Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Hundreds Meet on World Situation. Discuss Threat of World War

First Published: The Worker for the Milwaukee Area and Wisconsin, Vol. 2, No. 3, December 1976.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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On November 20, over 2300 people took part in a New York City conference to discuss the international situation, including the growing threat of war, the development of revolutionary struggles worldwide, and what it all means for the American people.

Only a little while after the end of the war in Vietnam, many people smell another war in the wind. The rulers of the US and the USSR are talking about detente, but both sides are stockpiling more and more weapons. At the same time, as people in the Mideast and Africa are rising up for their liberation, we hear all sorts of warnings from our own and the Soviet rulers that these struggles are threatening to explode into war.

It’s this situation which led so many people to come to the New York, conference. The participants included people who have recently come forward in the workers’ movement, many students and youth, other people previously active in the movement against the Vietnam War, teachers and intellectuals and others. They came with a sharpening sense of the threat of wars of aggression, even world war. They wanted to debate how this affects the American people, and how we can struggle against this possibility. They wanted to discuss how these struggles of other peoples in the world are related to our own struggles. Above all, they wanted to understand things clearly so that they could take action.

The conference began in the morning with some introductory speeches on how to see things in the world today. The discussion broke down into workshops in the afternoon.

The first set focused on the issues and tasks arising in particular areas and countries (Angola, Latin America, Southern Africa, East and Southeast Asia, Mid East and the Arabian Gulf Area, and Europe); the second on specific questions (US Foreign Policy, the Nature and role of the Soviet Union, China’s Foreign Policy, the Third World and the New Economic Order, Fascist States and Junior Partners of imperialism, Detente and Disarmament.) Then there was a debate at night.

Basically the discussion and debate boiled down to three different points of view. Some people said that the main thing shaping the course of world events today is, as it was in the ’60s, the struggle against US domination by the people of the underdeveloped countries. In this picture, the Soviet Union is seen as a lesser factor. The other two views both said that the rise of the Soviet Union as a capitalist – not socialist – country since Khruschev took over and especially since their growth today into a major power rivaling the US across the globe was an extremely important question. In fact their rivalry was leading toward world war.

But those with this opinion in common drew quite different conclusions. Some argued that because the Soviet Union is such an aggressive danger, particularly to socialist China, it must be seen as the main enemy of the world. A third position, put forward by members and supporters of the Revolutionary Communist Party and other people, argued that the people have no stake in backing either side in this superpower conflict–which amounts to rivalry in worldwide robbery–or in the war this rivalry every interest in especially opposing our own rulers, opposing all aggression and interference, in standing with all those–especially our fellow, working people around the world–who resist it, and in fact, in struggling to overthrow our own rulers who have already dragged us into so many of their wars.

The conference was not meant to arrive at any unified conclusion or to form any sort of on going coalition. But it served an important purpose–to bring together many different kinds of forces who have been politically active around these kinds of questions in order to discuss and debate what stand to take and how to move forward.

Through this discussion there developed a better understanding by more people of what stand to take on these issues, which is an important step, since only a correct understanding of what’s going on and what to do about it will make it possible for the masses of people in this country to stand up and fight for their own interests and the interests of the overwhelming majority of the world’s people. Further, the conference made it clear that it is necessary and possible to find ways to unite all who can be united to carry out concrete action opposing the aggression, interference and war preparation of the US imperialists in this country and both superpowers internationally and support the struggles of the peoples of the world, such as right now in southern Africa.