- The Guardian
- Issue #2033
Photo: Chmee2 – commons.wikimedia.org (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Editor’s note: the following are contributions from the Communist Party of Canada and French Communist Party to the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP).
FRENCH COMMUNIST PARTY
On behalf of the French Communist Party and its National Secretary Fabien Roussel, I would like to thank the Cuban Communist Party most warmly for organising this 22nd International Meeting of Communist Workers’ Parties.
Our delegation would like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with the Cuban people and the Cuban Communist Party, who have been fighting and resisting the US blockade for sixty years.
We repeat here that this economic and financial blockade and these extraterritorial laws are scandalous and illegal. They are the expression of intolerable interference by the United States. They are a total violation of the sovereignty of the peoples of Cuba.
It is urgent that the UN resolutions be applied and not just voted.
The French Communist Party will continue its efforts to discuss this issue in the National Assembly, in the Senate, and wherever possible, to allow a stronger commitment from France and Europe to lift the blockade and extraterritorial laws. This will be an important issue that our National Secretary will want to bring to the forefront as he wishes to make an official trip to Cuba in December of this year.
We would also like to take a moment to talk about what is happening in France and in Europe.
After a long electoral sequence during the 1st half of 2022, France once again saw the far right qualify for the second round of the presidential election where they garnered over 13 million votes.
The 2nd term of President Emmanuel Macron, often referred to as “the president of the rich,” is weakened by the fact that he has only a relative majority in the National Assembly. He has sought to flatter the far right (which has eighty-nine deputies) by allowing them access to key positions such as the bureau of the Assembly, which intervenes in the definition of the agenda of debates. This is an act that aims to give institutional legitimacy to this extreme right-wing party and its ideology that is dangerous to our rights and freedoms.
We know that the extreme right and the liberal right are at the orders of capitalism. They exploit the humiliations and resentments of the people hit by injustices, growing inequalities, human insecurities whether they are climatic, food, sanitary, educational, or energy. They feed identity-based withdrawal and hatred of foreigners.
The French Communist Party is mobilising to respond to the search for an alternative to capitalism. With the trade unions, associations, and political forces, we are promoting the idea that an exit from capitalism is not only desirable but possible. This was the meaning of our slogan and our program carried by Fabien Roussel during the presidential election, which calls for mobilisation to build: Happier Days.
In this context, we are currently seeing a social movement taking shape, in a context of high inflation and the cost of living, but also of the search for a better distribution of wealth. Strikes are becoming more and more common for wage increases and for the improvement of working conditions. Obviously, our party fully supports these social mobilisations which seek to shake up the unfavourable relationship between capital and labour.
An awareness of the consequences and the human and ecological cost of capitalism seems to be growing in people’s minds.
In the different demonstrations over the last weeks, signs bearing the slogan “In Urgent Need of Communism” were visible.
France and Europe are at the heart of much turmoil. The social crisis, the energy crisis, the start of catastrophic climate change, the democratic crisis, and war threaten human rights and pose colossal social challenges.
In the interdependent world in which we live, all peoples are affected by the rise in energy prices, food prices, disruptions in production, and supply chains.
The unacceptable invasion of Ukraine by Russia, with dramatic human consequences for the Ukrainian and Russian peoples, reinforces, in a quite dramatic way, the vigour of NATO and the United States to stir up war.
The military escalation, the arms race in Europe, the nuclear threats of some, the weakness of the interventions of international organisations, the alignment of Europe behind the United States, the refusal to seek a political solution are very worrying and seriously threaten peace in Europe and elsewhere.
There is an urgent need to seek a means of de-escalation and cease-fire. Under the aegis of the UN and the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) an international peace conference must be opened immediately in order to allow all peoples the guarantee of security while respecting their territorial integrity and sovereignty. We cannot wait any longer, we must build a lasting peace. And we know that the battle for justice, for freedom, for human rights, for the safeguarding of the planet and for peace go hand in hand and are part of a whole that we could call human security.
All these challenges, in particular peace, climate, energy, and human security, require all our political forces to work together, to cooperate and to strengthen international solidarity.
This is why we are participating in this 22nd International Meeting of Communist Workers’ Parties, and we hope that it will result in a final declaration that shows the important need to respond to the global challenges facing us.
In often difficult contexts, communists are working to innovate in order to build transformative, credible and unifying alternatives to capitalism, making social and environmental progress, disarmament, and action for peace a priority.
Communist creativity, adapted to the conditions of our time, can make this possible.
It is both an immense challenge and above all our responsibility.
Solidarity with all the peoples who fight for their ideals, for social justice, for their freedom, for their sovereignty, and for peace.
Long live internationalist solidarity!
COMMUNIST PARTY OF CANADA
We would like to thank the Communist Party of Cuba for hosting this meeting, despite the damage Cuba has suffered from Hurricane Ian, from the horrendous fire and loss of life in Matanzas, the on-going US blockade, and the sanctions which have caused such hardship on the government and people of Cuba.
