Our Goal is the Victory of Socialism
135 fraternal delegates from 91 fraternal parties attended the 15th Congress of the Communist Party of Russian Federation (CPRF), held on February 23-24. It began amidst great enthusiasm and a high level of optimism markedly different from that seen in the recent past. The significantly improved showing of the CPRF in the last elections in the Duma (parliament), and its growing role in giving meaningful inputs to issues on national agenda, are to a large extent responsible for this justifiable feel of a sense of pride in being a communist in today's Russia. During the last two decades, the Communists in Russia have gone through many trials and tribulations. Against all odds and repression, they managed to reorganise themselves initially as an underground force and fought the way to acquire the status of a legitimate political party in post Soviet Russia. Since then, they have seen many an ebb and tide in their activities and acceptance by the people. Over the years, through sheer hard work and a public display of steadfast commitment to the Russian nation and increased prosperity of its people, they have today emerged as the second largest political force and a recognised parliamentary opposition in the country.
While battling through the immediate conditions in the country, the CPRF has been increasingly rallying a large number of people around its agenda of building a better Russia, which they never hesitate to add, is the prerequisite for the re-emergence of socialism in their country. This effort of the CPRF, it must be noted, has come in the background of a severe anti-communist propaganda that is sweeping across Europe, particularly in the countries of former socialist Eastern Europe. In many of these countries there are efforts to ban the communist parties, their affiliate organisations and deny them the universal and basic human rights and liberties. All across Europe, the effort is to legitimise the equation of communism with fascism, decrying both as being anti-human. In contrast, in Russia today, Joseph Stalin and the leadership that he provided to the Soviet Red Army and the Soviet people in the mighty victory against fascism is recollected with immense pride and accomplishment. Stalin today has emerged as one of the most powerful and popular figure in the country's history. To carry a portrait or a badge of Stalin in Moscow today has become synonymous with supreme patriotism and the commitment for the creation of a better Russia.
The discussions during the Congress reflected this national milieu. The accompanied high level of enthusiasm and optimism was all the more refreshing as a large number of youth not only participated in the discussion but were elected to the central committee and more importantly to the highest authority of the CPRF, it Presidium. The 15th Congress elected 180 members to the CC and 116 alternate members to the CC through a secret ballot. The CPRF can no longer be called a party of the retired or of the nostalgic. It has now assumed the character of the party of the future. However, how this will be translated into reality was the issue on which a large part of the discussions concentrated upon.
The Congress adopted a rather longish report presented by the Chairman of the Central committee Gennady Zyuganov who has been subsequently re-elected as the Chairman by the 15th Congress. For the first time after the dismantling of the USSR and the formation of the CPRF, this report was subjected to a pre-Congress party discussion in all party units and was thoroughly discussed in the Congress. In that sense the CPRF has now emerged as a truly organised communist party with grassroot level units and intermediate level committees leading up to the central committee and the party Congress. Following the demolition of the Soviet Union, in an atmosphere of widespread disillusionment and repression unleashed against communists, a band of committed communists around Comrade Zyuganov worked tireless braving all attacks to re-build the communist party. This 15th Congress, in a sense signalled a fair degree of success in achieving this as a consequence of the work done by this committed group of communists.
For the first time since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Russian communists received not inconsiderable media attention. The CPRF's programme for the rejuvenation of Russia as a powerful industrial nation is receiving largescale support. It must be noted that in the last two decades since the Soviet Union ceased to exist, there has not been a single megawatt of power generation that has been added. Likewise, the entire infrastructure from public transport to heating, so necessary for Russian winter, etc, remains the same as it was during the last days of the Soviet Union. This in itself is a telling testimony of the superiority of socialism. The CPRF's members of parliament today head many parliamentary committees that are mandated to lay down plans and proposals for the industrial resurgence of Russia. All in all, this 15th Congress marked a qualitatively positive shift in the position and role of the communists in contemporary Russia. In the immediate Russian context, the Congress put out a programme for the rejuvenation of the country under the slogan 'Russia demands a change'.
The Congress discussed various possibilities that currently Russia is pregnant with. Comrade Zyuganov's report describes this in the following: “There may be different outcomes to the current crisis for Russia. Below are some of the scenarios:
- the establishment of a repressive, openly dictatorial regime by oligarchic capital and still greater oppression of the masses;
- accelerated processes of disintegration of Russia with the participation of external forces;
- left-wing-patriotic forces coming to power by peaceful means through bourgeois-democratic procedures;
- a social revolution as a result of a nationwide crisis that breaks out regardless of the wishes of social classes, parties and leaders.
Our party will do everything to make our programme one for the salvation of the country so that Russia’s pivot to the left be consolidated by the formation of a government of popular trust.” The Congress drew up specific plans for the transformation of Russia through accelerated development into economic growth; for Russia, that will put an end to poverty and social degradation through a change in State priorities; for a cultural upsurge that will be an indispensable condition for the revival of Russia and for a Russia with strengthened national security that will have a new foreign and defence policy.
Reiterating its commitment to proletarian internationalism based on its commitment to revolutionary ideology of Marxism-Leninism, the report concludes by stating: “World development is dialectical. With the strengthening of the forces of progress and socialism new threats to the modern world are growing. Another aspect of dialectics is that the counter-offensive of imperialism is fraught with colossal danger, but at the same time it reveals its true nature and thus contributes to the growth of revolutionary struggles.
The world is experiencing massive economic, social, political and cultural changes. These changes will have far-reaching consequences. Their outcome would depend on the actions of the entire front of the forces that oppose imperialism. Individual states and their ability to unite in pursuit of common goals will play a part. The degree of mobilisation of peoples to struggle for their sovereignty and independence will be important. The struggle of the working class and other proletarian strata for their rights will be highly significant. The balance of forces that will take shape as a result of all this will determine the future of mankind.
New vistas are opening up for the champions of socialism. The complex and contradictory situation demands from us, Communists, a profound theoretical analysis, energetic practical actions and an unerring approach to choosing the forms and methods of struggle.
The CPRF has developed and presented to society a comprehensive programme for taking Russia out of the crisis. It reflects the interests of the absolute majority of citizens. Increased support for the party in elections held in recent years means that the voters trust our position. The future activities of the CPRF will be connected with propaganda and popularisation of our programme in attempting to rally the broad masses to support it. The masses must take a conscious, persistent and creative role in the building of a new society. Following that rule, the CPRF is helping the country’s workers to understand the need for replacing capitalism and encourages them to self-organise and join class struggle.
Capitalism is dangerous. Humanity’s need to get rid of it is becoming ever more urgent. “Socialism or barbarism” – this is an increasingly stark choice.