13 IMCWP, Contribution of South African CP [En.]

12/11/11 2:45 AM
  • South Africa, South African Communist Party IMCWP En
http://www.sacp.org.za , mailto:international@sacp.org.za
13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Athens, December 9-11, 2011
The international situation and the experience of the communists 20 years after the counterrevolution in the USSR. The tasks for the development of the class struggle in conditions of capitalist crisis, imperialist wars, of the current popular struggles and uprisings, for working class-popular rights, the strengthening of proletarian internationalism and the anti-imperialist front, for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism.
Contribution of the South African Communist Party
South African Communist Party (SACP) input on the occasion of the 13th Meeting of the ICWP
The character of the current capitalist crisis
The SACP expresses it's appreciation and gratitude to the Greek Communist Party (KKE) for the hosting this important meeting - the 13th Meeting of International Communist and Workers Parties.
The SACP has, over the last few years, undertaken a fairly comprehensive analysis of the current global capitalist crisis - characterizing it essentially as a three-pronged crisis that is:
Cyclical - a typical but particularly grave boom-bust cycle in which capitalist over-accumulation is resulting in the (capitalist) imperative of a massive destruction of value (factory closures, job losses, company liquidations, financial defaults and the "requirement" of government cut-backs). An important question for us is who will carry the burden, which class, and within classes which sectors (eg. finance capital or industrial capital)? Will public resources be used to bail out banks (as in the US), or as Germany and France are seeking to compel Greece, Italy, etc. or will bad lenders be punished and public resources be used to implement (at least) counter-cyclical infrastructure and social spending measures?
This is one key struggle that is (fundamentally) a class struggle that is being waged across Europe and North America - with varying degrees of coherence and militancy.
Structural - a crisis of capitalist hegemony, in which there is a decisive shift away from the 20th century centres of capitalist accumulation. It is basically a shift of dynamic capitalist activity from North America, Japan and Europe to South East Asia. Again, as hegemony shifts, the old core centres fight back to retain their powers and privileges, and their access to global natural resources (eg. oil) in the face of competition from new centres of dynamic production, especially China.
Again, who will "win" and who will "lose" in this global shift? This opens up a whole series of struggles - military conflicts (Libya), trade wars, currency wars, the battle for control over the agenda of multinational institutions, etc.
In the current global reality, unlike the earlier period analysed by Lenin (in, for instance, "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism"), the tendencies towards intra-imperialist armed conflict (eg. the First World War) are somewhat (but not entirely) remote, because of the much greater integration of, for instance, the Chinese economy within the accumulation process of the major transnational corporations.
In turn, there is increasing Chinese economy's reliance on consumers in the US, Japan and the EU. The continued robustness of Chinese growth saw a relatively quick resolution of the so-called Asian contagion of 1997 - but China is now both unable (given the sheer scale of the current crisis) and unwilling to shoulder the principal burden of propping up the EU or US.
Hence major contradictions between China and the EU and US, on the one hand, and major class contradictions within China (continued cheap labour/export dependency or a greater focus on decent work, higher wages and a greater focus on its local market).
Instead, imperialist wars are increasingly being directed to weaker countries that have enormous natural resources, as is the case with the invasion of Iraq, the wars on Libya and Syria, that are supported by some of the major imperialist countries.
Civilisational - capitalism relies on incessant growth, and it is systemically incapable of a "steady state" trajectory (i.e. a trajectory in which what is consumed is naturally renewable). The current growth trajectory is leading to the wholesale extinction of natural resources (water, fisheries, arable land), to the destruction of small scale peasant farming in the South (and resulting mass urbanization), and to climate change that will impact most severely on continents like Africa and low-lying island states. Capitalism is a system based on profit and not on social and environmental need is incapable of resolving the climate crisis - as is apparent from the stance of the major capitalist powers in the current COP17 process.
The state and tasks of the left globally
Broadly, the tasks of the left globally in the context of this all-round capitalist crisis, is to have an active presence in all sites of struggle (whether the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US; or the popular struggles in Europe around the deficit reduction and unemployment; or the struggle for climate justice).
The task of the left, as the Communist Manifesto eloquently put it, is to be in the midst of these struggles and to always seek to build unity and a deepening awareness of the systemic and structural character of the crises - i.e. an absolute necessity of abolishing capitalism itself.
The need for new strategy and tactics for the left?
Whilst all the objective conditions are maturing for an assault on capitalism in one of its worst crises, the subjective forces and the motive forces for an alternative socialist struggle are indeed extremely weak. Instead the right wing in places like Europe has turned the crisis into an offensive against the social democratic policies, and exploiting emotive issues such as immigration, as the main culprits for the current economic crisis and not the capitalist system.
Some of the lessons to be learnt during this period is the necessity to explore a range of a combination of old and new strategies mainly involving the formation of broad alliances, mass mobilization and mass based electoral campaigning, combined with effective use of state power where the left forces are in, or have access to, government. It is a struggle that for some time to come will have to be waged on a terrain of multi-party electoral politics. It requires new and innovative Marxist strategies.
Whilst multi-party democratic elections have on the whole favoured elites and the rich - something that gave imperialism confidence to experiment with elite pacts and negotiated transitions away from dictatorships in the late 80's into the 90's in places like Latin America - there have now emerged new possibilities for the left to exploit the multi-party electoral terrain, especially if effectively combined with, and butressed by, sustained mass mobilization.
Another arena of struggle that the SACP, as well as the whole of the left, needs to take up in earnerst is that of ecological destruction caused by the rampant accumulation of capitalism. This is even more important in the wake of COP 17 in Durban which seems to be headed for another deadlock with serious implications for our planet. In fact failure to ratify and extend the Kyoto Protocol or coming out without another alternative binding agreement in Durban has got very serious implications for our planet and the future of humanity.
The current global capitalist crisis will also require that all left forces globally seriously explore the potential to revitalize the communist and workers' parties, other left, anti-capitalist, forces, as well as the necessity to build an alternative global left bloc.
An immediate challenge for the SACP, and in the wake of COP 17 and its immediate aftermath, is that of engaging our cadreship on matters relating to the environment, climate change and generally ecological issues. This will also require that we forge links with both domestic and international progressive ecological movements, also as a crucial component of internationalist working class solidarity.
Indeed in taking up these issues, we will have to navigate a contradiction facing many developing countries like ours, the simultaneous necessities to grow our economies and the destruction to the environment brought about by ecologically unsustainable growth paths.
Thus, we want to urgent his 13th Meeting of ICWP to consider the proposal of the SACP and endorse the convening of climate justice international conference of communist and workers parties in South Africa in 2012, which will bring together communist and workers parties to debate and engage matters relating to the climate.