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Contribution of the Workers' Party of Belgium

European Communist Meeting

Brussels, April 11-12, 2011

Social and political processes in Europe and the communist response

Contribution of the Workers' Party of Belgium

The crisis, the class struggle and the great opportunities for communists

Two weeks ago, on March 26th, the National Council of the Workers' Party of Belgium brought together 320 members of the party at a National Conference. The aim was to strengthen political and ideological unity in order to fully take on our duties in the ongoing crisis.
At this Conference a resolution (21 pages) that best expresses our views on the items that we discuss here was adopted. Let me bring this resolution to you in 10 theses.

1. We are in the midst of a systemic crisis, a capitalist crisis where all contradictions are quickly building up, in economic and financial terms but also as far as State power, democracy, international relations and ideology are concerned. We are on the verge of a transition towards another stage of the class struggle. The new situation gives the Party great responsibilities. If handled properly, immense opportunities await us.
2. At the core of the present crisis is an economic crisis of overproduction. The artificial stimulation of credit demand and speculation led to a financial crisis. In order to prevent the banking system from collapsing, massive state intervention was required. This led to the crisis of public finances in most capitalist countries. Because of that, pressures have been mounting in the European Union and in the Eurozone. As a result, authoritarian trends of the bourgeois state are on the rise and more and more democratic achievements are under threat. At the European level, the decrees on so-called 'economic governance' express the growing autocratic tendencies in favour of the European monopolies. On a planetary scale the present crisis is leading to escalating international tensions and a change in the global balance of power. In the upcoming years, this crisis will be aggravated by the climate crisis, another intractable problem inherent to capitalist production.
3. The ideologists of capitalism no longer have any consistent explanation or theory to offer. Ideologically, their view of society is falling to pieces and they cling onto evermore reactionary conceptions of the world to justify the absolute power of capital. Acting on multiple axes, they intend to smother the growing awakening of class consciousness.
4. For the working class in Europe, the crisis brings about growing misery, poverty, unemployment and loss of purchasing power. The companies’ restructuring and the State's plans join in a common aggression against the workers' rights and past conquests. Everything is done to protect capitalist interests. But this is giving a boost to class consciousness. The social-democratic illusions to 'reform' the system and to 'revitalise' capitalism through Keynesian politics are countered by the daily experience of the toiling masses. What they see is that profits are growing again and that polarisation is increasing.
5. In Europe, like elsewhere in the world, the year 2011 promises to be that of resistance and deepening class struggle. In places where resistance is vastly and strongly building up, we can see the vanguard role of communist parties, the revolutionary role of the broad workers’ movement and the dynamism of youth in the resistance. As communists, we endeavour to internationalise the resistance as much as we can and to organise active solidarity with the working class over the whole of the continent and with the people struggling all around the world.
6. In our country, class consciousness is not as developed as in European Mediterranean countries. This results from both objective and subjective factors. As communists, it is our duty to identify the seeds of the overthrow and to help them grow strong. The mission of the WPB is to further develop class consciousness through struggles in all areas. That means at a social level against attacks on pensions, social security and purchasing power; against those who intend to break the solidarity of the working class by splitting up our country; against those who have voted unanimously in favour of intervening in Libya and Afghanistan; against those who destroy our democratic rights and our environment. As communists, it is our duty to build as many bridges as possible and to try and bind the struggles together in order to achieve greater political consciousness and to mobilise more numerous forces.
7. During the upcoming period we must continue to pay particular attention to the struggle against nationalism. The nationalist poison has strongly infiltrated all the reformist political tendencies who have split themselves in two parts (North and South, Dutch and French speaking), but also the media and even trade unions. While the government crisis is pursuing a reactionary institutional reform of our country we must raise workers' consciousness in order to maintain both the unity of the working class and that of its trade union movement. We also have to bolster national unity in the Party.
8. The new situation means that in the forthcoming period each cadre and each militant must think about his or her duties and redefine them (a notch higher) in order to be able to cope collectively as a revolutionary party with new challenges. This demands an active communist ideology, a extensive political attitude and a capacity for action in terms of Party build-up.
9. Each and every cadre and militant, whatever his or her area of work may be, shares the responsibility for developing the Party in the working class. In order to fully assume our leading role, we must first build up an autonomous force within the workers’ movement. We can appear in the media all we want (and we must continue to do so) but it will be rendered useless if we are not supported by an autonomous force within the working class. We can make the best analyses (and we must continue to do so) but if we do not possess a material force for change, we will not change anything at all. Everyone must be convinced of all of this and it runs counter to a certain spontaneous electoralism (that is putting energy, developing activism and creativity only in electoral campaigns) and a spontaneous municipalism (focused mainly on municipal work, or not relating municipal work to what we do in work-places or to class struggle).
10. The system crisis means that there exists no sustainable solution within the capitalist system. There is no third way between capitalist barbarism and socialism. In order to achieve social progress, democracy, equality, peace, international solidarity and a responsible and ecological production, socialism is essential. The propaganda for socialism is not a far-off matter. It is a task that we must assume now. In the upcoming period, the WPB should both immediately put forward claims in various areas of struggle and spread socialism as an indispensable alternative society. Only in this way can we give class-consciousness its real substance.

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