Year 2000 No. 94, June 5, 2000

"Conference on Progressive Governance" – Further Attempt to Unite Whole World Behind the "Third Way"

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"Conference on Progressive Governance" – Further Attempt to Unite Whole World Behind the "Third Way"

"Third Way" Illusions Are Designed to Conciliate the Class Struggle

USMLO Public Forum · Buffalo, NY
US at the Crossroads: The People Must Prevail!

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"Conference on Progressive Governance" – Further Attempt to Unite Whole World Behind the "Third Way"

US President Bill Clinton, as part of his week-long trip to Europe and Russia, participated in Berlin on June 3, along with 13 other heads of states and governments, in a conference on "Progressive Governance in the 21st Century". This conference marked a significant step on the part of the international financial oligarchy to organise the governments of the world to implement their plan of globalisation, while giving it a human face under the signboard of the "Third Way" and "Progressive Governance". Specifically, it was a call for all governments to accept the superiority of the Anglo-American agenda represented by the "Third Way", to implement the programme of the "New Economy" and espouse the politics of pluralism and the values of Eurocentrism.

It is vitally important that the working class and all democratic forces are not fooled by the rhetoric that the governments that are the chief advocates of this "Third Way" or "Progressive Governance" operate from humanitarian concerns. This argument seeks to convince the people that whereas the neo-liberal agenda of Thatcherism and Reaganomics represents the programme of unfettered capitalism, the "new economy" and "Third Way" politics represents a "centre-left" programme, a programme of the "New Centre", which is pro-people and stands for opportunity for all, and that the working class and broad masses of the people should support it on this basis. In reality, it represents a desperate attempt to extricate international capitalism from its crisis by carrying forward the neo-liberal agenda, while demanding that all democratic forces stop their opposition to this reactionary direction for the economy and all spheres of life. It is aided and abetted by all those who claim they represent the workers’ and people’s movement, yet conciliate with all the illusions that are represented by the "human face" of "progressive governance". Once it is accepted that this globalisation programme represents "progressive governance", the way is open for all attempts to build a revolutionary movement and fight for the independent interests of the working class being themselves labelled and criminalised as part of the "forces of conservatism", and lumped together with all those that straightforwardly call for repression and the extinction of rights. This is a deception of the highest magnitude, for it is the very governments of the "Third Way" who are taking the world down the road to reaction and war, and desperately trying to block the door to progress and a new society.

The Berlin conference on "Progressive Governance" must also be seen as being held in opposition to the growing unity of the developing countries of the "South" – the countries which Clinton’s European trip has firmly characterised as being on the other side of the "digital divide" – to challenge the agenda of globalisation and neo-liberalism. It is significant, for example, that in commenting on the Conference, Clinton by implication exempted Cuba from the "democracies" of Latin America. The Republic of Cuba is heroically pursuing its own path of socialist development, and took the initiative in holding the South Summit of the G77 group of 134 developing countries in Havana in April, which took a stand against developing countries being passive observers of the globalisation which is being imposed on the poor nations. To lure these nations within its orbit, the Berlin conference shed crocodile tears that "the benefits of globalisation are not being realised for all our people, especially in the developing world where income distribution has become more unequal".

The 14 leaders who attended the Conference were from the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, South Africa, Chile, Argentina, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Greece and New Zealand. Their communiqué stated that they would seek endorsement of their plans at the G8 summit of the G7 industrialised countries plus Russia in Japan later this year. At the Conference, Tony Blair was conspicuous by his absence, by the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who hosted the proceedings, was at pains to scotch the rumours that this signified a rift between him and his European counterparts for not being loyal enough followers of the "Third Way", pointing out that he had family matters to attend to.

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"Third Way" Illusions Are Designed to Conciliate the Class Struggle

Below we reproduce two extracts from the Political Report to the 3rd Congress of RCPB(ML) on the Work of the Central Committee, entitled The Line of March to a New Society. They are taken from the Chapter Summing Up the Objective Situation, and deal with the necessity to hit at the illusions of the "Third Way".

