18th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties
Socialist Republic of Vietnam, October 2016
“The Capitalist crisis and imperialist aggression – Tactics and Strategies of the Communist and Workers Parties in the struggle for peace, labour – popular rights, socialism”
AKEL expresses its heartfelt thanks to the Communist Party of Vietnam for hosting the 18th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties. It is a great honor and joy because the struggles of the people of Vietnam, the homeland of Ho Chi Minh, represent an international symbol of anti-imperialist struggle.
The 18th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties is being held in the international conditions of a generalized capitalist crisis. The crisis of the system has led to the profound intensification of the contradictions and competition between the world’s powerful centres and to the exacerbation of the class contradictions between capital and labour.
The crisis of the system, the dozens of armed conflicts and the danger of a general war breaking out, the very real environmental threat to the planet, the explosive inequalities, the severity of the exploitation of the working class, the mass poverty, hunger, misery and unemployment billions of people are suffering throughout the world, the vicious cycle of debt that is undermining the very sovereignty of dozens of countries, the crisis of the bourgeois political system in the developed capitalist countries, the resurgence of nationalism and fascism confirm the structural deadlocks of capitalism. At the same time underline the timeliness and necessity of socialism as the alternative and as the new step forward in the history of mankind.
The process of capital’s internationalization is broadening and deepening continuously. One characteristic example of this trend is the huge agreements for the integration of the European Union’s markets with the US (TTIP) and Canada (CETA) respectively, which, in spite of the difficulties they are encountering currently, will signal the establishment of an “economic NATO”.
The G7, the BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the specific processes underway within the framework of BRICS and in Latin America illustrate these trends, despite the differences between them in the type and depth of cooperation. The various regional capitalist integrations, with the most advanced example being the European Union itself, have assumed a deeper and more permanent form.
Similar processes are also underway in other regions of the world, such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) led by Russia, ASEAN in Southeast Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A supervisory role in the global capitalist economy is being played by international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
This process, by its very nature is contradictory, simultaneously also releasing centrifugal tendencies within the blocs formed, but also internally in countries themselves between different sections of capital whose interests correspond to different international orientations (for example, «Euroscepticism”, the growth of nationalist secessionist tendencies).
All these developments have intensified dramatically as a result of the capitalist crisis which is provoking upheavals in imperialism’s international pyramid, changes in the balance of power, the resurgence of old and new hotbeds of military tension, the formation of new alliances, the promotion of transnational cooperation and deepening regional integrations whose purpose is to ensure access to markets, sources of energy and raw materials to the monopolies of their countries, but also the export of capital in order to cope with the fierce competition.
The relative decline in the G7 countries (US, powerful EU countries, Japan) share of the world’s GDP, the inability of the EU and the Eurozone area to overcome the crisis, coupled with the emergence of China and India above all, but also of the other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, South Africa) with the gradual movement of capital, trade and manufacturing from the West to the developing countries in recent years, forms the foundation on which the competition for hegemony in the world’s system is changing. These trends are also reflected in relation to industrial production, which the IMF has predicted will reach its epicenter in the East and Asia by 2030.
It is precisely this situation which has sparked a new intensity in the economic, political and military aggression on the part of the US, NATO and the EU in order to defend their hegemony. At the same time, the growth in the influence of “non-Western” forces is also changing their stand on the geopolitical chessboard. It shouldn’t escape our attention that Russia is a capitalist economy and that the Peoples Republic of China has proceeded to serious openings in its economy. Nonetheless, the main feature of our era is the Euro-Atlantic block’s aggressive plans for the geopolitical encirclement of both Russia and China, respectively, within the context of the ongoing competition for the control of energy sources. The intensification of these rivalries is becoming explosive in three distinctive parts of the world with huge stakes regarding the enormous battles of our time for energy.
