Comrades of the Presidium and Representatives of the Communist and Workers’ Parties from various countries,
On behalf of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), I extend warm fraternal greetings to all of you on the occasion of this international meeting of the communist and workers' parties.
I congratulate the leadership of the Partido Comunista Portugues – PCP for the initiative taken to organise this meeting here in Lisbon.
The theme of this meeting is a comprehensive one covering all the facets of the present international situation.
The biggest danger faced by the international community today is the overwhelming offensive of imperialism, particularly that of US imperialism.
The imperialist offensive is multi-pronged - militarist, political, economic and ideological.
The present US administration, presided over by George W Bush, represents the most retrograde and reactionary sections of the international capital.
US President Bush had declared a ‘global war against terror’, which is aimed at establishing the US hegemony over the entire world.
US imperialism had proceeded to reap maximum advantage of the uni-polar world order that ensued following the ‘fall of the Berlin Wall’ and collapse of the Soviet Union. They set out to impose their world vision over the entire globe. Ever since the proclamation of the ‘National Security Strategy of the United States of America in 2002, US imperialism has indulged in aggressive display of its military might, in every region of the world at its own whim. Bush arrogantly called upon free nations of the world to completely align themselves with the US designs of aggression and had the temerity to tell them ‘either be with us or be with the terrorists’.
The US imperialism has loudly proclaimed that it intends to rule the world by sheer force. It has grossly undermined the United Nations and defying world public opinion attacked Afghanistan and subsequently Iraq. It claims a divine right to impose regime changes in countries, which do not toe its line.
The US imperialism had chosen to bracket the countries, which it considers to be its enemies, and term them as ‘axis of evil’, initially comprising Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Cuba. To enlarge this list of countries, which it intends to target for its militarist offensive, it had coined the terms such as ‘rouge states’, ‘outposts of tyranny’ etc. In an attempt to lend credibility to its otherwise dubious role and to justify its aggressive pursuits across the globe, it had made a pretence of forging a ‘community of democracy’ roping in the pliant countries and regimes.
Imperialism today pushes its economic agenda of neo-liberal globalisation through the international financial and trade institutions. Globalisation, as we are aware, is nothing more than an imperialist push to clamp down politico-economic control over the world for the sake of cheap labour, cheap raw materials and extensive and growing markets structures. Its blatant aim is to make fabulous profits and amass phenomenal wealth. The integration of the economies of the countries of the world into a ‘global village”, which the coteries of globalisation hail as the achievement of globalisation, is nothing but creating a situation congenial to the imperialists to have a free run all over the globe.
The imperialists steadfastly promote the interests of the international finance capital, which predominates today. It is basically of the speculative kind with little effort being made to curb the ruinous tendency of portfolio investment (liquefiable financial assets) across the globe, encouraging stagflation, causing a jobless growth, and more often in no growth at all despite making use of cheap labour, widening markets, and profitable raw materials.
While these are the dangers lurking before us, the international situation is not one of gloom or despair. Everywhere the imperialists are facing stiff resistance, both to its aggressive militarist pursuits and to the designs of economic aggrandisement.
The attempts of the US imperialists to establish its global hegemony are facing increasing resistance in various parts of the world and we are witnessing the characteristics of a multi polar world order.
The US occupation of Iraq is now fast turning to be its biggest quagmire. Iraq is enmeshed in civil war conditions. The US patronised regime there lacks legitimacy and is unable to deal with the popular resistance.
With the pronouncement of death penalty for the ousted head of the Iraqi state, Saddam Hussein, by an illegitimate court, after a farcical trial during which the judges had been changed and defence lawyers murdered, the US administration cannot escape the blame for the outbreak of violent protest against this outrageous verdict.
West Asia had occupied a central place in the US designs of ‘a brand new world order’. Aided and abetted by the US imperialism, Israel mounted a fierce onslaught against the Palestine state, after the elections to the Palestinian Parliament threw up the victory of Hamas. But, the ‘promoters of democracy all over the world’ could not countenance of this democratic mandate and the US is actively encouraging Israeli attempt to overthrow the Hams regime there. The Palestinian authority is denied its due financial resources, sparking a humanitarian crisis there.
But, it is the setback suffered by the US – Israel axis in Lebanon that deserves acclaim. The Hizbollah led national resistance in Lebanon repulsed the brutal and gruesome Israeli attack that lasted nearly three weeks and emerged victorious. The Lebanon debacle has exposed the bankruptcy of the Middle East policy of the US and has pushed the Israel and the US into splendid isolation.
The next in line targeted by the USA for attack is Iran. Though it succeeded in getting the Iran nuclear issue taken out of the ambit of the International Atomic Energy Association and brought before the UN Security Council, it has not yet succeed in its effort to impose sanctions against Iran.
US has never hidden its intent to target the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), a country in Bush’s “axis of evil”.
The recent period has revealed the limits of US hegemony and expansion. Both Iran and North Korea have refused to be cowed down on the nuclear issue. The US is in a deep quagmire in Iraq. It is an object lesson that the 21st century will see continued resistance to imperialist aggression and violations of national sovereignty.
Bush’s “war against terrorism” has resulted in the heightened threat of terrorism in all parts of the world. The US and the NATO are faced with the unpleasant prospect of a Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan.
It is an undeniable fact that imperialist war and aggression, particularly in the Middle East, fuels the proliferation of terrorist violence.
