International Communist Movement
For the Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations the Quito Conference of 1994 marked a turning point for the unity of the international communist movement, argues a recent article in La Forge (December, 1996). This had decided to establish regular conferences, have norms of functioning which permitted common decisions to be taken, to have an international journal, and to undertake concrete actions such as solidarity campaigns for the imprisoned comrades of fraternal parties. This has been carried out in the case of Comrade Francisco Caballero of the Colombian party and that of Comrade Hamma Hamami of the Tunisian party who has since been freed. The Quito Conference had adopted a Communist Proclamation (See: Revolutionary Democracy Vol. 1. No. 2, September 1995, pp. 74-79). This conference did not 'fall from the skies', it had been preceded by prior multinational meetings. These initiatives could only be successful by vanquishing all obstacles. It was necessary to create a collective Marxist-Leninist alternative at the moment of the collapse of the revisionist states headed by the USSR. When Albania fell and the Party of Labour of Albania was dissolved this necessity became apparent even more forcefully. In this same period reaction attempted to liquidate the Marxist-Leninist parties. In Colombia and Ecuador these efforts were successfully resisted but in Spain the party, which had an incontestable weight in the politics and ideology of the country, was wiped out even though it has partially regrouped in the Communist Organisation 'October'.
The international communist movement has yet to clarify a number of questions, continues La Forge. This work of analysis of the past must include all the rich experience of the practice of proletarian internationalism after the First International founded by Marx and Engels: this task remains to be done. At the theoretical plane it is necessary to deepen and enrich Marxism-Leninism in direct relation with revolutionary practice, in the actual conditions of class struggle which is marked by a reactivisation of the workers' and peoples' movement at the international plane.
The previous Conference held in 1995 in Paris discussed questions relating to the strategy of the communists, understanding the question of socialism taking as its starting point the building of socialism in the USSR in the period of Lenin and Stalin. A number of parties presented their views on this important question. This conference also decided to begin the task of elaborating the axes of tactics of struggle which were to be discussed in the 1996 Conference.
The central objective of the recent conference held in December 1996 in the Dominican Republic was, then, the discussion of the axes of the common tactics of struggle of the Marxist-Leninist parties and organisations founded on the basis of an analysis of the actual crisis of imperialism and of the situation of the working class movement. To facilitate this a number of 'regional' commissions met (Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East). A coordination committee synthesised these contributions and circulated them in advance so that different parties and organisations could study them and arrive at the Conference with a point of view on these propositions. Even though the regional commissions did not function in the same manner and their contributions were uneven the synthesis presented for discussion tackled numerous aspects of the current crisis of imperialism and the workers' movement. Clearly the weight of this analysis is somewhat limited, notably because of the lack of a concrete picture of the situation in Asia and the USA and the difficulties linked with the important differences which one may observe between the great regions and within each of them. The rich discussion at the Conference led to the adoption of the resolution given below.
In the final communique of the Conference it was stated inter alia as follows:
'The parties and organisations of this Conference send a fighting salute to Comrade Francisco Caraballo, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Colombia (M-L) and Commandant of the PLA. That this salute penetrates the walls of his prison, is witness to our internationalist solidarity and it carries to him the warmth of our affection! We follow his situation with the greatest attention and demand of the Colombian authorities that they respect his rights as that of a prisoner of war of a belligerant armed force.
'The Conference with consternation took note of the disappearance of Comrade Gregorio Alfonso Alvarado Lopez, a militant of the Communist Party of Mexico (M-L). It expressed on his account the need for him to reappear safe and sound, as has been demanded by his family, his party comrades and other sectors of Mexican society.
'We also join together with the movement of opinion in the Dominican Republic which desires to know what has become of Dr. Narcizo Gonzalez (Narcisazo) who disappeared on 26th May 1994, and demands the punishment of those responsible for this criminal action.
'We manifest our solidarity with the Communists of Albania who are violently repressed in their country.
'The Conference expresses its solidarity with all the peoples and nations which have to face imperialist intervention and in particular we condemn the criminal blockade that the Yankees have imposed against the peoples of Cuba and Iraq.'
