The following international platform has been endorsed and adopted by the APL.
ON CAPITALISM, THE WORKING CLASS AND
THE FIGHT FOR COMMUNISM
I. Capitalism and the Working Class
1. Since society has split into classes, the whole of history has been the history of class struggles. At present, a new world and a new society can only be established through the victory of the struggle of the working class against bourgeoisie. With its action, the working class will emancipate not only itself but also all oppressed people and humanity as a whole. Class struggle is the only way to change the world and have a free and classless society. As revolutionary parties and organisations of the working class of different countries united under CIPOML, we rely on this fundamental truth and work towards achieving this goal.
2. In spreading to the remotest corners of the earth and becoming a world system, capitalism creates the conditions that force workers to unite regardless of nationality, ethnicity, culture, gender or religion overcoming all national borders. The working conditions and struggles of all workers become more connected, and it is on these objective bases that proletarian internationalism emerges and develops. The struggle for freedom of the working class advances, becoming an international movement with a common objective. This ultimate objective, which is determined directly by the character and developmental direction of the capitalist system and which becomes an obligatory phase of social development, is the building of communist society where classes and all forms of oppression is eradicated. Parties and organisations, members of our conference organised in different countries are the components of the working class of the world and of the struggle for freedom, and they all have the same ultimate goal.
3. Capitalist society has risen on grand scale production of commodities for profit, through expanded reproduction. Having developed in Western Europe in the early 16th century, capitalist production has grown from simple cooperation to manufacture and from basic machinery to sophisticated complex machinery during the Industrial Revolution. The development of this type of production evolved in the process when productive forces, production and circulation of commodities reached a level which inevitably led to the disintegration of feudal society and of small scale production, and when the labourer became separated from the means of production. While growing proportion of the means of production and total social production has concentrated as capital in the hands of an ever smaller section of society (capital and land owners), proletarian or semi-proletarian masses selling their labour power – continuously or intermittently – to get the most basic necessities have grown in numbers, creating more wealth and capital for the upper classes with their labour.
4. Private ownership of the means of production by capitalists and big landowners is the basis for the workforce becoming commodities, workers becoming wage slaves and for the exploitation of the surplus value. Hence, dissolution of minority ownership of the means of production and returning them to social ownership is a prerequisite for the emancipation of workers. Throughout its development process, by socializing production and labour, capitalism prepares the material basis for this condition and creates the social force that will defeat it. Establishing social ownership of the means of production will make production relations befitting the social nature of productive forces.
5. With the advent of Industrial Revolution, the industrial middle class of manufacturers was replaced by modern industrial bourgeoisie which had become dominant, and subordinated commercial capital to industrial capital. Steam replaced manual labour and tools were replaced by ever complex machinery. As technology advanced, the character of production changed, becoming less of an activity of human power requiring specialist skills, and workers have become part of the machinery. Industrial Revolution created modern industrial workers, who were getting rid off the remnants of relations of the previous social system, and who had nothing but their chains to lose. It also developed capitalist relations in agriculture, hastening the process of disintegration of the peasantry and expanding the working class. The division of society into two main classes, bourgeoisie and the working class, replaced all other antagonisms and divisions that preceded it.
6. Bourgeoisie has spread the circulation of commodities to the remotest corners of the earth in a bid to reach new markets and raw materials. In creating the capitalist world market, it dragged all countries in to the circle of capitalist development and exploitation. With economic superiority and the use of most barbaric and destructive methods it defeated all resistance and dissolved pre-capitalist traditional social structures. It colonised the continents of Asia, Africa and America one by one. Alongside advanced countries, the trade network spreading to all countries under the protection of colonialism and subsequent huge profits have become one of the pillars of capital accumulation and bourgeois-capitalist development.
7. The advent of mechanised production and technical advances reinforces the superiority of mass over small scale production and capitalist over pre-capitalist modes of production. While commodity production and conditions of capitalist production reproduce a certain number of small businesses, they generally fall back and large scale businesses become common place. While pre-capitalist modes of production and their remnants disappear, capitalist production relations develop and increasingly penetrate all fields of social life and restructure it accordingly. Bourgeoisie, using all forms of force, becomes dominant in the superstructure as well as the economic structure. This dominance finds its simplest political expression in the concentration of state power in the hands of the bourgeoisie and in its capitalist reorganisation as a tool of oppression and domination over the working class and other working sections and strata of society.
8. As capitalist development process evolves, capital’s grip on peasants, craftsmen, artisans and other small business owners gets tighter. Large scale businesses force the medium sized enterprises as well as the small ones with the potential or character to be part of their reproduction into becoming their auxiliary units under conditions they dictate. Only a segment of small businesses, and especially peasants, prolong their existence in conditions of extreme hard work and self imposed austerity. Some cannot even survive this and go bankrupt. Insecurity spreads and deepens among intermediary classes and strata. All this widen the opportunities for the working class to benefit from contradictions among proprietors and win over other working classes and strata.
