Friday, June 28, 2013

A club of the rich to protect the interests of the rich

CPI Statement
The gathering of the G8 leaders from the dominant centres of monopoly capitalism, like previous such gatherings, will look for solutions to the crisis of the system at the expense of the people. They have nothing to offer working people but more wars, death, and destruction, more intense and aggressive competition between them over the the world’s natural resources. They have no solutions, nor have they the political will to solve the growing crisis in the global environment.
     The global structural crisis of the system continues to deepen, and the signs are clear that the solutions being presented are having little impact, nor are they bringing about any sustainable recovery of the system.
     The policy of “austerity” being universally imposed is clearly working, as wealth is being transferred, directly and indirectly, from the people to the big monopolies and to rich and powerful individuals.
     The leaders of the G8 are all agreed that the people will pay for the crisis. Workers’ rights are under constant and sustained attack throughout the global monopoly-capitalist system.
     The debt crisis is being used as a battering ram to press forward their need to restructure the whole monopoly-capitalist system. In Ireland it is being used to drive down wages, to undermine workers’ terms and conditions, to dismantle and commercialise public services, and to push forward the privatisation of public assets and natural resources—the people’s wealth. The same anti-people policies are implemented in the South by the Irish Government, in active collaboration with the “Troika,” and in the North by the British government.
     European monopoly corporations, using their political puppets, are also using the debt crisis to further concentrate power at the EU centre, to the benefit of the big powers at the heart of the EU and at the expense of the people and national democratic accountability. Within the EU the debt crisis is also being used to further undermine the sovereignty and independence of the peripheral states and to establish the permanent debt-enslavement of the mass of people in a new form of neo-colonialism. This further demonstrates the imperialist nature of the European Union.
     During the visit of the G8 leaders the Communist Party of Ireland hosted an international rally against imperialism, at which sister parties from Britain, Greece and Portugal spoke, a gathering of workers’ representatives presenting a different way forward for humanity, one completely at variance with the one presented by the G8.
     All the parties were in agreement on the need to mobilise workers to defend their interests in the first instance but also that the system itself is beyond reform and that there is a need to present a radical new direction for working people. That only socialism could create stable economic and social development. Socialism is the only system capable of creating a balance between building a sustainable economic and social development and the need to protect and sustain the global environment.
     All the parties agreed on the need for the greater co-operation and co-ordination of communist parties as an essential prerequisite for building and sustaining a workers’ fight back. They expressed their solidarity with all those workers who are resisting and struggling for real change.
     While the G8 was a gathering of the representative of the rich, the four communist parties pledged to rally support for the world’s oppressed and exploited, for those resisting imperialist aggression and for all those opposing imperialist wars and esecially to redouble their solidarity with people building socialism in very difficult conditions.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

General strike today in Portugal

The Political Committee of PCP’s Central Committee calls on the Portuguese workers and people for a great participation this Thursday, June 27th, in the General Strike, called by CGTP-IN and which gathers a growing and widespread support.

It is time to say Enough!

Enough of the right-wing policy carried out during the past 37 years which threw Portugal into decline Enough of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) policy and the Pact of Aggression, signed by PS, PSD and CDS, which daily worsens the country’s situation, increases exploitation of the workers, social regression and national decline, jeopardises the life of millions of Portuguese, the future of the country and of the new generations.

Enough of unemployment that hits more than a million and half workers and of the economic recession that deepens.

Enough of the drop of wages and other payments, of increasing precariousness, of easing of dismissals, including the attempt of dozens of redundancies in Public Administration, of increase in working time, of the increase in the retirement age, of new penalisations in social protection with less benefits in sick leave and unemployment, of an even greater cut in the amount of pensions and retirement pay.

Enough of measures directed against the workers, the pensioners and the population that affect the life of hundreds of thousands of families, ruin thousands of small and medium-sized companies, further sink the national economy.

Enough of privatisations, dismantling of the social functions of the State, in particular the National Health Service, Public Education and Social Security.

Enough of exploitation, corruption, cronyism, influence peddling, use of public money for personal enrichment and promiscuity between political and economic interests.

Enough of the right-wing policy, the Pact of Aggression, aimed at promoting only the interests of big national and transnational capital.

All that they are imposing aims to increase the profits of financial capital, plunder the national resources, while further sinking the country. The PSD/CDS government acts on the margin and against the Constitution of the Republic. There is no place for this government and policy. Every passing day becomes clearer the urgency to cut short this path of economic and social disaster. It is necessary and urgent to dismiss this government, calling early elections for the Assembly of the Republic, the rejection of the Pact of Aggression and the rupture with the right-wing policy. It is possible to materialise a patriotic and left-wing policy and government.

The General Strike, on June 27th, is an opportunity to say Enough. An affirmation of dignity and will to change.

An expression of the will and determination of all those who demand a decent future for themselves and for the future generations.

The Political Committee of PCP’s Central Committee makes a call to join the General Strike and make their voices heard, and to affirm with their determination that there is a country that does not yield, nor remains silent on the theft of wages and incomes, on the liquidation of social rights and injustice.

We call on everyone to make their voices heard, with their participation in the gatherings and demonstrations called by CGTP-IN all over the country, the demand for a better future.