In concrete terms, the "Third Way" is the sowing of illusions in the conditions of an intensification of the anti-social offensive, of globalisation and impending world recession, where the working class is marginalised. It is an exhortation to the workers to abandon their rights and interests and pull together with their exploiters, the rich, so that the whole of society pays tribute to the rich. It is an ideological offensive to convince the working class and people that there is no alternative to the course on which the financial oligarchy is set and which the offensive of the government’s policies and legislation is facilitating. It also incorporates the falsehood that communism means enslavement, is the twin brother of fascism, whereas "Western" democracy is synonymous with freedom and progress. First and foremost, it is an offensive to convince the workers that they should on no account organise for a socialist Britain, that entering into social partnership and the stakeholder economy is the best they can get, and to ideologically and spiritually disarm them.

• • • • •

The Party at the time of the election campaign pointed out the capitalist class had prepared this new deception carefully and over a long period, using all the apparatus of the state, all the power of the monopolies, including their vast propaganda machinery. The deception had consisted of preparing a Labour Party for power which would both carry through the offensive against the interests of the people initiated by Thatcher, yet attempt to fool large sections of them that here is something new which will serve their interests. The Party pointed out that New Labour claimed that it would govern from the centre and represent everyone bar a small right-wing of hereditary peers and exceedingly rich. The Party explained that New Labour had been prepared for power in order to carry through the agenda of the rich against the interests of the people, in a situation where the Tories could no longer carry the offensive against the people. In fact, the Party emphasised, the election was nothing less than a coup being carried out by the rich against the working class and people. As such it was being organised as the greatest danger to the people which would lead to untold disasters. The Party discussed in this connection what was required to end the passivity of the working class in these circumstances. This issue was that no independent programme was being put forward for the working class. The working class was thoroughly divided. A large section of the working class was being organised to back the coup, and the bourgeoisie was in effect calling for the unity of the backward section of the working class with the broad section against the advanced section. What would be required to counter this strategy of the bourgeoisie was a converging point for the working class to put forward their independent politics, a space where they could operate to work to transform the situation. The Party gave very serious thought to this issue and worked very hard to create this space. What was creating the divisions in the working class was the ideology that was being pushed by the Labour Party and those forces that were conciliating with it, that the "left" should unite with the "centre". The whole question of what stand the workers and the various sections of the people should take to deal with the deep all-round crisis of British capitalism was not even being addressed. The system cannot provide for the people, poverty is increasing, the attacks on education, health and social programmes are being stepped up. What was required was a fighting programme around which all the forces against the anti-social offensive could unite. If a coherent programme which embodies the independent demands of the working class was put forward, it would provide a rallying point for the vast majority of the people. This rallying point was the demand to Stop Paying the Rich – Increase Investments in Social Programmes. It is the interests of the people and providing for their needs which must be the priority, not paying the rich. The Party called on all workers, all progressive and democratic people to take up in the election period and after the fight for this vital demand, a demand which will open the way for a new society fit for the modern age. In this way, a focus was given to the opposition to the anti-social offensive, to Thatcherism, that was not diverted by the promotion of the "popularity" or "unpopularity" of this or that political party or political leader as being the issue.

Article Index


USMLO Public Forum · Buffalo, NY

US at the Crossroads: The People Must Prevail!

The United States Marxist-Leninist Organisation (USMLO) organised a public forum in Buffalo, New York, on April 29. The forum analysed concrete problems facing the polity in the US. It elaborated the need for the working class to build its own alternative by Creating Politics of Empowerment.

Among the current problems analysed were discussions by the bourgeoisie on bipartisan rule, the impeachment crisis and danger of civil war, the bourgeoisie’s programme of reinventing government and the increasing conflicts between federal and state authority, known as "state’s rights". Kathleen Chandler, General Secretary of the USMLO, addressed the significance of these issues for the people in the keynote speech.

