Welcome to the third issue of the Nordic Communist Review, which is the first issue of 2021. This time the subject covered is “Threats to peace in the Nordic region”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
Welcome to the third issue of the Nordic Communist Review, which is the first issue of 2021. This time the subject covered is “Threats to peace in the Nordic region”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
As we analyze Finland’s effect on peace in the Nordics, we must first go back in history to get a base of comparison from earlier actions. In Finland’s current action safety policy is ruled by defense policy, and foreign policy is left as a secondary method. This is a result of joining the EU, partnership with the military alliance NATO and military cooperation with many other nations. Finland doesn’t strive to be a neutral nation anymore, and the goal isn’t to stay out of major power’s conflicts of interest.
After Finland became independent in 1917, a class-war started in January 1918. The war ended in the victory for the bourgeoisie in summer 1918, after the bourgeoisie had called in the help of German soldiers. Over 40 000 fighters died in the war, most of which were workers. After the war over 80 000 reds or people suspected to be reds were jailed in poor conditions in prisons set up by the bourgeoisie. Some of them were executed, some died of illnesses and hunger, and some were released.
The bourgeoisie felt grateful towards Germany for the victory granted to them as the parliament decided to form a kingdom in 1918. The king was already chosen to be the Duke of Hessen from Germany, Friedrich Karl. Germany lost the First World War in 1918 and in December 1918 the king declared his abdication. Finland was made into a republic afterwards.
The bourgeoisie had great power after their victory in the class-war and practiced strict class-control over the workers. The bourgeoisie’s fist was the fascistic Lapua-movement, by whose impact the parliament accepted the communist laws in 1930. Communists’ and leftist workers’ movements were banned. Publishing of leftist newspapers was banned, printing presses were destroyed, gatherings were banned, activists were imprisoned, and seven members of the parliament were prevented from joining the parliaments work. Same happened in many counties, where leftist political figures’ activity was obstructed. The list of the bourgeoisie’s and its fascistic fist’s atrocities can go on for very long.
The bourgeoisie molded the people’s opinions heavily in the 1920s and 1930s, with anti-Soviet rhetoric and a goal of expanding national living space. Greater-Finland idea was reinforced. Due to this, Finland fought the Winter War against the Soviet Union in 30.11.1939-13.3.1940. Already at the end of summer 1940, German troops landed in Vaasa and advanced to Northern-Finland. As Germany attacked The Soviet Union in 21.6.1941, Finland was by its side, advancing in the war deep into Soviet territory past the city of Petrozavodsk. Finnish troops also sieged Leningrad. There were around 213 000 German soldiers of the 20th mountain army in Northern-Finland during the assault against the Soviet Union.
The war ended in defeat for Finland in September 1944. A new period of democratic development was made possible in Finland. Communism laws were repealed, communists received the right to public activity, as did the most leftist workers’ movement. Fascistic organizations were banned.
Neutrality and non-alignment furthered peace, which is now threatened.
The allies, Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France dictated the terms at the Paris peace treaty for the loser countries who fought alongside Germany. Finland was declared guilty and the treaty obliged Finland for territorial transfers towards the Soviet Union, to pay war reparations to the Soviet Union and the treaty defined Finland’s army’s manpower and quality and quantity of weapons. Procuring weapons from Germany was banned and so was procuring nuclear weapons. As the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991, Finland declared unilaterally the arms restrictions void.
To prevent a war between Finland and The Soviet Union, The Soviet Union suggested the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (YYA) to Finland. The pact was accepted on 6.4.1948. The pact’s main purpose was to prevent an attack at the Soviet Union from Finland’s territory. Many diverse and mutually beneficial relations were created by the basis of this pact. The YYA-pact was the basis of Finland’s new foreign policy of peace and neutrality. Supporters and defenders of this new foreign policy were the greatly strengthened peace movement and the Finnish-Soviet Friendship Association.
Once one of the symbols of the peace movement was making the Baltic Sea the sea of peace, and President Urho Kekkonen’s proposal of making the Nordics free of nuclear weapons was widely known.
The most important part of Finland’s defense policy was foreign policy, which highlighted neutrality, especially concerning major powers.
One big overture in international action happened in 1956 when, by President Kekkonen’s proposal, Finland partook for the first time in the UN’s traditional peacekeeping operation by sending soldiers to Suez in the Middle-East. Both sides of the UN’s operation, who had reached an armistice, accepted the arrival of the UN troops who created a buffer zone between both sides.
The situation has changed after the Bosnia War, when the UN has given peacekeeping operations to NATO, EU, OSCE, African Union and Australia. The operations justification is the sugarcoated notion of trying to create conditions for permanent peace for the quarreling parties, to separate them from each other or to support local governments. Supporting local governments is precisely the reason why the UN’s military departments work as a part of wars and are heavily armed. Being part of a war hasn’t always meant supporting the local government, but the supported side is chosen by imperialist justifications.
Currently Finnish “peacekeepers” are working in UN’s, NATO’s and EU’s operations in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, The Mediterranean and the Middle-East. Finland’s participation is marked with one common quality, the desire to be part of the West’s imperialist world redistribution.
The events in Europe in 1999 tell of the change in Finland’s safety policy in the post-Soviet era. Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.
Finland’s president Martti Ahtisaari together with Russia’s Baltic-envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin visited Serbia to pressure president Slobodan Milosevic threatening him with NATO bombing. They reached their goal when NATO with EU’s approval started bombing Serbia for 78 days on 24.3-10.6.1999. Germany was the chairman nation of the EU then, and the two leading nations besides Germany were the previous chairman nation Austria and the upcoming chairman nation Finland, whose chairman term started on 1.7.1999. Finland’s prime minister at that time was Paavo Lipponen (social democrat). For his merits as a “peace mediator”, President Martti Ahtisaari (social democrat) was later granted the Nobel peace prize.
