29 December 2009

SACP 2009 End of the Year Statement

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SACP 2009 End of the Year Statement

29 December 2009

The SACP takes this opportunity to wish all South Africans especially the working class and the poor a restful and enjoyable festive season and a happy new year. The toiling masses of our people deserve this rest as they are not only the backbone and engine of the South African economy but also the backbone of the struggle to deepen our democracy. Without the decisive leadership of the working class our democracy will forever remained threatened.

As we go into the New Year, the working class, like it did during the struggle against apartheid, must ensure that it remains at the head of the struggle to consolidate our democracy. To this end the workers and the poor of our country have a duty to remain vigilant and fight against all the threats to our hard earned democracy. Just like there would have not been victory against apartheid without the working class being at the head of our struggle, there will be no deepening and consolidation of our democracy without the working class and the poor of this country playing a leading role in that regard.

28 December 2009

Nepal army still stalling integration after 3 years

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Prachanda (front) and Baburam Bhattarai

Nepal Maoists ask India to clarify army chief’s remark

Sudeshna Sarkar, Thaindian News, Bangkok, 28 December 2009

Kathmandu, Dec 28 (IANS) Terming a recent remark by the Indian Army chief as “naked intervention in Nepal’s internal affairs”, this country’s former Maoist guerrillas, who are seeking to get back to power, have asked the Indian government to clarify its position.

During a visit to India earlier this month by Nepal’s army chief Chhatraman Singh Gurung, Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor was reported as saying that the Maoists’ guerrilla force should not be merged with the Nepal Army as it would lead to the politicisation of the national army.

The relevance of Gramsci’s life, times and theory to today

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The relevance of Gramsci’s life, times and theory to today

Peter  Latham, Communist University in South London, 24th December 2009

I first read Gramsci in English over 40 years ago. Moreover, my PhD thesis on Theories of the Labour Movement—which is a Marxist critique of non-Marxist theories of industrial relations—used Gramsci’s concept of the “organic” working class intellectual to explain 20th century rank and file movements in the building industry.[1] 

This paper is based on the Gramsci section in my forthcoming book on The State and Local Government.[2]

Roger Simon—the co-author with Noreen Branson of The British State published in 1958 at the height of the cold war when they used the pseudonyms James Harvey and Katherine Hood[3]—subsequently revised his approach to take into account what he saw as Gramsci’s modification of classical Marxism, including Leninism. The latter, according to Simon, saw power as concentrated in the state and under the exclusive control of the capitalist class (or part of it) and took the view that the construction of socialism could only begin after the working class took power—as did Harvey and Hood.[4] Conversely, Gramsci’s concept of the integral state—‘political society plus civil society, in other words, hegemony protected by the armour of coercion’[5]—implied that the working class could only achieve state power after it had won a substantial measure of hegemony in civil society.[6] Simon still rejected the social-democratic theory of state neutrality: but he also rejected Gramsci’s view that factory councils should replace parliamentary democracy.[7] Hence, as well as the democratisation of parliament, Simon advocated direct democracy in the local community and workplace plus broad alliances based on the left and other social movements.[8]

27 December 2009

What It Takes to Build a Movement

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What It Takes to Build a Movement

Mark Rudd, Counterpunch, 25-27 December 2009

Since the summer of 2003, I've crisscrossed the country speaking at colleges and theaters and bookstores, first with The Weather Underground documentary and, starting in March of this year, with my book, Underground:  My Life with SDS and the Weathermen (William Morrow, 2009). In discussions with young people, they often tell me, “Nothing anyone does can ever make a difference.”

The words still sound strange: it's a phrase I never once heard forty years ago, a sentiment obviously false on its surface.  Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, I – and the rest of the country – knew about the civil rights movement in the South, and what was most evident was that individuals, joining with others, actually were making a difference. The labor movement of the Thirties to the Sixties had improved the lives of millions; the anti-war movement had brought down a sitting president – LBJ, March 1968 – and was actively engaged in stopping the Vietnam War. In the forty years since, the women's movement, gay rights, disability rights, animal rights, and environmental movements have all registered enormous social and political gains. To old new lefties, such as myself, this is all self-evident.

