New Communist Party of Britain
Dear Friends and Comrades,
The New Communist Party of Britain is very pleased to be able to make a modest contribution to the discussion taking place in Athens today. We meet at the opening of a new century, a time of reflection on the successes and setbacks of the world communist movement in the past, a time to look forward to the advances which will certainly be made in the years to come.
The Communist international
The Communist movement has been international from the beginning when Marx and Engels made their stirring call in the Communist Manifesto of 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, the Comintern, in 1919. Communist Parties, parties of a new type, inspired by the experience of the Bolsheviks 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. It was dissolved in 1943 during the Second World War. In 1947 the Communist Information Bureau was established limited to the communist and workers parties of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe together with those of France and Italy. Yugoslavia was expelled in 1948 and the Cominform 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 designed to win support for the foreign policy of the Soviet Union of the day and backing for the CPSU’s hostility to the Communist Party of China. The divisive nature of these meetings, which precluded the participation of many communist parties has led to the 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. During 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.
The New World Order
In 1990 the counter-revolutions were unleashed, with the capitulation to imperialism, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the annexation of the GDR by West Germany, the partitioning of Czechoslovakia and the expansion of Nato into eastern Europe. All this has been accompanied by a catastrophic fall in the living standards and democratic rights of the working people in those countries.
It has encouraged world imperialism, led by US imperialism, to try and establish global political and economic dominance in the name of the "new world order" and "globalisation". A Nato-led army tried to crush Iraq in 1991 and the cruel blockade which still continues has claimed the lives of over a million and a half innocent Iraqi civilians. Anglo-American imperialism today continues to bomb Iraq in a barbarous secret war aimed at bringing this defiant Arab state to its knees. Only last year British and American imperialism brought the terror-bombing to the Balkans in an attempt to crush Yugoslavia abandoning all pretence of international law and asserting the old imperialist claim to intervene in the internal affairs of weaker states when it suits their interests. And only last month British imperialism sent troops to Sierra Leone to intervene in the civil war and restore the diamond mines to the transnational monopolies.
Wherever there is oppression there is always resistance and the events of the last decade prove this. The people of Iraq remain defiant, refusing to bow to the demands of imperialism, determined to fight to preserve their independence. The Yugoslav people remain defiant and continue to stand up to the intrigues and plots of imperialism in the Balkans. The Lebanese people, only last month, scored a famous victory, forcing the last Israeli soldiers to scuttle out of the last kilometres of southern Lebanon under fire from the guns of the Lebanese resistance.
In Asia socialism continues to be built in People’s China, Democratic Korea, Vietnam and Laos. In Cuba the people have rallied to defend their revolution in the face of constant provocations from US imperialism. They prove to us that socialism is a science which does emancipate the working class and all other classes with it through revolutionary change. They prove by their experience and practice that socialism is the only solution to exploitation, barbarism and war.
In the imperialist heartlands, the United States, Britain and the rest of the European Union communists are at the fore in the struggle for peace and the fight to defend workers’ living standards. In the former socialist countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union communists are regrouping and campaigning for a new revolutionary upsurge.
And in the developing countries a new wave of resistance to imperialism is emerging. We saw it in Somalia, we see it in Zimbabwe and Sierra Leone and we are confident we will see it wherever people are oppressed.
Rallying of communist forces
The communist movement has certainly recovered considerably since 1990. It began with the initiative of the Workers’ Party of Korea led by Kim Il Sung in 1992 which sponsored the conference in Pyongyang which adopted the resolution "Let us defend and advance the socialist cause". 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.
Our Party has also backed other initiatives sponsored by communist parties including the Belgian Workers’ Party international May Day Conferences, which since 1992 have become a focus for exchanges of information and debate. We also welcome and support the initiative of the Greek Communist Party, whose international conferences have succeeded in bringing together a large number of communist and workers parties in fruitful discussion.
Now we believe that exchanges of views and experiences can only strengthen the world movement but we also think that attempts to launch a new communist international are premature. There have been some moves over the past ten years to try and revive the spirit of the Comintern but they have all failed because they have been sponsored by small sectarian groups unable and unwilling to reach out to the broad spectrum of opinion which exists within the workers’ movement at this time.
The NCP believes that the first priority is to build bilateral relations with communist parties around the world built on exchanges of publications and messages, meetings and delegations and common support of international and regional communist meetings.
Our view is that a new international of the future must be based on key principles and the first must be that it must include and have the support of the ruling parties of People’s China, Democratic Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. It must be based on Marxism-Leninism. It must be based on the principle of equality of big 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. 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 resolve.
We believe that we have a duty to make the classic works of Marxism-Leninism available for this generation and the generations to come. The classic works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin along with those of Mao Zedong, Kim Il Sung, Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro are not just part of our heritage -- they contain important practical and theoretical lessons for communists today.
Our immediate task must be to encourage regular exchanges of views through bilateral exchanges and international conferences. We welcome the increasing use of the Internet to facilitate this - the efforts of the Greek comrades with Solidnet and the American party’s Rednet are examples of how this can be done.
We need to exchange views to explore the possibility of establishing a common line on some issues. The question of the European Union is one which is clearly uppermost in the thinking of the parties in this continent and well as the problem of how to combat social-democratic and revisionist ideas while working to build the unity of the working class around the vanguard party.
Making peace the issue
Finally we believe in the need to make peace the key issue for all communists today. We are fighting to end the partition of Ireland, Korea and Cyprus. We want a just peace in the Middle East and the Balkans and an end to imperialist interventions. We want to see the complete prohibition and total destruction of all nuclear weapons - a position which only People’s China is calling for amongst the nuclear club.
Only the ruling class can ever benefit from war, and even within the exploiters ranks only the most reactionary and aggressive elements at that. So it is possible to unite the broadest number from all strata in 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 would like to thank the Greek Communist Party for organising this event and inviting us to present some of our views to our comrades from all over the world. We are certain that this conference will take us further along the road of proletarian internationalism and communist co-operation.
Athens June 2000