The 12th International Meeting of Communist and Workers` Parties took place in Tshwane, South Africa from the 3rd to the 5th of December 2010 with theme "The deepening systemic crisis of capitalism. The tasks of Communists in defence of sovereignty, deepening social alliances, strengthening the anti-imperialist front in the struggle for peace, progress and Socialism".

102 delegates representing 51 participating Parties from 43 countries and from all continents of the world came together in order to take forward the work of our previous meetings, and to promote and develop common and convergent action around a shared perspective

The Deepening Capitalist Crisis

The international situation continues to be dominated by the persisting and deepening crisis of capitalism. This reality confirms the analyses outlined in the declarations in Sao Paulo in 2008 and New Delhi in 2009, the 10th and 11th International Meetings. The current global crisis of capitalism underlines its historical limitations and the need for its revolutionary overthrow. It shows the intensification of the basic contradiction of capitalism between the social character of production and the private capitalist appropriation.

The crisis is systemic – despite pre-2008 capitalist illusions to the contrary – capitalism cannot escape its in-built, systemic tendency to go through cycles of boom and bust. The current global crisis is a particularly severe manifestation of a capitalist downturn occasioned by capitalist over-production.

Now, as in the past, there is no answer, within the logic of capitalism, to these periodic crises other than crisis itself, marked by the massive and socially irrational destruction of assets, including mass job lay-offs, factory closures, and the wholesale attack on wages, pensions, social security and erosion of people`s livelihoods. This is why, at our previous two meetings, we correctly asserted that the current crisis was not merely attributable to subjective failings, to the greed of bankers or financial speculators. It remains a crisis embedded in the systemic features of capitalism itself.

The persisting crisis is compounded by significant shifts in the international balance of forces. In particular, there is the on-going relative decline of US economic global hegemony, general productive stagnation in most advanced capitalist economies, and the emergence of new global economic powers, notably China.

The crisis has intensified the competition between the imperialist centres and also between the established and emerging powers. This includes the US-led currency war; the concentration and centralization of economic and political power within the EU deepening its character as an imperialist block led by its main capitalist powers; a distinct sharpening of the inter-imperialist struggle for markets and access to raw materials; expanding militarism, including the strengthening of aggressive alliances (for example, the NATO Lisbon Summit with its "new" dangerous strategic concept), the profusion of regional points of tension and aggression (notably in the Middle East, Asia and Africa), coups in Latin America, the intensification of neo-imperialist tendencies of fanning ethnic conflicts and the increasing militarization of Africa through, amongst other things, AFRICOM.

At the same time it has become clear that capitalism`s trajectory with its profit-maximising, headlong destruction of natural resources, and of the environment in general poses a grave threat to the sustainability of human civilization itself. The political elites in the dominant capitalist states with their various proposals for "green technologies" and carbon trading at best represent adjustments which increase the profitability of capital while deepening the commodification of nature, and the transfer of climate change crises onto less developed countries. The crisis of the capitalist system that we face as humankind is directly linked to capitalism`s inability to reproduce itself except through a voracious pursuit of compound growth. It is a crisis that can only be overcome through the abolition of capitalism itself.

Faced with these realities, everywhere capital fights back, seeking to preserve profits and to transfer the burden of its crisis onto the working class by intensifying exploitation based on gender and age, the urban and rural poor, and a wide range of middle strata. Exploitation is intensified, the state is used to rescue private bankers and financial houses while exposing future generations to unsustainable levels of debt, and there are intensified efforts to roll back social gains.

In the entire capitalist world, labour, social, economic, political and social security rights are being abolished. At the same time the political systems are being made more reactionary, restricting democratic and civil liberties, especially trade union rights. The retrenchments, including major spending cuts in the public sector are having a devastating impact on workers, especially women workers. There are also attempts to divert popular distress and insecurity into reactionary demagogy, racism and xenophobia, as well as to legitimise fascist forces. These are expressions of anti-democratic and authoritarian tendencies also marked by the escalation of anti-communist attacks and campaigns in many parts of the world. In Africa, Asia and Latin America we are witnessing the imposition on our peoples of new mechanisms of national and class oppression, including economic, financial, political and military means as well as the deployment of an array of pro-imperialist NGOs.