9. Technical advance on the one hand leads to increasing labour productivity, production of the same amount of goods with less workers, relatively less dependency on workforce by the capitalists; and on the other hand it paves the way to increased opportunity for using woman and child labour and an increase in the proportion of society that depends on selling their labour-power to meet basic daily needs. Despite fluctuations, the need for workforce lags behind demand. This leads to the enlargement of the army of unemployed, those with insecure futures, who are pushed into the quagmire of poverty, moral bankruptcy and ignorance, who make up the reserve workforce for capitalists. On the other hand, labour’s dependency on capital is increased as well as the opportunity for the capitalist class to elevate the rate of exploitation.
10. Ownership of the means of production by a small minority and production being made for profit and in intensifying competitive conditions result in the production process developing in an unplanned and anarchic manner disturbing the balance among different parts of the economy, and production and markets being out of sync. Capitalist development process takes on a disrupted and imbalanced growth pattern because of economic crises and recessions caused by overproduction. Crises, surfacing in varying forms and lengths of time depending on conditions, are unavoidable in capitalist development and are the pinnacle, or the exploding expression, of the contradiction between social production and capitalist appropriation. Periods of crises and recessions drag small and medium-sized businesses into destruction, while pushing some big businesses to bankruptcy or to being swallowed up by others, leading to a more speedy process of concentration and centralisation of capital, increasing unemployment, and a relative or sometimes absolute deterioration of living and working conditions of the working class and other labourers.
11. Technical development by the bourgeoisie for maximum profit, and the progress of the productive forces, despite the disruptions caused by cyclical crises, led to huge increases in labour productivity and production. Nevertheless, the fruits of this progress can only be enjoyed by a handful of capital and big land owners. As labour productivity increases so does its exploitation. Despite better means of meeting all material and nonmaterial needs of society, capitalism constantly reproduces unemployment, poverty, ignorance, moral corruption and degeneration. Insecurity spreads and deepens among a great majority of the population. Wars, periods of crisis and recession worsen the living and working conditions of workers. The chasm between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, between the haves and have nots deepen; discontent and anger among workers and other working classes and strata increase; the tendency to unite and struggle against oppression and exploitation, against the exploiting classes develops.
12. Giving rise to the material preconditions for socialism through socialising production and labour, capitalism advances the working class, the social force that will demolish it. As workers are concentrated in big enterprises, their opportunities to unite against the bourgeoisie and organise as an independent social force as well as their capacity and skills also advance. Having experienced competition among themselves and an enmity towards machinery, workers‘ uncoordinated struggles that start in isolation in individual workplaces then lead to a united and independent workers’ movement. This movement has advanced through experiences gained from the Lyon insurrections in 1831-34, the Chartist movement in England and the 1848 revolutions in continental Europe, the 1871 Paris Commune where the working class, albeit for a short period, toppled the bourgeoisie and established its own rule, and from the struggles of the American working class, the creators of May Day and the International Working Women’s Day.
II. Monopolies and Imperialism
In the last third of the 19th century, advances in technology and the spread of perfected machinery led to changes in production: a great expansion in the production of machinery, raw materials and energy, pushing light industry aback; new inventions such as electricity and combustion engines; use of new energy sources such as petroleum; development of thermal and hydroelectric plants, etc. Communication, both sea and especially land (railways) transport and mechanisation in farming also developed. While the size of businesses and the number of big businesses increased, there developed relations between sectors and businesses leading to full integration and overcoming of national borders. Under sharpening conditions of competition big businesses, that needed to use the latest technology and advanced through swallowing up smaller ones, started to take over the economy like a net. Corporations that united most connected businesses and sectors and controlled huge amounts of capital have become widespread. This was also a period when bank capital concentrated and centralised in the hands of a small number of banks leading to giant banks that play a big role in the economy. The advance in the concentration and centralisation of capital and production led to amalgamation of industrial and bank capital in the second half of the 19th century to create finance capital and give way to the rise of monopolies. At the start of the 20th century capitalism had reached a new stage, the stage of imperialism where monopolies and financial oligarchy have become dominant.
2. Monopolistic capitalism is a new high where some fundamental properties and tendencies develop and turn into their antithesis, where the conditions for the transition to a new social system are created, and where all contradictions are sharper, causing new divisions and antagonisms. Monopolies, which are themselves results of concentration and centralisation of capital and production, expand this process to a worldwide scale. Social inequality is increased by socialisation of labour on the one hand and the concentration of the wealth in the hands of a select few on the other. While the exploitation of the working masses and the feeling of insecurity intensifies, so does the suffocating pressure of the monopolies on small manufacturers and non-monopolist bourgeois strata. The antagonism between the social character of production and private capitalist nature of appropriation as well as the antagonism between the working class and the bourgeoisie, which is itself a class reflection of the former, will deepen on a world scale. Imperialism is the final and the death stage of capitalism where it enters a process of general crisis.
