THE 17th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) was held in Istanbul, Turkey, from October 30-November 1, 2015.
The meeting provided an opportunity for exchange of perspectives and information on the latest developments in each country and region and the response of Communist, Left and working class forces to defend the rights of the people and against various forms of oppression, exploitation and discrimination.
The responsibility of the Communist and Workers parties to strengthen the working class and popular struggles in regions under imperialist threat and intervention was underlined. The rivalries among capitalist powers, aggravated by their regional collaboration were also stressed by many who spoke in the plenary sessions. The dangers posed by militarisation and right extremist forces and the necessity to develop powerful resistance to such reactionary forces was also stressed. The refugee crisis came to the agenda and the need for promoting intermittent solidarity and class consciousness against discrimination.
Relevance and necessity of following the path of scientific socialism in order to save humanity from the ravages of imperialism and capitalism was underlined by each intervention during the course of the plenary.
Istanbul session of the IMCWP was attended by 104 delegates representing 58 Communist and Workers’ Parties from 48 countries. Six parties could not attend the meeting due to technical difficulties. However, they had sent their message of greetings and written contributions.
While participating in the discussion during the plenary meeting, representative of the Communist Party of China stated that the failure of the world to come out of the present financial crisis exposes the limitations of the present exploitative system. Their presentation argued that only through cooperation at different levels and ensuring stability, the world would progress.
Representative of the Communist Party of Cuba said that restoration of relations with USA does not mean normalisation of relations. For normalisation to take place, economic embargo has to be withdrawn, compensation should be paid to the losses suffered by Cuba due to the illegal embargo. They also stressed the need to withdraw from Guantanamo Bay, a part of which is under the occupation of the USA.
Leader of the Communist Party, Turkey, Comrade Kemal Okuyan, spoke in the plenary as well as the public meeting held as part of the Parliament election campaign. In fact, the International Meeting was held even on the day of the Parliament election polling – on November 1, which generally no party would be venturing to undertake in usual circumstances.
Leader of the Communist Party, Turkey outlined the right reactionary politics of the ruling (far right) party of Turkey (AKP), which incidentally got a majority in the election held on November 1. In the name of `justice’ and `development’, the AKP government led by President Erdogan promotes sectarian, undemocratic and divisive policies. He is planning for a US type of executive presidential form of government and assume dictatorial powers, for which he had been conniving for years, including if necessary, to introduce Constitutional amendments. However, his party fell short of required number of seats, notwithstanding majority, which could clear the ground through a referendum.
The meetings of the Communist and Workers’ organisations at the international level have a glorious history. The first ever meeting of such significance was held in 1864 (First International) in London, where Karl Max was also present. The great Paris Commune happened during its existence. Then there was Second International and the Third (Communist) International under V I Lenin following the great October Socialist Revolution. During the Third International, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics got strengthened and upto half of Germany got liberated and fascism and Nazism were defeated.
Then it was disbanded and replaced with Cominform (Communist Information Bureau). The Cominform was dissolved in 1956.
However, it was following the setbacks to the socialist experiments in the USSR and East Europe that Communists felt the need for some form of get-together and exchange of views and common activities and solidarity. The International Seminar on `Contemporary World Situation and the validity of Marxism' organised in Calcutta by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1993 provided the first opportunity for such exchange of ideas after the setbacks. Invitations were extended to 30 parties to participate in the seminar. 21 parties including the CPI(M) and the CPI participated in the seminar, four parties unable to send their representatives, sent their contributions in the form of papers while five parties sent messages expressing their inability to participate owing to critical political conditions in their respective countries. Six years after it, in 1999, in Athens, Greece, the first meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties was held and the modest beginning was made, for the yearly meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. 55 parties participated in this meeting and another 12 parties sent their messages. From that year onwards seven consecutive meetings were hosted by the KKE in Greece. The number of parties associated with the process saw a steady increase reflecting the growing relevance and validity of Marxism.
The 17th meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties successfully agreed upon identifying following issues on the basis of which a call has been given to Communist and workers’ parties to develop common and convergent actions:
• International solidarity and support for the working class struggles for the labour, social, trade union, democratic rights of the workers.
• Activity against anti-Communism, anti-Communist attacks, bans and persecution like in Ukraine. Solidarity with persecuted communists and parties.
• For the defence of democratic liberties and rights. Against fascism, neo-nazism, racism, militarism.
• Stand in defence of the rights of migrants, discriminated people, minorities and against gender discrimination.
• Activity against NATO, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction and the foreign military bases. Initiatives against the NATO summit on July 8-9, 2016 in Poland.
• Struggle against the destruction of environment.
• Solidarity with the Palestinian people and the Syrian people and all the Arab peoples facing imperialist threats, interventions, Israeli aggression and occupation, with the victims of imperialist wars, refugees and immigrants.
• For the end to the US blockade of Cuba and the abolition of the EU’s common position.
• Solidarity with Venezuela and all Latin American people who are struggling against imperialism, oppression and injustice.
• Solidarity with forces all over the world that have a progressive and anti-imperialist stand for the will of the oppressed and working people.
An impressive electoral meeting was also organised by the Communist Party, Turkey coinciding with the International Meeting, on October 30 night, in a very huge auditorium. All the parties, without exception, attended the event, expressing a sense of solidarity with the Communist Party, Turkey, especially in these difficult times. The meeting was well attended, particularly by women and youth. There were two brief speeches by the general secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and representative of Syrian Communist Party, apart from two leaders of the Communist Party, Turkey. One veteran poet recited a revolutionary poem. Music was the highlight of the evening. In fact, proportionately more time was given to cultural component than speeches.
From India, R Arun Kumar and myself represented the CPI(M) and Dasharathan represented CPI.