Contribution of the Party of Labour of Austria (PdA) to the European Communist Meeting, “We strengthen the workers’-people’s struggle against capitalist barbarity which creates wars, poverty, refugees and immigrants. For the Europe of socialism, peace, social justice.”, Brussels, 7 December, 2015
Imperialism as a world system is a threat to human existence. The monopolies, their imperialist states and alliances are competing for spheres of influence, raw materials, transport routes, investment opportunities, cheap labour and military bases. In their struggle over the division of the world they are opponents, sometimes also allies – the latter primarily for the purposes of repression and exploitation of dependent countries and nations. To this end they shrink at nothing: they start wars, stage civil wars, support coups and terrorist groups, and coöperate with authoritarian regimes in order to retain them as regional allies. War, intervention and occupation are the means of imperialist domination. In this sense, the main danger to peace comes from the US, NATO and the EU. The current examples of Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan among others underline this.
Imperialist wars and proxy wars bring death, persecution, displacement, torture and terrorism to the countries affected. In this way the imperialist states bear the main responsibility for the great movements of refugees in our time, but they do not accept responsibility for this – on the contrary: cynically, the victims of the imperialist policies of the European countries are treated with inhumanity. Escape routes are closed, the right to asylum is restricted, external EU boundaries are to be sealed so that as few refugees as possible come to Europe. Those that nevertheless make it are housed in unworthy accommodation, some even subject to homelessness, they are greeted with mistrust, resentment and racism, they are excluded and degraded once again.
In many countries the economics of imperialism, which is oriented on the neo-colonial exploitation of whole regions, is ruining the peoples’ basis of existence. Poverty, hunger, unemployment and environmental destruction are the results of imperialism that rob people in dependent countries of any perspective. As a result there are additional waves of migration that are again aiming for Europe. Even if these people do not come under the terms of the Geneva convention on refugees, they are nevertheless refugees for whom imperialism likewise bears the responsibility.
But poverty and unemployment are also rising in Europe as a result of the global crisis of capitalism. Also in Austria, where they have long been peripheral phenomena, there are now some half a million unemployed, a rate of over 10 per cent. Some 14 per cent of the Austrian population are affected by poverty, up to 20 per cent are threatened by poverty. In comparison to some countries in Southern and Eastern Europe this may still be relatively low, but there is no doubt that these figures represent the shame of capitalism.
Since it was founded, the Party of Labour of Austria (PdA) has taken up these problems. The PdA’s conception of itself includes its anti-imperialism and anti-militarism, its internationalism and anti-racism. It fights for the democratic and social rights of working people in Austria, regardless of their place of origin or mother tongue.
From a practical point of view the PdA is present in all these struggles – in close coöperation with the Communist Trade Union Initiative (KOMintern) and the communist youth and students’ organisations (KJÖ and KSV). The PdA strives to involve immigrant organisations and groups, in particular Turkish, Kurdish and ex-Yugoslavian ones. The PdA is part of all relevant social movements, of the alliance against fascism, right-wing extremism and xenophobia, of solidarity with refugees and for peace; it is involved in the struggle for wages and jobs, for minority rights and the future of young people.
Realistically, it has to be recognised that the forces and opportunities of the PdA have so far been limited. Its influence is sporadic and often influences only limited areas of society. The public and media awareness of PdA activities is also limited, its seats in representative political bodies are modest. This is not just due to the undemocratic and repressive system of the bourgeois state, but also to our own weaknesses. The number of party members and activists is too limited, the activities are not extensive enough, there is a shortage of all kinds of resources, in some fields of activities we also have to question our approaches and methods. But we are aware of our weaknesses and difficulties and are working on them. They will not be resolved overnight, however. It will require patient, stubborn and purposeful work to increase the impact of the party and its influence in society.
No one can relieve us of this difficult work. It is the PdA’s task as the Marxist-Leninist party in Austria to educate, train and organise the working class and make and keep them physically and intellectually fit for action. It is its task to agitate for the creation of militant trade unions. It is its task to work for a consistent, anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly alliance policy among the Austrian people. Only when this succeeds there will be a powerful workers’ and people’s movement against monopoly capital and imperialism, for peace and social and democratic progress.
There can be no doubt of the historical necessity of the strengthening of the party, of the communist trade union and youth organisations and thereby the revolutionary workers’ and people’s movement. As mentioned at the beginning, the barbarism of imperialism threatens the continued existence of humanity on this planet. If humanity is to have a future, there is no alternative to socialist revolution and socialism, in order to create a world without repression and exploitation, without war, enslavement and inequality. Our slogan is therefore: socialism not barbarism!