3. Capitalist monopoly, a result and the antonym of free competition, does not do away with competition completely. Monopoly exists with and above competition. This phenomenon deepens the unbalanced development, which is one of the fundamental characteristics of the capitalist development process, intensifying competition and the contradictions and divisions in the ranks of the bourgeoisie, introducing new elements. Monopolies limit the free development of productive forces and links technical progress directly to maximising profit and the progress of the competition between monopolies. This limiting affect of monopolies, despite leading to a recession in the developed countries, does not remove the potential for technology and capitalism to developed faster for a short period of time than before in some countries and sometimes in the whole of the capitalist world.
4. In the imperialist stage, export of capital enhances export of goods and becomes the main component of economic relations between countries. Internationalisation of capital and production unifies the economies of all countries as links in the chain of capitalist world economy and advances this process. Overcoming all divisions and restrictions of capitalist-imperialist system, international organisation of economy on the basis of equality and mutual benefit of societies increasingly becomes a necessity for the advancement of productive forces. Nevertheless, the hegemony of finance capital makes this impossible and capitalist-imperialist system reproduces and reinforces the contradictions that prevent this. It is only through the victory of proletarian world revolution that economy can be organised internationally to free itself from the restrictions of the capitalist imperialist system and develop freely.
5. The period of formation and supremacy of monopolies and finance capital has also been a period when capitalism had spread to even the remotest parts and when the division of the world had completed. This marked the end for the bourgeoisie of a period of expansion to untouched ‘free’ areas, depriving them of the opportunity to unload the increased tensions and burdens brought on by capitalist development into new areas. A new era started, an era of intensified oppression and exploitation of the working class and the oppressed peoples, with sharpening contradictions of capitalism leading to developments in leaps and bitter conflicts. While competition and efforts to divide world resources by main capitalist groups and countries intensified, capitalism turned into a world system where big imperialist countries enslaved a big majority of the world population, prevented free and independent development, and countries are divided into two as the oppressor and the oppressed or the exploiter and the exploited.
6. Unequal and leapfrog development change the balance of power between imperialist countries and international financial groups. Struggles for the re-division of the world and the wars resulting from these struggles become inevitable. Inter-imperialist contradictions become one of the main contradictions that weaken the capitalist system, deepen general depressions, disable or kill millions of people, destroy nature, productive forces and means of livelihood, deepen and spread moral collapse and corruption, divisions and contradictions that will hasten its end.
7. Increased export of capital hastens capitalist development in developing and underdeveloped countries. While imperialist exploitation and oppression intensify, new powers of struggle against imperialism and its local foundations arise. Class differentiations deepen in rural countries where the working class is really weak or non-existent, and working class and its movement develop and semi-proletarian masses widen. Financial preconditions of socialism develop in these countries too. These countries stop being a rearguard for imperialism and become areas of struggles against all reaction and capitalism, and primarily imperialism and its local foundations. The contradictions between imperialism and the exploited and oppressed peoples and nations become one of the fundamental contradictions of capitalist-imperialist system along with the labour-capital and inter-imperialist contradictions.
8. The main stakeholders and managers of monopolies and state authorities become nested and completely merge; state power concentrates in the hands of the financial oligarchy. As the effective use of the state to serve the benefits of the monopolies becomes more and more important, preconditions for this are created and monopolist state capitalism develops. The capitalist state is strengthened by the creation of new institutions, primarily the military-bureaucratic instruments. An ever increasing proportion of the total social production is spent on militarisation and wars as well as developing the state – a parasitic tumour on society – and primarily military-bureaucratic instruments.
9. Imperialism concentrates financial capital in a few imperialist countries, widening the strata of rentiers completely disconnected from production but getting a growing proportion of profits. This is accompanied by the ever increasing transfer of production, especially of the labour intensive sectors, to countries with high profit margins where capital is limited but labour power, land and resources are cheap. Imperialist countries with the most powerful and developed financial capital become countries that exploit majority populations on earth, get further disconnected from production and where rentier strata and sectors serving them become larger.
10. Imperialism is the systematic restriction or even complete removal of perceived roles and responsibilities of symbolic institutions, democratic rights and freedoms; the highest spread of reaction, enslaving of other nations and peoples, trampling upon the rights to self determination and national sovereignty, and tendency to annexation. Fascism is the intense expression of these tendencies of financial capital; it surfaces as the most reactionary, chauvinistic, aggressive and barbaric trend and form of state.
11. Financial capital forms alliances with all types of reactionary forces – primarily medieval reactionarism – making them obey its own rules, becoming the main pillar that supports them. Despite the level of advances in technology and science, bourgeoisie cannot develop a scientific worldview; it tries to hold on and spread – with new truths – the most reactionary dogmas and religious and philosophical-ideological trends from the dustbin of history. Superficiality and poverty of ideas in all areas of philosophy, culture and art become commonplace, trying to blacken the constantly resisting and advancing art and culture of the workers and peoples.
12. As well as monopolies preventing the means of production developing freely, the devastation in all areas of public life will grow, caused by imperialist wars and crises that are more frequent, longer and with more severe consequences. The indifferent use of technology by monopolies in pursuit of maximum profit extends this devastation to the environment. Bourgeoisie obstructs the development of productive forces and social progress. Ending the ownership of a minority and socialising the means of production and replacement of capitalist modes of production by socialist modes become a historical necessity and a condition for free development of the means of production.
