Introduction As the culmination of an inner-party discussion, the 41st Congress of the Communist Party of Britain reconvened in November 1992 and adopted the resolution Assessing the Collapse of the Soviet Union. This remains the basis of the party's view of what went wrong in the Soviet Union - and in most important respects the other socialist societies of eastern Europe - and why the attempts to renew and save the socialist system failed. It also represents a qualitative development in our analysis from the resolution of our party's Executive Committee in May 1956, following revelations at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union about the Stalin period, and the article and pamphlet by former General Secretary John Gollan, Socialist Democracy - Some Problems (1976);; both of the se documents were critical of important aspects of the Soviet system, and self-critical of our own party's acquiescence. Now is an appropriate time to reprint this Congress resolution. The Soviet Union has ceased to exist as such;; it has broken up into separate republics, a process characterised by ethnic and national conflict, war and discrimination. Boris Yeltsin's drive to transform Russia into a privatised, capitalist 'free market' economy and society has run into a ditch;; small groups of millio naires and gangsters control whole sectors of commerce and industry;; millions of workers are unemployed and many millions more receive no wages;; the state is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy despite tens of billions of dollars from the International Monetary Fund;; the rouble has lost much of its value and people's savings are almost worthless;; homelessness, begging and prostitution are rife. The advisors, investors and speculators from the capitalist countries have made a killing in every sense of the wo rd. Thirty million Russians voted Communist in the 1997 presidential elections, with millions of others turning to extreme right-wing and authoritarian parties out of desperation ... but Yeltsin has shamelessly used the power of the state and Western assistance to hang on. The collapse of Communist rule in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe also set off a new wave of reaction around the world. Capitalism proclaimed its eternal victory in the battle of ideas, the `end of history' had supposedly arrived and a 'new world order' established. Supported by their respective states, the capitalist monopolies (notably the transnational corporations or TNCs) 1
reaped the profit from sweeping privatisation, mass redundancy, cuts in social and welfare programmes and other attacks on working class rights and living standards. The imperialist countries kept their nuclear weapons, pushed NATO eastwards and - led by the US - assumed the right to bomb and invade any, nation that stepped out of line. At the same time, rivalries between the imperialist powers and their TNCs have intensified, demonstrating that capitalism remains a system wracked by contrrdiction and crisis. According to our analysis of what went wrong under socialism, the young Soviet state faced two enormous and fundamental p r o b l e m s : f i r s t l y , i t h a d t o t r y t o b u i l d s o c i a l i s m i n a n underdeveloped, semi-capitalist empire which still suffered many of the legacies of feudalism;; secondly, it had to attempt this task whilst surrounded by hostile imperialist powers. Despite all the efforts of Communists and progressives in the advanced capitalist countries, these powers inflicted three crippling wars on the Soviet Union: the war of intervention from 1918, the fascist invasion from 1941, and the Cold War from the mid-1940s. But we do not accept that the collapse was inevitable due to the conditions in which the 1917 October Socialist Revolution took place - that 'socialism in one country' was impossible, even in these difficult circumstances. We certainly cannot accept that building socialism was impossible in the new situation that developed in eastern Europe and China after 1945. Nor do we subscribe to the idea that the US Central Intelligence Agency and its 'front' organisations, in alliance with reactionary exiles and dissident anti-socialist and nationalist elements, brought about the collapse. Their long-running efforts may have made things worse, and perhaps even accelerated the final crisis, but that was only possible because the foundations and structures of the Soviet system were already crumbling. Our Congress sought to identify the main errors and mistakes which enabled this to occur. Some points were elaborated in an editorial in the Communist Party of Britain's theor etical and discussion journal, the Communist Review (No. 26, Autumn/ Winter 1997). For example, concerning the Soviet Union's economic and industrial performance: over long periods, idealism and dedication, the impetus of war and reconstruction, the intrinsic advantages of economic planning all combined to produce rates of economic growth up to twice and even three times those of advanced 2
