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Issue #1667      December 3, 2014

Struggle and resistance in a multi-polar world

CPA at the 16th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties

The annual meetings of Communist and workers’ parties are an initiative of the Communist Party of Greece. Their aim is to promote cooperation among the various fraternal parties across the globe. The most recent meeting was held in Guayaquil in Ecuador from November 12-15 and was hosted by the Communist Party of Ecuador. It was the second time the meeting has been held in Latin America – the first was in Brazil in 2008. It was another opportunity for delegates to learn about the sweeping, progressive changes taking place in much of Latin America.

An indication of the nature of the changes was the venue used for the meeting. The Ramada Hotel was expropriated by the progressive government of President Rafael Correa and put it in the hands of 97 workers who formed a cooperative to run the hotel by themselves. The former owner, a banker, didn’t care about the workers and their families, and ran away with his employees’ pay and entitlements. The Citizens’ Revolution gave the workers a loan to be repaid over eight years without interest.

They felt proud to be hosting the gathering of Communist and Workers’ parties. The meeting also coincided with the anniversary of the massacre of more than 2,000 workers on November 15, 1922. It ended with a mass demonstration of thousands of workers who are prepared to defend the gains of their Citizens’ Revolution, such as free education and healthcare and free access to museums.

The following is an abbreviated version of the CPA contribution to the meeting by the Party’s President, Vinnie Molina. The full version will appear with a selection of others in the next issue of the Australian Marxist Review:

“The role of the Workers and Communist parties in the struggle against the imperialist and capitalist exploitation which brings about crises and wars and gives rise to fascist and reactionary forces. For workers and peoples’ rights and national and social emancipation; for socialism!”

I would like to thank and congratulate the Communist Party of Ecuador for hosting this 16th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties. Sweeping changes have taken place in Latin America. How we characterise these changes is the subject of some discussion in our movement but it is undeniable that deep, progressive changes have taken place that demand attention and respect, providing inspiration to millions around the world.

In fact, the consolidation of the socialist-oriented changes in Latin America is one of the few bright spots on the current international political scene. The economic crisis; the demands by capitalist governments and supranational financial institutions impose hardships on workers and other exploited people. New waves of privatisation are occurring as the bourgeois national state continues its handover over functions and assets to transnational corporations. Trade unions are persecuted, squeezed from workplaces and hobbled by repressive legislation. “Counter Terrorism” is being used as the excuse to increase surveillance and data collection of the people and to remove democratic rights before the law.

US imperialism is launching new wars and proxy wars with its usual allies in tow. The US military’s “Pivot” or “Rebalance” to the Asia Pacific and Indian Oceans – in preparation for aggression against the Peoples Republic of China – is gathering force. The brutal economic and diplomatic blockades against Cuba and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea remain in place. The ideological warfare against socialism and Communist Parties is escalating. And while poorer countries are already battling the effects of climate change, governments of developed economies refuse to take the necessary steps to avoid an environmental calamity.

Fascism and war

Unfortunately, the new elements of the international scene are mostly negative. Fascism is on the rise. We have seen electoral gains by Jobbik in Hungary, the National Front in France and anti-immigrant UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) in Britain, to give just some examples. Most confronting of all was the leading role of neo-Nazi groups in the coup against the government of the Ukraine and the utterly reactionary consequences that have flowed from it.

The situation in the Ukraine carries grave dangers for the whole world. The US and NATO plans to move eastward have reached a major milestone. The battle now being waged aims to place their forces and high-tech hardware on the border of the Russian Federation in preparation for their ultimate goal – the breaking up of that entity and unrestricted access to its resources.

At the same time, the US pursues objectives in the Middle East. Not for the first time, US imperialism has created and armed the forces it now claims it must defeat. Islamic State is the latest such phenomenon. Regime change in Syria is clearly a major goal but a fundamental redrawing of the map of the Middle East is being pursued. So, too, the changes being pursued for greater access to the resources of the region and the strategic interests of the Zionist government of Israel. The ongoing dispossession and torment of the Palestinian people is evidence of that.

