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14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP)
“Strengthen the struggles against escalating imperialist aggressiveness, for satisfying peoples’ socio-economic rights and aspirations, for socialism”
Beirut, Lebanon, 22 to 25 November 2012
Contribution by the Workers’ Party of Ireland
Delivered by G. Grainger
On behalf of the Central Executive Committee of the Workers’ Party of Ireland I would like to thank the Lebanese Communist Party for hosting this Meeting and providing the facilities to enable us to hold our discussions. It is particularly important that we meet in this region at this time where we can observe the true face of imperialist aggression, most acutely in Syria and in Gaza.
Over the past week the Israeli state has used fighter jets, drones, precision-guided missiles, tanks, heavy artillery and naval vessels to pound and bombard a small impoverished enclave, raining injury, death and destruction, targeting residential apartment blocks and journalists and killing and maiming innocent men, women and children. Let us be clear who the aggressor is here.
In Gaza the Palestinian people are again faced with bloody Israeli aggression, aided and abetted by US imperialism. Having attempted to suffocate Gaza, Israel is bombarding it from air and sea. This attack on Gaza comes four years after the devastating ‘Operation Cast Lead’, in which Israel massacred over 1,400 Palestinians. These actions are a violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and are crimes against humanity for which Israel must be held accountable.
The Occupied Territories have been under a permanent state of siege. The violation of the territorial integrity of the Occupied Territories, the denial of self-governance, the breach of fundamental principles of national sovereignty, including sovereignty over natural resources, the maintenance and expansion of illegal settlements, the construction of the apartheid wall, the restrictions on the transport of goods and the movement of people, the subjection of the entire population to power cuts as a form of collective punishment, the systematic destruction of homes and infrastructure, the impoverishment of a people and the suppression of Palestinian cultural identity and rights and the abuse of Palestinian prisoners are just some of the manifestations of Israeli aggression.
There can be no solution without the recognition of the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty, the implementation of international law and respect for all relevant United Nations’ resolutions. The apartheid wall must be removed; all settlements dismantled; the refugee issue resolved based on the legitimate and inalienable right of the Palestinian people to return to their homes and property in accordance with U.N. Resolution 194; and Palestinian political prisoners released. Fundamentally, there can be no solution without the creation and recognition of an independent Palestinian state.
The US has long used its relationship with Israel to consolidate its imperialist interests and designs in the region. It is important, however, not to overlook the imperialist role of the European Union which has also engaged in close collaboration with the Israeli state, which has accommodated the occupation of Palestinian territories and sought to exonerate Israel from its oppression of Palestinians, its campaign of repression and assassination, its human rights abuses and its strangulation and invasion of Gaza.
The Syrian crisis is deepening and becoming ever more dangerous by the day. The internal frictions in Syrian society manipulated by the imperialist powers intent upon foreign intervention have created a situation which poses a major threat to Syria, the region and the world. The arming of terrorist groups determined to undermine the state by those same powers which are calling for sanctions against the government has brought “civil war” to Syria. In a situation reminiscent of Yugoslavia and the conflict in Kosovo-Metojia the US and the other imperialist powers demand that the Syrian armed forces stop fighting while the armed groups opposing the government are given the green light to launch acts of sabotage, subversion, terrorism and murderous sectarian attacks.
The Workers’ Party acknowledges the rights of the Syrian people to genuine, peaceful, social protests and just demands for economic, social and political and democratic rights but those are matters for the Syrian people. We unequivocally reject foreign political or military intervention in Syria, which is being currently planned by the USA, the EU, Israel and NATO in active collaboration with Turkey and a number of reactionary, anti-democratic monarchies in the Gulf region. The world need only look to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and the fragmentation of those countries to understand the reality of imperialism and the myth of so-called humanitarian intervention. The Syrian people alone have the right to decide the future of Syria.