capitalist countries. But from the late 1950s, the level of investment growth began to fall;; economic output growth rates declined dramatically from 1960 as the technological gap between the Soviet Union and the developed capitalist economies widened. Fundamental problems of how to secure innovation, to apply new technology across a wide range of industries and services, to raise labour productivity humanely in a socialist society which commits itself to full employment, were not solved. Quality was sacrificed to quantity, inefficiencies and waste were overlooked, mistakes were covered up and records falsified as fulfilment of the plan became the sole measure of performance for each enterprise and for whole Ministries. The imposition from above of 'one-man management' in each e n t e r p r i s e n e g a t e d a n y n o t i o n o f w o r k e r s ' c o n t r o l o r self-management. Moreover, we have to continue to examine a number of pertinent historical questions in the light of new information: did the industrial `Great Leap Forward' from 1928 take place because of - or despite - the reign of mounting conformity and coercion? What precisely was the contribution made by the collectivisation of the peasantry: did the immediate and longer-term positive effects outweigh the immediate and longer-term negative ones, both politically and economically? There were also serious deficiencies in the treatment of vital democratic questions. For instance, the national question was not solved despite announcements to the contrary. Lenin's advice to compensate the small nationalities for the historical injustices suffered at the hands of Great Russian chauvinism, to show the greatest sensitivity to national feelings, was not heeded. As the party exercised ever-tighter centralised control over the constituent republics, regions and areas, Stalin's Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic (the 'autonomisation' rejected by Lenin) was established in deeds if not in words. The democratic rights and patriotic feelings of many nationalities were violated by forced transfers of territory and population, by processes of `Russification' inste ad of the assimilation of migrant workers into the local population and schools, and by the restoration under Stalin of some of the symbols, 'heroes' and insignia of Imperial Russia. Soviet laws and proclamations concerning the equality of the sexes did not reflect the reality: women were not fully liberated from t he b u r d e n s o f un p l a n ne d p r e g na nc y o r t he d r ud g e r y o f 3
housework. They worked what we now call the 'double shift' -outside the home as well as inside. The relatively high proportion of women in parliamentary forums did not progress to the highest levels;; the party and State leadership was almost entirely male right to the end. Professions where women made much more headway than in capitalist countries - in scientific and educational work for example - lost some of their status and income differentials as a consequence. Therefore a potentially dynamic force for the defence of socialism - women - was never fully developed. Nor could the battle of ideas have been waged in the most effective way in each generation. With the working class excluded from a genuine mass role in the administration of industry and the state, with neither the party nor the trades unions winning workers to Marxism and in turn being enriched by their experiences and class alignment, and with the party exercising state power as a bureaucratic-centralist organisation, Marxism-Leninism was distorted i nto a dogm a a nd adopte d a s a st ate religio n. It be ca me associated in people's minds with slogans, formulations and devices to justify, glorify and misrepresent the status quo. Instead of utilising Marxism in order to understand and solve the problems of building socialism, with all the clashes of viewpoint that characterise genuinely free Marxist debate, theoreticians and political leaders proclaimed the achievement of 'developed socialism';; indeed, it was even proclaimed under Brezhnev that the Soviet Union had entered the stage of 'perfecting' developed socialism as the immediate preparation for the transition to the higher stage of communism. In relation to the serious violations of socialist democracy during the Stalin period, there was some debate in the Communist Party of Britain as to whether the term 'crimes' was appropriate in the Congress resolution. A minority, as it turned out, felt that it was too strong and could only help the enemies of Communism. However, the opening up of CPSU, Comintern and Soviet state archives provides an uncontestable mass of evidence that enormous and brutal crimes were indeed committed by the party and state leadership in the 1930s and 1940s;; that Stalin bore a heavy and direct personal responsibility for many of them;; and that many thousands - hundreds of thousands if not millions - of the victims were loyal Communists and Soviet citizens. Those crimes were a shameful blot on the proud history of the Communist movement, and they must not be denied or covered up
with the excuse that great economic and cultural advances were also made during the Stalin period. Attempts in some quarters to revive the Stalin cult will not raise our movement's credibility in the eyes of people who are committed to democratic and human rights and who believe in honesty and truth. To frankly identify the problems, shortcomings and mistakes of socialism as it actually existed is not to belittle the great historic gains of the socialist experience. We certainly did not do so in the past, and we should not do so now. As our 41st Congress resolution pointed out, large-scale industry was developed which - among other things - laid the basis for the defeat of fascism, thereby saving the whole of humanity from unprecedented tyranny and genocide. There were massive advances in education and culture. The frontiers of science were extended in dramatic fashion;; sweeping improvements in health, housing and social services transformed the lives of hundreds of millions of people. Women threw off many of the shackles forged by feudal