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On the so-called World Anti-Imperialist Platform and its damaging and disorienting position
Article by the International Relations Section of the CC of the KKE
The outbreak of the imperialist war in Ukraine has sharpened the contradictions within the international communist movement around serious ideological-political issues that have been plaguing it for years and express the opportunist influence in its ranks. Naturally, the focus was on the stance towards the imperialist character of the war that is being waged between the USA-NATO-EU and capitalist Russia on the territory of Ukraine, the stance towards the bourgeoisie and its political representatives such as social democracy, the problematic analyses of the imperialist system and the position of China and Russia, and other issues, more deeply connected with the question of the erroneous strategy of stages towards socialism, of support for and participation in bourgeois governments.
Under these circumstances, on the eve of the 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) that was held in Havana last October, a new international organization called the “World Anti-Imperialist Platform” (WAP) emerged in Paris, which has already organized a series of activities in Belgrade, Athens and recently in Caracas, hosted by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). The WAP’s event in Venezuela coincided with the anti-popular attack launched by the social democratic government of PSUV on the working class and popular strata of Venezuela, at a time when it has reached agreements with the right-wing opposition and the USA, intensifying the anti-communist attacks and subversive actions against the CP of Venezuela.
It is important to look at which forces make it up as well as the main problematic positions of the WAP.
A peculiar amalgam of political forces
An amalgam of political forces is involved in the activities of the WAP, where social democratic forces, such as the aforementioned PSUV and a South Korean organization (People’s Democracy Party) that has come out of the blue, play the main role, together with some Communist and Workers’ parties, such as the Hungarian Workers’ Party, the Communist Party (Italy), the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, the Russian Communist Workers’ Party (RCWP), the Lebanese Communist Party, the Maoist Communist Party of Great Britain (M-L), the Pole of Communist Revival in France, etc.
Moreover, as the Communist Party of Mexico1 denounced, even nationalist, racist and reactionary political forces participated in the events in Caracas. Such were, for example, the nationalist Spanish organization “Vanguardia Española” (Spanish Vanguard), whose roots go back to the nationalist philosopher Gustavo Bueno, who was an active Phalangist fighter and supporter of the fascist dictator Franco in the 1950s. The “Vanguardia Venezolana” (Venezuelan Vanguard) is of a similar ilk.
Two unknown organizations from Greece participate in the WAP, lacking of mass action and social basis: the “Collective of Struggle for the Revolutionary Unification of Humanity” (D. Patelis) and the “Platform for Independence” (V. Gonatas), which lately have been marked by an intensification of anti-KKE sentiments, often choosing the slippery slope of provocative attacks via the Internet.
Imperialism as an “abnormal situation” that can be remedied...
The WAP presents a completely reversed picture of the global reality we are experiencing. From its analyses, we cannot understand that we live in the capitalist system, since the concept of capitalism has been banished from every related statement (e.g. the founding Paris Declaration, the materials of the recent Caracas meeting).
Allow us to open a parenthesis here, as it should be noted that in the Greek translation of the founding Paris Declaration, the word “capitalist” has been added at one point before “imperialist”, something that has not happened in the English, Spanish and French versions of this document. It seems that the Greek translator has tried to arbitrarily gloss over this particular statement, which of course does not change its substance.
At the same time, there is a misuse of the words “imperialism”, “imperialists” and “anti-imperialism” in the WAP materials. Thus, imperialism, which according to Lenin is monopoly capitalism, is distortedly treated simply as an aggressive foreign policy, detached from its economic basis (the monopolies and the capitalist market economy) and from its class essence as the power of the bourgeoisie.
It is no coincidence, therefore, that the revolutionary overthrow of bourgeois power does not arise in the positions of the WAP, and that the struggle for socialism has been abandoned and replaced by the goal of national sovereignty and a new global financial architecture without sanctions and trade wars, to “overturn the colonial system that brings instability, poverty and violation of human rights to the masses via political oppression, economic looting and military coercion”.