Below we reproduce some excerpts from Kathleen Chandler’s keynote speech, as printed in Voice of Revolution, the publication of the US Marxist-Leninist Organisation, May 10, No.131.

The bourgeoisie is striving to escape the all-sided crisis of their system with what is called the Third Way. They are working to convince the American people to take this Third Way path, presenting it, as Clinton puts it, as a "21st century American revolution — of opportunity, responsibility and community". Clinton is expressing the need of the bourgeoisie to preserve the status quo, at a time when imperialism has shown itself to be completely unable to solve the problems facing the people, here and abroad. In pushing their Third Way alternative, the ruling class is striving to justify what is, while blocking any discussion on the alternative of the working class, the alternative of revolution and socialism.

• • • • •

Settling scores with chauvinism means that we, as Americans, must fight for a government that puts the interests of the world in first place and on that basis, serves the interests of the American people. It is by putting the interests of the world in first place, that we can make a break with the chauvinism that says America first, last and always. We can focus on identifying the interests of the world’s people, giving them first consideration, insuring that we unconditionally support the struggles of the peoples for their rights. This stand serves our interests and also necessarily brings to the fore our task to be the gravediggers of US imperialism.

• • • • •

Civil war is one of the disasters that could occur as the bourgeoisie desperately tries to reconcile this outdated system with existing conditions. The ruling class perhaps forgets that the people have the experience of the last civil war. At that time, the opportunity to go from a war against Black slavery to a war against wage slavery, a war to end all slavery, was missed. Armed with their own aim and mission, and led by their own communist party, this time the working class could turn such a disaster into the victory of revolution.

• • • • •

Conditions are crying out for a new society, one that puts meeting the well-being of the people, here and abroad, at the centre. But we are to ignore the disasters imperialism imposes and instead accept US democracy as a solution to our problems. US democracy, enshrined in the Constitution, serves and protects the right to private property and the social relations of master and slave based on it. "Equality of opportunity" has always been the cornerstone of the US political and economic system. The Constitution, by protecting property rights, ensures that all those who want to accumulate wealth have the opportunity to do so. But it clearly does not guarantee the rights of the people. It does not provide for peace and prosperity. Poverty is the greatest violence in US society, and this democracy has proven itself incapable of solving this problem. More than 200 years experience demonstrates the utter failure of "equality of opportunity" to provide for the well-being of the people, here and abroad.

• • • • •

American chauvinism strives to reconcile that which cannot be reconciled. The interests of the working class cannot be reconciled with the interests of the US ruling class. This is what life is telling us in hundreds of ways, day in and day out. … Clinton trumpets the prosperity of today and says that it is possible because his administration has been "pro-labour" and "pro-business". Such a thing is not possible. But people can be convinced that it is possible, because they can be blinded by the chauvinism of having the "good life". This same chauvinism is used to gain acceptance for aggression abroad, in the name of peace. Doublespeak is used to call aggression "peacemaking", and because there is a belief that American democracy has merit, conciliation with this aggression occurs.

• • • • •

It is the very essence of US democracy to preserve property rights. This is what the Constitution enshrines and precisely what we must abolish. To seek to solve the crisis in favour of the status quo of master and slave is to crush the aspirations of the billions of people on the world scale who want to end US dictate. The interests of the working class can only be served by giving unconditional support to the peoples fighting for their rights and by eliminating the relations of master and slave, on a world scale and here at home.

• • • • •

At this critical juncture, the American working class has a new opportunity to do its duty and put an end to US imperialism. To do so it must settle scores with the conciliation with the US Constitution, which is the basis of US democracy. There can be no conciliation with the calls of the bourgeoisie for one America, for joining together on a Third Way to disaster. There can be no conciliation with the new arrangements the US bourgeoisie is trying to put in place, with its re-inventing government and bipartisan rule. There can be no conciliation with US dictate and its current effort to impose its values world-wide.

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