We have entered the most convulsive period in history since the end of the Second World War. Everything from the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, DC and the "war on terrorism" to the economic crisis capitalism finds itself in entirely confirm this perspective. Overnight the entire world situation seems to have been turned upside down. There are massive austerity programs being implemented by governments around the world as the capitalists seek to place the burden of the crisis on the backs of the working class. Far from the "new economic paradigm" we were promised of endless growth, jobs, and prosperity, we are faced with war, terror, paranoia, attacks on our wages and conditions, attacks on our civil rights, and on and on.
Politically, economically, and socially, the capitalist system is in crisis and millions of people are looking for a solution to improve their conditions of life. The events of the past few years has already dramatically shaken people’s consciousness, and they are more and more open to the ideas of scientific socialism. And this is only the beginning. Due to the inherent instability and crisis of the capitalist system, even more momentous events are on the horizon.
Revolutionary movements have erupted in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere, and the process of revolution is not yet finished. Similar movements are developing in Europe as well. In one country after another, the working class and poor have had enough with cuts and attacks of the ruling class. As far-fetched as it may seem to some, even the United States cannot avoid a revolutionary explosion in the future. Events internationally will have a powerful influence on events here in the US. In an epoch of global capitalism and global economic crisis, global revolution is also on the agenda.
But getting the ideas of Marxism across and building an alternative to capitalism will require serious organization on a national and international scale. There is a pressing need for a nation-wide organization in the US which can unite the best elements of youth and labor in the struggle for socialism. In the summer of 2001, a small group of American Marxists formed the Workers International League. The most important result of this founding congress was the formulation of our program. As explained in Alan Woods’ Bolshevism: the Road to Revolution:
"A party is not just an organizational form, a name, a banner, a collection of individuals, or an apparatus. A revolutionary party, for a Marxist, is in the first place program, methods, ideas and traditions and only in the second place, an organization and an apparatus (important as these undoubtedly are) in order to carry these ideas to the broadest layers of the working people. The Marxist party, from the very beginning, must base itself on theory and program, which is the summing up of the general historical experience of the proletariat. Without this, it is nothing. The building of a revolutionary party always begins with the slow and painstaking work of assembling and educating the cadres, which forms the backbone of the party throughout its entire lifetime."
The US working class has a proud and militant tradition. We look to the accumulated experiences of the American working class - the great railroad strikes, the mine wars, the formation of the Teamsters and the CIO, the Flint sit down strikes, and more for inspiration. We rest on the traditions of William Sylvis, Albert Parsons, Mother Jones, Joe Hill, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Big Bill Haywood, Eugene Debs, John Reed, Louise Bryant, and the millions of rank and file workers who led and participated in the great struggles of the past. And we are confident that the greatest days of the US labor movement are still to come.
We also base ourselves on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, and on the further development of these ideas by the supporters of the In Defence of Marxism website. The ideas of scientific socialism have been tarnished in the minds of millions by the horrific experience of Stalinism and the continued lies and distortions of the ruling class. We believe that Stalinism was a historical aberration and a criminal totalitarian caricature of genuine socialism. We fight for international socialism, where the world working class has full democratic control over the means of production, distribution, and exchange, in harmony with the environment. Without democracy there can be no socialism! A workers’ government in the US would take over the vast wealth now owned by just a handful of individuals and democratically use it in the interests of everyone.
Our newspaper, Socialist Appeal, which was the name of the first Trotskyist paper in the United States, fights to defend and re-establish the ideas of revolutionary Marxism and Trotskyism in the United States. We invite you to subscribe to, sell, and read the printed version of our paper. The times are changing quickly, and earth-shaking events are on the order of the day. The ideas of scientific socialism are as vibrant and valid as ever - even more so. But we lack the numbers and resources to take full advantage of the opportunities which will open up in the coming period. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that the tremendous fighting potential of the working class is channeled into the socialist transformation of society.
We invite all workers and youth who are in agreement with the ideas expressed in Socialist Appeal, and who are serious about building a revolutionary Marxist alternative to capitalism to contact us about working with or joining the WIL.