Eastern Europe and the Caucasus: Here we observe NATO’s enlargement to the east, the drastic militarization of Eastern Europe and the EU’s financial and political penetration in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. A more recent and striking example is the coup d’état in Ukraine, with the support of the US, EU and NATO and with the participation of fascist forces, aiming at the dismantling of the country’s ties with Russia in order to detach Ukraine from Russian influence and for Ukraine to join the EU-NATO bloc. The NATO Summit decisions approved in Warsaw in July 2016 for the further concentration of NATO forces on Russia’s borders and for the completion of the “anti-missile shield” also serve this strategy. In addition, the path of integrating the Western Balkans to the EU and NATO is being further promoted, which however is interwoven with signs of an upsurge of nationalisms in the volatile region.
Southeast Asia: The US’ “turn to Southeast Asia and the Pacific” signaled the channeling of investment and drastic strengthening of US military presence in the South China Sea and the Pacific in general. The EU is also attempting to become involved in bilateral disputes in the region, while the process of Japan’s militarization can only cause concern.
Eastern Mediterranean (Middle East – North Africa): The troubled neighborhood of the Eastern Mediterranean is once again being targeted by the imperialist powers. The American-engineered plan for the ‘New Middle East’, assisted by the EU’s 2003 European Security Strategy and its development in the foreign and defence policy of the EU, represents the guiding compass for the overall rearrangement of the region to suit the West’s interests, which is literally taking place with the shedding of the blood of the peoples.
At the same time, a trend towards the re-colonization of the strife-torn African continent is being noted, given that judging from all the developments unfolding in the Mediterranean African countries, intense activity by foreign business groups is being observed in sub-Saharan Africa (the EU has established an Investment Fund for Africa), mainly American and Chinese, since the labour force is extremely cheap and the unexploited mineral wealth there is huge. The civil war strife and actions of terrorist organizations in the region are being exploited to justify foreign interventions and the continent’s militarization. The EU is present in military missions in Somalia, in the Horn of Africa, Mali and the Central African Republic, while the US Africa Military Command in Africa is deploying forces, holding military exercises and forging military cooperation with the majority of the continent’s countries.
In Latin America, the social and economic progress that has been achieved during the previous years as a result of the election of progressive governments, which the Communist Parties also support, are now facing an all-out attack waged against them conducted by the right-wing forces, under the direct guidance of the US, who are engaging in a war of attrition of these governments, attempts at staging coup d’états and increasingly the organization of political coup d’états such as the recent example of Brazil. Cuba continues to be a shining beacon and an inspiration for the peoples of the world, where the socialist construction is ongoing despite the unending economic blockade of US and the objective difficulties. Developments in US-Cuba relations do not signal in any way an end to the aggression and plans for the overthrow of socialism socialist in Cuba. The US were forced to change their tactics, but their goal hasn’t changed.
International developments are accompanied by an unprecedented militarization of the world and international relations. NATO’s New Strategic Concept is developing further the globalization of its activity (through its continuous enlargement, the establishment of regional cooperation and the generalization of its military actions beyond its periphery) and the strengthening of its military machine. NATO has broadened its arena of activity by including the type of threats that “legitimize” its interventions, such as migration, threats to cyber security, security of energy infrastructures up to and including the internal security of its Member States. At the same time, the military use of murderous drones by the US and NATO (and the development of corresponding EU technology programs) are leading to a new arms race and launching a new kinds of wars.
The militarization of space is also a strategic choice made by the USA and the EU. The danger of nuclear devastation remains unabated, given that the NATO nuclear states are obstructing the prospect of global nuclear disarmament. At the same time, they are fully covering up Israel which has nuclear weapons in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. In response to all this, Russia is upgrading militarily and expanding its military presence globally.
Also part of international imperialism’s arsenal is the extensive network of legal and illegal surveillance at the disposal of the secret services of powerful countries, headed of course by the US and Britain (NSA and GCHQ), EU terror laws, mass profiling, the curtailing of democratic freedoms and rights, as well as the utilization of the internet and social media by multinationals and secret services. At the same time, the flagrant violation of International Law and the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states, the manipulation of issues relating to democracy, human rights and issues concerning minorities, as well as the undermining of the United Nations by the US and Britain is being consolidated further.