For employment, wages, rights, collective bargaining, social security and public services.

Against exploitation and impoverishment.

For the resignation of the government, early elections, a change of policy, for Portugal with a future.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time for the Indignados to grow up!

One of the essential weaknesses of the “indignado” movement in Spain (as elsewhere), which celebrated its second birthday on 15 May, has been its failure to translate the energy of street protest into the type of political action needed to effect fundamental socio-economic change. The main political outcome of the movement’s anniversary celebrations in Madrid was the creation of a new political formation, Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now), to enter the Spanish political arena.

     So, what’s wrong with that?

     Let’s have a look first at the context of this move! In the 2011 general election Mariano Rajoy’s neo-Francoist People’s Party was elected to govern Spain, the discredited social-democratic PSOE government being dumped for imposing austerity on their core constituency: the working class.

     Once in government, the PP—breaking all its pre-electoral promises—intensified the PSOE’s policies, leading to today’s 6 million unemployed (predicted to rise to more than 28 per cent of the work force), collapsing public services, rising poverty, thousands of evictions, and brutal police tactics, condemned recently by Amnesty. Massive opposition in the streets, pioneered originally by the indignados, has refused to be intimidated.

     The communist-led United Left (IU) trailed third in the 2011 election, despite standing on a platform that matched very closely the indignados’ objectives: social justice, jobs, affordable housing, a crackdown on banksters, and reforms to the political system to return power to ordinary people and their communities. The deepening crisis, however, is causing a massive rethink of the electorate and a corresponding seismic shift in the correlation of Spain’s political forces.

     IU, thanks to its ability to articulate popular demands in the Spanish Parliament, is now at a rising 16½ per cent in the opinion polls, a gain of ten points since the general election. It is closing the gap with the two main parties, being only four points under the PSOE (20½ per cent), whose disgruntled voters are turning to IU in increasing numbers, and six points below the PP (22½ per cent).

     With the Republican Left (ER) now the most popular party in Catalunya, support for the radical left in the Spanish state has not been at such a level since the re-establishment of democracy at the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975. The fact that the politically bankrupt PSOE has just elected to enter a form of national coalition with the PP to face Spain’s worsening economic crisis can only lead to enhanced popular support for IU.

     The PP’s standing has collapsed even more radically than that of the PSOE, its 44 per cent popular support at the time of the last election being halved. This is due to public anger at broken promises. Having promised not to increase taxes, Rajoy proceeded to do just that in order to plug the hole in the public finances caused by austerity-induced recession, and to curry favour with the EU for a €100 billion EU hand-out for Spanish banks. Not surprisingly, a large number of traditional PP supporters, even party members, are jumping ship.

     The sustained level of mass popular mobilisation against Rajoy is astonishing. Whether on the issue of evictions (a quarter of a million and rising), union-led protests against cuts and privatisation in education and health, protests against gender discrimination, the demand for a parliament and politicians accountable to the people, not to financial moguls or unelected Brussels or IMF officials—the determination and tenacity of the protest movement is a wonder to behold, and something to be imitated elsewhere.

     Which brings us back to the indignados, confronting a regime that has barricaded itself against popular demands. To make an effective impact, social protest and moral outrage must have a political cutting edge. Spain already has such a “cutting edge,” a principled political party, IU, rooted in the labour movement, a proven openness to social movements and burgeoning popular support. In that context, the founding of Real Democracy Now can only be a retrograde step: splitting popular support and the protest vote is the last thing needed if IU’s attempt to effect genuine radical change in Spain is to be given a fighting chance.

     It is high time for the indignados of Spain, and elsewhere, to grow up and shake off their political adolescence!

[TMS] published in June Socialist Voice

Building Strategic Trust for Peace, Cooperation and Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific Region

Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Dear friends,

At the outset, I would like to express my sincere thanks to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of the Singaporean host, Dr. John Chipman and the organisers of the 12th Shangri-La Dialogue for your kind invitation to me to attend and address this important forum. Since its inception 12 years ago, the Shangri-La Dialogue has truly become one of the most substantive and meaningful security dialogues in the region. I do believe that the full presence of government officials, military leaders, prestigious scholars and all distinguished delegates at this forum reflects the interest and the efforts to jointly preserve peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region in the context of a dynamically changing world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

While languages and expressions might differ, I am sure we all agree that without trust, there would be no success and harder work asks for bigger trust. In Viet Nam, there is a saying that ‘if trust is lost, all is lost.’ Trust is the beginning of all friendships and cooperation, the remedy that works to prevent calculations that could risk conflicts. Trust must be treasured and nurtured constantly by concrete, consistent actions in accordance with the common norms and with a sincere attitude.

In the 20th century, Southeast Asia in particular and the Asia-Pacific in general were once fierce battlefields and deeply divided for decades. It might be said that the entire region always had a burning desire for peace. To have the peace, development and prosperity, it is a must to build and consolidate strategic trust. In other words, we need to build strategic trust for peace, cooperation and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. That is what I wish to share with you at this forum.

