Korea: Frontline Between Socialism and Imperialism

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has entered 2014 determined to continue defending and building socialism, and to continue the anti-imperialist struggle for peace and reunification on the Korean peninsula.

These and other themes were highlighted in the New Year address of the country’s leader, Comrade Kim Jong Un, who declared that: “we are seeing in the New Year 2014 filled with confidence in the future and revolutionary self-respect …

“Last year was a proud year, in which the entire party, the whole army and all the people waged an all-out offensive in support of the party’s new line of developing the two fronts simultaneously [of nuclear defence and developing the economy – Ed] and thus achieved brilliant successes in building a thriving socialist country and defending socialism.”

Comrade Kim Jong Un referred to the tense situation that prevailed earlier in 2013, when US and south Korean war exercises simulated an invasion and nuclear attack on the north, and made a bold appeal to the authorities in south Korea and all sections of the Korean nation to once again take the road of national reconciliation, saying:

“To resolve the reunification issue in keeping with the aspirations and desires of our fellow countrymen, we should reject foreign forces and hold fast to the standpoint of ‘By our nation itself’.

“The driving force for national reunification is all the members of the Korean nation in the north, in the south and abroad; only when we remain steadfast in this standpoint can we reunify the country independently in line with our nation’s interests and demands. To go on a tour around foreign countries touting for ‘international cooperation’ in resolving the inter-Korean relations issue, the one related with our nation, is a humiliating treachery of leaving its destiny in the hands of outside forces.” [Here Comrade Kim Jong Un refers to the public statements made by the south Korean president last year in the course of her state visits to a number of countries, including Britain – Ed.] Continue reading

Cuban Socialism Surpasses Capitalist Countries by Health Indices

Originally published as “Cuban life indicators continue to rise: Another vindication of a society that puts people first”

(By Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

In December, at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela, Cuban President Raul Castro and US leader Barack Obama shared a handshake – the first between their nations’ leaders in well over a decade. It may very well have been impromptu, but it nevertheless prompted a flurry of speculation across international media. The handshake, it was suggested, is symbolic of thawing Cuban-American relations.

The following month, the BBC quoted Edward Alex Lee, deputy assistant secretary of the US State Department, as saying the United States is “very open” to building new relations with Cuba. In fact, he said, both countries had shared “very productive” talks and made “substantial progress” on bilateral issues such as migration, aviation safety, counter-narcotics operations, and resuming postal services. The United States is keen to continue these “rare negotiations”, the article stated. . (‘ Cuba – US very open to new relationship’, BBC News Online, 11 January 2014)

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican congresswoman in Florida and virulent anti-communist, condemned the exchange and the perceived easing of tensions, labelling Cuba as “cruel, ruthless and [tyrannical]”. Mr Lee was then quick to reaffirm the United States’ concerns over its neighbour’s ‘human-rights record’ and stated that any improved relations must be accompanied by a “fundamental change” in the attitude of the Cuban government towards its own people. (‘White House says Obama-Castro handshake not planned ’, BBC News Online, 10 December 2013)

Infant mortality falling

So what exactly is the Cuban government’s attitude towards its people? In fact, there was a clear demonstration of this in December as the public health ministry released data showing that the infant mortality rate in Cuba continues to decline, and is now just 4.2 deaths per 1,000 births – the lowest in the island’s history.

Infant mortality is a key indicator to “measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants”. (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012)

It is often difficult to compare statistics between socialist and leading capitalist countries, because the latter have enjoyed centuries of economic development; development that has rested upon the exploitation of their workers and the plunder of vast colonies abroad. Socialist countries, by contrast, are relatively young, and are subject to intense economic restrictions imposed by stronger capitalist states that want to see them fail.

Cuba is a perfect example of this: the tiny island has faced a brutal economic blockade enforced by the mighty US for more than five decades. In practice, this deprives the Cuban economy of billions of dollars each year, as well as holding back its technological development.

Yet, despite this handicap, and comparing 2013 statistics from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Cuba’s infant mortality rate compares favourably to the European Union average (4.43 per thousand), the United Kingdom (4.5 per thousand), and the United States (5.9 per thousand).  Continue reading

US retreat from Syria sends shock waves through Middle East

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)

Right now, the key link in the chain of developments in the Middle East is the humiliating failure of imperialism to overturn the progressive and secular Arab state of Syria by means of either proxy or direct war.

This setback for Anglo-American and French imperialism is creating enormous opportunities for anti-imperialist forces to assert themselves throughout the region and beyond. This is so whether the context is the continuing rout of terrorist forces in Syria itself, the related progress of the Egyptian revolution, the improving relations between Hamas and Iran, the mounting contradictions between Washington and Saudi Arabia, the appearance of a nervously conciliatory US stance towards Iran, Ankara’s growing irritation with the antics of its former jihadist protégés and the complex interplay with and between various Kurdish forces in Syria, Iraq and Turkey.

