The first day of the Festival of Marxism organised by the Communist Party of Britain, at the Bishopsgate Institute,London, closed with an Internationalist rally ‘Overthrowing capitalism in the 21st century’. The rally was co chaired by Moz Greenshields for the CPB executive and Navid Shomali International Secretary of the Tudeh party of Iran.

Keynote speaker Com. Prakash Karat, general secretary of the CP of India (Marxist) delivered a stinging condemnation of global capital. He said, “In large parts of the world today the peasantry is in ferment and their land and livelihoods grabbed. “This is happening across the world from India to Latin America. he called on the communists “to bring the rural proletariat into the struggle against neo liberalism”.

Prakash went on, “The working class across the world is the leading force in the struggle against capitalism. But it is up to the communists to find new ways to link different groups of workers and convert the alliance into a mighty force against imperialism. We seek to link the urban and the rural and we seek to link up beyond borders. That is where internationalism comes in. We do not yet have the level of organisation which can link struggles globally but that is our intention.

“Festivals of this kind, where we exchange ideas and experiences and critically review our practise is essential . We are mature enough as a movement to work out what we want to preserve of the experience of socialism and what we will change. our dialogue must reach the millions worldwide who cry out for an political alternative and platform.”

From Iran, comrade Fazan brought “Thanks for the solidarity of the last thirty years”. She stated, “The current crisis is most serious. The leader of the capitalist world America is now also the greatest debtor. The crisis has reduced great nations such as Greece and Italy to a state of dependency. Capitalism has responded by reducing working class achievements at home and starting wars abroad. Meanwhile the banks thrive while people worldwide struggle to survive.

“In Iraq and Afghanistan the Americans go for regime change and they are trying to achieve this, in the name of a so called war on terror, across the Middle East. In Iran, human rights and repression are widespread. Unions organise clandestinely. The sabre rattling by the USA allows the reactionary regime to step up its repression whilst pretending to represent the interests of defending the nation. Islamic fundamentalism is no answer or defence for the people” she contended, “It is capitalism with an Eastern face.”

From Ireland, Eugene McCartan general secretary of the communist party, pointed to events in the EU and Europe. “For the EU capitalism was a natural order of things, but it is now looking less so – it has divisions and there are re divisions appearing. The old order of France and Germany dominating is reduced to Germany only. The crisis leads to inter imperialist rivalries.

“The G20 and the EU heads of Government are meeting amidst constant crisis. They have one answer which is to force corporate debit on to the people. The growing crisis of the Euro flows, without solution. Wealth is being sucked from the periphery to the core. Germany through the EUropean Central Bank seeks control over national budgets. They impose spending cut round after spending cut round and this always only affects the poor and working people.

“The crisis of the system has been used to attack workers and it is a ruling class strategy to take back the gains of the last half of the twentieth century. He expressed outrage that copies of the Irish budget for 2012 was being discussed in the German Bundestag two weeks before Ireland’s Dail – the elected parliament – had even seen a copy.

Eugene argued forcefully that, “There must be no illusions that the EU is some great democratic experiment. Its clear that it is a monopolists club. Democracy and capitalism are not inseparable, indeed they are opposed. now, as in the case of Greece and Italy, the EU has imposed government on constituent countries. The EU is not a club of equals and the weak are being thrown to the wall. That is why we present a peoples’ alternative, which includes the democratic control of the means of production and of society.”

Yuri Emelianov spoke on behalf of Russian communists currently in the middle of a hotly contested election campaign. Navid Shomali from the chair reminded the meeting that it was 94 years ago this month since the USSR emerged.

Yuri asked, “Does capitalism have a future?” To which he replied “Perhaps it has but if it retains or controls the future it will be disastrous for people”.

He continued, “You can read the history for yourself. In the 70s and 80s some of the great scientists looked forward to a 21st century without hunger, crime, poverty, disease or pollution. This was not science fiction. They knew it could be done. There was tremendous potential of resource and technology but they did not realise that it would be so misused by transnational companies and capitalists who used it, not for the benefit of mankind but for the few.

“But what do we see now? 1.2 billion lack drinking water and a billion live on the edge of starvation. crime develops unchecked , especially narcotics, which grows worldwide. In Russia we now know what capitalism can do: it is destroying our culture and its moral fibre alongside our industry and science and squandered our resources.

He asked, “Is it possible to stop capitalism? The USSR proved it was possible to break the power of capitalism. It did not last but it proved it could be done. We must spread Marxism to the people but not in mechanical way and draw on new ideas to build up a political force. We must unite, organise workers and empower them with Marxist principles. That is the way to overthrow capitalism.”