Fridge Gods

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26 December 2009


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Test for the CU.

Thanks for your patience

The rating gadget does not come up.

18 December 2009

Venezuela's President awarded Chris Hani Peace Prize


Venezuela's President awarded the Peace Prize Chris Hani

Caracas, Dec 16 ABN.- In virtue of his work in favor of the working class and for being considered as “the main warrior in the anti imperialism struggle, the Bolivarian Revolution, and for his commitment in the fights for peace, solidarity and socialism of the working class,” South African Communist Party (SACP) awarded the Peace Prize Chris Hani to the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
The prize was awarded during the second summit of the political party, which took place in Polokwane, South Africa.

16 December 2009

Fake and real communists


Yesterday the CU published the results of six months of work, composed from the political education resources of the Communist University. These are the eight new “Generic Courses” (click here for the links). Some of this work has been accepted for the SACP web site (here).

During this work, which was unavoidably somewhat of a totalisation, it was often natural to wonder what a “complete”, “real”, “genuine” or “true” communist might be. The work compelled one to do so.

14 December 2009

Declaration of the SACP Special National Congress


Declaration of the SACP Special National Congress

Polokwane - December 13, 2009

We have met in Polokwane over four days in our mid-term, 2009 SACP Special National Congresss. We are 900 delegates bearing the mandates of over 96,000 Communists from all corners of South Africa. We have convened together with comrades from the Young Communist League, from our Alliance partners, and fraternal formations from across the world.

9 December 2009

President Zuma: OR Tambo Memorial Lecture


His Excellency South African President Jacob Zuma delivers the Oliver Tambo Memorial Lecture

Lusaka, Zambia, 8 December 2009

Your Excellency and dear brother, President Banda,
University of Zambia Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga,
Zambian President Rupiah Banda,
First President Kenneth Kaunda
Members of the Academic Community, Business, Labour and Students,

Distinguished Guests,

I am extremely honoured and privileged to deliver this Inaugural Oliver Reginald Tambo Memorial Lecture today.

At the outset, let me express our deepest gratitude for the warm reception and hospitality provided to us by the President and Mrs Banda as well as the Zambian people.

As my delegation would attest, this State Visit has been an emotional one for us. We have returned to the home of the African National Congress.

6 December 2009

SACP Rural Development Document, commentary


The SACP Rural Development Discussion Document (click here for a PDF download from the SACP web site), released in advance of the SACP Special National Congress of December 2009, succeeds quite well, in the first four of its five parts, to make a sympathetic and factual narrative that depicts the plight of the South African rural areas.

As such, it can be contrasted and compared with the remainder of the Communist University Generic Course on “Development, Rural and Urban”, of which it now becomes, for the time being, the final part.

It is in the fifth and final three pages (1198 words), called “Our response to rural development”, that this discussion document falls apart in spectacular fashion.

4 December 2009

SNC Discussion Document on Rural Development


SACP Discussion Document on Rural Development Policy Framework

1. Introduction

Rural development is about the human development of the rural poor, which includes, but is not reducible to agriculture and land redistribution. However land and agrarian transformation should be the linchpins for our rural development. The paper’s main objective is to assist our South African Communist Party in its efforts to develop a policy and programme aimed at addressing the scourge of rural poverty in the country and campaigns that it may embark upon to advance the struggle against rural poverty. To this end, the paper lays out a brief historical context of the agrarian question, identifies the main causes, the extent and depth of rural poverty. 

Nationalising in order to privatise?


The nationalisation debate…more and more curious

Jeremy Cronin, Umsebenzi Online, Volume 8, No. 22, 3 December 2009

The present discussion on nationalising the mines runs the danger of becoming too narrowly focused. It's a mistake to detach the question of the ownership of the mines from the overall strategic thrust of our economic policy programme.

