By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples” Struggle
4 May 2009
On behalf of the International Coordinating Coordinating Committee and member-organizations of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS), I convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) and to all the delegations to the 25th KMU International Solidarity Affair (ISA).
We salute and congratulate the KMU for successfully holding the ISA every year since 1984 by gathering workers, trade unions, labor rights advocates, friends and supporters of the working class in Asia and the Pacific, Africa, Europe, North and Latin America.
We appreciate the institutionalization of the ISA as as a venue for exchanging experiences and ideas and for developing cooperation and mutual support in campaigns for decent wages and labor rights against the exploitative and oppressive policies of monopoly capitalism and its agencies, like the IMF, World Bank and WTO .
We commend the KMU for having established the ISA under the harsh conditions of the US-directed Marcos fascist dictatorship. Precisely because of such conditions, the KMU organized the ISA in order to gather support from the workers of the world for the KMU and Filipino workers that the fascist regime was subjecting to the worst barbarities. But over the years the ISA has become a means of developing well-rounded international solidarity and cooperation among the workers of the world.
We join you in celebrating the 25 years of ISA and all the efforts of KMU and its partners in other countries in upholding, defending and promoting international solidarity of the workers for their rights and interests against imperialism and all reaction. It is fitting and proper that the theme for this year’s affair is the fighting slogan: Resist Imperialist Crisis, Plunder and War.”
I am pleased and honored to be able to contribute today to the development of the theme by discussing the topic assigned to me: the tasks and prospects of the workers of the world amidst the global financial and economic crisis. I am grateful that one speaker is assigned to dissect the global financial and economic crisis and another to present the intensifying militarism, fascism and war engendered by imperialism. I presume that their presentations lay the basis for my topic.
Need for a Revolutionary Party of the Working Class
Let me start my presentation by agreeing with the view that the essential task of raising the level of the international labor movement consists of advancing from making economic demands and protesting imperialist plunder and war to confronting the No.1 imperialist and terrorist power and developing unity, cooperation and coordination among the workers of the world in exposing and opposing imperialism.
An important requisite for such advance is to build a broad anti-imperialist united front of trade unions that oppose monopoly capitalism as the common enemy of the proletariat and all the oppressed peoples and nations. In this regard, you must foster common understanding and practical cooperation among trade unions around the world in order to intensify the campaigns against imperialist plunder and war and to strengthen the anti-imperialist movements in our respective countries and globally.
It is of great importance and urgent necessity that ISA serves as an instrument for developing the anti-imperialist position, carrying forward the victories in the international workers’ movement against imperialism, fortifying the resolve to resist the chronic and worsening crisis of the world capitalist system and fostering the revolutionary aspirations of the working class for socialism.
I understand that, In keeping with the character of the KMU as a labor center and the ISA as a gathering of trade unionists, you do not spell out and dwell on the need for a revolutionary party of the proletariat and the task of building it. Let me have the honor and privilege of discussing these matters, relating the trade union movement to the party of the working class but without suggesting any change in the nonparty or mass character of the KMU and ISA.
From being a class in itself that arises from the need of the bourgeoisie to purchase and exploit labor power in industrial production, the working class becomes class conscious and coheres as a class for itself: at first in struggles for better wage and living conditions through the trade union movement and eventually in struggles for the conquest of political power through the revolutionary party of the proletariat. Such a party is needed to lead the trade union movement and other anti-imperialist mass movements in realizing the historic mission of the working class to build socialism and defeat imperialism and ultimately to bring humankind to the threshold of communism.
The revolutionary party of the proletariat is needed to struggle for such immediate demands as full employment, decent wages, social security, health protection and trade union rights, expose and oppose the root causes of poverty, racism, chauvinism, repression, aggression and environmental degradation and improve the economic, social, political, cultural and environmental conditions of the working class and the broad masses of the people in the direction of revolutionary change for socialism. The trade union movement weakens and the conditions of the working class deteriorate when the revolutionary party of the proletariat weakens, is coopted by the bourgeoisie or does not exist at all.
When we speak of the revolutionary party of the proletariat, we mean a party that truly belongs to the working class as the most productive and most progressive political force and aims for the realization of the historic mission of the working class to build socialism. It is a party that rejects confinement within the capitalist system as a permanent condition. It is determined to replace capitalism with socialism, to make the radical rupture with the exploitative tradition of private ownership of the means of production, to defeat monopoly capitalism and bring humankind to the threshold of a world without any exploiting class.
