[OPE-L] Cuba Socialista - Report on 'The Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century' conference

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Tue May 09 2006 - 08:54:13 EDT


The following is rather vague on who said what. Makes it sound like
everyone was in agreement on the key issues, doesn't it?  When will the
papers presented to the conference become available online?

In solidarity, Jerry


CUBA SOCIALISTA - The Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st
Century

                  CUBA SOCIALISTA.Theoretical and Political Magazine.
                  Edited by:  Central Committee of the Communist Party of
                  Cuba




             The Work of Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century

An international conference has just concluded in Havana, dedicated to the
great social thought of Karl Marx on the occasion of the 120th anniversary
of his death. The event took up the aim of analysing the basics of the
present world order and the progressive ways to deal with it so as to
strengthen the revolutionary thought at the outset of the 21st century.
Representatives of 28 countries participated in the conference along with
the host country, Cuba. The Head of State and President of the Council of
Ministers, Fidel Castro, participated during two days, contributing with
interesting interventions to the debate of ideas which was marked by a
climate of broad respect for the diverse points of view as concerns the
most important problems facing humanity in today's complex world.


                        International Conference

                        "Karl Marx and the Challenges of the 21st Century"
                        Brief Report

                  In the headquarters of the Workers' Centre of Cuba and
the Convention Centre, from May 5-8, 2003, the
International Conference "Karl Marx and the Challenges
of the 21st Century" was held. Over 400 delegates from
30 countries participated, presenting 120 papers.
                  The conference work was carried out through four
commissions and five panels which took up the following
themes: "The Revolutionary Today," "Development of
Marxist Thought," "Capitalism and Globalization,"
"Socialism, Capitalism and Humanity in the 21st Century"
and "Socialism and Communism."
                  The analysis of the issue of the revolutionary today
showed that the tendency of the neo-liberal system to
impose inertia, eliminate differences and smash the
emergence of any alternative must be opposed by
revolutionaries, their conscience, forms of organization
and struggle and their projects for transformation must
be elevated to a practical level so as to undermine the
hegemonic power of domination.
                  The revolutionary is being formed on the basis of the
new relations which are established in the class
struggle, in the new social movements and in the
political organizations starting with respect for their
diversity and autonomy which contributes to the maturing
of the collective conscience. The origin of the present
deviations related to the political subject reside in
dogmatism, over-theorization and in considering the new
social movements as new transmission belts. The unity of
the revolutionary players is needed along with the need
to rebuild the essential space for action based on
collective construction. It is necessary to theorize and
learn the lessons of history to provide the struggle
with intellectual arms.
                  The need to see the revolution as a process with three
phases was taken up: the accumulation of forces, the
assault on power and the construction of the new
society, pointing out that to struggle for socialism is
not a choice but an obligation, unless suicide is
considered to be a choice.
                  The theme dealing with social movements was broadly
debated. It was stressed that the social movements,
gender issues, national issues and others are present
manifestations of the class struggle. The battle of
ideas is a new manifestation of the struggle. It is a
battle to save humanity and create indispensable
conditions for a dignified life on our planet. Emphasis
was put on the urgency of working to guarantee access to
education as a means of inserting all kinds of social
groups into the struggle against neo-liberalism.
                  A relevant characteristic of present social movements
pointed out during the deliberations was that for the
first time an international political player is acting
in an international way and in the international debate
it finds its real identity. What kind of party is
required was also posed and what kind of revolution. In
this vein the following requisites were put forward: a
generic internationalism, a new relation between ethics
and politics upheld by the idea that the aim exists in
the means used to attain it and the need to consider the
worth of democracy as a shared power, keeping in mind
that it is the diversity amongst human beings that
constitutes our wealth.
                  When dealing with the theme the development of Marxist
thought, some of the aspects dealt with include the
importance of theoretical work to lead the concrete
revolution, along with the problem of the subjective
side and the direction of life from a new standpoint of
relating ethics and politics and the necessity to carry
out bold theoretically sound criticism of all
ideological tendencies which perpetuate and make
apologies for the capitalist system.
                  The immediate task of Marxist theory and practice
continues being the daily struggle for socialism and
communism in the context of an anti-fascist front of all
the progressive and revolutionary parties in the world.
                  This Commission also received a declaration by the
Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in support of Cuba.
                  The analysis of the theme which dealt with capitalism
and globalization, by presenting a characterization of
imperialism in the present circumstances, dealt with the
view that capitalism today cannot offer social advances
since its possibilities to do so are exhausted. It was
pointed out that since the end of World War II,
imperialism operates in a collective way due to its need
to access the global market and appropriate sources of
raw materials and strategic resources. For this reason
it can be concluded that today the system must impose
itself by force. Thus its stand today is not merely
episodic but the result of the system's need. The
necessity to identify that U.S. imperialism is the main