In all its statements, the identification of the concept of imperialism with the strongest power of the international imperialist system to date, i.e. the USA, is characteristic. Even when reference is made to other imperialist unions, such as the EU, NATO, the IMF, the World Bank, etc., it is assumed that we are dealing with “US imperial interests”. In this way, as if by magic, the responsibilities and self interests of the bourgeois classes of the rest capitalist states, other than the USA, that participate in these alliances are concealed. Thus, the USA is distortedly presented as an empire of a modern colonial system, where all the states allied to it are its subordinates.
On the contrary, it is considered that “Russia and China are not aggressive imperialist powers” and together with others, such as North Korea and Iran, are presented as “anti-imperialist”, which, together with the so-called progressive governments of Latin America, resist imperialism.
Moreover, we see that any class-based approach is abandoned as various regional unions, “such as ALBA and CELAC”, which basically involve capitalist states but the WAP believes that will “bring together the oppressed nations of Latin America”, are praised.
Finally, with regard to the imperialist war in Ukraine, the WAP considers it to be an act of aggression by the USA, which is using Ukraine to attack ... “anti-imperialist” Russia and China.
|"That there is no economic data to justify characterizing China or Russia as imperialist. These are countries that do not live by superexploiting or looting the world" claims the WAP... The banner of the union of dockers in the port of Piraeus, owned by the Chinese monopoly COSCO, reads: "No more dead for COSCO's profits"|
Brief critique of basic positions of the WAP
1. What is imperialism and who is anti-imperialist? Nowadays we see that the concept of imperialism is even used by representatives of bourgeois classes, with one calling the other “imperialist”, as the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, recently did, speaking about Russian President V. Putin. There are also several representatives of bourgeois classes that call themselves ... “anti-imperialist”.
A number of opportunist forces create similar confusions with their positions, as do the positions of the WAP, where e.g. even the capitalist state of Iran, which uses religion to intensify class exploitation and social inequality and denies basic rights to women, is characterized as “anti-imperialist”. And this is said at a time when Iran is being shaken by large-scale demonstrations for basic bourgeois democratic rights. Recently “anti-imperialist” Iran, through the mediation of China, signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia, which turned its back on the USA. Did the Saudi kings and princes, too, become “anti-imperialist” after that? We would not be surprised by such an assessment as some time ago some powers in Latin America were calling Erdoğan, the President of Turkey, which maintains occupying troops in at least 3 countries (Cyprus, Syria, Iraq), an “anti-imperialist”. That was a grist for Erdoğan’s mill, who declared that “the US does not love him because he is ... anti-imperialist”.
From the above it is clear that the misuse and arbitrary use of the concept of imperialism and its derivative words leads to great confusion. It is, therefore, important to approach the concept of imperialism on a socio-economic scientific basis, and not on the basis that bourgeois and opportunists want to impose in order to justify bourgeois classes and imperialist powers, by attempting to turn black into white. Lenin has substantiated the basic features of imperialism: “(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital,” of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.2”
We therefore live in the era where capitalism has certain specific features described by Lenin in his work. We are talking about uniform features concerning the domination of monopolies, of powerful stock companies and the sharpening of capitalist competition, the formation of finance capital, the increasing importance of capital export in relation to the export of commodities, the struggle for the redivision of markets and territories between capitalist states and international monopoly groups. Lenin treats imperialism as the “highest stage of capitalism”, as he titled his pamphlet on the subject, highlighting that monopoly capitalism “is a complete material preparation for socialism, the threshold of socialism, a rung on the ladder of history between which and the rung called socialism there are no intermediate rungs 3”.
As we can see, the scientific Leninist approach for imperialism is a far cry from the common use of imperialism as an aggressive foreign policy or the identification with a single state, albeit being the most powerful one, as the WAP, among others, argues. Moreover, the WAP in practice classifies every state, regardless of its position in the imperialist pyramid, under the label of “anti-imperialist” on the sole criterion of whether at the given moment the political leadership of the particular capitalist state is opposed to or even in conflict with the USA or its choices, in the framework of the intensifying international competition between the monopolies and the states representing their interests.