In relation to the ideological arena, the different national and supranational centres of the system have a variety of tools that are utilized depending on interests. Anti-communism, nationalism-chauvinism, the cultivation of notions about “the clash of civilizations”, anti-terrorist struggle against “radicalization”, liberal cosmopolitanism, religious fanaticism, Islamophobia, the denigration of political participation and struggle, populism targeting political parties are tools used for manipulating the masses in order to achieve their involvement or consent to their imperialist objectives and plans.
Anticommunism in particular, which is combined with the campaign to equate fascism-communism and the arbitrary terminology about “totalitarianism” represents a strategic choice of the system in order to keep the masses of the people, and especially the young generation, away from the communist Left, the one force that can organize and give an orientation to key struggles.
Also connected is the growing trend of historical revisionism which is seeking to delete from humanity’s collective memory the crimes committed by imperialism and fascism, the contribution of the socialist system and the international communist movement in the 20th century, the historical experience of the power the popular struggles can have, but also the theoretical superiority of Marxism-Leninism in the understanding of the modern world and the exploitative nature of capitalism.
The Eastern Mediterranean is an extremely important area at the heart of the new regional order. Data surrounding the Eastern Mediterranean confirm its importance, as well as the sources of the intensifying antagonisms. According to figures released in 2012, 75% -80% of the world’s trade is carried out from sea. At the same time, profits from maritime trade have reached $ 400 billion. Figures from the same year show that 30% of the world’s maritime trade is conducted in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as 25% of the transport of oil by the sea. Around 200,000 ships move annually in the Eastern Mediterranean. In 2010, the US Centre for Geological Research in its report, estimated that the value of the Eastern Mediterranean energy reserves amount to approximately $ 1.5 trillion. The Middle East, which is the region’s wounded heart, is the most militarized area in the world and also contains 49% of the world’s oil reserves.
On this very ground, the Western imperialist’s plans are ongoing in the region. For two decades now, the strategy to impose a “New Middle East” is being promoted which was prepared by the Bush administration under the slogan of promoting the “democratization” of the region’s regimes. This strategy involves the overthrow of governments, turning states into protectorates, militarization, the redrawing of borders, the division of states and of course preparing the ground for the West’s financial monopoly giants to operate and bring energy under their control.
The common path of the EU and US with regards their plans for the Middle East was sealed with the elaboration of the European Security Strategy which set as its strategic goal “the establishment of a network of well-governed countries to the east and the Union’s Mediterranean borders.” Its enough to point out the hypocrisy and contradictions in the pretexts the imperialists used in recent years: they were accusing Syria and Libya of being authoritarian regimes, but are cooperating excellently with Saudi Arabia, one of the most brutal regimes in the world. They were searching for nuclear and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iran, but are pretending even today that they do not see Israel’s awesome nuclear arsenal.
These plans are linked with pending international problems (Palestine, Cyprus), as well as with the new dramatic developments, such as the imperialist intervention in Syria, the uprisings of the so-called “Arab Spring”, the rise of Islamic extremism etc.).
Today, we can underline with certainty that the international communist movement’s assessment of the so-called “Arab Spring” has been verified. These uprisings did not result in the liberation of the countries from imperialist dependencies, while in some cases they brought to the fore extreme fundamentalist movements.
In Syria one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history is raging. The funding and arming of armed extremist groups of the Syrian opposition by Turkey, the US, Britain and the Gulf monarchies to overthrow the Assad government has provoked a bloody war and unprecedented waves of refugees. Furthermore, it has released the obscurantist forces of the “Islamic State” whose crimes, despite the horror they have caused to humanity as a whole, are always being used by the imperialists to justify new military interventions in the region. The State of Israel continues to consolidate the fait accomplis of the occupation and colonization of Palestinian territories so as to render a two-state solution practically unfeasible. Libya, which in 2012 experienced NATO’s raid, has been plunged into chaos and has virtually ceased to function as a state. In Afghanistan, the US have ensured the permanence of their military presence, while Iraq continues to face the threat of division and Islamic terrorism.
