5th IMCWP, Contribution of Communist Partyof Britain

6/19/03 11:59 AM
  • Britain, Communist Party of Britain 5th IMCWP En Europe Communist and workers' parties

Athens Meeting 19-20 June 2003, Contribution by CP of
From: SolidNet
http://www.communist-party.org.uk ,
by Robert Griffiths


Imperialism and its wars are creating a massive world wide
people's movement which is calling into question the whole
global system of exploitation and oppression. At our
party's 46th congress last year, we referred to a new
'emerging phase' of imperialism and identified what we
believed to be its five principal features:
The process of global exploitation and concentration of
economic resources is now taking place on an unprecedented
New and existing global organisations such as the World
Trade Organisation and the World Bank are being used to
enforce economic regimes which are in the interests of the
transnational corporations (TNCs), and to systematically
intensify the debt bondage of the poorest nations.
US state-monopoly capitalism now exercises unrivaled
military and economic dominance in conditions where
inter-imperialist rivalry has openly reasserted itself.
Imperialism's assertion of its supposedly unique
"civilised" values is in effect racist and neo-colonial.
On the basis of this self-proclaimed superiority,
imperialism claims the right to intervene politically and
militarily in the internal affairs of any country in the

It is this emerging third phase of imperialism - the first
lasted until the end of World War Two and the second until
the 1990s - which is labeled "globalisation" by both its
advocates and some of its critics.

Our party is critical of the term "globalisation" for three
reasons (although "capitalist globalisation" is obviously
an improvement).

Firstly, it fails to convey the class essence of the
distinctive and defining features of the process now

Secondly, it implies that capitalism has recently changed
from being a national system to an international one,
whereas it has been a combination of the national and the
international from its earliest stage: national markets
were formed and retain their significance in all the
leading capitalist countries, and state power is
concentrated at the national level and used to promote the
interests of each nation's capitalist class

"Globalisation" is not being driven primarily by an
abstract ideological commitment to "free markets" or to the
free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. The
USA, the European Union and Japan all operate trade
barriers of one sort or another. None of them operates an
"open door" policy to migrant peoples.

Rather, so-called globalisation is driven by the economic
necessity of TNCs and other capitalist monopolies to
maximise profit through exporting goods, services and
capital with as few barriers as possible - except for those
which suit their own interests in competition with their
imperialist rivals.

Nor do the international institutions which promote
"globalisation" such as the WTO, IMF, World Bank, the
European Union and G8 summits constitute the 'international
state apparatus' of an international capitalist class. In
reality, they attempt to identify, balance and promote the
common interests of each country's monopolies - indeed, of
each imperialism.

Their policies ultimately rest on the power of the
imperialist states represented in those institutions and at
those summits. They do not abolish inter-monopoly and
inter-imperialist conflict.

At the national and international levels, the capitalist
monopolies rely overwhelmingly upon the state apparatus of
their "home" country to represent and enforce their

Cooperation and coordination between capitalist states does
not for one minute mean that the system of state-monopoly
capitalism in each imperialist country has been replaced by
some form of "international state-monopoly capitalism".

Even in the case of the most advanced integration of
state-monopoly capitalisms which has been achieved - that
of the European Union - most economic, political, military
and legislative power still resides in the national state

Certainly, the drive towards an imperialist military United
States of Europe his as not reduced the rivalry between
capitalist monopolies, between capitalist member states or
between the EU and the USA.

The mass mobilisations of the anti-globalisation movement
have punctured the capitalist triumphalism which followed
the collapse of the Soviet Union. They have helped pave the
way for the mass mobilisations of the anti-war movement.

But the anti-globalisation protests and meetings are not a
substitute for the need to formulate and fight for national
class-based strategies - combined with international
solidarity - to defeat state-monopoly capitalism in our own

Perhaps at this point I should re-state the Communist Party
of Britain's position on the EU very clearly: we are
opposed to any and every step towards the creation of such
a United States of Europe. We reject any adoption by
Britain of the euro and of rule by the European Central

We oppose fundamentally and in principle the proposed
European Constitution. We defend Britain's parliamentary
democracy and sovereignty, however limited and distorted
under capitalism. And in doing so we defend the potential
to create a real sovereignty of the people.

In rejecting the vision of an imperialist military United
States of Europe as a counter-weight to the United States
of America - which is a recipe for massive global warfare
in the future - Britain's Communists reject our country's
alignment with any imperialist super-power or power bloc.

We stand as we always have for a progressive and
independent British foreign and defense policy, recognizing
also that this means challenging rather than promoting the
interests of British imperialism.