III. Imperialism, Oppressed Nations and the Proletarian Revolution
1. In chase of maximum profit monopolies intensify the exploitation of the working classes and communities and systematically plunder the underground and other resources of other countries. Capital’s effort to stop the tendency of falling rate of profit due to its rising organic composition and its desire for maximum profit fuels the tendency of monopolies to intensify the exploitation of the workers and peoples. Level of concentration and centralisation of capital and production, the concentration of the means of production and political power in the hands of financial oligarchy, effective use of state power in all areas to benefit capital and advancing monopolistic state capitalism, all this widens the opportunities for monopolies to intensify oppression and exploitation. All this and increasing oppression and exploitation by finance capital become new factors that intensify the labour-capital contradiction; that develop tendencies of unrest, anger and struggle among the working class and societies against finance capital and its dictatorship; that forces them to unite their struggle at the workplace, in the sector, the country and the world. While monopolist capitalist character of the state comes to light, the varied mass struggles of the oppressed and exploited classes turn into a political struggle against capital and the governments.
2. High monopolistic profits enable finance capital to buy out administrators of working class organisations such as trade unions, cooperatives and political parties of the masses; and develop labour aristocracy and bureaucracy to create a stratum within the working class that is bourgeois in life style, social interactions, mental state, etc. This stratum becomes the social foundation of bourgeoisie and financial oligarchy within the working class as well as the main source of all collaboration and opportunism. In an attempt to oppress and push aback the advancing movement of the working class, monopolistic bourgeoisie effectively uses the labour aristocracy, bureaucracy and tottering intermediary forces, as well as its continuously strengthened bourgeois government. A continuous struggle against and the isolation of these strata, renewed and modernised by bourgeoisie depending on the progress of the working class, becomes a condition for the victory of the working class.
3. New heights reached in the export of capital leads to big businesses in developing countries rising on exploited cheap labour and concentration of a working class in these businesses. Despite their primacy as a modern developing class, the struggle of the workers in these countries moves towards an independent movement in conditions of fierce oppression and exploitation; benefitting from the experiences and getting the support of workers of the advanced capitalist countries. With the development of the working class and its independent movement in these countries, working class movement and struggle for freedom stops being limited to advanced capitalist countries and becomes a worldwide movement. While deepening the contradictions within the ranks of bourgeoisie, capitalism develops the foundations that unite workers of the advanced and developing countries as members of one army that gives an international character to their struggles for freedom.
4. The revolutionary struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations unites in the same front with the revolutionary movement of the working class and becomes a component of the worldwide workers’ revolutionary movement. Capitalism ripens the conditions and financial basis for these struggles to develop under the leadership of the working class and turn into peoples’ revolutions for an uninterrupted transition to socialism. Revolution of the workers of the world is no longer limited to developed capitalist countries, and depending on the deepening of the unequal and leapfrog development, there comes a period when this revolution becomes a process that starts and develops with the weakest chain(s) of the capitalist-imperialist system breaking. The working class seizes political power and organises as the ruling class in the weakest chain (or chains) and the building of a classless society – a significant turn in terms of historical development – and the period of working class social revolution starts.
5. The working class will, by taking the means of production into public ownership, lay the foundations of a communist society where classes and all forms of exploitation is eradicated. Anarchic and unbalanced production under capitalism aiming profit and serving markets is replaced by a social production based on a constantly developing technical basis, and is planned according to all material and nonmaterial needs of society and each of its members. As it demolishes classes and oppressive and exploitative relationships in all forms, the social revolution of the working class will also free other oppressed and exploited classes. The working class can only fulfil its historical revolutionary role under the command of its party equipped with the theory of scientific socialism.
6. The precondition for this revolution is for the working class to seize power and organise as the ruling class, wage an uninterrupted struggle against all new and old forms and elements of capitalism and crush any attempts to re-establish it. Irrespective of the conditions, for the working class to seize power and organize as the ruling class, the state apparatus has to be destroyed through revolutionary violence. There is a transitional period between capitalist and communist society that can be called the first phase of communism; a period when elements of both co-exist in struggle with each other and when the working class is organised as the ruling class, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat. This rule, differing from all previous class hegemony, is democracy for the great majority of the population but a dictatorship on the exploiting classes who are a small minority. Productive forces, having set themselves free from limiting effects of capitalist (and prior) production relations and developing freely, will prepare the conditions for transition from the first phase of “from each according to his ability, to each according to their labour” to the final phase of “from each according to his ability, to each according to their need”.
7. The advance of workers’ revolution winning victories in the weakest links of imperialism leads to the start and development of socialist construction under conditions of capitalist imperialist encirclement, to growing international support for the domestic bases of bourgeoisie and capitalism and their attempts to restore the old order. A final and absolute victory of the working class can only be achieved by worldwide demolition of the capitalist system and by replacing the capitalist-imperialist encirclement with a socialist one. For this reason the social revolution of the working class and the construction of a communist society is a complex process, a continuum of national and international ups and downs, attacks and retreats, victories and defeats.
