4th IMCWP, Contribution of Communist Party of Canada

6/21/02 11:41 AM
  • Canada, Communist Party of Canada 4th IMCWP En North America Communist and workers' parties

CP of Canada, Contribution to the Athens Meeting 21J2002

Dear comrades,
Without doubt, we will find broad agreement among those
parties convened here in Athens, and within the Communist
movement in general, on the extremely grave international
situation which has arisen since the events of September
11th, and on the nature of the imperialist offensive which
has been launched by the Bush Administration in its wake.
Notwithstanding the suffering of its victims, the September
11 terrorist attack was, quite literally, a god-send for
U.S. imperialism. It has provided a convenient pretext for
imperialism to accelerate its drive for economic, political
and strategic hegemony, and to expand its reach to
virtually every corner of the world.
Washington's �war on terrorism� is directed not only or
even primarily at the perpetrators of that criminal,
indefensible attack, or at other reactionary terrorist
sects that may threaten its current or future security.
Rather, this so-called `war' is aimed at crushing all those
forces opposing imperialist domination, and at those
resisting various elements of the �New World Order� which
is intended to render such domination permanent and
Among those targetted are: (1) the socialist countries and
other �pyriah� states which resist U.S. dictates; (2) the
national and social liberation movements and all
anti-imperialist forces throughout the Third World
(especially the just struggle of the Palestinian people,
the Colombian insurgency, etc.); and (3) the working class,
democratic and anti-globalization movements within the
advanced capitalist countries themselves.
In addition to crushing its enemies, U.S. imperialism is
striving to `discipline' all other states and social forces
to submit to its leadership and accept a subservient role
on all aspects of international affairs. This applies not
only to Third World states and peoples, but also to the
other leading capitalist states, including European and
Japanese imperialism.
The drive to impose a Pax Americana long dreamt-of, but
only realizable following the demise of the Soviet Union
and the European socialist states is not creating
conditions of peace and collective security, but rather the
opposite. The undermining of the United Nations, the
shredding of various treaties and conventions, the steady
erosion of the foundations of international law, the
fomenting of local and regional wars, and the launching of
a new, massive round of military spending (including both
conventional and new generations of mass destruction and
space-based weapons) all these dangerous developments are
generating a reactionary and militarist political culture,
stimulating the rise of racist and fascist movements in
many countries, and leading humanity down the road to
global destruction.
* * * * * * * *
In Canada, working class and democratic opposition to
neo-liberal economic policies of free trade, privatization,
de-regulation and the gutting of social programs and
services has been growing steadily in recent years, as
reflected in the massive anti-globalization demonstrations
in Quebec City last April, province-wide protests (against
government cutbacks) in British Columbia this Spring, and
various other strike actions and social struggles.
While there was a momentary �chilling� effect in the
immediate aftermath of September 11th, these struggles are
again on the ascendancy. The peace and international
solidarity movments are also growing, as are campaigns in
defense of civil liberties and Canadian sovereignty. These
reflect increasing public opposition to the Liberal
Chretien government's decision to meekly fall into line
behind Washington's aggressive course since September 11th
in particular, to send Canadian combat troops to
Afghanistan as part of the `Coalition' (ISAF) forces; to
adopt repressive �anti-terrorism� legislation intended to
restrict civil liberties and stifle democratic dissent; and
to adjust Canadian customs and immigration, energy and even
defense and foreign policy to bring them `into line' with
U.S. interests, thus further eroding Canadian economic and
political independence.
While the people's fightback is continuing to build, it is
still largely defensive and spontaneous in character, and
frequently beset by divisions over strategy and tactics.
The main weakness however resides within the top ranks of
the trade union movement composed mostly (but not
exclusively) of right-wing social democratic and class
collaborationist elements and its failure to provide
geniune leadership in building a united, broadly-based
extra-parliamentary movement of the people to halt and
ultimately reverse this government/corporate offensive.
The formation of such a united, popular coalition against
neo-liberalism, imperialist `globalization' and war, a
coalition which brings together labour, youth and students,
women, the anti-poverty and anti-racist movements, and
other democratic and social organizations into common
struggle, is the major challenge facing our movement today.
It is an objective which the Left, and the Communists in
particular, are striving to achieve.
* * * * * * * * *
We would like to turn to the question to our international
tasks and responsiblities as Communists. Over the past
several years since the world-historic setbacks of the
early 1990s, the international Communist movement has been
in a period of reflection and regroupment. This process is
advancing, and most parties have rebounded and are
progressing once again, as left, anti-imperialist and
Marxist ideas gain currency among the workers and oppressed
International dialogue, mutual solidarity and joint action
among Communist and Workers' parties are also growing under
the new conditions. In the interests of building on this
progress, our Party has decided to bring forward for your
consideration a proposal to extend our cooperation and
coordination still further. Copies of our proposal have
been circulated to each of the Parties present, so I will
not elaborate on its details here.
In preparing this proposal, we held preliminary discussions
with some parties. We are pleased to report that our draft
proposal has been well received in principle, although a
few parties expressed concerns about whether or not it
would be realizable at the present time. We understand and
share some of these reservations, but we strongly feel that
this matter the question of increasing the international
cooperation and `unity in action' of the Communists needs
to be placed squarely on the table for reflection and
discussion, especially in light of the current dangerous
and deteriorating international situation. Our proposal is
intended to stimulate such constructive discussion and
debate, and we hope it will be received in this spirit.
We agree with many other parties (no doubt, the vast
majority of parties) about the need to avoid the pitfalls
of past practices. Clearly, the specific forms and models
that evolved during the last century (the Comintern,
Cominform, etc.) corresponded to conditions then-existing
in the Communist and revolutionary movement
internationally. Certainly, the Communist International
played a critical role in the development of our own party
in its formative years. The fact remains however, that
relations among parties in the past became distorted,
unequal, and led to serious incidents of interference into
the internal affairs, sovereignty and independence of
That is why we strongly believe that present and future
relations within our movement must be based on the firm
principles of complete equality, mutual respect,
non-interference and voluntary participation. We must learn
from the past, so as not to repeat past errors and
distortions. But we must not allow ourselves to be
imprisoned by the past. For Communists to reject
international cooperation and coordination today, merely on
the basis of bitter past experiences which occurred under
completely different circumstances this would be no more
scientific than the subjective reaction of the betrayed
lover who declares that he will never love again.
Some have suggested that the goal is attainable, but that
patience is required until conditions mature for its
When will that be, comrades? When there is a higher level
of theoretical and ideological unity among the various
parties? There is, without doubt, a range of political
views and perspectives among parties, as there is within
each of our respective parties. But is there any plausible
reason to believe that such diversity of views will
diminish over time? In any case, we should be able to
tolerate, and even welcome, such diversity within our
ranks. After all, Communists work quite successfully within
mass movements and united front formations in our own
countries, under conditions of extreme diversity and even
divergent views. Surely, we can accept diversity within our
own movement, especially considering that there is far more
that unites us than that which divides us.
Frankly, comrades, it is not understood by our own members,
nor by our supporters and allies in the labour and mass
movements, how it is that the Communists who, after all,
are committed internationalists have a lower level of
international coordination today than either the
social-democrats, the Greens, the mass labour
organizations, the growing anti-globalization forces, or,
for that matter, the parties of big business, the
international finance capitalists, or the ultra-right and
neo-fascists. Their bewilderment is entirely justified, and
we must collectively confront and overcome this glaring
In conclusion, comrades, let me say that our Party is not
wedded to any one specific proposal, and we will gladly set
ours aside in favour of another, new proposal. Let us have
this discussion, and together embark on a common search for
new forms and approaches which will strengthen our
international coordination and joint action. But let us
make progress, and not complacently settle for the status
If circumstances ever cried out for an international
response to the global offensive of imperialism, it was
never more so than today. If the `unity in action' of the
Communist and revolutionary forces around the world was
ever a burning necessity, it was never more so than today.
We can do better. Let us jointly commit ourselves to doing
Thank you.

