Member of the Presidium, Secretary of the CC CPRF
On behalf of the CC CPRF I would like to convey to you, like-thinking people and fellow-fighters in our joint struggle, cordial greetings and wishes of success in our common struggle for the interests of the popular masses, for socialism.
I am pleased to convey greetings to the Communist Party of Portugal which is hosting an International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties for the second time.
I congratulate the Portuguese Communists and their allies on their good showing in the recent local elections.
We see today’s Portuguese Communists as the heirs to the Revolution of the Carnations.
The year that has passed since the 14th Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Beirut has seen some important developments in the Communist movement and in the world. The Communist Parties of China, Portugal, Greece, the Russian Federation and Finland have held their congresses.
The people of Korea have marked two historic dates, the 60th anniversary of Victory in the Patriotic War and the 65th anniversary of the formation of the DPRK.
The Communists of Vietnam continue moving down the road charted by the great Ho Chi Minh and are successfully implementing the decisions of the 15th Party Congress.
During the past year several regional thematic meetings of the communist and workers’ parties have been held, including the October meeting in Brussels, the regular Communist Seminar and a successful Forum in Sao Paolo.
The decisions of these congresses and the results of international and regional events are important not only for these parties, but for all of us. We have been able to sense the combative spirit of the Communists, get to know their experience and forms of struggle in the current conditions and compare our assessments of the world situation.
There is no early end in sight to the continuing world economic crisis. The claims that a recovery has begun are not true. We witness deteriorating living conditions of the masses, rapidly rising unemployment, cuts of social benefits and an attack on the rights of the trade unions. The assessments of modern imperialism we gave together in the documents of previous meetings of communist and workers’ parties have been fully vindicated.
The European Union has turned into an imperialistic centre which has growing militaristic aspirations. The military adventure in Libya has effectively liquidated a sovereign state. The European countries are being deprived of the right to have an independent internal and foreign policy. The diktat of one or two of the more developed EU members is becoming the practice in the relationships within the so-called united Europe. Greece and Cyprus are examples of what such a policy leads to.
The nature of imperialism remains unchanged. The economic development of the countries where private ownership of the means of production prevails is becoming increasingly uneven. On the one hand, such countries as India, Brazil and South Africa are playing a growing role in the world economy, and on the other hand there is growing differentiation among the “classical” capitalist countries within the European Union. The unevenness of capitalism’s economic development is also manifested in the processes on its periphery, which, in the context of globalization, is formed by economically underdeveloped countries. As a result the communist parties in their common struggle against the social order based on exploitation of man by man, are faced with the need to resolve various socio-economic and socio-political antagonisms. Therefore, while recognizing the common laws of present-day class struggles, it is necessary to recognize the national features because these are the two sides of a single dialectical process.
The events of the past year have seen growing aggressiveness of imperialism, above all American imperialism. The world has never been so close to a new “hot” war. The crisis in and around Syria, the unsettled situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, threats to Cuba, Venezuela and the DPRK all indicate a wish to redraw the world map.
We Communists cannot but see new elements in the policy of imperialism which make it incumbent upon us to be more alert and vigilant.
The re-division of the world which is an inherent feature of the imperialist stage of capitalism has recently been marked by the use of new socio-political instruments that include simulation of revolutionary processes that merely change governments, but preserve the former production relations intact. In this way imperialism exploits the discontent of the broad masses with the former ruling regimes, notably in the Arab East countries. Because the underlying aims of imperialist re-division of the world are economic, the forces that provoke these processes are quite content if the simulation of revolutionary processes in the countries leads to instability and even chaos. In such a situation the imperialist forces meet with no real resistance and achieve their goals faster. It cannot be ruled out that after the largely successful test of such mechanisms of re-division of the world (for example, the Arab Spring) they may be spread to countries of medium-level capitalist development.
The growing aggressiveness of present-day imperialism inevitably leads to the revival and growth of the international anti-war and anti-militarist movement. It is the task of the communist parties to exert ideological influence on it by delegating its members and to prevent it from sliding to the positions of bourgeois pacifism.
The motto of our meeting “The deepening crisis of capitalism, the working class”s role and the communists” tasks in the struggle for the workers” and peoples” rights. Imperialism”s offensive, the international realignment of forces, the national issue, class emancipation and the struggle for socialism” resonates with the fundamentals of our ideology and, most notably, with the ideas laid down in “Capital” by Karl Marx, with his doctrine of capitalism that is defined as a sequence of crises eventually leading to its death (it is noteworthy that “Capital” has once again become one of the most sought-after works at the acute stage of the current crisis).
What we communists have to do in the context of the deepening of the crisis? One could wait until capitalism dies out, as foretold by K. Marx. However, this way is not for us. On the other hand, a revolutionary situation may emerge anytime anywhere, for instance, in Russia. A few months prior to the Revolution V.I. Lenin spoke of Russia as being not ready for revolution. Today people may go to the streets not because there is no food, but by virtue of completely different reasons like an industrial accident related to power supply during the coldest time of the year.
