We would first like to express our gratitude to the Communist Party of Cuba, the heroic vanguard of the working class and the people of Cuba, for hosting this 22nd International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties.
The New Communist Party of the Netherlands reiterated in our last congress documents that solidarity with socialist Cuba is of the highest priority for our party. Cuba, which has faced a criminal imperialist blockade for over six decades, continues to stand strong in the face of imperialism and has shown the world what “miracles” the working people can create under a socialist system. The Dutch communists stand proudly besides our Cuban comrades in both words and deeds. We consider the defense of socialist Cuba, in all its forms, to be of the utmost importance for the communist movement.
We have come here together in Havana in a time of increasing contradictions in the imperialist system. The escalation of the inter-imperialist conflict in Ukraine has had devastating consequences on many levels.
The encirclement of Russia by the Euroatlantic imperialist bloc and its imperialist alliances, NATO and the EU, in the interest of their monopolies, has triggered the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine. Capitalist Russia, which faces these threats, invaded Ukraine to advance the interest of its own monopolies. They use the excuse of “denazification” and the “protection of minorities” in this region. It must also not be forgotten that the reactionary government of Russia, with Vladimir Putin at its head, has also used vile anticommunism as an excuse to invade Ukraine. On the other hand, the Euroatlantic bloc promotes the idea that this war is a war of the “free world” against “dictatorships”. Under these false pretexts the imperialists drag the people into their war.
It must be made clear that this war is an imperialist war, a war which is being waged in the interest of the monopolies of various imperialist blocs. These imperialist blocs are competing over markets, spheres of influence, transportation routes, resources, and so on. The people of Ukraine who have suffered under the reactionary, anti-communist government for years are now paying the price for the competition of the imperialists.
In this context it must be mentioned that fascist, nazi forces have exerted a huge amount of influence on the reactionary government and have even merged on several levels with the government, including in the armed forces. These fascist forces have been leading attacks on the working class of Ukraine, particularly its vanguard, the communists. They have arrested and tortured the Kononovich brothers, our comrades. They have created enormous suffering amongst the people of Ukraine. The fascists are also leading the attack on the memory of the Soviet Union, when the peoples of Ukraine and Russia were living peacefully together under socialism.
After the invasion, the Euroatlantic bloc has unleashed an enormous propaganda war to ready the minds of the people for the further escalation of the conflict. They imposed sanctions on Russia, deliver weapons to the reactionary government of Ukraine, often directly arming fascist groups. New steps in censorship were undertaken against Russian media, under the guise of fighting “Russian fake news”.
Hiding their own role in the war, they have resorted to blame the Russian people as a whole for the invasion. Dutch bourgeois newspapers, for example, are filled with musings about the “Russian mentality” and the “mind of Putin” which are supposedly at the root of the conflict. The reactionary Ukrainian government and openly fascist militias are praised as “saviours” and our bourgeois politicians have resorted to chanting the fascist “Slava Ukraina” slogan. Anything short of full support for the reactionary Zelensky government is considered to be “pro-Putin”.
At the same time, the peoples of Europe are expected to pay the price for this imperialist adventurism.
The cost of living, including food prices, has risen dramatically.
The delivery of gas to heat their homes is at risk with prices skyrocketing. Millions of working class people won’t be able to pay their gas bills anymore. The energy monopolies are raking in record profits whilst the people plunge into an increasingly precarious position. Meanwhile the Dutch government is sending weapons, troops, ships and fighter jets to areas in and around Eastern Europe to increase the pressure on Russia in alignment with NATO policy. The system shows itself to be increasingly rotten, yet a strong vanguard, a strong communist movement, is missing. In this sense, we are still in the middle of the crisis of the communist movement after the counterrevolution in the USSR and other socialist countries.
In the Netherlands, which is a country which enjoys a relatively high-up position in the imperialist pyramid, there is increased unrest amongst the population. The working class has faced a process of so-called “flexibilization” which has meant job-insecurity, destruction of social welfare, increased overtime which leads to burnouts, and so on. The privatization of healthcare, the submission of education to the wishes of capital, advanced by the successive Dutch governments and the imperialist EU, has led to increased anger amongst the Dutch working class. This has led to an increase in strikes and protests amongst workers. Other layers of society, such as the petty-bourgeoisie and farmers, have also taken to the streets to further their demands. Imperialism, monopoly capitalism, is crushing these classes into the ground with the help of their representatives in the government.
A very dangerous development in all this is that parts of the working class, as well as the formerly mentioned petty-bourgeoisie and farmers, increasingly see fascistoid parties as a way to escape their misery. New reactionary parties, in light of our party’s weakness, are able to capitalize on the dissatisfaction of the people. On the other hand, illusions are fostered by so-called “left”, social-democratic and liberal parties about the necessity of “left-wing” or “democratic” unity against the “right”, leaving capitalism undebated.
The intensifying imperialist contradictions, which amplify all other social contradictions, have thrown us communists into another crisis – an ideological one.
Increasingly, diverging opinions on fundamental questions arise: what is imperialism? what is socialism? These issues are of great importance to the communist movement: how can we lead the working class if we ourselves have reached no clarity and unity concerning these issues?
The NCPN considers it of the utmost importance not to sweep these issues under the rug. As Lenin said in his text “the collapse of the Second International”:
“Socialist parties are not debating clubs, but organisations of the fighting proletariat […] we must not allow ourselves to be taken in by hypocritical assertions that “not everybody understands imperialism in the same way”, or that the chauvinist Kautsky and the chauvinist Cunow can write volumes about it, or that the question has not been “adequately discussed”, etc.
Capitalism will never be completely and exhaustively studied in all the manifestations of its predatory nature, and in all the most minute ramifications of its historical development and national features. Scholars (and especially the pedants) will never stop arguing over-details. It would be ridiculous to give up the socialist struggle against capitalism and to desist from opposing, on such grounds, those who have betrayed that struggle.”
Comrades, we must have clarity for our struggle. We cannot simply stand by and “agree to disagree” on these major issues. In particular, we need to have a clear, Leninist definition of imperialism, indeed valid to this day. Imperialism is monopoly capitalism – it is not merely “the West” or “the US”, but it is a system, a process. Rupture with this system is required. We cannot take a metaphysical approach and delink the economic from the political and brand bourgeois governments in certain countries as “anti-imperialist” merely because they oppose the plans of the dominant Euroatlantic bourgeoisie.
The NCPN has taken the stance that the peoples of the world must not pick a side of any imperialist bloc. The working class and other oppressed layers of society must break with imperialism and work towards the socialist revolution. Imperialism is, truly, the last stage before socialism. We must work together towards this common goal, comrades. It is a difficult path, but it is the only way.