People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

November 29, 2009





Rajendra Sharma

THE main agenda of the 11th International Meeting of Communist & Workers Parties, held in New Delhi from November 20 to 22, was to discuss the �International Capitalist Crisis, the Workers� and Peoples� Struggle, the Alternatives and the Role of the Communist and Working Class Movement.� The discussion, which began at about 11.45 a m on November 20 and continued till the morning session on November 22, revealed a broad unity on several aspects of the main theme. This may well be taken as an indicator of the fast maturation and strengthening of the international communist and working class movement, not only ideologically and politically but organisationally as well, amid the ongoing international crisis of capitalism.




The discussion revealed not only a confidence in the inevitability of socialism but also in the movement�s capacity to move ahead towards overthrowing the rule of capital. As many as 57 parties, representing the communist and working class movements in 48 countries, took part in the discussion. Representatives of three of these parties could not come because of visa related and other difficulties but their written presentations had reached here well in time and were circulated among the delegates. These parties were considered to have participated in the meeting in accordance with a decision taken in the concluding session.   

No doubt the discussion conducted and the understanding reached at Sao Paulo in November 2008, in the 10th meeting in the series, played a considerable role in the unity of ideas that was seen in the New Delhi meeting. It goes without saying that the recession had taken the dimensions of a global crisis by the time of the Sao Paulo meeting.

Moreover, in the very inaugural session, the presentation made by Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), not only determined the direction of the exchange of ideas that followed but also clarified many points related to the modus operandi of capitalism and the process of capital accumulation in the era of imperialism. In his presentation, he also clarified as to how a pro-people alternative could be forged, in contrast to the methods the capitalist system is using, so as to overcome the ongoing crisis and how this struggle could be linked to the struggle for socialism. This went a long way in forging a unity of perspective in the context of the global economic crisis.

It was therefore not surprising that there was no substantial disagreement when discussion on the draft of Delhi Declaration started. (The draft was distributed among the delegates well in advance, after the Working Group organising the international meetings of Communist & Workers Parties had endorsed it.) The last session of the discussion unanimously adopted the Declaration with some amendments that aimed to further strengthen certain formulations made in the text. Along with it, equally unanimously, the meeting also adopted a communiqu� to be released to the media; it contained the decision to hold actions in various countries on six issues during the next one year, while further strengthening the coordination among various parties.




The discussion revealed a broad unity on the idea that the ongoing capitalist crisis, which is the most intense crisis of capitalism since the Second World War, has opened up new possibilities for the movements that aim to usher into an era of socialism. The discussion specifically underlined three aspects. First, the ongoing capitalist crisis has not only punctured the balloon of the political and ideological campaign which the bourgeois and imperialist media had unleashed in the wake of the setbacks to socialist regimes in East Europe and the disintegration of the USSR in the late 1980s and early 1990s. What to talk of the attempts to portray capitalism as the last stage of human development, the crisis has fully exposed the unjust and inegalitarian character of this system.

Secondly, the methods the bourgeoisie are adopting to come out of the present crisis, have further underlined the bitter truth that capitalism is a system driven by crassest kind of class interests and that the roots of the present crisis are inherent in the system itself. This means that the toiling people of the world can get rid of the burdens being imposed upon them, only by overthrowing the system and creating in its place another system that is not based on exploitation of man by man and of nation by nation.

Thirdly, in order to overcome this crisis and attain a degree of stability, the world capitalist system will not only try to shift its burden on to the developing countries to the extent possible; there will be unequal distribution of this burden among the imperialist powers themselves. The growing pressure upon the dollar as the standard currency of global exchange will not only intensify the inter-imperialist contradiction but also prepare the ground for a new crisis. As Yechury clarified in his presentation, the coming crisis will be more intense and more multifaceted than the present one. In this way, the confidence that naturally pervaded the whole discussion was that the situation is favourable for a forward movement of the forces of socialism. The anti-imperialist, anti-neoliberal upsurge in the Latin American countries has further fortified this confidence.




