Crossroads: Saving humanity and nature requires global unity against extreme right
Planet and people are at a crossroads, and the extreme weather of climate change is only one of many challenges that require a new approach. Here, the I-90 and Highway 212 intersection floods as the Little Bighorn River covers roads, homes, and fields near Crow Agency, Mont. on Sunday, March 24. | Larry Mayer / Billings Gazette via AP

People and planet are at a crossroads: Humanity faces existential threats from the climate and ecological crises and militarization and nuclear war.

Environmental, economic, and societal disruption on an unprecedented scale will have to be decisively dealt with over the next few decades to avoid catastrophic consequences.

The global capitalist system has created unsustainable contradictions and crises which it and the dominant 1% can’t resolve. Achieving global peace, sustainable development, and equality requires a united intervention by the global working class, its allies, and all democratic forces and the adoption of a non-capitalist path of development.

Capitalism is a global system, and the threats are interconnected and global. The struggle against them must be interconnected and global.

New stage of globalization?

Globalization of markets, investment, and production are inherent to capitalist development. Until recently, the leading capitalist powers, with the U.S. in the first place, defined the globalization process unchallenged.

The dynamics of globalization are shifting. U.S. economic dominance of the world capitalist economy is increasingly challenged, but the Trump administration is out to halt the trend. Here, a picture of President Trump is displayed on a computer on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, Dec. 24, 2018. | Seth Wenig / AP

Neoliberalism is the current set of economic policies defining globalization. It originated with the extreme right to undo the New Deal gains won by the multi-racial working class and the broad democratic movements and to increase already swollen profits.

Domestically, the result was deregulation, privatization, and austerity. Globally, the result was a race to the bottom for the working class and the widening gap between the North and South, between developed capitalist and developing economies. Everywhere it has led to extreme wealth concentration, industry oligopolies, and attacks on workers and collective bargaining rights, democracy, and national sovereignty.

The scientific, technological, and mass communications revolutions facilitated globalization and the creation of far-flung production chains. Financial and economic crises originating in one place quickly become global contagions, as occurred in the 2007 Great Recession.

The mass communications revolution has also elevated the battle of ideas. Cyber warfare and mass disinformation are impossible to stop and can bring down governments, affect politics, and alter election outcomes. They present new challenges to national sovereignty.

The world is a smaller, more-interconnected place.

After WWII, a new global order with the U.S. as the dominant capitalist power was established. Alliances, institutions, and rules comprise what is the so-called “liberal international order.” Democratic and Republican Party establishments both generally support this order.

However, the world is changing rapidly and the old global order is increasingly battered by crisis and contradiction. Has the current phase of neoliberal globalization exhausted itself? Is a new global balance of forces and a new stage of globalization emerging?

New factors are shaping the globalization process. They include:

  1. 1.) The inclusion of the Chinese, Russian, Eastern European, and newly emerging economies in the global capitalist market system. China and Russia are increasingly challenging the current global order.
  2. 2.) Growing trade between China and emerging economies and between emerging economies themselves, and the creation of new alliances and trade blocs (e.g. BRICS, the five major emerging economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
  3. 3.) The weakening of the U.S. as the single global superpower and the ability of the dominant capitalist powers to define globalization.
  4. 4.) Greater integration and sharpening competition between capitalist powers, and between them and Russia, also an emerging global capitalist power.
  5. 5.) Growing resistance to U.S. foreign policy in response to the history of regime change, military aggression, and occupation in the Korean peninsula, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

How will U.S. capitalism respond to this new reality, shifts in the world balance of forces, and the growing infeasibility of the post-World War II global order? Will U.S. ruling circles adjust or seek to regain a dominant status by force, as occurred during the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Trump foreign policy

Finance capital, energy, and military corporations dominate the U.S. foreign policy establishment spanning both parties. These forces also comprise the critical support base of the extreme right. However, splits in the ruling class play out in foreign policy too. Unilateralism over multilateralism and military force over diplomacy, addressing the urgency of climate change or ignoring it—these reflect some of the critical policy differences.

Donald Trump’s foreign policy is shaped by right-wing extremism, whose goal is to restore the unchallenged dominant status of U.S. imperialism. However, Trump foreign policy has specific new features creating instability, turmoil, and an elevated war danger.

Trump’s “America First” demagogy is geared to mobilize his base of supporters. Racism and white supremacy, anti-immigrant hate, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-communism, and nationalism infuse this demagogy. Trump is promoting economic protectionism, unilateralism, and alliances with the global extreme right, authoritarian, and fascist governments and movements.

Immigration policy, foreign policy, and militarization intersect when it comes to the U.S.-Mexican border. The goal is to slow down, halt, and reverse changing demographics. U.S. and international law on migration, refugees, asylum, and religious freedom are trampled on.