However, imperialist forces, liberals and ultra-left groups have united in a global media offensive against Syria. This has nothing to do with the rights of the Syrian people. This campaign is designed to conceal the nature and programme of a coalition of ultra-reactionary and obscurantist religious forces; anti-democratic, authoritarian states in the region; Israel and the imperialist powers and to prepare the way for intervention and occupation with a view to destabilising and neutralising Syria and its strategic importance in the region, altering the balance of power in the area and creating a region of weak but compliant, loyal client states. This would serve the aggressive and expansionist designs of Israel which continues to occupy the Golan Heights and the Shebaa Farms in Lebanon, and guarantee unlimited access by the monopolies to the valuable natural resources of those states.
The US threats of military action against Iran, the Turkish provocations against Syria, the increased military aid by the Obama administration to Israel, the escalating external pressure on Syria and the growing attacks by criminal terrorist elements demonstrate the dangerous role of the imperialist powers and the attempt by the monopolies to seize control of the energy resources of the region.
The intervention in Libya and the efforts to fragment that country, the co-operation between NATO and the countries of the Gulf Council, the continuing divisions in Iraq, the attempts to exploit the situation in Lebanon, the continued occupation of northern Cyprus, the increased presence of the US in the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Oman are clear indications of the on-going and heightening interest of the imperialist powers in the region.
In Africa, the monopolies, supported by the US and EU, and through the role of AFRICOM, seek to exploit the wealth and resources of African nations whilemillions live in abject poverty and die of hunger, lack of medicine, and contaminated water.
While the peoples of the Asia Pacific region continue to suffer from the effects of previous US wars of aggression, the US continues to intensify its activities in the region. The DPRK continues to face imperialist aggression through the presence of US military bases on the peninsula and repeated provocative joint military exercises and hostility by the US, Japan and south Korea.
The Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean and Latin America, are all targeted by imperialism with a view to exploiting their abundant natural resources and/or strategic importance.
The sustained development of militarism and increased military capabilities, the maintenance of massive armed forces and powerful armament industries, the creation of military academies training the elite of client states, the establishment and expansion of permanent military bases across the world, are all features of imperialist aggression.
The contradictions of capitalism are aggravated to an extreme at the highest stage of its development. The capitalist crisis has deepened and expanded. The response of the bourgeoisie, compelled to take measures to reinforce its threatened positions, has been to impose savage austerity measures, attack labour and social rights, underminethe living standards of working people, subvert democratic freedoms, dismantle and privatise public services, increasing exploitation and deepening inequality.
Simultaneously there is a growing ideological attack encompassing a vicious anti-communist campaign designed to rewrite history and obliterate the achievements of the socialist project.
In the US the monopolies will be content with the Obama victory. It is business as usual. The field is open for the exploitation of workers by capital, socialist Cuba still bears the burden of an unjust and vindictive embargo, the Cuban patriots still remain in US prisons, and US aggression and war continues unabated.
The ideological struggle has sharpened and current developments bring yet new conditions for building class consciousness and preparing workers for struggle. In these circumstances it is the task of the Communist and Workers’ parties to strengthen the struggles against imperialism, the workers’ and peoples’ struggles for social, economic rights and the struggle for socialism.
Across the world governments have adopted and implemented stringent austerity measures. These policies which impact on virtually every area of life - employment; social protection; health; education; and the provision of public services have dealt a vicious blow to working people. But the world has witnessed mobilisation and resistance in the form of strikes, occupations, mass rallies and protests, often in the face of state violence and repression. The heroic resistance of workers in Greece, the struggles in Spain, Portugal, Italy and France and the mobilisation of workers in Britain and Ireland demonstrate that resistance and a fight-back is possible.
Internationally, the peace movements, with the assistance of the World Peace Council, continue to make the case against imperialist war and intervention and have developed a strong anti-imperialist content.
The struggle against the development and use of weapons of mass destruction remains a vital demand in the struggle for world peace.
Strengthening these struggles means building and strengthening the militant revolutionary party, ensuring it is equipped with a strong and coherent ideology enabling it to define the concrete tasks and methods of struggle in accordance with the objective conditions in each country, raising class consciousness among workers, defending the real experiences of building socialism, sharing experiences and co-ordinating activities between our parties, actively participating in the people’s struggles and turning the principle of socialist internationalism into concrete acts of solidarity and articulating the case for socialism and workers’ power as the only rational and humane alternative to the barbaric system of capitalism.