enemy of the peoples was underscored.
                  Some participants made the point that globalization can
be used to undermine the struggle against the present
order in as much as it minimizes the capability of
national governments to intervene.
                  Particular attention was given to the cases of
Argentina, Mexico, Venezuela, China, Russia, the Middle
East and especially to the colonial occupation of
Palestine by Israeli Zionism. The conference declared
its complete solidarity with Palestine, saluting the
courage of her people as an example for all those who
are fighting imperialism.
                  Regarding the United States, it was pointed out that its
recession is not over. Sooner or later, it will reach a
critical stage and it will suffer a very severe crisis.
This will unleash a critical period in the history of
capitalism.
                  The most question is: How will the working class respond
to this great crisis?
                  The themes of the historical community of
internationalism in the work of Marx was also amply
addressed, putting emphasis on its enrichment through
new forms which are invigorated by the transformations
which are taking place in the world. The very real
danger of a fascist dictatorship on a world scale was
highlighted. It became clear that it is not a matter of
its imposition on a national scale within the United
States which is the issue but its imposition by the
United States on an international scale.
                  In relation to the theme "socialism and communism," the
necessity was stressed to bring into the context of the
present the positions of Marx and Lenin as concerns the
premises of the socialist revolution following the
experience of the collapse of socialism in Eastern
Europe.
                  The most evident present contradiction is reflected in
the riches of the transnationals and the limits to
expansion which nation states continue to erect. The
existence of basic conditions for life for humanity
requires the continual preservation of the national
state.
                  Scenarios were discussed to analyze the theme of the
socialist transition and the correlation between
different forms of ownership, as well as the importance
of co-operation. Various presenters pointed to critical
evaluations as concerns market socialism. On this issue,
the idea prevailed that socialism is defined by the
character of the economic relations which must be
capable of providing and reproducing the aims which are
subordinate to the socialist economic system.
                  The idea that private property is a condition for
economic efficiency was rejected as totally false.
                  The relative opinion that the so-called real socialism
had amongst its principal failures the lack of genuine
participation of the workers and people in making
decisions was also dealt with.
                  During the conference, Comrade Fidel Castro, President
of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, made
important contributions on the present international
developments and the unfolding of the Cuban
revolutionary process. In the course of this, he
highlighted the need to write the political economy of
socialism.
                  The presentation by the International Committee for the
Freedom of the Five Cuban Prisoners of the Empire on
their unjust imprisonment as a result of their fight
against terrorism urged support for the campaign for
their freedom.
                  The delegates participated in the presentation of the
magazine "Paradigms and Utopias, Marx Today" and the
books "The Other Davos" and "Cuba Beyond Dreams."
                  The conference concluded following intense, often
passionate debates which testifies to the rigorous, open
and fraternal climate which prevailed in each of the
commissions and panel discussions. The most pressing
themes of our upside down world were dealt with, a world
which as never before is threatened by the Empire with a
world Nazi-fascist dictatorship and even the very real
possibility of the extinction of our species.
                  Cuba  a small and threatened island  which does not
and will not give up its determined struggle to better
human life and for social justice, felt the warm and
fraternal solidarity in the significant expression of
the best of social thought in our times which came
together here during these days.
                  The dilemma which we face today is, in essence,
socialism or barbarism. As has been shown, Marx
continues to be our comrade-in-arms and our mandatory
guide in the struggle. We are certain that, in spite of
the adverse tendencies of our time and the complexity of
the transformations which are demanded, the peoples will
unite for the better world which we desire. The name of
Karl Marx will live throughout the centuries along with
his work Frederick Engels said 120 years ago when he
bade farewell to his closest comrade and friend. History
reaffirms that transcendental vision. At the outset of
the 21st century, the exceptional ideas of Karl Marx
become increasingly significant for humanity, since they
embody the fundamentals for revolutionary criticism and
the practical way to overcome the system of inequality
and exploitation which subjugates the world today.
                  As Karl Marx did during his life, we pledge to not rest
until the revolutionary transformation of the world is
achieved.
                  During four days of rich discussion, the conference has
shown us the validity of the thinking of Karl Marx to
analyze the world developments under the domination of
transnational imperialist capital, identifying the
limits that the system has for its dysfunction,
sustained by injustices and inequality which castrates
the dignity of millions of women and men on the planet.
                  On the basis of the good will which is the foundation of
human solidarity, we call on all who we can reach with
our collective effort to avert the holocaust. Let us say
NO to world dictatorships, NO to Nazi-fascism; NO to the
hegemony of U.S. imperialism that is leading humanity to
barbarism.
                  We call for the formation of a world front, comprised by
intellectuals, academics, professors and political
revolutionaries so that humanity survives and fosters
the possibility to transform itself as Karl Marx said
into real history
                  Havana, May 8, 2003
                  Participants in the Conference "The Work of Karl Marx
and the Challenges of the 21st Century"


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