The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.61/No.39           November 10, 1997 
Socialism Or Barbarism  
The currency crisis in Asia and growing volatility of stock markets from New York to Tokyo highlight the fact that the choice facing humanity is socialism or barbarism.

The recent economic turmoil is not the product of some rogue speculators run amok. It is the result of the normal workings of world capitalism in the epoch of imperialist decay.

As profit rates in industry have declined, the ruling families of the imperialist countries, through their banks and other financial institutions, have put more and more of their capital into an international loan-sharking operation preying on workers and peasants in the underdeveloped world. The currency devaluations, financial bailouts, and subsequent austerity measures are simply the imperialists' attempts to impose burden of their crisis-ridden system on the backs of working people. This is how capitalism works.

The faltering of the so-called Asian miracle is now making big-business investors nervous. But for hundreds of millions of workers and peasants, the miracle is already a nightmare. Toilers throughout the world are experiencing ever increasing joblessness, homelessness, preventable diseases, and starvation. The smog catastrophe lingering across much of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand is just one example of the effects of the rulers' profit drive. It was sparked by wealthy plantation owners setting fires to clear land to produce lucrative palm oil.

One of the mechanisms used to transfer the wealth produced by the toilers in much of Asia, Africa, and Latin America into the coffers of the biggest capitalist powers is the massive loans and mounting interest payments imposed on regimes in the semicolonial world. And behind every demand for austerity measures, for a greater squeeze in order to pay the debt, stands the imperialist collection agency - the war machine dominated by U.S. fire power.

This reality for working people around the world underscores the statement in The Communist Manifesto, written 150 years ago, that "pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is no longer fit to be the ruling class in society and to impose its conditions of existence upon society."

An international campaign is needed to press demands and organize a fight to cancel the debt imposed on undeveloped countries. Working people in the United States and other imperialist centers have a particular obligation to champion this demand, as part of the fight to forge international working-class solidarity. The battle to abolish the debt is intertwined with the fight by workers and farmers to take power out of the hands of the capitalist class.

The examples of the 1917 Bolshevik revolution and the Cuban revolution over the last four decades demonstrate that it is possible - and necessary - to resist imperialist dictates and the disastrous effects of living under bourgeois society. Only by overturning capitalist rule and establishing a workers and farmers government can working people ultimately end these unjust debt payments and other horrors of the market system, and begin to construct a new society. The bourgeois class has itself incapable of leading humanity out of their economic and social crises. The only alternative to imperialism's barbarous march toward fascism and war is the fight for socialism.  
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