To begin with, Viet Nam has a profound confidence in the bright future of  development and cooperation in the region that we are living in. Yet the trend of increased engagement and competition, particularly by big powers not only offers positive elements but also involves negative risks that require us to take initiative and work together to prevent.
The Asia-Pacific region now enjoys dynamic development and is home to the three biggest economies and many emerging ones of the world. Here, the trend of multi-layer and multi-sector cooperation and linkages is evolving vigorously and becomes the prevailing one of the day. This is quite a promising prospect for us all.

However, looking back at the full picture of the region in the past years, we cannot fail to be concerned over the simmering risks and challenges to peace and security.
Competition and engagement are by themselves normal facts in the course of cooperation and development. Yet if such competition and engagement embrace calculations only in one’s own interest, without equality, respect of international law and transparency, then strategic trust could in no way be reinforced, and there could be a chance for the rise of division, suspicion and the risk of mutual containment, thus adversely affecting peace, cooperation and development.
The unpredictable developments in the Korean Peninsula; sovereignty and territorial disputes from the East China Sea to the East Sea (South China Sea) that are evolving with much complexity, threatening regional peace and security, firstly maritime security and safety as well as the freedom of navigation, have indeed caused deep concerns to the international community. Somewhere in the region, there have emerged preferences for unilateral might, groundless claims, and actions that run counter to international law and stem from imposition and power politics.
I would like to draw your further attention to the fact that maritime transport and communications are growing in scale and having a much greater significance. It is projected that three fourths of global trade will be made via maritime routes and two thirds of that will be shipped across the East Sea. A single irresponsible action or instigation of conflict could well lead to the interruption of such huge trade flow, thus causing unforeseeable consequences not only to regional economies but also to the entire world.

In the mean time, the threats of religious and ethnic conflicts, egoistic nationalism, secessionism, violence, terrorism, cyber security, etc. are still very much present. Global challenges like climate change, sea level rise, pandemics or water resources and the interests of upstream and downstream riparian countries of shared rivers, etc. have become ever more acute.
We could realize that such challenges and risks of conflict are not to be underestimated. We all understand that if this region falls into instability and especially, armed conflicts, in general there will be neither winner nor loser. Rather, all will lose. Suffice it to say, therefore, that working together to build and reinforce strategic trust for peace, cooperation and prosperity in the region is the shared interest of us all. For Viet Nam, strategic trust is perceived, above all, as honesty and sincerity.

Secondly, to build strategic trust, we need to abide ourselves by international law, uphold the responsibilities of nations, especially of major powers, and improve the efficiency of multilateral security cooperation mechanisms.

In the world history, many nations have suffered from irreparable losses when they fell victim to power politics, conflicts and wars. In today’s civilised world, the UN Charter, international law and the universal principles and norms serve as the entire mankind’s common values that must be respected. This also represents the precondition for strategic trust building.

Each state should always be a responsible stakeholder in the pursuit of common peace and security. Countries, either big or small, must build their relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect and at a higher level, on mutual strategic trust. Big states have a greater role to play and can contribute more but they should also shoulder bigger responsibilities in the cultivation and consolidation of such strategic trust. Besides, when it comes to the right voices and beneficial initiatives it does not matter whether they come from big or small countries. The principles of cooperation, equal and open dialogue in ASEAN and other forums advocated by ASEAN as well as this Shangri-La Dialogue are born from and maintained on such mindset.

I fully share the views of H.E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia who said last year at this forum that small and medium countries could help lock major powers into a durable regional architecture. I also agree with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on what he said in a speech in Beijing last September that a reliable and responsible cooperation between the United States and China would positively contribute to the common interest of the region. We all understand that the Asia-Pacific has sufficient room for all intra- and extra-regional countries to work together and share their interests. The future of the Asia-Pacific has been and will continue to be shaped by the roles and interactions by all countries in the region and the world, particularly by the major powers and certainly, by the indispensable role of ASEAN.

I believe that no regional country would oppose the strategic engagement of extra-regional powers if such engagement aims to enhance cooperation for peace, stability and development. We could expect more in the roles played by major powers, particularly the United States and China, the two powers having the biggest roles in and responsibilities to the future of their own as well as that of the region and the world. What is important is that such expectation should be reinforced by strategic trust and such strategic trust must be reflected by concrete and constructive actions of these nations.

We attach special importance to the roles played by a vigorously rising China and by the United States - a Pacific power. We would expect and support the United States and China once their strategies and actions conform to international law, respect the independence and sovereignty of nations, not only bringing about benefits to them but also contributing genuinely to our common peace, cooperation and prosperity.

What I want to further underline is that the existing regional cooperation mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), East Asia Summit (EAS), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meetings Plus (ADMM+) as well as the Shangri-La Dialogue offer the opportunities to foster multilateral security cooperation and find solutions to the arising challenges. Yet it could be said that what is still missing, or at least still insufficient, is the strategic trust in the implementation of those arrangements. The first and foremost important thing is to build a mutual trust when confronting challenges, impacts of interactions, and enhancing practical cooperation in various areas, and at different levels and layers, both bilateral and multilateral. Once there is sufficient strategic trust, we could advance and expand cooperation and find solutions to any problem, even the most sensitive and difficult one.

