The following parties participated in the Teleconference: Party of Labour of Austria, Union of Communists in Bulgaria, Socialist Workers' Party of Croatia, Communist Party in Denmark, Communist Workers' Party - For Peace and Socialism (Finland), Communist Revolutionary Party of France, Pole for the Communist Revival in France, Unified Communist Party of Georgia, Communist Party of Greece, Hungarian Workers' Party, Communist Party, Italy, Socialist Party of Latvia, Communist Party of Norway, Communist Party of Poland, Russian Communist Workers Party, Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, Communist Party of Sweden, Communist Party of Turkey, Union of Communists of Ukraine.
Τhe Teleconference discussed and approved the Introductory Speech of the Secretariat of the ECI.
The full plenum of the ECI discussed a number of organizational issues and approved the new composition of the Secretariat which will include the following parties: Party of Labour of Austria, Communist Party of Greece, Hungarian Workers' Party, Communist Party, Italy, Socialist Party of Latvia, Communist Party of Poland, Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, Communist Party of Sweden, Communist Party of Turkey.
The Introductory Speech of the Secretariat was presented by Kostas Papadakis, member of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and MEP.
The founding and the course of the "European Communist Initiative" is a step towards the necessary effort to coordinate the struggle of the communist parties.
The compass of our action is Marxism-Leninism and we must constantly make greater effort to acquire our worldview as a basis to analyze the developments, as a tool to struggle for world change, for the overthrow of capitalist barbarity and the construction of socialism – communism.
We are struggling in the era of imperialism, the final stage of capitalism, in which monopolies and the stock companies prevail, and the material preconditions for socialism have matured.
Since the arising of the first indexes of the pandemic, until today, we have witnessed the large issues and contradictions the capitalist system is having. A system within its framework we are carrying out our political work. These problems are split into the social, economic and political spheres of each country, and they have dire outcomes for the working class.
If we specifically approach the pandemic and public health situation, a constant is observed in most of the capitalist countries:
The anti-popular policy followed in the last decades has left a diminished public health system, unable to answer to the requirements of the ensemble of the population and collapsed after the arrival of COVID-19. Today, it is as evident as it was in March-May that there is a lack of facilities, means and health workers with worthy labor conditions to be able to face all the needs caused by this second wave, as well as any other kind of illness to which the "one-disease" hospitals in capitalism cannot respond.
Even though this second wave was announced in advance, there has not been a timely and substantive preparation to face the outbreak of the pandemic and the increase in the number of cases.
All these past months, the only concern of the various capitalist governments has been the management of the pandemic aiming at maintaining production and other economic activities without taking any measure to protect workers, to benefit summer and winter tourist season and the profitability of the business groups, even at the expense of the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deceases. In the last weeks, most of the countries have increased the toughness of their measures in view of the alarming data of the rise in the number of cases, which are putting hospitals under an insupportable level of pressure. These measures generally match in one point: home confinements and curfews, while displacements due to work are allowed but without any measure of protection in the public means of transport. All of this is in the line already started in March: taking decisions and measures to secure the interests of the capitalists and the big companies.
This is why the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the Initiative stress that, against the dilemma between health and capitalist profitability, the bourgeois governments are clearly staking for the second choice. These measures prove that capitalist governments – whether social-democratic or liberal – are committed to safeguarding the interests of the employers. It is proved in practice that no capitalist government is going to take real measures in defense of the life and health of the working- popular majority.
The prospect of vaccines is a factor that will contribute to tackle the pandemic, provided it is safe and effective. But such a thing - as many scientists have already stated - will not able to fill the huge gaps in public health systems due to the EU strategy of private financial operation of hospitals and the commodification of health, which led to millions of deaths.
The big pharmaceutical groups under EU mediation are in fierce competition with each other, concealing valuable scientific data from each other, depriving them of the timely exchange of scientific data that could improve the efficacy and safety and speed up the availability of vaccines. The people of Europe must demand that a safe and effective vaccine will be made available to all free of charge, without direct or indirect charge or discrimination.
