Keith Bennett: Join hands in the struggle for socialism and against imperialist war

At the recent webinar marking the first anniversary of the International Manifesto Group’s document ‘Through Pluripolarity to Socialism’, Friends of Socialist China co-editor Keith Bennett made a speech assessing geopolitical developments since the launch of the manifesto. Keith observes that imperialism’s hasty retreat from Afghanistan has flowed into escalating aggression against both Russia and China, noting that both “NATO’s proxy war against Russia, which it seems determined to fight to the last Ukrainian” and the new Cold War against China have only intensified under the Biden administration.

Keith further states that the international left – albeit in a partial and contradictory way – is embarked on a process of realignment that has significant parallels to the realignment that took place a century ago, when the lines were drawn between those willing to fight against imperialism and those choosing the path of class collaboration. The questions our movement is asking itself are: “Whether to oppose imperialist war wherever it is waged; whether to support all those who fight imperialism, no matter the banner under which that struggle is waged; and whether to give resolute, wholehearted and unqualified support to any and every country, no matter where and no matter how, where our class, the working class, takes power, and sets out on the long and difficult road of building a new society, a socialist society.”

The late British Prime Minister Harold Wilson reputedly said that a week is a long time in politics. Certainly that might seem to be the case for former UK Chancellor Kwesi Kwarteng. The one who turned up in Washington for the annual meeting of the IMF, declaring he wasn’t going anywhere, only to have to leave early to return home for the dubious pleasure of being sacked.

But if a week is a long time in politics, it’s already one year since we launched our Manifesto, Through Pluripolarity to Socialism. Of course, in the broad sweep of human history, a year is far less than a blink of an eye. But perhaps we should reflect more on Lenin’s famous observation that there are periods of years when nothing seems to happen and then there come days into which years are compressed. We seem to be headed more in that direction.

Two things occupied particular attention when we were drafting the Manifesto. One was the global Covid-19 pandemic, the variegated response to it, the contradictions that it had bought to the surface and exacerbated, and the social, economic and political crises it had triggered. The other was the chaotic US, British and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the ignominious collapse of the puppet regime they had sought to leave behind.

We noted that the response to Covid-19 on the part of the socialist countries had been exemplary. And that has continued to be the case, whether in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, despite the fact that the last two named countries have laboured for decades under crippling and asphyxiating sanctions and blockades. China, Vietnam and Cuba have not only carried out exemplary policies at home. They have been providers of much-needed aid, primarily to developing countries, but also to developed countries, in the finest traditions of working-class international solidarity. By being the very first country to introduce lockdown measures, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea registered not a single case of Covid for over two years, and then, thanks to a huge nationwide mobilization, rapidly suppressed the virus when it finally entered the country. As the Manifesto stated:

“No wonder, the ruling Communist Party of China celebrated a proud centenary in July 2021.”

As we meet today, the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has opened in Beijing. It will not only set the scene for the next five years of China’s socialist development, but also map out more generically the route from the achievement of a moderately prosperous society and the complete elimination of extreme poverty, achieved just before the first centenary, that of the party, to the realisation of a modern, powerful and prosperous socialist country in all respects by the time the nation marks its second great centenary, that of the founding of the People’s Republic in 2049.

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China marks the UN International Day of Peace

Marking the United Nations’ International Day of Peace on September 21, the Chinese People’s Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD) organized a commemorative event in hybrid format, taking as its theme, ‘Acting on the Global Security Initiative to maintain world peace and stability’. Several hundred people from around the world attended, offline and online.

The event was opened with a congratulatory letter sent by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which was read by Liu Jianchao, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China.

In his letter, President Xi said that the world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation. “At this important historical juncture, I put forward the Global Security Initiative, call on all countries to uphold the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and take seriously the legitimate security concerns of all countries.”

This was followed by a keynote speech from Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, delivered via video link. Wang noted that, all countries need to practice mutual respect, enhance solidarity and coordination, respect others’ national security, sovereignty and development interests, and refrain from interfering in others’ internal affairs. “We need to work together to improve global governance, firmly oppose hegemony and bullying, practice true multilateralism, safeguard world peace and stability, and promote the development and prosperity of all countries.”

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