We are publishing a speech made by Alan Woods in January. The main emphasis was on the extreme volatility of the present epoch. The state of the whole world system has reached a point where even small events can unleash massive movements. This has been clearly demonstrated by Spain in the last few days with rapid changes and swings in the mood of the masses taking place literally within a few hours.

The second part of Alan Woods' speech in which he deals with the US economy, the US political leadership, the Middle East, the nature of the present period and the question of the mass organisations. He concludes with the urgent task of building the forces of genuine Marxism internationally.

The present document updates the analysis of the Marxist tendency on the world situation in the light of the latest developments. Part One deals mainly with the world economy, with particular attention being paid to the position of the USA and the growing power of China. Parts Two, Three, Four and Five will deal with the European Union, world relations, Iraq and the Middle East, the South Asian subcontinent, Latin America and the effects all this is having on the consciousness of the masses and the mass organisations of the working class.

In Part Two we deal with the growing contradictions within the European Union, products of the crisis of capitalism which is pushing the various member states in different directions. It also looks into the polarisation between rich and poor worldwide and how world relations are affected.

Here we look at the situation as it is developing in Iraq and the difficulties of US imperialism in holding the country, the Middle East and the conflicts between US imperialism and the European Union in this region, the impasse in Afghanistan, the revolutionary potential of the Indian proletariat and the developments in Pakistan where the Marxist tendency has started to develop in a serious manner.

Latin America is in the vanguard of the process of world revolution. In Venezuela, where the masses have defeated reaction three times, the revolution is at a crossroads. The Cuban revolution is threatened and can only survive by spreading to the rest of Latin America, starting with Venezuela, but also moving on to countries such as Peru and Ecuador, and linking up with the Bolivian revolution, also at quite an advcanced stage.

In this final part we look at the effects of changes in the economic environment on the consciousness of the masses and on the mass organisations of the working class. These effects do not take place automatically, but only with a delay. Human consciousness tends to lag behind events. But every day the masses are learning painful lessons, for the new situation does not allow the ruling class the luxury of serious reforms and concessions.

A speech given by Alan Woods at the August 2004 international gathering of the international revolutionary Marxist tendency, in which he outlines the general lines of development of the crisis of capitalism today and the effects this is having on the class struggle internationally. The capitalists have no solution to the crisis of their system, therefore in the long run revolution is the only way out.

“What we are discussing here is the world revolution. Globalisation manifests itself now as a global crisis of capitalism. That is the inner meaning of these shocks and crises and wars, which are already beginning to shape the psychology of the new generation of fighters.” Second part of Alan Woods’ speech at the August 2004 international gathering of the international revolutionary Marxist tendency.

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