13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties
Athens, December 9-11, 2011
SOCIALISM IS THE FUTURE!
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 CP
Yrjö Hakanen, Chairman of the Communist Party of Finland
The international financial crisis, which is currently shaking the euro zone, clearly speaks of the need for radical anti-capitalist change. At the same time the gap between the need for change and the subjective conditions of the forces to implement the change has increased.
This is particularly clear in Finland. The Social Democrats and the Left Alliance in Finland participate in the Conservative Party-led Government implementing a policy of social cuts and shaping the European Union into an authoritarian federal state. The commitment of the parliamentary Left to neoliberal policies of the government and of the EU has strengthened the right-wing and right-wing populism. At the same time the leadership of the Finnish trade union movement has been bound to support the policy of the government and of the EU.
The citizens' dissatisfaction with the current policy is widespread. But in Finland few people trust in the possibility to change direction of the policy. This is a challenge for us Communists to open up possibilities of struggle by questioning the prevailing neo-liberal and nationalist interpretations of the capitalist crises, by bringing into the discussion the Marxist class perspective. In this respect the struggles of the workers, trade unions, the Communist Party and of other left-wing forces in Greece are an important and encouraging example.
The forces of capital and the right-wing use the crisis of the euro zone to scrap the rights, which the working class and peoples movements have acquired through decades of struggle, such as collective agreements, public services, pensions, and democratic rights.
The anti-crisis programmes of the EU do not even attempt to ease the situation of people in need. They aim to transfer ever greater amounts of money, property and power into the hands of a small rich elite.
This is also a crisis of democracy. The fate of entire nations has been subjected to the dictatorship of financial markets. Increasingly authoritarian means are used to carry through ever more brutal neo-liberal policies.
For us Communists the current situation is a challenge in terms of organizing the immediate struggle to defend workers’ and other wage earners’ rights against those attacks, which become ever more hard. At the same time it is a challenge to gather the forces together for counter-attack and to focus the struggles on the capitalist power and ownership relations.
The battle around everyday rights is more and more connected to struggle to break the power of financial capital. There is a need to open up horizons showing the way out of capitalism, towards modern socialism. Here we in Europe have much to learn from the struggles of Latin American left-wing forces.
The International Day of Actions on 15
th of October, which originated from the Tahri square in Cairo, from the occupation of squares by the “Indignados” in Spain and from the Occupy Wall Street movement, inspired peaceful occupations of squares in 14 cities in Finland. The Occupy movement is still continuing in the capital city Helsinki for instance.
These struggles have brought about a wider debate on the need to support human well-being, not the banks, and that banks – which have the primary responsibility for the crisis – should be taken under social ownership and be subject to democratic control.
The fact that the Nokia corporation, which is important for the Finnish economy, has ended up in the hands of U.S. large investors and of Microsoft reflects how crucial it is to develop the national economy for the need of people and as an entity, not from the point of view of financial markets that pursue unilateral quick profits.
Financial capital and governments are trying to cope with the crisis of the capitalist economy by making the workers and people pay for it. This is reflected in the growing practice of social dumping, the segregation of the euro zone and the stigmatizing of people as being responsible for the crisis. Therefore, it is important to emphasize that the crisis is not about the people, but the struggle between classes.
We know from history and from the Leninist theory of imperialism how dangerously economic crises, militarism and war are linked. This remains true today, in spite of the fact that globalization has bound the economies, the companies and countries to each other in many ways.
The United States and NATO seek through military force to ensure the control over energy resources and strategically important regions: the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, the building of new missile bases and the projects to expand NATO. Hundreds of billions are wasted in the arms race, while at the same time there is no money to fight global problems such as hunger, poverty, unemployment and climate change.
Finland, which has traditionally practiced a policy of peace and neutrality, has been drawn into NATO operations. By unanimous decision of the Government, Finnish troops participate in the war in Afghanistan, and military expenditure increases for the sake of NATO missions. In the January presidential elections the present Social-democratic President Tarja Halonen will most likely be followed by a right-wing candidate. His role will increase if the Finnish government manages to obtain a seat in the United Nations Security Council.
It is necessary to build a stronger left-wing, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist force to combat the attack by big capital and the right wing. In this respect, such meetings as ours today play an important role. On behalf of the Communist Party of Finland I wish to thank the organizers of this international meeting of Communist and Workers Parties.
We need common political initiatives and campaigns, for instance, against war, social dumping and the power of the banks. Likewise, we need common solidarity activities with Palestine, Cuba and other people who are victims of imperialist aggressions. We also want to strengthen our activity against racism, the extreme right and anti-communism.
Workers' unity does not arise spontaneously; capitalism constantly produces differences and competition. Communists have their place where there is discontent, where the working class is on the move and where forces can be gathered against big capital. It is important to strengthen the class oriented trend within the trade union movement, which builds united action beyond trade union and national boundaries, and also cooperates with the citizens' movements.
To strengthen the struggles of the trade unions and citizens’ movements, it is also important to open up prospects for political change. Therefore initiatives are needed to bring together Left forces into a wider co-operation against neoliberalism and capitalism. That is why we in the Communist Party of Finland consider important also such networks of cooperation as the European Left and the Sao Paolo Forum.
We have a great responsibility as to whether the current crises of capitalism will lead to even more unequal, undemocratic, destructive and dangerous developments – or, whether an opening towards a democratic and leftist way out of crisis will be found. - Socialism is the future!