There are divisions within the ruling monopoly class in
Britain over relations with the European Union and - by
implication - the nature of the relationship between
British and US imperialism.

Blair's "New Labour" clique which has hijacked the Labour
Party seeks the best of both worlds. Firstly, they want to
strengthen the alliance with the US ruling class because of
the substantial trade and investment ties between the two
countries, and because American state power provides a
protective 'umbrella' for British monopoly capital's
world-wide assets (larger in size than those of any other
capitalist class except that of the USA itself).

Secondly, at the same time the Blair government wants to
play a leading role in the European Union, where again
there are substantial trade and investment links, while
also ensuring that it does not develop into a fully-fledged
rival power to that of the USA.

The contradictions of this position, which where partly
concealed in the attack on Yugoslavia, were brought into
the open during the recent invasion of Iraq.

The new aggressive phase of imperialism, in which British
imperialism has played a leading role as the junior partner
(or lap-dog) to US imperialism, places a special
responsibilities on the Communist Party of Britain. As the
party which organises all but a handful of Britain's
Communists, we have taken on those responsibilities with
the utmost seriousness.

How have we done so?

Firstly, we have renewed our work in Britain's largest
permanent peace organisation, the Campaign for Nuclear
Disarmament. Communists are active at every level of the
organisation, including its top leadership.

Our approach has been one of working to maintain the broad
basis of CND so that it is open to all who oppose Britain's
possession of nuclear weapons, whatever their ideological
outlook as individuals. We are against turning it into a
body which only enrolls those who are socialists or
consciously anti-imperialists.

At the same time, we work in a non-sectarian way in CND to
raise the level of political understanding and analysis,
which leads peace activists to draw anti-imperialist
conclusions without necessarily expressing it in
Marxist-Leninist language.

We have also encouraged CND to broaden its concerns beyond
the question of Britain's weapons of mass destruction, so
that the organisation campaigns actively against all
reactionary wars. This objective has, of course, been
helped by US and British imperialism's use of depleted
uranium weapons and by Bush's plans to develop a new
generation of nuclear weapons.

The imminent attack on Afghanistan led to the establishment
of the Coalition to Stop the War at the end of 2001.
Prominent left-wing and progressive intellectuals, left
Labour Members of Parliament and a range of socialist and
green organisations came together to form a national
steering committee. The semi-Trotskyist Socialist Workers
Party played a significant role in that initiative.

Since then, some 13 national trades unions have affiliated
to the coalition, many of them because of the growing
influence in the labour movement of our party and the daily
Morning Star newspaper.

Together with CND and the Muslim Association of Britain,
the Coalition has organised the biggest political
demonstrations in British history, notably the two-million
march on February 15.

Again, in the Stop the War Coalition and the Scottish
Coalition for Justice and Peace, Communists have argued for
the broadest alliances and most inclusive slogans on a
principled anti-war basis. Our non-sectarian analysis and
contribution has led to Communists playing a leading role
in both organisations.

Local committees against war have been established in
hundreds of cities, towns and even villages over the past
18 months. The invasion of Iraq sparked mass walk-outs by
thousands of school students as well as some local
industrial action by trades unionists. In addition to
national demonstrations and delegate conferences, the Stop
the War Coalition organised a People's Assembly in March.

Against this background, Labour MPs launched the biggest
rebellion against their own government in parliamentary
history. The British Trade Union Congress issued two
statements against the attack on Iraq, one of which was at
a time when British troops were in action - an
unprecedented step by the British TUC.

All of these developments reflect not only a high level of
anti-war feeling in Britain. They also reflect a growing
anti-imperialist consciousness, not least among some of the
new generation of left-wing trade union leaders in Britain,
with many of whom the Communist Party has very good

In the Muslim community, too, the anti-war movement has
helped to politicise many thousands of people and to
involve them in political struggle for the first time.
Progressive ideas have been strengthened at the expense of
reactionary ones.

A whole generation of young people - written off as
"apathetic" about politics by careerist politicians - have
also been politicised and activated by the anti-war

Politically, the anti-war movement has deepened the
struggle against "New Labour" within and beyond the labour
movement, also raising vital issues of civil liberties,
democratic accountability, national sovereignty and

Our tasks in the anti-war movement now are to maintain the
alliances which have been built, to retain the local as
well as national organisation of the movement, and to
continue to deepen and popularise political understanding
about the real aims of British and US imperialism.

The Communist Party will continue to give a high priority
to these tasks, working with our allies on the left and in
the broader anti-war movement.