The Communist Party of Britain welcomes this 20th anniversary meeting of the IMCWP in Athens andcongratulatesour host party, the Communist Party of Greece,onthe initiative taken twenty years ago.
This annual meetingplays a vital rolein bringing together Communist and Workers parties in joint consultation - for exchanging perspectives and for concerting action.
Its strength, we believe,derives from its respect for the experience of each component party, big or small – a respect which acknowledgeseach party’s ability to analyse the concrete circumstances of itsown struggles for socialism and communism.
In Britain our party is small. But it carries with it the experience of struggle within a major imperialist power over three generations.
That imperialismis today weakened,caught between the rival imperialisms of the US and the component powers of the European Union.
British Communistshave always seen the European Union as the joint instrument of the dominant imperialist powers in Europe including our own ruling class.
For the past generation our ruling class has used the EU to advance the interests of both British and US finance capital.
In 1980 the British government collaborated with the US to establish the City of London as a base for US finance capital inside the EU.
In 1986 Britain’s finance capital collaborated with German big business to draft the Single European Act. Its aim was to subject workers across Europe to the full discipline of the neo-liberal market and, in Britain’s case, to open European financial markets to US capital.
In the 2008 banking crisis Britain joined with France and Germany to ensure that finance capital’s speculative debts were paid forby working people, across the EU including Britain, byunprecedented cuts to public spending.
It was this experience of EU imposed austerity that created the context in whichpeople in Britain voted to leave the EU in 2016.
Itwas a vote that was part populist, part Left wing but everywhere reflected anger at de-industrialisation and the impact of austerity on the lives working people.
It is also reflected divisions within our own ruling class about two things:
And no less important
This transformationhas brought to the leadership of the Labour Party those who had over the previous generation continued to defend our Labour movement’s socialist heritage, its opposition to NATO and to British imperialism. They fought to maintain the Labour Party’s base within a singleunited trade union movement, a movement which today backs our own Morning Star as its daily paper.
Today’s Labourprogramme defies EU neo-liberal rules. It calls for the nationalisation of all utilities, full trade union rights, mandatory collective bargaining and public sectorintervention to redevelop industry and advance democratic control over it.
It is a programme that depends on the assertion of popular sovereignty.
Our own ruling class want to stop this. So does the EU.
Jointlythey are trying to develop a deal that will continue to bind Britain to the EU’s governance rules, to those of the Single Market and the Customs Union, a deal that will force the Labour Party back to conformity with the interests of big business, to neo-liberalism.
This is the essence of the current negotiations. They are about class politics. They are about how to maintain neo-liberal rule. They are conflictual because they also involve inter-imperialist rivalry.
It is why we welcome the recent statements by Communist Parties across Europe criticising the neo-liberal essence of the EU, that it is an enemy of the working class and of socialism and that it cannot be reformed.
We hope, in turn, that the position taken by the Left in Britaincan assist those strugglingagainst the EU to defend working people and to develop Left programmes that can expose and defeat finance capital state power.
The battle for such policies is critical also for that other great challenge we face: that of defeating the populist and racist right, those who seek to exploit fear and poverty in the interests of big capital.
In Britain. Across Europe. In the Americas and in Asia.
They do so in the context of imperialism’s growing crisis of over-accumulation and speculative debt – a crisis that is driving inter-imperialist rivalry, militarisation, the struggle for territorial dominance and moves to isolate existing socialist countries.
In the Middle East rival blocks fight by proxy for the control of economic assets while the rights of Palestine are trampled under foot.
Militarisation is intensifying around China’s frontiers, in the Baltic and the Black Sea.
Combined, this represents the gravest menace to humanity’s future, ecologically as well as through military destruction. It is a threat that Communistscan and must provide the collective leadership todefeat.
In our country that fight currently depends on maintaining the progressive direction of our trade union and labour movement.
Long live the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties
Long live working-class internationalism
Long Live socialism