The International Conference, moreover, gave its support to the resolutions of the Moscow Conference organised by the International Centre for the Development of Modern Communist Doctrine, held in the previous month which are given elsewhere in this journal.
Resolution of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations.
1) The present crisis is part of the general crisis of finance capital, whose disastrous effects can be felt in all spheres: economic, political, social, cultural, etc. and in all countries of the world, regardless of their level of development.
2) It is a crisis of the realization of capital. To maintain the rate of profit, capital destroys ever greater quantities of productive forces and leads to an ever greater degree of exploitation of the working class, the laboring masses and the people. This destruction of the productive forces leads, in particular, to high levels of unemployment, to relative and absolute impoverishment of the working class and the popular masses, to the pure and simple destruction of sectors of the productive apparatus that are not able to guarantee a sufficient rate of profit. For the less developed countries, this leads to the phenomenon of deindustrialization with catastrophic consequences for the workers and peoples.
3) Neither the concentration nor the centralization of capital, which have reached unknown levels, nor the enormous possibilities opened up by the technical and scientific revolution, can put an end to the crisis. On the contrary, they only accentuate the contradictions of the system itself and bring the competition between the monopolies and the imperialist states to a higher level. The formation of economic blocs to guarantee larger markets to the monopolies has only increased this competition.
The collapse of the revisionist countries of Eastern Europe has accelerated the struggle for an imperialist re-division, whose first bloody manifestation has been the Persian Gulf war. This inter-imperialist struggle continues to manifest itself in the conflicts which are shaking the strategic zones of Africa, the Balkans, the Middle East, etc. They have no other way out of the present crisis than the sharpening of this competition which can degenerate into military confrontations or even a general confrontation. From the point of view of the working class and the peoples, the way out is the revolution.
4) The Leninist thesis according to which we are living in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution continues to be totally valid. The crisis can not be overcome in a definitive manner in favor of the working class and the peoples except by the triumph of the social revolution of the proletariat. For that, now as before, the alternative continues to be the revolution.
5) All the policies developed by imperialism, whatever they may be called, seek to shift the crisis onto the backs of the working class and the peoples. They are reactionary and conservative policies which are only called liberal.
6) The international division of labor exists today on a world scale. The concepts of "globalization" or "internationalization" translate into the "dictate" of the most powerful monopolies and imperialist states to obtain free access to all the markets for their capital and products; to close production sites and transfer them to other places based on the differences in the rate of profit. The multi-national institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, the G7, the European Commission in Brussels, etc. are instruments of this policy.
7) More monopolization means more reaction, states that are more repressive against the working class and the peoples, a redoubled offensive against communism and in a more general manner against the ideas of progress. Openly racist and fascist ideologies are promoted to divide the working class and the masses.
8) The crisis of imperialism has as a consequence the crisis of the revisionists and reformists. The first have been soundly shaken by the collapse of the revisionist countries, the second have been deprived of their reference point of the social-democratic model of the welfare state. They are trying to transfer onto the workers, the workers' movement and union movement their own demoralization and lack of perspective. They have certainly not lost their ability to harm the workers' and peoples' movement, to bring to them reformist positions. But the general tendency which is evidenced in the workers' and peoples' movement is the gaining of independence with regard to the revisionists and reformists, taking their struggles into their own hands, radicalizing their slogans, their forms of struggle and organization.
Most concretely in Europe the bourgeoisie has created a vast market, not only to sell its commodities and move its capital, but also to organize the competition of labor power. The multi-national institutions dictate their laws, especially to the weaker states. The realization of the European Union serves in the first place German imperialism, which has attained the rank of the leading power in Europe. The European Union is an instrument of struggle for the competition between the European powers, the United States and Japan. It is also an instrument of imperialist oppression of the peoples. This last aspect is expressed by means of ever more frequent military interventions of the European states, especially against the peoples od Africa.
The opening of the European borders leads to the liquidation of numerous work-sites, to a sharper competition between workers and unemployed, to the drastic fall in wages, to the intensification of labor and to the liquidation of social gains. The ruling class utilizes these conditions which it itself has created to fan the flames of chauvinism and racism and to make room for fascist organizations and their ideology, with the objective of dividing the workers and the popular masses.