Goal of the Imperialists: “Northern dimension”, increased military activity in the background.
When evaluating Finland’s place in Northern-Europe as Russia’s neighbor and the increased military activity in the Nordics and the Baltics, it is good to note that the European Union accepted Finland’s initiative of the “Northern dimension” in 1997 as its policy. Naturally the creator of the initiative was agreed upon, Finland is Russia’s neighbor after all. In the “Northern dimension” policy the EU has set Russia’s north-western natural resources as strategic resources for the EU. This colonialist political/economic project by the EU and the west is also implemented militarily. Finland for their part implements nearby area cooperation with Russia, as documented in the initiative.
Even though Finland is sometimes portrayed as a bridge builder between the east and the west in the media, Finland has in the recent decades taken the initiative to shaken the stability of the Nordics. Especially during the presidency of Sauli Niinistö Finland has been made a frontier post against Russia.
Below are examples of Finland’s military alliance with other imperialist.
-In 2014 Finland signed a “Host country” agreement with Nato. The agreement was signed by the commander of the Defense forces with President Sauli Niinistö present. The parliament didn’t deal with the agreement, even though the agreement doesn’t set any limitations to what kind of situation Nato troops can enter Finnish territory, what strength they can enter with, or what kind of armaments. Nuclear weapons also weren’t mentioned.
-Finland is a part of the Nordics’ defense alliance Nordefco, British led JEF standby forces, a similar German alliance, France’s E12 intervention initiative and EU’s more centralizing defense cooperation. In addition in the recent years a project called NATO+2 has been developed, in it Finland and Sweden together with NATO prepare to counter the threat of Russia on the Baltic Sea.
-Last September the defense ministry joined a USA started artificial intelligence-cooperation, which develops nations’ military cooperation.
-USA troops perform military drills together with Finnish troops in Finland.
-Finland takes part in NATO’s quick response troop’s activities.
-Finland takes part in the EU’s battle departments’ activities.
-Finland leads the Helsinki based EU hybrid competence-center, which has the goal of bringing NATO and the EU closer together.
-Finnish people also take part in NATO’s cyber safety- center’s activities in Estonia.
In addition to Finland’s and other Nordic- countries’ activities, the stability of northern- Europe in the area of the Baltic Sea has been affected the most by the Baltic countries joining NATO in 2004. Their airspace is constantly under supervision, NATO’s air-sea and ground-surveillance’s radars scan the Baltic Sea’s land and sea-areas. Different countries’ military units are constantly practicing in different arms in land-sea and air-drills under the guidance of NATO.
Military drills have also increased in the Nordics’ land-air and sea-areas. In the north on land and air. USA troops have participated in military drills on Finnish territory.
Finnish tabloids and state media writes about the constant threat, which is Russia. In reality NATO, EU, USA, the Nordics and the Baltics have themselves weakened the stability of northern-Europe and themselves form a threat to peace, not Russia.
Influencing and opinion molding towards capitalism is done by pro-capitalists in many different ways. The Nordic Council, which was founded in 1952, is the area’s countries’ parliamentary body that has permanent bodies. The Council has worked to create a common political position for its member states. Once it was pulling its member state Finland away from close cooperation with the Soviet Union. Now the Council has created an operational context towards Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to organize the Baltics into a general assembly. The Baltics do proclaim themselves to have always been part of the Nordics and aim to bring the entirety of the Nordics to be full members of EU and NATO.
In the post-Soviet era, new organizations have been founded as the imperialists’ interest in the North’s natural resources have increased. Climate change has accelerated this interest. The area’s affairs are handled by many agencies in different contexts, but the Council of the Baltic Sea States of 1992 and the Arctic Council of 1996 have been founded in the name of bourgeois democracy. Russia is also part of both.
Even though the bourgeoisie and supporters of the system try to paint a picture of the Nordics as an area that was a stable area of peace if there was no threat from Russia, that picture doesn’t match reality. The reality is that the imperialist powers USA and EU also strive for the East, an example being NATO’s expansion to the borders of Russia. Because the Nordics are allied to imperialism’s core, the Nordics might become the springboard for military attacks in the East and North. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Finland was its springboard. Only by peace-wanting citizens can this be avoided from happening again.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Finland has sought to commit to the west. The peaceful people’s strength hasn’t been strong enough to defend Finland’s independent neutrality driven foreign policy and to stop the safety policy from becoming solely defense policy. Peace organizations carry on like decades ago as supporters of state policy, even though the state’s policy has changed. Maybe the reason is money. In 2020 nine peace organizations received in total 500 000 euros as operating aid from the state. Peace organizations are almost quiet and people aren’t raised in defiance, even though Finland is about to purchase fighter jets costing 10-20 billion euros. Some organizations at most are for postponing the purchase. And this isn’t the only weapons purchase. Finland is constantly acquiring warships and all sorts of others weapons, likewise more military drills are conducted and Finnish soldiers attend military drills abroad.
Communists in Finland as well as in other countries in the Nordics have a grand task ahead of them, stopping the progress of the warmongers. It’s imperative to expose the nature of capitalism, and the conglomerates and bourgeoisie governments inside it, and their connection to benefitting from wars at the expense of workers and peoples suffering. In wars, workers have to fight against each other. That we must prevent.
Imperialism threatens peace in Nordic countries.
Imperialism is the highest and final historical stage of capitalism. Under imperialism, the internal contradictions of capitalism are intensified, and the scrabble for markets and natural resources is elevated, which can evolve into imperialist wars.