Thirdly, when talking about peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific, we cannot help but mention an ASEAN of unity and consensus, playing its central role in many multilateral cooperation forums.

It was hard to believe that a South East Asia once divided and embedded in conflicts during the Cold War could become a community of nations united in diversity and playing a central role in an evolving regional architecture like ASEAN today. The participation of Viet Nam in ASEAN in 1995 marked a new era of development in ASEAN towards building a common house for all South East Asian nations true to its name. The success of ASEAN is the fruit of a long persevering process to build trust, nurture the culture of dialogue and cooperation, and cultivate the sense of responsibility to the shared destiny of South East Asian nations.

ASEAN is proud to be an example for the principle of consensus and mutual trust in the making of its own decisions. That principle is the foundation for equality among the member states, whether it is Indonesia with nearly a fourth of a billion people or Brunei Darussalam with less than half a million. That principle also constitutes the foundation for extra-regional countries to place their trust in ASEAN as an ‘honest broker’ in guiding the numerous regional cooperation mechanisms.
With a mindset of shared interests rather than that of a win-lose one, the enlargement of the East Asia Summit (EAS) to include Russia and the United States, the ADMM+ process that was put into reality in Viet Nam in 2010, and the success of EAS, ARF and ADMM in the years that follow have further consolidated the ground for a regional architecture in which ASEAN plays the central role, bringing about trust in the multilateral security cooperation in the region.

I also wish to refer to Myanmar as a vivid example of the outcome of the perseverance to dialogue on the basis of building and reinforcing trust, respecting the legitimate interests of each other, which helps open up a bright future not only for Myanmar but also for our whole region.
There have been profound lessons about the fundamental values of ASEAN’s consensus and unity in maintaining equal and mutually beneficial relations with partner countries and maximising its proactive role in handling strategic issues of the region. ASEAN could only be strong and able to build on its role when it is united as one. An ASEAN lacking unity will by itself, lose its stand and will not be in the interest of any country, even ASEAN member states or its partners. We need an ASEAN united and strong, cooperating effectively with all countries to nurture peace and prosperity in the region, not an ASEAN in which member states are forced to take side with one country or the other for the individual benefit of their own in the relations with big powers. We have the responsibility to multiply trust in the settlement of problems, enhance cooperation for mutual benefit, combine harmoniously our national interest with that of other nations and of the whole region.

Viet Nam and other ASEAN members always desire that other countries, particularly the major powers, support the ASEAN Community’s central role, its principle of consensus and unity.
Back to the issue of the East Sea, ASEAN and China have travelled a long way with no less difficulty to come to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) adopted during the ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh in 2002. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the DOC, ASEAN and China have agreed to work towards a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). ASEAN and China need to uphold their responsibilities, mutually reinforce strategic trust, first and foremost by strictly implementing the DOC and doubling efforts to formulate a COC that conforms to international law and in particular, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

We believe that ASEAN and its partners can work together to develop a feasible mechanism that could guarantee maritime security and safety and freedom of navigation in the region. In so doing, we will not only help ensure maritime security and safety, and freedom of navigation, and create conditions for the settlement of disputes but will also assert the fundamental principles in maintaining peace, enhancing development cooperation in the contemporary world.

As for non-traditional security and other challenges including water resources security on the common rivers, by building strategic trust, enhancing cooperation and harmonizing national interests with common interests, I believe that we will able to achieve successes, thus making practical contributions to peace, cooperation and development in the region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,
Throughout her thousands of years of history, Viet Nam has suffered numerous pains and losses due to wars. Viet Nam always aspires to peace and desires to contribute to the consolidation of peace and enhancement of friendship and development cooperation in the region and the world. To have a genuine and lasting peace, the independence and sovereignty of any country, whether large or small, must be respected; and differences in interests, culture, etc. must be subject to open and constructive dialogues of mutual understanding and mutual respect.

We do not forget the past but need to put it behind to look forward to the future. With the tradition of offering peace and friendship, Viet Nam always desires to work with its partners to build and reinforce strategic trust for peace, cooperation and development on the basis of the principle of respect for independence, sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit.

Viet Nam consistently persists with the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of external relations, being a friend and reliable partner to all nations, and a responsible member of the international community. Viet Nam wishes and has spared no efforts to build and deepen strategic partnerships and mutually beneficial cooperative partnerships with other countries. It is also our desire to establish strategic partnerships with all the permanent members of the UN Security Council once the principles of independence, sovereignty, non-interference in the internal affairs of each other, mutual respect, equal and mutually beneficial cooperation are committed and seriously implemented.

At this prestigious forum, I have the honour to inform that Viet Nam has decided to participate in UN peacekeeping operations, first in such areas as military engineering, military medicine and military observation.

Viet Nam’s defence policy is that of peace and self-defence. Viet Nam will not be a military ally to any country and will not allow any country to set up military bases on Vietnamese territory. Viet Nam will not ally itself with any country to counter another.

In the past years, sustained high economic growth has enabled Viet Nam to increase its national defence budget at a reasonable level but lower than that of economic growth. Viet Nam’s army modernisation is only for self-defence and the safeguard of our legitimate interests. It does not, in any way target any other country.