This strategic programme has emerged with increasing clarity from recent SACP and COSATU congresses, and from the ANC's December 2007 watershed 52nd national conference. Our shared strategic perspective has been further consolidated at our most recent mid-November Alliance Summit. If we are to make progress in the discussion around the mining sector, for instance, then we need to begin by identifying what we are saying is our key overall strategic economic priority. Last month's Alliance Summit summarised it crisply as "transforming the structure of the economy and moving to a different growth path".

30 November 2009

Sahara Libre, Concert for Aminatou Haidar


Concert backs 'Gandhi of Sahara'

Dani Macaco
BBC News, 29 November 2009
Spanish artists, singers and actors have staged a concert in support of a Western Sahara activist on hunger strike on the Spanish island Lanzarote.
Aminatou Haidar, nicknamed the "Gandhi of Sahara" after seeking independence for the disputed region, was refused re-entry to Morocco on 15 November.

27 November 2009

Dual Power in Nepal


Maoists to declare autonomous states

Baburam Bhattarai

KATHMANDU, NOV 26 - The UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday decided to declare 13 ethnic and region-based autonomous provinces from Dec. 11-18.

Maoist Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai, who heads the party’s United National People’s Movement, announced the decision on Thursday evening after a meeting of the party’s central office bearers and regional and ethnic fronts.

The Maoists are in the midst of their third phase protests since Nov. 22 demanding ‘restoration of civilian supremacy’ — correction of President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav’s move reinstating the then Army chief Rookmangud Katawal.

As per the third-phase protest schedule, Maoist regional and ethnic fronts will hold massive protests in their respective regions from Dec. 11-18.

Mbeki out of last position


Mbeki out as facilitator of Zim power-sharing deal

Sipho Masondo, The Times, Johannesburg, 26 November 2009

Former president Thabo Mbeki's role as the facilitator of the Zimbabwean power-sharing deal is over.

President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday appointed a new facilitation team that includes his political adviser, Charles Nqakula, special envoy Mac Maharaj and international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu.

The appointments mean Mbeki will not have any role to play in mediating between the partners in the unity government headed by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Appointed by the SA Development Community as facilitator in March 2007, Mbeki has been widely criticised for being too lenient with Mugabe.

But his efforts did result in a Zimbabwe breakthrough during his last days as president last year when Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, who leads a breakaway MDC group, signed the historic power-sharing deal that resulted in the formation of a "unity" government.

Even after his ousting from the presidency, Mbeki continued to play a facilitation role as the SADC's pointman.

Earlier this month, Zuma, who was asked by the SADC to step in as the new facilitator in Zimbabwe, made it clear that Mbeki's services were no longer needed by appointing a facilitation team headed by Nqakula.

Presidential spokesman Vusi Mona said: "Mbeki was mediating as head of state, he did so on behalf of South Africa. It shouldn't be confusing, Mbeki is no longer head of state. The SADC asked South Africa to mediate, and that still stands. Zuma runs the country and he is the one to determine who should mediate."

But Mbeki's spokesman, Mukoni Ratshitanga, said he had not spoken to the former president and did not know that his boss had been replaced.

When The Times asked him to ask Mbeki if he had been told about the move, he said: "I know he is not in a position to talk right now, he is in a meeting, and I am also in another."

From: http://www.timeslive.co.za/news/africa/article210878.ece

26 November 2009

Mass Strike in Nepal


Unified Communist Party of Nepal-M to organize nationwide strike

Lekhnath Neupane

Han Jingjing, China View, 26 November 2009

KATHMANDU, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- The All Nepal Trade Union Federation of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) has decided to organize a nationwide strike on Dec. 10, The Himalayan Times reported Thursday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the United National People's Movement in the presence of representatives of party headquarters and the chiefs of the sister organizations of the party on Wednesday.

"More than 20,000 students from different schools and colleges would march through major thoroughfares of the Kathmandu Valley on December 1," said Lekhnath Neupane, president of the All Nepal National Independent Students' Union-Revolutionary.

Neupane said such demonstrations would also be organized in major cities on the same day. The students will demonstrate demanding that the school education should be basic education and university's education should be easily accessible to the youth.

The teachers affiliated to UCPN-M have decided to shut schools throughout the nation on Dec. 7.

