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On the revolutionary regroupment of the communist movement and its independence from the interests of the bourgeoisies and their allies
A few days after the 1st anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the socialist parties from 11 countries (Germany, France, Russia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway) held a conference in Zimmerwald, Switzerland, which wasrecorded in history and named after the city that hosted it. Among a total of 38 delegates, only 8 followed a clear revolutionary-internationalist line; however, the decisive contribution of Lenin and the left faction of the conference left an indelibleimprint on the Manifesto that was adopted by the Zimmerwald Conference, which characterized World War I as an imperialist war and denounced the idea of “defending one's nation” in this war against the peoples as a “bourgeois lie”. It emphasized that the idea of peace without revolutionary struggle is an empty and false phrase. The Manifesto of the Conference denounced the Second International for its attitude towards the imperialist war. Assessing the Conference, Lenin noted that despite the delay,a direction of rupture with opportunism and social chauvinism had been mapped out. The Zimmerwald Conference had rocked the boat within the international socialist movement at that time, paving the way for the founding, 4 years later, of Third (Communist) International.
Today, 108 years later, another war, which is being waged between powerful imperialist powers on Ukrainian soil and is posing the risk of its expansion, has brought about complex processes within the ranks of the International Communist Movement (ICM).
Of course, we must not forget that today the international communist movement is in retreat, which has not been completed yet by the renunciation on the part of some CPsof their names and symbols. The reason is that there are parties that maintain their red symbols but show political support for the bourgeois interests. This is the situation with the CP of China that manages capitalism in China; with the Eurocommunist parties in Europe that support the EU and, as in the case of the CP of Spain, participate in bourgeois governments and in the management of capitalism in their respective countries; with Russia, where the CPRF and the RCWP, making use of the antifascist popular sentiment, support the interests of the Russian monopolies and the bourgeois power for land, mineral wealth and geopolitical points d’appui —and not only in the case of the war in Ukraine. Thus, recently, a cadre of the RCWP claimed in his article that we must welcome the Russian investments in Africa since they are not as predatory as those of the Western monopolies.
The developments fully vindicate our Party's assessment that a communist pole, defending Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, is necessary. They also vindicate the assessment made by Lenin 108 years ago that “to bring about an international Marxist organization, there must be a readiness to form independent Marxist parties in different countries”1, in the sense that the labor movement must be independent from the bourgeois interests and secure its independent functioning. There must be CPs based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism, which will promote the needs of class struggle for the overthrow of the exploitative system in their own country and internationally, will not be chained to bourgeois interests and will not find themselves between the hammer and the anvil of geopolitical interests that influence the international communist movement today.
The 23rd International Meeting
The above-mentioned thoughts are very timely on the occasion of the 23rd International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP), which will be held on 20 - 22 October 2023 in Izmir, Türkiye, hosted by the CP of Türkiye and under the topic “The political and ideological battles to confront capitalists and imperialism. The tasks of communists to inform and mobilize the working class, youth, women, and intellectuals in the struggle against exploitation, oppression, imperialist lies and historical revisionism; for the social and democratic rights of workers and peoples; against militarism and war, for peace and socialism.”
The ideological and political confrontation on serious issues has never ceased in the IMCWP, which started in 1998 at the initiative of the KKE. Such an issue is the alignment of the CPs’ strategy with the character of our era, since many CPs remain tied to the strategy of “stages” towards socialism, thus entrapped in the management of the capitalist system, through the participation in or support to center–left, “left” or “patriotic” governments.
There is considerable confusion about imperialism, as some CPs erroneously identify this term with the USA or with certain powerful capitalist states of Europe. In the “muddy waters” of such a mistaken approach we can see the perpetuation of notions claiming that a different peaceful world can exist, a “multipolar world”, consisting of some “peace-loving” big countries, which will “tame” the aggression of the US and the other imperialist powers, without having to overthrow capitalism.
As we can see, this is a reproduction of views that Lenin opposed 108 years ago. Once again these views are spread and “swallow” entire parties, especially the ones that today rehash the views of the so-called perestroika period, or even before it, such as the “peaceful co-existence and competition between capitalism and socialism”, the “regional security systems”, the “peaceful transition”, i.e. views that prevailed within the CP of the Soviet Union after the 20th and 22nd Congresses and played a determining role in leading to the degeneration of many CPs in the East and the West.
