6th IMCWP, Contribution of Workers Party of Ireland

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Athens Meeting 8-10 October 2004, Contribution of WP of
From: SolidNet, Tuesday, October 19, 2004
http://www.workers-party.org , mailto:wpi@indigo.ie

International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
"Resistance to Imperialist Aggressiveness: Fronts of
Struggle and Alternatives"
Athens, 8 -10 October 2004

Text of Contribution by the Workers' Party of Ireland
Gerry Grainger
Member of the Central Executive Committee
and Chair of the International Committee

Dear Comrades,

On behalf of the Central Executive Committee of the
Workers' Party of Ireland I would like to convey warm
fraternal greetings to Comrade Aleka Paparigha and to the
Comrades of the Communist Party of Greece. I would also
like to thank the Greek Communist Party for its
organisation of this meeting which presents another
opportunity for the Communist and Workers' parties of the
world to meet, exchange ideas, share experiences, analyse
global trends and events and strengthen the basis for
renewed cooperation in our struggle towards out common

At this time of increased imperialist aggression and the
danger which this poses to world peace and security, it is
apt that we should discuss "Resistance to Imperialist
Aggressiveness: Fronts of Struggle and Alternatives".

Our presence here remains a visible and living proof of the
relevance of progressive struggle in the 21st century. Our
concern as Communist and the Workers' parties is for the
future, the future of the international working class and
for a new world free from injustice, inequality, poverty,
exploitation and war.

The Workers' Party of Ireland joined with millions of
people throughout the world in condemning US and British
plans for a war of aggression against Iraq. This war took
place at a time when the US was simultaneously engaged in
aggression in Latin America, actively seeking oil
concessions in Asia and Africa and issuing threats against
Cuba, the DPR of Korea, Iran, Syria and various other
sovereign states throughout the world.

These provocations occur at a time when, through the
process of globalisation, capitalism represents a renewed
and continuing threat to the livelihood of millions and to
the freedom of independent sovereign states to control
their own political, social, economic and cultural affairs.
Power has shifted to a US centred unipolarity. The United
States has a massive military arsenal and proposes to
develop further weapons of mass destruction. It is the
undisguised ambition of Bush and his neo-conservative
ideologues to establish unchallenged US global dominance.

These changed conditions may give rise to an understandable
but nonetheless unjustifiable pessimism in the face of US
economic and military might. But empires wax and wane. The
American economy is in difficulty. The war in Iraq has
raised public consciousness of the pernicious role of the
USA in world affairs.

There is hope for the future but that hope depends on a
proper analysis of global conditions and the current trends
in capitalism together with an effective resistance to
imperialist aggression. It also relies on the expression of
a clear political and ideological response that is capable
of forming the basis of a programme of political action,
not solely in opposition to US attempts at global hegemony,
but also for the transformation of society and the world.

The United States of America, armed with the planet's most
numerous and devastating weapons of mass destruction,
together with its compliant client, Tony Blair, contrived
and initiated a war of aggression against Iraq, contrary to
the wishes of the United Nations and the peoples of the
world. The most powerful super-power on earth, having
failed to bully, bribe and buy the votes of sovereign
nations on the Security Council to secure their compliance,
launched a war against some of the poorest people in the
world a people already devastated by international
sanctions, the last Gulf war, constant bombardment and the
murderous tyranny of the Iraqi regime. Having demonstrated
contempt for the United Nations the US embarked on yet
another imperialist war in pursuit of its plans for global

In January 2001, the outgoing Secretary of Defence, William
Powell, told Bush: "Iraq no longer poses a military threat
to its neighbours". Scott Ritter a former UN weapons
inspector in Iraq and a self-declared Republican and Bush
voter in 2000, has clearly stated that Iraq's chemical,
biological and nuclear capabilities were destroyed in the
years after the Gulf War and that since that time Iraq had
been prevented from obtaining the ingredients needed to
make new weapons. That position has been confirmed this
week by the Iraq Survey Group.

