literally tried to go around and instigate it, in Africa, in Vietnam, in Latin America.

Our sisters and brothers in the Middle East are kicking some butt, from Palestine to Baghdad and Tehran. We don’t judge the masses [there]. There’s a great history and tradition of revolutionary working class parties and national liberation movements. And if their influence is not what it was, it’s because agents and cronies of U.S. imperialism have smashed those organizations. But they will build themselves up.

The best thing for us to be obsessed and concerned with is the development of the working class in our country. That’s what the people of the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa are waiting for.

May Day was welcome, good news to them. I submit that May Day 2006 in this country was a huge defeat for U.S. imperialism. For decades U.S. imperialism has done everything possible to smash May Day, international workers day, in the country of its origin. Uh oh, it’s back. There haven’t been so many people in Union Square since they protested the execution of the Rosenbergs in 1953.

And not only did we have May Day, we had the closest thing that the working class of this country has ever had to a general strike. Millions of workers. Every industry affected. A political strike against the government.

And they tried to stop this May Day too. The bourgeoisie spread rumors of repression, mostly false.

Even some labor leaders went against it, and they should be ashamed. Hopefully, they’ll think and say, “This helps workers, doesn’t hurt them. What am I thinking?”

It’s important to point out that while the struggle against racist legislation was the impetus behind this, this was not just the undocumented working class. This was their families who are workers, predominantly [email protected] but also Asian and African, this was a reflection of what the working class looks like.

Imperialist globalization has brought workers together. It has brought May Day back to the U.S. It has brought back class consciousness and militant traditions. And we better consider it and explain it as a wake-up call. If you have doubted that there could be any qualitative political change, look at May Day.

It just goes to show that you don’t have to depend on the bourgeois parties. Imagine if we had a general strike over what they’re trying to do to Delphi workers, or around national health insurance, or to stop the war. All of those things, all of a sudden are less nutty, because look what the immigrants did.

Can the May Day uprising spread to those sectors of the working class that were not a part of it? Yes, it will. But the struggle of the undocumented for their rights has to be unconditionally supported. We must fight the racism, the fear, the chauvinism.

There’s talk of a million immigrant march in September, and if they can get together with the Black movement and combine justice for Katrina, whoa. This struggle can’t reach its maximum potential without the decisive participation of workers of all nationalities, and trade unionists.

Black and brown unity is decisive. We know that because the bourgeois mouthpieces are trying to create tension between [email protected] and African American workers.

We live in the prison house of nations. This is the center of oppression, racism, sexism, homophobia, of every kind of ugly division that imperialism spawns. We would be naïve to think that it doesn’t have its impact in the movement.

We have to fight it everyday.

—Larry Holmes, Secretariat,WWP; Troops Out Now Coalition leader