Wednesday, April 30, 2014

CPI standing in local elections

The Communist Party of Ireland is putting forward two candidates in the coming local elections, one in Dublin and one in Cork. Both candidates handed in their nomination papers today (Wednesday 30 April) to the respective county and city council.

                The two CPI candidates are standing on a platform of repudiating the debt, breaking with the euro, and reclaiming Ireland’s sovereignty.

                They will be making the point that the payment of the “national debt” is being used as a means of imposing permanent austerity and attacking workers’ wages and conditions, pensions, social welfare entitlements, and local services.

                The candidates are Paul Doran for South Dublin County Council and Michael O’Donnell for Cork City Council. They are standing on a clear platform calling for the repudiation of the anti-people debt, breaking with the euro, and reclaiming our country’s political and economic sovereignty.

                The CPI is aware that there is no real power or democracy left at the local government level, that real power lies with the unelected county and city managers, who take their orders and priorities from the minister, who in turn takes his orders from Brussels—the ultimate arbiter of power and control over our people. The EU determines the overall political, economic and social policy of this state. Democracy at all levels is little more than a hollowed-out shell: it exists in form but not in content.

                The CPI is using the occasion of these elections to present an alternative way out of the crisis, one that is centred on the needs of the people and not the EU and IMF and the Irish ruling class. It is campaigning for a radical economic, social and democratic transformation of our country where real power lies with the people to change things.

Biographical Details:

The two candidates chosen to stand have a record of struggle at both the local and the national level.

Paul Doran, an office worker, is standing in the Clondalkin area of South Dublin County Council. He has been living in Clondalkin for over thirty years and has participated in many campaigns in that time, both at the local and the national level. He  played a leading role in securing new premises for his local Irish-medium school, Gaelscoil na Camóige.

Michael O’Donnell, a retired secondary teacher, is standing in the Cork North-East area of Cork City Council. He is a lifelong trade unionist and during a period as an economic migrant in Britain was a member of the Connolly Association. He knows and has experienced the hardship and difficulties faced by immigrant workers. He is acutely aware of the effect that emigration has on families and communities as our people once again face the daunting task of travelling to all corners of the globe looking for work, to find a new life for themselves and their families.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Appeal from the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine

Dear Comrades!

The current government of Ukraine is carrying out a policy to create intolerable conditions for the existence of the Communist Party of Ukraine, as well as its press .

We inform you that Ukrainian secret service is actively collecting materials about an activity of the Communist Party, falsifying the CPU documents, creating activists databases, and with the help of ‘controlled’ radicals destroying property and real estate, with a ban on electioneering work with voters, as well as, organized moral pressure and physical attacks on members of Ukrainian parliament and Heads of regional party committees.

Today it is officially known, that the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, expects contributions from secret service, and is going to require from the Supreme Court of Ukraine a ban on the Communist Party of Ukraine.

Top officials of Ukraine are responsible for such activity. Among them the Head of National Security and Defence Council Andriy Parubiy, the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the Head of Parliament and Acting President of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchinov etc.
Actually passes the harsh treatment of all Ukrainian communists, which are the only political force that has always pursued a policy of defending the interests of ordinary people. The Communist Party of Ukraine now represents a real threat to the current government given its integrity and unity. The Communist Party of Ukraine is one link for millions of people dissatisfied with the actions of the authorities and

Putting the question of violence over the objectionable political force, the current government reiterates its anti-people, anti-state and divisive policy that uses double standards, and under the guise of fighting for “European” values actually contradicts itself, transforming Ukraine into a country with a fascist dictatorship.

Accusing people of disloyalty and demanding the renunciation of their beliefs, the current government of Ukraine proves that Ukraine compromises democracy, freedom of speech and the supremacy of law.

However, as a result the people of Ukraine, as one can never attain peace and inciting hatred and xenophobia current government of Ukraine, even more, is provoking social conflict in Ukraine and creates the conditions for a civil war.

We appeal to you, dear comrades, to render solidarity with 120.000 Ukrainian communists, and by united front to condemn the system actions of the Ukrainian authorities to ban the Communist party of Ukraine. of the Communist Party of Ukraine

The Head of the parliamentary faction of Communists in the Ukrainian Parliament
Petro Symonenko

Sunday, April 27, 2014

“Industrial civilisation headed for collapse”

