The Guardian July 26, 2000


International meeting of communists
Experiences if struggles and alliances

by Anna Pha*

Over the past decade there has been a gradual strengthening of contacts and 
relations between communist and workers' parties and progress towards 
rebuilding the international movement. The international conference of 
parties hosted by the Communist Party of Greece (CPG) in Athens from June 
23-25 was one such event.

Representatives of 60 communist and workers' parties from 47 countries 
discussed their experiences of struggles, alliances and the co-operation of 
communists. The conference was the third hosted by the CPG, the previous 
ones were on capitalist globalisation (1999) and the commemoration of the 
150th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto (1998).

Parties from the Middle East, the former Soviet republics, and western and 
eastern Europe were well represented. Participation from the American and 
African continents and the Asia-Pacific region was not so strong.

Participants spoke about the mobilisations in Seattle, Davos, and 
Washington; the struggles against the IMF, the World Bank, the MAI, NATO; 
opposition to the war against Yugoslavia; and the broad anti-imperialist 
alliances that were formed in these actions.

Many delegates referred to the ever widening gap between the North and 
South and between rich and poor in the imperialist countries.

Some discussed work around building unity in the communist movement in 
their own countries, particularly delegates from some of the former Soviet 
republics and East European socialist countries where communist parties 
have mushroomed.

In her opening presentation, the General Secretary of the CC of the CPG, 
Aleka Papariga, highlighted the many new initiatives that are being taken 
around the world against what she referred to as "capitalist 
globalisation".

"The issue of political alliances of communist and workers' parties is 
inseparably tied to daily struggles but also to our final goal, socialism, 
that today is becoming more and more timely", Aleka Papariga said.

"The policy of alliances provides the answer to the agonising question of 
how it will be possible for the people to obstruct and put a stop to 
imperialist policies. How will as many countries as possible break away 
from imperialist integration, dependence and subjugation.

"The policy of alliances is inextricably linked to the strategically 
important question of how we will pass into a new period of development of 
powerful social movements, revolutionary movements. It lends wings to hope, 
to optimism, to the defeat of fatalism."

The need for alliances in today's struggle against imperialism was 
emphasised by a number of other delegates.

"... it is also our view that the working class cannot do the job by itself 
alone  it needs to build alliances in order to take on and defeat the 
immense and coordinated power of capitalism", said Andre Parizeau, speaking 
for the Communist Party of Canada.

"Therefore the working class must build unity with other sectors and 
movements of the Canadian people adversely affected by the domination of 
finance capital, and which have an objective interest in winning a new 
democratic course for Canada."

Building alliances

Alliances have been built in economic, social, political and cultural 
struggles, on a range of issues from democratic rights, government 
cutbacks, parliamentary work, in the struggle against fascism and religious 
fundamentalism, for the legalisation of the Party, right through to 
national independence struggles.

The types of alliances and social forces involved varied considerably, 
according to the struggles being waged and specific conditions of each 
country.

The CPG is working towards the formation of an Anti-Imperialist, Anti-
Monopoly Democratic Front (AADF): "We are helping in the maturation of the 
pre-requisites for the Front within smaller individual fronts of struggle 
and organising around anti-monopoly, anti-imperialist goals that for us are 
the torrents, the streams towards the big river.

"In this way, we meet with social and political forces, socio-political 
elements where in practice we are all being tested as to whether we agree 
on overall goals."

"The AADF will encompass dissimilar social and political forces. 
Consequently it will be marked as much by the element of unity as by the 
differences that demand a particular struggle within its ranks.

"It will be based on necessary compromises because we want to help in the 
integration of as many forces as possible, compromises however that will 
not lead the people's movement into dissolution and towards the logic of 
managing the system", said Aleka Papariga.

In the province of Quebec (Canada), a new political coalition comprising 
six left-wing political parties, including the Greens, Communists, 
socialists and left social democrats is taking shape.

The Communist Party of Quebec is playing a leading role in the efforts to 
build left and democratic unity, "while at the same time winning new 
members and supporters for the communist's own long term revolutionary 
agenda", said Andre Parizeau.