Things are even worse for the CPs which have not studied thoroughly the causes of the counter-revolution and the overthrow of socialism, and believe that socialism can be built with the tools of the market, with the so-called mixed economy and they even consider that a capitalist colossus, meaning today's China, is a country that supposedly builds “socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
These and many more complex issues are at the center of the ideological and political confrontation and they are considered especially crucial under the current conditions of the imperialist war between the Euro-Atlantic imperialist bloc (US, NATO, EU, etc.) and the emerging Eurasian imperialist bloc (China, Russia, etc.). Under these conditions, several CPs reproduce the pretexts and the argumentation of one of the sides of the imperialist conflict, mainly the side of China and Russia. Moreover, on the fringes of the communist movement, some CPs, cooperating with Maoist groups, such as the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist), as well as the social-democratic governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), have established, along with some unknown and even suspicious groups, the so-called World Anti-imperialist Platform (WAP), which appears as the official apologist of the Eurasian imperialist bloc.
We must not forget the very useful role of the WAP in favor of the interests of the US. The reason is that the US has been attempting for a long time to create the ideological “packaging” of the ongoing imperialist conflict: According to this ideological construct, the US and the other “democratic” countries stand on one side of the conflict and the “communist China and other countries with totalitarian regimes, such as Russia” stand on the other side. This interpretation is useful for US imperialism to convince the workers in the NATO member countries that it is necessary to support the war while at the same time strengthening the anticommunist slandering campaign. Besides, the unacceptable destruction of antifascist and soviet monuments in the countries of the EU continues based on this narrative. In practice, despite its declarations, it seems that the WAP is grist for the US mill and reproduces the above-mentioned distinction. Itspeaks of “socialist China” and describes other capitalist countries, which exploit their workers and attack the workers’ rights, as “anti-imperialist” forces. Moreover, this distinction is very convenient for those who make use of the theory of totalitarianism and the unacceptable identification of fascism with communism.
It is not a coincidence that the KKE is the target of provocative attacks by the WAP since it highlights the real causes of the imperialist war, reveals the pretexts of both sides and the false distinctions, and calls upon the people to avoid supporting any camp between imperialist thieves. Besides, the same criteria were raised by Lenin in his era, about the attitude of communists towards imperialist war. Based on the same criteria, the KKE refuses to be co-opted into the framework of the US imperialists and their supporters across the world, using a so-called anti-imperialist terminology; something that unfortunately applies to several CPs that have been unforgivably swayed by it.
Geopolitical games and the formation of the false CP of Venezuela
A long as various parties continue based on bourgeois approaches, as long as they substitute the class-oriented approach for the “compass” of classless geopolitical approaches and the supposedly “national interests”, then the IMCWP and the ICM as a whole will be receiving increasingly intense pressure from the various geopolitical games aiming to enhance the position of the bourgeoisies, which attempt to make the CPs align with them based on various pretexts.
This does not only concern China, i.e. one of the strongest powers of today's capitalist world, which makes use of the red banners and aims to convince us that there is no conflict with the US in the framework of capitalism, but a “new cold war”, a supposedly new confrontation between capitalism and socialism. A part of the CPs, which face the developments superficially, supports this claim that attempts to make the ICM fall under the influence of one of the sides of the imperialist conflict.
However, other bourgeoisies, such as the Venezuelan bourgeoisie, make use of the effort to manipulate the CPs and to use them in international relations to promote their interests. Thus, at the same time that the PSUV, the governing party of Venezuela, has undertaken a leading role within the WAP, an unprecedented anti-communist campaign has been launched within its country, with the intervention of the very bourgeois state in the internal affairs of the CP of Venezuela (PCV), since under court order the current leadership of the party is terminated and a new leadership is appointed, consisting of cadres of PSUV.
Of course, it is not the first time that something like that has happened. In the past, the bourgeois regime of Kazakhstan used a court order to outlaw the CP of Kazakhstan and it established “its own” CP, under the title Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan, which elected MPs and attempted to join the IMCWP, to no avail.
This effort to strike a blow at and disdain the CP of Venezuela is taking place in the name of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution and the Socialism of the 21st century, while at the same time, there is a huge attack to drain the working class of Venezuela and to repress its struggles. Negotiations are also conducted between the “socialist” government with the US for gaining access to the country's oil.
The case of the "European Communist Initiative”
About 20 years ago, the Union of the European capital, the EU, decided to promote its policy through the so-called “European parties”. Thus, the EU Regulation 2004/2003, approved by the European Parliament, and the EU Council Decision of 4 November 2003 on the regulations for the political parties at the European level and their funding, paved the way for the so-called “European parties”. On this basis, in 2004, amongst other such parties, was the “Party of the European Left” (PEL), founded at the initiative of several Eurocommunist, mutated communist, and other “left” parties.