In addition, we demand the requisition of the private healthcare system without compensation, in order to put all these resources at the service of collective needs.
To prioritize the shielding of public health systems, their equipment and staffing with permanent personnel, with decent salaries and rights, continuing the struggle for a 100% free and public healthcare system.
We would like to highlight the fact that under these circumstances, the example of Cuba, the supremacy of its health system, as well as its internationalist attitude, which is confirmed by the campaign to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Cuban doctors, stood out.
Today, we are facing a capitalist economic crisis that results in a violent setback to the overall living and working conditions of the working class. What we are witnessing is not the crisis of neoliberalism but directly of capitalism itself. In this mentioned period, the capitalists have made great profits all around the world while the working classes have lost most of their achievements. Nevertheless, capitalism cannot escape from crises not because of neoliberal policies but because of such characteristics, intrinsic to this obsolete social order.
It is also similarly misleading to relate the existing pandemic with the crisis that has impacted all the capitalist countries, though in different scales, which is essentially the consequence of the overaccumulation of capital. Although it is true that the pandemic has deepened the crisis in some ways, the crisis did not stem from the pandemic. Moreover, capitalism is using the pandemic as a tool in order to manage the crisis, even to create new opportunities.
It is also necessary to carefully examine the assumption that the social problems that the pandemic has clearly revealed, which have inevitably brought about concern to the people, would accelerate the capitalist-imperialist system’s intention to renovate itself. It is the common characteristic of the new left, particularly of social democracy, to whitewash the social order and the capitalist class whilst putting the blame of the current situation only on the governments and some certain economic policies.
Although we can observe different variations of this approach in all countries, the essence never changes since it aims at keeping the working class away from an independent political line against capital. Today, as a tendency, some suggest and advocate much more state interventions in the economies as a so-called product of the struggle for social justice. It is apparent that most governments have been making preparations in this direction, support increasing state interventions and portray it as reawakening of the "social state" (as can be seen in Europe and North America).
These proposals cannot alleviate or ease the burden of the toiling people. It is apparent that the intervention of the state, and even nationalizations in some examples, will lead to a new process of strengthening monopolies, while unemployment will obviously be one of the most important results of these developments.
Capitalists are increasing the oppression against working-popular strata. Common examples to that are the expansion of flexible production model, which the capitalists have been pushing since a long while, unpaid leaves, arbitrary lay-offs, abuse of immigrant workers by low-wage policies, the restriction of political and cultural life, and the obstruction of channels for searching one’s own rights under the pretext of the pandemic. In addition to this, one should not forget that the handing over of education, one of the most important public services, into the hands of the market, and especially to remote educational practices that have been accelerated during the pandemic, have negative consequences to toiling families.
Under these conditions:
The whole burden of the crisis will fall on the working people and we must have a firm, determined, and vigilant attitude against the efforts made to entrap the working class of solutions within the boundaries of the existing social order. History shows that the working class began to gain more rights and achievements once the struggle for a different social system, for socialism, was strengthened. Part of these achievements are the outcomes of the direct or indirect influence of the socialist foundation processes following the October Revolution. It is no coincidence that the situation of the working class worsened all over the world after the counter-revolution of the late 1980s.
In this respect, the relationship between the organizations for economical struggle and the political organizations of the working class is gaining importance. Institutional, bureaucratic trade-unionism that is reduced to bargaining for wages does no longer have any credibility among working masses. For this reason, the class-oriented movement should develop militant, dynamic forms of struggle, in contrast to employer and government-led trade unionism, aiming to combine the contemporary demands of the working class with its historical goals. The example of PAME in Greece has a historical meaning in this regard. The newly founded Unity Trade Union of Turkey, which is rapidly recruiting new members, can also become an example of such creative forms.
In the coming period one of issues that the communist movement needs to emphasize most is to develop more influential tools to organize and activate the unemployed masses that are to increase. Without doubt, the most attention should be paid on the resistances against the massive lay-offs. The struggle against auctions, confiscations, benefit cutbacks etc.