and religious customs and beliefs. Whole peoples acquired a written culture and national consciousness as the Tsarist `prison-house of nations' was demolished. Around the world, peoples struggling for national liberation and against imperialism received invaluable assistance from the Socialist community. Were we to draw up a balance sheet, the positive features of the socialist experience would far outweigh the negative ones. But we must learn the lessons from the problems, the mistakes and the reasons for the downfall. Communists can learn from going back to Marxist-Leninist basics, provided we do so in a Marxist -Leninist way: critically and analytically. In particular, the last writings of Leni n o n b urea ucrac y, co-operation and the national question will repay study. Much of what Lenin said and wrote is enormously instructive and perceptive. For example, he urged a combination of boldness and careful training to overcome bureaucratic inertia - the party's Central Committee should be at least doubled in size by the election of new members who 'must be people closer to being rank-and-file workers and peasants';; in addition, between 75 and 100 workers and peasants should be elected to the Central Control Commission, and given sweeping powers to check the work of party and state officials at the highest level. It is significant that Lenin's solution to problems of bureaucratic conservatism, careerism and party leadership manoeuvring began 5
with a turn to the working people and their most advanced sections. But even in Lenin's prescriptions, might there not also have been the seeds of future mistakes? For instance, when he proposed the merger of a part of the party's apparatus - the Central Control Commission -.with a section of the state apparatus (the Workers' and Peasants' Inspectorate), was he departing from what should have been an inviolable principle in all but the most exceptional c ir c um sta nce s, na mely t he sep ar atio n o f pa rt y a nd state machinery? When he advocated federalism but emphasised the role tha t 'party authority' should play in holding the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics together - should he not have foreseen the danger of a form of Great Russian chauvinism emerging under this pretext? These questions and this analysis are presented in a spirit of Marxist-Leninist inquiry. Having defeated revisionism in the Communist Party in Britain in the recent past, we stand firm in our commitment to socialist revolution. There endures an international Communist movement of which the Communist Party of Britain is proud to be a part: we have comradely relations with more than 60 working class parties and national liberation movements around the world, including the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. We each have our own ruling class to overthrow - but we are aware of the important role that international solidarity plays in the economic and political class struggle. We are confident that the Communist and workers' parties can and must play the leading role in making the 21st century the one in which socialism finally triumphs over moribund, corrupt, anti-human and anti-planet capitalism. * Robert Griffiths General Secretary Communist Party of Britain September 1998
Assessing the Collapse of the Soviet Union Resolution of the Reconvened 41st Congress of the Communist Party of Britain, November 1992 THE COMMUNIST PARTY of Britain rejects the view that the collapse of the Soviet Union shows that socialism itself has failed and is no longer relevant to the solution of the many problems facing the people of the world today. Although recognising the failures of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Communists in Britain must also be self-critical. They failed to analyse critically developments taking place in the Soviet Union since the October Revolution, and the analysis in this resolution is therefore an essential contribution to developing the struggle for socialism in Britain itself. The root cause of the collapse lay in the particular forms of economic and political structure which developed in the Soviet Union. Specifically, the great mass of working people came to be progressively excluded from any direct control over their economic and social destiny. This erosion of the very essence of socialism increasingly affected all aspects of Soviet society. This Soviet system was gradually elaborated in the course of tackling the very difficult problems of building socialism in a backward country, surrounded by hostile imperialist forces, which on two occasions led to the Soviet Union being plunged into devastating wars - the war of intervention immediately following the revolution, and the Second World War, which was followed by the defence burden of the Cold War period. The effects of encirclement by hostile imperialist forces cannot be underestimated. The problems this caused for the Soviet Union -diplomatically, militarily, politically, culturally, and above all economically - were immense. The 'siege mentality' provoked by this encirclement was a powerful factor in giving rise to wrong political and economic policies. Many problems could have been overcome had the Soviet Union, in accordance with the principles of Marxism-Leninism, freely admitted errors and shortcomings and at all stages, when difficulties and set-backs occurred, consulted with the Soviet people and involved them in working out solutions. 7
It is possible that the collapse of the Soviet Union which eventually took place could have bee n avoided had the right measures been taken in time.