8. Countries are not equal or same in terms of levels of capitalist development, their place in the capitalist world order, relations and balances between classes, social conditions of class struggles, etc. All this leads to the workers and class parties from all over the world with the same ultimate objective to have varying short term goals; leading to differences in the level of progress of social revolution and the process of capitalism and bourgeois dictatorship being demolished, the working class seizing power and organising as the ruling class and socialism being built.
IV. On Working Class Rule, Socialism and the Imperialist Encirclement
1. As capitalism developed its contradictions deepened and the workers’ movement advanced, which lead to a division among the intellectuals and fed the tendency among some of their sections to criticise capitalism on the basis of a scientific analysis and unite with the workers’ movement. It is as a result of the maturing of this tendency that Marxist theory, as the ideology of the working class and a guide to its struggle for emancipation, and the scientific socialist current that has risen on this theory. Thus, the struggle for emancipation of the working class has obtained a scientific programme and a strategic and tactical understanding.
2. From the second half of the 19th century while the working class grew rapidly in numbers and concentrated in big factories, Marxism was spreading fast among workers and intellectuals; and the process of scientific socialism uniting with the workers’ movement even more and the working class organising in capitalist countries, especially in Germany, as independent parties was advancing. While workers’ struggles and mass organisations such as trade unions advanced, revolutionary workers’ parties, equipped with the theory of scientific socialism, gathered support of even greater number of workers and became mass parties. In terms of its level of consciousness and organisation as well as its capacity and ability for struggle the workers’ movement in leading capitalist countries became an independent movement threatening the hegemony of the bourgeoisie. This was a period when the international movement and organisation of the working class also advanced. First and the Second Internationals were established as a centre that – supported by the growing parties of the working class – united the revolutionary movement of the working class against the world bourgeoisie.
3. While material preconditions for socialism were maturing and the workers’ movement was advancing towards a level that would threaten the bourgeois hegemony, the bourgeoisie used everything in its power to intensify its oppression on the working class and other working strata and tried to strengthen its footing in the workers’ movement. When the contradictions of capitalism were sharpening and various factors were accumulating, which would immerse the world into a war for the re-division of the world, opportunist tendencies developed within the parties of the Second International. This was characterised by conformity with bourgeois pressure and orientation towards class collaboration, twisting the principle of using bourgeois parliaments and legal possibilities during long years of peace for their legalism and parliamentarism.
4. The First World War which was initiated by imperialists for the re–division of the world led to the destruction of the productive forces, the death, misery and mutilation of millions of people. This brought about revolutionary situations in many countries and the imperialist capitalist system was breached in Russia with the October Revolution of 1917. The working class of Russia consisting of various nationalities seized power and organised as the ruling class; the process of liquidation of capitalism and construction of socialism started. While the capitalist imperialist system shrunk and weakened in terms of the market, investment and natural resources, the liberation struggles of the world working class and the oppressed peoples gained a strong international base such as the USSR. The commencement of socialist construction and its advancement in the USSR added a new contradiction, the contradiction between the capitalist and the socialist systems, to the existing antagonisms of imperialism which transformed capitalism into a system on a death bed.
5. The October Revolution which started a new age of revolutions, an age of proletarian revolutions in practice was now a new factor in feeding the tendency among the workers and the oppressed peoples, who had been dragged by the imperialist war into a total chaos and destruction, to organise and struggle. Whilst the Second International was heading towards a disgraceful end because of its social-chauvinist and social-imperialist line and conciliatory stance towards the bourgeoisie, working classes’ initiatives to organise as an independent party were gaining strength. As a result the Third International was born as an international organisation of the working class, which joined together the revolutionary workers’ parties and organisations in both the advanced and underdeveloped countries.
6. The October socialist revolution broke the upward march of capitalism and imperialism and led to the birth of a new world: the society of workers, socialism; this was a new era in the history of mankind, the era of imperialism and proletarian revolutions. This period contains fundamental contradictions that are constantly sharpened, interacting with one another and whose exacerbation will lead to new revolutionary processes that break out where the weakest links of the imperialist domination are expressed. The fundamental contradictions of the era are expressed in the struggle between, on the one side, labour, the working class and socialism and, on the other, capital, the bourgeoisie and capitalism, in the struggle of the oppressed peoples and nations against the imperialist countries, and in the struggle among international monopolies and imperialist countries themselves.
7. The October Revolution was followed by the workers’ movements in Germany, Austria and Hungary and the revolutionary uprisings and liberation struggles of the oppressed peoples and nations in countries such as China, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan. With the support of social democracy, labour aristocracy and the bureaucracy, bourgeoisie and the reactionary forces suppressed the revolutionary uprisings of the working class everywhere, except for Russia. With the onset of the 1929 crisis and with sharpening contradictions the imperialist capitalist system entered a new period of confrontations and harsh struggles following a short breadth of relative stability.
