We would like to thank the Portuguese Communist Party for the hospitality it has provided in Lisbon, to salute the holding of another meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, and to greet all the delegates here present. This year’s meeting in Lisbon marks a further step in the process of our International Meetings. These international meetings respond to the objective need for all parties to meet, to discuss, to coordinate their efforts and to undertake joint actions in solving the problems created by the imperialist barbarity and aggressiveness that are manifested in all sectors. They respond to the need to work out – to the extent possible – a common strategy to deal with our common problems, to confront the hostile policy towards the working people and the workers’ and communist movement, and to develop our internationalist action and solidarity that arouses, mobilizes and brings results.
Last year’s great Europe-wide campaign against the anti-communist motion in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is an example that proves the effectiveness of joint, coordinated action, as well as the importance of the unyielding defense of the traditions, identity and history of the Communist movement.
Without even for a moment abandoning our action over the urgent problems created by the imperialist war and aggression – especially when the peoples’ standard of living keeps falling, when state repression is being stepped up, when democratic gains and liberties are being restricted and when poverty and hunger are increasing – we must at the same time, in our opinion, expand our discussion and joint action by putting forward the communist alternative, the prospect of socialism.
At this time, realignments are imminent in the international imperialist system. Relations between the two strongest imperialist centers, the USA and the EU become more antagonistic and complex, and contradictions within the ranks of the EU are sharpening. In addition to the imperialist centers and the strongest imperialist powers, other rising capitalist states have also entered the race to be more competitive.
Imperialist aggressiveness is accompanied by more intense struggles, a clearer dispute of the policy of the EU, NATO and other imperialist associations, but also by anti-communism, tough anti-democratic measures, and the revival of opportunist and defeatist currents.
Socialdemocracy, on the one hand, adopts ever more reactionary political positions and, on the other, is actively involved in neutralizing popular demands by confining them within the ever narrower limits imposed by reproduction of the system. The decline of a number of “movements” manipulated by capital and socialdemocracy, irrespective of their influence on certain forces of the left, shows that despite the support of powerful centers and international monopolies, life itself puts limits on the effectiveness of the machinery of manipulation and assimilation.
But unless there is a strong and distinct communist movement capable of leading a strategic counter-attack, the emerging popular movements and radical forces will be more vulnerable to confusion, disorientation and assimilation. This is why we believe in the vital importance of the ideological counter-attack by Communist Parties who believe in the necessity and realism of the struggle to overthrow the capitalist system, for socialism.
The intensity of the contradictions concerns a new allocation of spheres of influence in the control of energy sources, routes and markets in various regions of the planet.
In Europe, the point of dispute during this period is the energy region that includes the former Soviet Republics that have rich deposits of oil and natural gas in their subsoil (such as Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and the Caucasus region in general) and extends to the oil-rich Arab regions including Iraq and Iran.
The Americans want to control these sources and the routes by which petroleum products are transported; at the same time, on the pretext of energy security, they want to limit or isolate the flow of oil and natural gas from the Russian Federation towards the EU. There are strong objections to this by powerful EU countries like Germany, France, Italy and others whose energy needs are directly dependent on Russia.
Intense monopoly competition between vested interests is developing, which embraces the entire region and includes the Balkan countries.
Closely connected with this fact are a number of developments taking place in the Balkans at this time, such as the referendum on the independence of Montenegro from Serbia; the tension observed in determining the so-called final status of Kosovo, which the Americans want to be independent of Serbia; the strong objections observed in Serbia itself; the pressure and arm-twisting exerted on it to accept the secession of the NATO protectorate; and the concerns in all countries of the region, especially FYROM, regarding the possibility of a new round of confrontations and destabilization. This in turn has to do with the position of Turkey and its negotiations for accession to the EU, the position of Greece and that of the Cypriot Republic which, although now a member of the EU, has still not solved the problem of 38% of the island being occupied by the Turkish army, etc.
This brief review is being made to show the complex situation that imperialism has created in the region with its interventions and its crude interference.
The military presence of the US and NATO has increased in all Balkan countries, in terms of both troops and bases. Two of the largest US-NATO bases are in Kosovo and FYROM; new bases have been created in Bulgaria and Romania to supplement those that have existed for years in Greece and Turkey. These bases took an active part in the interventions in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and they are ready for any US or NATO offensive against Iran, Syria, or the Caucasus region.