However, for the mass of peoples, in particular in Africa, Asia and Latin America, it is important to remember that, even before the current global economic crisis, life under capitalism was a continuing crisis, a daily struggle for bare survival. Even before the current global crisis, one billion people were living in squalid slums, and half of the world’s population was surviving on less than $2 a day. With the crisis these realities have been massively aggravated.

Most of these urban and rural poor, along with family members working as vulnerable migrants in foreign countries, are the displaced victims of the accelerated capitalist agrarian development under way in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Global capitalism, spearheaded by the major corporations in the agro-industrial sector, has declared war on nearly one-half of humanity – the three billion remaining rural people in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

At the same time inhuman barriers are being set up against immigrants and refugees. There is an ever-increasing mushrooming of urban and semi-urban slums populated by desperate marginalised masses typically involved in a variety of activities for survival. The accelerated capitalist agrarian transformation in countries with a lower level of capitalist development has genocidal implications.

The Importance of Resistance Struggles of the Working Class and Popular Forces

Across the world, capital’s attempts to load the burden of the crisis onto workers and the poor is being met by working class and popular resistance.

Over the past year the anti-people assault on labour rights, social-security rights and wages provoked an escalation of popular struggles notably in Europe.

Imperialist aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America continues to meet resolute popular resistance.

In Africa and Latin America, anti-imperialist forces, trade unions, and social movements have escalated their struggles for the rights of the people and against the plunder by the multinational corporations. These struggles have, in some cases, led to the emergence of progressive, popular national governments that declare programmatically for national sovereignty, social rights, development and for the protection of their natural resources and biodiversity, giving renewed impetus to the anti-imperialist struggle.

In the current reality, it is an historic imperative that as Communist and Workers’ Parties we participate, to strengthen and transform these popular defensive battles into offensive struggles for the acquisition of broader workers’ and people rights and for the abolition of capitalism.

In advancing this strategic agenda, communists stress the significance that the organisation of the working class, and the development of the struggles of the labour movement in a class-oriented direction, have in the struggle for the acquisition of political power by the working class and its allies.

Within the framework of this struggle we attach particular importance to:
•    The defense, consolidation and advance of popular national sovereignty
•    The deepening of social alliances
•    Strengthening the anti-imperialist front for peace, for the right to full-time stable work, labour rights and social rights such as free health and education.

The Defense, Consolidation and Advance of Popular Sovereignty

In the face of the intensified aggression of transnational capital, the struggle against imperialist occupation of countries, against economic and political dependency and to defend popular sovereignty has become increasingly salient. In these struggles it is important for communists to integrate these struggles with the struggle for social and class emancipation.

Communists, fighting against imperialism, struggle for equitable international relations between states and peoples on the basis of mutual benefit.

The defence, consolidation and advance of popular sovereignty is of particular importance in Africa and for other peoples that have experienced decades and even centuries of colonial and semi-colonial oppression. 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the commencement of the formal de-colonisation of Africa. Yet everywhere, including in the African diaspora, the grim legacy of the slave-trade, of colonial dispossession and plunder persist. Notwithstanding 50 years of formal de-colonisation, everywhere imperialist interventions are reinforced, the dominance of the monopolies is being strengthened with the aid of domestic capital. The struggle against them requires active protagonists and the unity of the popular masses, and the broadening of popular democratic rights.

Deepening Social Alliances

The ongoing crisis of capitalism and its anti-civilisation fight-back are creating the conditions to build broad social, anti-monopolistic and anti-imperialist alliances capable of gaining power and promoting deep, progressive, radical, and revolutionary changes.

Working class unity is a fundamental factor in ensuring the construction of effective social alliances with the peasantry, the mass of urban and rural poor, the urban middle class strata and intellectuals. Particular attention needs to be paid to the aspirations of, and challenges confronting youth.