8. The Soviet Union which was previously destroyed by the imperialist war was then faced with more destruction because of the civil war and was now under a capitalist-imperialist encirclement. Despite the attacks of imperialism and reactionary forces and the domestic resistance by bourgeois-capitalist remnants that continued to exist during the transition period, the country had shown an unprecedented rapid progress in every field. During the 1930s when fascism was getting stronger in Italy, Japan and Germany and fascist dictatorships were established in many countries, when the capitalist world was experiencing crises one after another and was heading towards a new war of re–division, the USSR had become an advanced industrial-agricultural country where the means of production were in public ownership, where the economic foundations of socialism were formed and the working an living conditions of workers, peasants, and the intellectuals advanced. At a time of deepening crisis and increasing attacks of capital and fascism, there was an increasing tendency among workers and the oppressed peoples to fight, we also witnessed the development of popular anti-fascist struggles in many countries such as France and Spain as well as national liberation movements in colonies, semi-colonies and dependent countries such as China.
9. Although some fascist dictatorships survived in Spain and Portugal, the Second World War resulted in the defeat of the fascist camp, , the breaches of the imperialist-capitalist system in new fronts, and the formation of people’s democracies. The people’s revolutions led by the working class and the uninterrupted orientation towards the construction of socialism in Eastern Europe and the Balkans were followed by the revolutions in China and Vietnam and popular uprisings and national liberation movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Having shaken by the rising revolutionary struggles of the working class and peoples and been breached in new fronts the imperialist capitalist system entered the second stage of its general crisis. The revolutionary parties of the working class in many countries, mainly France, Italy, Greece and Indonesia, receiving the support of wide sectors of working people, had become mass workers’ parties and an alternative to political power. In the face of the movements of the oppressed peoples and nations which went on to rise in the 1960s and 70s, the old colonial system entered a process of disintegration and collapsed.
10. The great mobilisation of the workers’ and the oppressed peoples’ movement led imperialism and world reactionary forces to join forces against them. The US got the upper hand in its relations with other imperialist countries and, following the Second World War, became the unique hegemonic power of the imperialist capitalist system. This enabled imperialism to launch and command a unified attack, even though temporarily, on socialism, the revolutionary movement of the working class and peoples. Finance capital began to renew its damaged relations with labour aristocracy and bureaucracy as well as the hesitant middle class forces, trying to win them over and manipulate effectively, but at the same time developing new tactics, including giving temporary concessions in order to neutralise the working class and peoples. Whilst “welfare state” practices were widening, new colonialist methods and forms had been developed.
11. Revolutionary movement of the world working class was unable to repel the attacks of imperialism or the attacks carried out from inside by those wavering, conciliatory elements functioning as a prop for the bourgeoisie within the workers’ movement and the socialist camp. The 20th Congress of the CPSU marked a turning point when the counter revolutionary line which ideologically took the form of modern revisionism became dominant in the party and within the revolutionary movement of the working class. This line had interrupted socialist construction, had opened the way to capitalist restoration, and had replaced the struggle against imperialism, bourgeoisie, and the opportunist and revisionist currents of all kinds with collaboration. Whilst capitalism was being restored in socialist countries, with the exception of Albania, with the propaganda of renewal of socialism, transition to communism, etc. and with deformed socialist forms, revolutionary workers’ movement entered in a period of defeat and decline. Modern revisionism used the advances, the great respect and trust gained by old socialist countries, including the USSR, one of the most advanced and powerful lands, in draining the revolutionary content of scientific socialism and drag the workers’ and the oppressed peoples’ struggles down to the minimum level of resistance in every field. Revolutionary mass parties of the working class turned into syndicalist, reformist-parliamentarist parties, and the revolutionary workers movement was faced with a process of total liquidation. This development had an effect on the oppressed nations and their movements as well as the workers’ movement. Conciliatory bourgeois and petit-bourgeois currents began to have greater influence in these movements.
12. With the supremacy of modern revisionism planned production that safeguarded stable and harmonious development on the basis of the needs of society was gradually replaced by production for profit and for the market. Capitalist economy and capitalist society began to show its characteristics in the form of economic stagnation and crisis, unequal development, open and disguised unemployment, accumulation of money and luxurious consumption in the hands of a small minority, parasitic and totally distant from production, accompanied by increasing poverty, rising military spending and interventions etc. These problems reached such magnitudes towards the end of the 1980s that this special and temporary form of capitalism could not be sustained and inevitably left the ground for the typical form which was meant to be. In the beginning of the 1990s, the USSR and its bloc entered the process of disintegration; socialism and all its deformed remnants were eradicated and typical capitalist forms have been restored; socialism was collapsed in Albania, too.