The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean has risen in recent years to unprecedented levels, given that in the region there are already key parts of the NATO machine (HQ’s, naval base, missile firing range, the centre of maritime training, parts of the anti-missile missile shield), the NATO “Active Endeavour” naval operation – according to Article 5- that is was patrolling the Mediterranean over the last 15 years, while two military and civilian programs, two NATO satellites, the “Mediterranean Dialogue” and “Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” are focusing on the region.
On the part of the EU, the Maritime Dimension of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy is openly promoting the militarization of the seas, focusing on the eastern Mediterranean in particular. The most worrying development is the exploitation of the refugee issue to further NATO control and militarization of the Mediterranean. NATO has been actively involved in the management of refugee flows in the Aegean Sea, with the participation of Germany which for the first time since the Second World War is sending troops beyond its borders. The EU has deployed off the coasts of Libya the military operation EU NAVFOR MED «Sophia» to halt the flows of refuges. At the same time, it has upgraded FRONTEX to a border-coastguard force and is promoting plans to bolster the navy of North African states.
The last NATO Summit decisions in relation to the Alliance’s southern borders are even more alarming. «Active Endeavour» is evolving into a marine security operation «Sea Guardian» with extended powers and functions, while NATO will also be involved in the EU NAVFOR MED «Sophia» operation. Libya’s association to the “Mediterranean Dialogue” is being promoted. NATO is involved in training the Libyan navy and the Tunisian intelligence services. Finally, a NATO aerial squadron of sophisticated AWACS spy planes has begun the direct channeling of information to the “International Coalition against ISIS”. The picture of the region’s militarization is complemented by the growing presence of Russia.
Particular mention should be made to Turkey’s role in the region, which had been projected in previous years as a “model state” that would play a leading role in the Muslim world. Today, Turkey’s explosive domestic problems are being expanded as aggression against its neighboring countries. However, neither the brutal repression of the opposition, the worker’s movement and the country’s Kurds, nor the invasion of Syria and Iraq, Turkey’s support to “ISIS”, the continued occupation of Cyprus for 42 years, the provocations against Greece, the blatant extortion and blackmail in relation to the refugee question bother the bloc of NATO, the US and the EU which continues to provide support to Erdogan’s government in order to prevent a Turkish reorientation towards Russia.
In the wider region of the Eastern Mediterranean, also including the Persian Gulf, where the six states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), who own 40% of the proven global crude oil reserves and 25% of natural gas reserves with a total GDP of $ 1.6 trillion, are teaming up in an alliance in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In the GCC Saudi Arabia is dominant which in an increasingly aggressive way is asserting a hegemonic role in the wider area, within the framework of its long-standing confrontation with Iran that is disguised with the mask of a religious conflict. Saudi Arabia, a privileged ally, trading partner and buyer of Western weapons, is upgrading itself militarily. In 2014, 25% of government expenditure was devoted to strengthening its armed forces. It is leading the formation of a permanent military alliance of the Arab States, but also the allied intervention of the Gulf forces in both Syria, as well as in the strategic important for international shipping country, Yemen.
This situation in the Eastern Mediterranean region, and especially in the Middle East, reflects the result of the “creative chaos” of US and NATO interventions and raids over the last 20 years, but not only that. It is obvious that the US and its allies, without having lost the upper hand, face difficulties in handling the situation which they themselves have created. This enhances the importance of the West’s regional allies (Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt). This fact in turn creates the arena to assert greater autonomy from these forces and a greater share of the geopolitical and economic “pie”, and therefore for a greater aggressiveness of the ruling class by each of them, both internally but also asserting a hegemonic role in the region.
The right-wing Anastasiades government in Cyprus, since the 2013 presidential election, has demonstrated its willingness to actively support the imperialist plans in the region. From the very outset it announced the reorientation of the foreign policy of the Republic of Cyprus, approaching the US and NATO with a declared position in favour of Cyprus’ accession to NATO or the NATO “Partnership for Peace” program, (something which the previous government of Cyprus, the Christofias-AKEL administration, had managed to prevent despite the fierce pressure exerted then by the opposition), damaging Cyprus-Russia economic and political relations and acting fully in line with the EU’s decisions on Syria. It is no coincidence that the DISY-Anastasiades government described our country as “an advanced outpost of the EU and the West in the eastern Mediterranean”, agreeing unconditionally to the use of the British military bases and offering every kind of facilities for the carrying out of air strikes in Syria and Iraq without reflecting on the dangers posed to our people’s security as a result of Cyprus’ involvement in these operations.
