Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Common Declaration of Communist and Workers' Parties on the self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo

The undersigned Parties faced with the self-proclaimed Kosovan independence, promoted by the United States of America, NATO and European Union declare that:
Such a step – that violates the international law and United Nations' resolutions on this subject - will have grave consequences in the Balkans region and internationally.
It bring serious dangers for the peoples, triggering border changes, threatening to engulf the whole region in a new escalation of conflicts, wars and external interventions, and raising a dangerous international precedent.
Our Parties voice against the secession of Kosovo from the Republic of Serbia. We demand that all governments refrain from recognizing the Kosovo independence as well as from dispatching troops in the area.

25th February 2008

The Parties,

1. PADS – Algeria
2. Communist Party of Argentina
3. Communist Party of Australia
4. Workers Party of Belgium
5. Workers Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
6. Communist Party of Britain
7. New Communist Party of Britain
8. Communist Party of Brazil
9. Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia
10. Communist Party of Canada
11. Communist Party of Chile
12. AKEL, Cyprus
13. Socialist Workers Party of Croatia
14. Communist Party of Cuba
15. Communist Party in Denmark
16. Communist Party of Ecuador
17. Communist Party of Finland
18. Unified Communist Party of Georgia
19. German Communist Party
20. Communist Party of Greece
21. Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party
22. Communist Party of India (Marxist)
23. Communist Party of India
24. Workers Party, Ireland
25. Party of the Italian Communists
26. New Communist Party of Yugoslavia
27. Lebanese Communist Party
28. Communist Party of Luxembourg
29. Communist Party of Malta
30. Party of the Communists, Mexico
31. New Communist Party of the Netherlands
32. Communist Party of Norway
33. People’s Party of Panama
34. Communist Party of Philippines (PKP 1930)
35. Palestinian Communist Party
36. Communist Party of Peru
37. Portuguese Communist Party
38. Communist Party of Poland
39. Communist Party of the Russian Federation
40. Communist Workers´ Party of Russia
41. South African Communist Party
42. Communist Party of Spain
43. Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
44. Communist Party of Sweden
45. Syrian Communist Party
46. Communist Party of Turkey
47. Communist Party of Ukraine
48. Union of the Communists of Ukraine

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Last Soviet Republic

by Andy Brooks

The Last Soviet Republic – Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus by Stewart Parker, pbk, 248 pp, Trafford Publishing, Oxford. £9.99