Imperialist globalisation and the unilateralism of US imperialism cannot check the trend towards a multipolar world. The international situation is marked by the development of bilateral relations and regional cooperation which counter the hegemonist trends. The increased cooperation between Russia and China, the new assertion of Russia in the economic, political and diplomatic spheres, the steady development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation are some of the pointers in this direction.
The whole continent of Latin America has been witnessing a leftward shift and electoral victories of left political forces in country after country there had enlivened the political discourse on the international scene. Developments in Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua et al have left an indelible stamp of this shift towards the Left. In Mexico also the Left ascendancy cannot be masked by the fraudulent election results. The electoral progress registered by the Left is a product of the continuous mass struggles and popular movements against the offensive of neo-liberalism, privatisation and attacks on national sovereignty.
The Non Aligned Movement which entered into a dormant period in the post Cold War phase towards the end of last century, is now emerging as a revived entity as seen from the recent summit meeting held in Havana, Cuba in September this year. The Havana Declaration constitutes an important chapter in the annals of the 118-nation movement, with its own unambiguous opposition to neo-liberal globalisation and imperialist machinations and stand out as a powerful indictment of the Bush Doctrine. This is yet another event which will have a crucial role in promoting multi-polarity in the international order.
In India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) along with other Left forces of the country are conducting a complex struggle against imperialism and its efforts to bring India under its sway. On the strength of the concerted struggles that we conducted against the previous rightwing government, the last general elections threw up a situation where the present Indian government replaced the earlier one has been put in place. But it does not have a majority on its own and has to depend on the support of the Left parties. We have been trying to use this opportunity to reverse the orientation towards a pro-US foreign policy. It is through our intervention that the government committed itself to a programme which talks of pursuing an independent foreign policy. However, there are digressions, if not, outright reversals which we are fighting both inside and outside parliament. These struggles are enabling us to expose and mobilise the people in big numbers against US imperialism and its policies.
On the economic front, the imperialist globalisation is characterised by indiscriminate liberalisation and thoughtless privatisation. Contradicting what it set out, the present form of globalisation has failed to create employment opportunities or sustainable livelihood to meet the aspirations millions of people.
Neo liberal reforms have increased vulnerability and insecurity among poor across the country. International trade policy negotiations do not adopt a people centered approach. On the other hand it pursues export oriented trade policies, which benefit large-scale producers, MNCs and the elite in both developed as well as developing countries. Aided by the mechanism of formal loan conditionality and informal arm-twisting by multilateral bodies to deregulate and liberalise markets, these monolithic entities today control our economies. This new economic order allows free flow of capital, while exercising new forms of control over labour.
It is important to note that of the world's 100 largest economies, 51 are global corporations and 49 are countries. The combined sales of the world's 200 corporations are far greater than a quarter of the world's economic activity. These multinational corporations are notorious for using their economic power to position themselves as primary agents for the kind of economic development that inevitably results in loss of jobs, gross social and political inequalities, environmental disasters and loss of cultural diversity.
In the face of such stark realities, the platitudes and promises held out by the rich countries – be it the decisions of the International Development Summit or the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the United Nations – have never taken off.
Against such a backdrop, there has been growing resistance by people’s movements to the policies of imperialist globalisation. The very fact that the countries of Latin America where the World Bank – International Monitory Fund imposed Structural Adjustment Programmes were imposed over two decades ago have started moving away signals the success of the forces opposed to neo-liberal globalisation.
Nowhere in the world, the international financial or trade institutions could hold their conclaves in peace. From Seattle to Genoa to Doha, people in hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets demanding a break with the economic policies dictated by the interests of imperialism.
The successive editions of the World Social Forum, followed by several regional forums in different continents have been held, marked by enthusiastic participation of people with the slogan ‘Another World is Possible’.
All these are pointers to the basic truth that capitalism can never fulfill the aspirations of the teeming millions of the suffering humanity on the globe. Socialism has to and will emerge as the alternative to imperialist globalisation.
But, here we need to assess the role of the communists all over the world. The anti war movements and the anti globalisation protests that have been witnessed in the recent years are creating an objective situation in the world, where we communists can effectively intervene. These movements and protests offer immense potential for the Communist Parties to mainstream them into the anti-imperialist struggle. The mood of the people coming out in the open to offer resistance to imperialist war mongering and designs of economic enslavement have to be raised to anti-imperialist and socialist consciousness and assiduously cultivated by the Communists. This is the task that is beckoning us. Let us share and evaluate our experiences and strategise for the future, which surely and unmistakably belongs to Socialism!
This is no empty rhetoric. After the setback to socialism and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the imperialists were predicting the end of history for socialism. They were dreaming of wiping out socialism from the face of earth itself. The socialist countries have emerged out of a difficult period, reorienting their economies and facing the new challenges. Both China and Vietnam have registered tremendous progress in developing their economies. Cuba has resolutely faced decades of economic blockade and preserved the vitality of their socialist system. The Left in Latin America is registering new successes in challenging and carving out an alternative path to neo-liberal globalisation. The popular resistance to imperialist globalisation and for the defence of national sovereignty is growing worldwide. It is these currents which need to be harnessed by the communist parties and working class movements to rework and rebuild the project for socialism in the 21st century.
W R Varada Rajan
Member, Central Committee
COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA (MARXIST)