December 2012        

International Meeting of Communist Parties in Beirut


The 14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties took place in Beirut over the weekend of 22–24 November. It was hosted by the Lebanese Communist Party and was attended by sixty parties from forty-eight countries.
      The international meeting has grown with each passing year, reflecting the re-emergence of a communist movement battered but not broken by the storms following the counter-revolutions in the Soviet Union and eastern European socialist countries.
      It has been slow and difficult terrain that many parties have travelled, but most have now re-established a clear presence within their labour and national movements. In Latin America communists play an important role in the changes now under way in much of the continent, as for example in Venezuela, where in the recent elections they secured a big increase in their vote.
      Every continent was represented at the meeting, with a very good turn-out from parties of the Middle East.
      The conference took place at a time when the Israeli government was bombing Gaza and the western-backed rebellion in Syria was attempting to overthrow the government. The conference expressed its solidarity with both the Palestinian and the Syrian people. On Syria it called for an end to the violence and an end to the externally organised aggression and declared that the Syrian people can and must solve their differences in a peaceful way and that the sovereignty of Syria should be respected.
      There was full support for the Palestinian people in their struggle to establish a state of the their own. The presence of so much media attention created an opportunity to show solidarity with progressive and communist forces, which face the twin enemies of democracy in the region: imperialism and political Islam.
      The Communist Party of Egypt give a good account of the momentous changes there and also of the dangers now facing the Egyptian working class and the rise of political Islam, an anti-people and pro-imperialist movement that has no social agenda other than maintaining the status quo. The Muslim Brotherhood is a creature born out of the bowels of British imperialism and its control of Egypt in the 1920s. Throughout the Arab world the role of this organisation has been one of securing the interests of the ruling elite as well as western interests while presenting itself as the champion of the Arab masses.
      Representatives of the international movement of communists debated the world situation, bringing to bear their own immediate experiences and that of the working class to give a greater understanding of the present stage of the crisis of monopoly capitalism and to see what areas of co-operation can be built and strengthened. They reaffirmed the nature of the crisis as a crisis of over-production and over-accumulation of capital.
     Delegates also expressed grave concern at the deepening environmental crisis created by monopoly capitalism and the dangers now posed to life on our planet.
      While in Europe resistance appears to be weak and slow to emerge, this does not give the full picture of the extent and scale of resistance around the globe.
      What was clear from experiencing the work of the host organisation is that the Lebanese Communist Party is well organised, drawing to its ranks people from across the sectarian divide and across the deep religious and ethnic divisions that western interests—British, French, and American—have carefully constructed over centuries of domination and exploitation. The Lebanese party does not pander to any one side but takes a stand that is in the interests of working people and against external interference, both by western interests and by the reactionary Arab states, such as Saudi Arabia.
      The fourteenth international conference was another important step in re-establishing the communist movement as the central and most principled voice of workers and exploited masses around the globe.

■ The paper presented by the CPI can be read on its web site (www.communistpartyofireland.ie). The agreed statement adopted by the international conference can be viewed at Solidnet, the international solidarity network (www.solidnet.org), which also carries many of the papers presented to the conference.

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