Imperialism is monopoly capitalism. In the present imperialist system, all capitalist states are integrated into it and are characterized by relations of unequal interdependence, competition and cooperation. This certainly does not mean that they have the same power and capabilities; it means that all bourgeois classes participate in the sharing of the spoils, in the sharing of the surplus value produced by the working class across the world, based on the political, military and economic power of each state.
2. National sovereignty, regional unions, new global financial architecture or socialism?
The WAP, as we have already pointed out, has rejected the struggle for socialism and promotes the struggle for national sovereignty, the formation of regional unions and a new global financial architecture, which, despite the preservation of capitalist relations of production, will ensure “freedom and equality of nations, allowing each country to follow a sovereign and independent economic agenda without outside interference”.
According to WAP’s perception, all problems arise from foreign interference, from the imposition of the will of imperialist powers, and primarily of the USA, in each country. In practice, it seeks to forge alliances in the bosom of the so-called national bourgeoisie. Apart from the confusion over imperialism, an underestimate of the international character of the era of monopoly capitalism, which is reflected in every capitalist state with the sharpening of the basic contradiction between capital and labour and the strengthening of the tendency of the absolute and relative deterioration of the position of the working class, is also apparent.
The above erroneous approach is not new since it conveys erroneous approaches that had prevailed for many years in the international communist movement and focused on the differentiated level of development of the productive forces, wrongly assuming that any delay was due exclusively to a state’s foreign dependency and not to historical factors such as the delay in the emergence of capitalist relations, the relatively small national market, the historical conditions that pushed the bourgeoisie of a capitalist state to invest e.g. in the export of energy or in shipping capital rather than in industry. In this context, the strategy of stages towards socialism was developed, where the initial stage was to throw off of “foreign dependency” and establish “national sovereignty”, which would be achieved through an alliance with the “nationally oriented” bourgeoisie in opposition to the “comprador”, dependent and subordinated to the dictates of the imperialists bourgeoisie.
Today we know that the fragmentation of the CP’s strategy into stages has failed! Similarly, the separation of the bourgeoisie into “subservient to foreigners” and “patriotic” and the attempt to form an alliance with the latter section has proved to be unrealistic. The bourgeoisie, despite certain differentiations of economic interests that may exist within it, has its own uniform tool to exploit the working class and oppress the popular strata, i.e. the bourgeois state. The bourgeois state also acts as a regulator for any differences between the various sections of the bourgeoisie. Each national bourgeois state (today there are about 200 of them across the world) contributes to the formulation of the strategy of the country’s bourgeoisie and manages its international alliances, its participation in one or another inter-state union of capitalist states, where the laws of the capitalist economy apply together with the inter-state regulations.
Lenin in his article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” refers to the erroneous approaches of his time concerning the “democratic United States of Europe”, stressing that it was not enough to simply overthrow the authoritarian regimes existing in Europe back then. The economic basis on which this union was to be created was of great importance; and since that basis was capitalism, it would hence be a reactionary union. And that is because, in the words of Lenin, “Capitalism is private ownership of the means of production, and anarchy in production. To advocate a “just” division of income on such a basis is sheer Proudhonism, stupid philistinism (...) To think that it is possible means coming down to the level of some snivelling parson who every Sunday preaches to the rich on the lofty principles of Christianity and advises them to give the poor, well, if not millions, at least several hundred rubles yearly”. He concluded that this slogan is wrong “because it may be wrongly interpreted to mean that the victory of socialism in a single country is impossible4”.
The WAP’s approach about the need “to overturn the colonial system”, about national sovereignty and the creation of regional unions of “sovereign states”, overlook in an unhistorical manner the fact that the colonial system has been a thing of the past for decades now. In its place have appeared dozens of “sovereign” states and in each one unresolved class contradictions exist between capital and the working class. Furthermore, the present relations between the “sovereign” bourgeois states are governed by relations of uneven interdependence, in which all bourgeois classes are involved according to their power —a fact that is missing from the WAP’s analysis.