The real motive for this war might be gleaned by an
examination of a report commissioned by James Baker, the
former US Secretary of State under George Bush Snr and
submitted to Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, in April
2001 five months before the terrorist attack on September
11. This report makes interesting reading. It advocates a
policy of using military force against an enemy such as
Iraq to secure US access to, and control over, the
oilfields of the Middle East. It suggested: "Iraq remains
a destabilising influence to the flow of oil to
international markets from the Middle East". The document
indicates that America is facing the biggest energy crisis
in its history and that the energy sector is in a critical
condition. It notes that US allies in the Gulf have become
less inclined to lower oil prices and that Iraqi oil
reserves represent a major asset that can quickly add
capacity to world oil markets and inject a more competitive
tenor to oil trade. Finally, it recommends the use of
military intervention as a means of resolving America's
energy crisis. It is now documented that this was an option
seriously considered by the US during the energy crisis in

It is no coincidence that the United States is also
implicated in the abortive attempts to overthrow the
popular President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. The US buys
approximately 1.5 million barrels of oil per day from
Venezuela. Chavez is a popular President who has sought to
introduce progressive constitutional, political, economic
and social reform in his country to the benefit of its
poor. Venezuela has also lobbied OPEC to introduce
production cuts in order to boost oil prices. President
Chavez also attempted to forge links with other progressive
forces in Latin America, including socialist Cuba. All this
proved too much for the US and, in measures reminiscent of
its deep involvement in the overthrow of the socialist
government of Salvador Allende in Chile and its repeated
attempts to intervene in the internal affairs of Cuba, it
has engaged with the rich and powerful in Venezuela in an
attempt to overthrow the popular government of the
marginalized and poor.

The US unleashed this war in an attempt to re-colonise and
establish direct US control over Iraq and its natural
resources; to bolster and protect the repressive Zionist
entity of Israel; to consolidate its influence in the
region and to further its quest for unchallenged global
hegemony. Both the US and Britain are long-standing
supporters of Israel, a state with a long record of
invasion and occupation of neighbouring states, human
rights violations and which possesses weapons of mass
destruction. Despite this and despite numerous UN
resolutions the US has not demanded the disarmament of
Israel. On the contrary, it has repeatedly used its veto to
block any UN action against Israel even to the extent of
blocking UN human rights monitors.

In late March 2003 the US State Department released a
global report on human rights. With that special hypocrisy
and shameless arrogance reserved for an imperial power the
US condemned "stress and duress" interrogation techniques
by others as a form of torture. It made no reference to the
al-Queda suspects killed in US custody in Afghanistan nor
to those held indefinitely, without trial and without
access to lawyers, at Guantanamo Bay.

At a time when the US professes to espouse democratic
rights throughout the world, bearing in mind the dubious
circumstances of the last US Presidential election, its
blatant disregard for democratic rights and elections in
Yugoslavia and its attempt to undermine the government of
Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the US characterisation of the
Pakistani government which operates as a military
dictatorship and which banned key parties from
participation in the 2002 elections as "reasonably
representative" would be remarkable were it not for the
fact that the US has a long and disreputable history of
supporting brutal, repressive regimes across the globe.

The military-industrial complex that has already profited
from the destruction of this war, as it does from all wars,
will profit further from re-stocking the arsenals of death.
Their corporate friends will profit from the
reconstruction. As usual the US will reap the benefits and
the rest of the world, including the impoverished Iraqi
people, will pay. Under these plans the United Nations will
be reduced to a glorified aid agency while the US remains
firmly in control.

There is another major cause for concern the blatant
attempt by the US not merely to sideline, but to destroy,
the authority of the United Nations. Fundamental to the
objectives of the United Nations was a recognition of the
sovereignty and independence of the member statesIt also
became clear that the concept of self-determination was not
confined to political independence but also included the
rights of peoples to determine their own political
structures; to use, exploit and proclaim permanent
sovereignty over their natural wealth, resources and
economic activities and to govern the control of foreign
investment within each national jurisdiction. The United
Nations Organisation has played a major role in developing
international law, fostering peace and co-operation among
peoples and countries and establishing constructive
mechanisms for the resolution and settlement of disputes.
The voice of small nations and liberation movements
expressed in the United Nations General Assembly eloquently
proclaiming the goals and principles of self-determination,
decolonisation, independence, sovereignty, territorial
integrity, the non-use of force in international relations
and respect for the UN Charter and principles of
international law came into conflict with the plans and
strategies of the neo-colonialist and imperialist powers.
As far back as the Reagan administration the United States
engaged in an attempt to sabotage and downgrade the role of
the United Nations and international agencies while
simultaneously the US was defaulting in its subscription
payments to the United Nations.