In addition, the ruling party characterized Cyprus as “Israel’s shield” and the government took a series of actions that constitute an unacceptable shift from Cyprus’ principled positions with regards the Palestinian issue. It also proceeded to take steps for the militarization of the Cyprus-Israel energy cooperation (for example, the Convention on the Status of Cyprus-Israel Forces), cooperation feeding various adventurist theories about a military alliance between Greece-Cyprus-Israel that will supposedly confront Turkey.
AKEL also strongly disagreed with the policy of the Anastasiades government, who, evidently as a result of foreign encouragement, abandoned the plan for the creation of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which, unlike the pipe lines, does not create additional dependencies and commitments for our country regarding the exploitation of its natural wealth. However, due to the strong economic ties between Russia and Cyprus, the refuting of the government’s expectations for the support that it would receive from the US on the Cyprus problem and the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel, the policy that was initially pursued by the Anastasiades government has now been toned-down, without however losing its pro-Western orientation.
AKEL supports that there is considerable scope for developing the joint action of the Communist and Worker’s Parties of the Eastern Mediterranean region against the imperialist interventions and wars in the region, against the exploitation of the natural wealth of our countries from the multinational monopolies in favor of the struggle of our peoples for peace, democracy, popular sovereignty and socialism.
To this end, we must strengthen anti-war mobilizations, solidarity initiatives towards the struggling peoples of the region and refugees, the mutual briefing between the members and friends of our Parties on our region’s issues, the utilization of the podium of parliaments for projecting the region’s issues. The specific goal of struggle is the demand for declaring the Middle East a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, a goal with an anti-imperialist and peace-loving content which can rally broader progressive forces of the region.
The European Union is enhancing its character as an advanced form of capitalist integration. On this basis, processes are taking place that are deepening the integration of the EU on a path of neoliberalism, militarism and federalism in which the sovereignty of States and peoples is being dramatically limited and transferred to an EU level. The much debated democratic deficit of the EU, that is to say the deeply undemocratic structure and excessive powers of unelected bodies of the Union, represents a structural characteristic of its construction which enables the continuation of the same policies, despite widespread social discontent.
At the same time, the leading EU countries, in between contradictions and alliances, are playing an increasingly greater role in imposing their policies and interests, a fact which highlights the structural inequalities that the structure of the EU has. The confrontations between EU member states and the rise of reactionary Euroscepticism, which in the case of the United Kingdom led even to the decision to withdraw from the Union, concern conflicting capitalist interests and rivalries between sections of big capital. Besides, there is complete harmony between the Member States, institutions and ruling political forces in the EU when it comes to the imposition of measures in favor of big capital and against the peoples and workers.
However, in our view, the decision of the UK to leave the Union, was not only the result of the reactionary populist demagogy and xenophobia as the ruling political forces want to portray it. Popular discontent about the EU’s anti-worker policies and undemocratic functioning is real, undoubtedly justified and constantly growing.
The imposition of the Lisbon Treaty, the establishment of the Single Economic Governance and the Banking Union that is promoting a gigantic centralization of financial capital and the adoption of a series of packages towards a single economic and budgetary policy of strict austerity of the Member States under the control of the EU, are increasing the exploitation of the working class and working people across EU countries, selling off public wealth and property, protecting the profits and power of the multinational monopolies, abolishing whatever social gains are remain and sharpening the contradictions between strong and weaker member states.
Furthermore, the institutionalized cooperation of the EU with the IMF, is exacerbating the anti-peoples nature of the Union’s policies and subjugating the peoples, primarily from the periphery, more intensely. In some member states, the burden of the crisis has been shifted entirely on to the backs of the working people through the “Memoranda of Understanding” imposed by the EU together with the IMF (“Troika”) and the respective national governments, including the Cypriot Anastasiades government.