Allies in struggle are many and varied depending on the circumstances. They 
range from other left and communist forces, Greens, social democrats, 
indigenous groups, farmers, right through to sections of the capitalist 
class.

For example, the Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) in Cyprus 
cooperated with a section of the bourgeois class and the Church in its 
national liberation struggle.

Antonis Chrysostomou (AKEL) pointed to the importance of international 
solidarity in this struggle: "The people of Cyprus cannot by itself alone 
get rid of the Turkish occupation troops and reunite its homeland. Yet with 
international support it can be achieved."

Internationalisation of struggle

Because of the very nature of capitalist globalisation the struggle is of 
necessity being internationalised with an increase in international 
cooperation and the formation of international alliances.

The concept of the leading role of the working class and the necessity for 
the working class to win allies is taking shape at the international level 
as well.

The CPA in its submission pointed to changes in the type of international 
actions taking place: "There is a long history of internationalism in the 
labour movement. In the past internationalism was primarily an expression 
of solidarity as in the MUA [Maritime Union of Australia] struggle", the 
CPA said.

The participants in the international campaign against Rio Tinto not only 
had a common interest in defeating Rio Tinto but were involved in planning 
and carrying out the struggle over a period of years.

The Rio Tinto campaign also illustrates the importance of international 
struggles being launched against specific transnational corporations, the 
CPA said.

Aleka Papariga raised the question of the relationship between national and 
international movements and struggles: "We do not consider correct the 
concept that a struggle on a national level is a dead-end, that solutions 
can be obtained only through worldwide-based struggle that will bring 
simultaneous worldwide results....

"... the internationalisation of the struggle cannot bring results unless a 
powerful peoples' movement, a workers' movement with class orientation, a 
powerful CP with a correct policy of alliances that guides in the solving 
of the issue of power in the detaching of its country from the 
international imperialist system, exists at a national level", said 
Papariga.

"We believe that we, the communist and workers' parties, the anti-
imperialist forces, the radical forces that exist all over the world, must 
undertake more seriously the support of the existing or the creation of new 
international movements, of initiatives with the form of international 
organisations, especially now that the imperialist alliances are spreading 
so-called non-governmental organisations everywhere, a large part of which 
they have under their control or on their side."

"We believe that the international communist and generally the anti-
imperialist movement must have strength at a national level, and the 
national forces will become stronger if all together we give a dynamic push 
to the international movement."

Aurelio Santos for the Portuguese Communist Party took up the same 
question:

"The intervention at the international level cannot solve the difficulties 
of each party within its country. We believe that the stronger and more 
deeply rooted a party is in its own country, the greater will be its 
contribution to the struggle at the international level."

International communist movement

Many delegates expressed support for more international meetings such as 
the one in Athens, as well as for more regional and bilateral contact 
between parties.

The South African Communist Party, represented by General Secretary Blade 
Nzimande, made a number of proposals for an international left platform.

"Change and development are urgent and it cannot be business as usual ... 
We want real and concrete internationalism. Therefore the key to achieving 
this must be common action. And international collaboration of the workers 
and oppressed must be gradually and democratically harnessed towards our 
common goal of socialism." There was unanimous praise for the organisation 
of the Conference by the CPG and its hospitality which were faultless. The 
CPG must be congratulated and thanked, not only for making such a 
successful conference possible but also for other important initiatives 
towards rebuilding the international communist movement.

These include the production of an Information Bulletin, the first 
edition was distributed during the conference. It carries contributions to 
the 1999 Athens Conference on globalisation and the response of the labour 
movement.

The Information Bulletin is to be published three times a year and 
is available on the SolidNet website (address below).

The SolidNet website is another initiative of the CPG, it contains more 
than 750 materials from communist and workers' parties from around the 
world, including from the CPA. It has had more than one million visitors 
and the number is increasing daily.

Papers from the Athens Conference can be found on the Solidnet website:

http://www.solidnet.org

* * *
*Anna Pha was the Communist Party of Australia's delegate at the conference.

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