In every case, Washington’s failure to overturn the Syrian nation either by proxy war or by boots on the ground is sending shock waves throughout the region, weakening the very structures of oppression that imperialism has sought to bolster. Continue reading

World Socialism Forum in Beijing witnesses clash of socialist ideas

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

On behalf of the CPGB-ML, Comrades Harpal Brar and Ella Rule recently attended the Fourth World Socialism Forum, organised by the World Socialism Research Centre of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and the Centre for Contemporary World Studies of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CCCPC).

The theme of this year’s forum was ‘The current situation and the development trend of world socialism and leftist thoughts’. Held on 30-31 October at the conference hall of CASS, it hosted 91 participants, including 22 from abroad.

The general consensus at the symposium was that socialism, being a far superior system to capitalism, had a bright future – indeed, the only future for humanity; that capitalism, far from being the final destination, was merely a transitional stage in the long march of humanity from primitive communism to the higher stage of communism.

There was also general agreement that imperialism, especially US imperialism, was on the decline and that socialism was on the up again after the terrible reverses suffered in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and east European socialist countries. It was pointed out that the latest economic crisis, while undermining the legitimacy of capitalism, had served to raise high the prestige of Marxism Leninism; and that the balance of power was definitely shifting away from US imperialism and other imperialist countries and towards the socialist countries and the Brics economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The only area in which US imperialism still reigns supreme is the military. In 2013, the US spent $633bn on the military, accounting for 5 percent of its GDP, 20 percent of its government budget, and 44 percent of global military spending. But even this colossal outlay is increasingly becoming a source of weakness, since the declining economic strength of the US will not be able to cope for very much longer with this huge military burden.

The present crisis, which began in 2007, marked the beginning of the end of US hegemony – economically, ideologically and politically. Even in the military field, despite its huge arsenal of the most sophisticated weapons ever seen, the US and its junior imperialist partners have lost in the battlefield in Iraq and are losing in Afghanistan.

All in all, there was broad agreement that capitalism was a failed system, fully confirmed by the latest crisis of capitalism, which at the same time served to confirm the validity of socialism and of Marxism Leninism.

For all their generally positive reinforcement of socialism, one of the major weaknesses revealed at the symposium was a lack of clarity and agreement among the participants as to the cause of the demise of the USSR and east European socialist countries. Unless this question is satisfactorily dealt with, however, the working-class movement will not be equipped to make real progress.  Continue reading

In Defence of the DPRK

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist))

The following post was originally written as a reply to discussion on Facebook. It is reprinted here to aid wider circulation and facilitate discussion on this important topic.

Kim Il Sung indicates the way to national liberation after the Pochonbo Battle

Kim Il Sung indicates the way to national liberation after the Pochonbo Battle

We are all agreed about the need to support the DPRK. The questions that have arisen here seem to be mostly attributable to the prejudices that we find hard to shake given the overwhelming anti-Korea propaganda to which we are all subjected on a daily basis.

While we may have recognised this in theory, it still leads to all sorts of spurious allegations being easily accepted as fact. For example, Comrade L’s allegation that there is “very little development of Marxist education among the masses” or that “the party meets very infrequently”.

I can see no basis in fact for these statements. Quite the contrary, evidence from comrades and friends who have visited the DPRK rather points the opposite way. They have found the people to be exceptionally well educated and informed about local, national and international matters – and Marxism is a central plank of the education system.

Here is a short video clip from the National House of Class Education in Pyongyang, for example.

There is an excellent article about north Korea from 2006 by Stephen Gowans that I would recommend everyone to read if they haven’t already. It gives a really comprehensive framework for thinking about and judging all information regarding the country and its leaders.

Growing up infected with imperialist arrogance it is easy for us to dismiss or ridicule the achievements or difficulties of others, and exceptionally difficult to really appreciate how far they have come and against what odds and at what price. Continue reading

1999 Declaration of the International Communist Seminar

Toilers’ Struggle supports this declaration of principles as a fundamental starting point for the unity of communists on the basis of recognizing the basic theoretical principles of Marxism-Leninism and the rich experiences of socialist revolution which inspire and hold lessons for the struggle for socialism in the 21st century. 

Brussels, 4 May, 1999:

1. Today, communists all over the world are summing up the first century of socialist revolution, in order to prepare for greater struggles to come and to achieve ever greater victories. They will exert every effort for the 21st century to become the century of victory on a world scale.

2. The bourgeoisie struggled for three centuries in order to triumph over the forces of feudalism. The socialist revolution aims to put an end to the long reign of the exploiting classes and to eliminate all forms of exploitation of man by man. The final victory of socialism all over the world will take a whole historical epoch.

3. The twentieth century has witnessed great feats of socialist revolution and construction, but also treason and counter-revolution within communist ranks. The twentieth century has been one of dress rehearsal, during which the proletariat accumulated great positive experiences as well as negative and tragic ones. As long as the communist parties remained loyal to the revolutionary principles of Marxism-Leninism, the world socialist revolution followed an ascending course. As soon as the revisionists imposed themselves on a great number of communist parties, the revolution began its downfall.

I A glorious experience

4. A hundred and fifty years ago, Marx and Engels published the “Manifesto of the Communist Party”. The fundamental principles laid down by this great programmatic document remain valid for the proletariat of all countries.