Historical Roots of the Crisis CERTAINLY it ca nnot be denied that a latent crisis was developing before 1985. Growth rates, while still remaining positive, fell dramatically from 1960 to 1980. The technological gap between the Soviet Union and the West grew enormously. The Soviet Union showed itself increasingly unable to seize the opportunities presented by the scientific and technological revolution, particularly in the crucial sphere of information technology. From the late 1920s onwards, decisions began to be made which took Soviet society down a road leading to the violation, in important respects, of socialist and democratic principles. The main effects of this can be summarised as follows:
There was an excessive centralisation of political power, which in effect eroded the rights of the elected soviets. This was accompanied by restrictions on democratic rights. There was state repression against all who refused to conform. Law-breaking became endemic, seen particularly in widespread corruption, nepotism and the b crimes of the Stalin period, especially during the purges. * Bureaucratic commands replaced economic levers as an instrument of planning. Everything was subordinated to this highly centralised system of management, stifling individual initiative.
Industry and commerce were nationalised down to the smallest enterprise, though within the collective farms their members were allocated individual plots for producing vegetables, fruit and milk with their own labour. Inevitably this situation gave rise to an extensive shadow economy, including a black market.
The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was integrated into the state. The leading role of the Party was written into the state constitution instead of being won in the course of mobilising the people from the grass roots up. The Party's policies were given the force of law instead of having to be fought for in 8
Assessing the Collapse various forums and in elections. As a result, working class control and rule were distorted and eventually degenerated into the dictatorship of the Communist Party. In essence the Communist Party became the command centre of Soviet society, and lost its ability to act as a political party. This was accompanied by the erosion of the Party's democratic structures and their replacement by bureaucratic centralism.
x The trade unions also became part of the administrative state structure. They became a vehicle for transmitting the wishes
of the administrative system to the workers rather than their independent voice fighting for their interests against all-comers. x In the course of all this, Marxism-Leninism was reduced to a dogma justifying the status quo. Its creative, critical function which is so vital to understanding social development and therefore to solving the problems of building socialism, was effectively removed. It ceased to act as a science and became a dogma. All these defects within the Soviet system, taken together, meant that serious obstacles were placed in the way of developing democracy in its fullest sense. People were not involved in decision-making at every level in the way they should have been. Important decisions were frequently taken by small groups. It must be recognised that a high level of arms was needed to meet the threat from the capitalist powers, which was not sufficiently countered by the world peace movement. The arms race led by the United States had two aims: to turn back socialism by the threat or use of arms, and to compel the S o vi e t U ni o n to c ha nne l m a s s i v e re s o ur c e s i nt o i t s a r ms programme. In effect this diverted resources away from civilian needs, including consumer goods. The unfavourable comparison with the West which this created and which took no account of the way the West exploited the Third World, contributed to undermining confidence in socialism among sections of the Soviet population. In total, the diversion of resources into arms undermined the key task of creating a modern economy on which the defence capability of any state must ultimately depend. Furthermore, it created within the command system a very powerful network of bureaucratic interest groups, straddling industry, the scientific community and the military establishment. Clearly, this helped to strengthen the whole bureaucratic 9
administrative structure on which the Soviet Union's system of socialism had become based. Theoretically, the working people of the Soviet -Union owned everything. But in fact they were the masters of very little. Society was actually run by an elite, issuing orders from the top down. Inevitably, working people became passive. All that was required of them was to implement orders handed down from on high. Independent thought and action which might come into conflict with this bureaucratic hierarchy was unwelcome. It could land people in trouble. Conformism was the way to the top. Such a system, which placed a premium on the safe, conservative approach, ossified socialist society and emptied it of its dynamism. The failure of the system to continue to meet the expectations of the people, the stagnation and fall in living standards and the lack of any effective means to influence events, inevitably led to people looking for other ways to solve their problems. This is one of the causes of the growth of nationalism, a belief in many of the republics that they would be better off on their own. It has fed on the ethnic, national and religious feelings which have always existed but which did not emerge as a crucial organised force so long as Soviet society was developing. It is now clear that the strength of these feelings was totally underestimated by communists, and that not enough was done, ideologically and politically, to accommodate them within the socialist system. The ending of Tsarist national oppression, and the great advances made in national liberation since the 1917 revolution is being played down, particularly by some demagogues who now use the genuine national and ethnic aspirations that exist to extend their power. This is not to deny what was achieved in the Soviet Union. Large -scale industry was developed. There were massive advances in education, and a cultural revolution which changed the face of what had been a very backward country. The development of the Soviet Union's scientific potential is beyond question. In health, housing and social services big steps forward were recorded The Soviet Union made a tremendous impact on the movement for national liberation against imperialism in the world. Its role in supporting the anti-colonial movement and in the fight for peace is beyond dispute. But the fact remains that the defects in the Soviet system sapped socialism of its strength within the Soviet Union. 10