The continents represented in the 11th international meeting were called in alphabetical order to make their presentations and therefore parties from the American continent were the first to come to the podium. The first delegates session therefore belonged to Oscar Martinez Cordoves of the Communist Party of Cuba, Jose Reinaldo Carvalho (Communist Party of Brazil), Patricio Echegaray (Communist Party of Argentina), Antonio Pavel (Communist Party of Mexico) and Scott Marshall (Communist Party of USA). Harjit Daudharia (Communist Party of Canada), Navindranauth Chandrapaul (People�s Progressive Party of Guyana) and Ivan Martins Pinheiro (Brazilian Communist Party) put forth their views in subsequent sessions.

Delegates from the communist and workers parties in the American continent specifically underlined the fact that, in contrast to the common conception forged by the media, Obama�s accession to power in the USA has not been a favourable development for the progressive forces and processes. However, this does indicate that imperialism has adopted a cunning tactic, different from the tactics it had adopted earlier. The main aim of this tactic is, in any case, to stop the onward march of the progressive forces. In this context, these delegates drew attention to the various steps the Obama administration has taken to strengthen the forces of reaction in this part of the world. These included the presence of US�s Fourth Fleet in the region, military takeover in Honduras and overthrow of an elected president and the creation of a military base in Colombia, apart from the attempts the US imperialists have been incessantly making to encircle the anti-imperialist regimes in the region. The delegates also pointed out that the imperialist neighbour is still making hectic attempts to impose its wishes on this region that it once regarded as its backyard, and to use military power if need be.      

The Cuban delegate specifically contradicted the illusion the media are seeking to create, that the Obama administration has started dismantling the criminal US blockade of Cuba, in place for half a century. He stressed that Obama does have the authority necessary for the purpose and can indeed remove this blockade if he wishes, but he lacks the will to change the imperialist modus operandi. Delegates from Brazil drew attention to the possibilities and limitations of the Lula government�s attempts to defend the people�s interests while working within the capitalist framework. Various delegates also mentioned the attempts to bring together the communist and workers parties of Latin America on a regional basis.

Scott Marshall of the Communist Party of USA stressed the solidarity of the US working class movement with the struggle of progressive forces in Latin America to gain autonomy from US imperialism. He also expressed the opinion that Obama�s victory in the US presidential elections was a result of broad struggles against George Bush�s neo-con regime and against the rightist forces in general. This he termed as a positive development. Another positive development is that the AFL-CIO, the biggest trade union organisation in the US, is reverting to the policy of defending the working class interests. Marshall said the 2009 conference of this organisation gave clear indications in this regard.




After the American continent, it was the turn of the communist and workers parties from Asia. Now the discussion brought forth huge diversities in the state of the movements here, just as this most heavily populated continent is full of diversities. From Asia, representatives of 18 parties from 16 countries took part in the discussion. These included numerically big communist parties from China and Vietnam as well as the Workers Party of Korea, which are engaged in building and defending socialism in the concrete conditions of their respective countries.       

The communist parties from China and Vietnam have similar experiences about the ongoing capitalist crisis. Both say their countries are in the preliminary stage of socialism and the Vietnamese party is pursuing the path of a �socialist oriented market economy.� This has linked the Chinese and Vietnamese economies to the world capitalist system and, as a result, the crisis has hit them quite hard. However, as a Chinese delegate detailed, his country has concentrated its attempts mostly on expanding the home market in order to overcome the effects of the crisis. The result is that both China and Vietnam are very close to overcoming the shock of the ongoing crisis. China attained a growth rate of 7.7 per cent between January and September this year while it was 4.6 per cent in the same nine months of 2009 and 5.7 per cent in the third quarter of the year.