Definitely, we do not need a bourgeois laborite party, a social democratic party, a revisionist “communist” party nor any other brand of party that seeks to perpetuate the capitalist system and serves the narrow interests of imperialism and reaction. Neither do we need any party that proclaims itself the revolutionary party of the proletariat but does not arouse, organize and mobilize the workers and other toiling people for the fundamental social transformation. We need a party of the working class that leads the broad masses of the people in the new democratic revolution with a socialist perspective in certain countries and the socialist revolution in other countries.
Together with the rest of the people, the working class and its revolutionary party must carry out the new democratic revolution in countries, which are in dire need of national liberation and democracy and of national industrialization and land reform. In the industrial capitalist countries, they must pursue the line of socialist revolution and be ready to fight for democracy against the use of chauvinism, racism, fascism and imperialist war by the monopoly bourgeoisie to suppress and derail the revolutionary movement for socialism.
The revolutionary party of the proletariat is an indispensable instrument for waging the people’s struggles for immediate basic social reforms and for the long-term goal of building socialism. It concentrates the revolutionary ideas and political will of the working class as the leading class and charts the strategy and tactics for defeating the imperialists and reactionaries and for establishing the worker state or the worker-peasant state, as the circumstances require. It is not enough to have trade unions and other forms of mass organizations that amount to mere pressure groups within the confines of the exploitative ruling system.
In recent decades the monopoly bourgeoisie and the imperialist powers headed by the US have been successful in their anti-communist crusade and class struggle against socialism and the working class because of the emergence and growth of modern revisionism within the ruling communist and workers’ parties, since the late 1950s in the case of the Soviet Union and since the late 1970s in the case of China. Together with other anti-worker currents, modern revisionism has resulted in the restoration of capitalism in socialist countries and has undermined and derailed the international working class movement for socialism.
Gladdened by the revisionist betrayal of socialism and the peaceful restoration of capitalism in socialist countries, the US and its imperialist allies have been emboldened to adopt since 1979 and thereabouts what has come to be known as the policy of “neoliberal globalization”. They have decked out this policy as a solution to the problem of stagflation which they claim results from the stifling of the free market by state intervention and working class demands. They have used the policy to unleash an ideological, political and socio-economic counteroffensive against the working class and the socialist cause.
They have obfuscated the extraction of surplus value and the maximization of private profit as the cause of the crisis of overproduction and the overaccumulation of capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie. Instead, they have put the blame on the working class for supposedly jacking up wage levels and social spending by government as the cause of stagflation and they have interpreted the capitalist restoration and economic decline in the revisionist-ruled states as the invalidation of socialism and the justification for the “free market” within every country and on a global scale.
Under the policy of “neoliberal globalization”, the imperialists and the reactionaries throughout the world have carried out a vicious class struggle against the working class. By various means within their power, they have pushed down the wage levels and cut back on government social spending. They have curtailed the trade union and other democratic rights of the workers. They have used the brute force of the state to suppress strikes and other concerted actions of the workers. They have also used the schools, the mass media, churches, think tanks and other weapons of mass deception to propagate the dogma of the “free market”, to discredit the socialist cause and the working class movement and to undermine the class consciousness of the workers themselves..
They have accelerated the concentration of both productive and finance capital in the hands of the monopoly bourgeoisie and have in the process inflicted the most intolerable forms of exploitation and oppression on the working people. But they have repeatedly outwitted themselves by pressing down the incomes of the working people and thus causing the crisis of overproduction. They have further outwitted themselves by generating ever bigger financial bubbles one after another under the illusion that the unbridled creation of fictitious capital can counter the tendency of the profit rate to fall upon the expansion of capitalist commodity production.
Right now, they cannot solve the crisis because they are obsessed with their neoliberal bias and know no bounds for bailing out the finance oligarchy and for imposing further financial burdens on the working people. They miss out on the need to undertake measures to stimulate demand and production by providing temporary jobs and other forms of relief to the working people on a timely and adequate basis.
We are in the situation of the worst global financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression. In fact, we are already in a global state of depression and are moving towards the Greater Depression. The working class and the broad masses of the people are faced with the challenges of understanding the history and current severity of the crisis, carrying out protests against the imperialists and reactionaries and making demands for countering the crisis, adopting relief measures and reforms and, in the course of all these, aiming for the lasting solutions through revolutionary mass movement and social revolution.
The Task of Building the Revolutionary Party of the Working Class
The international workers movement and the international communist movement have weakened as a result of the growth of modern revisionism and the eventual full restoration of capitalism in the revisionist-ruled countries and the ruthless assaults on the democratic rights, wage levels and social benefits of the workers by the imperialist states and the monopoly bourgeoisie under the policy of “neoliberal globalization” and the slogan of “free market”.