The Trump administration promotes regime change and sanctions over diplomacy. Relations with some countries are geared to unabashedly expand the corrupt Trump business empire and those of his extended family and circle of cronies.

The Trump administration sees China as the chief strategic and competitive rival, and the administration seeks to build a global front against China through military encirclement and the trade war, continuing Obama’s approach to isolate China by the “Pivot to Asia” and now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Undermining China’s socialist orientation and its ability to compete scientifically and technologically is the goal.

The U.S. seeks to restore its single dominant power status in the Western Hemisphere through regime change in Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, the defeat of anti-imperialist center-left governments, and by reversing other countries’ increasing economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties and cooperation with Russia and China.

Interrelated global crises

Humanity and nature face interrelated mega global crises. They include:

  1. 1.) Climate change and ecological crisis.
  2. 2.) Nuclear danger, a new global nuclear arms race, and militarization.
  3. 3.) Wealth and social inequality—the crisis of extremes.

All of humanity is affected by these crises. One or another nation cannot address them alone. Global cooperation is needed, bringing together broad alliances of nations, including with different social systems, multiple classes, democratic movements, regional blocs, and global institutions.

Building what the new Communist Party USA Draft Program calls an “international front for peace”—also described as a broad global democratic alliance for peace, sustainable development, and a new democratic global order—is the only way to counter U.S. and global imperialism, and especially the extreme right, and fascist circles connected to the Trump administration.

This broad alliance includes every force possible to isolate the global extreme right, including global public opinion, non-militarized states, socialist-oriented states, and independent developing nations and blocs.

Global working-class unity and solidarity of all peace, environmental, and democratic forces are critical, as is the unity of communist, socialist, and revolutionary left democratic forces and currents. It is crucial to take advantage of splits in the U.S. and global ruling circles, isolating the most reactionary sectors and regimes.

Role of communists, socialists, and progressives

The purpose of the Communist Party USA and other class-conscious forces is to help build international working-class and broad democratic unity and struggle against U.S. ruling class ideological seepage of great power chauvinism and other ideological poisons into the U.S. working class.

Ending U.S. participation in and support of unjust wars is one part of shifting foreign policy toward a working-class and people-focused approach. Here, Iram Ali attends a rally to support a Senate vote sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders to withdraw U.S. military support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen at the U.S. Capitol on March 19. | Paul Morigi / AP Images for Avaaz

Moreover, it is necessary to fight for the support of a new advanced democratic foreign policy linked to the defense of democracy and an advanced democratic domestic policy among the working class and people.

Ousting Trump and the GOP in 2020 in favor of a broad center-left governing coalition is a necessity. The working class and mass democratic movements can gain leverage to shape a new foreign policy if the balance of forces is shifted.

The struggle over foreign policy must be waged within the broad anti-right alliance, especially challenging military spending and the dominant foreign policy promoted by corporate forces in the Democratic Party and its ideological underpinnings, and by challenging the outright militarism, jingoism, and xenophobia of the right-wing-controlled Republicans.

A working-class and people’s foreign policy

A new working-class and people’s foreign policy is needed, including:

  1. 1.) Global cooperation to resolve global problems: climate and ecology, development, wealth inequality, sharing of resources and technology, and conflict resolution.
  2. 2.) Cooperation to address migration, refugee, and asylum crises.
  3. 3.) Mutually beneficial trade and economic development, an international law and regulatory regime based on protecting worker rights, living standards, the environment, and mitigating the effects of the climate crisis—and subjugating the corporate class to those goals.
  4. 4.) Respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs; respect for states with different systems and paths of development.
  5. 5.) Diplomacy and support and reform for international institutions like the United Nations.
  6. 6.) Demilitarization, closing U.S. military bases, ridding the planet of nuclear weapons, transferring military spending to fund human and ecological needs, and transitioning to a peace economy.
  7. 7.) A commitment to self-determination for ALL peoples, race, religion, creed, color, sex or sexual orientation, or previous condition of servitude. That also means one people’s right to self-determination should and must not be sacrificed to another’s.
  8. 8.) Respect for the rights of nature, as has been embodied in the Bolivian constitution.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Bachtell
John Bachtell

John Bachtell is president of Long View Publishing Co., the publisher of People's World. He served as national chair of the Communist Party USA from 2014 to 2019. He is a regular writer for People's World, and active in electoral, labor, environmental, and social justice struggles. He grew up in Ohio, Pittsburgh, and Albuquerque and attended Antioch College. He currently lives in Chicago where he is an avid swimmer, cyclist, runner, and dabbler in guitar and occasional singer in a community chorus.

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