International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties
R Arun Kumar
THE 20th International Meeting of Communist and Worker’s Parties was held from November 22-25, in Athens, Greece. Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which hosted the meeting had made excellent arrangements, which incidentally coincided with the centenary of the foundation of the KKE.
The theme of this year’s IMCWP is ‘The contemporary working class and its alliance. The tasks of its political vanguard – the Communist and Worker’s Parties – in the struggle against exploitation and imperialist wars, for the rights of the workers and of the peoples, for peace, for socialism’. 90 parties from 73 countries attended the meeting.
As is the practice, the Working Group (WG) of the IMCWP met a day before to finalise the draft appeal that was later placed before the plenary of the IMCWP. As the meeting was held on the eve of the IMCWP, many parties participated in the Working Group. The major discussion was on the draft joint appeal of the IMCWP, which was proposed by the host party, KKE.
Many parties feel that inter-imperialist contradictions are getting sharpened along with capitalist exploitation. The need for intensifying working class struggles was emphasised. It has been decided to use the 70th anniversary of the Chinese revolution and the 60th anniversary of the Cuban revolution, along with the centenary of the formation of the Communist International – all events to be commemorated next year, to popularise socialist alternative.
All parties have also agreed to add the phrases ‘religious fanaticism’ and ‘social oppression’ in the list of issues upon which the communists should conduct struggles in the coming year.
PLENARY OF THE IMCWP
The general secretary of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas inaugurated the plenary session of the IMCWP and placed the intervention of the KKE. Media and special invitees too attended the session, which was open to the general public. Nine sessions were held in the plenary, apart from the inaugural and the concluding session. In each session, ten parties presented their views on the theme of the plenary. Most of the parties sent their written presentations, which were immediately uploaded on the website of the Solidnet.
The presence of young comrades, particularly from certain Scandinavian countries, is a heartening feature and shows the growing influence of communist ideas in these times of prolonged economic crisis.
Extracts from Papers presented by ruling communist parties
The paper presented by the Communist Party of China (CPC) contained many references to Marxism, along with the ‘construction of socialism with Chinese characteristics’ that they are undertaking in China. Talking about the present ‘new era’, as defined by the general secretary, Xi Jinping, the paper states that China will be ‘moving closer to centrestage and making greater contributions to mankind’. It also states that “unlike the former Soviet Union and Eastern European Communist Parties that treated Marxism as dogma, our Party has always upheld a dialectical and developing view towards Marxism”. Further, “The Thought (Xi Jinping Thought) has uplifted Marxism to a new level in today’s world and injected fresh vitality and devotion to take action to contemporary China. It has not only become a guide to action for achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also has contributed Chinese wisdom and Chinese solution to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind as well as creating a better world. It’s undoubtedly a version of Marxism for the 21st century and contemporary China”. The CPC expressed its willingness to strengthen its party-to-party relations with all the other communist and worker’s parties in the world and “make our joint endeavours to push forward the development of socialism”.
The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), in its paper, talking about its role as the vanguard of the working class in their country, stated: “First, our Party should be strong, politically, ideologically and organisationally; frequently innovate and rectify itself, and strive to improve its intellectual level, political prowess, moral virtues and leadership capacity. Second, we should maintain intra-Party unity, ensure adequate democracy and discipline in Party activities. Third, frequently carry out self-criticism and criticism, combat individualism, opportunism and all practices of division and factionalism; bureaucratism, corruption, wastefulness. Last but not least, the Party should care for forming a contingent of clean cadres and members with ethics, capacity and high combativeness in keeping with the Ho Chi Minh moral example; pay attention to fostering and training the next generation of successors to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the nation”.
The Worker’s Party of Korea (WPK) in its paper talked about its “unwavering resolve and firm determination to root out the nuclear war threats of the US imperialists and to safeguard the Korean-style socialism and the peace of the Korean peninsula and the region”. Referring to the historic DPRK-US talks, which created a ‘new phase of situation’ due to their ‘proactive actions and efforts’, they stated: “This is truly a great victory for the Korean people that put an end to the history of imperialist threats of aggression and nuclear war on the Korean peninsula, an event of great historical significance that fundamentally changed the power dynamics on the Korean peninsula and in the region”. The paper declares that “With the arrival of calm on the Korean peninsula and in the region, our Party and people are now able to vigorously push ahead with the socialist construction in a more peaceful environment, and the imperialists are left with fewer excuses for war provocation and intervention in Asia”. The Party Central Committee has put forward a “new strategic line of concentrating all the efforts of the Party and the State on building the socialist economy now that our revolution has entered a new stage”. They appealed all the socialist countries to “strengthen mutual support and solidarity through the struggle to frustrate the aggression and arbitrary practices of the imperialists under the banner of socialism and anti-imperialism”. They declared their solidarity with all the “communist and workers' parties who are vigorously fighting against capitalist exploitation and for the rights of the working class and popular masses” and also with the “peoples of Syria, Palestine and Venezuela who are fighting for justice and peace opposing imperialist aggression and intervention”.
