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AUSTRALIAN
MARXIST
REVIEW

Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 41NOVEMBER 1999

Athens Conference on: The Crisis of Capitalism, Globalisation and the Response of the Labour Movement

Conference Press Release

Press release issued by the international meeting in Athens of communist and workers parties on May 21-23, 1999 to discuss: The Crisis of Capitalism, “Globalisation” and the Response of the Labour Movement.

During the three-day meeting held in Athens on the topic “The capitalist crisis, globalisation and the response of the labour movement” which was jointly convened (as decided during the preparatory meeting of the parties held in January 1999) 55 communist and workers’ parties from 46 countries took part.

A number of parties, while having participated in the preparations for the meeting, could not finally attend due to the situation in their countries.

In the sessions held over the three days there was a creative exchange of views on the topics as well as on issues arising from recent developments such as the unjust and unacceptable intervention made by the US and its allies in NATO against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the continuing criminal bombings.

Quite a few speakers mentioned the need to make public an appeal for an immediate halt to the NATO bombings and for a solution to be sought that would establish the autonomy of Kosovo and the rights of all minorities, the safe return of all refugees to their homes, ensuring at the same time the national sovereignty and integrity of the Republic of Serbia and of the FR of Yugoslavia.

In speeches the participants pointed out the dangers posed to world peace and security by the new strategic concept and new doctrine for action by NATO which upsets all the rules of international law to date, intensifies the militarisation of international relations and uses existing and /or non-existent minority issues as a pretext to justify its interventions.

The participants underlined the responsibility of the European governments, especially those who are supported by social democrats, who from the very beginning supported the aggressive NATO plans.

A considerable number of speakers referred to the existence of local wars, and to the flare-up in religious fundamentalism, racism and xenophobia.

The speakers noted that the last world crisis in 1997-1998 shows in the most categorical way that not only has the capitalist system failed to rid itself of crises but that, in conditions of domination by finance capital and gigantic monopolies, these crises are becoming yet deeper and more frequent, with destructive effects on the living standards of the working people, who constitute the huge majority of the population.

The accumulation of impasses and contradictions in capitalist society, the great growth of the economic, political and strategic power of big finance capital and multi-national enterprises, the strong assault on basic social and democratic rights of the working people highlight how exceptionally timely it is to analyse capitalism but also the need and way to overcome it.

The existence and operation of organisations dominated by the large imperialist powers such as the G8; WTO, IMF, World Bank, NATO and the EU, the theories and the even more reactionary policies implemented in the name of globalisation and the pressure pushing workers remuneration downwards make the rich richer and the poor poorer, cast millions of people into poverty, ignorance, disease, malnutrition and underdevelopment, intensify the degree of exploitation of the working class, and exacerbate the ecological crisis.

Also noted was the constantly broadening gap between the opportunities created by new technologies and the way in which capitalism uses them against the rights and gains of the working people, against the right to work and the peoples needs.

A number of speakers pointed out that these developments give rise to many new tasks for the Communist Parties but also to a wide spectrum of forces that oppose the neo-conservative policy and the basic choices made by international capital.

The need for a broader meeting to be held on these topics and for further efforts for joint action and co-ordination was stressed.

The need for fresh initiatives for joint action by Communist Parties on the regional and global levels and for all progressive and anti-imperialist left forces to rally was highlighted.

It was also stressed that there is a need to develop international co-operation and joint activities that will contribute to the creation of a new counterweight — the counter-weight of the peoples, of social and political forces that confront the monopolies and imperialism.

The crucial nature of the situation, the considerable interactions in the working class, which is broadening its scope, along with the need for communists to collectively elaborate the experience of the socialism we have known, demand that we multiply initiatives for mutual briefing and broad dissemination of Communist Party positions.

During the meeting, the Parties provided information on their concerns and activities.

The need to promote ways in which parties and public opinion in their countries can be briefed more fully and rapidly about the activities and concerns of communists was underscored.

Quite a few of the speakers expressed their concern about the continuous bans, persecution and discrimination against Communist Parties, Communists and in general against all who resist capitalist barbarity.

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