Here we should add that the participation of the European Union in military missions and occupation forces has increased considerably. Its forces are already in the Balkans, Africa, Afghanistan and Iraq, and now – on the pretext of the unacceptable UN Security Council resolution 1701/2006 on Lebanon – the EU makes up the majority of the so-called peace-keeping force in the region. Behind the “peace-keeping missions” there is, as we all know, Guantanamo and other such places. What this new “peace-keeping” force will try to impose in Lebanon is also more or less known.
We, the KKE, have categorically opposed Greece’s participation in missions of this kind. We demand the return of all Greek military missions, something that is also a more general demand of the movement.
At the same time, in the EU and all over Europe, on the pretext of combating terrorism, reaction all along the line is being stepped up to limit democratic gains and freedoms by passing a tissue of undemocratic laws that regard every citizen as “guilty”, that keep him under surveillance everywhere, and that penalise popular mobilizations and demonstrations, etc.
It is not at all accidental that these measures are accompanied by increased anti-communism through the “anti-communist motion” and the demand that communism be condemned ideologically and politically, by persecutions and trials of communists, and by outlawing communist parties, the most recent unacceptable action being to outlaw the Communist Youth of the Czech Republic. The reason given for banning the Czech Communist Youth Movement – i.e. that it disputes private ownership of the means of production and promotes the need for their socialization – shows how dangerous it is to accept fatalistically the limits of bourgeois legality and to make the ideological and political concessions to the class enemy that are being promoted by the forces of opportunism and the European Left party, as expressed by the leading forces of this formation.
There is also the absurd effort being made by imperialist propaganda to identify Fascism-Nazism (i.e. the open dictatorship of monopoly capital) with Communism (the free development of every person’s personality by abolishing the exploitation of man by man). Despite the fact that the despicable motion condemning communism failed to pass, owing to the mass mobilization and coordination of Communist and Workers’ parties in sensitizing democratic public opinion, a number of governments, such as that of the Czech Republic, have taken measures such as the ban on the Czech Communist Youth, or that of some Baltic states which regard the Nazi army as liberators and erect monuments to them. In the European Parliament as well, unacceptable resolutions have been tabled against Cuba, the People’s Republic of Korea and other countries that resist the imperialist world order; and these resolutions are passed by representatives of left and progressive parties. In our view, also bear responsibility all those who consent to such actions, or who appear to underestimate anti-communism and its manifestations, which also arouse an upsurge of ultra right and reactionary political forces in Europe.
It is not accidental either that conflicts are growing in the EU between its leading forces; its imbalance is growing and the Union itself is facing a crisis of orientation as it is called, with large-scale unemployment, with a decline in the standard of living and expectations of the working strata in comparison to what was promised, and with the failure to acquire the so-called Constitution, precisely because of the intensified resistance and mobilization of popular mass movements, achieved through the active contribution of our Communist and Workers’ parties.
These developments underscore the need to better coordinate our actions, common initiatives and internationalist solidarity.
Ahead of us we have the next NATO summit meeting that will take place in Riga this month (November) where US imperialism will push for the creation of a global NATO, by expanding it to include countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan, based on models of alliances with countries in Central and Eastern Europe that then led to their joining the North Atlantic Treaty. An attempt is likewise being made to extend NATO further to countries in the Mediterranean, Africa and South America.
The developments taking place in several Latin American countries cause worries to the imperialists. For all the peoples, and especially for the peoples of the region, there is the shining example of Socialist Cuba, which US imperialism, despite its persistent efforts, has failed abjectly to subvert and overthrow. Developments in Venezuela, with President Chaves’s measures and the action by Communists and the popular movement to deepen the changes, constitute a hopeful factor in the struggles of the peoples. Developments in Bolivia with the election of Morales and the first measures in favor of the working strata, in conjunction with nationalization of the hydrocarbons industry, and the popular resistance that is being developed and the mass demonstrations in Mexico and Chile all express the desire of the working people and the popular strata to throw off the yoke of the monopolies and to control the wealth and resources of their own countries. It is interesting to watch the evolution of the struggle in Latin America, and how the fight against interventions and subjugation has been linked to the class struggle, the struggle of the working class and its allies for power to the people, for the overthrow of capitalism and for socialism.
