Below we reproduce the intervention made by the CPI(M) at the 17th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties held on the theme, “The Tasks of Communist and Workers’ Parties to Strengthen the Struggle of the Working Class against Capitalist Exploitation, Imperialist Wars and Fascism, For Workers’ and Peoples’ Emancipation, For Socialism”. The meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey from October 30-November 1, 2015. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and head of the International Department, MA Baby made this intervention.
On behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) we congratulate the Communist Party, Turkey for making excellent arrangements for hosting the 17th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties, particularly in these difficult and testing times. At the very outset, we pay our homage to the people of Turkey who have lost their lives in the recent brutal bomb attacks in Ankara and other places. We salute the fighting people who are not only braving such attacks, but also defying them to express and register their protest against the policies of the Turkish government. We take this opportunity to salute the working class of Turkey and other toiling sections for resisting the governmental repression.
What is happening in Turkey, in fact, is a reflection of the reality we are facing in many of our countries. Of course, being on the 'borderline' of one of the 'hottest' spots on the globe – West Asia – with imperialist policies of intervention and aggression in the sovereign affairs of countries, Turkey is experiencing much more, than many of us are. All these factors strengthen the raison d'etre for us gathering here in the 17th IMCWP.
Lenin in his seminal work, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, captures the multifaceted features of imperialism – economic, military and political. Though the present conditions are very different from those that were existing during Lenin's times, his analysis and characterisation of imperialism still stands good. The war in Syria, the recently concluded economic treaty Trans-Pacific Partnership (which is awaiting the nod of respective Congresses) and the attempts to coerce into concluding the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) all vindicate Lenin's analysis.
Since 1980, the United States has intervened in the affairs of fourteen countries, at worst invading or bombing them. They are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Bahrain, Sudan, Kosovo, Yemen, and now Syria. According to a report published by the US Congressional Research Service, that country has sent over $7.7 billion worth of 'military aid' to the rebels in Syria since 2011. William D Hartung, director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, states that under the Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama's first five years in office as president of the US, more than $169 billion worth of arms were sold. Tellingly, this exceeds the arms sales approved by 'war monger' Bush in his eight years in office, by nearly $30 billion. Importantly, over 60 percent of these arms sold by the US in this period by Obama's administration were to West Asia. A classified report of the US Defence Intelligence Agency DIA (August 12, 2012), states: “the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI (Al- Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria, supported by the West, Gulf countries and Turkey”.
The link between military intervention, war and big corporates is nowhere more explicitly visible than in Syria. In 2009 a report published by the Brookings Institution stated that it is necessary for the US to 'deconstruct' Syria, to ultimately capture the prize in the region – Iran. Accordingly, the war was started in 2011. Brookings Institution, we should note here, is sponsored by: giant finance companies like JP Morgan Chase Co., Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, State Farm, MetLife and GEICO; defence companies like General Electric, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon; telecom giants like Comcast, Google, Facebook, AT&T and Verizon; oil conglomerates like Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, British Petroleum and Shell and the renowned Pepsi and Coca Cola. So it is these corporations and their vested interests that are driving the conflict in Syria and the entire West Asian region, for obvious reasons – control over resources and profit maximisation.
Control over resources and markets becomes all the more important for imperialism in these times of systemic crises. Capitalism is so deep in crisis that it is finding it very difficult to come out of it, despite the best of its efforts. Imperialist financial agencies like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) too are forced to concede as much. IMF, in its recently released Report on World Economic Outlook, October 2015 states: “global factors – and country-specific developments – point to a somewhat weaker recovery in 2015 and 2016 than previously envisaged, and to higher downside risks...Global growth declined in the first half of 2015, reflecting a further slowdown in emerging markets and a weaker recovery in advanced economies. It is now projected at 3.1 percent for 2015 as a whole, slightly lower than in 2014...Global industrial production remained weak through 2014, consistent with the uneven strength in demand across major economies and groups of countries, and slowed markedly over the course of the first half of 2015, reflecting some building of inventories in late 2014 and early 2015...World trade volumes also slowed in the first half of 2015...both output growth and employment growth were much weaker in the period 2008–14... the low rate of output growth implies that unemployment is still high...”