Unfortunately, at this time of extreme danger to peace in the world the response of the anti-war movement internationally is passive. In many parts of the world, it has lost its former vigour. In Australia this, in part, resulted from the defeat of the massive people’s mobilisation against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The regrouping and reinvigoration of the anti-war movement must be a major priority for the international Communist movement at this time.

A multi-polar world

Because of its intrinsic nature, imperialism will always meet resistance; provided it doesn’t destroy the planet first, its defeat is certain. Even in the worst of circumstances, people will struggle. In Colombia the struggle of the people, including armed struggle, appears to be on the verge of breakthrough in the talks taking place in Havana. In Greece, workers led by PAME are planning a national strike at the end of the month. Progressive changes are lifting millions out of poverty in Latin America and the process of integration taking place on the basis of mutual benefit. These developments encourage us greatly.

US imperialism does not have the free hand it had in the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Soviet Union. More and more countries are beginning to question the underpinnings of the post-WW2 global economic framework and the privileged position of the US within it. Libya was pursuing an African trading currency backed by gold before NATO intervened. Other countries are choosing to trade commodities such as oil in currencies other than US dollars. Perhaps most notable is the growing trade between China and the Russian Federation in their own currencies and the building of infrastructure to massively expand that trade.

Australia and our region

The political scene in Australia reflects the international situation in which US imperialism struggles aggressively to maintain its hegemony. The Coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott is pursuing an openly reactionary agenda. It is slashing spending on public services and axing thousands of public sector jobs. It is privatising the few remaining public assets.

Lines between the public and private provision of health services and education continue to be blurred with the ultimate objective of destroying the public system. Tertiary education fees and student debt are set to sky-rocket as the universities are de-regulated. Degrading cashless social security programs are being implemented, workers’ compensation schemes changed to get workers back on the job quicker and sicker. Aboriginal land rights are under attack to enable their traditional lands to be plundered by mining transnationals.

A witch-hunt against the trade unions is being waged through a Commission into “trade union governance and corruption”. It has set the stage for police task forces and controls over the unions’ own resources. There is a secret police force operating on Australian construction sites disrupting on-the-job organisation and punishing trade unions and their members daring to organise or struggle.

The military is the only sector of public spending not to be cut. Joint Strike Fighters, Air Warfare Destroyers and submarines are on the order books. The US is getting new spy facilities in the west of the country and has a new Marines base in Darwin in the north. Australian service personnel have been sent to bomb targets in Iraq and Syria.

Fear and division are being fanned by the government and the corporate media. Muslim communities are under attack from bigoted elements and racist political groups are recruiting strongly. Legislation to spy on Australians’ use of phones and the Internet, restrict their movement and prevent people from speaking out about the government’s covert actions is being rushed through the parliament with “bi-partisan” support. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment, with journalists and whistleblowers the main targets.

The federal government has scrapped a tax on the mining sector. It was a small levy on a small number of companies but even that was considered improper by the companies involved and the incoming Coalition government. Reckless climate change denial is driving public policy.

The role of Communists

The duty of Communists in the face of all these challenges in Australia is the same as it is the world over – to resist and to organise the broadest possible alliance of forces to resist effectively. The list of attacks and areas requiring a fight back is a long one. The enemy is well-resourced. However, the scale of the offensive against people’s rights has already prompted a strong reaction. The biggest marches seen in recent times have taken place on the streets of the major cities. They lack class consciousness and direction to enhance and widen the struggle and oppose austerity measures or to put forward any alternative policies. That is the role of Communists at the current stage.

The offensive of the international capitalist class and US imperialism is global. The international connections of the struggle must be made; the hand of solidarity extended to people fighting the same enemy. The international Communist movement is a logical place for such linkages to be made but we will need to lift our connections beyond the level of joint statements to more practical initiatives. The Communist Party of Australia looks forward to playing its part in those undertakings. There are plenty of campaigns where our movement could focus its efforts. The case of the Cuban Five prisoners comes immediately to mind. Let us as a united Communist movement strike a blow against imperialism by securing the release of the Cuban Five.

Next article – Culture & Life – The search for truth?

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