The Failure of Perestroika PERESTROIKA set out to break out of this impasse. Its approach was based on democratisation and the combination of socialist planning with market mechanisms. The idea was to release the initiative of the people, to make them the real masters of society, to restore dynamism to socialism. But reforming socialism when it had become as ossified as in the Soviet Union, could not be an easy task. Management cadres, used to working in the old way and fearful of their future and loss of privileges, were bound to be resistant to change. Yet they occupied the commanding heights of the economy, the state, the Party, the trade unions, all aspects of society. The Party and the trade unions were also instruments of the command system, and had ossified along with it. Yet any reform movement would need these as instruments of change, as a means of mobilising the working people, a difficult enough task in itself because they had been reduced to passivity by the claustrophobic conformism of the command system. The possibility has to be faced that the model of socialism in the Soviet Union may have passed the point of no return. Reform may have been impossible. There may have been general agreement on the need for reform a t t h e b e g i n n i n g , a n d s o m e i m p o r t a n t s t e p s t o w a r d s democratisation were taken. But as soon as the reform had to be translated into concrete measures which would have cut deep and c halle nged t he nomenk latur a's pri vil ege s a nd po we r, t he conservatism and inertia in Soviet society reasserted itself as it did in previous attempts at reform. For Perestroika was not the first attempt. Khruschev tried to introduce reforms in the late 1950s. Kosygin tried again in 1965, with a reasonably well-worked out plan of reform in the economic field. But both failed in the face of the conservatism and inertia which had become built-in features of Soviet society. The contradiction in Soviet society between its authoritarian form and its socialist content, which required the widest expansion of democracy into all spheres of social life, had become intractable. Perestroika tried to deal with this contradiction on a broader front
than Khruschev and Kosygin. But the problems arising from it were too many and too deep. This is the basic reason for the failure of Perestroika. - Without the fullest co-operation of the leading cadres in the Party and in the management of the state and the economy (i.e. the nomenklatura), the majority of whom were in practice resistant to change, it became impossible to work out a detailed programme for reform, let alone implement reform in any consistent way. As a result a confused situation developed, characterised by prevarication, abrupt changes of policy, and the taking of measures w i t ho ut a d e q u a t e p r e p a r a t i o n o r c o n s i d e r a t i o n fo r t he i r consequences. Thus, in the economy Perestroika disrupted established links, but failed to replace them by new one s based on a more flexible planning system and the use of market mechanisms. This is not as easy a thing to do as some imagine. It cannot be done overnight, yet it is extremely difficult to have a transition period between the old and the new, with el ements of both co-existing and in constant contradiction, the one weakening the effectiveness of the other. In the political sphere the old party-state structures were broken down, but there were no properly functioning political organisations, including the Party itself, with their own democratically-decided policies, with which to replace them. The position was further aggravated by the way in which the dogmatisation of Marxism-Leninism had stunted the development of political understanding and creative socialist thought at all levels in the Soviet Union, leaving the door wide open to false ideas about the supposed advantages of private ownership and the so-called 'free' market. The capitalist option, which this presupposed, was eventually embraced by key elements of the nomenklatura who saw it as protecting their privileged position - which any process of reform within a socialist context would be bound to threaten. Without a mass political movement based on the working people and led by a Communist Party armed with a clear perspective for reform, neither of which existed nor could so because of the ossification of the Party and the trade unions, the pressure for this capitalist development became irresistible and descent into chaos became almost inevitable. In the absence of this mass popular movement and of a united Party committed to reform, Gorbachev became involved in 12
Assessing the Collapse manoeuvring between different sections of the elite, seeking to find a consensus for a programme of reform. This involved making compromises which increasingly moved in the direction of accepting privatisation, and although these compromises were never implemented, they played into the hands of the growing numbers within the nomenklatura who were opting for a capitalist solution. In this latter phase, Gorbachev himself moved increasingly towards accepting privatisation and aspects of the so-called 'free' market philosophy, though he favoured the longer time-scale in achieving any change in that direction. His total commitment to the preservation of the Union, combined with an underestimation of nationalist feelings in the republics, meant that he did not act quickly enough in working out a new federative structure acceptable to the republics and capable of defusing the ethnic conflicts which were already taking place. As the situation developed, many within the nomenklatura, who were by now opting for a capitalist development, combined