Greatest of all is the threat of nuclear war. If nuclear weapons are used, it will have fatal consequences for people, animals and nature. The risk of atomic detonations is real. New types of atomic weapons are deployed, disarmament treaties are abandoned, and the danger of cyber attacks on nuclear weapon infrastructure is present.
Imperialism is the greed of a small group of people who persist in the hunt for accumulation of money and profits. This small group of people recklessly exploit and profit on the lives of the working majority, the working class. Imperialism hunts and destroys the planet’s valuable resources while constantly moving towards a new crisis. The result of these crises is an increasingly unsafe and uncertain existence, with low income, lay-offs, unemployment, weak domestic economy, poverty, starvation and human tragedy.
The result of these conditions is an increase in right wing extremism, polarisation and terrorism. The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) assesses the threat level to 3 out of 5 possible levels. These forces must be defeated.
Back to imperialism. International tensions between the superpowers USA, China, Russia and the EU are increasing, and this increased global threat level also affects the nordic territories. Trump wanted to buy Greenland, as in colonial times. Russia is building nuclear powered icebreakers which will revolutionize Arctic naval traffic, so that also Chinese freighters, filled with equipment for wind turbines and railways, can reduce the distance to the world market by one third, throughout the year. 2020 saw a record number of Russian freighters filled with oil, gas and minerals moving through the North-East passage. China’s establishment of the new Silk Road to European markets is already well under way. Most wars are triggered by a conflict of interest.
So what does the bourgeois government of Norway do? They are obedient to our Nato allies, and draw Norway into active participation in the super power rivalry between USA/EU and Russia. They increase the American military presence in Norway. They will not sign the UN nuclear ban treaty, which was adopted with the support of 122 countries in 2017. A new Norwegian defense plan increases the size of the military. Allied nuclear submarines are allowed entry, which puts the population at risk. New surveillance aircraft will arrive in 2022, and new helicopters are delivered in 2024. 190 billion NOK will be spent on war supplies through the next eight years Another 400 million NOK are budgeted for defense expansion this year. Norwegians with ties to another country (such as Russia and others) are no longer allowed to do military service, and are considered a security risk. American soldiers and major military exercises on Norwegian soil during peacetime are welcomed. The US Air Force and their military aircraft are allowed to use the landing strip on Jan Mayen in 2020, and flyovers across Norway and Sweden are escorted by our countries’ fighter planes. American bombers with long-range cruise missiles are, for the first time in history, allowed to be stationed at Norwegian air bases in february 2021, along with 200 soldiers, as an act of deterrence. To compensate the Northern population for their inconvenience, the government published a resolution on the northern region before Christmas, which was put down by the opposition due to empty words with no intention of any real action that improves the living conditions of the region.
Several defence documents are classified for politicians in Parliament. Russia answers with a military exercise in international waters outside the Norwegian coast. USA-NATO, along with Norway, have entered a new cold war with Russia. Russia is obviously sceptical and negative to this increased NATO presence in Norway. The Russians will make efforts to defend the safety of their country and the entire region. This evil circle deteriorates trust and hurts the neighbour relations between Norway and Russia. An ice front between the EU and Russia, where the EU is threatening to introduce more sanctions, is not helping.
Comrades, this is anything but a contribution to peace and stability in the Nordic countries and the world. On the contrary. This is an unacceptable provocation and a dangerous development in the wrong direction. Nobody except the Communist Party of Norway is talking about disarmament today. NKP can not accept military rearmament imperialistic purposes. Nuclear weapons must be prohibited and removed from the planet. NKP will continue to criticise the crudeness of imperialism. The more we allow USA-NATO to extend their presence in Norway, the more we risk that Norway ends up as a battleground for the USA and Russia. The emissions caused by military production and activity must be reduced. Norway must leave the EEC and NATO. Strengthen cooperation between people across borders. The corona pandemic has shown us the necessity of international cooperation when facing great global threats, with no room for unequal distribution and patents. Forward for socialism!
With the Nordic one today means Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In older history the Nordic has been an almost mythical concept, built on the Viking age, common linguistic roots and magnificent hero epics. Until recently there was no place there for Finland, specifically, which was part of Sweden since the 1200s.
The cooperation between the Nordic countries in modern times was established in 1952 with the formation of the Nordic council (Finland a member since 1955), which is a cooperation between the parliaments of the countries. After some years Greenland, the Faroe islands and Åland were also given limited influence. In 1971 the Nordic council of ministers was created as a body for cooperation between the governments of the countries. It would have been logical and a positive signal to proceed according to purely geographical conditions and the proximity to the Arctic to create a cooperation on the Cap of the North which would have included the Soviet Union’s northern European part, but the anticommunism wouldn’t allow that. Only the communist parties of Sweden, Norway and Finland, whose northernmost districts under many decades have had a brotherly cooperation with the Murmansk district, had that idea.
In 1952 the countries who sought cooperation were capitalist states with different security policy situations: Denmark, Iceland (a member since 1955) and Norway, members of NATO, Iceland with a NATO-base that obviously had nuclear weapons (closed in 2006), Sweden and Finland nonaligned countries, but Finland with a cooperation treaty with the Soviet union. Among the first commitments for the member states was a passport union in 1954 that laid the foundation of a common labor market which was an advantage in postwar Europe. Ever since that time the Nordic countries have been associated with an idea of high standards of living and a peaceful disposition. Yes, there is even an idea of a “Nordic dimension” within capitalism, some “nobler” form, for example within the European union. But the Nordic council which since 2017 has an office in Brussels doesn’t differ from other actors.
The Nordic council works with technical committees, foreign and defense policy is handled only by the presidium of the council and defense matters lie completely outside the councils tasks.
