CPP contribution to the 22nd International Communist Seminar

Attacks on democratic rights and freedoms; Strategies and actions in response
June 03, 2013

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Brussels, Belgium
31 May – 2 June 2013

I. Attacks on Democratic Rights and Freedoms

Oppression is a necessary concomitant of class exploitation. It is thus in the nature of the monopoly bourgeoisie to carry out attacks on the democratic rights and freedoms of the working class and the rest of the people in order to preserve the system of exploitation.

The monopoly bourgeoisie cannot go on extracting surplus value from the working class without the power to hire and fire the workers in every workplace, and without the state power to dominate the working class and preempt or contain the trade union movement, and even more so the revolutionary party of the proletariat. The monopoly bourgeoisie has magnified the role of the bourgeois state for repressing the proletariat and people and for waging wars of aggression for the purpose of seizing economic territory and engaging in plunder.

In the underdeveloped countries, the imperialist bourgeoisie is allied with the comprador big bourgeoisie and landlord class and is in a position to use these for the most brazen forms of exploitation and the most brutal forms of oppression. Superprofits are extracted with less amounts of investments with the use of cheap labor amidst the worst conditions of unemployment and poverty. Repression is a normal part of the daily life of the exploited masses. The local exploiting classes use state terrorism against manifestations of people’s resistance.

The imperialist powers headed by the US have used the neoliberal economic policy to deny the working class as the creator of new material values in production. They misrepresent the monopoly bourgeoisie as the ultimate producer of wealth and jobs, and justify the use of the state to accelerate profit-taking and the accumulation and concentration of capital.

The wages of the workers are pressed down. Social spending by government is reduced, while the big bourgeoisie and its high income executives are privileged with tax cuts. State assets are privatized. Investment, trade and finance are liberalized. Regulations to protect labor, women, children, the society at large, and the environment are cast away. In the name of globalization, the economies of the underdeveloped countries are denationalized to allow the imperialist bourgeoisie to exploit cheap labor and plunder the natural resources.

The neoliberal economic policy has resulted in a series of ever worsening financial and economic crisis. For so long since 1980, it had looked like every crisis could be solved by simply expanding the money supply and credit, stimulating consumerism, and thus bloating the gross domestic product. But since 2007-2008, it has become clear that the abuse of finance capital has its limits, not only at the level of households and corporations, but also at the level of national economies and states.

Enormous amounts of public funds have been used to bail out the failing banks and firms. Public funds that are touted as stimulus to economic recovery are allocated to the corporations, which promptly allocate them to labor cost-saving and profit making. The states continue to give tax cuts to the big bourgeoisie and provide more funds for the apparatuses of repression and war, while the economy stagnates and recedes. The US has used at least US$ 4 trillion for wars of aggression, without taking into account the costs of replacing war equipment and medical costs of veterans.

All imperialist countries are now beset by public deficits and debt, and by the falling value of currencies, especially the US dollar and the euro. Like the Third World countries, they are chronically on the brink of default and bankruptcy but get temporary relief by taking new loans that sink them only deeper into the debt trap. The imposition of austerity measures at the expense of the people has resulted in further economic stagnation and in massive protests and social disorder in several imperialist states.

Upon the rise of public deficits and public debt, states adopt and implement policies that pass the burden of the crisis to the proletariat and the rest of the people. They raise taxes and adopt so-called austerity measures. These cause further lay-offs, wage decreases, rising prices of basic necessities, reduced pensions, lessened social benefits, and tax hikes on goods and services used by the working people.

The workers and the rest of the people are driven by their worsening dire conditions to resist. They are steadily fighting back. They are not deterred by the monopoly bourgeoisie which escalates repression and mass deception by unleashing all kinds of reactionary currents, including chauvinism, racial discrimination, religious bigotry, fascism and war-mongering, in a vain attempt to obfuscate the roots of the crisis and distract the people.

Long before the terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001, the US and its imperialist partners have already laid the legal, ideological and political justification for state terrorism and wars of aggression. Thus, when 9-11 occurred, the PATRIOT ACT USA and the war plans could be instantly promulgated and put into effect. Since then, more laws and executive orders have been promulgated to facilitate repression and the unleashing of wars under the pretext of combating terrorism and imaginary weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the targeted regime.

The monopoly bourgeoisie orchestrates the so-called think tanks, academic departments, special committees of the executive and legislative branches, the political parties, nongovernmental organizations, the churches and most important of all the corporate mass media to drum up and spread the most specious arguments and schemes for state terrorism and wars of aggression.