Did anyone read about the study partly funded by NASA that says “industrial civilisation is headed for irreversible collapse”? It was reported in the Guardian (London) in March.*
      Reading through the article, I couldn’t but wonder how I had heard all this before. Was it on RTE; maybe the BBC or Sky?—No, I don’t think so. The Sun, the Times, or the Independent?—No, not quite. Maybe it was a woman in front of a television camera telling me about the imminent collapse of western civilisation, appealing for help?—No, definitely not.
      Then it dawned on me—of course, how did I not see this before! It has been a guiding principle of the communist movement since the time of Marx and Engels. I couldn’t believe it: there it was in black and white.
      For me the title could just have easily read “Socialism or barbarism.” For this was the basic conclusion of the interdisciplinary research project carried out by a team of applied mathematicians and natural and social scientists. Given that this was a study set up by the US government (though NASA has explained that the conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone and not of NASA), some people might be very sceptical of its findings. Well, the best thing to do will be to lay out some of the main findings and for people to make their own judgement.
      [1] “The project identifies the most salient interrelated factors which explain civilisational decline, and which may help determine the risk of collapse today: namely, Population, Climate, Water, Agriculture, and Energy.”
      [2] “These factors can lead to collapse when they converge to generate two crucial social features: ‘the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity’; and ‘the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses (or ‘Commoners’).”
      [3] “. . . accumulated surplus is not evenly distributed throughout society, but rather has been controlled by an elite. The mass of the population, while producing the wealth, is only allocated a small portion of it by elites, usually at or just above subsistence levels.”
      [4] “While some members of society might raise the alarm that the system is moving towards an impending collapse and therefore advocate structural changes to society in order to avoid it, Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory so far in support of doing nothing.”
      [5] “Collapse can be avoided and population can reach equilibrium if the per capita rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”
      If we were to substitute such terms as bourgeoisie, proletariat, working class, class struggle for “accumulation, exploitation, socialisation of the main means of production,” then all of a sudden this turns into a loaded document that strikes at the core of the capitalist system.
      In a way it does so by the very fact that it clearly states the two main reasons for the impending crisis of industrial civilisation: “the stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses,” or, as we would describe it, the stratification of society into two main classes, those who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie) and those who must sell their labour power (the proletariat or working class).
      The language used is very academic—not surprisingly—but the Marxist sentiment, whether by accident or design, is certainly present. Being an academic paper, it doesn’t pretend to give any guidance on the changes needed to avoid a collapse, just that it can be avoided if the “rate of depletion of nature is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion.”
      Marxist publications such as Monthly Review, Marxism-Leninism Today and the CPI’s Socialist Voice have long insisted that the crisis of the environment, the depletion of resources and the uneven distribution of wealth are due to the very nature of the capitalist system. For the system to survive it needs continuous growth: it needs to expand into old and new markets. Once it has usurped and extracted resources, both raw materials and labour, it must find new sources and new armies of workers to exploit.
      The raison d’être of the capitalist system is the creation of profit. The trajectory of capitalist industries over the past century and a half has been the monopolisation of competitive industries, negating any theoretically utopian capitalist idea of markets being fully competitive and thus being the most efficient system of allocating resources. The benefits of free trade and competition were to be a reward for consumers and society, with prices dropping to an equilibrium point, which meant that companies wouldn’t earn long-term profits but would cover their cost for production, reproduction, and wages.
      However, a system designed to maximise profit means that competition will always drive towards monopoly, cartels and collusion as profits and super-profits are extracted most in monopoly firms. This in turn makes those companies price-makers (with the price set by the firm) rather than price-takers (with the price set by the market), thus allowing for a greater proportion of the wealth created by society to be distributed to the owners and shareholders of firms, rather than to the workers or the general population.
      Without having a say in what firms should and should not produce, without accountability or sanctions on companies that do exploit and do pollute the environment, without democratic structures in the work-place as well as in local and central government, without public ownership of the main means of production, and without a system of cross-subsidisation to finance non-profitable industries and services, R&D, and renewable energy systems—in short, without a planned economy—industrial civilisation is headed for an irreversible collapse.
      This may seem very Doomsdayish; however, this scientific research should not be passed off as irrelevant, or given a typical Irish response: Ah, sure it’ll be grand. It is we, the ordinary people and the billions of us sharing the planet, who will be hit first, beginning in the poorest parts of the world.
      The study suggests that the elite, because of their wealth, will be the last to feel the effect of this collapse, as they will be best insulated from the economic and environmental catastrophes and so will be the most reluctant to change the system. So, in the end, we are really only left with the choice of barbarism or socialism.
      Social democracy and other ideas of bourgeois democracy will only lead us up a blind alley. This is not a time for anarchy but for the tightest organisation of workers into disciplined sections of the working class to challenge and overthrow the power of an elite who are willing to sacrifice modern civilisation to keep their lion’s share of the wealth created by society.
      I believe it is only within the revolutionary communist and workers’ movements that a collapse can be avoided—if the rate of depletion of nature per capita is reduced to a sustainable level, and if resources are distributed in a reasonably equitable fashion; because only a planned economy, with the socialisation and public ownership and control of the main means of production, which is at the core of the ideas of the communist movement, has the capacity to deal with the monumental task ahead in a systematic fashion.


Not a shared sacrifice but a bloody slaughter

Saturday, April 12, 2014

JobBridge is symbolic of government’s attitude towards young people

Ireland has faced the greatest economic and social crisis since the foundation of the state and rather than target those responsible – speculators, senior bankers or politicians – our government has thrown the majority of the burden on the shoulders of young people.
  • Youth unemployment stands at approximately 28%.
  • We have the highest net-migration levels in Europe with more than 177,000 young people emigrating since 2008 – tearing local communities apart.
  • Our suicide rate for young people is four times higher than the UK and is the highest in Europe for women and second highest for men.
  • Six people register as homeless every single day in Dublin, many of whom are young people who cannot afford a place to live.
The statistics go on and on but none of them exist in a vacuum, they’re all related and they’re the product of an uncaring political system.

Rather than deal with the crisis facing young people in a positive and caring manner by investing sufficiently, successive Irish governments have chosen to attack their living conditions.

In the last Budget, the Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, cut Job Seeker’s Allowance for young people by up to 45 percent  (down to €100 per week) stating that it would incentivise young people to seek jobs – as if they haven’t been looking for employment. The Minister knows only too well there are no jobs out there with 28 applicants for every job advertised. Government representatives then proudly announce – with no sense of shame – that they have protected core social welfare payments. Not for citizens under the age of 26 they haven’t. They’ve savaged them.