Miguel Figueroa,
Leader, Communist Party of Canada


June 21, 2002



Dear comrades,

The events of September 11th and the resulting offensive of
U.S. imperialism had created a new and profoundly dangerous
international situation. As we noted in our letter of
January 11, 2002:

�This is a dire moment for all humanity, one that cries
out for a decisive and coordinated response by all
progressive and peace-loving forces. In our view, the
international communist and workers' movement must shoulder
a special responsibility to act against the growing danger
of war, racism, and oppression. We are confident that the
vast majority of parties and movements and the millions
upon millions of Communists and revolutionaries they
represent share the view that united international action
has now become an urgent imperative.�

Since that time, our Central Committee has discussed
possible initiatives which could be jointly undertaken by
Communist and Workers' Parties which could strengthen the
�unity in action� of our international movement.

At its April 2002 Plenum, our Central Committee adopted a
draft proposal which we would like to present to fraternal
parties for consideration. The proposal is enclosed herein.

The draft proposal, in our view, constitutes a modest but
important step forward in strengthening cooperation and
coordination within our international movement. At this
point, the draft proposal is a �work in progress,� and we
would very much appreciate your party's views on the draft
proposal, and your suggestions on how it could be improved.
We hope that such an initiative in whatever form it
ultimately assumes can win broad support and

We are confident that your Party shares the desire to
strengthen the unity of our international movement, and we
anxiously await your consideration and response.