The Nordic area is among the most militarized areas in Europe and therefore the peace is threatened by incidents, provocations, treaties, war exercises and confrontations which sooner or later could turn into acts of war. NATO is eager to secure its northern flank by getting Sweden and Finland as members and thus increase the proximity to the Arctic and move its eastern frontier to Russia’s border. In Sweden five right-wing parties are in favor of a NATO-membership and the social democrats, the left party and the greens against. The Sweden democrats have recently switched sides and are now in favor of a membership. In the public opinion there has for a long time been a majority against, but this has shrunk somewhat in recent years. Because Sweden has been hard work for NATO the resistance is being broken with the policy of the small steps which has been implemented by different governments, including the social democrats, who are aware that a direct decision of membership would make the party lose a large part of its voter base. Therefore the social democrats push for political and military cooperation with the equally nonaligned neighbor Finland which however could break apart, given changes in government in any of the countries.
The small steps towards NATO-membership are The partnership for peace (PFF) from 1994, recurring multinational military exercises with NATO, leasing of Swedish territory for international military tests and exercises, North European Aerospace Test Range(NEAT), adoption of NATO standards, host nation support (HNS, 2016), and the defense cooperation Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO, 2017) which Sweden has joined even though the participation was voluntary. To this threats belongs such as when the defense minister of the USA warned the defense minister of Sweden that a Swedish approval of the UNs global ban on nuclear weapons from 2017 would jeopardize NATO support in the event of a conflict. Another form of blackmail is the Swedish defense’s demand for dramatic appropriation increases for the 2020s and 2030s which in turn is to comply with both EU-PESCO and NATO’s demand for its member states to contribute to armaments with two percent of GDP.
The 9th of December 2020 turned into a historical date for the non-aligned (in name only) Swedish foreign- and defense policies when the Sweden democrats joined the proclamation of the liberal and conservative parties to turn to NATO in terms of crisis. Thus, for the first time, there is now a parliamentary majority for doing so.
The host nation treaty with NATO opens Sweden’s territory for deployment of staff, weapons, warships, planes, drones and exercises in times of peace, crisis and war. One article gives NATO permission to use Swedish territory for military activity against a third country. It is now confirmed that two new regiments in Sollefteå and Falun together with the expansion of NATO bases on the Norwegian coast will create logistical prerequisites enabling NATO troops moving east.
Every rearmament in our countries is presented as a necessity due to a changed security political situation in the near area, caused by “threats from Russia”. “The Russian threat” is like a virus that has infected the Swedish military and political establishment while the working peoples immune system, for the moment at least, seems to be stronger. A Russian attack on the Baltic states, an unlikely suicide attempt by any country, is among NATO’s scenarios for war. On the other hand the western imperialism is attracted to free access to the Russian landmass with all its resources, not the limited form that already exists. The fact that two imperialist powers like NATO and Russia share borders in Northern Europe and that the two “nonaligned” buffer states Sweden and Finland offer a fake resistance results in there being an imminent risk of military confrontation.
The Baltic Sea which once developed into a sea of peace as long as there were socialist countries at its shores has become a sea of confrontation. The western imperialism has laid hands on the Baltic states, Sweden especially on Latvia. The Nordic council has established cooperation with the Baltic assembly, a parliamentary cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and in that way expanded the Nordic. The Baltic countries and Poland have become members of NATO, have bases and participates with ever-increasing numbers of soldiers in the recurring Baltops exercises. Latvian Riga has become the site for one of NATOs “excellence centers”, StratCom (NATO Strategic Communications), which deals with cyber defense (or cyber warfare) and hunts “fake news”. German Kiel houses the NATO “center of excellence” for operations in confined and shallow waters in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s largest island Gotland has received a new regiment. NATO-maneuvers with Swedish and Finnish participation and Russian maneuvers replace one another.
Sweden has a large space-technological industry and plays a considerable role in the European Space Agency (ESA), the European space agency. In Esrange outside Kiruna Swedish space industry is conducted with weather balloons and manufacturing of mini satellites after the recently implemented expansion of the station. Apart from collecting space junk, are mini satellites being built for space war where states attack each other’s satellites? Mini satellites can rid space of orbital debris, but can also attack other satellites. China has demonstrated that this is possible by attacking one of its own satellites. By its own admission to visitors a couple of years ago Esrange works to 60 percent for Sweden and to 40 percent with foreign missions. Esrange is one of the world’s largest downloading stations for maps which go straight through the US spy base Menwith Hill in Yorkshire in Great Britain to the National Security Agency (NSA).
Another actor is the National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA), formed in 1942, with presence on Lovön near Stockholm, Lerkil south of Gothenburg and other places. The FRA-law from 2009 statutes extended possibilities for wire-taping of civilians. Moreover FRA controls the cables under the Baltic Sea. In 2013 the investigative British journalist Duncan Campbell who in the end of the 1980s had exposed Echelon, a global system for satellite surveillance which was run by Five Eyes (USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland) visited Stockholm. At the time of the visit he was analyzing sources from whistle blower Edward Snowden. According to newspaper Dagens Nyheter Campbell said that Sweden developed the FRA-law with help from the US and Great Britain and is one of about 30 countries who have third party agreements with Five Eyes, to an extent like Israel.
Where one can rightly speak of a new dimension for the Cap of the North is the development in the Arctic with warming-up and melting sea- and mainland ice and the consequences for the concerned countries. It is effects on sea routes, transport routes, deposits of gas, oil and rare metals, fishing waters, contamination, military activities and the living conditions of the coastal population. Eight countries and six bodies of indigenous peoples (one of them the Sami) formed in 1996 the Arctic Council through the Ottawa declaration which statutes protection of the arctic environment, sustainable development and improvement of the arctic inhabitants economic, social and cultural life. It is about a challenge which would need an international cooperation without national egotistical interests. Considering the strong competing interests this is not conceivable. Nobody talks about the military aspects but we experience more and more military maneuvers in arctic setting and on the Thule base on Greenland, on Norwegian Vardö and on Svalbard which according to international treaty shall be demilitarized, there exists military installations. These function firstly for satellite navigation which the Norwegian journalist Bård Wormdal has written books about. The orbit for satellites lay best from pole to pole. And note that no warfare today take place without satellite support.