Speaking on behalf of the Communist Party of Vietnam, Nguyen Manh Hung underlined the �inherent contradictions, inequalities and injustices� of the globalisation process that is being �controlled by the developed countries and their multinational corporations,� stressing the need of a change for the world. From the Communist Party of China, Ai Ping said the ongoing crisis would �intensify the transition from capitalism to socialism� but also warned that in view of the present balance of forces, capitalism would continue to have the upper hand for some time. This means that the existing socialist countries would have to adopt the policy of cooperation and struggle vis-�-vis imperialism so that they might protect their existence and also sharpen their weapons. He denied in clear terms the accusation that �China has given up Marxism and strayed away from the path of socialism.�

However, the tenor of presentation by Pak Gyong Son of the Workers Party of Korea was different; he underlined that the Democratic People�s Republic of Korea has stuck to the path of sovereignty and socialism despite all imperialist attempts to undermine the socialist system there. On the other hand, Masaliev Ishkak from the Party of the Communists of Kyrgyzia detailed the growing struggles against the attempts at capitalist restoration in Kyrgyz Republic following the decline of the socialist system there. Dr Lattana Thavonsouk from the Lao People�s Revolutionary Party narrated his party�s struggle to overcome the evil effects of the current global economic crisis.




The international meeting gave the communist parties in South Asia a chance to share their varied experiences. Manik Sarkar from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Sudhakar Reddy from the Communist Party of India raised the question of anti-people policies being pursued by the government of India in its bid to overcome the effects of the current crisis. They also made a criticism of the government�s moves to increasingly tie up India to the crisis-ridden capitalist system. K P Oli of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist), Imdadullah Qazi of the Communist Party of Pakistan and Darrel Chandra Raja Collure of the Communist Party of Sri Lanka drew attention to the growing menace of terrorist and extremist organisations, and the challenge these organisations on the one hand and imperialism on the other pose to the working people�s movements in their respective countries.     

For instance, Manzurul Ahsan Khan of the Communist Party of Bangladesh underlined how imperialist powers have been aiding and abetting the fundamentalist and reactionary forces in that country. This was the reason the country had to suffer a military supported dictatorial rule for two years, while the constitution stipulated only three months of an ad hoc arrangement for holding fresh elections. However, to the people goes the credit of defeating the dictatorial regime and restoring democracy there. The Nepal delegate detailed the bitter struggle fought there for the establishment of a �multi-party people�s democracy� following the end of the monarchy. The delegate from Pakistan informed how a climate of war is being created through an exploitation of the danger of religious fundamentalism; Pakistan today is facing the threat of religious fundamentalism which the US imperialists had planted there. The Sri Lankan delegate narrated how the main parties in the country have come together in a Left alliance which has adopted a common stand on the existing national and international issues including the global capitalist crisis.




The presentation made by Fawaz of the Palestine Communist Party, Najemden Khriet and Walid Fares from the two communist parties in Syria, Marie Nassif-Debs from the Lebanese Communist Party and Faten Kamal Ghattas from the Communist Party of Israel reflected the wide unity of their struggles. All these parties targeted the imperialist powers and the Zionists backed by them. They underlined how the Obama administration is making only insignificant overtures in order to minimise the Islamic world�s resistance, and is not prepared to go any further or impose any kind of control on Israeli expansionism.

Hassan Akif Hamoudi from the Communist Party of Iraq and Navid Shomali of the Tudeh arty of Iran informed about the complicated situation in these countries because of the moves made by imperialist powers on the one hand and Islamic fundamentalists on the other. In Iraq, the struggle for democracy has turned extremely excruciating because of the direct imperialist control over the country on the one hand and the terrorist attacks being made by the Baath Party remnants and Al Qaeda on the other. In Iran, the struggle against the repressive fundamentalist regime and for a democratic system or for defending the working people�s interests is facing severe difficulties. Shomali informed that mass discontent has grown fast in Iran following the world capitalist crisis and that the people�s upsurge at the time of the last presidential polls reflected this discontent to a significant extent. The import of this discontent must not be minimised by dubbing it is imperialist motivated.




The Communist Party of Australia and 26 communist parties from Europe presented the perspective of the working class movement in the developed capitalist world. They all stressed that the current global crisis has exploded the myth of finality of the capitalist system and paved the ground for forging the struggle for socialism ahead. They also said the bourgeoisie would try to shift the burden of the current crisis on to the working masses and less developed countries, which would be giving further strength to the anti-bourgeois movements. They also underlined that if the forces of socialism did not come forward to forge a pro-people alternative, rightist forces would come forward to fill the void. These delegates repeatedly stressed the threat of fascism in their countries.