With regard to the present threats and challenges to regional security such as the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and the East Sea, etc., Viet Nam perseveres to the principle of  peaceful dispute settlement on the basis of international law, respecting the independence, sovereignty and the legitimate interests of each other. All parties concerned need to exercise self-restraint and must not resort to force or threat to use force.

Once again, Viet Nam reiterates its consistent compliance with the ASEAN Six-point Statement on the South China Sea and will do its utmost to work together with ASEAN and China to seriously observe the DOC and soon arrive at the COC. As a coastal State, Viet Nam reaffirms and defends its legitimate rights and interests in accordance with international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends,
Peace, cooperation and development represent the interest, the ardent aspirations and the common future of all countries and peoples.  In the open spirit of the Shangri-La Dialogue, I would call upon you all to join hands and make concrete actions to build and reinforce strategic trust for an Asia-Pacific region of peace, cooperation and prosperity.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.

International Communist Seminar Statement

22nd International Communist Seminar
Brussels, May 31 – June 2, 2013 –

The attacks on the democratic rights and freedoms in the world capitalist crisis.
Strategies and actions in response.
General conclusions 
A. The importance of the struggle for democratic rights and freedoms
  1. Marx, Engels and Lenin dealt with « democracy » on the basis of class criteria, distinguishing bourgeois democracy and working class democracy. They maintained that the struggle for democratic rights and freedoms was necessary in order to clearly show the contradiction of interests between the working class and the bourgeoisie and to create more favorable conditions for the full development of the political struggle of the working class. Communists put themselves at the helm of the struggle for democratic rights.
  2. The workers' democratic aspirations cannot be realized in a complete and sustainable manner under capitalism, where only the bourgeois class holds power. The democratic gains wrested from the bourgeoisie remain limited and insufficient, and can be restricted or withdrawn at any time, especially in periods of crisis of the capitalist system.
  3. 3. For this reason, communists place their actions for democratic rights in the broader strategic perspective of fighting against capitalism and for socialism, as the only way that leads to an authentic democracy for the toiling masses, who exercise power under socialism. This power « implies and presents to the toiling classes, i.e., the vast majority of the population, greater practical opportunities for enjoying democratic rights and liberties than ever existed before, even approximately, in the best and the most democratic bourgeois republics »[1]. 
B. The character and role of the bourgeois State
  1. The State has become a necessity at a certain stage of economic development, when society got divided into classes, into exploiters and exploited.
  2. The State does not constitute a neutral organ encompassing society, but an organ of class dominance, for the oppression of one class by another. The core function of the bourgeois State is to force the oppressed classes to respect private property and class domination, prevent sharp class conflicts and, if necessary, repress them violently in order to prevent them going beyond the framework of bourgeois legality and risk to overthrow bourgeois power. To this end, it has at its disposal open and secret police services, a justice system and armed forces. The State is also a corps of higher civil servants who manage the « continuity » of the State, independent of changes in the political majority.
  3. Oppression is a necessary concomitant of class exploitation. The intensification of repression and the escalation of the attacks on democratic and trade union rights and freedoms on the part of the bourgeois class in the entire capitalist world, is the other side of the intensification of exploitation and the concentration and centralization of capital. It is in the nature of the bourgeoisie in power to carry out attacks on the democratic rights and freedoms of the working class and the people in order to preserve the system of exploitation.
  4. The regime of class domination does not only use repression but also ideology : the class that owns the material means of production also owns the cultural means of production. The ruling ideas in every society and era are the ideas of the ruling class. The major mass media, education and other means and forms of culture and information, both public and private, are instruments in the hands of the ruling class to maintain its positions, at the expense of the mass of workers. The bourgeoisie also tries to impose its ideology by its influence and control over certain NGOs, trade unions and other associations.
  5. Finally, the bourgeois State plays an important international role : it conquers new markets or defends existing ones for its capitalists, by arms if necessary. To this end, it is using an administration of foreign affairs, embassies, export services and above all offensive armed forces, integrated in international capitalist alliances (such as NATO).
  6. Compared to the feudal State, the bourgeois State constitutes a significant progress. In the capitalist system, the State may take on several forms. But even in its most developed form, the democratic republic, it remains within the framework of capitalist exploitation. The real power resides in the capitalists' dominance over wage labor. Early on, since the very overthrow of the old regimes, the bourgeoisie restricts the exercise of democracy and excludes the « inferior classes » from it. The rights of the immense majority are limited, mutilated or even totally absent. The bourgeois State also uses emergency laws that can be used to overrule democratic rights if « need » be.
10. In the democratic republic, the bourgeoisie exerts its power in an indirect way. As Lenin writes : « In a democratic republic, Engels continues, “wealth exercises its power indirectly, but all the more surely", first, by means of the “direct corruption of officials”; secondly, by means of an “alliance of the government and the Stock Exchange”. (...) A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capital has gained possession of this very best shell, it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it. »[2] The decisions taken by the bourgeois governments are aligned to the priorities of major companies, banks and speculation funds, and imperialist institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, the ECB and the like.
C. Brief historical overview
