THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNIST MOVEMENT
"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can only be attained by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have the world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!" is the concluding call of the Communist Manifesto. And the communist movement has been international since the beginning when Marx and Engels made their stirring demand in 1848.
The 1917 October Revolution, which established the first socialist state, and the revolutionary upsurge which swept Europe and led to the end of the First World War in 1918, created the conditions for the establishment of the Communist International (Comintern) in 1919. Communist parties, parties of a new type, inspired by the experience of the Bolshevik revolution, sprang up from the working class movement.
The Comintern was an international proletarian organisation of a new type, comprising of communist and workers' parties across the globe. The Comintern held seven congresses, the first in 1919 and the last in 1935 and was dissolved in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1947 the Communist Information Bureau was founded whose initial members were the communist and workers' parties of the Soviet Union, Poland, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, France and Italy. Its centre was Belgrade, and when the Yugoslav communists were expelled in 1948 it moved to Romania. It was dissolved in 1956.
Following the 20th Congress of the CPSU and Krushchov's bitter denunciation of Stalin, revisionist forces gradually increased their influence in the leadership of the Soviet party.
This became apparent with its reluctance to wage a committed and trenchant ideological attack on the revisionist trend that became known as "Eurocommunism".
After that date the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), under a succession of revisionist leaders, sponsored a number of communist conferences. The divisive nature of these meetings, which precluded the participation of many communists, has led to problems in trying to build a new communist international today.
As the right revisionist trend was increasingly accommodated in the CPSU leadership, the way was paved for liquidationist and counter-revolutionary forces to gain control.
Over this period policies that alienated decisive sections of the working class were pursued. These included policies that undermined the economic development of the Soviet Union.
In 1990 the counter revolution was unleashed, with the capitulation to imperialism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the annexation of the German Democratic Republic, the partitioning of Czechoslovakia and the recent absorption of a number of former socialist states into the aggressive military alliance of Nato.
All this has been accompanied by a catastrophic fall in the living standards and democratic rights of the working people and their families in those countries.
The counter-revolutionary set-back of 1990 was followed by a world-wide rallying of communist and workers' parties. The Workers' Party of Korea, under the leadership of Kim Il Sung, sponsored a conference in Pyongyang which adopted a resolution "Let us defend and advance the socialist cause" in 1992. Our party took part in this meeting and signed the resolution known as the Pyongyang Declaration, which has now been endorsed by over 240 parties and progressive movements around the world including the Communist Party of Britain and the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (ML).
The NCP has also supported other initiatives sponsored by communist parties including the Belgian Workers' Party international May Day Conferences and the international meetings called by the Greek Communist Party (KKE). We will continue to support all forums that help to strengthen world-wide contacts between communist parties. We believe that exchanges of views and experiences can only strengthen the world movement.
Since 1990 there have been moves to launch a new communist international. They have all failed because they have been sponsored by small sectarian groups and because the move is clearly premature.
The NCP believes that the first priority is to build bilateral relations with communist parties around the world. The party has warm relations with virtually all the communist and workers' parties in the world built on exchanges of publications and messages, meetings of delegations and common support of international and regional communist meetings.
Our view on a new international is based on key principles, the first that it must include and have the support of the ruling parties of China, Democratic Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. It must be based on Marxism-Leninism and the principle of equality between big parties and small parties. It must recognise the principle of a collective secretariat or presidium which reflects the views of the member parties and not that of one big party. And it must recognise that in countries where there is more than one communist party, the case in most countries today, the differences between them are a matter for those parties alone to settle.
The party will continue to strengthen its ties with communist and workers
parties all round the world. At home we must strive to make the classic
works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin along with those of Kim Il Sung,
Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, Fidel Castro and Ho Chi Minh, available to all.
MAKE PEACE THE ISSUE
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) alliance and EU states have greatly extended their capacity and plans for future military interventions in Eastern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Following the incorporation of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into Nato, Nato forces have held. exercises in Central Asia and the Caucasus, and plans are well advanced for possible intervention in these oil-rich regions. The EU is also moving gradually towards establishing its own military organisation. In the absence of the former Warsaw Treaty states, US and European imperialism are returning to their pre-1939 practice of imposing war and destruction whenever their interests dictate, while turning a blind eye to oppression and genocide if they pose no threat to their interests. With the removal of the alleged "threat" from the Warsaw Treaty states, the true character of Nato as an aggressive military alliance, designed to enforce the imperialist interests, poses an ever growing threat of unleashing wars on the peoples of Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
British and United States imperialism pose the greatest danger to world peace. Under a United Nations (UN) mandate steamrollered through the Security Council, they have waged war against Iraq and Yugoslavia with the support of most of their other allies in the Atlantic Alliance. In the continuing aggression and cruel blockade against Iraq they claim sanction from the United Nations Security Council. Against Yugoslavia, they resurrect the old imperialist claim of the "right" to intervene in the internal affairs of weaker states when it suits them, regardless of the United Nations or what they have hitherto accepted as international law.
The Blair government, following the path of previous Conservative governments, continues to modernise and expand its nuclear strike force based around the Trident system, whose 384 warheads each possess eight times the destructive power of the Hiroshima bomb. Britain's nuclear strike force is second only to the immense nuclear power of the United States and it is clear that the British ruling class seek to raise their standing within the imperialist bloc through demonstrations of military might, though always, as in the case of Yugoslavia, against much weaker adversaries.
No-one now talks about the "peace dividend" which supposedly followed
the end of the "Cold War" in 1990. The only "peace dividend" which has
accrued was the one payable to the ruling class, which benefited from the
collapse of the mass peace campaign in the wake of the counter-revolutions
which brought down the Soviet Union and the socialist states of eastern
But a very real "war dividend" has been paid to the war-mongers, the most aggressive elements of British and world imperialism, and the arms manufacturers, who are now trying to impose control on those parts of the world that still remain beyond their domination.