The victorious Lebanese armed popular resistance against Israel and the continuing fight of the Palestinian people for independence and for their own viable state alongside Israel, with its capital in East Jerusalem, constitute examples of resistance to the imperialist plans for the so-called “democratization” of the Middle East. These examples, together with the resistance of the Iraqi people against the imperialist occupation of Iraq, reinforce the front of struggle against the new world order that the imperialists are trying to impose by force and bloodshed.
Regarding the uproar created by the imperialists over Iran’s nuclear program and the nuclear test by the People’s Republic of Korea, we have the following to say: The 1967 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons authorized the UN Security Council to offer protection (a nuclear umbrella) to countries that do not possess nuclear weapons, but may be threatened by nuclear powers. Furthermore, states that do possess nuclear weapons made the express commitment to take substantial and concrete measures with the ultimate goal of abolishing nuclear weapons and nuclear armament (Article VI). This was an even more binding commitment for the five permanent members of the SC who are nuclear powers. Also, the same treaty gives the other members who do not possess nuclear weapons the right to have their own nuclear programme to develop, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes; it also allows them to acquire nuclear technology for peaceful use, in collaboration with other signatories of the Treaty (who posses such technology). The government of Iran is such a case, which declared that its programme is concerned with utilizing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, as is its right as a signatory of this Treaty. And although the US recognizes that it has this right, it invokes the argument that the government of Iran is not trustworthy!
No imperialist power, no international organization is legally entitled to formulate decisions against peoples, to intervene, or to determine who is allowed to have nuclear energy and who is not. The effort to shape public opinion on this matter is reminiscent of the preparations for the attack on Iraq. The nuclear programme is just a pretext, as the “weapons of mass destruction” supposedly in the possession of Iraq were a pretext! There cannot be two standards, especially when Israel has a modern nuclear arsenal and its aggressive policy constitutes a threat to all peoples in the region.
In the case of the DPR of Korea, these commitments do not apply, since the People’s Republic has withdrawn from the 1967 Treaty and from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time it has been openly threatened by a nuclear power, the USA, which has placed it within the so-called Axis of Evil; and it is surrounded by US military bases that have nuclear weapons on the territory of South Korea.
The People’s Republic of Korea is defending the right of every country to resist imperialist threats. It asks for the withdrawal of US forces from South Korea and for the Korean peninsula to become a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
We also support the idea of a denuclearized zones and regard the abolition of all nuclear weapons as a timely demand for struggle by all peoples.
In all these complex international developments, we believe that one basic conclusion should be drawn: objectively today, more than ever before, the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly struggle is linked more closely and organically with the struggle to overthrow capitalism. Inherent in it by nature are cracks that undermine the foundations of capitalist supremacy. It creates the conditions necessary for the working class and its allies to take political power. We of the Communist and Workers’ parties subordinate our action to this historic task.
We think that next year, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the October Socialist Revolution, we can promote a series of initiatives (events, symposia etc) and other actions beginning early in 2007 and culminating in November 2007 confronting various hostile views and theories that dispute the historical contribution of USSR and are aimed against the soviet power and the building of the socialist society.
Other actions may also include:
• Initiatives and joint actions against EU presidencies and summit meetings in the immediate future.
• Campaign to highlight the contemporary relevance on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the great Socialist October Revolution in 2007.
• Solidarity with the Bolivarian process in Venezuela.
• Action against anti-communism. Support for the initiative of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia on 25-26 November 2006 in Prague. Keeping systematic track of issues related to persecutions of Communist parties and other anti-imperialist forces. Creation of a working group on these issues. Campaign against the outlawing of the Czech Communist Youth.
• Campaigns for democratic rights and freedoms. Initiatives on the rights of migrants.
• Campaigns for the withdrawal of the foreign occupation forces from Iraq, against NATO, against the decisions of the Riga summit and the foreign military bases. Anti-NATO meeting of Balkan parties and movements in Thessaloniki in May 2007.
• Continued action for the liberation of the five Cuban patriots who are imprisoned in the USA.
• Active support for regional and sub-regional meetings and initiatives of Communist parties.
• Action against the plan of the “Greater Middle East”. Solidarity missions of Communist party representatives to Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and Israel.
• Active support for initiatives by international anti-imperialist organizations of the labor movement, youth and students movement, the peace and women’s movements that are planned for the immediate future.
Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the CC of KKE