Following his recent visits to Bolivia and Argentina, Alan Woods began the third and final stage of his speaking tour of three Latin American countries with a highly successful meeting in the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Florianopolis, Brazil.
The meeting, which was organized by the Marxist Left (Esquerda Marxista), the Brazilian section of the IMT, was held on the subject of the Arab Revolution and the world crisis of capitalism. The 150 students and professors who filled the lecture theatre showed tremendous interest in the discussion and the ideas of Marxism.
The meeting was also attended by several representatives of the local Palestinian community and solidarity organization, including one visitor from Ramala in Palestine. The meeting was opened by comrade Khader Othoman of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee, who expressed his enthusiasm for the revolutionary wave sweeping the Arab world and gave a warm welcome to Alan Woods.
In his speech, comrade Woods emphasized the causal connection between the events in the Arab world and the general crisis of world capitalism. He poured scorn on the idea that the working class was no longer a revolutionary force, pointing to the wave of strikes and demonstrations in Europe and the marvellous movement of the workers of Madison, Wisconsin in the USA.
Alan recalled the words of Lenin when he pointed out that in Russia the chain of capitalism broke at its weakest link. Now history was repeating itself in the Arab Revolution. “The Arab Revolution has begun, but it is not finished,” he affirmed. “The masses are not fighting for democracy in the abstract, but for jobs, houses and a decent standard of living. But no bourgeois government can give them these things. They cannot give them in Europe and the USA, so how can they give them in Egypt Therefore the revolution will continue, with ebbs and flows, over a long period. Sooner or later the working class will conclude that the only way out is to take power.”
There followed a lively period of questions and discussion, which included questions about Libya, the Latin American Revolution and the role of Brazil, the nature of the PT and the question of leadership.
On the question of Libya, Alan said that it had begun as a genuine popular uprising, but had degenerated into a civil war in which some very questionable elements had pushed themselves to the fore. These included several ex-ministers of Gaddafi who were demanding the intervention of the imperialists. This was a reactionary position which we reject utterly.
Alan pointed to the hypocrisy of the Americans, British and French who had backed every reactionary Arab dictatorship and were now claiming to be fighting for democracy and the rights of the Libyan people. “If they succeed, Libya will be handed over to the imperialists and things will be even worse than before,” he said. Alan also lambasted the so-called United Nations, which was only a cover for imperialism. “Where was the demand for a no-fly zone when Israel attacked Gaza?” he asked.
Alan stressed the fact that the same processes were taking place all over the world, with varying speeds and intensity. In Brazil, too, there were the beginnings of a ferment and strikes. He stressed the importance of Latin America in the global fight for socialism. He underlined the international character of the revolution.
“Revolutions do not respect frontiers and still less the artificial frontiers that were imposed by colonialism in North Africa and the Middle East and which divide the living body of the great Arab Nation. The main task before the Arab Revolution is the abolition of these frontiers and the establishment of a Socialist Federation that will stretch from the Atlantic to the Euphrates.”
He ended by establishing a parallel between this question and Latin America, which has been balkanized and subordinated to imperialism. “I do not like the way sentimental people use the word ‘dream’ when referring to the idea of Simon Bolivar and Che Guevara. The unification of Latin America is not a dream but a correct and absolutely necessary idea.
“The bourgeoisie has had two hundred years to show what they are capable of in Latin America, and all that they have achieved is to turn what should be an earthly paradise into a living hell for millions of people. The only way to realise the colossal potential of this continent is by revolutionary means – through the expropriation of the oligarchies and the creation of the Socialist United States of Latin America as the first step towards the World Socialist Federation,” he said.
“Another world is possible, and it is called Socialism,” Alan concluded, to enthusiastic applause.