The dependencies that arise for each capitalist state within this imperialist “pyramid” are not a pathology, a deviation or distortion, which will be corrected by the defeat of the USA by a supposedly multipolar world, as the WAP argues, but a phenomenon inherent in the development of capitalism, i.e. the internationalization of capital. Moreover, the WAP conceals the essence: that this web of unequal interdependence can only be dissolved by the overthrow of bourgeois power and the state of the dictatorship of capital, by the construction of the new socialist–communist society.
When imperialist vultures clash, the right side of history is not to pick the side of the weaker vulture so that it can take the place of the more powerful one. The right side is the struggle against every vulture, every bourgeoisie and imperialist alliance.
3. What is the nature of China and Russia?
The WAP argues that “That there is no economic data to justify characterizing China or Russia as imperialist. These are countries that do not live by superexploiting or looting the world. They do not put other countries into military, technological or debt slavery” and that “Russia and China are not aggressive imperialist powers but, on the contrary, are targeted by our enemies because they stand in the way of the USA’s complete global domination”.
With these statements, the WAP once again seeks to distort reality. It is as if China and Russia do not participate in the G20 summits, the meetings of the 20 most powerful capitalist states of the world, together with the USA, Germany, the UK, France, etc. It is as if the Chinese and Russian monopolies do not export capital to other countries, aiming for the profit that comes from exploiting the labour power not only of the workers of their own country, but also of many other countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, America, wherever their monopolies develop. It is as if the Russian “Wagner” private army is deployed in Africa for charitable reasons and not to defend the interests of the Russian monopolies operating there. It is as if China is no longer moving in a similar direction to safeguard the Belt and Road Initiative by military means. It is notable that this initiative includes the small but very important in geographical terms state of Djibouti —whose debt to China amounts to 43% of its Gross National Income— where China’s first military base outside its borders was inaugurated in 2017.
The statements about countries “that do not put other countries in military, technological or debt slavery” refer to states that play a special role in the arms trade and are currently creditor countries, such as China, which is the world’s leading creditor nation.
They refer to Russia, where giant monopolies (Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, Rosatom, Sberbank, Norilsk Nickel, Rosvooruzhenie, Rostec, Rusal, etc.) exploit millions of workers, not only in Russia but also in the former Soviet Republics, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Africa, South America, Europe, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, etc. As is well known, the export of capital, as distinguished from the export of commodities, means the production of surplus value extracted by the capital-exporting country from the capital-importing country. In 2014, Russia ranked 8th among Foreign direct investment (FDI) exporters globally and fell to 18th place in the global ranking due to sanctions in 2018. In 2021, Russia’s FDI reached $65,189 billion, out of which $1,808 had been invested in CIS countries and $63,381 in “far abroad” countries. According to the World Bank, Russia ranks 5th among the creditors of “developing” countries, following China, Japan, Germany and France5.
They refer to China, whose competitors claim the following: “China now has a special responsibility within the global economy, as it is the world’s largest creditor, exceeding the sum of the loans of the World Bank, the IMF and the Paris Club members (...) 44 countries have debts of more than 10% of their GDP to Chinese lenders (...) The opacity around Chinese loans means that in some cases, e.g. in sub-Saharan Africa, this creates a ‘hidden debt’, which is what governments seek for, as it is not included in the official reports and statistics of international organizations and therefore ‘protects’ borrowers from being considered to have unsustainable debt. Many of these loans require the existence of special accounts, in a bank accepted by the creditor, and provisions to be repaid by revenues coming from projects financed by the creditor or from other cash flows. This essentially means that a significant portion of government revenues are out of the control of the sovereign debtor state. Many of these loans have clear terms that the debtor country cannot turn to the Paris Club to restructure the debt in question or to a similar institution. The terms allowing the creditor to terminate the loan and demand immediate repayment are broader in many of these loans and even include general language such as actions that are detrimental to an entity of the People’s Republic of China, or significant changes in the policy of the country arranging the loan 6”.
Similar data from the World Bank referring to 68 “developing” countries show that China’s loans to these countries in 2020 reached $110 billion, with China being the world’s second creditor nation after the World Bank7. One of the countries whose debts to China amount to billions of dollars is Venezuela, where the ruling party hosted the works of the recent WAP Conference8.