The paper presented by the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) talks about the constitutional rewriting process that the country is involved in. They reiterated their commitment to socialist principles and reaffirmed the foreign policy of the Cuban revolution, “on the basis of anti-imperialism and internationalism; mutual cooperation; the unity of Third World countries; the condemnation to fascism, colonialism, neocolonialism and other forms of subjugation; the non-intervention in the internal affairs of the States; and the rejection of racism and discrimination, among others”. It also talked about the present imperialist intervention in Latin American policies and the attacks on Left forces in that region. They have declared their solidarity with the fighting people of the continent and other communist and workers’ parties.
The intervention of CPI(M) was placed by MA Baby, member of Polit Bureau and it dealt in detail about the role of working class in Indian conditions, the necessity of alliance with the peasantry and the need to develop both democratic and socialist consciousness. Due to the peculiar character of the development of capitalism in our country, the role of the vanguard communist party becomes all the more important.
On the sidelines of the IMCWP, a series of bilateral discussions were held with many fraternal communist and workers’ parties. These discussions helped in gaining in depth information about the situation in their respective countries. A general feature is that in most of the capitalist countries working class is still reeling from the burdens imposed on them due to the economic crisis. In many countries, working class struggles are also taking place and signs of resistance are growing. The danger of the increased presence of right-wing forces is also another important feature in many of these countries.
Giorgios Marinos, the in-charge of International Department of the KKE and member of Polit Bureau, explained about the ‘grave’ developments in Greece. According to him, the SYRIZA-ANEL government is escalating its anti-people policies. Salaries are cut, loans given to common people are being forcefully collected. There is a cut in education and health sectors. SYRIZA-ANEL are acting as junior partner of the US. All the US bases are continuing and now they are preparing for the establishment of a nuclear base. Marinos explained that their Party is in the forefront and is conducting protests.
Marinos also explained about the countless events organised commemorating the centenary of their Party. As a part of these events, many mass mobilisations were organised against the US and NATO. Even on November 22 and 23, mass mobilisations were conducted against NATO and US military presence. In Athens, they demonstrated in front of the ministry of defence. Thousands of people participated, including soldiers with their uniforms. The participation of soldiers in such demonstrations is growing and the government is trying to ban their participation. Another important development is the refusal of communist soldiers and others inspired by them to participate in NATO military exercises. Marinos explained that the circulation of their newspaper Rizospatis and that of its youth wing is growing among the soldiers.
Marinos also stated that the fascist forces have increased their attacks on the KKE. Only a few days back, a KKE comrade was attacked not far away from Athens City Centre. They are expecting such attacks to increase in the coming days. A huge strike is going to take place on November 28. Though PAME will lead it, KKE had campaigned extensively in the industrial centres. Many of the workers who have gone to the SYRIZA in 2012, now have returned to KKE. Workers are understanding that SYRIZA is working for the bourgeois classes. Now good numbers of workers, including artists and professors are participating in KKE’s programmes.
On the sidelines of the IMCWP, the KKE rented a municipal town hall and are conducting an exhibition on their 100 year history. The Central Committee office of the KKE was bedecked with old documents, musical instruments, military equipment used during resistance struggles and other such material depicting the rich history of the KKE. They conducted a huge public meeting in an indoor stadium on the last day of the IMCWP as a public commemoration of the KKE’s centenary. The stadium was completely packed. The only speaker in that session was the general secretary of the KKE. He spoke for around 50 minutes and his speech was enthusiastically received by the people. His speech was followed by a nearly two-hour long cultural programme, where legendary Greek musicians performed. The songs were a mix of Greek folk and also those that were used during the struggle against fascism and dictatorship. These songs were also chosen to reflect the various phases of KKE’s history. The entire programme saw the active involvement of the people and also reflected the amount of love and support enjoyed by the KKE among the Greek people.