Genuine solidarity and internationalism are the key to overcoming capitalism and achieving peace worldwide, says LIZ PAYNE
GLOBAL unity against imperialist aggression is at the core of the international resolution to be debated at this weekend’s Communist Party congress.
Cataloguing the devastating impact of capitalism’s anarchic extraction of super-profits, leading to unprecedented human suffering and environmental degradation, it analyses the balance of power internationally.
How that can be shifted, and what should be done to build the struggle in Britain against imperialism and for lasting peace, is a central focus.
The US remains the leading imperialist power and continues to do whatever it takes to maintain and strengthen its hegemony over vast areas of the world. It aims to maximise control of resources, labour and markets, disadvantage and eliminate competitors and suppress any challenge whatsoever from the left. In this Britain is one of the US’s closest allies.
But the US is far from omnipotent. The rising economies of China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa have been able to outstrip the US in growth. China has become the world’s second largest economy and presents a major economic and political challenge. Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and other left-orientated countries are developing alternatives. Progressive movements around the world are also successfully drawing women, young people, intellectuals, peace activists and others to demand change.
This is serving to shape and define the key elements of US strategies. They include the use of trade treaties with countries of the Pacific region and the EU to control two-thirds of the world market, strengthening and expanding the Nato aggression pact and using it as a global enforcement agency.
Also on the agenda is implementing a new Middle East plan aimed at destabilising, reconfiguring and thus more easily controlling and exploiting the region.
Elsewhere the US aims to intensify the militarisation of Africa and the countries of the Indian Ocean and Pacific rim, to continue destabilisation of “rival” countries such as Brazil and Venezuela, and the expansion of the West’s jurisdiction in eastern Europe, Ukraine and the Caucasus directed at the containment of Russia.
Nothing is off limits in the furtherance of US “vital interests.”
War and aggression, the support of reactionary forces and dictatorships and the suppression of every whisper of opposition are all justified in the interests of US free-market dominance. The economic, political, social and humanitarian disasters of 2014 in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Palestine bear tragic witness to this.
A crucial US objective, one of central significance to the people of Britain, is the financial domination of the European Union. The EU’s potential for the mass exploitation of labour, coupled with its huge internal market, makes it not only attractive but essential to US interests.
In this Britain is acting as the US’s premier ally, providing the base for the operations of US finance capital in the EU. This has brought Britain into direct conflict with Germany which, as the foremost EU economy, is pursuing the interests of its own finance capital and attempting to secure the EU’s competitive advantage over the US.
This involves reductions in wages and conditions, the decimation of trade union and democratic rights, enforced movement of workers, the wholesale destruction of the economies of weaker member states and the imposition of austerity across Europe. It spells poverty and misery for millions of people, with women, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups disproportionately affected.
In seeking to change this international scenario, the foremost question must be how we can most effectively deal with our own ruling class and mobilise opposition to the British state and its close and dependent relationship with the US. This can only be successful if the labour movement in Britain is convinced that there is a democratic and peaceful alternative.
How best to move forward with these tasks in the present circumstances must be the focus of debate on the international resolution.
To move forward at all, it is clear that opposition must be built to the British government’s reactionary foreign policy. The parliamentary vote in August 2013 that prevented British military intervention in Syria at that time was a victory but we will need to repeat such efforts again and again. The people of Britain must be won over to opposing the government’s pro-Israel stance and for a lasting resolution to the Palestinian question — a sovereign state based on 1967 boundaries with East Jerusalem as its capital in which the Palestinian people can at last live at peace.
Britain’s direct and indirect support for dictatorships and anti-people governments such as those of Iran, Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and for sectarian division and military interventions at the behest of the US, must be challenged.
The peace movement should oppose Britain’s role in Nato, its planned renewal of Trident, the continued existence of British overseas military bases and surveillance centres and the multibillion-pound global trade in lethal weapons conducted by the country’s military-industrial giants.
The virulent mass media campaigns against Cuba and Venezuela, China and South Africa’s ANC, together with the demonisation of progressive, popular, democratic and anti-imperialist struggles must be countered.
At the same time, the way in which Britain’s role in the world is directly linked to the austerity imposed on its people should be exposed. It is also imperative to put the case for opposition to the EU to the labour movement in Britain and for a non-isolationist and democratic alternative that secures popular sovereignty at national level and engagement with other countries that is no longer determined by the interests of power and profit.
These are some of the priorities identified for the left to take forward in Britain. But they cannot be achieved without working closely with international labour, peace and progressive movements including the World Peace Council, the World Federation of Trade Unions, the Women’s International Democratic Federation, the World Federation of Democratic Youth and their affiliated organisations in Britain.
The struggle in support of progressive organisations, campaigns and movements around the world must not be an act of charity but of genuine solidarity and internationalism. This is imperative if future generations are to be free of the scourge of capitalism.
Our congress is honoured to welcome Hanna Amireh, a member of the leadership of the People’s Party of Palestine and its representative on the PLO executive, Eugene McCartan, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, and representatives of sister communist parties with an organisational base in Britain.
We look forward to a debate that not only assesses the balance of forces in the world but determines how best communists can play a leading role in the struggle against capitalism and for peace and socialism.
Equally as important as our deliberations, however, will be what we go out and achieve as a result.
Liz Payne is the vice-chair of the Communist Party of Britain and a member of its International Commission.