The imperialist powers and its multilateral agencies like the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization, are making more intolerable impositions on the client states. They impose ever more onerous terms of debt, and use loans as leverage for taking over domestic public and private assets, and for plundering the natural resources of underdeveloped countries. The puppet governments of these underdeveloped countries yield at dirt cheap prices their local capital assets, land and natural resources to the monopoly firms.

Under the neoliberal economic policy regime and the persistent influence of the neoconservative military policy, the US and the NATO countries have unleashed wars of aggression at an increasingly rapid rate, including those in the Balkans, West Asia, Central Asia and Africa since the end of the Cold War in 1991. The main thrust of the wars is to seize markets and fields of investment, control sources and routes of oil and other natural resources, and install puppet governments.

The proletariat and peoples of the underdeveloped countries suffer the most from the global depression. The demand for raw material and semi-manufactured exports has decreased or some of these are being exported in greater volume but at ever lower prices. At the same time, the prices of imported manufactures are rising. Trade deficits grow and foreign debt mounts.

The economic crisis has resulted in the escalation of exploitation. The working people and the middle social strata suffer from intolerably high unemployment rates, reductions in real wages, lower income levels, soaring prices of basic goods and services, and the deterioration and higher costs of social services, such as education, health, low-income housing and the like. The conditions of mass poverty have worsened.

In anticipation of the people’s resistance and even more so in reaction to its occurrence, the US and other imperialist powers have emboldened puppet states to adopt more draconian laws and more brutal means of repression. They design systems of social and police control, and campaigns of military suppression. They earn profits from supplying weapons and thereby gain leverage and influence among the reactionary politicians and military officers.

II. Current Trends of People’s Resistance

The global crisis and the intensification of oppression and exploitation that the reactionary classes impose on the people have led to widespread social unrest. The people’s resistance has taken various forms.

In the centers of imperialism in North America and Western Europe, strikes and protest marches have broken out against attacks on the rights of working people, austerity measures, deteriorating working conditions, erosion of social benefits, tax cuts and sky-high incomes of the upper bourgeoisie, foreign wars of aggression, racial and minority discrimination, the criminalization of migrant workers, discrimination against the youth in employment, and the higher costs of education.

The Occupy movement has arisen in Wall Street and spread out to many cities in and beyond the US, and the Indignados have arisen on a wide scale in Spain. These movements make it a point to declare that they are not led by Parties but are creations of the spontaneous. But in Greece and other countries, communist and workers’ parties have been in the forefront of the mass struggles.

The working class is becoming increasingly conscious of the need to engage in class struggle against the monopoly bourgeoisie that has long carried out its own class struggle to suppress democratic rights and press down wage conditions. The class struggle of the proletariat is steadily coming to the fore as the workers stand up and act to defend their rights and interests. The conditions have become more favorable for the resurgence of the working class movement against capitalism and for socialism.

The prolongation of the crisis provides the genuine communist and workers’ parties fertile ground to strengthen their ranks, overcome adverse factors, and sharpen the class struggle against the monopoly bourgeoisie. But certain factors check the continuous vigorous development of anti-imperialist mass movements and revolutionary parties.

In the advanced capitalist countries, there is as yet no Marxist-Leninist party or revolutionary mass movement that is large and strong enough to challenge the monopoly bourgeoisie and its agents. The various Communist formations striving to play the role of the revolutionary party of the proletariat still suffer from the limitations and weaknesses that developed during the decades of the Cold War, the spread of revisionist and modern revisionist ideas, the neoliberal economic policy, and other kinds of imperialist propaganda offensives.

The imperialist states in Europe are still shielded from the Communist challenge by a panoply of parties, including Christian democratic, the liberal, social democratic, and the greens, and by the see-saw of public sentiment between the social democrat and the extreme right in electoral contests. However, the polarization of political forces will continue as the socio-economic conditions deteriorate.

Due to the grossly uneven development of global capitalism, imperialist hegemony has many weak points, especially in the underdeveloped countries whose people suffer the most from imperialism and local reaction. The current global crisis and the over-extension of the US in wars of aggression and in military interventions are favorable conditions for advancing the revolutionary struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations. In all the underdeveloped regions of the world, the entire Africa, West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Latin America, mass protests and armed struggles are spreading and intensifying.

Blatantly pro-imperialist governments are being condemned and repudiated by the people in an increasing number of countries. Governments like those of Cuba, Venezuela and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have their people’s support because they assert national independence and oppose imperialism. They implement policies for the welfare of the people and they express adherence to socialism.

Where the US and NATO allies have unleashed wars of aggression to bring down governments that reject imperialist dictation, such as in the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the most intense forms of armed conflict occur. And even after the overthrow of these independent governments, movements for national liberation persevere and serve as long-term challenges to imperialist power.