Monopoly capital also takes advantage of this situation to put under its control all sectors and aspects of society, for example, with the privatization of the state sectors which has as a consequence a higher degree of concentration and monopolization of capital.
For a long time the reaction of the workers' and peoples' movement has been very weak and has been very divided, by the dominating influence of social-democracy and revisionism. But in the last years it has seen a significant development, as can be seen in the large strikes and demonstrations of the workers in France, Germany, Spain and other countries. These movements also express a greater disposition of the workers to take control of the struggle into their own hands. The gap has grown between the working class and the social-democrats, the revisionists and the upper levels of the trade union bureaucracy. In many countries, class struggle unionism and class unionism has gained strength and breadth.
The most advanced workers are interested in what is happening outside their borders and aspire to raise the common struggle to the international plain. One of the slogans which sums up these aspirations is: "All united against capital."
The opinions about the European Union have shown that in all countries a popular sentiment has developed against domination by the great imperialist powers. The "European perspective" which the bourgeoisie wants to present to the masses as an alternative has failed. The masses identify with the slogan: "No to the Europe of Maastricht [site of the signing of the treaty strengthening the European Union], no to the Europe of the monopolies" and aspire to international solidarity.
The states of Africa are backward capitalist states. At the same time, Africa suffers both from capitalist development and the insufficiencies of the same capitalism. The IMF and the World Bank have imposed on these states Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP), which have grave consequences in the economic, social and political spheres.
In the political sphere, these programs lead to destabilization as well as to implosion (internal convulsion) of these states, as in the cases of Somalia, Liberia, Zaire, etc.
The proletariat and the peoples of Africa are developing their social and political struggles against the disastrous consequences of these programs. During the 1990s powerful movements of political and social emancipation have developed, taking the form of insurrections in certain countries, such as in Benin, Togo, Mali, etc. To try to stifle and divert this movement of political and social emancipation, the imperialist powers, with the complicity of their local allies, take advantage of certain weaknesses linked to the economic and social backwardness to maintain and develop ethnicism and other types of conflicts, such as border conflicts, reactionary civil wars, etc.
Despite the birth, development and positive action of the Marxist-Leninist parties on the continent, the level of consciousness and organization of the peoples still continues to be weak. In many countries the proletariat is insufficiently organized. The subjective conditions remain backwards compared to the objective conditions.
On the African continent and in the Arab world, coveted for their wealth and strategic position, Zionism and fundamentalism are taken advantage of by the imperialist powers and the reactionary bourgeoisies to hold back the taking of consciousness by the peoples and maintain them under their dominion. In a country such as Tunisia, the Tunisian proletariat and people are struggling at the same time against the fascism of the government and the fundamentalists ("the fascism of earth and heaven"). The Zionist state of Israel, supported by the United States and the other imperialist powers, constitutes, by its intransigence and arrogance, a factor of oppression, destabilization and war in the whole region and particularly in the Arab world.
Latin America, the backyard of North American imperialism, is struck by the blows of the general crisis of capitalism.
As a consequence of the imposition of neo-liberalism, the economic readjustments defined by the IMF and the World Bank, the uncontainable increase of the foreign debt, the plunder of the natural resources, the super-exploitation of the working class and the weight of the unproductive expenses, the effects of the capitalist crisis on the Latin American continent are expressed in an incontestable manner: recession and unemployment, inflation and deindustrialization, the violation of national sovereignty by the imperialists, the increase in prices of the articles of primary necessity and of services, which affect the quality of life of the masses, who fall in their large majority into poverty; corruption and social and political instability characterize the Latin American societies.
In recent times, representative democracy is the expression of the domination of capital, but the regimes have institutionalized anti-popular and anti-national violence, and they are violating the human rights and public liberties. The cutting back of political and union rights of the working masses is a constant in all the countries.
In Latin America the crisis of imperialism and the anti-communist offensive drag down social-democracy, revisionism and opportunism. These are political forces in crisis, divided and weakened, which have reached the point of the politics of collaboration and the social compact impelled by imperialism and the bourgeoisie. They have, nevertheless, a following within the peoples' movement and continue to be a danger for the activity of the revolutionaries.