Now the government is about to begin the implementation of the much heralded Youth Guarantee, which threatens to cut the social welfare rates even further.

According to the Youth Guarantee Implementation Plan, “Failure to apply for or accept an opportunity on the national internship scheme (JobBridge)” will result in a cut of 25 percent of social welfare rates for young people.

The inconvenient truth is that young JobBridge interns are being paid approximately 56 percent below the ‘at risk of poverty’ rate in Ireland. At €3.75 per hour or €150 per week for a full time job, lots of young people, who do not have a financially secure family to back them up, simply cannot afford to take up the scheme.

They cannot afford the extra financial costs associated with a full time job including transport, food and clothing. I have heard of one person on an internship scheme who has to walk from Tallaght to Dublin City Centre because they cannot afford the price of the Luas. So now our government is forcing young people to work for poverty pay or face an even deeper level of poverty and deprivation through social welfare cuts.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some people who JobBridge has benefited and there is room for properly planned and independently monitored internship scheme - but the flaws of JobBridge, which supplies free labour to some highly profitable employers, is beyond repair. It’s widely accepted to be a crude mechanism for massaging unemployment statistics under the guise of providing ‘experience’.

Young people are being told, work for less than half the minimum wage and live in poverty or else emigrate. Politicians then have the cheek to say young people are emigrating as a ‘lifestyle choice’ – as the government destroys their living standards.

Young people want to stay in Ireland but they need real jobs to allow them to do so. They know the current provision of questionable internship schemes isn’t the only game in town and there is a jobs alternative. The private sector is refusing to hire so the obvious alternative is the public sector. Unfortunately, this is where there’s a lack of political will.

The public sector recruitment embargo has been in place since April 2009 and remains; meaning the largest employer in the state has barely hired any young people for five years. The government could tax wealth in order to create decent jobs for young people but amazingly, rather than invest in combating the youth crisis; the government is now proposing tax cuts which are likely to benefit the top 30 percent of earners. How is this going to help our young people or tackle the youth crisis?

Young people are waking up to the fact they have been easy targets in the past. They know that they are targeted because they don’t vote in the numbers that older people do and they can be incentivised to emigrate easier than other demographics – shamefully, without the opportunity to hold politicians accountable due to a lack of overseas voting.

However, campaigns like the ‘We’re Not Leaving’ campaign and a whole variety of civil society and trade union groups representing young people are organising and politicising. Many of them are supporting a major demonstration against mandatory internship scheme’s including JobBridge at 3pm at the Central Bank in Dublin today.

The call is clear: young people deserve better. They don’t want forced labour; they want real jobs with real pay and a real future. With the European and local elections coming up in June, ignore them at your peril.

By David Gibney
Mandate Youth

Monday, April 7, 2014

May Day Call!!!!!!!

65 years of murder

     Ever since it was created sixty-five years ago, NATO has been an imperialist political-military bloc, a key element in its strategy of domination and exploitation and of confrontation with the then USSR and socialist countries.

     NATO is responsible for the unending arms race, and the USA and its allies are responsible for over two-thirds of the planet’s military expenditure.

     The USA and NATO countries promote the expansion of their worldwide network of military bases, and seek to extend their zones of influence.

     Proclaiming its overtly offensive strategic concept, NATO has extended the territorial scope of its actions of interference, aggression and occupation, thereby deepening its role as the armed wing of the big transnational monopolies.

     The USA and its NATO allies are responsible for numerous crimes and great destruction, for brutal aggression—as in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya—and interference (as carried out against Syria) or threats, as those against Iran.

     The USA, NATO and the European Union—its European pillar—are responsible for the growing militarisation of international relations and the promotion of an escalation of tension and war against the sovereignty of peoples and the independence of states, whether in the Middle East, Africa, the Far East, or Latin America.

     At a time when sixty-five years have elapsed since the creation of NATO, in a world situation marked by the crisis of capitalism, by imperialism’s exploitative, anti-democratic and aggressive offensive, by complex processes of realignment of forces on a world level, and by the resistance and struggle of the workers and the peoples:

     WE DEMAND the dissolution of NATO and support the sovereign right of all peoples to decide to disengage their countries from this aggressive alliance.

     WE REAFFIRM our opposition to the expansion of NATO, the militarisation of the European Union, and its militarist and interventionist policies.

     WE DEMAND an end to the arms race and to the deployment of the new US and NATO “anti-missile system” in Europe.

     WE DEMAND nuclear disarmament, the complete destruction of weapons of mass destruction, and an end to foreign military bases.

     WE DEMAND the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan and other countries under imperialist aggression.

     WE REAFFIRM our solidarity with the peoples who resist imperialism’s occupations, aggression, and interference.

     WE CALL UPON the workers and the peoples of the whole world to strengthen the struggle for peace, against war and NATO, for the construction of a future of peace, progress, and social justice, where each people may freely decide its own future.

Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism
Communist Party of Bangladesh
Workers’ Party of Bangladesh
Workers’ Party of Belgium
Workers’ Communist Party of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Communist Party of Brazil
Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Party of Canada
Party of Communists of Catalunya
Communist Party of Chile
Socialist Workers’ Party of Croatia
Party of the Progressive Working People
Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia [Czech Republic]
Communist Party in Denmark
Danish Communist Party
Communist Party of Finland
Pole of Communist Renaissance in France
Union of the Galician People
Unified Communist Party of Georgia
German Communist Party
Communist Party of Greece
Hungarian Workers’ Party
Communist Party of India
Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Tudeh Party of Iran
Communist Party of Ireland
Party of Italian Communists
Lebanese Communist Party
Communist Party of Luxembourg
Communist Party of Mexico
People’s Socialist Party
Palestinian Communist Party
Party of the People
Peruvian Communist Party
Communist Party of the Philippines (1930)
Portuguese Communist Party
South African Communist Party
Communist Party of Spain
Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain
Sudanese Communist Party
Communist Party of Sweden
Syrian Communist Party
Communist Party of the Russian Federation
Communist Party of Turkey
Communist Party of Uruguay
Communist Party of the USA
Communist Party of Venezuela

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Issues of relavance in the ideological struggle

Issues of Relevance in the Ideological Struggle,  March 13, 2014 by Albano Nunes, Member of the Secretariat of the CC

Valuing the recent 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP), which was held in Lisbon on November 2013, the statement adopted by the PCP Central Committee meeting of December 14 and 15 states:

«fully aware of the existence of inevitable differences of opinion, and even of serious disagreements, the PCP will continue committed to strengthen and ensure the unity and effectiveness in action of the World Communist and Revolutionary Movement, based on a frank and fraternal assessment of the common problems, and on the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual solidarity, and rejecting the different forms of opportunism, whether expressed as adaptation to the system or through dogmatic and sectarian expressions».
It is about the dense political and ideological content of this small paragraph of a PCP Central Committee statement that we consider it useful to make some considerations.

The PCP's analysis of the international situation and of the communist and revolutionary movement is contained in the resolutions of its Congresses, namely the 19th Congress, which was held in December 2012, as well as in the Message of Greetings by comrade Jerónimo de Sousa and in the PCP's statement to the 15th IMCWP (1).

What follows is merely a contribution towards the necessary clarification of the PCP's position regarding some issues that have recently assumed greater proportions, both as regards attitudes towards enshrined principles of relationship between Communist parties, and in relation to serious differences in the analysis of the international situation and on the strategy and tactics of Communist parties.

1. The issue of the struggle for socialism and all the associated issues regarding stages and paths of the revolutionary process, as well as the indispensable consideration of the concrete situations and of national specificities in the elaboration of the programme of the Communist Party, is surely one of most relevant questions on which there are, not merely legitimate differences of opinion, but also schematic simplifications and confusions. In historical terms, we are living in the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism, which was inaugurated by the October Revolution, almost one hundred years ago.

But in the short and medium-term time frames, we are living through times of counter-revolution and social regression. This situation embodies a contradiction which places Communist parties before serious challenges of a political and ideological nature, prominent among which is the need to combine the struggle for concrete and immediate goals, with the goal of socialism and communism, taking into account each country's concrete situation.
This is a dialectical (and therefore not a mechanical) liaison, which neither separates stages and tactical moments of the revolutionary struggle with unsurmountable barriers, nor confuses different goals, stages and phases of a single process of social transformation. This liaison is contrary, both to taking up purely defensive positions and leaving the prospect of any revolutionary advance to the distant future, thereby opening the way for reformist opportunism, as well as to the underestimation of immediate goals in the name of the final goal which is inscribed in the epoch of imperialism, that is, socialism. The masses of the people, that irreplaceable protagonist of any revolution worthy of that name, are not won over, or even mobilized, without a clear prospect for change and revolution.
But the masses cannot be won over, and real advances made on the path to the proletarian revolution, by ignoring or jumping over stages, underestimating immediate goals, simply agitating the ultimate goals (2). There is no "revolutionary" rhetoric that can replace the persistent and day-to-day work among the working class and the masses, building the Communist party, building the class trade unions and other forms of popular organization and unity, driving the mass struggle, promoting broad social alliances and their political expression, allying (we insist) the struggle for concrete and immediate demands with the popularization among the masses of the only alternative that can, in the final analysis, bring progress, social justice and peace: the power of the working class, the abolition of exploitation of man by man, socialism and communism.

2. The contradiction between the revolutionary possibilities of the historical epoch and the conjunctural situation which the PCP defines as a time of resistance and the accumulation of strength, becomes even clearer against the backdrop of the ever sharper basic contradictions of present-day capitalism: between capital and labour, between the development of the productive forces and the relations of production which shackle them, between the socialization of production and its private appropriation, between the potential to solve Humanity's problems which is created by scientific and technical progress and the fact that they are becoming more acute.

As we stated at the 19th PCP Congress, in world terms, never was the need for the revolutionary overcoming of capitalism so relevant and necessary, as is the need to build a new society without exploiters nor exploited people. However, if we consider that the material and objective prerequisites for the socialist revolution are ripe, and if with every passing day it becomes more obvious that imperialism's social basis of support is becoming narrower and that it is incapable of responding to the requirements of our time, it is equally evident that there is a relative backwardness in the subjective factor, that the revolutionary organization and awareness of the working masses is lagging behind, as is the Communist and revolutionary movement, that the institutions of production and reproduction of bourgeois ideology have a real impact. This does not mean that the path of diversified revolutionary processes, including socialist revolutions, is closed. The history of the social and national emancipation of the workers and peoples is full of about-turns, unexpected leaps forward and surprising achievements.

And even today, there are original processes of social transformation that are on the move and which, whatever the limitations, contradictions and uncertainties that surround them, must be valued, studied and defended from the onslaughts of imperialism and reaction. But the contradiction on a world level, between the maturing of objective conditions and the delays in subjective conditions remains.