The conditions of economic depression and worsening exploitation and oppression have intensely aggrieved the peoples of the world. Mass uprisings and political turmoil are surging to shake and topple puppet governments of the US and other imperialist powers. Conditions are ripe for revolutionary armed struggles in many countries and entire global regions. Even where there are yet no strong revolutionary parties of the proletariat, the conditions are present for them to develop strength in the long run.

The so-called Arab Spring has swept the Middle East and North Africa, with the masses demanding democratic changes, toppling despotic regimes, and shaking others. In the absence of a strong communist party however, the Islamic movement tends to grow stronger and gain power, as in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere. The imperialist powers headed by the US also install new puppet governments in the name of liberal democracy. Elsewhere the imperialists perpetuate puppet monarchies.

Long-running armed struggles for national liberation, such as those in India and the Philippines, are persevering. These are proving to the whole world that armed revolution can be waged and can grow in strength under the current conditions. The Palestinian people have persisted in waging their decades-long struggle for national liberation and for their return to their homeland with broad international support. All these continue to prove that the US and NATO do not have a seamless control over the entire world.

The Marxist-Leninist and Maoist parties that are waging the new democratic revolution through protracted people’s war play a signal role in bringing about the world proletarian revolution. They hold high the torch of armed revolution. They illumine the road of revolution for the peoples in the underdeveloped countries, in the retrogressive countries of former socialist countries, and in the imperialist countries.

III. Strategies and Actions in Response

What the people can and must do about the global financial and economic crisis range from seeking relief, recovery and reforms within the imperialist-dominated world capitalist system, up to making the most fundamental criticism of this system and raising the demand and undertaking the actions for revolutionary change towards socialism. It is the strategic task of communists to serve the immediate demands of the proletarian and people and to seek the overthrow of the bourgeois state.

Reforms can be demanded to serve the immediate needs of the working people for employment, decent income, better working and living conditions, and the availability of basic social services. But communists must not be confined to merely seeking reforms within the existing ruling system of the big bourgeoisie. The long term goal of the working class and the people is to replace the system of monopoly capitalism with the socialist system.

To take an important phrase from the Communist Manifesto, the battle for democracy must be won, whether the popular movement for socialism be in the imperialist countries or in the far less developed countries dominated by imperialism. The consciousness, organization and mobilization of the broad masses of the people must be raised to a level high enough to effect basic reforms immediately and social revolution in the long run.

In the industrial capitalist countries, the economic basis for socialism exists. But the monopoly bourgeoisie never gives up its political and economic power voluntarily. It uses its state power to mislead the people and to violently crack-down on the protesting masses. Thus, the battle for democracy must be won against the potential or actual rise of fascism and the use of imperialist war by the monopoly bourgeoisie to regiment the people. In this regard, we recall the Great Depression, the rise of fascism and World War II.

There is the need for a working class party to lead the people in seeking basic reforms within the bourgeois political system and aiming for socialist revolution. Without such a working class party, the big bourgeoisie continues to rule society unchallenged and unhampered through the political parties which it uses for preserving the system, for intra-class and intra-systemic competition for political power among the bourgeois factions, and for warding off any political party that seeks to overthrow bourgeois rule.

There must be a working class party committed to the propagation and realization of the revolutionary program of social change, and capable of leading the broad masses of the working people. Such a party is best relied upon for confronting the global financial and economic crisis and solving the problems for the benefit of the people and with their active participation.

In carrying out organizational campaigns, efforts must be resolutely undertaken to build a genuine working class party that surpasses the bourgeois laborite, reformist social democratic or revisionist communist parties. Building such a working class party is quite challenging because of the long running attempts of the monopoly bourgeoisie to stigmatize as “terrorist” those revolutionary forces that call for national liberation, democracy and socialism. But the current crisis conditions are favorable for building such a party.

In the far less developed countries, where there are still large vestiges of feudalism, winning the battle for democracy involves not only upholding, defending and promoting the collective and individual democratic rights of the people, especially civil and political liberties, but most importantly addressing the peasant demand for land reform. It involves engaging the peasant masses in the new democratic revolution led by the working class as the long term agent for socialist revolution and construction.

The trade unions and other mass organizations must be built in order to uphold, defend and promote the rights and interests of the exploited classes and sectors of society. In the industrial capitalist countries, the most important of these are the mass organizations of workers, migrant workers, immigrants, the various nationalities, youth, women, the professionals and cultural workers. In the semicolonial and semifeudal countries, the most important mass organizations are those of workers, peasants, youth, women, the intelligentsia and the minorities. These classes or sectors are adversely affected by the crisis in particular ways.