The Cyprus Memorandum, apart from vicious austerity and privatizations, also imposed the unprecedented measure of the haircut on bank deposits, which, at the same time aimed to strike at Russian capital too in Cyprus which is in competition with the Eurozone economies. It is evident that the dramatic economic situation in a number of EU states is generating despair and insecurity for millions of Europeans, which in turn provokes among a section of them fear, conservative reflexes and a distancing from popular struggles.
The nature of the EU reproduces the barbarity against the people’s interests within it and spreads out to interventionism and militarism abroad. It is increasingly asserting an increasing share in the global market and geopolitical spheres of influence, in competition with the other powerful centres of the planet in order to constantly be expanding the scope of its giant business companies and ensuring access to energy sources. This pursuit is expressed through the EU’s external action’s economic and political content on a number of open fronts (the economic war with Russia, the backing provided to the Syrian opposition, the conclusion of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which triggered the bloodshed, and subsequently the support rendered to the coup d’état in Ukraine), on its institutional policies (see, EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), Common Trade Policy, Neighborhood Policy, agreements integrating markets with the US, Canada, etc.), as well as through its partnerships with other countries and regions of the world.
Even more characteristic is the EU’s continuous militarization with the ever deepening engagement and coupling with NATO, the creation of combat-ready military forces, the sending of military-civilian operations around the world, the wide-spread arms trade with dictatorships and warring States, military “solutions” to the refugee crisis, the shift in investment in the war arms industry and the return of “thoughts” about creating an EU army.
At the same time, it is evident that the reality of the EU is also illustrated by a number of other fields, such as the curbing of democratic freedoms and individual rights in the name of combating terrorism, the creation of “Fortress Europe” with anti-immigrant repression and the acute exploitation of immigrants as a cheap labour force, institutional anticommunism etc. It is on this ground that the rise of xenophobia and racism is growing, which with the support of the system and sections of the ruling class in each country, are feeding the extreme right and neo-fascism.
The reality that the status of an EU member state formulates sets additional tasks for the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the European states. Although the national arena of struggle remains the primary field, our type of parties have the duty to also struggle on a European level to elaborate their positions towards the EU and its policies, to continually strengthen the exchange of views between them and to promote their coordination and joint action against further curbing of the national sovereignty of EU Member States and the transfer of additional powers to Brussels. At the same time, we pay particular attention to the developing joint actions and solidarity at the level of the European trade union movement through the leading role of the European Regional Office of the World Trade Union Federation.
Cyprus – The Cyprus problem
Cyprus, the southeastern point of the EU, is the only EU member state located in the middle of the eastern Mediterranean. The 42 year old occupation and colonization of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and the de facto partition of the island and the division of its people on a community basis constitutes Cyprus’ big wound. The Cyprus problem is primarily an international problem of invasion, occupation, illegal colonization, ethnic cleansing and imperialist interventions. At the same time however, the Cyprus problem has its internal aspect which concerns the relations of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot community and in particular the constitutional state structure of the Republic of Cyprus.
AKEL has as its strategic goal the solution of the Cyprus problem, so that the occupation and division of Cyprus will be terminated, and the people, the land, the economy and society of the island will be reunified. For AKEL, the liberation from the foreign occupation and the reunification of the Cypriot people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, constitutes an essential prerequisite for setting the target of the socialist transformation of Cypriot society.
In addition, the solution of the Cyprus problem has become urgent, given that the passage of time creates serious negative faits accomplis on the ground, but also with regards the demographic composition of the population, through the colonization in the northern occupied part of the island, where Turkey in 1983 illegally declared the non-recognized formation of the so-called “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”. In recent years, the Erdogan government has intensified the policy of cultural-religious, economic and political assimilation of the occupied part of Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot community itself, through colonization, the blatant interference in the political affairs of the Turkish Cypriot community, the imposition of an Islamic agenda (for example, the construction of minarets, the establishment of theological schools, the introduction of religious lessons) and the enforcement of the policy of privatizations and austerity to the benefit of Turkish big capital.