13. All these developments were claimed to be the proof of the bankruptcy of communism and the end of the struggle for revolution and socialism as well as the supremacy of capitalism and market economy. This was also the beginning of the gravest and the most effective anti-communist campaign in history. The conditions were now suitable for the spread of liberal, neo-liberal, conservative, social democrat, neo-fascist currents or those that were based on the reactionarism and prejudice parallel with the level of the Middle Ages. While all forms of revisionist currents weakened, some of them disintegrated and their remnants turned into reformist right or left social democratic forces, the others tried to survive by renewing their platforms, leading the way to “new” currents in pursuit of producing solutions and alternatives within the imperialist-capitalist system. They claimed that the scientific socialist theory has become outdated, that it could never explain social processes, and that it had to be surpassed. Adorned with new excuses, we have seen the revival of theories claiming that scientific and technological revolution caused fundamental changes in the relations of production, that the contradiction between labour and capital disappeared, and that the historical revolutionary role of the changing working class came to an end. In line with all this it was also argued that the material basis for working class parties and organisations were no longer there, that the function of workers organisations such as trade unions changed, that they became obsolete and would be replaced by new social organisations. Along with post-modern theories these theses are still being spread with new excuses and in readapted forms in various names such as “radical democracy”, “21st century socialism”, “market socialism”, “anarchism”, “eco-anarchism”, etc.
14. Despite the process of defeat and decline suffered by the working class and peoples’ movement following the disintegration of the USSR and the revisionist bloc and parties, their struggle went on uninterruptedly, although from a lower position. We have also seen the rise of the fight against all forms of revisionist, opportunist, social democrat bourgeois currents. In this fight, with their resolute and uncompromising stance, Albanian communists and the PLA led by Enver Hoxha played an important role in the formation of new parties and the development of a struggle in some old parties. New revolutionary parties and organisations of the working class emerged in the struggle against imperialism, bourgeoisie and all kinds of opportunist and revisionist currents such as Titoism, Trotskyism, Euro-communism, Maoism, and especially modern revisionism. These party and organisations continued their struggle and consolidated their unity with greater participation in the 1990s and later years when the anti-communist campaign was most effective because of the harsh but temporary defeat suffered by socialism and the revolutionary workers’ movement.
15. Those parties that continued with their struggle on the basis of the working class and their Marxist-Leninist lines came up with the Quito Proclamation in 1994, following a series of preparatory meetings in various continents. International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations (ICMLPO) came to being in this process, and it is the international organisation of the revolutionary workers’ movement of the present day. ICMLPO considers itself to be the inheritor and the body which carries out the revolutionary principles and implementations of the revolutionary periods of the First and the Second Internationals, of the Third International (Comintern) and the revolutionary period of the Cominform.
V. On Sharpening Contradictions and the Rising Prospects for Struggle
1. Despite the heaviest blow the emancipation movement of the working class suffered in its history, the foundations of the revolutionary movement of the world working class and oppressed peoples continued to develop rather than weaken, just like the antagonistic contradictions that drag capitalist imperialist system to its death. Capitalist relations of production have become dominant in underdeveloped and dependent countries which have the characteristics of peasant society and where there is still a strong presence of feudal remnants. We have seen the process of disintegration of peasantry and the growth of proletarian and semi-proletarian masses, as well as the development of the material preconditions for socialism. The working class and semi-proletarian masses grew hugely in numbers on a world scale, so much which could not be compared with the level in the 1950s, let alone that at the time of the October Revolution. In the conditions of antagonism and struggle between the capitalist and the socialist systems as well as capitalist competition, the scientific and technological revolution, the emergence of new sectors such as atomic fission, the discovery and use of nuclear energy, computing and programming, the renewal of the technical basis of production, transportation and distribution, wide use of electronics, etc. led to new developments that increased the productivity of labour. This also widened the opportunity for production, especially the labour-intense sections, to be shifted into countries where work force, land and resources are cheaper. Where it is stronger historically, the disintegration of small businesses and of self employment as well as the development of waged labour became faster. Intensified centralisation and internationalisation of capital and production on a world scale moved forward the process of socialisation of production and the deepening of social inequality and contradictions. The contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist character of ownership became more prominent. The growth of the army of the unemployed, intensification of exploitation, the growth of labour dependency on capital, the advance of the process of appropriation, the growth of the gap between the haves and the have-nots are all the inevitable results of scientific and technological advances under capitalist conditions. Every advance in this field sharpens the contradictions of capitalism but it also improves the material preconditions for socialism and brings capitalism and imperialism to their inevitable end.
2. The defeat and the resulting many-sided decline in the working class and the oppressed peoples’ movement brought about greater aggression by imperialism and the world reactionary forces. Accompanied by the globalisation demagogy and presented as “neoliberal” measures, bourgeois capitalist circles intensified their attacks. The aim was to eradicate the remaining crumbs of rights and gains achieved by the working class, press down their struggle to the lowest levels, lift all national and international barriers that limit the hegemony and exploitation by capital, especially its monopolist sections, to ensure maximum profit. All the burdens resulting from the economic crisis and recessions, increasing competition and the preparations for the re-division of the world and settling accounts are being loaded onto the working class and peoples.
