4th European Communist Meeting on Education

"There is only one historical truth. The one written by the peoples"- Contribution of the PCP by Mauricio Miguel.Brussels, February 5, 2010

Comrades

We would like to thank you for the invitation extended to the PCP to participate in this initiative, and we want to stress the importance of the theme that is being debated, particularly at a time when we are facing an anticommunist offensive in Europe, in which the revision of History, particularly aimed at the new generations, assumes a central role.

As we have stressed, during decisive times in the life of the peoples, like the one we are living today, anticommunism is shamelessly used as a weapon to prevent and block solutions that affect the interests of big capital, and as a way of concealing its responsibility for the social dramas that are flourishing and for the anti-democratic measures that the governments at their service are carrying out, as well as a means to avoid the projection of the political alternative for which the Communists organize and fight, namely among the youth.
Hence the series of revolting initiatives, such as the resolutions “Need for the international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes” by the Council of Europe, “European conscience and totalitarianism” by the European Parliament or “Divided Europe reunited: promoting human rights and civil liberties in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe in the 21st. century” by the OSCE. They are none other than operations of distortion of the historical truth, carried out by reactionary and revanchist forces, the same forces that were defeated in World War II.

With this dangerous anticommunist offensive they attempt to erase the roots and causes of fascism in Europe, trying to conceal that Nazi-fascism was the form of State organization to which capitalism resorted (and will always resort if it needs or can) in times of crisis, to ensure its domination and ensure the exploitation of the workers and the people. With the present anticommunist revision of History they aim to conceal those who, without ever yielding or wavering, were always at the forefront and contributed most for the defeat of Nazi-fascism, that is, the USSR and the communists and working-class movement.

The present anticommunist campaign is closely associated with the rehabilitation of Nazi-fascism. In Portugal, for example, during the past two years there was a attempt to bring out the “human side” of Salazar and Caetano, and we witness theoretical elaborations and speculations that question the fascist nature of the 48 years of dictatorship in our country. At the same time, there are initiatives that omit or distort the outstanding and irreplaceable role of the Communists in the anti-fascist resistance and in winning freedom, democracy and national independence, peace.

This persistent attack against the Communists, two decades after the defeats of socialism in the Eastern European countries is, not just a warning to the dangers inherent in the quick advance of militarism and interventionism and the attacks against fundamental freedoms and rights. In truth, it is also a sign of weakness of the capitalist system and its historical limits.

Comrades,

Although we do not have an analysis on the historical revisionism of the educational system in Portugal concerning World War II, we shall try to contribute to the debate with some remarks.
We know that the rise of fascisms in Europe appears in a context of economic crisis, and in response to the upsurge of revolutionary movements, parties and situations, inspired by the October Revolution, in countries like Germany, Hungary or Italy.
Mussolini’s fascism, from its very
beginning (1922), is characterized by anticommunism, an all-out attack against the people’s movement and even against bourgeois democracy. In Germany, in 1933, Hitler’s Nazism appears also due to the permanent crisis of German capitalism. The workers’ movement and the Communists, who had an important electoral influence at the time, became the main victims of Nazism. In this context, German big capital was, obviously, Hitler’s supporter and accomplice. However, most of the European bourgeoisie looked upon Hitler with satisfaction, since they thought that, in a framework of capitalism’s economic crisis, Hitler’s rise could be the solution that could save German capitalism. On the other hand, at a time when the USSR underwent a period of great economic growth and gained important social achievements, which meant a de-legitimization of the capitalist model, the world bourgeoisie welcomed with enthusiasm the territorial expansion and colonization of Eastern Europe, inciting German expansionism. When in 1936, Hitler signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Japan, this did not bother in the least the world bourgeoisie.

In present-day History textbooks, it is said that the “Western democracies reacted very passively” 1 to Germany’s preparation for war, “trying to carry out a policy of appeasement”2. This image of neutrality or an alleged intention of avoiding a war conceals the support and collaborationism of the bourgeois democracies with Hitler, since this was in line with their interest to combat the USSR. For example, the description of the way in which the Munich Treaty was signed always assumes that there was “good faith” by the bourgeois democracies – “believing the promises made by Hitler that after solving the Sudetenland problem there would be no further territorial problems in Europe and thinking that they would satisfy his imperialist ambitions, yielded and signed the Munich Pact, in 1938, accepting the integration of that region within the German borders”4. Actually, what took place was the capitulation by France and England, and the handing over of Czechoslovak territory without consulting its legitimate representatives. And also regarding the Spanish Civil War, the support of European bourgeoisie to Franco is completely omitted in the textbooks. It is said: “respecting the principle of non-interference in international conflicts, they denied support to the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, which helped Franco’s victory and the triumph of totalitarianism in Spain”. But, what should have been written was that England, France and the USA proclaimed their neutrality between a democratically elected government and the fascist putschists. This neutrality does not stand up when Churchill, in July 1937, requests the recognition of the Francoists as the lawful government of Spain.

