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Message of solidarity to the Greek Social Forum

31 January 2003

I extend my most sincere and militant greetings of solidarity to the Greek Social Forum and I wish you utmost success in your constitutive meeting on January 31- February 1.

We are confronted today with a very grim picture of the living conditions of the world’s people. 80 percent of the people of the world live in poverty. The rich imperialist countries continue to exploit the countries of the Third world and keep them in a state of underdevelopment. In 1990 the Third World received $44 billion in official aid. The same year $165 billion went out to the imperialist countries just to service foreign debt payments. In 1997, underdeveloped countries paid the rich countries $270 billion in debt service.

The gap between rich and poor all over the world –- between rich and poor countries and between rich and poor within countries -- keeps on widening.

The US, with scarcely 4 percent of the world's population, consumes almost one third of the world's resources. It is the richest country on the planet but it has the greatest income disparity. In 1976, the wealthiest one percent of Americans owned 19% of all the private material wealth in the U.S. Today, they own over 40% of all wealth. Their share now exceeds the wealth owned by the bottom 92% of the U.S. population combined.

The gap between the poorest fifth of the world's people and the richest fifth has increased from 30:1 in 1960 to 78:1 in 1994. In over 70 countries, per capita income is lower today than it was 20 years ago. Almost three billion people – two thirds of the world's population - live on less than two dollars a day.

The world is undergoing an economic and social crisis of unprecedented scale. National economies are collapsing, unemployment is rampant. In many countries the standard of living has collapsed.

Foreign capital has taken over most economies in many developing countries. Peasant economies are devastated by the dumping of agricultural products from the US and Europe.

The crisis is not confined to the underdeveloped world. The three centers of capitalism-- the US, Europe and Japan -- have been mired in severe crisis. There is growing restiveness among both the blue- and white-collar workers because of high unemployment, low wages and the erosion of social benefits. This unprecedented crisis has exposed the total bankruptcy of the so-called "free market" globalization.

Bush is trying to solve the problem by pump-priming the American economy through stepped-up military production. He has used the September 11 attacks to whip up jingoism and a war hysteria among the American people to muster support for his military adventures abroad. His so-called war on terrorism has become the pretext for waging wars of aggression and pushing for fascist measures at home and abroad.

The US has become so arrogant as to ignore the established norms of international conduct and trample upon the sovereignty of other nations. It has announced its new policy of embarking on unilateral actions to advance its global interests and its so-called right to preemptive action against any state that threatens its national interest.

The US ruling clique has also stepped up repression at home and abroad. Under new policy directives, US state agencies are empowered to make arbitrary arrests, hold suspects in indefinite detention incommunicado and without charges, institute military courts against civilians, and to assassinate anti-imperialist leaders or kidnap them for trial under US-controlled courts.

But the people of the world notably the workers and other toiling masses have started to stand up and assert their rights. The growing anti-globalization movement has mobilized people in their millions against the SAPs of the IMF-WB, against the trade liberalization schemes of the WTO, against the MAI, the GATS, and the continuing plunder of the world’s resources by the imperialists.

The hundreds of thousands that marched in the streets of Washington D.C. and San Francisco and in many cities around the world on January 18 against the US threat of war on Iraq testifies to the growing political awakening of the people of the world.

The people in the countries oppressed by imperialism are fighting for national liberation and democracy against imperialist domination and local reaction. They are fighting for their right to an independent socio-economic development free from foreign dictates and domination.

The workers are asserting their trade union and democratic rights and fighting for the improvement of their wage and living conditions. Peasants are rising up against the destruction of their livelihood brought about by trade liberalization and are demanding agrarian reform.

The people of the world are intensifying their struggle against imperialist exploitation, plunder and war. They are stepping up their struggle for democracy and freedom against the growing threat of fascism from the imperialists and reactionaries. We are confident that in the end the people will prevail. #






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