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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