Categories
Issue 2

Introduction to Issue 2

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.

Participating parties:
Communist Party of Norway
Communist Party of Sweden
Communist Workers’ Party of Finland

Categories
Communist Party of Norway Issue 2

Communist Party of Norway – On EU and the national question.

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.

Categories
Communist Workers' Party (Finland) Issue 2

Communist Workers’ Party of Finland – Communists and the National Question.

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.

Hannu Harju
Member of the Political committee, vice-chairman of the Communist Worker’s Party of Finland

Categories
Communist Party of Sweden Issue 2

Communist Party of Sweden – The European Union and the national question.

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:

  • To coordinate the offensive of European capital against the European peoples and workers. For example, this is seen in the coordinated attacks on the right to strike in various member states like Sweden, France, Belgium and Greece, where ongoing campaigns to limit the right to strike are waged.
  • To coordinate capitalists of Europe in competition with the rest of the world. The capital of European countries have joined forces to better compete on the world market and to increase efficiency of exploitation of the peoples of the world for the sake of profit maximization. This does not imply that there are no contradictions within European capital.
  • To coordinate the struggle of European capitalists against socialism. An important purpose of the predecessors of EU has been to coordinate the struggle against socialism. This battle is waged partly on an ideological level through repeated attempts to equate communism with fascism, and partly by economic means through blockades against socialist countries. A number of communist parties within EU have been banned or are in the process of being banned. In Poland, for example, there are ongoing attempts to criminalize communism itself.

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!