Identifying problems isn’t enough

Excerpt from the contribution of the Communist Party of Canada to the 13th Meeting of Communist & Workers’ Parties, Dec. 9‑11, 2011, Athens, presented by Miguel Figueroa on behalf of the Central Executive Committee, CPC

Read the final conference statement here.

Concerning the current crisis. It is especially intense, global and all‑sided not only because the onset of the cyclical crisis of relative over‑production was artificially delayed as a result of neoliberal policies, financial speculation, the rise of fictitious capital, etc., but also because it is merging with intractable structural crises of the system, not least of which is the growing environmental crisis.

This confirms that capitalism is fast approaching its historical limits ‑ perhaps more rapidly than even we Communists had anticipated ‑ and also helps to explain why traditional bourgeois mechanisms of regulating and overcoming the crisis are increasingly ineffective, and why the resulting ruling class response to the crisis is more socially brutal, more militaristic, more dangerous to all humanity than during previous rounds of crisis ‑ at least since the end of WW II. The objective “space” for reformist “solutions” is evermore restricted. This is the objective basis for the deepening crisis and bankruptcy of the social democratic ‘alternative’ today.

While the contradictions underpinning this rotten system are more mature than ever before, laying the objective conditions necessary for the revolutionary leap to socialism, we must acknowledge that the subjective factors for transformation are lagging far behind in many if not most of our countries, especially in most of the advanced capitalist states including Canada.

The capitalist offensive against the social, economic and political advances and rights of the working class and its allies, the growing social disparities, the increasing state repression, etc. ‑ all these developments are giving rise to increasing anger among working people, to the loss of bourgeois political legitimacy, and even to the growth of anti‑capitalist sentiments.

And yet for the most part, the working class ‑ even within its most organized sections ‑ is not yet prepared to embrace the socialist alternative, much less actively fight for it, to rally to the Communist parties, etc. In general we know the reasons for this growing divide, this contradiction between the objective and subjective factors for revolutionary advance ‑ the increased sophistication of bourgeois ideological instruments of social control, of its use of racism, sexism, narrow nationalism, religious extremism to cloud and divert class consciousness; of the particularly pernicious use of anti‑communism and the systematic dissemination of lies and distortions about socialism past and present to scare the workers away from the socialist alternative, and so on.

But to identify the problem ‑ including our own subjective weaknesses and failings as a movement in this regard ‑ this is hardly enough, comrades. We need to undertake a far more rigorous study of the problem of the formation of social and class consciousness in the current conditions, and most importantly, how best to counteract bourgeois ideological influences on our class, and make a more skilful and compelling case for socialism as the only alternative to capitalism, as the necessary and desirable alternative to capitalism. And we need to develop new and creative ways to make that case. Simply repeating over and over again slogans about the “superiority of socialism” just won’t suffice. Perhaps we can make this a topic for a future meeting, or better yet, organize a special international conference around this theme.

Finally, a few words about these meetings. At the risk of repetition, we appeal again to all parties ‑ and especially those parties in the Working Group ‑ to give concentrated attention to improving the format for these annual gatherings. A great deal of time, energy and resources go into convening this international assembly every year, and we must find better ways to ensure that they are as purposeful and productive as possible ‑ for instance by finding more time for targeted discussions and constructive debate on some of the big theoretical and practical challenges we face, more time for discussion and planning of joint actions, more time for regional caucuses, and so on. We are confident that this can be achieved.

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