THE FORMER Soviet republic of Belarus is an unlikely candidate for the “axis of evil”. But this small landlocked republic, wedged between the might of the European Union and Putin’s Russia, has been branded by US imperialism as an “outpost of tyranny” for daring to defend most of the gains of the Soviet era and for refusing to kow-tow to the dictates of Anglo-American and Franco-German imperialism.
Imperialist venom targets one man – Alexander Lukashenko – who rose from the ranks of the old Belarus communist movement as a principled opponent of graft and corruption to win the presidential elections against all odds in 1994 to lead his country along the path of non-alignment and social progress.
Western diplomatic and economic isolation has backfired and attempts to unseat him by bourgeois and phoney “communist” parties funded by imperialism have all failed.
This is because Lukashenko enjoys immense popularity amongst the Belarusians who have been spared the mass unemployment, privatisation and collapse of education and the health service that was the fate of the rest of the former Soviet Union when it took the capitalist road.
This book by Stewart Parker explains why. There are no oligarchs in Lukashenko’s Belarus. There’s virtually full employment and no one has to emigrate to Western Europe to find work. Over 90 per cent of the farms are still collectivised and most of the country’s industry remains in public hands. Health and education are still a priority in Belarus and the state guarantees low-cost food and housing.
When the counter-revolution succeeded in Moscow in 1991 Lukashenko was the only deputy in the Belarusian parliament to vote against the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He opposed the turncoat communists and bourgeois nationalists who came out of the woodwork to dominate the country in the early 1990s.
His record as a collective farm manager and his “clean hands” in the old Belarus communist party and parliament won the trust of working people who comprise the vast majority of the nine million or so Belarusians who live in this land-locked oasis of social justice in Europe.
Last November 80 communist and workers’ parties from over 60 countries, including the New Communist Party of Britain, attended the 9th international communist conference in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, to discuss the relevance of the Russian revolution in the 21st century.
Many of those delegates felt they were stepping back in time when they toured the factories, farms and schools of Belarus. Lenin and the Bolsheviks are still honoured and the socialist sector is still largely intact. But Belarus isn’t in a time-warp nor are its economists trying to create a nostalgia theme-park for those hankering for the “good old days”.
Belarus is a “state of the people” that operates a mixed economy which they call “market socialism” or “social orientation”. Though not on the Chinese scale there are joint ventures with countries like Turkey and the Third World and there is a small self-employed and private sector which caters for some of the needs of the consumer industry.
Belarus bore the brunt of the Nazi invasion during the Second World War and it took the Belarusian people years to recover from devastation. The collapse of the Soviet Union could have led to economic chaos, and for a brief period it did when the tools of imperialism were in charge.
But Parker shows in some detail how the Lukashenko government has worked to rein in hyper-inflation and deal with its energy problems to ensure a secure and decent way of life for the millions of workers and farmers in the country.
And he also explains how genuine mass democracy works in this former Soviet republic and how its government defends the country’s independence; maintains a strategic relationship with Russia – its biggest trading partner – and demonstrates its solidarity with struggling people all over the world.
Though the author is clearly sympathetic to modern Belarus he is not a communist and this shows in his work. His off-hand description of the people’s democracies of eastern Europe as “puppets” and “satellites” of the Soviet Union is simplistic to put it mildly.
He barely mentions the Communist Party of Belarus (KPB) whose eight MPs support Lukashenko’s independent bloc in the House of Representatives or indeed how the other pro-government parties relate to the independent bloc.
But it is an easily readable and important book, essential for any understanding of what is happening in eastern Europe today. It’s well-worth buying or ordering from your local library.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Stalin and the British Road to Socialism



By Ray Jones

RevolutionaryDemocracy Vol XIII No 2 September 2007. £3 plus 50p P&P from NCP Lit PO Box 73, London SW11 2PQ.

IN THE OLD Communist Party (CPGB) it was sometimes said that Stalin had approved of the British Road to Socialism (BRS) programme — not often and not loudly because the revisionists obviously did not wish to be seen appealing to Stalin and the anti-revisionists did not like to think that Stalin could have approved of the BRS.
Some argued that the apparent paradox could be resolved because the first version of the BRS (the one seen by Stalin) was essentially sound but the 1957 version slipped into reformism and this seems to be the basic position Vijay Singh takes in his article on the BRS in this issue of Revolutionary Democracy.
He compares the CPGB programme before the Second World War, For a Soviet Britain, with the first and later versions of the BRS and puts them into historical context.
Vijay admits that the first version of the BRS proposes the use of our bourgeois Parliament but implies that this was acceptable because that BRS was a road to socialism via a People’s Democracy, not to socialism directly — similar to the processes taking place in other countries at the time.
The classic example is possibly Czechoslovakia where the Communists built up a strong base inside and outside Parliament until a certain point was reached and then called out the worker’s militia and took state power.
But this People’s Democracy version of the BRS, argues Vijay, was not a “peaceful road” and the essence of the dictatorship of the proletariat was kept. These things were added and cut respectively in the later revisionist version.
Vijay’s arguments are buttressed by his discovery in the Russian archives, and reproduced here, of minutes of meetings and letters between Stalin and CPGB general secretary Harry Pollitt.
I think that it was assumed by many of us that if Stalin had seen a draft of the first BRS it had just been looked at and returned with a diplomatic acceptance. It is clear that this was not the case and that Stalin and the Soviet Party had a serious input into the programme and that on the whole their amendments were accepted.
These articles are important for our understanding of our communist history and Vijay Singh should be congratulated for them — whatever we make of his opinion on the BRS.
Besides this indispensable reading there is in this volume the usual mix of interesting articles; from thoughts on Che Guevara’s economics to the Nandigram scandal in India to the Tukhachevsky Conspiracy in the Soviet Union.