The land question, agrarian reform and rural development are important issues for the development of popular struggle in lesser developed countries. These are inextricably linked to food sovereignty and security, sustainable livelihoods, the defence of bio-diversity, the protection of national resources, and the struggle against agro-industrial monopolies and their local agents.

In these struggles, the legitimate and progressive aspirations of indigenous peoples in defence of their cultures, languages and environments have an important role.

The Role of Communists in Strengthening the Anti-Imperialist Front for Peace, Environmental Sustainability, Progress and Socialism

Imperialism’s crisis and counter-offensive are leading to the broadening and diversification of the forces that objectively assume a patriotic and anti-imperialist stand. Everywhere, in our diverse national realities, Communists have a responsibility to broaden and strengthen the anti-imperialist political and social front, the struggles for peace, environmental sustainability, progress, and integrate them in the fight for socialism. The independent role of Communists and the strengthening of the Communist and Workers’ parties is of vital importance to ensure a consistent anti-imperialist perspective of broader movements and fronts.

Special attention must be given to the existing relation between various resistance struggles and the necessary ideological offensive for the visibility of the alternative of socialism and to the defence and development of scientific socialism. The ideological struggle of the communist movement is of vital importance in order to repulse contemporary anti-communism, to confront bourgeois ideology, anti-scientific theories and opportunist currents which reject the class struggle, and combat the role of social democratic forces that defend and implement anti-people and pro-imperialist policies by supporting the strategy of capital. We have a key role to play in drawing the critical links in theory and above all in practice between different arenas of popular struggle in the development of internationalist class solidarity.

We are living in an historic epoch in which the transition from capitalism to socialism has become a civilisational imperative. The all-round crisis of capitalism once more underlines the inseparable nature of the tasks of national liberation and social, national and class emancipation.

In the face of deepening capitalist crisis, the experiences of socialist construction demonstrate the conditions of the superiority of socialism.

The strengthening of the cooperation among Communist and Workers` Parties and the strengthening of the anti-imperialist front, should march side by side.

We, the Communist and Workers` parties meeting in Tshwane, in a situation marked by a massive onslaught against workers and popular forces, but also with many possibilities for the development of the struggle, express our profound solidarity with workers and peoples and their intense struggles, reiterating our determination to act and struggle side by side with working masses, youth, women, and all popular sectors that are victims of capitalist exploitation and oppression.

We reaffirm our appeal to the widest range of popular forces to join us in a common struggle for socialism which is the only alternative for the future of humankind.

We point to the following main axes for the development of our joint and convergent actions:
1.    With the capitalist crisis deepening, we will focus on the development of workers’ and peoples’ struggles for labour and social rights, the strengthening of the trade-union movement and its class orientation; the promotion of the social alliance with peasants and the other popular strata. Particular attention will be given to the problems of women and youth who are among the first victims of the capitalist crisis.

2.    In the face of the all-round imperialist aggression and the sharpening of the inter-imperialist rivalries, we will intensify the anti-imperialist struggle for peace, against imperialist wars and occupation, against the dangerous "new" NATO strategy and foreign military bases, and for the abolition of all nuclear weapons. We will extend active internationalist solidarity with all people and movements facing and resisting oppression, imperialist threats and aggression.

3.    We will resolutely fight anticommunism, anti-communist laws, measures and persecution; to demand the legalisation of CPs where outlawed. We will defend the history of the communist movement, the contribution of socialism in advancing human civilisation.

4.    We affirm our solidarity with the forces and peoples engaged in and striving for socialist construction. We reaffirm our solidarity with the Cuban people and their socialist revolution, and we will continue vigorously to oppose the blockade and to support the international campaign for the release of the Cuban Five.

5.    We will contribute, within the specific context of our national realities, to the reinforcement of international anti-imperialist mass organizations like WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions), WPC (World Peace Council), WFDY (World Federation of Democratic Youth), and WIDF (Women’s International Democratic Federation).  We particularly welcome and salute the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students to be held in South Africa from 13th-21st December 2010.