11.  Since the 19th century, the working class is confronted with the contradiction between the proclamation of human rights and their non-application in practice. The workers movement takes upon itself the fight for the extension of democratic rights, with the transition from census suffrage to universal suffrage, the right to organize in trade unions and workers parties, etc.
12.  The appearance of the workers movement and of universal suffrage pushes the bourgeoisie to strengthen the executive branch of government, while parliament has more and more become a mere voting machine, ratifying anti-people decisions that have already been made elsewhere.
13.  While the democratic republic is the form of State the bourgeoisie prefers, in the stage of imperialism the State tends to adopt ever more authoritarian traits. Lenin writes : « Finance capital strives for domination, not freedom. Political reaction all along the line is a characteristic feature of imperialism. »[3] The State tends to increasingly limit workers' rights, attack trade unions rights and communist parties. It enhances its authoritarian, repressive and militarist character. It spreads a chauvinist, religious fundamentalist and racist ideology and propagates corporatism.
14.  Since October 1917, socialist countries have installed or broadened democratic rights and freedoms, often in adverse economic conditions. One of socialism's undeniable innovations, on the basis of new relations of production, is to have enlarged the concept of fundamental rights from individual freedoms to social rights, such as the right to work, shelter, social security and free education, and to have transformed the principles of peace and social justice in universal human rights. Especially socialism's historical achievement concerning women's rights remains unparalleled to this day.
15.  In the capitalist countries, the working class has also demanded the application of these collective fundamental rights, that are in contradiction with the very nature of capitalism. Forced by the influence of the October Revolution and the victory of the USSR in the Second World War, out of fear of the « communist threat », and thanks to the persistent struggle of the working class, the bourgeoisie in Western Europe had to concede the proclamation of certain social and economic rights, and partly also their realization : the social security system, the recognition of trade union rights, the reduction of the working hours, better working conditions, paid holidays, a certain democratization of education and culture, etc.
16.  Influenced by the socialist countries and the anticolonial struggles, at the international level the individual (civil and political) rights and the collective (social, economic and cultural) rights were complemented by the people's rights (self-determination, sovereignty, peace, development, environmental protection, etc.).
17.  From the very beginning, the bourgeoisie has done everything to limit the scope of these concessions. In periods of acute crisis, and potentially threatened by the workers movement, the bourgeois State can pass from the democratic republic (or the constitutional monarchy) to fascism, which is the open dictatorship, the form of domination of the most aggressive and reactionary fraction of monopoly capital. Often the bourgeoisie uses intermediate forms of domination, where appearances of formal democracy go hand in hand with fascist policies and measures.
18.  Since 1973, world capitalism finds itself in a crisis of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital. On the economic level, the world bourgeoisie launches an all-out offensive, starting in the 1980s, submitting the workers and the peoples even more to the dictatorship of the transnational corporations, with the help  of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and other imperialist instruments such as the European Union. The strategic objective is to raise the rate of profit (through cheaper labor power, restructurings, privatizations, etc.) and counter the tendency of the average rate of profit to fall, while adapting to contemporary conditions of the intensified internationalization of the capitalist economy and of the labour market. On the political level, this offensive is accompanied by more severe attacks on democratic rights. It is the workers and the peoples of the underdeveloped countries who suffer the most from the conditions of global depression and oppression.
19.  For many years, the Soviet Union and all socialist countries were the only forces that formed a counterweight to the omnipotence of capitalism and imperialism. The overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries constitutes a qualitative step backward in the worldwide correlation of forces. From the 1990s onwards, the bourgeoisie has its hands free to reinforce its policies and broaden its attacks, at home and abroad.
20.  The capitalist State proceeds to take away economic and social rights from the workers. Governments abandon numerous rules and legislations that guaranteed correct working conditions or protected workers in case of illness or dismissal. The rights to social security (unemployment benefits, pensions, sickness benefits) are under threat, restricted or abolished.
21.  The bourgeoisie is constantly preparing itself to confront people's revolts that could put its power over society into question. The legislative and material apparatuses for repression are being considerably strengthened. The fight against the « external enemy » is compounded with the fight against the « enemy within » : wars abroad serve to attack democratic rights at home. After 9/11 this development was reinforced significantly by the « war on terror ».
22. Bourgeois « democracy » shows its real antidemocratic face in the politics of world dominance applied by US imperialism and the other imperialist powers, through militarization, interventions, wars and dictatorships they install or support. The US, the EU and NATO use State terrorism throughout the world and launch wars of aggression, even trampling the international legality they invoke under their feet, often and cynically under the guise of « protecting human rights » or « promoting democracy », as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.
  1. The current attacks against democratic rights and freedoms
23.  With the new phase of the economic crisis of world capitalism since 2008, the attacks on democratic rights are once more intensifying. It is a general offensive against the working class, with as its central objective enhancing the competitiveness of capital in each country, at the expense of the workers. To this end, monopoly capital aims to diminish the cost of labor and extract more surplus value from the workers, thus increasing the transfer of wealth from the working class to the bourgeoisie. In the workplace, every capitalist imposes a real dictatorship and his own laws and rules on the workers.