this with playing the nationalist card, adding to the difficulties of working out a new federative structure. The undemocratic and adventurist coup [of August 1991], about which the full circumstances are as yet unclear, was the final debacle. But it is important to notice that the coup leaders - all nomenklatura members and former allies of Gorbachev - were also in favour of extensive privatisation. Their main concern was the preservation of the Union. The failed coup helped the 'reformers' to speed up the process of disintegration, and Gorbachev's resignation from the CPSU, together with his subsequent part in the banning of the Party, was an act of betrayal. The processes leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union also operated within the other socialist regimes in Europe aligned with it, and led to their disintegration. There are a number of reasons for this. These countries arose in special circumstances out of the ashes of the Second World War. They were liberated by the Red Army and in most cases were not based on strong, organised and experienced working class movements. the Communist Parties in these countries were mostly inexperienced. Inevitably, they were very dependent on the Soviet Union for aid in building the ir devastated economies, and their organisation and control were 13
patterned on the Soviet model. Their economies became tied, to a ' greater or lesser extent, to the Soviet Union, and suffered from the same type of weakness that led to the Soviet crisis. Of crucial importance was the fact that the Communist Parties in these countries also modelled themselves on the Soviet Communist Party. There was the same integration of the Party with the state, the growth of the ruling bureaucracy, the alienation of the Party and the state from the working class, and democratic rights were severely limited. There was the additional problem that, given their geographical position, the Western capitalist powers could more easily influence events taking place within them. The consequence of all this was that as the crisis developed in the Soviet Union, it began to trigger off similar developments in the other European socialist countries. While the present situation is unresolved, the dominant political trend in Eastern Europe is toward the restoration of capitalism and the destruction of the many positive gains of socialism. However, the success of this counter-revolutionary process is by no means inevitable. While the anti-socialist forces are seeking to obliterate all vestiges of social ownership, they have not as yet succeeded in creating relatively stable capitalist economies. The emergence of mass unemployment, price rises, and attacks on welfare and pension rights have created enormous social tensions in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere. The anti-communist decrees and the commandeering of former CPSU property make an effective fight-back by pro-socialist forces in the former Soviet Union very difficult, and this problem is aggravated by political and ideological differences within the left-wing opposition itself. There is great need for communists and other progressives in Britain to show their solidarity with trade unionists and socialists in the former USSR, and for channels to opened up which would enable discussions to take place with them and to exchange information.
Learning the Lessons THE LESSON to be learned from the history of Soviet society since the mid-1920s onward is that socialism and democracy are inseparable. Democracy is not an added extra, but is integral to socialism. 14
Assessing the Collapse Socialism is about raising living standards. But it is about more than that. It is about gaining for working people control of their own destiny. It is about overcoming alienation. It is inseparable from the fight for democracy. Indeed, without these there can be no sustained rise in living standards. it has to be recognised that because they saw the way in which the imperialists were seeking to undermine and isolate the Soviet Union over many decades, communists carried their support of the USSR to the point where they defended many aspects of Soviet life and policy which, with hindsight, were indefensible. The British Road to Socialism [the programme of the Communist Party of Britain] conceives a socialist economy as one in which the commanding heights of the economy are in public ownership. A capitalist economy, even with some nationalisation as in Britain, and controlled by economic levers in the interests of the capitalist transnationals, has patently failed to deal with unemployment and social welfare. These are the concepts of socialism espoused by The British Road to Socialism. It stands for the fullest respect for all human rights and freedoms. The fight for socialism, which it envisages, involves the intimate interplay between the struggle in Parliament and the mobilisation of the people outside through their political parties, trade unions and other democratic organisations. It means encouraging working people to participate fully in decision-making at every level, from the workplace to the locality, to the national, to the international. The fight for socialism is a long-term complex struggle to extend democracy to every sphere of political, economic and social life, including the state itself which has to become more responsive to the people's demands, open and fully accountable to them. This cannot be achieved except through policies which tackle the domination of our society by the giant capitalist transnationals. These oligarchic organisations stand in opposition to the democratic participation of the people and popular control. They exist to make profit and build up their own positions of power. They are the backbone of the present capitalist system which has failed to satisfy the needs of the peoples of the world. Some Communist Parties may have failed socialism. Capitalism has failed humanity. * 15
years of the
Communist Manifesto p&p CPB 3Ardleigh Road London 4HS150
41st Congress resolution of the CPB, with an Introduction by Robert Griffiths. Published by the CPB
Published on Oct 14, 2011
41st Congress resolution of the CPB, with an Introduction by Robert Griffiths. Published by the CPB