2005 and beyond

As we put this special issue to bed, honoring 80 fighting years of our Communist, working-class press, we look ahead to the holidays and a New Year of struggle. Our next edition will be Jan. 8.

Although the tremendous efforts to defeat George Bush and the ultra-right on Nov. 2 were not successful, the unprecedented coalition that came to life has set the stage for future victories.

We’d like to go out on a limb and offer a few predictions for 2005.

• The historic, labor-led, all-people’s coalition will continue to grow and deepen — but not without many “divide and conquer” challenges from corporate, racist and ultra-right forces, making unity in action all the more important.

• Struggles will sharpen. Class and socialist consciousness will grow among those engaged in struggle.

• Bush’s electoral coalition will show cracks and instabilities as his administration continues to pursue its extreme agenda. Some of Bush’s support can be peeled away during the upcoming battles.

• The illegal and immoral occupation and war in Iraq will continue to be a quagmire created by the Bush administration’s drive for oil and U.S. corporate domination. A growing majority of Americans will questions the costs of the war as the truth about Iraqi and U.S. casualties comes out, and as cities, towns and states are forced to slash budgets. It will be possible to force the administration to pull our troops out.

• Bush’s “war on terror” will fail to halt terrorism. But the global democratic and people’s movement, including in the U.S., will begin to formulate a real program and strategy to end terrorism and war, refusing to cede this issue to the ultra-right.

• The Bush administration will become even more aggressive towards Latin America, seeking to destabilize socialist Cuba and the growing number of left and center-left governments in the region. But the developing progressive trend in the hemisphere will positively influence U.S. labor and people’s movements.

• The battle over Social Security privatization will become a pivotal struggle. Rushing to hand the program over to Wall Street, the Bush administration will discover why Social Security is called the “third rail” of American politics.

• Bush’s millionaire-friendly tax program and the ballooning deficit will cause rebellions in the GOP ranks and militant actions against budget cuts.

• The 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act will expose the depth of racist vote suppression and fraud in our country, causing many to wonder how this administration can claim it will bring democracy to the world when it can’t do it at home.

• Bush’s judicial appointees will target civil rights and Roe v. Wade. Labor will face vicious attacks, with the White House leading the charge. Democrats who don’t stand up to these attacks will be targeted for defeat by the people’s movement.

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We’d also like to offer some awards.

Our slimebag of the year award goes to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It was a tough choice, given the field. Rumsfeld dodged the resignation bullet over Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture revelations. But his recent arrogant remarks to GIs headed to harms’ way raises anew the demand that he resign.

Our courage award goes to the labor and multiracial, multi-national all-people’s movement for its unprecedented grassroots electoral struggle.

Finally, here are our picks for “shake your head while you laugh and cry” quotes of 2004:

“I couldn’t get a job with the CIA today. I am not qualified,” – Bush’s new CIA director, Porter Goss, in an interview last March.

“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” – George W. Bush, Aug. 5.

Seriously, though, in this holiday season, seen as a time for “peace on earth, goodwill to all,” our world is in a deepening crisis of war, poverty, exploitation and inequality. Capitalism is unable to solve these problems — in fact it exacerbates them. That, plus its commercialization of the holidays, sometimes — as columnist Maureen Dowd put it — makes you want to rip the smile off Frosty’s face.

But we can see another side of Frosty: undaunted, saying “Catch me if you can.” Let no obstacle deter us in the struggle for a brighter future.