Trade unions have weakened or dissolved as a result of the ruthless class war waged against the working class by the monopoly bourgeoisie in combination with the labor aristocracy, the reformists and the revisionists. Communist and workers parties afflicted by modern revisionism lost membership and political following, every time that they moved further to the Right. Since the 1989-91 period when the revisionist regimes disintegrated and the Soviet Union collapsed, the revisionist parties have either dissolved themselves or moved further to the Right and constituted themselves as “left social democratic” or neorevisionist parties.
The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) was once the largest international labor center even after the formation of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and also even after the splits related to the Sino-Soviet ideological debate (i.e. between Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism). But it has declined drastically since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Soviet bloc regimes. Many of its constituent unions have gone over to its former Cold War rival, the ICFTU. The WFTU still maintains a structure of several trade union internationals along defined industrial lines but focuses now on organizing regional federations of unions in the third world.
At the moment, there is neither a socialist state nor any communist or workers’ party that serves as the widely accepted and effective rallying point for either the international communist movement or the international workers’ movement. However, there are communist or workers parties related to various traditions and currents traceable to the ideological debates in the international communist movement since the 1960s around the issue of Marxism-Leninism and modern revisionism. Such parties belong to various groupings that hold periodic conferences or seminars which adopt resolutions on various issues by consensus.
There is nothing like the Third Communist International, with the Bolshevik party as the most respected party and with congresses and an executive committee that made decisions to guide or direct communist and workers parties on a global scale. Since the dissolution of the Comintern in 1943, the principles of equality, independence, consensus, cooperation and mutual support have at best guided the relations among communist and workers’ parties. Such principles have been underscored among parties that have opposed the line of modern revisionism spread by the Soviet party since 1956.
As of now, it may be said that there is an international communist movement insofar as there are communist and workers’ parties that are engaged in revolutionary struggle in their respective countries under the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and in accordance with the concrete analysis of concrete conditions, that consider their efforts and accomplishments as contributions to the advance of the world proletarian revolution and that are ever willing to engage in common undertakings with comradely parties abroad in order to fight and defeat imperialism and all reaction.
The main task of the proletarian revolutionaries in every country is to build the revolutionary party of the working class. The parties that arise in various countries are the building blocks of the international communist movement. This movement shall rise to a new and higher level of development as a result of victories in the revolutionary struggle in various countries. Holding international conferences, seminars and forums among parties in order to exchange experiences and ideas, develop common understanding, make resolutions by consensus and agree on practical cooperation takes a secondary position to the revolutionary struggles of the communist parties in their respective countries.
The first among the tasks in building the revolutionary party of the working class is ideological building. Without a revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement and there can be no revolutionary party leading it. The theory of Marxism-Leninism is the accumulation of ideas and experiences of the international workers’ and communist movement. It is the highest level so far achieved in developing the revolutionary consciousness of the working class. There is an element of modesty in calling Marxism-Leninism a theory because it is in fact a science that has revealed the laws of motion in capitalism and socialism and has repeatedly guided successful revolutionary practice.
The purpose of studying Marxism-Leninism in the course of ideological building is to apply the theory in understanding the history and current social circumstances and in carrying out revolution by the working class and the rest of the people. The theory encompasses the philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism, the political economy of capitalism and socialism, the role of classes in state and revolution, the strategy and tactics of the revolution and the history of the international communist movement.
It is not enough though to have a few party cadres and members with a high level of revolutionary consciousness and theoretical knowledge. The working class party needs to become a political force, capable of leading the broad masses of the people and gaining their participation and support in waging various forms of struggle and eventually in taking political power, which is indispensable for effecting social revolution. In this regard, it is necessary for the working class party to undertake social investigation and class analysis in order to grasp the basic character of society and to draw and carry out the corresponding general political line for waging the revolution.
Let us consider three clearly defined types of societies. If the society is semicolonial and semifeudal, the general line of the new democratic revolution needs to be carried out. If the society is industrial capitalist, the general line of socialist revolution needs to be carried out. If the society is already socialist, the general line is to carry out socialist revolution and construction for a whole historical epoch and continue the revolution under proletarian dictatorship in order to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate socialism.
In building the working class party politically, it is necessary to take the mass line, which is to learn from the masses what are their conditions, needs and demands and to rely on them and trust them in mustering their own strength and undertaking the actions for achieving basic social reforms and social revolution. The cadres and members of the party must maintain intimate relations with the masses and must work resolutely and militantly to arouse, organize and mobilize them.
The party must build the trade unions and other mass organizations of the working people, women, youth, the professionals and other sectors of society. It must generate the mass movement through political campaigns on the most urgent as well as long term social issues. It must engage in alliances in order to amplify the strength and influence of the progressive forces and isolate and defeat the enemy of the people at every given time. In waging legal forms of struggle, the party can develop forms of self-defense against state violence. In resisting extreme oppression or a war of aggression, the party can build a people’s army as well as organs of political power for the purpose of social revolution.
