“ One Hundredth Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist International:
The Fight for Peace and Socialism Continues”.
Izmir, Turkey, October 18-20, 2019
Presented by Alvaro Rodríguez, International Secretary, Communist Party USA
I bring greetings and warmest communist solidarity from the Communist Party USA.
One hundred years ago, three dozen communist and left-wing socialist parties met in Moscow to coordinate the struggles of communists and left wing socialists. Here in Izmir, most of us can trace our political roots, directly or indirectly, to that momentous First Congress of the Communist International or COMINTERN.
We too are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party USA.
All of the communist parties that came together in 1919, like those here in Izmir today, were inspired by the internationalist and anti-imperialist vision of Marx, Engels and Lenin. They understood that the movement to replace capitalism and build a world without exploitation had to be an international one. Anti-imperialism and international solidarity were at the root of our movement from the very beginning and continue to be so today. On this centennial of the 3rd International, we should reflect on a few notable legacies: the united front, building mass communist parties and world unity.
Our message is intact, and our movement is thriving as we in the Communist Party USA celebrate this glorious double anniversary with you!
The world was a dangerous place in 1919, and it is a dangerous place in 2019.
Imperialism is on the offensive on many fronts. Efforts to beat back the achievements of the worldwide working class struggle have reached a high point, especially since the election of Donald Trump, a racist, misogynist “white supremacist” as President of my country. Imperialist interventions aimed at regime change and the imposition of the rule of voracious neoliberal capital are underway in many parts of the world. Economic sanctions have been imposed on progressive and socialist governments in Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The middle east remains a powder keg. Right-wing fascist leaning governments, allied closely with U.S. imperialism, are in power in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay and other countries.
The United States has established at least 800 military bases in 80 countries, with 130,000 U.S. military personnel stationed all over the globe.
Along with the offensive of imperialism in the economic, political and military fields, we see, in our country and worldwide, an ideological offensive reminiscent of the most dangerous period of the 20th century. Fascist groups organize openly in the United States and elsewhere. Economic inequality, global warming, war and insecurity have driven millions of people into the migrant and refugee streams, moving from the poor countries of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America to seek refuge in the wealthier countries, including the United States. In my country and elsewhere, a shockingly open racist propaganda offensive has been launched against migrants and refugees from Central America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Africa. The U.S. government has violated international law, and our own laws, by imposing racist and xenophobic bans on entry into my country, and has shocked the world with the spectacle of thousands of small children locked up in concentration camp conditions on our Southern border. To justify these cruel actions, the current U.S. government has used openly racist arguments, which have been picked up and amplified by vocal and violent fascist groups. The same phenomenon can be seen in Europe and elsewhere.
Other imperialist military threats abound. The U.S. has placed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missiles in the Republic of (South) Korea, threatening the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, China, Russia and other countries. The U.S. has also unilaterally terminated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Agreement (INF) with Russia, in order to threaten China. The United States’ economic warfare aimed at the overthrow of the legally elected government of Venezuela has now reached the point of threatening an actual war between that country and the right wing government of Colombia.Everywhere, U.S. imperialism attempts to impose itself as a single world imperialist power. The U.S., under Donald Trump, has imposed trade wars with China and other countries.
Global warming, caused mainly by capitalist greed, is destroying the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The existential crisis of climate change and global warming threatens all of humanity with catastrophe. The call for international agreements and actions to reduce harmful emissions and stop the downward spiral is heard in every country. But the U.S. left the Paris climate change agreement and is rolling back our own countries very modest efforts to deter global warming.
But the picture is not all bleak. Neoliberal capitalism offers nothing to the working people and toiling masses of the world. Everywhere there is mounting resistance.
The Communist Party of China, with its 90 million members, is leading the world’s second largest economic power on the road to socialism with Chinese characteristics. Socialist Cuba is holding out strongly against everything imperialism is throwing against it and continues to provide solidarity and inspiration to the world. In Argentina, the right wing Macri government has lost the elections. Elsewhere, right wing, pro-imperialist governments are on the defensive; in Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador and other countries. In Mexico, a new government is giving promise of advances against old inequities.
In my country there is a massive youth led movement to combat climate change and global warming. Important political figures, such as Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Representative Alexandra Ocasio Cortez of New York have taken a leading role in proposing new environmental protection laws, called “the Green New Deal”. This effort is supported by many unions, environmentalists and other organizations.
There are many new signs of working class struggle. Under the slogan of fighting for a national minimum wage of $15USD per hour, super exploited and mostly minority and women workers nationwide have reached a high level of mobilization. Youth are also mobilized behind demands for an end to gun violence, to police brutality and many other things. Unionized teachers have been carrying out successful strikes aimed at rolling back neo-liberal policies in the educational field.
The fight for the rights of immigrants with or without documents is nationwide, intense and has the support of labor unions, African Americans, other minorities and many others. The indigenous inhabitants of my country are mobilized against racism and in defense of the national environment.
Communists in the United States are involved in all these struggles and more, as part of broadly based coalitions. The working class fightback was seen in the midterm legislative elections of 2018, and the likelihood that it will sweep the extreme-right regime of Trump and his allies out of power in the 2020 elections is high. The U.S. women’s movement and the U.S. labor movement are leading the resistance. Strikes actions have become more frequent. A strike is underway by U.S. autoworkers against General Motors. And as you probably hear, Donald Trump is now facing impeachment proceedings.
Comrades, the continuing challenge to the working class in each country is to strengthen our solidarity in the fight to oppose capitalism and imperialism, and to create conditions for a transition to socialism. It is imperative that we collectively develop the science of Marxism-Leninism and gain insight from our joint working class experience of struggle.
We must continue to support and strengthen international peace and solidarity organizations, take actions against global warming, broaden our working class alliance against racism, misogyny, and nationalism. We must look for equitable solutions among countries to the need for environmentally sustainable and equitable economic development. We must continue to look for every opportunity to increase cooperation across national borders to further the struggle against neoliberalism, capitalism, war and in favor of the struggle for socialism. We must organize a global anti-right network that is abetted by Trump and his allies, including finance capital. We must work collectively in support of labor strikes and climate change. Social media offers huge opportunities. These are only some examples where we can work in common.
Let us commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Communist International with a rededication to its ideals and practices!
Long live the fraternal relations among communist and workers’ parties!
Long live international working class solidarity!