Another issue is the situation of immigrant workers. Immigrant workers are an unbreakable part of the working class and for the communists, their support is not only a humanely and moral responsibility for communists but it is also an part of revolutionary action, of the efforts for the unity of the working class.
The pandemic has increased the oppression on women workers in many countries. During the times when schools and daycare centers were closed, the burden of housework on the shoulders of women increased and many women had to leave their jobs. Unemployment rises among women. Moreover, practices such as working from home result in a backward tendency for the roles of women within social life. On top of this, when we consider violence against women, such as mobbing, harassment and rapes, which has become the reality of the whole world, we can see that we have entered a particularly critical period regarding the recruitment of women workers.
For the communist movement, the only way-out against the practices seeking to embellish the bourgeois state is to to intensify the criticism and struggle against capitalism, the concrete support of the necessity and timeliness of socialism, and the explaining of the real role and results of bourgeois nationalization and similar policies that once again put the burden on the workers' shoulders in a different way. A big opportunity is arising for the communists to develop an aggressive defense of social ownership, the central scientific planning of the economy and workers' power.
We focus our attention and intensify our struggle against anti-communism and the suppression of popular struggles. The EU and bourgeois governments are promoting bans, prosecutions, arrests, and drastic restrictions on the right to strike, on demonstration and trade union action. Following the same direction, anti-communism is escalating in countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, etc.
This is because, in fact, bourgeoisies feel the potential of the working class, in alliance with the other popular strata, to oppose the current capitalist barbarism and to create the conditions for workers' and people's counterattack.
From this forum, we want to stress that employees wear masks to protect themselves and not to be silenced, which is why in these very special circumstances they organize militant interventions and demands, taking of course all the necessary protection measures. Of particular importance is the activity developed by the parties of the ECI, with their special contribution in the face of general strikes, strikes of healthcare workers, workers in super markets, interventions in public transport but also on May 1 and May 9. We denounce the government's ban on rallies aimed at crashing the workers'-people's movement in a number of countries, as well as the recent brutal suppression organized by the ND government that tool place in Greece on November 17 and led to injuries and arrests.
One of the most crucial issues is to acquire the Leninist theory on Imperialism. The starting point is the birth and development of monopolies, the participation of each capitalist state in the imperialist system according to its economic, political and military power, the constant effort of the bourgeoisies to enhance their geostrategic interests through relations of uneven interdependence and imperialist competition.
This competition, which is also manifested within the imperialist alliances, concerns the control of the markets, the wealth-producing resources and energy pipelines, digital technology, 5G networks and the so-called green growth, in general the economy and military equipment; it encompasses the COVID vaccines and overall it plays a crucial role in shaping the conditions for imperialist wars.
The imperialist intervention in Syria and Libya in 2011 to control energy resources and pipelines had painful consequences. Imperialist wars have led to waves of millions of refugees and immigrants.
We have assessed the criminal role of the US, NATO, the EU against the peoples, the responsibilities they bear for dozens of interventions and wars, including the wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Ukraine.
Today, the confrontation between the USA and China is intensifying. It is strongly manifested in the Asia-Pacific region and is expanding internationally, in all places where the US interests meet with the so-called Chinese Silk Road, to promote the interests of Chinese monopolies.
The EU, as an imperialist transnational union, is expanding its activities to promote the interests of European monopolies; it strengthens its military infrastructure and, amidst contradictions, maintains strong relations with the USA and China.
Competition between the US, NATO, the EU and Russia is sharpening in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the Balkans and the Black Sea. US-NATO forces are being promoted to encircle Russia from many sides. Military infrastructure throughout Europe is being utilized.
The ceasefire agreement in the Azerbaijan-Armenia war with the intervention of Russia and the presence of Russian military forces is fragile and the Caucasus region is moving in the throes of intense contradictions which also include the Caspian Sea region.
The Persian Gulf remains an active hotbed. Iran is being targeted by the United States, NATO and Israel, which is killing the Palestinian people.
The situation in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean poses risks even for a military conflict. The competition between the Greek and Turkish bourgeoisies is sharpening and in this context the Turkish bourgeoisie exploits its economic and military power and intensifies aggression in the wider region, as shown by the unacceptable opening of Varosha in Cyprus, the questioning of borders, the invasion of Syria, the interference in Libya, and Azerbaijan's military support in the war with Armenia.