The intense international interest in the Cyprus problem in recent years should also be noted, after the discovery of significant natural gas reserves in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of Cyprus. Despite the threats and aggression by Turkey, the Republic of Cyprus has every right to exercise its sovereign rights for research and exploitation of its natural wealth to the benefit of both communities and form mutually beneficial energy partnerships with all its neighbors. This development represents a serious incentive to find a solution for both communities, as well as for Turkey itself. Both the US and EU favour the finding of a settlement of the Cyprus problem in order, inter alia, to advance the energy plans for the region, but isn’t however interested whether or not the principles of the solution of the Cyprus problem and International Law are respected. Therefore, what is at stake is the type of solution the various involved parties are seeking or are willing to accept.
Based on these given facts, AKEL remains committed to finding a solution of the Cyprus problem as soon as possible, but at the same time it stresses that the most important issue is the content of the solution. The solution which AKEL is struggling for must liberate and reunify Cyprus and its people through:
• the termination of the occupation and colonization
• the abolition of any rights of intervention and the anachronistic system of guarantees. AKEL rejects any NATO involvement on the issue of security or any scenarios for the Republic of Cyprus’ accession to NATO or the NATO program “Partnership for Peace”.
• the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus
• the restoration of the unity of the state, the people, institutions and economy.
• the safeguarding of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots, including the refugees’ right of return to their homes and properties
• the complete demilitarization of Cyprus
In relation to the internal-constitutional aspect of the Cyprus problem, AKEL is firmly focused on the transformation of Cyprus into a bizonal bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, a single international personality, a single citizenship and with political equality of the two communities as defined by the relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. This solution has been agreed to by the leaders of the two communities in 1977 and has since repeatedly been reaffirmed and adopted by the UN resolutions and more broadly by the international community. This is the solution that can unite the forces in the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities who oppose the division of our country and people, who support the independence and unity of Cyprus.
AKEL considers that any abandonment of a federal solution will offer the opportunity to the occupying power, namely Turkey, to demand from the international community the recognition of the pseudo-state and the legalization of the division of Cyprus through confederation or partition.
AKEL supports that there is no other way for the solution of the Cyprus problem other than the peaceful struggle through the intercommunal talks within the framework and under the auspices of the UN that will solve the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem. The international aspects must be agreed within the framework of an international conference to be convened under UN auspices, with the participation of the five Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus, the existing three guarantor powers and the two communities. A comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, the content of which will be agreed by the leaders, must subsequently be judged by the people through simultaneous separate referendums to be held in both communities.
AKEL supports the current procedure of the negotiations between the leaders of the two communities and sets out its position on the developments surrounding the Cyprus problem on the basis of the above positions. If the intercommunal negotiations reach within range of an agreement, then the way will be paved to make the occupying power, that is to say Turkey, face up to its responsibilities, which must abandon in practice the dogma that there are “two peoples-two states” on the island, the demand for sovereignty over Cyprus with its troops and rights of intervention remaining. The verbal statements of Turkey’s leadership in favor of the solution of the Cyprus problem will then be verified in practice. Today no one can prejudge whether this procedure will result in any agreement or failure. AKEL has stated repeatedly that one cannot expect our support to a solution that is not based on the fundamental principles as they have been outlined very clearly by the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL on 17th September.
AKEL’s line on the Cyprus problem could be summarized in the following position: We are ready for an honorable compromise between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, but we will not accept a compromise with the occupation, partition and NATO.
AKEL is working within this framework to convince the people of Cyprus for the need of a solution to the Cyprus problem based on principles, given that inside Cyprus there are other schools of thought and political lines on the Cyprus problem.
Within the Greek Cypriot community there is on the one hand the trend of the Greek Cypriot bourgeois cosmopolitan Right-wing which has always been prone to a “loose federation” solution with NATO involvement and on the other hand, the rejectionist line of the center-right and the extreme-right is governed by the disguised or open nationalism which refuses the compromise between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots for a federal solution.