We stand in solidarity with Cuba, the bright light of socialism in the Americas, an island of true liberty and real democracy, which we must collectively support and defend at this time of great danger from US imperialism. Cuba stands as the example to the peoples of the Americas – and the world – that it is possible to reject the capitalist road, and to build a new socialist society just 90 miles from the strongest imperialist power in the world. Last month, Cuba adopted a new Family Code, which is widely recognised as the most progressive in the world today.
Congratulations Comrades – you continue to light the way forward for gender equality, for the well-being of children, and for recognition of the different types of families living and prospering under socialism today.
We hope this meeting will develop concrete plans for increased international solidarity with Cuba, and increased pressure to lift the illegal 60-year-old US blockade, and sanctions, and the despicable listing of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism – by the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world – US imperialism.
In the three years since we last met, reaction and fascism have grown at a rapid rate, as the economic crisis and inflation surge globally, the pandemic continues its deadly course, the impacts of catastrophic global warming are felt around the world, and the acute danger of a nuclear war grows as a result of the on-going proxy war in Ukraine. A new Cold War has opened up in the imperialist centres, aimed at the socialist countries and all those unwilling to bow to imperialism’s diktat. The result is a sharply increased threat of war – including nuclear war, as evidenced in the rapid expansion of NATO, and the creation of the AUKUS and AUD agreements.
As we all know, there is no such thing as a tactical nuclear war, and that nuclear war – whether deliberate or by accident – means global annihilation. We know that the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February was not unprovoked.
The Maidan massacre and coup d’état in 2014 by Ukrainian fascists and reactionaries, the attacks on ethnic Russians in Ukraine, the months-long shelling of the Russian speaking majority in the Donbas, the refusal of the Ukrainian government to implement the Minsk I and II Accords in 2014-15 which would have granted autonomy to the Donbas republics within Ukraine, the intervention of Boris Johnson to prevent a peace agreement from being signed in April because “the West wasn’t ready to end the war,” and the expanding encirclement of Russia by NATO despite the 1990 commitment not to expand east of Germany; all of this has contributed to the extraordinarily dangerous war that is blazing in Europe.
NATO – now in every respect US imperialism’s global army – has effectively surrounded Russia by pressuring almost every one of the European states on Russia’s borders to join NATO, or face the consequences in a “with us or against us” war on Russia that threatens Europe and the world.
Russia has responded with the call up 300,000 reserves and the annexation of the Donbas region and parts of Crimea, which will lead to a longer war, more deaths and destruction, and more opportunity for a nuclear war, by mistake or otherwise.
A political solution is urgent. A ceasefire, withdrawal of all foreign troops and weapons from the region, and negotiations leading to a political solution is the only way to avoid an expanding war which could become a nuclear war, and which has already killed tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers – including Russians, created a million refugees, and destroyed Ukraine’s cities, economy, and countryside.
We must build up the voices and movements for peace, for a political solution, against military spending and against NATO and NORAD, and we must link up the peace and environmental movements in common struggle against destruction of the planet.
Climate change has accelerated, the result of hurricanes, floods, fires, droughts, and heat waves in countries around the world, including floods covering a third of the land mass in Pakistan leaving 1300 dead; floods and droughts in India and China; floods and mudslides in South Africa; wildfires, heatwaves and droughts in Europe, the US, and Canada; ice caps and glaciers that melted; hurricanes in the Caribbean including Fiona and then Ian that left massive damage in their wake.
And each year, the damage increases. Linking the fight for climate justice with the fight for peace and disarmament, and for good jobs, better wages, and higher living standards, can bring together the youth, the working class, and all those concerned about the future, and survival of the planet.
The Canadian government and Parliament are active supporters of war in Ukraine, shipping armaments, troops, and money to Ukraine and to NATO. Canada’s Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, announced in her April war budget that Canada was supporting the war in Ukraine because it is a proxy war against Russia, and Russia is our enemy. Last month, Freeland announced austerity measures were on the way, while interest rates and prices on food, fuel, and rents sky-rocket. We are headed into another deep global recession, caused by neo-liberal governments and policies, which continue to guarantee corporations limitless profits, and workers – limitless exploitation and misery.
Canada’s Liberal government is being challenged by the far-right Conservatives who are linked with white supremacists, social conservatives and the so-called “Freedom Convoy” which occupied Ottawa for two months last winter, calling for an end to vaccine mandates and overthrow of the Canadian government. This movement is well-funded, has ties to the Canadian military and police, and has ties to the far-right in the US.
The global recession that is driving down wages, living standards, and employment around the world, is also mobilising workers to fightback and protect their families, their health, previous gains, and their class interests that are all threatened by the current capitalist crises and by imperialism’s dangerous drive to war. Working people are afraid, but they’re also angry. It’s our job to ensure that this justified anger is harnessed by the Communists and the forces for peace and social progress, and not by the forces of war and reaction.
That’s the challenge before us.