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Issue #1532      25 January 2012

Socialism is the future!

“It becomes increasingly obvious for millions of working people that the crisis is a crisis of the system. It is not faults within the system but the system itself that is faulty, generating regular and periodic crises.” This was one of the conclusions of the 13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Athens from December 9-11, 2011. Seventy-eight communist and workers parties from 61 countries, including the Communist Party of Australia, took part in the meeting which was hosted by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) under the theme “Socialism is the future!”.


Anna Pha at the 13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Athens.

In a statement issued by the meeting (see page 6), the parties point out: “It [the crisis] results from the sharpening of the main contradiction of capitalism between the social character of production and the private capitalist appropriation and not from any version of the management policy of the system or from any aberration based on the greed of some bankers or other capitalists or from the lack of effective regulatory mechanisms. It highlights the historical boundaries of capitalism and the need to strengthen the struggles for anti-monopoly anti-capitalist ruptures, the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.”

The meeting was opened by Comrade Aleka Papariga, general secretary of the KKE, who spoke about the extensive ideological and political groundwork that went into the preparations for today’s struggles in Greece, within the KKE and Communist Youth (KNE) and also amongst working class and other popular social strata.

She pointed out that, “in the face of the toughness and complexity of the struggle, in the face of the intransigence of the enemy” a defensive stance will not achieve results. This is “because we are in the conditions of an assault which aims to abolish gains won in the 20th century particularly after the Second World War in Europe.

Escalate class struggle

“What is required today is the planning and the escalation of the class struggle, to erect obstacles – as far as possible – in the way of the worst measures which are on the horizon, to delay new decisions and to buy time for the counterattack, the outcome of which must be directed to the overthrow of the power of the monopolies, the bourgeois political system, for working class-people’s power, socialism,” Papariga said.

Around 75 delegates made a contribution to the discussion addressing political, ideological, economic, social and historical questions. These ranged from a theoretical analysis of past experiences such as the counter-revolution in the former Soviet Union and its lessons for today, through to the issues and tasks confronting the communist movement in today’s conditions. Delegates shared experiences of their struggles, the impact of the capitalist crisis, government policies, their party’s approach, and raised the growing aggressiveness of imperialism and the dangers of fascism and war.

The communist parties work under a wide range of conditions from being in government attempting to build socialism or being part of a bourgeois government through to illegality and the constant threat of being assassinated or jailed. The characteristics of their struggles reflect these differences. There are also tactical, ideological and political differences in approach between parties on such issues as alliances and the transition to socialism. There was a strong sentiment that the struggle cannot be limited to a struggle to hang on to past gains or to return to the past. As the final statement says:

Capitalist barbarity

“The overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism constitute an imperative need for the peoples.” Delegates called on working people, farmers, and rural workers, women and young people to struggle together to put an end to capitalist barbarity.

“Only socialism can create the conditions for the eradication of wars, unemployment, hunger, misery, illiteracy, the uncertainty of hundreds of millions of people, the destruction of the environment. Only socialism creates the conditions for development according to the contemporary needs of the workers.”

The meeting salutes “the growing popular struggles releasing huge emancipatory potential against imperialism, against capitalist exploitation and oppression, and for the social, labour and social security rights of workers all over the world.”

Imperialist aggression

The statement also warns of the dangers of the intensification of imperialist aggressiveness:

“There are already several regional points of tension and wars and they are multiplying: in Asia and Africa, in the Middle East with the increasing aggressiveness of Israel particularly against the Palestinian people. At the same time we note the rising of neo-Nazi and xenophobic forces in Europe, the multifaceted interventions, threats and the offensive against the people’s movements and the progressive political forces in Latin America. Militarisation is being reinforced. The risk for a general conflagration at a regional level becomes even greater. In this sense the expansion and strengthening of the anti-imperialist social and political front and the struggles for peace in the direction of eradicating the causes of imperialist wars are fundamental.”

There was a strong desire for greater unity and co-ordination of struggles by communist and workers’ parties. This is reflected in a statement adopted by the meeting for a main areas of joint actions for the coming period. These include International Women’s Day (March 8), May Day (May 1), the anniversary of the Great Socialist October Revolution (November 7), a front against imperialist aggressiveness centred around the 25th Summit of NATO in Chicago (May 20-21), the 130th anniversary of the birth of Georgi Dimitrov (June 18), the blockade of Cuba and Cuban Five. There will be actions in defence of the environment and against capitalist destruction and appropriation of natural resources.

The Parties also agreed to the promotion of an international front against imperialism and the support of international anti-imperialist mass organisations, the World Federation of Trade Unions, the World Peace Council, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, and the Women’s International Democratic Federation.

International solidarity

The importance of internationalism, which is at the heart of these annual meetings of communist and workers parties, was reflected in the solidarity resolutions before delegates. There were 16 specific resolutions expressing solidarity and a political position on specific issues and struggles which Parties could sign on an individual basis. These included support for the Palestinian people, opposition to military intervention in Iran, support for the struggles of the working class in Greece, several on Latin America and Cuba, and the Cyprus problem.

One of the highlights of the meeting was an event of internationalist solidarity in honour of the fraternal delegations organised by the KNE delegates.

In his welcoming speech to delegates, Thodoris Chionis, secretary of the Central Council of the KNE, briefly outlined the history of the Communist Youth and their work in Greece. He spoke about the role that the KNE is playing in the current struggles in Greece, in educating young militants “in a communist way” and in renewing the ranks of the KKE with new working men and women of a young age.

“The future belongs to the youth, this is obvious and we do not need to prove it. The question is which youth will take the future in its hands, the youth of the exploited class or the exploiting class. The young working men and women, the youth of the popular strata cannot expect anything from the old historically obsolete capitalist system, which is in its final imperialist stage. Their future for a better life, for the satisfaction of their needs is directly connected to their participation and contribution to the development of the class struggle, the overthrow of capitalist barbarity, the construction of the new, of the socialist system.”

Solidarity

A number of delegates paid a lunchtime visit to the picket line of Helliniki Halivourgia (Greek Steelworks) on Sunday December 11, where 400 workers had been on strike for over 40 days. The employer is the first in the industry attempting to impose five-hour working days with wage cuts and casual employment on its workforce.

Since the strike began on October 31, 34 workers had been sacked, but the employer’s stand-over tactics have only made the workforce more determined than ever. The highly profitable steelworks is leading the charge for other companies in the industry. It is attempting to casualise its workforce, and impose five-hour working days with wage cuts, flexible employment relationships and unpaid overtime. The blackmail threats continue, the most recent is the threat of 180 more sackings.

The workers, with the support of the All Workers Militant Front (PAME) are demanding the re-hiring of all dismissed workers and a return to the hours of work and wages provided for in their agreements.

The day of the visit was “Children’s Day”. Santa Clause was there delivering presents to the children of the striking workers, which had been organised by the Women’s Committee. The foreign delegates were warmly welcomed, their solidarity very much appreciated.

The KKE is to be congratulated on its outstanding organisation and hospitality which contributed so much to the success of the meeting. The provision of documents, organisation of accommodation, transportation, excellent meeting facilities, the work of the interpreters, and all the other assistance provided to delegates reflects the capacity of a great party that is in the midst of an intense struggle.

The final statement, main areas of joint actions, delegates’ contributions, list of participating parties and solidarity resolutions are available on the Solidnet Website: www.solidnet.org  

Next article – Culture & Life – The rich get richer, and the world gets scarier

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