Sixty five communist and workers' parties from fifty four countries congregated in Sao Paulo at the invitation of the Communist Party of Brazil for the 10th International meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties. This is the first time that such a meeting was being held in Latin America. Fifteen communist and workers' parties from thirteen Latin American countries, the largest number to attend since Athens 1998, were present.
The meeting received a message from the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil; Luis Inacio da Silva, in his capacity as a people's leader and not in the formal capacity of the President in which he expressed his "recognition of all your struggle in defence of workers and poor people" and "his commitment to build a new international economic order".
This 10th meeting discussed a wide ranging theme that was decided upon by the working group in February 2008 – "New phenomena in the international framework. Worsening national, social, environmental and inter-imperialist contradictions and problems. The struggle for peace, democracy, sovereignty, progress and socialism and unity of action of communist and workers' parties."
However; quite naturally, the current unprecedented global crisis of capitalism dominated the discussions. The meeting adopted two resolutions. First, on the current situation in Latin America and the solidarity of the communist parties, and second on the global capitalist crisis. These are being reproduced separately and hence their contents are not repeated here.
During the course of the discussions there was a general consensus on the fact that the current period offers the most favourable circumstances, since the disintegration of the USSR, for the propagation of the socialist ideal and the ideological offensive against capitalism and imperialism. There was also a consensus that the current capitalist crisis is a systemic one and not due to the aberration of some greedy individuals or the lack of regulatory mechanisms. This crisis, therefore, thoroughly exposes the bankruptcy of neo-liberalism – the ideological bedrock of imperialist globalisation led by international finance capital.
However, the meeting emphasised the crisis does not represent the automatic end of capitalism. As Marx had said the collapse of capitalism is inevitable but not automatic. The meeting therefore resolved that it is the duty of communists all over the world to strengthen the political alternative to capitalism by sharpening class and popular mass struggles in every country. It was also decided that the meeting should go beyond the adoption of resolutions towards creating a communist synergy through joint global protest actions. The working group has been mandated to declare, in consultation with all participants, a week long international protest against capitalism.
The experience of the popular people's struggles against neo-liberalism in Latin America and the consequent electoral triumph of popular forces in many countries reinforced the need for co-ordinated global protests against capitalism to strengthen the political alternative of socialism.
This decision to initiate co-ordinated global actions by communist parties marks a new phase in the history of these meetings. Following the disintegration of the USSR, we in the CPI(M) had undertaken our analysis of these developments in the resolution on certain ideological issues in our 14th Congress in January 1992. Subsequently, in May 1993, we followed this up by convening an international meeting on the continued relevance of Marxism in the contemporary world on the occasion of the 110th birth anniversary of Karl Marx. Twenty five communist and workers' parties had attended this meeting.
Subsequently, many parties in the world were going through a phase of regrouping in the light of this serious reverse to socialism and in the light of the intense ideological offensive mounted by imperialism. After five years, in 1998, the Communist Party of Greece took the initiative to call such a meeting on the tasks before the communist parties in the current situation. Since then such meetings have been held annually on different themes in Athens until 2005. At the suggestion of the Greek Party, supported by various others, it was decided that such meetings should be rotated in various parts of the world to generate the maximum impact in different regions. Accordingly, these meetings are now being held in various countries in different continents.
Having gone to Latin America for the first time there is a widespread feeling at this meeting that the next should be held in Asia. India is among the possibilities as well as any of the middle-eastern countries particularly given the importance of that region in the current focus of conflict areas in the world. The working group of which the CPI(M) is a founder member will decide on these matters at its meeting to be held in conjunction with the Communist Party of Greece in February 2009.
This meeting also decided to organise coordinated global actions to mark the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution. Likewise, actions are also been suggested to protest against NATO on its 60th anniversary which falls in April 2009. Through such actions the solidarity between the communist parties and anti-imperialist movements will surely be strengthened in the days to come.
(24 November 2008)