The 23rd International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) took place on 19–22 October 2023. The meeting was hosted by the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) in Izmir, Turkey. The meeting was attended by 121 representatives of 68 parties from 54 countries.
The Communist Party of Canada was in attendance represented by its leader Elizabeth Rowley.
The theme of the meeting was: The political and ideological battles to confront capitalists and imperialism. The tasks of communists to inform and mobilize the working class, youth, women, and intellectuals in the struggle against exploitation, oppression, imperialist lies and historical revisionism; for the social and democratic rights of workers and peoples; against militarism and war, for peace and socialism. The following is the contribution of the Communist Party of Canada to the meeting.
We would like to begin by thanking the TKP for its generosity in hosting this 23rd meeting of the Communist and Workers Parties, less than a year after a devastating earthquake and aftershocks with many deaths, injuries, and destruction, which also devastated Syria. Thank you comrades.
We are meeting at a very dangerous time for working people, for the socialist states and the national and social liberation movements, for the working class in the advanced capitalist countries, and for the planet – threatened with catastrophic climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the reality of expanding conventional wars.
NATO, US and Canadian imperialism, and the EU have done everything possible to expand the war in Ukraine and to block negotiations and a political settlement that would end the war. These imperialist powers appear quite willing to prolong the war until every Ukrainian is dead. Some are under the delusion that a tactical nuclear war is possible in Ukraine, when it is the doorway to Armageddon.
The fascist, Zionist government of Netanyahu in Israel has also unleashed a war on the Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, and inside Israel that has all the characteristics of a genocide. This is a crime against humanity that has the full support of all the imperialist powers including Canada. Further, it has the potential to unleash a larger regional war.
We denounce these crimes and demand that the UN demand an immediate ceasefire, and implementation of a permanent political solution as set out in UN resolutions, including 242.
US Imperialism is becoming ever more ferocious as its dominant position in the imperialist hierarchy slips, and it is increasingly challenged by China, now the second most powerful and productive economy in the world, after the US. China is making significant inroads in Africa, Asia and South America with its Belt and Road Initiative which leave the IMF, the World Bank, and other imperialist supra-national institutions forced into unwanted competition.
The US, UK, and Australia have formed AUKUS specifically to violate China’s sovereignty and to provoke a war in the South China Sea with the Taiwan Straits a likely ignition point. Though Canada is not a partner to AUKUS, Canadian warships are patrolling with US warships in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea threatening China as well as Vietnam, Laos and DPRK.
Some believe that the erosion of US economic power in the world is liberating for those living under punishing US controls, and that may be true for some – for a time. However multi-polarity does not solve the fundamental problem which is imperialism.
Similarly the strengthening of multilateral agreements that are not under US control such as BRICS, CERLAC and the G-77 are significant, but they too are under constant attack by imperialism. There’s no short-cut here. Only socialism can deliver a new world order free of imperialist threats, coercion, exploitation and force.
Canada is now a major player in the imperialist war machine, purchasing fighter jets and warships, playing a leading role in imperialist wars and occupations, while producing and exporting arms and military equipment for imperialism’s war machine. This includes a 75% increase in military spending in less than 10 years, and $9 billion spent on the war in Ukraine.
Canada’s defence, trade , foreign and economic policies – and our economy – are so intertwined with those of the US that very little remains of Canada’s sovereignty and independence. The Free Trade Agreements are in fact a continental corporate constitution which binds Canada to the US in almost every way. This also explains the deteriorating condition and privatization of public healthcare, education, public services and social programs, as well as runaway inflation, rising unemployment, and falling wages and living standards.
Capitalist crises are bigger and deeper with every convulsion of the economic cycle, and more and more of the non-monopoly bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie are being swept away in bankruptcies and take overs than ever before. This is accompanied by a deliberate policy of austerity intended to download the costs of the crisis, and to discipline the working class, with unemployment, and deep cuts to real wages and living standards.
The deteriorating economic conditions have also led to the growth of the far right which has largely attached to the Conservative Party, and to the so-called People’s Party. This includes evangelical Christians and fundamentalists, anti- LGBT groups, anti-vaccine campaigners, anti-intellectuals, white supremacists, and outright fascist groups. Last year’s “Freedom Convoy” of truckers occupied Ottawa for weeks, visited by Conservative Party leaders who offered support.
Last month a Ukrainian veteran of the Waffen SS was introduced as a war hero and given standing ovations in Parliament. It’s not plausible that MPs did not know that fighting the Russians in 1943 meant fighting with the Nazis, especially Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland who has spent a lifetime trying to whitewash her grandfather’s past as a Nazi collaborator.
Conservatives could form the next government in Canada. The coalition of Liberals and Social Democrats are widely blamed for rising prices, the housing crisis, rising unemployment, and falling real wages and living standards.
Social democrats in Canada are unable to address the crisis because they aim to replace the Liberals as capital’s governing party, as New Labour did in the UK in 1997.
Our Party is campaigning on all of these issues, with a mass campaign aimed to force the government to roll back and freeze prices on food, fuel, and housing; to roll back corporate profits and power, and to raise wages. Though we are a small party with limited resources , this campaign has wide support. We are growing among workers and youth. And we are building.
The Canadian labour movement – though still dominated by right-wing social democracy – is becoming increasingly militant as workers reject collective agreements that are inadequate and send their negotiating committees back to get more and better. The public sector unions are linking their wage demands to improvements in public services, healthcare and education. In Quebec, a Common Front of all the public sector unions is heading for strike action this month, following a demonstration of 100,000 public sector workers in September.
While in the US the workers’ struggle is also growing, the deteriorating political situation – where far-right and fascist forces could seize power in the 2024 election, poses a threat to the whole world.
What then are our immediate tasks? For Canadian Communists they are:
- To rebuild and mobilize the broad peace movement with the Canadian Peace Congress and the Mouvement Quebecois pour la Paix at its anti- imperialist core
- To link the struggle against global warming and for climate justice with the fight for peace: for cutting military spending, and expanding spending on the environment, public services, housing, etc.
- To strengthen Canadian solidarity with Cuba – the bright light of national liberation and socialism in the Americas
- To strengthen solidarity with the Communist Parties of Venezuela and Sudan, with the Palestinians, and all those struggling against imperialism
- To strengthen the Party’s base in the working class and among the youth
- To build working class and people’s unity to block the right
- To build the struggle for a democratic, anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly coalition and to strengthen our advocacy for socialism
- To build the Communist Party, our Press, and the Young Communist League ; and to strengthen our Party politically, ideologically, and organizationally
- To strengthen unity in action of the International Communist and Workers’ Parties, and to encourage frank discussion and debate.
Thank you Comrades.