The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) prepared for the political upheavals of 2006 at an expanded meeting of the International Editorial Board (IEB) of the World Socialist Web Site, held in Sydney, Australia, from January 22 to 27, 2006. Leading WSWS IEB members and delegates from the sections of the ICFI presented reports on the political conditions in virtually every region of the world, later published on the WSWS.
These reports constituted a worked-out Marxist analysis of the state of world affairs at the beginning of 2006 and a perspective to guide the struggles of the working class in the period ahead. They anticipated both the world financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and continues to this day and the mass upheavals that have swept the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world under the impact of this crisis.
Is capitalism as a world economic system moving along an upward trajectory and still approaching its apogee, or is it in decline and even plunging toward an abyss? The answer that we give to this question has, inevitably, the most far-reaching consequences, not only for our selection of practical tasks, but for the entire theoretical and programmatic orientation of our movement.
Despite projections of global economic growth, the objective decline of American capitalism, the enormous expansion of debt, and the rise of Asian economies creates the conditions for unprecedented crisis in the world financial system.
In March 2003, the official prognosis concerning Iraq—or, more accurately, the official propaganda—went broadly as follows: The US-led invasion was a necessary and justified intervention to remove a brutal dictator whose regime threatened world peace and stability by its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and its support for international terrorism.
The relative strength or weakness, health or morbidity of American capitalism, and its trajectory over an extended historical period, is in the most fundamental and objective sense a world question. The fate of world capitalism over the past century has been linked to that of the United States more than to any other national economy or national state.
The enormous growth of social inequality is the most important fact of American social and political life over past quarter century. Despite this, or rather, because of it, social inequality is the great unmentionable of American political life.
The question of China is becoming one of the central issues in relation to our perspective of building an international socialist movement in the twenty-first century.
Fifteen years ago, when the Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union collapsed, we explained this was an expression of the deep crisis of world imperialism.
The more the old labour and national bureaucracies have moved to the right, the more so have the ex-radicals. It is important, however, to recognise just how discredited these positions are, and the profound objective difficulties involved in attempting to breathe life into the reformist opposition to socialist revolution.
Latin America has long been a volatile region, repeatedly giving rise to explosive mass struggles as well as great and tragic betrayals resulting in the handing over of the masses to brutal military dictatorships. The Pabloite revisionist tendency that broke with Trotskyism has played a decisive role in these betrayals, particularly in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Has capitalism created, or is it capable of creating, a harmonious global culture?
The current state of affairs in the United States concerning constitutional government and law is a profound expression of a social and political system in an advanced stage of disintegration.
The development of the globalised economy sounded the death knell of nationalist projects all over the world, including that of the regulated national economy in India.
There is probably no other continent that provides so many tragic examples of the malignant role and legacy of colonialism.
The present economic, social and political conditions in Israel and Palestine are an indictment of the Zionist project and the nation state as the solution to the oppression of the Jews.