We must be prepared for any scenario, use every tool at hand to fight for the rights of the popular masses, notably parliamentary one. We stress that the communists’ struggle in parliament is nothing more but one of its forms. Class struggle has been a fundamental part to our activities. We have to be cognizant of the fact that classes undergo changes and are not stationary.
The international communist movement proceeds from the assumption that the main revolutionary force of our time remains the proletariat, that is, the class of hired and exploited workers by brain and by hand and its core, which is the working class. In assessing the working class one should proceed not only from the changed character and content of its work in the “golden billion” countries, but also the characteristics of the working class in the Asian, African and Latin American countries to which capital has moved extractive and environmentally hazardous production as part of the process of globalization. The principle of proletarian internationalism dictates that in assessing modern global trends one should look not only at the national contingents of the working class, but at the world working class. This is all the more important because the problem of forging class solidarity is becoming more and more of a priority in the activities of all the communist parties. This is one of the features of the international communist movement.
Our party is operating in conditions that are in many ways similar to those in other countries: the economic crisis in Russia is deepening, anti-Communism is still strong and inter-ethnic relations are deteriorating. Ethnic discord provoked by national and international capital has bred mistrust and conflicts between peoples. For the CPRF, a party of internationalists, class and national matters take on a special urgency and significance. Considering the importance of the nationalities issue, the CPRF devoted to it the Plenary Meeting of its Central Committee held three weeks ago. Its agenda was “The nationalities issue and the tasks of the party in strengthening the friendship of the peoples.” The keynote speech by the Chairman of the CC CPRF Gennady Zyuganov and other speakers at the Plenum noted that the nationalities issue in today’s Russia is an issue of inter-ethnic relations in a society rent apart by class contradictions.
Facts attest that nationalistic sentiments are strong among the working people. Nationalism seeks to break up the proletariat politically and morally. The CPRF deems it its duty to act as the vanguard of the proletarian masses. We believe it to be our task to introduce into the working class milieu socialist consciousness, the idea of irreconcilable class struggle between Labour and Capital and the ideas of proletarian solidarity. A new area that we have yet to address is the search for forms and methods of work among working migrants from the former Soviet republics. The experience of many participants in the Meeting who have long been dealing with this problem in an in-depth manner is very important for us.
We are convinced that the struggle against nationalism will be crowned with success if it is international. To stop evil, one has to rely on international solidarity. We believe the time has come to turn to the experience of the Comintern in the 1930s, to study it in detail and to use it with due adjustments prompted by the new times and the current trends in the international communist and workers’ movement. (I would like to remind you that in March 2014 it will be 95 years since the formation of the Comintern. We propose to include that date in our action plan and to mark it together.)
This year marks the 96th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. Manifestations to mark that date were held in all the Russian cities on November 7.
The victory of the October Revolution provided the basis for the building of the great Soviet Union. The experience of the USSR has shown that the Party of Lenin solved many fundamental issues that no capitalist country has ever solved or can ever solve.
The Russian communists adhere to the slogan of reviving the USSR in a renewed shape. Our goal is Socialism. As the Chairman of the CC CPRF told the CC CPRF Plenum, ”our Party comes out for a peaceful transition to socialist development, which does not mean that we renounce revolutionary transformation of society.”
It is our 15th Meeting so far. Meetings have become an important achievement of the International communist movement. I take this opportunity to draw your attention to four relevant issues related to the organizational aspects of the Meetings. Let us ask ourselves what it is that we come together for.
Firstly, to exchange experiences of activities and struggle (and yet we could resort to Solidnet for that purpose).
Secondly, to develop common approaches and to concertedly assess current environment. Our common work has been embodied into Joint Statements (just as our Portuguese comrades suggest), though we are aware that reaching consensus is no easy task.
Thirdly, concerning the Working group. Its main task is to prepare regular meetings, to deal with organizational and procedural issues. We should not turn it into a forum for discussion. We are not against consideration of issues related to the Working group, including rotation of its members.
Lastly, we take this chance to urge all member parties of our Meetings to refrain from using this forum for mutual criticism and using its rostrum to criticize other parties and their leaders. We consider it dangerous to our movement.
We will all be attending the celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of the outstanding figure in Portuguese and international communist movement, the man whose name is inscribed in golden letters in the history of Portugal, Comrade Alvaro Cunhal. He was a professional revolutionary, a patriot of his country, an internationalist who fought in the Spanish Civil War, an ant-fascist, a writer and artist. He joined the Communist Party at the age of 17, spent 14 years in prison before staging a spectacular escape from Peniche prison. Such was the leader of Portuguese communists, a staunch fighter for the unity of the communists of the world. We should all aspire to be like Alvaro Cunhal.