The Arctic Ocean is also the access road for Russia’s nuclear powered northern fleet, stationed on the Kola Peninsula.
The Nordic council of ministers arctic cooperation was renewed through an arctic cooperation program for the time 1:st January 2018 to 31:st December 2021. The content is described as “Planet, Peoples, Prosperity and Partnership” and shall bond with the UNs 17 global goals.
It’s not just the communist parties that see and worries about the increasing militarization. Peace on Earth is an ancient human longing. Capitalism stands against this longing, and drives the develoment towards war, notably fueled by the armaments industry like Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Corporation, Boeing, BAE Systems, Kongsberg, Patria Oyj, Saab and Bofors/BAE, just to name a few. The peace movements countless divided organizations, networks and initiatives also finds out what happens and acts but there is no anticapitalist inference. The communist parties who see the war as the capitalism’s/imperialism’s utmost consequence must still not take a defeatist, exhausted stance but should contribute to maturation of the popular war resistance. The peace movement rejects contact with the communists and red banners but has a presence on the internet and can be reached. Therefore our parties needs to fill their slogans No to Nato and EU with content through examples and analyses. Within the Swedish peace movement broad consensus prevails around a nuclear weapon free zone, nonalignment, peoples- and territorial defense and the military’s environmental impact. The communists should struggle against rampant defense spending. The billions are created by the working class and should rightfully be returned to it.
Welcome to the second issue of the Nordic Communist Review. Within you will find contributions on the topic of “the European Union and the national question”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
The majority of Norway’s population appreciates national liberty, sovereignty, safe social welfare rights, worldwide cooperation and good conditions for free development. The European Union (EU) represents the opposite. Therefore, the people has voted against EU membership in two referendi (1972 and 1994), and for 15 consecutive years in polls (per April 2020).
EU’s goal is supernational government. The EU accommodates profit maximation for major European transnational monopolies and financial capital. This makes the EU the greatest oppressor, and the 27 member nations the weak oppressors of imperialism. The former colonial power of the United Kingdom no longer accepted being governed by the EU, and made their Brexit. The Communist Party of Norway (NKP) hopes that more nations will follow suit.
Imperialism means that Capitalism has surpassed the boundaries of the national state. Lenin demonstrated that the essence of imperialism is the division of nations into oppressed and oppressor nations. Imperialism is a world system of oppression of peoples, and must be met with a common front of revolutionary movements and oppressed people of all countries, both on a national and international level.
Communists are socialist patriots and proletarian internationalists. We fight for the interests of the working class in a national context, while fighting in cooperation with the working class across borders. In Communism, there is no contradiction between national struggle and class struggle. Both are possible. NKP is part of the political popular movement No to EU, which has more than 20 000 members.
The bourgeoisie can promise neither national or social liberation. The working class and the people must fight for the ownership of the means of production in order to control production, in order to cover the people’s priority needs. The reactionary bourgeoisie is unable to solve the national question.
Through the EEC agreement, Norway is bound to the four liberties of the EU: Free movement of goods, services, capital and people, being the foundation of the EU’s market liberal project. Therefore, more than 12 000 EU directives and regulations have been imposed on Norway and its laws.
Brussels makes an increasing amount of decisions for Norway. Political power has been moved from the Norwegian parliament to the EU’s supernational, undemocratic institutions. Despite a theoretical right to reject EU resolutions, Norway has made more changes to national laws than any other EU country.
“Voluntary” and forced municipal and regional mergers have been made in Norway in recent years, in a regional reform ordered by the EU. In practice, these mergers lead to fewer publicly elected politicians, and therefore less democracy. While the communists want more public influence on democracy, the EU disguises their intentions with the illusion of self-governance in the EEC and member states.
A part of the national bourgeoisie is not a stranger to compromise with foreign capital. Bourgeois propaganda is therefore trying to convince people that Norway needs the EU, and persistently claim that Norway will not be able to sell their produced goods without EU membership.
The truth is that Norway is a lucrative market, and that the EU wants Norwegian goods. The majority of Norwegian exports to the EU are raw materials and semi-finished products. Shutting out Norwegian oil, gas, metals and fish would be damaging to the EU’s economy, and so would imposing taxes. Besides, the world is larger than the EU. Norway must be able to trade – and is trading – with all countries that have normal, voluntary trade connections, at the benefit of both parties. This will never harm the public interest of any country, only that of monopoly capital and their profits. The EU causes more limitations than benefits. We know that the EU’s goal of free flow of capital, heavy competition, overproduction and eternal economic growth do not combine with effective climatic measures. This is better solved by the nations themselves, who know their own nature. Through the EEC agreement, Norway is connected to the EU’s energy union and the EU-bureau ACER. NKP is of the opinion that Norwegian energy policies must be controlled from Norway. This will ensure the protection of employment, industry and the environment.
The idea that imports in the free EU market will always provide necessary goods, has been seriously challenged during the pandemic. The current capitalist crisis combined with the Corona virus showed us once again that in times of crisis, a bourgeois country only helps itself. Less than two months before Europe became the epicenter of the Corona pandemic, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) wrote that European countries had the necessary capacity to prevent and control an outbreak. The death toll shows us the truth of the matter. Dismantlement and privatization of healthcare, defunding of welfare and a high unemployment, despite a lack of medical personnel, has negative consequences. The EU could not accommodate the Italian request for help. They instead received help from Cuba and China.