To be able to carry out its gigantic political tasks, the working class party must build its own organizational strength. It is guided by the principle of democratic centralism. Democratic discussions are freely undertaken in the organizations and organs of the party. Decisions are made either by majority vote or consensus. The decision of a higher organ prevails over that of the lower organ because of the representation of a bigger number of party members and because of the need to concentrate and unify the will of the party for the purpose of social revolution.
The party needs to maintain and develop its working class character. It must recruit members mainly from the working class and require all recruits from the working people and the intelligentsia to take the stand, viewpoint and method of the working class, to cast away the anti-worker and anti-socialist influences of the bourgeoisie and adhere to the principles, line and policies of the party. The party must be deeply rooted among the masses, draw its members from the ranks of militants in the mass movement and must expand and deepen its organization on a nationwide scale.
Prospects of the International Working Class Movement
Since the imposition of The policy of “neoliberal globalization”, the current grave crisis of the world capitalist system has been in the making for three decades through the recurrence and cumulative aggravation of the crisis of overproduction and overaccumulation of capital in the hands of the finance oligarchy in the US and other imperialist countries. The greed and violence of the monopoly bourgeoisie prevent the solution of the crisis in the short term or in the middle term.
The crisis will worsen and deepen for a long while. It is causing multipolarization of the imperialist powers and the intensification of the struggle for a redivision of the world. The intensification of economic competition and political rivalry among the imperialist powers will cause more social and political turmoil. It portends more imperialist wars of aggression despite all the current hype by the leaders of the imperialist countries to unite in solving the crisis in a peaceful and nonprotectionist way.
The crisis escalates the exploitation and oppression of the proletariat and people of the world. Thus, social discontent and unrest is spreading and intensifying. Their suffering impel the broad masses of the people to fight back. The crisis makes the conditions favorable for the upsurge of the revolutionary mass movement against imperialism and all reaction and for national liberation, democracy and socialism.
The prolonged duration and worsening of the crisis provide the progressive forces of the proletariat and people of the world the time and opportunity to arise and strengthen themselves ideologically, politically and organizationally. The progressive legal mass movements will certainly flourish on a global scale. The armed revolutionary movements will grow in strength where they already exist. They are bound to break out in more countries and in more global regions as the imperialists and the reactionaries become more rapacious and more violent than ever before.
The international workers’ movement will certainly gain strength as the workers in both developed and underdeveloped countries fight for their rights and interests as a class and combine with the rest of the people in fighting for the common good against monopoly capitalism. They will raise high the banner of proletarian internationalism as they increase common understanding, international cooperation and mutual support and as they struggle against the monopoly bourgeoisie, the labor aristocracy and the currents of opportunism, reformism and revisionism.
The broad anti-imperialist movement of the people of the world will make great advances. The achievements already made by anti-imperialist and democratic formations like the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) will become greater. Like the ISA, the ILPS is a nonparty or mass formation but certainly it recognizes the important role of the revolutionary parties of the proletariat. The anti-imperialist organizations and movements of the people will grow within particular countries and at the international level. The ILPS is prepared to strengthen its own forces as well to have broad alliance and cooperation with other forces.
Within a particular country, the progressive workers movement can become strong only when the revolutionary party of the working class leads the proletariat and the people. Such a party can become strong only if it bases itself on the strength of the progressive trade union movement and other mass movements. Also within a country, the broad anti-imperialist movement can become strong only when the revolutionary party of the working class leads the broad masses of the people. Such a party can become strong only if it is based on the broad anti-imperialist movement of the people.
The international movement of trade unions can become strong only if there is a strong international movement of communist and workers’ parties. The international communist movement can become strong only if it is based on a strong international workers’ movement. The broad anti-imperialist movement can become strong worldwide only if there is a strong international communist movement. Such an international movement of communist and workers’ parties can become strong only if it is based on a strong anti-imperialist movement of people’s organizations on a global scale.
The international communist movement will definitely become far stronger than now if once more a country of strategic importance or several countries would become socialist though revolutions led by communist and workers’ parties. Before then the communist and workers parties can comprise the international communist movement only as they study the theory of Marxism-Leninism and apply this in their respective countries and as they develop common understanding and practical relations with other revolutionary parties of the proletariat in accordance with the principles of equality, independence, cooperation and mutual support.
Workers of all countries, unite!
Long live the International Solidarity Affair!
Down with imperialism and all reaction!
Fight for national liberation, democracy and socialism!
Long live proletarian internationalism !