Moreover, another category of loans of particular importance is the holding of bonds, first and foremost of US bonds. In January 2023, China held $859.4 billion of US Treasury securities, ranking second after Japan9.
The WAP refuses to face reality. At a time when confrontations and conflicts take place between the US, the other Euro-Atlantic imperialist powers and Russia and thousands of people are being massacred in Ukraine, the capitalists on both sides of the war and their governments still maintain, albeit limited compared to before February 2022, a stable partnership, including commercial partnership. Thus, for example Russia still sells uranium to the US and France for their nuclear facilities. In fact, it covers 20% of the needs of the 92 US nuclear reactors10, while in 2022 France received 153 tonnes of Russian uranium, covering 15% of its needs11. The Russian “Gazprom” announced that in March it sent million cubic metres of natural gas to the EU through the pipelines of war-torn Ukraine, to the delight of its capitalist shareholders. The US “Chevron” continues to load the oil it extracts from Kazakhstan at the Russian port of Novorossiysk on the Black Sea, which arrives there via a 1,500-kilometre pipeline passing through the territory of Kazakhstan and Russia. It is through this pipeline that two-thirds of the oil extracted in Kazakhstan are put on the world market.
Similarly, despite the so-called new cold war between the US and China in 2022, “trade between the US and China hit a record high, refuting theories of decoupling between the two economies. According to official data from the US Department of Commerce, bilateral trade reached $690.6 billion, with US exports to China rising by $2.4 billion to $153.8 billion. At the same time, imports of Chinese goods into the US market rose by $31.8 billion, reaching $536.8 billion12”.
The question arises: At a time when economic sanctions are being imposed, when military spending has gone sky-high, when bloodshed is taking place in Ukraine, when the various powers involved in the conflict are raising the threat of nuclear weapons, how is it possible that capitalists on both sides are profiting from direct business relations or via third parties? In the words of Marx, “capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt (…) With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple13”.
The WAP carefully conceals the fact that both in China and Russia the bourgeois classes, the monopolies, are in charge, dealing and clashing with the monopolies of the USA, the EU and other capitalist states and with each other. Neither side of the conflict, therefore, is innocent as a dove, as the WAP describes them, but all of them are vultures. China even directly challenges the US supremacy in the imperialist system. As Lenin has pointed out, when imperialist vultures clash, the right side of history is not to pick the side of the weaker vulture so that it can take the place of the more powerful one. The right side of history is to choose the side of the peoples against the camp of the capitalists, who sometimes gain from peace and sometimes from war, shedding the blood of the working class and the peoples.
4. US proxy war in Ukraine or imperialist war?
The WAP’s selective approach that the war in Ukraine is “Nato’s provocation of a proxy war against Russia on the territory of Ukraine” first of all tries to divert attention from the main issue: that this war is “focused on the division of mineral wealth, energy, territories and labour force, pipelines and commodity transport networks, geopolitical pillars, market shares14” and is being waged by the bourgeois classes of Ukraine, in alliance with the US and NATO, and of Russia and its allies. These are the basic criteria that verify that the character of the war is imperialist and is being waged for interests alien to those of the peoples.
Of course, the fact that the USA is using Ukraine as a spearhead against capitalist Russia, encircling it with the enlargement of NATO, new military bases and weapons is undeniable today. The KKE has struggled against all this, has voted against it in the Greek and the European Parliament. It was the communists who, upon the completion of one year since the imperialist war broke out, have organized hundreds of protests in ports, outside bases, on the streets and at railways against the USA-NATO-EU and their aggressive imperialist plans, against the involvement of Greece in the war. Members of the CC of the KKE and the CC of KNE were the ones who were arrested and faced trial by the Greek bourgeoisie and its state for their anti-NATO demonstrations and not members of the non-existent organizations with fancy names, which from Greece participate in the WAP.
Just as it is also true that Russia’s unacceptable military invasion of Ukraine, launched for the interests and strategic plans of the Russian bourgeoisie that the KKE has also unequivocally condemned, objectively functions as a cushion for China in its major conflict with the USA for the reins of the world imperialist system.