In Norway, emergency medical infrastructure had been all but dismantled because of the EU. Before joining the EEC, Norway had a state medicinal depot, whose task was to ensure the supply of medicine and medical equipment in case of a crisis. This was considered to contradict the EEC agreement, so the medical stocks were privatized, and the emergency infrastructure was dismantled.
To the dismay of the EU-commission, EU member states are introducing efforts to promote their own agricultural products at the cost of imports. The commission is threatening to punish member states that prevent the free flow of trade across borders. The EU does not exist for the advantage of the working class. Imperialism has major fundamental contradictions. The ambitions that the EU inner market, in union with internal solidarity, can be combined with the free flow of goods, where countries happily share their surplus with others, do not fit reality. This is because the governments of the member states are simultaneously serving two masters: Their own population and the supernational institutions of the EU. In times of crisis, this task becomes more impossible than it already is. In order not to lose legitimacy among their population, state leaders are forced to prioritize the immediate needs of their nations.
The nations need emergency stockpiles. From 2011, Norwegian grain stockpiles were no longer maintained. Norway is only covered with 3% of arable land, with 1.3% being able to support grain. Sweden has double this, while Denmark has 56% of their area available for food production. Finland is an example of a country with major stockpiles, despite EU membership. This is because Finnish law was established before EU membership. As opposed to Finland, Sweden and Norway have accepted the EU rationale. Sweden stopped keeping their stockpiles as a consequence of EU membership. It is argued that major stockpiles of produce contradicts the principles for a well functioning market, as this can lead to price fluctuations and affect delivery of goods.
While the EU were forced to loosen their rules for economical support and national debt as a consequence of the Corona crisis, they strongly maintain the rules for free flow of labour across borders.
Capitalists will not accept to lose, and will do everything they can to prevent communists from progressing. The result is anticommunism and the rewriting of history in the EU. An EU resolution from 2019 claims that the non-aggression pact resulted in the outbreak of World War II. We know the truth about how the Soviet union, led by Stalin, attempted several times to create a front along with Great Britain and France against Germany.
The EEC was a horse-trade between the social democrats and the lords of the EU at the time it was signed, at the people’s expense. Many rights that have been fought for, have become goods and services in a liberal market with free flow of capital and labour.
Norwegian companies are being acquired or cooperate with major international monopolies and financial capital. The communists fight against imperialism, and against national and international monopoly- and financial capital. The lack of ability to solve the national question clearly shows the reactionary character and decay of capitalism.
The era of imperialism is the greatest oppressor of nations. Now, more than 25 years after we were absorbed into the European Union through the EEC agreement, more and more Norwegians are realizing how this weakened our national immune defense. It is impossible to create a real people’s democracy under imperialism, as some petty bourgeois idealists are hoping to do.
Communists want a revolution towards a new system of society; Socialism-Communism. As such, the communists fight against social injustice and any form of oppression, and for a better standard of work and life for all people, along with the principles of national equal rights, the full freedom of nations, sovereignty, mutual respect, cooperation and the common struggle for peace and the final victory of socialism.
Communists have always been the most active supporters of national independence. Communists have also recognized the progressive and revolutionary significance of wars of national liberation. When the Soviet Union and the whole global socialist system were at their strongest, the state of imperialism was weaker. This era opened new possibilities for oppressed nations in the pursuit of independence.
National Independence in Europe
Europe has changed significantly since the weakening of the socialist system: The European Union was formed, of which Finland is a member. As the foundation of its functions the EU has a list of basic freedoms, which includes the free movement of capital, goods, labour force, and services, between the member states of the EU. These basic freedoms guarantee the preservation of the power of capital.
What, then, could threaten the existence of the EU? A war between imperialistic cores, with EU on one side? More than anything, the bourgeoisie of the EU is afraid of two things: the struggle of nations for freedom, which would tear down the EU, and the endeavor of the working class to found socialistic countries. They are so afraid of the latter that they want to prohibit communist symbols and parties. Some EU-countries have already done so through legislation. The saying ”no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations” is actualized in the EU.
National Independence as a Part of Class Struggle
The Communist Workers’ Party has consistently opposed Finland’s membership in the EU. The party has objected against Finns conforming and accepting the EU membership by not nominating its members to European Parliament elections. Instead, the party has urged people to boycott the elections. In order to reclaim national independence, KTP has created the campaign ”Suomi irti EU:sta” (Finland out of the EU). The campaign calls on people to protect the country’s independence, as the campaign’s logo portrays the demand to release Finland from the shackles of the EU.
Within the party, the objective of communists has been seen as the aim to seize political power within the country in which each separate party operates, not within the EU as a whole. Naturally, the goal of the communists is the foundation of a socialist country. A goal that the working class with its allies will reach. In the pursuit of this goal is unified the communists’ centennial work as advocates for national independence. The ideal of national independence lives on in the midst of the working class on the journey towards founding a socialist state, as well as within that socialist state.
Occasionally it is argued that because, as a class, the working class exists as one, across all borders, the question of national independence can be bypassed. Such a way of thinking is evident in attempts in forming, for example, a socialist Europe instead of forming separate socialist countries. The working class is, of course, one, but there sometimes can be significant societal differences between different countries. This affects the methods that fit each country within a given point in time. It is essential to preserve the principle of national independence everywhere. This doesn’t rule out the internationalism and solidarity integral to the struggle of the working class. Rather, it includes them, as well as attempting to reach as wide a consensus as possible in the fight against capitalism.