3. While in all countries, including those presented as the exemplary capitalist welfare states, the profit of monopolies increase, the living and working conditions of the oppressed and exploited masses deteriorate. Despite rising levels of labour productivity, real wages are going down, work day is extended, work intensity increased, retirement age rising and casual work and subcontracting spreading in many countries. One of the most important outcomes of this process is the weakening of the unity and the organisation of the working class at every level. This made it easier for the social gains of the working people being taken down to the lowest levels in education, pension, health, unemployment insurance, etc. with privatisation spreading rapidly giving capital really high profits. While the process of disintegration and appropriation of intermediary strata is getting faster, poverty is spreading and the army of the unemployed is getting bigger. Democratic rights and freedoms are being restricted with the pretext of fight against terrorism, and reactionary forces and militarism are favoured. Bourgeoisie is carrying out these attacks without abandoning social democracy which has become a reactionary class collaborationism no different from other bourgeois currents, and by using chauvinist, nationalist, religious, conservative, fascist and neo-fascist currents and organisations, and with all medieval reactionary forces in its service.
4. Among the oppressed and exploited masses the feelings of insecurity, anger and discontent is growing as well as the tendency to struggle. Although this has not yet reached a level to repel the attacks and has all the weaknesses of a spontaneous movement, the working class and peoples are resisting and fighting against them. In the 1990s and later years when the attacks had intensified, the struggles of the working class and peoples advanced from being local strikes to general strikes and acts of resistance, mass demonstrations in general, and as far as popular uprisings in underdeveloped and dependent countries. The struggles of French workers in 1995 had marked a turning point.
5. Contrary to the claims of those extensions of bourgeois-capitalist circles in the workers’ movement, the collapse of the old colonial system did not lead to the withdrawal of imperialism and colonialism from the scene of history or the eradication or softening of the contradiction between imperialism and the oppressed peoples. This division and contradiction continued to deepen, gaining new characteristics during and after the process of disintegration of the old colonial system. Big imperialist countries, especially the US, intensified their attacks using new forms and methods of colonisation, but also without completely giving up the old ones. This process proved once again that without the collapse of the entire imperialist-capitalist system, imperialism and colonialism cannot be ended, nor could the oppressed people achieve full emancipation.
6. Big imperialist countries have developed a stronger yoke on some other developed countries as well as underdeveloped and semi-developed ones, turning them into a sort of economic and financial colonies. Through bilateral and multilateral military, commercial and financial agreements as well as international organisations under the control of imperialist states such as IMF, World Bank, WTO, OECD, EU, NAFTA, OAS, APEC, NATO, etc. these countries hold greater control in the economic, political, military and cultural lives of the member states, restricting their independence and national sovereignty. These institutions were a result of the globalisation of the capitalist world economy, and big imperialist countries use them as an instrument to coordinate their attacks, to get other countries and peoples under their grip and to widen their sphere of influence.
7. With the disintegration of the bloc led by the USSR, in terms of the inter-imperialist relations and contradictions, the restrictions caused by the division and rivalry between the two blocs, each one led by a superpower, have disappeared. The balance of power which shaped all economic, political and military international organisations such as UN, IMF, WB and NATO has shifted. New imperialist countries have emerged such as China and Russia from the ruins of the USSR. Inter-imperialist power relations have changed, the main imperialist powers repositioned themselves and a new struggle for redivision has begun. In order to protect and widen their spheres of influence imperialist powers incited reactionary civil wars using national, ethnic, religious differences as well as conducting direct military interventions. Peoples in the Balkans, Caucasus, Africa and the Middle East had been drawn into the whirlpool of reactionary wars. Direct military interventions by big imperialist powers, especially the USA have become widespread as was seen in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Sudan, Somali, Iraq, Libya, Mali, etc. The number of people died in these interventions and the wars incited by imperialists have reached millions, and genocides had taken place in Africa.
8. The advances in science and technology and in the means of production have widened the possibilities to meet and secure the needs of people by conquering nature and using its resources on the basis of the knowledge of and the respect for the laws of natural development. However, the unconcerned use of advanced means of production by capital, in the hands of monopolies and for maximum profit, has led to the destruction of nature, skewed ecological balance and reached such levels that threaten humanity and all living things and require an immediate solution. Especially the natural resources of dependent and semi-colonial countries are being plundered in such a way that lead to big environmental catastrophes. Imperialist capitalist system, in this regard too, drags humanity to a total catastrophe.
9. While the material bases of a world proletarian revolution are developing and ripening even more, with its divisions and contradictions deepening, the imperialist capitalist system is elevating the conditions that bring the inevitability of the reactionary imperialist wars as well as the revolutionary struggles and uprisings of the working class and peoples. This system is going from crisis to crisis and the factors of a revolutionary eruption are accumulating in many countries. This system is heading towards a new period of wars, fundamental changes and revolutions. No matter what methods imperialism and reactionary forces use and how fiercely they attack, no matter how heavy the temporary defeats and failures are the collapse of imperialist capitalist system and the victory of the world proletarian revolution is inevitable.
10. As is seen clearly in the 1848 revolutions in Western Europe, the Paris Commune and the October Revolution, not only victories but also defeats can be educational for the working class and peoples, paving the steps for greater and more advanced victories. The Paris Commune followed the 1831-34 workers struggles in France, the Chartist movement in England and the 1848 revolutions, and the October Revolution was the product of all that experience. The victories and defeats of the 20th century will form the foundations of new and more advanced mobilisations and struggles and educate the working class on the way.
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