The following article is abridged from a speech given by Ian Angus, associate editor of Socialist Voice www.socialistvoice.ca in Canada, and founding member of the Ecosocialist International Network.
The speech was delivered at the final session of the World at a crossroads Conference in Sydney, Australia, April 12.
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Socialist Voice is a small network in Canada that is committed to rebuilding and regrouping the left on a nonsectarian basis. This conference has set an example of practical, working internationalism that we can all learn from, that all of us, in our home countries, should report, explain, and above all emulate.
If there is one thing that is crystal clear, it is that the revolutionary left now faces new opportunities to grow, to build and lead struggles far beyond what has been possible for some time.
We need to break out of traditional ways of operating, to escape business-as-usual, to find ways to work with individuals, groups and social layers beyond our usual circles of influence.
There is no justification any more — if there ever was — for backbiting, bickering and gossip. We have a world to win, a world to change. That task is just too important for us to waste time with petty foolishness. The goals that unite us are vastly more important than any differences we may have.
In Canada, where the neoliberal offensive and the collapse of the socialist bloc severely weakened the Marxist left, we are rebuilding — not as quickly as we'd hope, but nevertheless we are moving forward.
I want to particularly address a challenge to the comrades who are at this conference from outside Australia. It's too easy for us to sit back and let the Democratic Socialist Perspective organise conferences we can attend, to let the DSP write articles we can reprint, to let the DSP organise international brigades, and so on.
What I would like to see as a result of this conference, is for all the comrades who are here from outside Australia, to commit themselves to extending this practical, working internationalism.
Some of us come from very small groupings, some from fast-growing revolutionary parties — but all of us have a role to play in building a working international movement.
We need to create ever more opportunities to share experiences and ideas on a continuing basis.
It would be wonderful if a conference like this could be organised in India, or South Africa, or even, one day, in Canada. Not all of our organisations have the resources to do that today, but we can all begin moving in that direction.
We also need to expand our exchange of articles, documents and publications. The internet is a great resource that we do not use nearly enough. When the comrades in India publish a pamphlet, for example, it could be instantly available for printing in other countries.
That wouldn't require huge effort, but it would greatly expand our collective resources.
Much of the most important revolutionary thought and analysis in the world today is being developed and published in Spanish — in Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia.
Through co-operative efforts, we could expand the amount of that material that is well translated and widely disseminated, perhaps in printed form, but definitely in electronic form.
There are other ways that we can expand the exchange of ideas and experiences. To some degree, what we need to do is simply to consciously and deliberately take advantage of tools we already have: websites, discussion forums and so on.
But more than that, we need to make a commitment to allocate real resources, to expand our own material contributions to the practical internationalism we've seen here.
I am not in anyway suggesting that we need or should create a new international organisation. None of us wishes to be, and none of us should accept, any kind of "leading party" or "international centre." No toy internationals, no standardised international tactics. That hasn't worked in the past, and we know it won't work now.
But we also know that every current, every group, and every individual, has much to offer and share, and that each of us will be stronger if we can share the work with others. We will build an international movement not by setting up artificial structures, but by finding every possible opportunity to exchange visits, articles, experiences, concrete support, and more.
My challenge to all at this conference is that we move beyond accidental and occasional collaboration, towards a deliberate effort to work together on a regular and continuing basis.
This conference could not have been better named. The world is at a crossroads. The choice between socialism and barbarism has never been so stark, or so immediate, or so pressing.
All of us are conscious of what a huge task we face, of the immense responsibility that rests on our shoulders, on the shoulders of the publications, groups and parties we are part of.
We have an historic obligation to build a global movement to rid the world of capitalism forever. This conference is a step towards that sacred objective. I urge everyone here to build on this success, to make practical internationalism a key part of all of our political work in the coming year.
Together — and only together — we can win.