Most of these parties also underlined that social democracy, aiming to reform the capitalist system, is unable to present an alternative that could drag the people out of the morass of the current crisis. Because of this failure of social democracy, rightist parties have come to power in several European countries. All these delegates drew attention to the NATO�s expansion, coloured �revolutions� in East Europe, fast intensifying anti-communist propaganda and the imperialist trick of equating communism with fascism. They also stressed the necessity of intensifying the ideological struggle in favour of the socialist project.

Baudouin Deckers (Workers Party of Belgium), Robert Griffiths (Communist Party of Britain), Jaromir Loukaides (Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia), Henrik Stamer Hedin (Communist Party of Denmark), Mrs Meriem Derkaoui (Communist Party of France), Juha-Pekha Vaisanen (Communist Party of Finland), Heinz Stehr (German Communist Party), Marinos Georgios (Communist Party of Greece), Eddie Glackin (Communist Party of Ireland), Francesco Francescaglia (Party of Italian Communists), Fabio Amata (Communist Refoundation Party of Italy), Ruckert Alexandre (Communist Party of Luxemburg), William F Van Kranenburg (New Communist Party of Netherland), Svend Haakon Jacobsen (Communist Party of Norway), Mateus Alves Jose Angelo (Portuguese Communist Party), Jose Cabo Bravo (Communist Party of Spain), Teresa Pantoja (Communist Party of Peoples of Spain), Peter Cohen (Communist Party of Sweden) and Mehmet Kuzulugil (Communist Party of Turkey) presented in brief their experiences regarding the popular resistance to the global capitalist crisis. They also underlined that the current capitalist crisis is not a mere economic crisis; it carries with it a global food crisis, environmental crisis and the crisis of wars as well.

On the other hand, Tatekin Vyacheslav (Communist Party of Russian Federation), Mozgovoy Sergey (Communist Party of Soviet Union), Sergey Hristolubov (Socialist Party of Latvia), Gyula Thurmer (Hungarian Communist Workers Party) and Brianislav Kitanovic (New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, from Serbia) mentioned the working people�s struggles and their growing inclination towards socialism in the wake of the capitalist restoration in their countries. Vyacheslav reminded that his party has been getting 15 to 20 per cent of popular votes in the Russian elections. Despite all the hype of Putin�s popularity, the Communist Party of Russian Federation bagged 27 per cent of the votes; it received as much as 45 per cent of votes in the polling centre where Putin himself cast his vote. These delegates also drew attention to the imperialist game of expanding the NATO eastward and plotting coloured �revolutions� in East Europe. On the other hand, Robert Briton of the Communist Party of Australia specifically mentioned how his country was being used for the imperialist moves against China.




On November 22 morning, this important deliberation concluded with a presentation by Christopher Matlhako from the South African Communist Party. In fact, he was scheduled to open the discussion on the first day but could reach Delhi only on the second day because of visa related difficulties. Talking of the African situation, he underlined that the era of dominance of neo-liberalism has upturned whatever little of social progress had taken place in the African countries after their liberation from the yoke of colonialism. On behalf of his party, Matlhako moved the proposal to host the 12th international meeting of the communist and workers parties next year, and it was accepted with enthusiasm in the last session of the discussion. He also told that, on that occasion, his party would organise a meeting of the African parties also, so that the process of forging their unity may be taken forward.

Apart from adopting the Delhi Declaration and a communiqu� and also deciding the venue of the next meeting, the eleventh international meeting of the communist and workers parties took unanimous decisions on the requests received from several parties for their inclusion in this process of international deliberations. For example, the Workers Party of Bangladesh will join the process next year.

The eleventh international meeting of communist and workers parties concluded with a mass meeting in the Mavlankar Auditorium on November 22 evening, amid enthusiasm and applause.