Thursday, October 18, 2007

International meeting on Party education

REPRESENTATIVES of seven communist and workers’ parties held a successful meeting in Madrid last weekend organised by the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), to discuss co-operation and co-ordination in party education.
The meeting was attended by comrades from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (CPBM), the Danish Communist Party, the Workers’ Party of Belgium, the Communist Party of Slovakia, and the Marxism-Leninist Communist Party of Brazil. Andy Brooks, NCP leader, and Theo Russell, from the Central Committee, represented the New Communist Party of Britain.
Two representatives of the Unified Communist Party of Georgia were denied visas by the Spanish government. Several other Latin American parties also expressed an interest in the meeting.
The discussions covered the educational arrangements of the parties present and a wide range of theoretical and practical issues faced by the various parties.
The parties present varied widely in the resources available for education. The PCPE, KKE and CPBM enjoy centrally organised education structures and operate or are considering setting up regional party schools.
Education in the KKE includes short courses for new party members in Marxism-Leninism, more intensive courses spread over six months at the central party school, and seminars spread over five months on topics such as the role of individuals in history, the law of value in socialist society, and tactical alliances.
Selection for the KKE’s intensive courses favours women, young and working class party members.
While the PCPE runs a Central Education School, the party is still in the process of drawing up an education programme and faces problems with insufficient numbers of teachers and educational materials.
However comrade Vassilis Opsimos of the KKE stressed that the theoretical content and direction of courses was more important than the human or material resources available to parties.
There was general agreement on the vital importance of theoretical education in the context of the ideological retreat of social democracy into neo-liberal economic policies, which rules out any return to the welfare state in capitalist countries.
Comrade Fernando Ferraz, the PCPE’s head of education, pointed out that both bourgeois academics and left intellectuals claim that Marxism-Leninism is “old” and “out of date”. He cited writers such as Noam Chomsky, who work entirely as individuals and have a powerful influence on young people in the west.
Ferraz suggested that all the European parties should have a common programme on the most basic subjects for Marxism-Leninist education; future international meetings on particular aspects of theory; and establishing a website similar to Solidnet for educational and theoretical materials.
Carmelo Suarez, general secretary of the PCPE, summed up the proposals decided at the meeting, including a future gathering based on an agreed agenda and the contributions in Madrid, and for the parties present to exchange educational materials.
The meeting was an important and a successful first step in bringing together parties with a common ideological position to develop the vital area of educational work, and to make a clean break with the theoretical legacy of revisionist parties in the international communist movement.