And in the context of a very intense ideological struggle, it creates the breeding ground for opportunisms of an opposite nature. Both of the right and of the "left". Both of social-democratizing renounciation and adaptation to the existing state of affairs (a liquidationist trend which, after "euro-communism", had a new upsurge with the disappearance of the USSR and the defeats of socialism in Europe) or of leaps forward which proclaim the socialist revolution as an immediate goal of Communist parties, regardless of the conditions in which they operate.

Concrete expressions of this reality can be found, on the right, in the "European Left Party" (3) and some of its member parties, and on "the left", in the positions of some Communist parties which before, during and already after the 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, have been marked by dogmatism and sectarianism and by a scholastic and petrified view of Marxism-Leninism (4).

3. The international context in which revolutionary forces are acting is marked by two fundamental facts. One is socialism's defeats at the end of the 20th century, the brutal ensuing change in the balance of forces, the weakening of revolutionary forces which resulted in the ensuing counter-attack by imperialism to recoup the positions which it had lost throughout the 20th century, in particular after the defeat in World War II of Nazi-fascism, the most reactionary and terrorist sector of capital.

At the same time, there is the world-wide impact of the present stage of the crisis of capitalism, with the violent and multi-pronged onslaught by big capital – increasingly financialized, speculative, rentier and parasitic, a fact which is inseparable from the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. In its quest for high rates of profit, big capital seeks to impose upon the workers and the peoples a social regression of historic proportions. It is with this goal that we see an ever more widespread brutal repression of popular struggles, a growth in racist and extreme right-wing forces and in the wars of aggression against peoples and sovereign countries.

With the disappearance of the powerful counter-weight represented by the world socialist system, the world has become more dangerously exposed to the exploitative, oppressive and aggressive nature of capitalism, to the dynamics of its irreconcilable contradictions, to the consequences of the crises of over-production and over-accumulation of capital, as is the case of the current crisis that ecloded in 2008 in the USA with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.

However, as the Political Resolution of the 19th PCP Congress states, «the web of contradictions in which the capitalist system is enmeshed is so dense that, in the context of an upsurge of the struggle of the workers and peoples, great dangers of civilizational regression, and even for the very existence of Humankind, co-exist with a great potential for progressive and even revolutionary transformation.

This is a reality which the Communists, aware of the fact that capitalism will never hand over power of its own free will, must keep in mind in their day-to-day action, always linking the struggle against big capital's offensive and for concrete and immediate goals with the struggle for profound transformations of an anti-monopolist nature and for a socialist society». It is evident that materializing the potential for an about-turn towards a progressive and revolutionary course depends essentially on the roots which the revolutionary vanguard can grow among the masses, and from the correspondence between its program and political line, and the concrete society in which it operates. Imperialist globalisation is a reality that increasingly influences the situations in the various countries. But it does not make them uniform.

On the contrary, they are extraordinarily diverse, as diverse are the immediate tasks and the programmatic goals which confront each Communist Party, even taking into account that in the epoch of imperialism, any process of social transformation, any revolutionary process, if it is to achieve its goals, must place socialism on the horizon.

This was the case with the Portuguese Democratic and National Revolution – which took the path towards socialism, that was inscribed as a goal in the 1976 Constitution of the Republic. This is also the case with the Advanced Democracy that is inscribed in the PCP's current program and which we consider an integral and inseparable part of the struggle for socialism in Portugal. It is true that general laws of the revolutionary process exist – namely those related to that role of the working class and the masses of the people, the Party, political power, and the property of the means of production. But life has also confirmed that the paths for social transformation and revolution are increasingly varied.
There is nothing more negative for a Communist Party, for a political force that claims to be a revolutionary vanguard, than to seek to carry out the struggle with timeless formulas, that would be valid under all circumstances; than to seek to respond to the pressing problems of the class struggle with clichés and preconceived solutions that are out of tune with reality; than to copy/export solutions that may be valid in a given country, but may not correspond to the concrete situation that exists in another country; than to lose sight of the fact that the revolution is a living and creative social process and that the concrete analysis of concrete situations is the living essence of Marxism-Leninism. The existence of general laws of the revolutionary process does not only not stand in contradiction with the existence of national specificities, as it presupposes a dialectical relation which a Marxist-Leninist can in no way ignore.

The process of the Portuguese Revolution, in which the PCP as the "vanguard of the working class and of all workers" played (and plays) an irreplaceable role, enshrines, in this respect, valuable lessons. Lessons that confirm the need to not underestimate, and much less deny, the importance of the national issue in the process of social transformation, as well as its correlation with the class issue. In the Portuguese case, in which there was the original circumstance of Portugal being at the same time a colonizing and a colonised country, this issue took on particular importance, and the anti-fascist revolution also acquired a national character by placing among its key goals the immediate recognition of the right of the peoples of the colonies to their independence, as well as the liberation of Portugal from imperialism.

And today, faced with the very serious situation of dependence and foreign interference, in which the participation in the European process of capitalist integration is a key component, the PCP fights for a patriotic and left-wing alternative which, opening the road to an Advanced Democracy, may defend and ensure national independence and may break with the serious constraints upon national sovereignty which, as the facts are proving, has a profound class content.