The agreement at Bretton Woods which established the World
Bank and the International Monetary Fund created a global
monetary system which tied national currencies to the US
dollar and provided the basis for US domination and
control. While technically the IMF and World Bank were
regarded as specialised agencies of the UN, in practice the
power was and is held by the world's richest nations,
particularly the US. Every President of the World Bank has
been from the US. Instead of assisting and promoting
development the World Bank and the IMF became bailiffs for
America's largest banks, chasing poor developing countries
caught in a web of spiralling debt. Through the use of
structural adjustment programmes which imposed severe
restrictions on countries seeking further loans these
institutions placed private corporate interests in control
of whole national economies.

In 1964 at Geneva the developing countries formulated their
demands for the international economic order. At that time
developing countries highlighted the wide gap between
economically developed and under-developed countries. They
were acutely aware that national independence would remain
incomplete unless economic independence was achieved. In
short it was recognised that continuing under-development
was a direct result of domination by the industrial
capitalist world.

The assertion of economic independence by the developing
countries took a number of forms, involving an insistence
on national sovereignty over natural resources, raw
materials and primary commodity exports. This battle was at
its most acute when in 1973 the Organisation of Petroleum
Producing Countries [OPEC] took the decision to raise the
price of crude oil. These countries also proclaimed the
need to establish equity in international economic and
commercial relations between developing countries and the
developed capitalist world. The task of socio-economic
transformation in the developing countries required the
democratisation and modernisation of education, the
expansion and improvement of medical and health care
facilities and the nationalisation of key industries and
utilities to prevent the outflow of profit and to secure
control over the economy. The creation of a viable state
sector, the funding of education, health and social welfare
facilities, the assertion of control over primary commodity
exports, all effected a challenge to the existing world
economic order and its political adherents.

The providers of funds for loans to countries in crisis
were not imbued with the spirit of international solidarity
or humanity. They were strictly in the business of profit
and increasingly loans were tied to ever more stringent
conditions. This coincided with the growing influence of
monetarism as a school of economic thought. There was a
strong distaste for equality and social justice implicit in
this philosophy.

The monetarist philosophy was closely associated with the
military coup in Chile which overthrew the democratically
elected government of Salvador Allende with the backing of
the United States and the CIA and with the subsequent
violent repression, mass killing and military dictatorship.

In 1979/1980 two important politicians of the new right
came to power. This reinforced the enthusiasm of the
neo-conservatives for their world view. Neo-liberalism
became the new economic orthodoxy supplemented by a
conservative social policy.

The uncompromising philosophy of neo-liberalism was
promoted globally. By the early 1990's developing countries
that had previously believed that their under-development
was due to colonial domination and exploitation by foreign
monopolies were being told that their problems were due to
the insufficient practice of capitalism and that IMF loans
were conditional upon adoption of the capitalist model of
development and the rigorous imposition of structural
adjustment programmes regardless of the hardship imposed on
their people or the sacrifice of national sovereignty.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and many of the Socialist
countries greatly assisted the spread of the doctrines of
free market capitalism. Laissez faire economics now became
the dominant global ideology marketed by some of the most
powerful states in the world. Developing countries which
had been able to trade with the Soviet Union and Socialist
countries found their options diminished. There were fewer
powerful states able to project and promote a different
world view and to challenge the pervasive influence of
global capitalism. Developing countries which had embarked
on a programme of national independence and socio-economic
transformation based on a socialist model of development no
longer had the protection of powerful and influential
friends. The international balance of power was
dramatically changed and there was a shift to a US centred
unipolarity. Nowhere was this more acutely demonstrated
than the diplomatic battle to wage war on Iraq.
Civilisation gave way to barbarity. This is the vision of
America's unipolar world.

