Contribution by Ali Ruckert
President of the Communist Party of Luxembourg (KPL)
In times of deep crisis, the political and ideological work of the communist party is more important than ever. The established political parties, being in government or in so-called opposition, have nothing to offer for the working people. Especially in times of crisis they have to fulfil their role for the sake of strengthening the capitalist state structures in the interest of the ruling class.
The working people have nothing to expect from the capitalist state neither from the political forces supporting it. As already comrade Lenin stated 100 years ago, the capitalists are, especially in times of crisis, not ready to make any concessions in favour of the working class – on the contrary they will try whatever they can to cancel concessions earlier made as a result of the struggle of the working class movement. This is exactly what happens today in all capitalist countries without any exception. Since the current capitalist crisis began five years ago, we are witnessing growing unemployment, especially youth unemployment, the tendency of working more for less payment, closing of factories, an increasing number of precarious working places, the decrease of pensions, the prolongation of working life time, the reduction of social and political rights and many other results of the crisis including an increasing number of people living under conditions of poverty.
Our country Luxembourg, which is said to be a »rich country«, does not make any exception in this development. The steel industry, which once was the basis for our economy, has been reduced to an extent that it plays today a minor role. More and more small and medium enterprises are forced to close or at least to reduce their production capacities – this leads to increasing unemployment. While the speakers of the ruling class, mainly the conservative and the social-democratic parties, are speaking about »the light at the end of the tunnel«, the concrete figures are showing a completely different reality.
According to official statistics, the number of unemployed in Luxembourg between August 2012 and August 2013 increased by 15.2 per cent. At the same time, people have to burden increasing prices, taxes, costs for health care and many other problems. This year, the parliament adopted a so-called pension reform, which in fact is a bunch of measures for decreasing pensions and for worsening the living conditions of today’s and future pensioners.
With a view to the hopelessness of their policy, the Luxembourg Socialist Workers Party (LSAP), which for about ten years was a coalition partner of the conservative Christian Social Peoples Party (CSV) in the government, used a minor pretext to give up the government coalition and to provoke the dissolution of the parliament. As a result of this, the parliament elections which had been foreseen for May next year had been advanced to 20 October this year. All bourgeois parties have been waging an electoral campaign under the slogan of a »new beginning«. Our party is the only political force dismantling this slogan and explaining that this is nothing but a struggle for government posts.
While all the other political parties – including the party of the so-called »Left« – were trying to propagate their different ideas for allegedly changing the situation by »reforms«, the Communist Party of Luxembourg organised an electoral campaign to explain to the people that any reforms will not lead to substantial positive changes. KPL took part in the elections with open lists under the name of »KPL – the communists« and under the slogan »People before profit – work and social safeguarding for everybody«. We worked out an electoral programme which includes our proposals for a short-time improvement of the situation in the country, but at the same time stating clearly that a way out of the situation can not be found inside the capitalist system and showing the perspectives of construction of a socialist society.
In the course of our election campaign we could feel that there is an increasing number of people who are interested in our proposals and in our programme. Two years ago, we had substantial success in the local elections by achieving three mandates in the most important working class cities in the south of the country. This year we did not reach our aim to regain at least one mandate for the National Assembly. But we at least managed to increase the number of votes in favour of KPL on national level by 0.2 per cent. In the southern electoral district KPL has reached 2.6 per cent of the votes, while in the traditional working class areas like Differdingen and Esch/Alzette the votes for the Communist party increased over 4 per cent.
The simple fact that we could gain more votes is of importance for our party and for our country, but this is also a contribution for the development of the international communist movement, since we can proof that it is possible to reach more votes with a clear Marxist-Leninist electoral programme.
In a first analysis, the Central Committee of our party came to the conclusion, that there are several objective as well as subjective reasons for not having more success. First of all, the big financial and industrial capital has the power to extend its influence to the majority of the people. Secondly, we still cannot base ourselves on visible successes on international level that could be helpful for our communist propaganda. And last but not least there are still many different forms of anti-communisms in the society and especially in the media.
The capitalist system is permanently inventing new political groups to act as so-called protest parties, as it was the case with the »Party of the Pirates«. Additionally, the Luxembourg member party of the so-called European Left used social proposals that seem to be similar to our demands, but do not include radical ideas like the abolishment of the capitalist society, the dissolution of EU and of the European Monetary Union. The electoral campaign of the Luxembourg »Left« has produced many confusions among the people and provoked illusions about an allegedly possible co-operation of KPL with them.
The main conclusion made by our Central Committee meeting is that first of all we have to increase our efforts for the qualitative as well as quantitative strengthening of the party. This includes an improved political education of all comrades, the strengthening of the party organisations, to put more efforts on the re-construction of the communist youth union and many other tasks.
It will be also of great importance to further develop the international co-operation with other communist and workers’ parties in the region – as we are already doing together with the German Communist Party, the Workers’ Party of Belgium and the New Communist Party of the Netherlands. At the same time we support any efforts for a wider international and regional co-operation, mainly with a view to the new emerging challenges as a result of the capitalist crisis.
The present situation in Europe, especially in the European Union, forces us to think about joint evaluations and joint strategies of our movement. All communist and workers’ parties are struggling today under different national conditions. For this reason it is obvious that also the priorities of the struggle may be different. We think that one of the main tasks of our movement today should be to define the common priorities of the communist and workers’ parties and try to put as many as possible differences aside. The most important task – as we see it – should be to bring together as many as possible parties which are ready and able to participate in a new framework of international cooperation. The communists of Luxembourg are ready to promote such a framework.