The workers' and peoples' movement of the Latin American countries is being revived. The mobilizations and strikes of the working class, of the teachers and public servants, the important mobilizations of the peasants, the awakening of the Indian peoples and nationalities and their incorporation into the political life of the countries, the active participation of the masses in opposition to the IMF readjustments and measures, the struggle against the corruption of the bourgeois power, form part of the movement of the masses which is gaining force and perspectives in a progressive manner.
The revolutionary armed struggle, despite the setbacks, is a reality, a valid road for the conquest of popular power, for the revolution and socialism.
The existence of Marxist-Leninist formations in some countries of Latin America, the regroupment of other revolutionary forces and their search for roads and lines for revolutionary actions, the traditions of struggle of the workers and the peoples put forth the progressive development of the anti-imperialist forces, of their consciousness and their insertion into the process of the social revolution of the proletariat.
Faced with the present crisis of capitalism, its deepening and generalization, the communists and other revolutionaries, the workers and the peoples put forth concrete proposals that permit us to take advantage of the crisis to advance the organization of the social revolution.
The magnitude of the crisis and its blows are felt principally by the laboring classes and the peoples, the crisis sharpens the inter-imperialist contradictions. This situation contributes to the maturation of the objective conditions of the revolution. Despite the retreat suffered by the workers' and peoples' movement and the anti-communist campaign, there is evidently a tendency for the development of the subjective conditions of the revolution.
Our central task is to organize the revolution in the conditions of the crisis. We, the working class and the peoples, should channel our daily activities and struggles into the perspective of the conquest of power, of the revolution.
The revolution and socialism are the guides of the work and action of our parties, we have to transform them into the objectives and aspirations of the masses.
In the process of merging scientific socialism with the workers' and peoples' movement of our countries, we communists presently propose to:
Raise the banners of freedom and democracy, for the organization and rights of the workers.
Struggle for the self-determination of the peoples; in the dependent countries we are fighters for national independence.
Organize the struggle of the workers and the peoples for their aspirations and rights.
Oppose directly and in all areas imperialist exploitation and oppression, arbitrariness and tyranny, corruption.
Our tactics seek to put forth some objectives and slogans for the united struggle of the workers and the peoples of the world and to develop forms of organizing and struggle.
We insist on the decisive role of the working class, in open polemic with those who deny its characteristics or despise the potential of its organization and its struggles. We must strengthen class struggle unionism. The struggle in each country strengthens the struggle of the working class at an international level and vice-versa. The practice of unity and international solidarity should be part of our actions.
The socialization of production and the concentration of appropriation have reached unseen levels. The exploitation of labor power is a process which takes place at an international level, the tentacles of imperialism and its politics of starvation are extended all over the planet. These facts testify to the strength of the international character of the working class, they demand that we redouble the forces for united struggle, to confront imperialism in a coordinated manner and from all the countries of the world, to raise to new heights the solidarity between the workers and the peoples, to strengthen the practice of proletarian internationalism.
In our work we address ourselves in the first place to the proletariat, to the workers of the city and countryside. The worker peasant alliance, its forging and development through combat, assures the present and the future of the social revolution in the dependent countries. This responsibility demands that we take into account the problems and aspirations of the peasant masses, their present situation and their perspectives.
The working youth of the cities and the countryside, the activity among the students, demand the attention of our parties for their incorporation into the confrontation of classes, to win them for revolutionary action. In this task we must seek alternatives and open roads, the youth should play an ever more transcendental role.
The popular sectors which are piled up in the suburban districts of the large cities take on, at the present time, a great importance for the social struggle, they have large and severe problems, they have an experience of economic and political struggle, they form part of the social forces of the revolution and they deserve the attention of our parties.
We need to take into account the spontaneous struggles of the masses and link ourselves to their day-to-day movement. Both the direct struggle of the workers and the masses in their various expressions, as well as the use of the institutional spaces in each country and in the world, are valid to achieve the conquests of the rights which we have put forward and to plan the revolutionary combat for power.
We must work to participate in all the initiatives of the workers and peoples, in the events and struggles which take place in our countries and in the international arena, in order to bring them our politics and to broaden the sphere of influence of our parties, we should coordinate ourselves in these activities.