24.  The first fundamental right that is threatened, restricted or outright eliminated is the right to work. The unemployment rate, especially among the youth, rises to the highest levels, putting in danger not only the means of living and the dignity of millions of workers and their families, but also the future generations.
25.  The gains of the working class in labor relations are being dismantled. Capital turns to massive lay-offs and wage decreases. Everywhere in the capitalist world, we see the broadening of attacks on the right to strike, on trade unions, the destruction of collective bargaining agreements, the deterioration of working conditions, the repression of workers struggles and demonstrations, the requisition of workers in case of a strike, the eviction of families from their homes, and so on. In several countries, trade union militants, communists, human rights and other activists are assassinated, kidnapped, harassed or threatened. To make room for transnational corporations and big landowners, millions of peasants are violently evicted. The forces of repression responsible for these violations and crimes generally enjoy impunity.
26.  The capitalist State also aims to “discipline” and control the population, even more so in times of crisis. Protest and solidarity actions on a broad range of issues (e.g. social justice, democracy, peace, ecology, equal rights) are threatened, forbidden, criminalized, repressed or subjected to exorbitant fines. There is a generalized control of the population. Personal freedom – privacy and personal data – is no longer respected. Workers are disciplined by policies of activation of the unemployed (with obligatory measures to accept whatever job, under threat of sanctions or exclusion) and of pensioners (with measures imposing a longer career), and laws easing restrictions on lay-offs. But there is also a will to “blame the victims”, to “punish” the poor, who are accused of being responsible for, instead of victims of their condition. Agitation regarding “antisocial behavior” and “incivilities” is used to discipline the population and more particularly the youth. This forms part of the bourgeoisie's over-all ideological offensive.
27.  The capitalist State further restricts the already minimal rights of refugees and undocumented people, and intensifies repression against them, by repressive laws, their exclusion from social services and their deportation. Yet, it is the cruel exploitation by transnational corporations and the imperialist interventions by NATO, the US and the EU that cause the waves of refugees in the Middle-East, Africa, Asia and Europe. It is these very imperialist states that massacre populations, force them into misery and exile, and multiply concentration camps for refugees and undocumented people.
28.  There is a close connection between the capitalist crisis and rising popular resistance on the one hand, and the rise of reactionary ideology and forces on the other. The bourgeoisie develops, uses and promotes chauvinist, religious fundamentalist, communalist, ethnicist, racist and fascist currents to divert the masses' attention from the origins of the crisis, to divide the workers and to stop them from choosing the road of resistance and revolution.
29.  Provocation mechanisms are launched and developed by the State apparatus to denigrate the labor movement and justify repression. The ascent of parties of the Far Right is part of this operation. At several occasions, their thugs are used to break up strikes, terrorize immigrants, and so on. Additionally, the objective of their violence is to scare workers into abandoning their struggle.
30.  Anticommunism is used to denigrate any reference to alternatives offered by the communist party and the socialist perspective. In order to repress them, the international bourgeoisie associates and even assimilates communism, revolutionary movements and militant trade unions with terrorism. The false theory of “both Right and Left extremism” is used to attack the labor movement and the communists. In numerous countries of Eastern Europe, anticommunist campaigns have served and continue to serve as a spearhead to impose antidemocratic and repressive measures and to prohibit and exclude communist parties and their symbols.
31.  In order to obtain cheap labor force, control natural resources, trade routes and the world market, imperialism becomes ever more aggressive. The main function of NATO and particularly of the US armed forces is to guarantee capitalist reproduction on a global scale. The US military is present in 130 countries. Imperialism has thrown overboard the body of international law born out of the Second World War. Countries opposing imperialist domination face threats, sanctions and economic blockades by the major imperialist powers. The latter use their entire array of meddling, terrorist actions by groups they create, train, finance and arm, low-intensity conflicts, proxy wars, direct intervention, bombing and full-scale wars. Wherever possible, they create puppet regimes, completely subservient to their economic and geostrategic interests. In certain countries, they push for separatism to the sole benefit of imperialism.
32. Even rights and freedoms which are considered fundamental to bourgeois law are being abolished under the pretext of the “war on terrorism”. In the US, the Bush administration had legitimized torture and the illegal kidnapping and imprisonment without trial of supposed “terrorists”. President Obama has held these prisoners in jail and arrogated himself the right to kill, anywhere in the world and without any form of trial, by secretly deciding, every week, on extra-judicial killings implemented through UAVs (drones) in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. 
E. Actions and strategies in response
33.  With the intensification of the crisis of capitalism, the world is experiencing mass demonstrations, mobilizations, strikes and uprisings, social unrest, political turmoil and all forms of resistance, as the workers and the peoples refuse to pay for the crisis of capitalism. Communists look with optimism at the development of workers’ and peoples’ rights struggles. They make conditions more favorable for the resurgence and strengthening of the working class movement against capitalism and for socialism. Correctly assessing the political program and class character of these movements and struggles, communists actively intervene in them in order to steer them away from bourgeois influence and towards a working class and socialist perspective.
34.  The workers’ movement is in the front line of the fight for the conquest, strengthening and restoration of democratic rights and liberties. The workers demand measures to serve their immediate needs for employment, decent income, better working and living conditions and social services..
