The 21st International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties (IMCWP) took place October 18-21 in Izmir, Turkey, just as the Turkish government launched its invasion of Syria under the pretext of protecting the Kurds.
In fact, as Turkish Communist Party leader Kemal Okuyan said in a special presentation on Kurdish national rights and the background to the invasion, the Kurds had already come to an agreement with the Syrian government which guaranteed their safety and security, and peace in the region.
Contrary to western media reports and analysis, the sudden withdrawal of US troops was intended to create an opening for Turkey, a NATO member and a US ally, to invade Syria using the Kurds as an excuse to restart throw war to overthrow the Syrian government – a war that imperialism has lost. The invasion was illegal under international law and had nothing to do with defence of the Kurds.
The IMCWP condemned the invasion and expressed solidarity with the people of Syria, in a resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of all Turkish forces.
The Progressive Party of Working People (AKEL) from Cyprus presented a resolution demanding withdrawal of all Turkish occupation forces from Cyprus and an end to the imposed division of the country. The Turkish government and NATO want to maintain the division to advance their strategic interests in the region.
This start to the meeting was a clear indicator of the very dangerous international situation that has developed. The threats include the increasingly aggressive posture and actions of US and European imperialism in the region and globally; the growth of reaction and fascism in Europe, the Americas, the Indian sub-continent, and south Asia; and the growing danger of conventional or nuclear war launched by the US and its NATO allies to impose their strategic interests and objectives.
The meeting heard reports from all 75 parties present. Delegates provided analysis on the particulars of imperialism’s assaults on the working class and working people in their countries, and on the people’s struggles for peace, socialism, sovereignty, democracy, and climate justice around the world.
While imperialism is intensifying its offensive, the people’s resistance around the world is also escalating. The people’s struggles against reactionary and fascist governments in Latin America has started to bear fruit, as the Communist, labour and democratic forces organize against severe austerity and attacks on civil, social, labour and democratic rights.
In Venezuela, despite crushing economic sanctions, attempted coups d’états, and Canadian and US government efforts to mobilize the Lima Group and overthrow the Maduro government, the working class and people of Venezuela continue to stand with the Bolivarian revolution, and to resist imperialism’s ferocious attacks.
Despite US imperialism’s efforts to undermine and overthrow the Cuban government, including by triggering heretofore unused sections of the Helms Burton Act, the Cuban people and working people in the Americas and around the world have increased their solidarity and support for the first socialist country in the Americas. This light of liberty will not be extinguished.
The Sudanese struggle for democracy and socialism, and against the military and US and European imperialism, has mobilized the people of Sudan in massive struggles for the last 10 months. This has resulted in significant victories for the working people, and defeats for the military government.
In the Middle East, the heroic struggle of the Palestinian people continues, as Israel continues its illegal expansion and war on Gaza and the West Bank, while the peoples of Iran face punishing sanctions and the threat of US invasion and war.
In the former socialist countries of Europe, a struggle to stop the growth of fascism and reaction is underway. Communist Parties are being made illegal or threatened with illegality, and their history and the history of socialism in those countries is being obliterated.
The socialist countries of DPRK (North Korea), Vietnam, Laos and China in Asia continue to be threatened with economic sanctions and threats. DPRK continues to face US threats of invasion and war, through renewed military exercises involving fly-overs by the US, Japan, and South Korea.
In Canada, these growing threats against socialism include the illegal arrest of Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou, and the current efforts by the US and Canada to extradite her to the US for trial on spurious and extra-territorial charges regarding China’s trade with Iran.
In the advanced capitalist countries, the struggle against austerity and repression is growing, as working people wake to the fact that resistance to neoliberalism, war and climate change is the only way to achieve real change that benefits working people.
The climate strike demonstrations were also a demonstration of the power of working people, once awakened to the catastrophic consequences of inaction. In Canada these demonstrations were the largest in 20 years, and a clear message that working people and youth are ready to act and are anything but complacent.
Everywhere in the capitalist world, the attack on working people, socialism, democracy and sovereignty is growing. Increasingly, capitalist governments default to reactionary and fascist political parties and movements – this is capitalism’s insurance, as confidence in capitalism wanes, resistance grows, and a new and deep global recession is building.
The theme of the meeting was appropriate as well, celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Comintern in 1919. A key part of the work of the Comintern was the fight against fascism during the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and included Georgi Dmitrov’s dissection of fascism as the open, violent dictatorship of the most reactionary sections of capital.
The final statement from the IMCWP focused on the need for unity of the Communist and Workers Parties in the world-wide struggle against imperialism and for socialism, peace and climate justice. There was general agreement by the parties that more unity, particularly united and coordinated action, was urgent.
The Final Appeal of the meeting specified a long list of joint activities to be undertaken. These were focused on solidarity with the peoples’ struggles around the world and included working to break the blackout about these just struggles and mobilizing support for them. The appeal also called for mass action against imperialist war and military spending, and in the fight against climate change.
The Appeal also noted important anniversaries including the 200th anniversary of the birth of Engels and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lenin, the centenary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, and the centenary of the birth of many Communist Parties around the world.
The 22nd International Meeting will be held next year in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
[Liz Rowley is Leader of the Communist Party of Canada and was a delegate to the 21st IMCWP]