The struggle of the workers and the peoples in defense of national sovereignty is a fundamental front in the struggle against imperialism, which is in the interests of all anti-monopoly classes and strata, and in which the working class is in the front ranks. It is incomprehensible that there are parties that deny its importance, as well as the importance of strengthening, in association with the Communist movement, the world-wide anti-imperialist front. In the PCP's Communist identity, patriotism and internationalism are indissociable.

4. Capitalism has confirmed and confirms, even in a context of deepening structural crisis, capacities for resistance and recovery that had been wrongly considered to be exhausted. This became particularly evident in the early nineties of the last century, with the bitter defeats of socialism. But in the PCP's analysis, which is firmly anchored in the theory of scientific socialism, in dialectical and historical materialism, that fact has never challenged the characterization of the historic epoch in which we are living, as the epoch of the transition from capitalism to socialism. The PCP's 13th (Extraordinary) Congress of May 1990 was, in this respect, unequivocal.

If it is true that, in global, world-wide, terms, we are still living in times of a revolutionary ebb, of resistance and the accumulation of strength, the reality is that the class struggle - that creative sculptor of History - did not stop, nor could it stop anywhere. It only took on new configurations and became violently more acute in recent years.

Everywhere, under very diverse forms, resistance is growing to the ever greater exploitation of wage labour, to the revanchist destruction of rights that had been won through the workers' and peoples' struggle. Big struggles, general strikes, mass demonstrations have, and continue to, take place in the more developed capitalist countries and in the periphery of the capitalist system. The peoples that are subjected to imperialism's offensive of exploitation and recolonization resist.

Countries, such as Cuba, persist in the goal of building socialist societies. In Latin America, there are ongoing processes of sovereignty and social progress which are a source of hope, some of them with revolutionary characteristics. Within the framework of capitalism's law of unequal development, with the relative decline of the USA and other great powers and the emergence of important regional powers, there is a massive process of realignment of forces which is re-drawing the world's economic and political map, creating new problems, contradictions and opportunities which challenge the boldness and creativity of the revolutionary forces, as well as their internationalist cooperation.

Confronted with such a complex, unstable and uncertain global situation, and with its diversified regional and national expressions, it is only natural for differences of viewpoints and assessments, differences of opinion and even disagreements on important issues of revolutionary strategy and tactics, to arise within the communist movement and in the anti-imperialist camp, even regarding relevant issues in the history of the world communist and revolutionary movement. This is all the more natural as the Communist and revolutionary parties have diversified trajectories, experiences and social rooting, they struggle in diverse conditions and they are in different stages of the struggle for socialism, having to confront different immediate tasks.
In the PCP's opinion – and this is a substantial disagreement with Parties that seek to create structured, and politically and ideologically homogenized, forms of cooperation – differences of opinion and disagreements between Communist parties should not prevent their cooperation in the struggle against the common enemy. Even if, momentarily, the leadership of this or that Party challenges characteristics that we consider fundamental in a Communist Party (5), this should not prevent common or convergent action in favour of the emancipation of the workers and the peoples. The PCP has its own positions, which it states with total frankness and which it firmly defends in the face of its critics and detractors.
But in the same way as it never accepted, nor accepts, lessons and impositions from anyone, it equally does not seek to impose them upon others. On the contrary, it respects and seeks to understand the positions of others and to take into account, in its own assessment, the assessment of other Parties. And it does not forget the valuable teaching of Álvaro Cunhal, according to which there are no problems which Communist Parties cannot overcome through «dialogue, friendly debate and the quest for common solutions» (6), respecting the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs, reciprocal solidarity, principles which have been forged by the experience of the world Communist movement. This is a vital issue for the role of Communist parties and for the Communist ideal in the world.

More than differences of opinion and disagreements, it is the breach of these principles, the public criticism and polemics for which some Parties have unfortunately already opted, it is revivalist attempts to create a "leading centre"or to adopt the line of this or that Party, which is considered the "guide" or "reference", that can endanger the strengthening of the Communist movement and cause serious harm to its unity. The times of centralization and discipline, which were necessary to break with the opportunism of the II International and to forge Leninist revolutionary parties, as was the case with the Communist International, have passed. The internationalist cooperation between Communist Parties, having at its core class solidarity, proletarian internationalism, will be all the stronger, the more rooted they are among the masses and the greater the capacity of each Party to autonomously define its revolutionary line.

5. The Portuguese Revolution was an unfinished revolution, but that does not make it less important in the Portuguese people's long road to liberation (7), nor less valuable as a legacy of experiences and lessons for the world Communist and revolutionary movement. The PCP is proud of its theoretical and practical contribution for the liberation of Portugal from almost half a century of fascist dictatorship. It is proud of its Communist identity. It is proud of its programme for the anti-fascist revolution, which life confirmed to a rare extent, with the liquidation of State monopoly capitalsim and with the major achievements such as the nationalizations, workers' control, the agrarian reform, democratic local government. It is proud of the liberating impact of the April Revolution. The PCP knows that the Portuguese revolution, with its profound traits of originality and revolutionary creativity, confirms central theses of Marxism-Leninism, namely regarding the central issue of the State (8).

But obviously, the PCP not only does not consider that our experience and the experience of the Portuguese Revolution can be taken as a blueprint of universal validity, as it warns – as Lenin himself did in relation to the October Revolution – against any mechanical copying of solutions. There are not, and there cannot be, "models" for revolutions. The Portuguese revolution, like all other genuine revolutions, emerged from the concrete reality and contradictions of Portuguese society and from the concrete alignment of class forces in Portugal, an alignment that was shaped by the role of the working class and of its Party and the creativity of the masses of the people in movement, in the context of that decisive and original alliance which was the People-MFA alliance.