The economic global power realignment consolidated by the
IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation under the
leadership of the US has been underpinned by the vast
military power of America. Economic globalisation, the
corporatisation of the world order, the subordination of
national economies and natural resources to US interests,
the continuing indebtedness of the developing world and
inequitable trade relations, the increasing spread of US
military bases worldwide daily reinforces the reality of US

The social democrats cannot address the issues raised by
globalisation nor the US quest for global hegemony since
they have effectively endorsed the neo-liberal project and
refuse to challenge the existing political and social order
by taking the means of production into public ownership.
The leadership of the social democratic parties are content
to work with and for the interests of capital. In many
instances the social democrats actively support naked
imperialist aggression.

We must recognise that the greater the move towards
globalisation, the greater the need for an international
socialist movement capable of articulating a comprehensive
response. This will involve a detailed analysis and
constant evaluation of the situation in each country and
region; an assessment of the possibilities arising from the
problems and contradictions inherent in global capitalism
and an ability to make the necessary adjustments to deal
with circumstances as these develop, taking into account
the information acquired from the experience of the working
class, new forms of social struggle and changing processes
of capital accumulation.

The threat to the social and economic conditions of workers
and small farmers and the escalation of imperialist war has
sharpened the ideological struggle and provides new
conditions for building class consciousness and preparing
workers for political action.

The fight for democracy, the battle to establish control
over the institutions and events which control the
day-to-day lives of working people remains an inseparable
part of the struggle for socialism. It is, as Lenin
counselled, the task of Communist and Workers' parties to
be ahead of all in raising, accentuating and solving every
general democratic question. ["What is to be Done?"]

It is ever more important to reassert the dynamic of
socialism as a viable alternative world vision. It is time
for a co-ordinated ideological counter-attack. It is the
duty of the Communist and Workers' parties to proclaim
again the vitality of Marxism as a critical theory; an
unparalleled critique of capitalism and exploitation; an
analytical device for the investigation and evaluation of
current political, social and economic conditions and,
above all, a programme for political action and the
transformation of society and the world.

Ideological struggle is not conducted in the abstract. It
is necessary to analyse and assess current developments in
capitalism; to enunciate a reasoned response and to relate
this critique to the actual conditions and struggles
experienced by working people and the real possibilities
for change. We must repeatedly make clear that
neo-liberalism and laissez faire capitalism, far from
encouraging growth and development as is suggested by its
proponents, hinder progress and innovation and impoverish
the peoples of the world.

Socialist internationalism remains a fundamental plank in
the programmatic platform of Communist and Workers'
parties. This principle involves active solidarity with the
socialist countries; genuine liberation and social
movements; fraternal parties and progressives throughout
the world and is an enduring weapon in the struggle against
imperialism and the battle for peace, democracy, national
independence and socialism. It is our duty as
internationalists to actively support our comrades who are
the forefront of the struggle against imperialism in Cuba,
the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea, Palestine,
Venezuela and throughout the world.

In a world that is increasingly globalised in terms of
communication it becomes necessary to articulate a global
socialist presence. This will entail the co-ordination of
day-to-day struggles; the exchange of information; regular
and productive conferences and meetings and theoretical
seminars on issues of mutual concern and the practical
organisation of research and organised political activity.

Imperialism can be defeated. We need look no further than
the historic victory of our comrades in Vietnam.

It is the task of the Communist and Workers' parties to
develop a programme and strategy, taking into account the
conditions in each region, which promotes and advances the
interests and demands of the working class and which
provides a basis for united mobilization around common
campaigns. It was Lenin who made clear the responsibility
of the revolutionary party:

" the real task of a revolutionary socialist party: [is]
not to draw up plans for refashioning society, not to
preach to the capitalists and their hangers-on about
improving the lot of the workers, not to hatch
conspiracies, but to organise the class struggle of the
proletariat and to lead this struggle, the ultimate aim of
which is the conquest of political power by the proletariat
and the organisation of a socialist society."
[V.I Lenin: "Our Programme"; Collected Works, Vol. 4, pp

October 2004