On behalf of the Central Committee of AKEL, I would like to thank the Portuguese Communist Party for the invitation and for taking up the initiative to host this year’s International Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties. Our discussion on the dangers and potentialities of the international situation is essential, not only for understanding and exchanging views among our Parties, but also for discussing possible common practical responses to the challenges posed to the peoples of the world by the current imperialist strategies.
The Communist and Worker’s Parties need to elaborate thoroughly on these issues but at the same time we need to be able to provide our peoples with concrete proposals for action and resistance. We struggle together with the working people in each country for enhancing the working and living conditions for the benefit of the working class and the lower social strata, but at the same time our strategic goal and vision is a socialist future.
During the last years we are experiencing the restructuring process of imperialist forces, as it has been taking place since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and existing socialism in Europe. The fundamental political and military reformations of this process have led to the dominance of the United States as the sole superpower in the world. Under these circumstances, there has been increased imperial aggressiveness, arrogance and cynicism, leading humanity to new wars, violence and exploitation. This new era of barbarity, characterises the international situation today.
When the Cold War ended the world was left to the mercy of the consequences of American domination. The first example was the war in the Gulf, through which it was demonstrated that in the New Order, the USA would not tolerate countries that opposed to the American hegemony, particularly in those areas of the world where significant geo-political interests and access to petrol deposits and energy routes are at stake. Through the promotion of the US geo-strategic interests, the “New World Order” serves of course the interests of the oligarchy and of the monopolies.
The imperialist character of the “New World Order” has been demonstrated in the most evident way through the NATO raid against Yugoslavia, the invasion and continuous occupation of Iraq, the recent Israeli raid against Lebanon and so many other tragic examples. The overarching principle of these wars is the enforcement of the “right of the mighty”, ignoring international law and the very value of human life. The United Nations Organisation is constantly being undermined in order to render it a mere tool for promoting and implementing the strategic plans of the US and their allies.
The general principles of International Law, as these have been formed and developed since the end of the Second World War, are disregarded in the most arrogant way, as if humanity has not suffered enough from imperialist wars. The “pre-emptive war dogma”, which constitutes a declared NATO policy since 2000, does not of course aim in preventing human losses or combating terrorism. It is a dogma aiming in legitimising the illegal and arbitrary wars conducted by the US and their allies in order to pursue their own interests. The serious attacks against international legality, against the independence and sovereignty of states and against world peace intend to transform the present character of the international system. The US wants to be able to conduct its foreign policy without any restrictions deriving from International Law or from the will of the peoples actually concerned.
The promotion of “democracy”, according to their usual rhetoric, goes hand in hand with the promotion of free market, allowing thus the simultaneous promotion of both political and economic aims. The way the US and their allies understand and promote democracy, constitute nothing else but the establishment of governments that will obey to the American demands. This distorted understanding of democracy was clearly expressed after the result of the last legislative elections in Palestine. The democratic choice of the Palestinians was not accepted by the US and the EU because the electoral result, which gave victory to Hamas, did not comply with their own aspirations. Instead of reflecting on the reasons leading to this electoral result, their answer was to punish the Palestinian people for their choice. Restricting aid, stopping cooperation with the Palestinian government and murdering civilians, as the Zionists have done once more, two days ago, by killing eighteen innocent persons, is only leading to further radicalisation and desperation of the Palestinian people.
Similarly, the so-called democratisation of Iraq through the American-led war was a tragic failure, resulting in total chaos throughout the country and leading its people in civil war. The current situation in Iraq and the continuous occupation of the country serves the ultimate interest of the US for weak national sovereignty instead of a powerful central authority in Iraq. However, the inability to establish stability in the post-war Iraq and the resistance of the Iraqi people against foreign occupation demonstrate the failure of the American intervention, which instead of promoting peace and long-term stability as they claimed that it would happen, generate violence and bloodshed. The illegal and arbitrary war in Iraq has caused mass reactions by the world peace movement and also by every progressive person in the planet.
Similar reaction followed the Israeli war against Lebanon and Palestine this summer. The criminal policy of Israel, which resulted in the death of thousands of people and the destruction of vital infrastructure, was conducted with the support of the US and the hypocritical “equidistance” approach of the EU. No viable future for the whole region can be achieved as long as Israel is allowed to conduct its aggressive policy. There cannot be peace without justice and sustainable solution for the Middle East problem.
The peoples of the Middle East have been the victims of foreign intervention since European colonialism. Today, they are the victims of mainly American interference. Threats against Iran and Syria cannot be seen separately from the wider US strategic planning’s, as demonstrated through the “Greater Middle East Project”. This project describes the increased American interest in the region, where the control of petrol pipes and energy routes is at stake.
In our analysis of the international situation one cannot ignore the direct or indirect influence of what is called the energy issue. The race for the strategic control of international energy resources has become a top priority with serious security implications: developed countries see themselves more and more externally depended, while China and India gain more and more access in oil and gas in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa. This is seen as a serious threat by the US and the EU. The race for energy and the control over natural resources will determine to a great extend the shaping of the balance of powers in the world.
However, what worries us the most is the impact of this race over the peoples of the world. The last period’s huge increase in the oil price, caused by the imperialists, has already affected negatively the working class and poorest countries in all over the world.
The control over energy resources constitutes nothing more but exploitation of the natural resources of poor countries for the benefit of the rich ones and their multinational companies. It is not strange that the rich energy resources of some countries have proved a great misfortune for them, since the people of these countries not only they do not benefit from them, but they become victims of exploitation, for example ethnic conflicts are financed in the effort to gain control of a country’s energy resources.