From: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-11/26/content_12542421.htm

Facilitation Team for Zimbabwe


President Zuma appoints Facilitation Support Team

Presidency, 25 November 2009

President Jacob Zuma has constituted a three-person Facilitation support team to work on the Zimbabwean process.

The President’s political adviser Charles Nqakula leads the team, working with Special Envoy Mac Maharaj and international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu.

The SADC Summit held on the 5th of November in Maputo, Mozambique, decided that the signatories to the Global Political Agreement, Zanu-PF, the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC led by Arthur Mutambara should engage in dialogue within 15 days, not exceeding 30 days, and that the dialogue should include all outstanding issues relating to the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

The Summit directed the Facilitator, President Zuma, to assess progress and report back to the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation at the conclusion of the 15 day period.

The Facilitation team will soon engage with the parties as emissaries of the President, and report back to President Zuma.

The dates of their visit to Harare, Zimbabwe have not been finalized.

Enquiries: Vincent Magwenya on 072 715 0024

From: http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/show.asp?include=president/pr/2009/pr11251524.htm&ID=1898&type=pr

24 November 2009

Aminatou still on hunger strike


Saharawi activist refuses Madrid refugee offer

Aminatou Haidar

Middle East Online, 24 November 2009

MADRID - Western Sahara activist Aminatou Haidar has declined an offer by Madrid to grant her refugee status following her expulsion from the territory by Morocco, a representative said Saturday.

Jose Morales Brum, a trade union leader in Spain's Canary Islands, said that Haidar, a winner of several human rights awards, was continuing the hunger strike she began at midnight on Sunday [November 15].

Haidar is at the airport on the island of Lanzarote demanding to be sent back to the Western Sahara capital of Laayoune to recover her passport confiscated by Moroccan authorities last week.

"The government is ready, if Ms Haidar asks, to grant her refugee status as soon as possible and provide her with all the necessary documents (so she can travel)," the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement Friday.

The ministry said it would act if the Moroccan consulate in Spain turns down her request for a new passport. But Haidar refuses to apply to the consulate, saying she wants her old passport back.

Morocco's ambassador to Spain, Omar Azziman, said she could receive her passport back if she recognized her Moroccan nationality.

"Perhaps if Aminatou Haidar recognized her Moroccan nationality, her passport would be returned. At the moment it is impossible," he told reporters.

"It is not Spain or Morocco that has a problem, it is she, and the solution therefore is in her hands."

Moroccan authorities arrested Haidar on November 13 on her arrival in Laayoune from Spain's Canary Islands.

Immigration officials immediately sent her back to the archipelago after confiscating her passport. She used her Spanish residency permit to re-enter the country.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said that in the face of Haidar's refusal there was nothing more he could do, adding that he had already expressed his concern about her case Thursday in a meeting with his Moroccan counterpart Taieb Fassi Fihri.

In October, Haidar received the Civil Courage Prize from the New York-based Train Foundation for her human rights campaigning in the disputed Western Sahara territory.

Morocco annexed phosphate-rich Western Sahara after Spain left in 1975 and has pledged to grant it widespread autonomy but rules out independence demanded by the Polisario Front rebel movement which has the backing of Algeria.

Azziman said Haidar had been an activist who never had any problems but had recently "drifted towards the separatist thesis of the Polisario".

Earlier this month Morocco's King Mohammed VI warned of a crackdown against "opponents of the territorial integrity of Morocco," referring to Sahrawis who support the Polisario Front.

While fighting halted in 1991, UN-sponsored talks on Western Sahara's future have made no headway.

From: http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=35873

23 November 2009

12th International Meeting to be in South Africa

Press Communiqué, November 22, 2009

The following press communique has been issued by the 11th International meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties:

89 participants representing 57 communist and workers' parties and 48 countries participated in the 11th International meeting of the communist and workers' parties held in New Delhi from 20-22 November 2009, on the theme “The international capitalist crisis, the workers’ and peoples’ struggle, the alternatives and the role of the communist and working class movement”, hosted by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India.

The meeting adopted the Delhi Declaration unanimously (see below).

The meeting decided to accept the request of the Workers' Party of Bangladesh to be a part of these international meetings in the future.

The meeting decided that the 12th international meeting would be held in the African continent, hosted by the South African Communist Party. The working group shall subsequently meet to finalise the theme, dates, venue and other details.

The meeting expressed its unflinching solidarity with the worldwide struggles of the workers and people for peace, sovereignty, democracy and social justice.

The meeting decided that concrete actions must be undertaken in all countries and coordinated globally on the following issues:

1. Against NATO and its global expansion; against renewed imperialist military aggressiveness, and against foreign military bases.

2. To observe 29 November as a day of solidarity with the Palestinians struggle, as per the decision of the extraordinary meeting held in Damascus in September 2009.

3. To observe the year 2010 as the sixty-fifth anniversary of the defeat of fascism.

4. To strengthen popular mobilisations in defence of workers rights in coordination with the trade unions.

5. Intensify international solidarity for the release of the Cuban Five.

6. To strengthen popular movements, pressing governments in respective countries, demanding the right to work in coordination with the youth organisations.

Delhi Declaration

This 11th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties, held in New Delhi, 20-22 November 2009 to discuss on “The international capitalist crisis, the workers’ and peoples’ struggle, the alternatives and the role of the communist and working class movement”:

  • reiterates that the current global recession is a systemic crisis of capitalism demonstrating its historic limits and the need for its revolutionary overthrow. It demonstrates the sharpening of the main contradiction of capitalism between its social nature of production and individual capitalist appropriation. The political representatives of Capital try to conceal this unresolvable contradiction between capital and labour that lies at the heart of the crisis. This crisis intensifies rivalries between imperialist powers who along with the international institutions-the IMF World Bank WTO and others- are implementing their 'solutions' which essentially aim to intensify capitalist exploitation. Military and political 'solutions' are aggressively pursued globally by imperialism. The NATO is promoting a new aggressive strategy. The political systems are becoming more reactionary curtailing democratic and civil liberties, trade union rights etc. This crisis is further deepening the structural corruption under capitalism which is being institutionalised.
  • reaffirms that the current crisis, probably the most acute and all encompassing since the Great Depression of 1929, has left no field untouched. Hundreds of thousands of factories are closed. Agrarian and rural economies are under distress intensifying misery and poverty of millions of cultivators and farm workers globally. Millions of people are left jobless and homeless. Unemployment is growing to unprecedented levels and is officially expected to breach the 50 million mark. Inequalities are increasing across the globe – the rich are getting richer and the poor, poorer. More than one billion people, that is one-sixth of humanity go hungry. Youth, women and immigrants are the first victims.

True to their class nature, the response of the respective capitalist governments to overcome this crisis fails to address these basic concerns. All the neo-liberal votaries and social democratic managers of capitalism, who had so far decried the State are now utilising the state for rescuing them, thus underlining a basic fact that the capitalist state has always defended and enlarged avenues for super profits. While the costs of the rescue packages and bailouts are at public expense, the benefits accrue to few. The bailout packages announced, are addressed first to rescue and then enlarge profit making avenues. Banks and financial corporates are now back in business and making profits. Growing unemployment and the depression of real wages is the burden for the working people as against the gift of huge bailout packages for the corporations.

  • realises that this crisis is no aberration based on the greed of a few or lack of effective regulatory mechanisms. Profit maximisation, the raison d' etre of capitalism, has sharply widened economic inequalities both between countries and within countries in these decades of 'globalisation'. The natural consequence was a decline in the purchasing power of the vast majority of world population. The present crisis is thus a systemic crisis. This once again vindicates the Marxist analysis that the capitalist system is inherently crisis ridden. Capital, in its quest for profits, traverses boundaries and tramples upon anything and everything. In the process it intensifies exploitation of the working class and other strata of working people, imposing greater hardships. Capitalism in fact requires to maintain a reserve army of labour. The liberation from such capitalist barbarity can come only with the establishment of the real alternative, socialism. This requires the strengthening of anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly struggles. Our struggle for an alternative is thus a struggle against the capitalist system. Our struggle for an alternative is for a system where there is no exploitation of people by people and nation by nation. It is a struggle for another world, a just world, a socialist world.
  • conscious of the fact that the dominant imperialist powers would seek their way out of the crisis by putting greater burdens on the working people, by seeking to penetrate and dominate the markets of countries with medium and lower level of capitalist development, commonly called developing countries. This they are trying to achieve firstly, through the WTO Doha round of trade talks, which reflect the unequal economic agreements at the expense of the peoples of these countries particularly with reference to agricultural standards and Non Agricultural Market Access (NAMA).