Comradely yours,


Miguel Figueroa
Central Executive Committee
Communist Party of Canada

A proposal for the International Communist Movement
For consideration by Communist & Workers' Parties

[presented by the Communist Party of Canada to parties
attending the International Meeting in Athens, June 21-23,

As the forces of imperialism engage in an unprecedented
world-wide offensive against the workers and peoples
everywhere, and as anti-imperialist resistance grows, the
Communist movement internationally faces new challenges and
possibilities. In our view, the new circumstances require
that we raise the �unity in action� of the working class,
anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces worldwide.

We believe that increasing the active cooperation and
coordination of the Communist & Workers' parties is a vital
and determining condition in achieving this broader goal.
We feel that now is the time to act boldly.

In recent years, various initiatives have helped to promote
the exchange of information and analysis among parties and
organizations. These efforts have been useful in improving
mutual understanding of the new conditions that have risen
over the past decade and, on this basis, to renew and
rebuild our parties and movements in our respective

The success of the SolidNet network is a good example of
the benefits to be derived from greater international
cooperation. Many international and regional meetings,
like the Athens Conference, are also being organized on a
regular basis with growing participation. All these
initiatives need to continue.

At the same time, we feel that the time has come to move
one step further towards greater cooperation by setting up
a standing International Coordinating Committee (ICC). The
ICC would be responsible for the following:

maintaining and improving communications among all
participating parties and organizations, and organising
consultations whenever needed;

helping to draft, where appropriate, general statements on
major issues confronting the international working class
and communist movement. Such draft statements could then
being circulated among the different parties and
organizations for endorsement;

proposing plans for international campaigns and activities
on specific issues as well as publicizing available
expertise and materials produced by individual parties on
these issues so that they be used by others.

The activity of the International Coordinating Committee
would be guided by the following basic principles: complete
equality of all parties, mutual respect and tolerance for
all views, and voluntary participation. All proposals made
by the ICC would be non-binding on the participating
parties and organizations. Each party would consider each
proposal on its merits and would have the last word on
whether or not to support or participate in any given
proposal or initiative.

The composition of the International Coordinating Committee
would be drawn from the member/ participating parties, and
its members elected accordingly. The mandate of the ICC and
all elected members would be for a limited duration (1-2
years). At the end of that mandate, new elections would be
held. Communications and consultations would be maintained
primarily through the internet, rather than through
international conferences. This approach would facilitate
maximum participation, including from parties and
organizations that do not attend international meetings on
a regular basis. At the same time, wherever possible, the
ICC would utilize the occasion of regional and
international meetings to consult informally with party
delegations and to report on its activities and proposals.

Parties and organizations with the capacity to offer
resources to help the International Coordinating Committee
to accomplish its mandate would be encouraged to do so.

We invite the leadership of all parties and organizations
to discuss this proposal in earnest, and to respond with
their views and concrete suggestions.

If wide agreement can be achieved from communist and
workers' parties on the basic objectives and principles of
the proposal, then the next step might be to form an
interim �initiating committee,� composed of representatives
from participating parties. The responsibilities of this
�initiating committee� could include: (1) consulting with
interested parties and movements; (2) increasing
participation; and (3) proposing a mechanism by which the
first ICC may be democratically elected.

* * * * *

The world has changed dramatically over the recent period,
affecting on all aspects of national and international life
economic, social, cultural, technological, and political.
Not surprisingly, the Communist movement is also going
through profound, reflective changes, including in the
forms and character of relations among its constituent
parties and organizations. Older forms and structures,
while perhaps once appropriate, no longer correspond to
these new circumstances. Priorities and challenges
confronting the Communists vary widely from country to
country, and from region to region. There is also a wide
diversity of political and theoretical views within and
amongst our parties.

At the same time however, capitalist globalization and the
imperialist drive to impose its �New World Order� (by force
where necessary) are objectively impelling all progressive,
anti-imperialist and revolutionary forces to move to higher
forms of regional/international cooperation and unity. This
imperative is especially true for the Communist and
Workers' parties, on whose banners is inscribed: �Workers
of all countries, Unite!�

The proposal is aimed at furthering our cooperation,
coordination and `unity in action.' It is being presented
in order to generate thoughtful consideration and
discussion among our parties, in the hope that such
deliberations will ultimately lead to progress real
progress toward these objectives. We are absolutely
confident that achieving such a goal is entirely
realizable, provided we collectively commit ourselves to
make it happen.

Central Committee
Communist Party of Canada
June 21, 2002