To the extent that, despite the absence of a revolutionary power, it managed to impose profound social and economic transformations which paved the way for socialism in Portugal. The Portuguese Communists have never, and never will, use what they consider to be even the most solidly acquired revolutionary legacy of their Party to preach lessons to whomever.

Even more so, because unfortunately, in the experience of the world Communist and revolutionary movement, there is no shortage of dramatic negative examples of breaches to the well-known Marxist precept that «revolutions can be neither copied, nor exported». Nor do they emerge from manuals, as is they were archetypes, or an Idea to which reality must conform. This mistake, which is often made by Parties that seek in this way to find quick solutions for problems confronting them, is precisely the inverse of Marxism-Leninism, of which some claim to be the most faithful interpreters.
A patriotic and internationalist Party, a Party with the experience of 93 years of struggle and with the historical experience of the Communists and revolutionaries from all over the world, the PCP will continue committed to ensure a stronger, more united and effective world Communist and revolutionary movement, seeking to contribute towards more profound cooperation and solidarity in its midst which, respecting each Party's independence and history and focused on unity in action, values that which unites the forces that oppose Capital and imperialism's onslaught. It is this which the masses expect from Communists.

(1) See the dossier on the 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, published in issue 328 of «O Militante», of January 2014.

(2) In defense of the Party's programmatic line and in fighting against different forms of right-wing and "left" opportunism, two works by Álvaro Cunhal deserve to be highlighted: «Revolutionary action, capitulation and adventure» and «Petty-bourgeois radicalism with a socialist facade».

(3) The PCP is not a member, nor does it have relations with, the European Left Party. In the Political resolution of the 19th PCP Congress it is stated: «the reasons that led the PCP to not join the European Left Party remain valid. Reality has confirmed the warnings made by the Portuguese Communists that a structure of a supranational and reformist nature, with the characteristics of the ELP, would not only not contribute towards the unity and cooperation of Communist and progressive forces in Europe, as it would introduce new factors of division, separation and misunderstanding which would render more difficult any advances in the cooperation and solidarity among Communist and left forces in Europe, and which would impact also in other spaces of cooperation, namely the European United Left/Nordic Green Left Group in the European Parliament». In the meantime, the PCP has relations of friendship with Parties that are in the ELP as full members or as observers.

(4) «The PCP has Marxism-Leninism as its theoretical basis: a materialist and dialectical view of the world, a scientific tool to analyze reality and a guide for action which is being constantly enriched and under renewal, giving answers to new phenomenal situations, processes and trends of development. In articulation with events and with the incessant progress of knowledge, this view of the world is necessarily creative and, for this reason, contrary to any dogmatization as well as to the opportunistic revision of its fundamental principles and concepts» (PCP Constitution, article 2).

(5) In the PCP's assessment, fundamental characteristics of the Communist identity are its class nature, the theoretical basis of Marxism-Leninism, the project of a socialist society, inner-Party democracy based on democratic centralism, a mass line, patriotism and internationalism.

(6) «There are different points of view and even more or less serious disagreements between Communist Parties. In order to overcome them, absolutely necessary are dialogue, a friendly debate, the quest for common solutions. Through this path, we think that there are, among Communists, no problems without solutions» (Álvaro Cunhal, press conference in Beijing, on December 10, 1986).

(7) «The April Revolution's main values have grown deep roots in Portuguese society, and are projected as objective realities, requirements, experiences and aspirations into Portugal's democratic future.
The advanced democracy proposed by the PCP to the Portuguese people is a historical follow-up to
the programme for the democratic and national revolution drawn up and adopted in 1965, and to the
April revolution's ideals, victories and achievements, which are also of historic value. The advanced
democracy that the PCP proposes, projects, consolidates and develops the April values into Portugal's future.» (PCP Programme).

(8) The Portuguese Revolution confirmed the issue of the State as a central issue in any revolution. One of its main shortcomings was the fact that it never managed to set up a democratic State. Despite profoundly hit, the counter-revolutionary forces always managed to retain strong positions within the State apparatus and are today committed to a new revision of the Constitution, in order to place it entirely at the service of the ruling classes.

April Socialist Voice

April Socialist Voice out now!!!!!