All these, clearly negate the claims of the ruling classes that 'the world is out of the crisis' and point out to the deep-rooted and systemic nature of the crisis. The global growth rate projection of the IMF, 3.1 percent, is just 0.1 percent above the official threshold, from being declared as in 'recession'. There are other worrying factors too: According to JP Morgan Chase: “Corporate debt levels have ballooned to the point where a number of large multinationals, those big enough to be of systemic risk, look in danger of default. Corporate debt is up, by about $1 trillion in the seven years since the financial crisis. At the end of second quarter, 62 percent of all companies had twice as much debt as cash flow from their operations. That’s up from 31 percent in the first quarter of 2006. The volume of corporate loans outstanding is now 14 percent higher than it was before the financial crisis...Despite poor levels of economic growth over the last few years, massive bubbles have been building in global stock markets”. So, we are staring at another 'balloon to burst', just as it did in 2008.
Here, we also want to extend our support to the call given by Commandante Fidel Castro for the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction. The monies spent on such weapons, if put to the use of human well-being will eradicate hunger, malnourishment, poverty, illiteracy and environmental degradation. But of course, the capitalists are not interested in this, because of their class character.
As Communists, we might feel that it is good for the bubbles to burst. But we should not be oblivious to the fact that the ruling classes try to shift the burden of the crisis on to the shoulders of the working classes and common people, in order to come out unscathed or at least with minimum losses from the crisis they are staring at. Increased attacks on the welfare measures, rights and gut-wrenching austerity will be implemented with renewed vigour.
The neo-liberal economic policies implemented in this phase of capitalist development are increasing all kinds of inequalities in the world. The 80 wealthiest people in the world altogether own $1.9 trillion, nearly the same amount shared by the 3.5 billion people, who occupy the bottom half of the world’s income scale. (Last year, it took 85 billionaires to equal that figure) And the richest one percent of the population, control nearly half of the world’s total wealth, a share that is also increasing. In almost all countries, the mean wealth of the top decile (ie, wealthiest 10 percent) is more than ten times the median wealth; and for the top one percent, it exceeds 100 times the median wealth in many countries and can approach 1000 times the median, in the most unequal nations.
As Marx had stated in the Capital: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, ie, on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital” (Volume I, Page 645). In this very process of capitalist production, Marx wrote, “grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organised” (Capital, Volume I, Page 763). Further: “Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point, where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated”. (Marx, Capital, Volume I, Page 763)
But as Marx himself and subsequently Lenin had taught us, capitalism does not collapse on its own, it needs to be overthrown. It is our task, Communists', to ensure that the death knell of capitalism is sounded. This needs conscious efforts from us, to rouse the political consciousness of the people, organise them and lead the struggle for social transformation. This, as history has taught us is not an easy path. We have to counter, resist and fight against all sorts of ruling class designs that intend to preserve the status quo of their class rule.
One facet in the efforts of the ruling classes to preserve the status quo of their hegemony is, by encouraging the right-wing, fundamentalist and fascist forces to channelise the growing discontent among the people into sectarian movements. These forces try to attract the masses by demagogically appealing to “their most urgent needs and demands”. As Dimitrov has pointed out, they inflame the “prejudices that are deeply ingrained in the masses...play on the better sentiments of the masses, on their sense of justice and sometimes even on their revolutionary traditions. Fascism aims at the most unbridled exploitation of the masses, but it approaches them with the most artful anti-capitalist demagogy, taking advantage of the deep hatred of the working people against the plundering bourgeoisie, the banks, trusts and financial magnates, and advancing those slogans which at the given moment are most alluring to the politically immature masses. Fascism delivers up the people to be devoured by the most corrupt and venal elements, but comes before them with the demand for 'an honest and incorruptible government'. Speculating on the profound disillusionment of the masses in bourgeois-democratic governments, fascism hypocritically denounces corruption”.