At this point allow me to say that my country has been and still is suffering from imperialistic interventions, which are in many ways connected with the extremely important oil interests of the USA in the Middle East region. From one hand, Cyprus geo-strategical position, which derives from it’s neighbouring with the Middle East and from the other hand, the role given to Turkey by the US as a guard for its interests in the region amongst with Israel, has lead to the victimised of Cyprus with the military invasion of Turkey in 1974 and the continuous occupation of the 36% of the territory of the island.
Concluding on the energy issue, it is our strong belief that the utilisation and export of oil can be managed in a different way, if the aim is to serve the interests of the people and not of the monopolies. Venezuela’s different policy of selling oil at lower price proves in practise that there is possibility for a different management of international oil market.
The lowering of the red flag with the hammer and sickle from the Kremlin has been interpreted by many as signifying the end of communism. They were in a rush to issue the death certificate of socialist ideals and the communist idea. They were in a rush to bury Marx and Lenin in the scrapheap of history and in the basements of museums. They talked about the end of history and concluded that capitalism is the everlasting fate of humanity.
With the break-up of the Soviet Union and the community of socialist countries in Europe the international progressive movement received a very powerful blow. The wheel of history went backwards in time. Capitalism was victorious, but its victory was short lived. It did not win the war. The wheel of history however cannot continuously turn back to the past. It will once again move forward. This is the general law of human society.
History has begun once again. We would say that it has begun again to experience birth pangs. The birthing process will be long and the pain strong and torturous. The pot once again is beginning to warm up. However in order for this cauldron to boil, more wood will need to be put into the fire. For the wheel of history to advance forward millions of people will need to move into action. This wheel of history will once again take its path in a progressive direction. The Left, and especially the Marxist Left, is called upon to play in the current contemporary conditions its pioneering and leading role. It is called upon to organise, inspire and guide the working people in new struggles. Along and together with the working people it is called upon to rally the middle strata and the progressive intelligentsia. It has the duty to rally and mobilise all those social forces that are situated on the opposite side of the ruling class and of monopolistic and multinational capital.
In an age when imperialism harnesses all its aggressiveness, establishes unholy alliances, wages wars of invasion, is behaving with utter contempt by flagrantly violating every principle of law, at a time when neo-liberalism through the vehicle of the globalisation of the multi-national companies and the monopolies is sweeping across every corner of our planet, the democratic, progressive forces of the world have only one choice before them:
To continue and even reinforce their class, ideological and political struggles in their own countries, as the safeguarding of the rights of the working class, up to a great extend, is still given in national level. The examples of this reality are in numerous, in the international arena.
Thus, it is our duty to provide our people and our countries with true and realisable alternatives which improve their every day life and at the same time constitute a real break with the capitalist system. It is our duty to seek for cooperation with other political forces as we have great traditions in the formation of popular coalitions. On a national level the social and political balance of powers determines the possibility of the communist and workers parties to intervene and determine specific policies for the benefit of the working people.
As AKEL, our ten years experience of right wing government in Cyprus has proved our ability to resist and stop the anti-peoples policies which intended to sell out the semi-governmental organisations, to minimise the welfare state and to attack the achievements of the working class. Now that our Party participates in a governmental coalition with other political forces, we have achieve better preconditions for safeguarding and further promoting of the social achievements of the Cyprus people, even if we are acting in the hostile, neo-liberal, reactionary environment of the E.U that certainly generates strict limitations that we cannot overcome. Nevertheless this reactionary framework did not stop the immediate rejection by the government of the proposals included in this weeks IMF report for the Cyprus Economy, like for example the undermining of the institution of automatic inflation readjustment
Of course, the specific conditions in each of our countries are different, so different choices and tactics may be suitable in each case.
At the same time communist left has to develop and enhance international solidarity and coordinate their activity. Through the struggles of the peoples, the coordination of the struggle and the international unity and solidarity between these forces, we can constrain and block the war-mongering plans of imperialism and to repel the neo-liberal storm.
This solidarity is necessary and must be developed first of all for reasons of self-defence: in order to finally and irrevocably stop the implementation of the ideas, measures and directives which seek to ban and prohibit the Communist Parties. Measures and directives, that show how much capitalists still fear the socialist ideals and communist parties and feel threatened by them.
We need international solidarity to resolutely defend the democratic gains and the rights of working people and in order to tackle the criminal "new world order" and neo-liberalism.
International solidarity is needed to support the struggling peoples of the heroic Cuba and Palestine, as well as all the peoples who are fighting for their national independence and dignity.
International solidarity is needed so that we can support the peoples of Latin America which at this time, through their example, are opening up new paths for the revolutionary perspective.
The hopeful experience of Latin America by the growing radicalization of the continent, the up-growing resistance of the peoples and the working class against imperialism and war, against neo-liberalism and capitalism, the up going class struggles with successful results in many cases around the world goes together with the up growing contradictions and the deadlocks, that derives from the very same nature of capitalism.
This is why, regardless the great difficulties we acknowledge that exists; we are certain that the future of humanity can not and will not be the capitalistic barbarity.
We are optimistic that, sooner or later, the peoples and the working class victory will come with their struggles and humanity at the end will pave the way of world peace, democracy, social justice, solidarity and socialism.
Intervention by G. Loukaides,
Member of the Central Committee, Head of the Education Bureau of AKEL