At the same time, capitalist shock-troops are using different negotiating tactics: force and intimidation. On the one hand, employers’ organisations have been leaking stories about pay increases; however, they want the “pay increases” to come from a reduction in tax. In other words, everyone finances pay increases for employers, so they increase their profits, and there is a further reduction in public services.
Recent media reports suggest that, with a supposed “recovery” on the horizon, employers and unions are increasingly making noises about a return to some sort of partnership structure. The leadership of the unions, most notably Jack O’Connor and Shay Cody, have raised the idea of reconstituting some type of formal Employer-Labour Conference.
The offices of the Law Society in Chancery Lane, London, were the venue for the International Commission of Inquiry into the Case of the Cuban Five; but the British government sought to scupper the event before it even began.
On the 19th and 20th of December last the European Council met; and to anyone who thinks that the EU is a benign body of people seeking to ease travel for all its citizens, and various other media-friendly soundbites, you are wrong—very wrong.
There was a major increase in the annual surpluses of the surplus countries between 2000 and 2009 and between 2010 and 2015, as can be seen in table 1. The mean for the countries was up from 4.2 to 6.8 per cent.
Did anyone read about the study partly funded by NASA that says “industrial civilisation is headed for irreversible collapse”? It was reported in the Guardian (London) in March.*
Following the threatened national dispute in the electrical contracting industry that prevented, once again, an attempt to cut the wages of electricians, the Technical, Engineering and Electrical Union has employed significant resources to sustain the terms of the National Collective Agreement, formally registered with the Labour Court.
Enda Kenny has lost control of his government, and of his party, and now even his own position may be in question. The wretched man is thrashing around in despair as his government lurches aimlessly from one mishap to another.
At its recent meeting the National Executive Committee of the Communist Party of Ireland discussed the political and economic situation throughout the country.
Give ear to my words, O Lord
Hearken unto my moaning
Pay heed to my protest
“What is needed then is a new kind of imperialism, one acceptable to a world of human rights and cosmopolitan values. We can already discern its outline: an imperialism which, like all imperialism, aims to bring order and organisation but which rests today on the voluntary principle.”
This month we celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare. When Shakespeare wrote his great tragedies—yes, the ones studied at school, year in, year out—he had a very great and grave concern at heart.
Missing from many left-wing critiques of transnational corporations is the part played by cinema. We read daily about the depredations of the oil, financial and media giants. In Towards a Third Cinema by Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino the cinema is described as “the most valuable tool of communication of our times.”

Friday, April 4, 2014

RIP Michael Aherne

Sadly, comrade and member of the Communist Party of Ireland Michael Aherne passed away yesterday. He will be sadly missed by his family, friends, comrades and our class. He was a principled communist and republic who cared deeply for humanity and wished to see his class live with the respect and dignity that all people are entitled.

Michael was a regular contributor to the Party's paper, Socialist Voice, and below was his last article was on the need for communities to mobilise top defend their Credit Union.

Central Bank boss predicts a three-way banking split

Over recent years Socialist Voice has been warning that the future of the credit union movement is at risk, along with other banking sectors. Now our warnings are coming to fruition. Recent proposed changes from the head of Irish banking underline our warnings.

      The governor of the Central Bank, Prof. Patrick Honohan, has said that a recent review of bank assets has been a very elaborate and expensive exercise involving thousands of file reviews. Describing it as a “ground-clearing exercise,” he said the review was intended to cover much the same ground as the asset quality review organised by the European Central Bank. This review is part of the move to a single European banking regulator.

      Prof. Honohan said the EU-level tests will be carried out in the same way, with “communication between the central bank and the commercial banks.” He also set out his view on what Irish banking may look like by the end of the decade. And it is this vision that gives cause for alarm.

      Honohan said he foresees a three-way division, with transnational business and very wealthy individuals served by a few big international banking groups. Then there will be a group of Irish-owned banks concentrating on serving the middle market, with an emphasis on Irish small and medium enterprises.

      Finally, a community banking sector will serve small and micro-businesses. In other words, there will be change to the credit union sector. This move puts alarm bells ringing among community and social activists.

      In the past, Honohan has acted as a mouthpiece of Irish capitalism as it welcomed the tightening embrace of the EU and transnational imperialism. His claim to regulate was a fairly shallow one as he sat on his hands and chose to ignore failures in regulating the big banks and financial institutions. But despite the openly fraudulent activities of the banking chiefs, no-one has still been prosecuted for any crime. A public inquiry into the banking scandal has been repeatedly delayed, ostensibly because of Garda investigations.

      Meanwhile politicians and government figures such as Honohan stand accused of protecting bank executives, presumably in the hope of limiting their own exposure to scandal and prosecution.
      First the credit union movement was subject to severe scrutiny, instigated by Charlie McCreevy and his mates. This scrutiny was designed to bring it under the thumb of local capitalism. As minister for finance, McCreevy set out to treat the credit unions in the same way as banks, in effect ignoring the fact that they are a voluntary, non-profit movement.

      Honohan’s move effectually copperfastens that process. He has stated that “there will have to be consolidation in the credit union sector,” which will lead to “a dilution of the very local control enjoyed by the members of some very small town-based credit unions.” This vision foresees “several dozen mutually owned community banks operating at county or large-enterprise level,” instead of the present credit union structure of some four hundred individual credit unions.

      Honohan adds that “operating a modern credit union requires a greater degree of organisational skill than in the past, and the inevitable intensification of regulatory burden has also contributed to the need to reduce overall operational costs by consolidation, while still retaining a sufficient local presence.”

      To say that national banks need not be pressed to reduce in size or split into regionally or sectorally specialised sub-units is not to dispute the value of the community bank. A community bank may be able to offer the range of retail services that low or middle-income households and small and micro-businesses require even if operating on a scale well below €1 billion—and do it professionally and efficiently, and with sensitivity to local conditions.

      Already we have a large involvement in community banking with an astonishingly deep credit union sector: it has a massive penetration measured by the ratio of accounts to population. Its governance is mutualistic rather than capitalist: this strengthens the bonds between the members.
      The sector is also very fragmented, with almost four hundred separate credit unions around the country. But it is quite large in aggregate, reporting almost €14 billion in assets. It is a juicy target for any merchant of greed.

      The move to amalgamate the credit unions into bigger units is well recognised as an essential step towards a takeover, with ordinary member paying the tidy-up process from which the ultimate owners will benefit.

      Now is the time to stop even more bank robbery and get stuck in to campaigns for saving credit unions—the mutually owned people’s bank.