And, finally, France and England changed their strategic position in relation to Germany when, according to the textbooks, they realized that “they had been cheated”. It is written: “Finally, Hitler’s real intentions were becoming clear”5. But it is not written that the European bourgeoisie had no conflict or opposition to Nazi Germany, regarding fascist political practices and principles, until it turned against their own interests.
As to the Non- Aggression Pact signed between the USSR and Germany in 1939, it is said that Hitler signed it to avoid problems to the East6. With this affirmation, it is implied that Hitler’s main aim was the invasion of Western European countries, when it is well known that the USSR was always Nazism’s prime target and that, precisely due to this, the USSR signed this pact, as a way of protecting itself, after repeatedly trying and having been rejected in its attempts to establish mutual defence treaties with other countries.
And even regarding the contributions to the victory over Nazi-fascism, the decisive role of the Soviets is, to a great extent, minimized, and the contribution of the Communists and popular resistance in the occupied countries is concealed, as in France, where the governments quickly capitulated to Nazism.
Comrades,
Regarding Portugal, the characterizations and interpretations of the 48 years of Fascism in some textbooks also represent a euphemism for the barbarity and cruelty exercised during this long period of fascist dictatorship in our country. The aim is to imply that Fascism did not exist in Portugal, that it was only and authoritarian regime, personified by the leader, a conservative, nationalist, corporative, repressive regime, based upon structures that controlled the masses7. Although it is accepted that there is a gradual adoption of the Italian fascist model, the fact that Salazar’s regime is never called “fascism”, but rather using the official designation – “Estado Novo” (Portuguese for “New State”) – creates an idea of softness, mainly among the younger generations, when compared with “European fascisms”.

The origins of Fascism in Portugal are, also, originally linked to the “implantation of Marxism-Leninism in Russia”. In a review textbook for 12th grade History8, there is an analytical chart which compares the “implantation of Marxism-Leninism in Russia” with the “regression of demo-liberalism” and, thus, with the “consolidation of the “Estado Novo” in Portugal”. This is yet another example of trying to equate Fascism to Communism, with the clear aim of criminalizing and passing judgement on the communist movement. And the ideas are sown, without any room for critical thought, in the different steps of learning.
That is, with anticommunist historical revisionism, namely in the education system, the aim is to equate Communism and Nazism, and thus attempt, on the one hand, to whitewash Nazi-fascism and on the other, to conceal that anti-fascism and anti-capitalism are the very essence of the action and struggle of the Communists, a liberating struggle for which millions of Communists gave their lives.

This ignoble comparison concretely means justifying the oppressor and condemning the oppressed, justifying the torturer and condemning the tortured, justifying the murderer and condemning the murdered, justifying fascist repression and condemning all its victims, justifying Nazi-fascism and condemning those who resisted it.
As we have denounced, today as in the past, they try to criminalize, illegalize, repress, not only the action of the Communists but of all democrats who oppose capitalist domination and exploitation, persecuting and repressing all those who, in one way or another, resist and struggle in an organized manner.
Contrary to what is said by those who surrender to the anticommunist doctrine – which, as history reveals, is always anti-democratic -, it is the enterprise of building a new society that propels the struggle of the Communists, represents the fundamental event of our times, the great stage of human emancipation regarding all other forms of domination and oppression.

As we affirm today, as in the times of Nazi-fascism, no condemnation of the ideal and project can destroy the great certainty of the cause for which the Communists fight, nor the great confidence that the future belongs not to those who oppress and exploit, but to those who struggle in defence of the workers and the peoples; not to those who after decreeing the end of History, believe they can stop it with blows of violence and repression, but to those who resist, organize and fight, making History move forward. The future belongs not to capitalism, but to socialism and communism.

February 2010.

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