This encouraged the most reactionary elements within the Indian ruling class to resuming testing of their own atomic weapons in 1998, triggering an inevitable Pakistani response, and raised fears that continuing conflict between the two over Kashmir could go nuclear in the future, with devastating consequences for the people of the sub-continent. While the Balkan War raged in May, Boeing shares hit an all-time high and British Aerospace shares shot up 45 per cent: profits for the arms merchants, plunder for the imperialists and death and destruction for their victims.
Though the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has been unable to act as a focus in itself for the anti-war campaign this year, many of its activists have played key roles in building the Committee for Peace in the Balkans and supporting the other anti-war initiatives throughout Britain.
The New Communist Party fully supported the efforts of the broadly-based anti-war campaign to stop the bombing of Yugoslavia and continues its long-standing support for unilateral British nuclear disarmament and the efforts of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council all possess nuclear arsenals. The United States has the largest and Britain and France also possess substantial numbers of nuclear warheads. Russia remains a nuclear power on paper but it is doubtful whether its systems are now operational. India and Pakistan tested nuclear devices in 1998 and have the potential to deploy them, though they have refrained from doing so, so far.
The fifth permanent member of Security Council, and the only socialist state with nuclear weapons, is People's China. China's nuclear arsenal is by far the smallest of the Big Five and it has carried out the least number of tests, the last in July 1996. China is the only nuclear power to uphold the demand for universal nuclear disarmament. China, backed by many other countries, has challenged the West to implement the entire Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which was initiated in 1968 to halt nuclear proliferation but also committed the signatories to work towards universal nuclear disarmament.
People's China calls on all states with nuclear weapons deployed outside their frontiers to withdraw these weapons to home territory. China calls for the banning of the development and deployment of space weapons systems or missile defence systems.
China stands for the complete prohibition and total destruction of all nuclear weapons. In the meantime it has urged all the other nuclear powers to conclude a treaty banning the first use of nuclear weapons against each other, and committing them not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against nuclear-free zones and countries without such weapons.
These demands must be projected throughout the peace movement. We must build mass support for the campaign to scrap Trident. This is a winnable campaigning demand which would put the ruling class and its apologists in office on the defensive. The only argument in favour of the Trident weapon system, which is purchased from the United States, was the bogus one of "deterrence" against the alleged threat from the old Soviet Union. The Soviet nuclear threat, in fact, never existed, and now that the Soviet Union no longer exists, the case for "deterrence" has gone.
There is no plausible argument to justify the spending of billions of pounds on Trident while state welfare is slashed and millions of working people remain out of work, destitute and on the poverty line. The despicable claim that the arms industry creates jobs and wealth is based on the fact that Britain is a major arms producer. It has to be countered by the demand for conversion and diversification. The establishment of an arms conversion plan would create industrial, manufacturing and service jobs to which workers on so-called defence projects could be redeployed. Their advanced skills could then be applied for socially useful purposes.
Party campaigning once again must focus on demands that can win mass support from the labour and peace movement. Scrapping Trident, conversion and diversification are all realistic demands. The call for an end to the Nato pact is a realistic demand in some European countries like Greece and the party must strive to develop the anti-imperialist perspective within the broader peace movement and expose the real nature of the Atlantic alliance.
Because only the ruling class can ever benefit from war, and even within
the exploiters ranks only the most reactionary and aggressive elements
at that, it is possible to unite the broadest possible number from all
strata of society around the demands for peace and disarmament. At the
same time, we must continue to work for working class leadership within
the peace campaign to strengthen its determination and enable it to appeal
to the masses in the struggles to come. We must continue to fight to mobilise
the working class behind the demand for British unilateral nuclear
disarmament, together with the withdrawal of all British troops from Yugoslavia,
Cyprus and the occupied north of Ireland.
DEMOCRATIC CHANGE NOT JUST CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
Constitutional change plays a major part in the very small package of reforms in the Blair agenda. The establishment of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh National Assembly were presented as a genuine response to a mass demand from the trade union movement and within the Labour Party itself in Scotland and Wales. The real purpose of this and the other reforms proposed by the Labour government is to streamline the British state so that it will conform to the requirements of the European Union.
Restructuring of the state apparatus has taken place in all of the members of the European Union. In Italy, sweeping changes have taken place to prepare the country for European integration, including the destruction of all the old parties, right and left and including the revisionist former Communist Party of Italy. In others, changes have been more modest, because their systems already conform to the new Europe the exploiters are creating. The European super-state, which has no democratic federal structures at all, seeks to replace national bourgeois democracy with regional assemblies with limited powers which they believe will become the focus of political life. This system already exists in the German Federal Republic.
The new Scottish and Welsh elected bodies conform to the plan for a "Europe of the regions". But the ruling class, and the Labour Party leaders that do their bidding, are not prepared to extend this to the most populous part of Britain, England, because they know that they cannot guarantee continual control of the labour movement in the great working class cities of the country.
The Government has ignored demands from the labour movement in England for the restoration of the Greater London Council and democratic regional authorities for the big cities in the rest of the country.
The proposed Greater London Assembly with an executive mayor is largely a cosmetic exercise designed to head off demands for genuine local democracy with real power and authority. The new London assembly and its mayor will have few, if any powers to improve the lives of Londoners. In so far as it can provide a centre of debate for the labour movement, the Assembly is welcome, but it should be seen as only providing a forum for the campaign to restore all the old powers of the old GLC, and not an end in itself. It is also serving as a model for the re-organisation of local government all over the country, although many councils are not informing their electorate of the proposed changes. Every effort should be made to bring these proposals into the public domain [such as articles in the New Worker] and encourage people to take part in the discussions on them.