The expectations raised from the Biden election in the US are false. Republicans and Democrats represent the interests of US monopolies. The wars in Yugoslavia, the Middle East and North Africa were unleashed under the Democrats Clinton and Obama.
Overall, important conclusions are being drawn.
Capitalism in the final stage of imperialism becomes increasingly reactionary and dangerous. Peace agreements bear the marks of more general imperialist arrangements for the sharing out of markets.
Under conditions of capitalist crisis, competition intensifies and the danger of a generalized war becomes real.
This situation highlights the increased role of the CPs and the European Communist Initiative. The communists have the task to enlighten the working class and the peoples, to take the lead in organizing the struggle. The responsibility is great and the CPs will be able to fulfill this responsibility to the extent that they clarify the causes of imperialist wars and educate the peoples in the struggle against the exploitative system and the bourgeoisies.
The communists have the duty to put at the forefront of the struggle the necessity of the joint action of the working class and the peoples, to oppose the dangerous bourgeois calls for "national unity" and conciliation aimed at the integration of the working class and its disarmament.
We all agree that war is a mere continuation of policy by military, violent means and the bourgeoisies, either attacking or in defense, are complicit. The peoples must not trust any bourgeoisie. The communists bear the responsibility to link the struggle for territorial integrity with the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power, by putting forward and raising the appropriate slogans.
The necessity of Socialism is highlighted every day because only workers' power can lead to the abolition of exploitation of man by man and create the conditions for the construction of mutually beneficial relations between states and peoples.
Only in this way will the people be able to utilize the wealth-producing resources for their own benefit in the framework of an economy based on socialized means of production and scientific central planning to meet the people's needs.
These scientific laws are the backbone of socialism and their observance must be rigorous. There is no such thing as socialism with monopolies and capitalist market, with the criterion of profit and the labor force as a commodity. These are building blocks of capitalism, which we are struggling to overthrow.
This is very important because the ECI is called upon to contribute, to the extent of its possibilities, to overcoming the ideological, political and organizational crisis that afflicts the European and international communist movement and bears the marks of counter-revolution and the strong influence of opportunism.
Since we are aware of this great responsibility, we must dispose all our forces to enrich the arsenal of the INITIATIVE. Each CP must align its political program with the demands of class struggle; it must manage to combine revolutionary theory with revolutionary practice, to conquer the role of the vanguard of the working class.
This defines the character of the revolution as a socialist one and calls for resolving the basic contradiction of the system, the contradiction between wage labor and capital.
This goal comes into conflict with the strategy of intermediate stages that leads to the perpetuation of monopoly power and capitalist exploitation; it comes into conflict with approaches regarding the so-called progressive bourgeois and social-democratic governments, with the support or participation of CPs in them, taking responsibility for the anti-popular policy they implement.
We must be vigilant. In many cases, the CP's criticism is directed at neoliberalism, a management version of the system, but in this way social democratic management is whitewashed, illusions are fostered among the people and the INITIATIVE has much to offer on this ideological front.
The struggle is constant. Important goals have been set on the agenda, and the INITIATIVE can make a decisive contribution to the struggle against imperialist wars; To close the US-NATO and all foreign military bases; for the disengagement from imperialist alliances; not to allow the military forces of our countries and other countries in imperialist missions abroad; for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
Based on the above, the ECI in 2021 should develop new initiatives, in the form of joint statements and joint actions:
• Against anti-communism and persecution at the expense of the labor and popular movement.
• Against imperialist interventions and wars.
• Against anti-labor and anti-popular measures, which are imposed to once again put the burdens of the capitalist crisis on the workers' shoulders.
• For measures to protect the health of the peoples and the rights of the working class and the popular strata.
• For the necessity and timeliness of socialism, against capitalist barbarism.
We suggest that the new ECI Secretariat discusses and concludes to a relevant planning of activities based on the above.
initiative-cwpe.org / 902.gr