Towards a New Communist International?

Excerpts from an article in the Communist Party of Australia’s The Guardian 14 December, 2005

Communists move towards closer international co-operation

Rob Gowland

There is an increasing trend within the international Communist movement towards co- operation and cohesion. That was my conclusion following my attendance at this year’s International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Athens in November.

When I attended an earlier Athens Conference (as it is now customarily called) a few years ago, the CP of Canada made a modest proposal for some voluntary co-operation among parties that wished to be involved in formulating campaigns and relevant campaign materials.

Many parties shied away from the proposal amidst cries that it was an attempt to “create a new Communist International”! This year, there were open calls for exactly that.

The Conference is organised by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), and from the beginning the KKE’s organising has been excellent. In earlier years the Conference was held at a university but is now held in the admirably equipped KKE headquarters building.

Seventy-three parties attended this year’s Conference. Several others sent written contributions that will be included in the Conference documents.

Notable was the complete absence of the “doom and gloom” of the early ’90s. There were still instances of right opportunism to be seen (as well as a relatively small amount of leftism) but one was most conscious of a prevalent confidence and optimism, a confidence in the correctness and viability of socialism.

In her opening address, Aleka Paparhiga, the General Secretary of the KKE, said: “To describe the current problems, to paint them in the blackest colours is not nearly enough to achieve the mass mobilisation of all the peoples on Earth…

Without abandoning the policy of revealing all the crimes that are being committed today, we must expand our discussion and common action to include the issue of the Communist alternative and the prospect of socialism…This does not mean in the least that we are abandoning action on urgent problems, especially when the people’s standard of living keeps dropping, when war and state repression, poverty and hunger are growing…

Today’s major problems cannot be eased; and even less can they be solved without a movement that disputes the capitalist system as a whole.”

On the other hand, the threat to the environment was mentioned in the contributions of many parties, expressed in several cases as “the threat to life on Earth”. The comment of the CP of the Peoples of Spain that “there can be no relationship between capitalism and the environment” was a popular sentiment.

Most delegates expressed themselves in favour of co-operation among Communist parties including joint actions. A number of them called for more co-ordination and exchange, but here there was some hesitancy. Some at least are clearly wary of possibly giving away control over their own activities.

Nevertheless, as the renamed Hungarian Workers’ Party (now the Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party) said: “Co-operation is essential if we are to combat capitalism.”

To the visible distress of the delegate from the Tudeh Party of Iran, only about a third of delegates would sign the resolution on Iraq. The resolution, besides calling for the complete removal of all foreign troops from Iraq, expressed support for what the CPUSA described as the “courageous struggle of the Iraqi CP in a complex and dangerous situation“.

However, the resolution also condemned terrorism and, despite support from the CPs of Syria, Jordan, Israel, Sudan, Egypt, Bahrain and the Working People’s Party of Cyprus (AKEL), a lot of parties would not sign it on the grounds that “terrorism” was used by the bourgeoisie to include armed struggle (or even class struggle)”.

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