The political forces of each country are not divided, as the WAP claims, into those who are “pro-Russian” and those who are “pro-US” on grounds of the imperialist war. This is a false distinction, which is not only made by the WAP. It was earlier made by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF)15 regarding the resolutions in the 22nd IMCWP, and, of course, by the side of the supporters of Euro-Atlantic imperialism. Thus, at the same time that the WAP and the CPRF accuse the KKE of “anti-Russian sentiment”, the informal EU newspaper, euobserver, accuses the KKE of “Russophilia” based on the votes that took place in the European Parliament16.
The truth is that the KKE firmly stands with the camp of the working class and the peoples and against the camp of the bourgeois classes, the states and their governments. This is a bitter pill for the WAP to swallow, which by its existence confirms our recent remarks that the international communist movement is subject to pressures linked to state-geopolitical interests17 alien to the ideological and political principles of the revolutionary communist movement. In this regard, not only a hollow “anti-imperialism” is being exploited, but also a phony and toothless “anti-fascism”, which detaches fascism from capitalism that gives rise to it. This approach supports the pretextual exploitation by bourgeois classes to serve their anti-popular interests in the imperialist war in Ukraine.
1. Note by the CP of Mexico published on SolidNet, http://www.solidnet.org/article/CP-of-Mexico-Nota-sobre-la-Reunion-en-Caracas-de-la-Plataforma-Mundial-Antiimperialista/
2. Lenin V.I., “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism”, Collected Works, Vol 27, p. 393, Synchroni Epochi
3. Lenin V.I., “The impending catastrophe and how to combat it”, Collected Works, Vol 34, p. 193, Synchroni Epochi
4. Lenin V.I., “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”, Collected Works, Vol 26, pp. 359–363, Synchroni Epochi
5. Ideological Committee of the CC of the KKE, “Some Data on the Economy of Russia”, Communist Review (KOMEP), Issues 5–6 ,2022
6. “China as an anti-IMF: The diplomacy of loans”, 21/09/22, https://www.ot.gr/2022/09/21/analyseis-2/i-kina-os-anti-dnt-i-diplomatia-ton-daneion/
7. “China’s Role in Public External Debt in DSSI Countries and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2020”, https://greenfdc.org/brief-chinas-role-in-public-external-debt-in-dssi-countries-and-the-belt-and-road-initiative-bri-in-2020/?cookie-state-change=1679500119696
8. “These Are the Countries Most in Debt to China”, https://globelynews.com/world/top-countries-most-in-debt-to-china/
9. “Just business: why China is selling US government debt”, https://iz.ru/1484989/dmitrii-migunov/tolko-biznes-pochemu-kitai-prodaet-amerikanskii-gosdolg
10. “Russia’s nuclear fuel and technology exports grew by more than 20% in 2022”, https://forbes.ua/ru/news/
11. “France purchased 153 tonnes of enriched uranium from Russia for its nuclear power plants in 2022”, https://tass.ru/ekonomika/
12. “Record-high trade between the USA and China”, https://www.kathimerini.gr/economy/562269919/se-ypsi-rekor-to-emporio-anamesa-se-ipa-kai-kina/
13. Marx K., Capital, Vol 1, p. 785, Synchroni Epochi
14. Resolution of the CC of the KKE on the imperialist war in Ukraine, http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/RESOLUTION-OF-THE-CENTRAL-COMMITTEE-OF-THE-KKE-ON-THE-IMPERIALIST-WAR-IN-UKRAINE/
15. “On the ideological–political confrontation at the 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties and the “trick” about the “anti-Russian” and “pro-Russian” sentiment”, Rizospastis 26–27/11/22, https://www.rizospastis.gr/story.do?id=11915448
16. “Voting data reveals Russia-friendly MEPs in EU Parliament”, https://euobserver.com/world/156762?utm_source=euobs&utm_medium=email
17. Theses of the CC of the KKE for the 20th Congress, http://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/THESES-OF-THE-CC-FOR-THE-20th-CONGRESS-OF-THE-KKE/
Published in Rizospastis and 902.gr on 1 April 2023