5. Marx and Engels drew the lessons from the Paris Commune, the first revolution to take the path of socialist revolution, the path of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The different forms of power of the working class essentially correspond to the measures taken by the Paris Commune, and later by the Soviets, so as to allow the workers to become the effective rulers of society.

6. Struggling against social-democratic treason, the Bolshevik Party under the leadership of Lenin defended Marxism and developed the strategy and tactics of the socialist revolution, leading the October uprising and wrenching the workers from the barbarism of imperialist wars and interventions. Lenin formulated the general line for building socialism. The October Revolution created a new situation in the world: bourgeois order had to coexist with its opposite, socialist order: the existence of a large socialist country reminded all exploited and oppressed people that the unjust order of capitalism and imperialism could be overthrown. Basically, capitalism’s area of exploitation of both the work force and mineral resources was reduced.

7. Neither the international bourgeoisie nor the opportunists in the Bolshevik Party believed that socialism could last in one backward country alone. It was the Soviet working class and labouring masses, led by the Party with Stalin at its head, who put Lenin’s political principles into practice and built a great socialist power, the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

8. The struggle for industrialisation, which mobilised millions of young workers, transformed a backward and feudal country into an industrial power able to stand up to world imperialism. Middle Ages agriculture was transformed, becoming mechanised and collective. Thanks to the cultural revolution, the former country of illiterate moujiks became a country of scientists, engineers and technicians.

9. The Bolshevik Party, under the leadership of Stalin, built the Red Army in a high spirit of initiative and heroism and forged close links between the army and the popular masses. Practically on its own, the Red Army defeated Hitler’s armies.

10. The Soviet Union’s victorious anti-fascist war stimulated the development of the communist movement on a world-wide scale, especially in Europe and Asia. The victory of the Soviet Union over German imperialism gave new impulse to the revolutionary anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movement that shook imperialist domination in Asia and Africa. In several countries, people’s democracy and socialism triumphed.

11. In the wake of World War II, the focus of the world proletarian revolution shifted to Asia, where the most heroic wars of liberation were waged and won under the leadership of the communist parties of China, Korea and Vietnam.

12. By developing the theory and practice of protracted people’s war in the course of the anti-imperialist and democratic revolution in an immense Third World country, the Chinese Communist Party, led by Mao Zedong made a contribution of international importance. He proceeded to transform the democratic revolution into socialist revolution, undertook socialist construction, put forward the theory and practice of continuing revolution to combat revisionism, prevent the restoration of capitalism and consolidate the gains of socialism.

13. At the time of Stalin’s death, the socialist camp and the forces of anti-imperialist revolution enjoyed unprecedented power and prestige. They were on the offensive, the oppressed all over the world could look to the future with optimism.

II The rise of revisionism and the struggle against it Continue reading

Communists and the Struggle Against Imperialism

(By the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist)) 

Only by returning to and uniting around the profound truths contained within the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao can the communist movement gain the strength it needs in the present era of crisis and war.

The most cursory glance at the contemporary international situation shows that imperialism’s inherent tendency to wage wars of aggression has not in any way disappeared. If anything it has become enhanced, notably after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of central and eastern Europe, since when we have seen numerous wars of colonial reconquest, such as those against Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and, most recently, Libya.

Moreover, faced with what is emerging as the gravest economic crisis in the history of capitalism, the pace and intensity of imperialism’s inexorable drive to war is increasing yet further. The imperialist powers are presently at war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They are also waging unofficial and proxy wars in Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and other countries. They are abetting and bankrolling the Israeli zionists’ war against the Palestinian people. This year they have also waged war against the Ivory Coast. And the list continues.

Even with war already raging on so many fronts, a further war is now being prepared against Syria, the danger of which grows with each passing day. Syria, in turn, is seen as a stepping stone to an attack on Iran … and so on. Just as the wars of the 1930s, waged by the fascist powers against Spain, China, Korea, Albania and Ethiopia, paved the way for an attack on the socialist Soviet Union and an all-out world war, so today the imperialists’ ultimate target is the People’s Republic of China, a conflict which, if it came, would once again plunge the whole of humanity into the abyss of war.

Response of the communist movement to imperialist expansionism

Our party, the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) has taken a consistent position on all this war-mongering activity of the imperialist powers – a position of absolute and implacable opposition to every aspect of all the wars prepared, instigated and waged by imperialism. And we have called for the victory of all those fighting against imperialism, irrespective of who they are, their social composition or the nature of their programme.

Sadly, this clear and straightforward position is far from universally accepted in the working-class or anti-war movements, whether in this country or elsewhere. Indeed, the scoundrels who dominate the leadership of the Stop the War Coalition have attempted to bureaucratically expel us for daring to express our unequivocal support for the government of Libya, whose overthrow was the objective of the vicious and predatory war waged by Nato and our own ruling class against the Libyan people. Such people are incorrigible counter-revolutionaries, heirs, in the main, to a bankrupt ideology, Trotskyism, which has betrayed and sabotaged every revolutionary movement to which it has come within sniffing distance since it first emerged as a discernible political trend in the 1920s. Continue reading