Inside the Turkish Cypriot community, apart from the progressive forces that accept the federal reunification and demilitarization of the island, positions in favour of the permanence of the Turkish army and Turkish guarantees, for confederation and even for Turkey’s annexation of the occupied areas are being recorded with varying degrees.
AKEL is the leading pioneering force in Cyprus in favour of the rapprochement, cooperation and fraternity between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots through the forging and construction of a common front of struggle against the partition, the presence of foreign armies and guardians and nationalism-chauvinism. The Communist Party of Cyprus – AKEL was the force that united the Cypriot working class in the struggles for bread and freedom and has a long and glorious history of struggles and sacrifices in support of the friendship between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and of the struggle for a free and united homeland for all Cypriots.
In these conditions, the continuation of the internationalist solidarity of the international communist and progressive movement towards the struggle of the Cypriot people is extremely valuable.
In relation to the socioeconomic situation in Cyprus, the dominant aspect is the stark contrast between the celebrations of the Anastasiades government about the country’s formal exit from the regime of the Memorandum and the social reality experienced by the majority of the popular classes. The meagre growth registered by the Cyprus economy, in fact relates to the increase in profits of a handful of big businessmen. Labour relations in the private sector are in fu state of full deregulation. Unemployment is at 14.1%. Profitable Semi-governmental organizations (electricity, ports and telecommunications) are being sold off, while public hospitals are in danger of collapsing. 28.9% of the population is at risk of poverty and social exclusion. For 14 consecutive quarters wages have been falling continuously and pensioner’s standard of living is recording a reduction of up to 30%. The Cyprus is currently the Eurozone’s champion in increasing income inequality, the percentage of underemployed and in the percentage (over 50%) of non-performing loans corresponding to € 25.5 billion. The last figure is extremely critical, given that the Anastasiades government, together with the bourgeois parties of the opposition, approved the framework for foreclosures which does not really protect the primary family home.
AKEL is the most consistent force against the class attack waged by the Anastasiades government, the EU and the IMF. It reveals to the Cypriot people the realities that the economic team of the government and the mass media are concealing. It is the force that is in the front line of whatever popular and social mobilizations have taken place over the last three years in Cyprus. At the same time, the class-based trade union movement of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO) at its last Extraordinary Congress conveyed a message of counter-attack and set at the forefront of its goals the recovery of wages and labour rights, the assertion of increases, mass resistance to privatizations, the regulation of collective agreements through legislation and the protection of unorganized workers.
The international communist movement
The Communist and Workers’ Parties are united by the common ideological starting point of Marxism-Leninism, internationalism and our faith in the socialist future of humanity. We are united by common historical struggles and sacrifices, common values and common ideals. Nonetheless it is well-known and we would say natural that among the parties of the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties there are minor or major differences on both strategic and tactical issues and on specific issues.
AKEL considers that these differences can and must be discussed within the framework of a dialogue that should be characterized by comradely mutual respect, equality and the avoidance of paternalistic approaches and interventions in the internal affairs of other Parties. AKEL also considers that every one of our parties has the right to determine on its own its positions on all the issues about which it believes that it should set out its position. Nevertheless, AKEL considers it always useful on the issues relating to a particular country to study and heed/listen to the positions of the party or IMCWP parties that are struggling in that country and which are solely accountable to their peoples.
At the same time, and despite the differences, AKEL strongly believes and it is proved in practice that there is huge scope for joint action of all the Communist and Workers’ Parties on a number of issues and that we must continuously develop all that unites us.
1. Support for the anti-war and peace movement and the international solidarity movement through the World Peace Council, which must maintain and reinforce its broad, mass political and anti-imperialist character through common campaigns (for example, on nuclear weapons).
2. Support to the organizations of the international movement (WFTU, WFDY and WIDW).
3. Solidarity with the peoples of Palestine, Syria and the entire Middle East against imperialist interventions and wars.
4. Solidarity with the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Latin America as a whole.
5. Joint actions on the front to save the environment.
6. Actions and joint initiatives to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution.
7. Common front against anti-communism, the campaign to equate communism with fascism, the distortion and falsification of the history of the 20th century and the contribution of the socialist system.