U.S. rulers confront sharpening political, military conflicts, as imperialism enters opening stages of a world depression.

Many members of the communist movement today have never lived through a ground war launched by the imperialist rulers, one involving large numbers of soldiers from the ranks of the American working class and resulting in many thousands of deaths on all sides. We are going to see wars of that kind not just in the decades ahead, but in the years, possibly even months ahead.

Only a couple of participants at this convention, those close to eighty years old, have lived, as political people, through a world depression. Some of us have experienced two or three deep-going slumps since the mid-1970s. In one or another of these downturns stock prices dropped sharply over a number of years, unemployment shot into double digits in several imperialist countries, and there were sudden bursts of inflation. That's different, however, from a deflation of such magnitude that the financial backbone of world capitalism--its debt structure and dominant financial institutions--buckle, production plummets, long-term joblessness spreads worldwide, and the great mass of humanity is hit by economic contraction or bouts of ruinous price explosions -- sometimes both together. Masses of people lose faith in capitalism, but at first they just lose hope. Conditions of that kind, which have stalked the most vulnerable parts of the colonial world over the past decades, will become widespread and devastating. We're not predicting such a world depression; we're living through its very opening stages today.

The Militant - November 2, 2004 -- Capitalism's Long Hot Winter Has Begun

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