The present-day developments in various countries, where the ruling parties are implementing the finance capital dictated, neo-liberal economic policies, testify to the relevance of these observations made by Dimitrov. Ruling parties, as representatives of the ruling classes and irrespective of their political positions – social democrat or conservative – are more than eager to implement similar economic policies. People are hence getting disillusioned with these parties and their politics. It is on this disillusionment that the fascistic forces are trying to feed and grow in strength.
Imperialism will seek to utilise the present refugee crisis, for which it is responsible in the first place, to further sow dissensions in the ranks of the working class. It is the policies of the domestic ruling classes and imperialism, which are responsible for the migration and refugee crisis that we are witnessing today. The ruling classes wantonly try to hide this fact beneath a layer of lies and escape from their responsibility. Moreover, they will use the situation to spread hatred and animosity among people on the basis of their regional, ethnic and religious identities. This again provides a fertile ground for all sorts of divisive and fascistic organisations to raise their head.
It is our task as Communists, to expose the real class character of these divisive forces, the ruling classes behind them, and ensure that people do not get misled by their propaganda. Dimitrov, squarely puts the onus of resisting the growth of fascist, right-wing forces on the Communists and working class. He states: “That the victory of fascism can be prevented, depends first and foremost on the militant activity of the working class itself...By establishing its fighting unity, the proletariat would paralyse the influence of fascism over the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, the youth and the intelligentsia...it depends on the existence of a strong revolutionary party, correctly leading the struggle of the working people...it depends on a correct policy of the working class towards the peasantry and the petty-bourgeois masses of the towns...it depends on the vigilance and timely action of the revolutionary proletariat”. (Dimitrov, Report Before the Seventh World Congress of Communist International, Selected Works, Volume II )
In the recent period, with the assumption of power by the right-wing BJP, in India too we are witnessing rising intolerance, sectarian attacks and growth of religious fundamentalist forces. Democratic institutions and hard won rights of the workers are under attack. Sectarian strife, on the basis of religion and caste, is fomented to create divisions within the society and thus break the unity of the toiling sections. On the other hand, doors are opened for finance capital to further penetrate and exploit the Indian economy. In the recently concluded Party Congress, the CPI(M) had concluded that the fight against fundamentalist forces and the fight against neo-liberal policies has to be waged hand-in-hand, by strengthening the Party and building the unity of Left and Democratic forces.
The strategies and forms of struggle against capital and exploitation, varies in our respective countries depending on the concrete social, political, economic conditions and the consciousness levels of the working class and the strength of their vanguard party. Even the struggle against fascism and right-wing forces depends on the concrete situation in our countries, as the development of fascism assumes “different forms in different countries, according to historical, social and economic conditions and to the national peculiarities, and the international position of the given country” (Dimitrov).
In spite of all these differences, we are all bound together by our adherence to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which is a science, not a dogma to be blindly copied and implemented in a similar fashion everywhere. As Lenin had taught us, concrete analysis of concrete conditions is the living essence of dialectics. Our exchange of experiences here in the International Meetings, helps us in learning the concrete realities in our respective countries, identify the commonalities, respect the particularities and formulate strategies accordingly, to achieve socialism.
Let us conclude, by quoting Lenin, the leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution, whose centenary we are going to celebrate shortly: “Communists should know that the future, at any rate, belongs to them; therefore we can and must combine the most intense passion in the great revolutionary struggle with the coolest and most sober evaluation of the mad ravings of the bourgeoisie”. (Lenin, "Left-Wing" Communism: An Infantile Disorder, Collected Works, Volume 31)
In these times of imperialism and predatory capitalism which had created a hopeless world, allow me to quote Nizim Hikmet, the great revolutionary poet from this land:
“The great humanity has no shade on his soil/No lamp on his road, no glass on his window/but the great humanity has hope”.
We cannot live without hope. Let us not forget, 'we have a world to win'!
Communist Party of India (Marxist)