35.  The communists support the workers movement in its immediate demands for democratic rights and liberties, but they place them in the necessary framework of the struggle against capitalism - in its highest stage, imperialism - the major obstacle to their complete and lasting realization - and for socialism - the only guarantee for a genuine popular democracy.
36.  To the extent that it is deeply rooted in the broad masses, the communist party is capable of winning their support and to reinforce itself, thus augmenting its capacity to lead the popular struggles for democratic rights. This broad mass base is at the same time the first line of defense and the best protection against any anticommunist attack and against any attack against the existence and the functioning of the communist party.
37.  Communists stimulate and try to lead the front work in various fields, including the field of democratic rights and freedoms. They endeavor to bring together the popular forces in alliances that regroup the workers and other layers of the population hit by the systemic crisis of capitalism. They act, first of all, together with and inside trade unions and other organizations of the popular masses. Secondly, they may associate with them certain organizations and initiatives of other layers of the population that are mobilized for democratic rights
38.  The communists, the workers and the peoples develop internationalism and solidarity against any chauvinist, religious fundamentalist, communalist, ethnicist, racist and fascist tendency.
39.  They advance the fight against imperialist interventions, wars and militarization in all their forms.
40. In countries under imperialist domination, where the issues of political independence, national sovereignty and basic democratic rights are not yet resolved, the communists unite and lead the people, linking their struggle for national liberation and democracy with the fight for socialism.  
F. Democratic rights and freedoms under socialism
41.  Democratic rights and freedoms can never be fully developed by and for the workers unless in the framework of complete social liberation, in the framework of a socialist society, based on the collective ownership of the major means of production and on a planned economy.
42.  There is no continuity between capitalist democracy and socialist democracy. The working class must develop its own democracy, the rule of the working class, the direct government by the people. The basic task and essence of socialist democracy is the construction, establishment, defense and development of the new socialist relations of production. The working class must create and govern the State that will build and defend its fundamental rights and liberties all the way, and imbue society with new socialist values.
43.  The participation of the masses is maintained by the development of democracy, primarily through the organs of the people's power and secondarily through mass organizations such as trade unions, youth and women's organizations. This means that the workers, as masters of the socialist State and society, decide about all essential aspects of organizing society, on every level: workplace, neighborhood, region, country. They participate in the planning of the economy, in the solution of contradictions and social inequalities, in the control and management of the production units, in the social and administrative services, in all organs of power, in the organizing of education, science and technology. They discuss the big questions of society: the creation or modification of the constitution, budgetary choices, the organization of health-care, the protection of the environment, ethical questions...
44.  In a socialist vision the individual, collective and people's rights cannot be viewed separately: they are indivisible. Only socialism can provide the basis to realize the entire set of these rights.
45.  The democratic rights and freedoms under socialism are, among others:
  • the right to democratic participation in the governing of the State and the economy, on all levels (from the local level to the national level; from the enterprise to the national planning);
  • the right to life; the prohibition of slavery, of torture and of the violation of one's physical integrity;
  • the right to employment, to education, to housing and health-care; the right to rest and leisure; the right to sport; the right to culture;
  • the right to freedom of expression, of press, of assembly and association, of thought and conscience, in the framework of socialist legality;
  • the equality of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights for the entire population, independent of nationality, sex, skin color, religious or philosophical conviction, and so on;
  • the right to peace;
  • the right to struggle for the transition to communism and to build a society without exploitation from man by man with the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, of the contradiction between town and countryside, and between manual and intellectual labor.
46.  The socialist State is also necessary to prevent the bourgeoisie – the domestic bourgeoisie, in connivance with the international bourgeoisie - from reclaiming power, dismantling fundamental rights and restoring capitalism.
47.  The democracy of the socialist State is linked to the internal democracy of the communist party. The party must correctly apply democratic centralism, maintain a style of hard work and simple living, in the service of the people, and keep a revolutionary line and spirit. It must commit itself to developing socialist democracy; building socialist justice system and helping the mass organizations play their specific role.

Austerity Bus!

Britain is hurting. Too many politicians have no idea just how tough life is for the many.

Prices are rising while wages are held back. Service cuts are biting hard.
And getting tough on cheats is used as an excuse to cut vital benefits and tax credits for millions who have played by the rules.
In June 2013, the TUC and Britain’s trade unions will be traveling across the country letting people tell their own story about life in Britain today. We are making videos, blogging what we find, and bringing journalists to report life on the front line of austerity Britain.
We are gathering the evidence to convict government policies. They are hurting, but they are not working.  
- See more at:

Britain is hurting. Too many politicians have no idea just how tough life is for the many.

Prices are rising while wages are held back. Service cuts are biting hard.
And getting tough on cheats is used as an excuse to cut vital benefits and tax credits for millions who have played by the rules.
In June 2013, the TUC and Britain’s trade unions will be traveling across the country letting people tell their own story about life in Britain today. We are making videos, blogging what we find, and bringing journalists to report life on the front line of austerity Britain.
We are gathering the evidence to convict government policies. They are hurting, but they are not working.  
- See more at: