Contribution of Lebanese CP [En]
First, we at the Lebanese Communist party extend our gratitude to the Communist Party of Vietnam for their gracious hospitality and indefatigable efforts at organizing the 18th international meeting that comes at a very crucial juncture in world history and the history of our movement marked by the theme of the conference: capitalist crisis and imperialist offensive that are with no uncertainty intertwined.
Anyone who lived and struggled in the aftermath of the end of the socialism in the USSR and other actually existing socialisms, knows the extent of difficulties that presented themselves on all fronts: theoretical, political and for many ruling communist parties economic. These difficulties seemed at the time insurmountable. However, today we live in a different world in which the deepening crisis of capitalism, the severestsincetheGreatDepression in 1929, which started in 2008 raised the question that was for a long time forgotten "Is there a future for capitalism?"
For many, this crisis seemed like all others and for long time predicted. However, predicting capitalist crises all the time is no prediction at all and this is the pitfall of some Marxist analysis that sees capitalist crisis around every corner. But only in understanding the specific nature and causes of this crisis, would allow us to discern the opportunities it presents.
The crisis this time is real not only as a manifestation of or a phase in the business cycle or a manifestation of the long run tendency of the rate of profit to fall, but also in the emergence of a long term crisis of capitalism. First, this crisis manifests itself in the exhaustion of the "Keynesian solution" as mounting public debts and overextendedbalance sheets of central banks and the barrier of zero-interest rates haunt capitalist policymakers and paralyze the tools for "saving capitalism" from the secular stagnation it faces now and from any foreseeable financial crisis in the future.
Second, capitalism faces a more sinister enemy in the development of productive forces that are accelerating at an unprecedented pace namely: robotization and artificial intelligence.
We live today in what was called "The second machine age" marked by the substitution of labor by intelligent machines. Marx was the first economist that codified the phenomenon of "technological replacement" driven by capitalist competition. The first wave of such replacement, that wiped out unskilled jobs, was absorbed by capitalism through different measures from state intervention to geographical expansion. However, the second wave that started now and will continue in the future substituting skilled labor will eliminate half of the skilled jobs in the next 20 years and will generate very high structuralunemployment in the next few decades as predicted by prominent non-Marxist economists and technologists.
Marx in the “fragments on machines” in the Grundrisse foresaw such development where large scale industry and science and technology become the creators of wealth and labor is marginalized. In this state of capitalist development, the contradictions between the forces of production and the relations of production reach their peak. Questions like "Where will consumption come from as workers lose theirincomes at such a fast pace?" will haunt the capitalist order. Solutions like the basic income scheme that is being discussed today in many countries will not suffice.
Only in the transition to socialism will such contradictions get resolved.
In this context, we witness the intensification of imperialist offensives around the globe. In Latin America, fostering right wing onslaught on progressive left wing governments; in the Middle East where the imperialist intervention reached its peak with the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent strife across the Arab world engendering sectarian/ethnic divisions and the spawning of political criminal organizations such the IS and Qaeda-inspired movements; in Europe where the offensive reached its peak in the troika-led assault on the people of Greece and in austerity imposed on European working classes in addition to the rise of neo-fascism; in Eastern Europe and the Ukraine where NATO militarism abounds; in East Sea/South Sea where high seas US militarism and dreams of "Gunboat diplomacy" threaten regional peace and prosperity.
We live in "The wasteland of capitalism" and the tasks for the international communist and workers parties are legion. On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, we will surely celebrate next year in Russia and around the world but more importantly we need to develop political and economic programmes that take into account the objective material conditions presenting themselves to our, should be alerted, Marxist minds. We should abandon all forms of dogmatism and learn from the errors of the past great project of building socialism in the USSR and not cover them under any vague apologistic cloak or mantle.
An international communist movement and not some vague intellectual leftist movement must present itself as a political and intellectual force in the face of the right wing and religious fundamentalism and reaction that have rushed, sometimes manufactured, to inherit voids left by the failure of the neoliberal capitalist project.
We in the LCP are closely following with high interest the different paths towards socialism undertaken by many countries. The paths currently undertaken, with all their great achievements, in addition to their inherent risks and pitfalls, represent differences within unity; a unity towards the achievement of socialism which will replacecapitalismwhether it will end in a bang or a whimper.
Such unity of objectives must reflect itself in open, equal and fraternal relations between communist and workers parties in the world. This meeting must be strengthened by making it more flexible, more effective, and further institutionalized. In such a task, the ruling communist parties and communist centres of gravity bear special responsibility; in addition to all of us.
We promise that the LCP will devote whatever it can devote towards the achievement of this crucial task.
Long live the communist and workers parties
Long live socialism