The following is an excerpt of greetings to the Communist Party USA’s annual holiday party in New York Dec. 20. Sam Webb is CPUSA national chairman.
This is a wonderful season for young and old.
It is a season when families and friends renew their bonds of kinship and friendship. It is a season of giving and lending a helping hand.
It’s a season of social solidarity, fellowship and multiracial, multinational unity. Indeed, we feel more keenly our common humanity with peoples worldwide, especially Arab and Arab-American people.
It is a season of renewal and resolution – the reaffirmation of our commitment to struggle for a humane society free of capitalist profiteering, racist and gender inequality, and mindless commercialization of practically every aspect of our lives.
Above all, it is a season of peace on earth and goodwill to all peoples – a theme that goes back to our pagan traditions and resonates in the scripture and hymns of the great religions at this time of year.
This year, however, the spirit of peace associated with this season is competing with the drumbeats and shattering sounds of war. And at this moment the warmongers have the upper hand.
On Sept. 11, a heinous crime was committed and a tragic event occurred on our soil and in our city. But the Bush administration has turned this tragic event and heinous crime into an increasingly perilous moment for humankind.
To make matters worse, the seemingly successful campaign in recent weeks to topple the Taliban government and destroy the Al Qaeda terrorist network has strengthened the administration’s politically adventuristic and militarist tendencies.
As NATO troops are being transported to Afghanistan for mop up operations, Bush’s aides – who are, in fact, hit men for the most reactionary sections of oil and other transnational corporations – are busy this holiday season deciding which sovereign state to strike next. Some of his aides say Iraq, others say Somalia.
Who knows? It could be either country, or perhaps both, or some other country for that matter.
What we can be certain about, however, is that a wider war is on the agenda of the Bush administration – not because of the terrorist threat, but because of the desire to aggressively exploit the present moment to construct a “New World Order” under the guise of fighting terrorism.
To their way of thinking, there are now no restraints on their ability to project American military power around the world – especially given the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty that is hourly stoked by the mass media and the destructiveness of aerial warfare, which allowed, in the Afghan war anyway, for the minimal use of ground troops and thus few American casualties.
This is a dangerous illusion. Hundreds of millions of people could well pay a heavy price for Bush and his aides’ disconnect from reality.
It doesn’t take much political imagination to envision a sequence of events and retaliatory actions that could engulf powerful states, now armed with incredibly deadly conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, in a bloody war. In such a war, whole populations, including the people of our country, would be annihilated.
After all, war has logic of its own. Violence begets more violence; events get out of control.
Does that mean that we bury our heads in the sand to the new danger of terrorism? By no means. Terrorism in all of its various forms is reprehensible and should be unequivocally condemned by all of humanity.
It greatly weakens the cause of social justice while strengthening the hand of the most reactionary groups in society. Its perpetrators, whether they hide in caves in Afghanistan or comfortably meet in decorous rooms in Tel Aviv or Washington, should be brought to justice in an international court of law. The UN should lead such a campaign to politically isolate and ultimately eradicate terrorism.
In the meantime, labor and its allies, who are now regaining their stride after the shock of Sept. 11, have to curb the war drive of the Bush administration as well as fight for their immediate needs.
Some on the left, however, make the point that the American people are more likely to join struggles in the economic arena, particularly given the spreading nature of the economic crisis and the shameless blocking of any stimulus legislation by Bush and Republican congressional leaders.
Others argue that the struggle against the sweeping attack on civil liberties and the rights of Arab and other immigrants is the main way that broad sections of the American people are going to engage in struggle against Bush and the far right.
Both arguments are true, and yet these struggles have to be connected to the war drive and the overall militarist policy of the administration.
Bush’s war against terrorism is not divisible into disconnected parts – with the war drive here, the trampling on civil rights there and the economic crisis somewhere else. It is an integrated policy with each part intertwined with the other and with the overall policy of war and aggression.
At the same time, not everything is equal in this mix. The war drive and the underlying ideological and political assumptions that sustain it is the organizing and legitimizing element of everything else and thus has to challenged at every turn and in every arena of struggle.
Otherwise, the struggles for economic justice and democratic rights will stop short of fulfilling their potential to activate millions in struggle against the policies of the Bush administration and the far right.
So we have our work cut out for us in the year ahead, but we can win, as evidenced by the recent victories of the Charleston Five and Mumia Abu-Jamal. We must move into the new year confident that the American people will measure up to this new challenge that life has presented. As before, the key to victory is unity – working-class unity, multiracial unity, male-female unity and all-people’s unity.
Such unity, when combined with the collective might of peoples worldwide, can stay the hand of the Bush administration and, at the same time, bring into being a world of sustainable development economic security, and peace and goodwill among peoples and nations.