Secondly, capitalism, which in the first place is responsible for the destruction of the environment, is trying to transfer the entire burden of safeguarding the planet from climate change, which in the first place they had caused, onto the shoulders of the working class and working people. Capitalism's proposal for restructuring in the name of climate change has little relation to the protection of the environment. Corporate inspired 'Green development' and 'green economy' are sought to be used to impose new state monopoly regulations which support profit maximisation and impose new hardships on the people. Profit maximisation under capitalism is thus not compatible with environmental protection and peoples' rights.

  • notes that the only way out of this capitalist crisis for the working class and the common people is to intensify struggles against the rule of capital. It is the experience of the working class that when it mobilises its strength and resists these attempts it can be successful in protecting its rights. Industry sit-ins, factory occupations and such militant working class actions have forced the ruling classes to consider the demands of the workers. Latin America, the current theatre of popular mobilisations and working class actions, has shown how rights can be protected and won through struggle. In these times of crisis, once again the working class is seething with discontent. Many countries have witnessed and are witnessing huge working class actions, demanding amelioration. These working class actions need to be further strengthened by mobilising the vast mass of suffering people, not just for immediate alleviation but for a long-term solution to their plight.

Imperialism, buoyed by the demise of the Soviet Union and the periods of boom preceding this crisis had carried out unprecedented attacks on the rights of the working class and the people. This has been accompanied by frenzied anti-communist propaganda not only in individual countries but at global and inter-state forums (EU, OSCE, Council of Europe). However much they may try, the achievements and contributions of socialism in defining the contours of modern civilisation remain inerasable. Faced with these relentless attacks,our struggles thus far had been mainly, defensive struggles, struggles to protect the rights that we had won earlier. Today's conjuncture warrants the launch of an offensive, not just to protect our rights but win new rights. Not for winning few rights but for dismantling the entire capitalist edifice – for an onslaught on the rule of capital, for a political alternative – socialism.

  • resolves that under these conditions, the communist and workers parties shall actively work to rally and mobilise the widest possible sections of the popular forces in the struggle for full time stable employment, exclusively public and free for all health, education and social welfare, against gender inequality and racism, and for the protection of the rights of all sections of the working people including the youth, women, migrant workers and those from ethnic and national minorities.
  • calls upon the communist and workers parties to undertake this task in their respective countries and launch broad struggles for the rights of the people and against the capitalist system. Though the capitalist system is inherently crisis ridden, it does not collapse automatically. The absence of a communist-led counterattack, engenders the danger of rise of reactionary forces. The ruling classes launch an all out attack to prevent the growth of the communists and the workers' parties to protect their status quo. Social democracy continues to spread illusions about the real character of capitalism, advancing slogans such as 'humanisation of capitalism', 'regulation', 'global governance' etc. These in fact support the strategy of capital by denying class struggle and buttressing the pursuit of anti-popular policies. No amount of reform can eliminate exploitation under capitalism. Capitalism has to be overthrown. This requires the intensification of ideological and political working class led popular struggles. All sorts of theories like 'there is no alternative' to imperialist globalisation are propagated. Countering them, our response is 'socialism is the alternative'.

We, the communist and workers' parties coming from all parts of the globe and representing the interests of the working class and all other toiling sections of society (the vast majority of global population) underlining the irreplaceable role of the communist parties call upon the people to join us in strengthening the struggles to declare that socialism is the only real alternative for the future of humankind and that the future is ours.