Communists Recognize the Power of Internationalism
In their discussions, the delegates of communist parties have brought up the formation of a new international central organization (Comintern). It is evident that there is a need for directing the working class in unified and simultaneous struggle, as well as for studying theory. However, the preconditions for a new comintern don’t yet exist. KTP considers an international central organization to be necessary. The party also deems that the relations between communist parties cannot be based on democratic centralism. This position makes it possible to take national independence into consideration.
Soviet Union as an Example
There is always an ongoing discussion in communist parties about what, exactly, is the socialism we propose to build and what are the paths that lead to that goal. It is difficult to present a detailed picture, today, but the main principles can be articulated. The picture becomes clearer on the way to socialism, as do the forms of collaboration between socialist countries.
Soviet Union gives one example of building national independence between socialist countries. The constitution of the Soviet Union put this into practice by giving each union republic the right to secede from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This article was used when the Soviet Union dissolved in the beginning of the 1990s.
Each union republic also had a land border with countries other than other union republics. If one was to secede, it wouldn’t have become completely surrounded by other union republics, but rather would have had its own distinct, independent territory.
Member of the Political committee, vice-chairman of the Communist Worker’s Party of Finland
What is the European Union?
Fundamentally, the European Union is an expression of capitalism at its current stage of imperialism. The union is an expression of the needs of capital of western Europe, mainly, at this time and age. It is an imperialist union that primarily has three purposes:
Like all imperialist unions, the EU is a temporary one. In his pamphlet ”On the Slogan for a United States of Europe” Lenin argues that any inter-imperialist alliance must be temporary by nature. Apart from mutual interests, participating capital also has contradictory such, which could be seen clearly with the advent of Brexit. However, this does not preclude an extent of cooperation in dividing the world. As a result of the eastern expansion, the former socialist countries have been split between the imperialists of western Europe, where primarily German and French capital has had the opportunity to expand, but where also Swedish capital has been able to tap into and subsume the Baltic states, which would not have been possible without the EU and the coordinated actions to repel Russian capital.
Waging wars for new markets, resources and their transport routes has been and is an ongoing activity of all member states to the benefit of their own monopolies, with Iraq, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine as recent examples. While officially a so called peace project, the EU is being increasingly militarized through recent initiatives like PESCO. In this respect, tensions between emerging inter-imperialist alliances sharpen on all fronts as well as within.
Mechanisms that support anti-people measures in support of EU capital are being increasingly implemented, giving it new privileges in terms of tax subsidies and exemptions in the international competition with the US, China and Russia. Taking all this and the increasing military expenditures into consideration, the EU is a driving force, not for peace, but for escalated tensions and for greater risk of generalized military conflict.
This is what the European Union is today. An imperialist alliance, the purpose of which is to benefit participating monopolies. As such, we are opponents of the European Union in the same way we are opponents of any imperialist alliance.
Leaving the European Union
The view of the Communist Party of Sweden is that the peoples must have the right to decide their own path, which also includes the right to leave the European Union.
At the same time it must be noted that the imperialist system is subject to fundamental laws of development that cannot be avoided. These laws exist within the framework of the entire system, both within and outside the European Union. To stay competitive, capital of each country needs to act accordingly, notwithstanding membership or non-membership of any imperialist alliance. In times of sharpening inter-imperialist competition, each capitalist needs to improve their competitiveness, which naturally also implies worsening conditions for the workers of their respective countries. In order to survive, at any given moment, capital forms the alliances it requires. The dynamics and the conditions the working class faces will be the same no matter if our exploiters are a formal part of the European Union or not.
For that reason, we want to make it clear that a secession to the benefit of the working class cannot be made without emancipating the working class at the same time. Within the current system, as ruling class, capital will simply realign itself according to what configuration that momentarily benefits it the most, whether as part of the European Union or not. In the same way that the struggle for peace, against racism or against fascism cannot be made separate from the question of battling capitalism itself, the struggle against the European Union or any imperialist alliance cannot be made separate from the struggle against the ruling class and for socialism.
The only alternative to the EU and all imperialist alliances, therefore, is to organize society in a completely different manner, where monopoly capital is replaced by people’s power. It requires the abolition of the institutions of capitalism, including the state, and the foundation of a workers’ state. Only this way, the dynamics of capitalism can be replaced, and genuine international cooperation on equal terms, and in peace, can be fostered. Only this way, the inherent mass unemployment of capitalism can be eradicated and good living conditions for all working people established. For this reason, the struggle for leaving the European Union must at the same time be a struggle for socialism. Leaving the European Union without socialism is not a step toward socialism, but simply a step sideways to another configuration of capitalism.
The European Union and Sweden
In Sweden there are parties and organizations on the left and on the right who claim that if Sweden just withdrew from the EU then everything would be better. This is false. We note that Brexit, above all else, was a struggle between factions of British capital, where some positioned themselves toward a withdrawal while others did the opposite, and engaged themselves for continued membership in the union. From these two fundamental positions the campaigns for and against were organized. This also meant that the two standpoints were limited to continued participation in the imperialist system, but by different means. Thus, taking side for either, meant taking sides for both.
Slogans such as “Let’s take back control”, “We want our country back!” and “Believe in Britain” clearly show the ideological utilization of nationalism that characterized the leave-campaign. All seemingly classless slogans in one way or another aimed at strengthening the ”own nation”, which under capitalism by necessity becomes the strengthening of the existing capitalist nation. Thus, the nationalist slogans promote illusions. What control do the workers have in capitalist Britain, whether within or outside of the EU? The meaning of their ”independence” remains the same in either configuration, because their oppressors and the purpose of the oppression remain the same.