The class and sectoral mass organizations must further form multi-class and multi-sectoral alliances in order to underscore common interests and build political unity cumulatively and progressively. The genuine working class party offers to them as guide its general line and program of action, encourages their political and organizational initiatives, and thereby wins their abiding support. Mass organizations with different ideological, political and religious affinities can form formal and informal alliances to pursue common courses of action on the basis of consensus and coordination.

The broad masses of the people in their millions must be mobilized to denounce the exploitative and oppressive character of the system of monopoly capitalism, and to demand social, economic and political changes, ranging from basic reforms to the fundamental revolutionary transformation of society.

The battle for democracy must be carried out according to the objective and subjective conditions obtaining. Various forms of collective struggle must be carried out, defending and advancing the full spectrum of human rights – civil, political, social, economic and cultural – for the benefit of the exploited and oppressed people. The people must be able to act accordingly as the socio-economic crisis results in political crisis, and the forces and agents of monopoly capitalism malign and try to discredit democratic protest as unlawful rebellion or even as terrorism, and thus justify increased political repression.

In countries where the ruling classes engage in state terrorism or imperialism engages in military intervention, the people have the sovereign right to mobilize themselves for all forms of resistance, including revolutionary armed struggle. At the moment, legal mass movements and revolutionary armed struggles are going on and advancing in several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the people are the most oppressed and exploited.

To become most effective in making protests and demands, the mass movement for social change must be based at the level of the local communities, the factories, farms, schools and religious centers. It is indestructible when there are dedicated cadres of the working class party and the mass organizations who are deeply rooted among the toiling masses and who arouse, organize and mobilize them at these basic levels.

This fact is well demonstrated in cases where the most vicious campaigns of deception of the counterrevolutionary state cannot sway the people against the progressive mass movement and where such state carries out a campaign of armed suppression but fails to defeat or weaken the revolutionary mass movement of the people.

The revolutionary parties of the proletariat are needed to lead the battle for democracy and the revolutionary struggle for socialism. But they cannot succeed without the revolutionary mass movement. They must bring about a mass movement of the working class and the rest of the people that is strong enough to end the state power of the bourgeoisie and install the power of the proletariat.

IV. Prospects

The monopoly capitalists and imperialist powers persist in clinging to the neoliberal economic policy because this feeds their hunger for super-profit. There is therefore no capitalist solution in sight for the current worldwide economic and social crisis. What is in sight is a new round of deterioration in the global crisis of capitalism.

All major contradictions are expected to intensify: between labor and capital in the imperialist countries; between the imperialist powers on one hand and the oppressed peoples and nations on the other hand; between the imperialist powers and the countries assertive of national independence; and among the imperialist powers themselves.

The struggle between labor and capital will sharpen in the years to come, as the structural crisis of capitalism and imperialism worsens. The global depression will worsen and further reduce the demand from the developed countries for the raw material and semi-manufacture exports of the underdeveloped countries. This will further destroy productive forces and aggravate poverty. Social discontent will further spread and deepen. It will generate mass protest actions, unprecedented mass uprisings, and the growth of armed revolutionary movements for national and social liberation led by revolutionary parties of the working class in the context of the revolutionary united front.

The attempts of the imperialist powers to shift the burden of crisis to the proletariat and people through higher taxes and austerity measures at their expense will cause the intensified mass resistance, which will overshadow the workers’ strikes and protest rallies that we have seen so far in the capitalist countries. The workers and the rest of the people cannot accept the painful paradox of rising productivity resulting in mass lay-offs, less income and impoverishment.

The US and other imperialist powers (especially those in the NATO) will continue to perversely see in the crisis of global capitalism the need to stimulate their economies by increasing military production, use this to wage aggression to topple regimes assertive of national independence and expand economic territory. Imperialist military intervention and wars of aggression will continue and be directed against countries with rich natural resources, especially oil and gas. In this regard, Iran and Venezuela are among the targets of imperialism.

The imperialist powers will try to maintain their unity within the UN Security Council, the IMF, World Bank, WTO and various regional trade and military alliances. But the worsening crisis of global capitalism will tend to put them at loggerheads and to form alliances and counter-alliances in economic and military terms. The struggle for a re-division of the world among the imperialist powers will become more conspicuous as they compete for sources of fuel and raw materials, markets, fields of investment, and spheres of influence.

Sharpening of the major contradictions in the world challenges the people in imperialist countries and in the whole world to be vigilant and militant in upholding, defending and promoting their democratic rights and their struggle for a fundamentally new and better world of greater freedom, democracy, social justice, all-round development, international solidarity and peace.

International Department
Communist Party of the Philippines
31 May 2013