We should open up the road to create a political reference which signifies a new hope for the peoples, which would be capable of uniting all those who are opposed to the imperialist politics, who show the force of all the discontents, who demarcate positions between the forces of progress and of reaction; we should work for the raising of the anti-imperialist consciousness of the workers and the peoples, for the formation of an Anti-Imperialist Front.
The struggle for the achievement of the public liberties, of human rights, in opposition to authoritarianism and reaction, to the dictatorships, should take into account the incorporation of other social and political sectors, should join in the democratic and progressive Front.
It is necessary to promote regional and international meetings of workers by branches of production and activities. To discuss policies and organizational forms with the view to putting forth common options from the Conference or for regions.
Our parties have the responsibility to push forward in all areas and by all means a great ideological offensive of revolutionary proposals among the popular masses. The ideal of the revolution and socialism should constitute the fundamental nucleus of that offensive. It is the task of our parties to develop a permanent ideological and political confrontation against fascism and reaction. To confront the various revisionist and opportunist currents. In this struggle the effort to advance in the theoretical development, to enrich Marxism-Leninism, to rationalize the experience of socialism and the setbacks suffered, and to improve our formulations and political proposals, on the basis of the assimilation and defense of the principles of Marxism-Leninism, takes on importance.
The denunciation and the struggle against class collaboration and the agreement with imperialism and the bourgeoisie, the unmasking and fight against the labor aristocracy and the trade union bureaucracies, opportunism and revisionism, and social-democracy, form part of our work.
The confrontation of the working class against the attacks of imperialism and capitalism permits the proletariat to acquire higher experiences of struggle. In this confrontation new advanced elements of the class arise, new union leaders in struggle against the treason of the trade union bureaucracy, new proletarian politics rooted in their social sector, as well as fighters for the general interests of the class as a whole. The workers' mobilization, equally, makes it possible for the proletariat to influence the progressive intelligentsia which is coming closer to Marxism. These facts create conditions for our parties to win over the best elements of the workers experienced in these combats, to grow, reorganize themselves, renew themselves and place themselves at the head of the movement.
To struggle in these times against capital and against the politics and methods of imperialism and the bourgeoisie, we propose:
The denunciation and struggle against imperialism, against its wars and preparations for wars, against the domination of other peoples, in defense of national sovereignty and the self-determination of peoples. The struggle against the foreign debt, its effects and the impositions which accompany it.
To confront the politics and measures imposed by imperialism, in particular:
To struggle for the defense of the labor rights, of organization, stability, collective bargaining, strikes, social conquests and benefits of the workers;
To struggle against privatization and the dismantling of the productive sector and of state social welfare. That the strategic sectors and the natural resources of the economy not be handed over to the private monopolies, either foreign or national, that the workers and customers exert vigilance over them. That the budget for social security and welfare be increased and that of war be diminished;
The increase of wages and control of prices of the articles of primary necessity.
The conquest of better conditions for the democratic and revolutionary political struggle of the workers and the peoples demands the fight for political liberty, against fascism and the rightward movement of the states, against the anti-worker and anti-popular governments, for the raising of programs so that the proletariat and the masses build themselves into an alternative to the government and the power. With a focus that differentiates us from the bourgeoisie, we demand respect for life and human rights of the peoples in those countries in which state, military and paramilitary terror has been implanted.
Opposition to the degradation and deterioration of the environment provoked by capitalist exploitation and in defense of the human being and all forms of life on the planet.
The fight against bourgeois nationalism, to which we oppose the defense of the independence and self-determination of the peoples.
To hold high the demands and the mobilization of the youth, which has decisive importance in the revolutionary processes of our countries.
To push forward the participation of women in the democratic and revolutionary struggle taking into account their particular demands.
The following parties and organisations participated in this conference:
Communist Party of Albania
Communist Party of Benin
Communist Party of Colombia (M-L)
Communist Party of Labour of the Dominican Republic
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Workers' Party of France
Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Mexico (M-L)
Revolutionary Marxist Organisation of Norway
Communist Organisation 'October' of Spain
Communist Workers' Party of Tunisia
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey
Red Flag Party of Venezuela
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta
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