In fact, for the entire duration, Britain retained its independence as a voluntary member of the EU. A status which was not changed, but further validated by the Brexit process. In this context, the nations of Britain were never subject to the oppression of any new or external nations, only its own capital, which still remains the case. The same applies to Sweden, which is why the Communist Party of Sweden rejects any opposition to the EU founded in nationalism or the national question.
We find the same problem with a withdrawal from the “left”, the purpose of which would be to advance the peoples’ and workers’ positions in a capitalist Sweden outside of the EU. The rhetoric and the promises remain false.
The “left” that advocate an unconditional withdrawal create illusions about imperialism and about the possibilities that are at hand for the workers outside of the union. They mean that a withdrawal will improve the situation of working class in the individual country, as if the capitalists existed outside the context of imperialism, and were subject to a different set of rules outside the union than within. It is a dangerous game, because in the end the hopes will turn out to be the illusions they always were and all the promises that were given will turn out to be false.
Therefore it is crucial that the communists do not let themselves be used as tools for one capitalist faction or the other. It is of crucial importance that communists clearly present the only possible alternative to capitalism, the EU, and to all other imperialist congregations, which is socialism.
No to the EU and to capitalism, yes to socialism!
Welcome to the first issue of the Nordic Communist Review. The materials within were presented at a conference in Stockholm hosted by the Communist Party of Sweden between 31/8-1/9 2019, on the subject of what socialism will look like.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
How may socialism look? Thoughts and ideas around our goal.
Our political theory only makes sense when it is based on real and not ideal conditions; that is with regard to significant rather than insignificant issues.
In other words, it is not the task of the Communist Party to predict how socialism will look in Norway, Scandinavia or the rest of the world. No-one knows the conditions in which the working class will take over.
The road to socialism can not be determined in advance. It is determined by the intensity of class struggle in the situation in which the question is raised. Perhaps Norway has been nearly obliterated? In that case, the tasks will be difficult. Perhaps the revolution – the transition from capitalism to socialism – has been practically bloodless, when the bourgeoisie has realised that the struggle is lost? Will we take over while owning capital in the petroleum fund? Perhaps EU, the Euro and NATO have been dissolved? This would make things easier. How is power in society distributed in other countries?
What we do know is that all historical experience has shown us that the workers’ revolution can only take place once the national bourgeoisie is unable to run society. And as long as capitalism exists somewhere in the world and there is a danger of military aggression, the state must persist.
Having said that, we as communists know that the workers must liberate themselves through conscious socialist class struggle. The working class can only take power when our ideas of scientific socialism are accepted by the majority of the population, and the working class is aware of its position and significance. We know this will happen, because this majority have common interests. The communists want those who produce wealth to control wealth in a more just society – socialism. Social authority or great wealth may not be inherited. The injustice of capitalism has led to a world where 26 people own resources and wealth equivalent to that of half of the poorest population. We will change this. The earth is owned by all.
Socialism is also a class society. The transition from capitalism to socialism is still different from other social transformations, in that it abolishes the exploiting class and the ruling class is represented by the majority.
In socialism, the bourgeois bureaucratic state is dismantled and replaced by instances that serve socialism. The first and most important task is to establish a socialist constitution, and make sure that the means of production are not in the hands of the bourgeoisie. The working class must work determinedly to cover their basic material and cultural needs. The principle will still be ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their work’. At the same time, the working class will gradually and decisively reduce the influence and privilege of the bourgeoisie. A massive effort must be made to rescue the diversity of nature and reduce the plunder of non-renewable resources.
In socialism, the means of production or productivity of labour does not adequately secure a surplus of material wealth. In socialism, there is still state and collective ownership. In socialism, there is still the production and circulation of products. In socialism, the contradictions between cities and rural land – between mental and physical labour – are defeated, but there are still differences between them. Under socialism, labour still hasn’t become one of the fundamental human needs. The reckless attitude towards labour in some members of society are not defeated, and there is still a need for strict control of social consumption.
Socialist victory may only be considered final when the danger of intervention and restoration of capitalism is eliminated. Victory for socialism will only happen when a workers’ state is secured and all industry is completely and securely organized by the principles of collective enterprise using the most modern technology.
When the social structure of Norway is changed from the ground up, when the Communist Party has united socialist principles with the workers’ movement, work on establishing the necessary military and police departments begins, and troops are brought home. Norway leaves all imperialistic organizations, and the working class takes control over the banks and credit authorities. Social control is also established in data and telecommunications, transport, energy supply and production, seaports, healthcare, food production and distribution, and education. The property of imperialist forces is expropriated. In socialism we will remove militarization, fascism and war, poverty, unemployment, anti-communism and the destruction of natural resources and the environment, in the union of theory and practice.
But the communists want to go further; our final goal is communism, where the means of production have reached a level allowing for the principle ‘from each according to their ability, to each according to their need’. The transition to this society doesn’t need to be sudden. This phase is reached when society owns the means of production. In this society, the community lays the foundation for a dynamic balance with nature. People have the opportunity to develop their abilities and needs freely on the basis of the common unity of social and individual interests, rules and culture. Since all people have the same social position, there will be no classes or contradictions. The most important task for the communist education of working people in the transition to communism is to educate people to work for the sake of enjoyment and for a bigger picture. Communism therefore requires a high degree of consciousness from all members of society.
Setting goals for production in socialism and communism secures the maximal achievement of constantly growing material and cultural needs in society.
The Communist Party of China and foregin media is convinced that Scandinavia is already socialist/communist. We know that this is not true, but the reason may be that the workers’ movement in our country has been historically strong.
Since Norway is a highly developed capitalist country, the Communist Party of Norway believe that socialism in Norway will develop further than in former socialist countries, and the attempts made around the world today.
NKP is of the opinion that capitalism can end for good, and that socialism – a more just society – is not just possible, but a dire necessity.