The PEL, as one of the “European” parties, was founded from the beginning under the encouragement, guidance, and funding of the EU itself and under the condition of the explicit acceptance of the aims and “principles” of the EU. This means that “it must observe, in particular in its programme and its activities, the principles on which the European Union is founded”, which also applies to any party founded on the basis of these regulations. The parties that established the PEL proclaimed that capitalism could “become humane” and that the EU could “be democratized”, with the aim to manipulate the workers within the bourgeois system.
Against the plans of the EU, in 2013, the “European Communist Initiative” (ECI) was foundedat the initiative of the KKE. In its Founding Declaration it was highlighted that “We consider that the EU is capital's choice (…) that there is another development path for the peoples. The perspective of another Europe, the prosperity of the peoples, social progress, democratic rights, equal cooperation, peace, and socialism are highlighted through the workers' struggles.” The ECI was directly opposing the so-called European parties of the EU.
Thus, the ECI was established as a form of cooperation between CPs based on scientific communism, against the EU, against capitalism, in the struggle for the interests of the working class and its cause.
During the years of its action, the ECI carried out certain activities, but more importantly, with several statements of the Plenum or the Secretariat, it oriented towards the right basis on several current political and ideological issues, about the attack on labor rights, as well as environmental issues and issues relating to solidarity with the immigrants.
This does not mean that there were no contradictions and problems within the ECI. Two years ago, the KKE published the Documents of its 21st Congress, in which it referred to the ideological–political confusions and problems as well asto many difficulties in the elaboration of the revolutionary strategy and its connection with current class struggle, in conditions of a very negative correlation of forces, something that reproduces the opportunist attack.
The imperialist war and the different approaches to it have played a decisive role to the obstruction of the functioning of the ECI, since several parties do not examine imperialism based on the Leninist criteria and have not drawn conclusions from history e.g. concerning the “antifascist fronts” or the strategy of stages.
More specifically, these parties made serious concessions from agreed positions within the framework of the ECI, not only about the issue of the imperialist war but also on other issues. Some statements of the parties participating in the ECI are typical of this, since they turn against the immigrants or some of their statements and articles stand in favor of bourgeois personalities, e.g. Orban or even Trump, or they built political alliances with far-right forces, even with fascist-leaning forces, in the name of the defense of “sovereignty” or the so-called anti-imperialism.
In practice, this was a retreat of several parties from the communist principles and from the principles on which the ECI was structured, which indicates their opportunist sliding and their attachment to bourgeois forces and interests.
The attitude of the parties towards the imperialist war played the role of the “catalyst” in the above-mentioned developments, since it led to the blocking and ultimately to the cessation of the functioning of the ECI, which, in no circumstances mean the cessation of the efforts of the KKE and other CPs towards the revolutionary regroupment of the ICM. On the contrary, by making use of the accumulated experience, it shows that the coordination between the CPs in a solid, as far as possible, communist ideological-political base is necessary; such positive processes are underway.
The necessity to take steps for the revolutionary regroupment of the ICM
Today, in the whole capitalist world, and regardless of the level of capitalist development, the exploitation of the working class is intensified, the state and employer repression and anticommunism are strengthened, the inter-imperialist contradictions butcher the peoples, and the workers all over the world have a common enemy: the monopolies, the bourgeoisies, their imperialist alliances, capitalism. Thus, equally common should be the class struggle for the overthrow of the exploitative system, which is taking place in the capitalist world and has a worldwide character. From the above stems the permanent and steady task of our Party for the revolutionary regroupment and development of the International Communist Movement.
This is not an easy task and we are aware that the whole process of revolutionary regroupment will be slow, tortuous, and fragile. It depends on the ability of several Communist Parties to comprehensively strengthen themselves ideologically, politically, and organizationally in their countries; to establish and cement their ties with the working class; to overcome mistaken positions that dominated the International Communist Movement in the previous decades and are being reproduced in different forms today; to combine the revolutionary action with revolutionary theory; to build a militant and independent principled stand against the bourgeoisie of their countries, any bourgeoisie and any imperialist alliance. This will determine whether the communist movement will struggle against the factors that bog it down and whether it will follow the course of the revolutionary regroupment, taking into consideration that our era expresses the necessity of transition from capitalism to socialism and that the character of the revolution is socialist.
Article published in Rizospastis on 14-15 October 2023
1. V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 26, p.349, “Synchroni Epochi”