The contradiction of radical peace – religion, politics and populism
JP (Juha-Pekka) Väisänen
Chairperson of the Communist Party of Finland
Radical means something that is rooted and structured differently.
Peace means fundamental rights, human rights, civil rights and self-determination, sovereignty, integrity, and a space, where everyone has the opportunity to build the future as a parallel action of different people and values without oppression and exploitation.
This all sounds too good to be true. And this is not true. What is true is only is the existing contradiction, a struggle for hegemony, and an armed struggle for peace and man's place on earth. The contradiction between work and capital, between war and peace, good and bad, You and me.
The struggle is exacerbating
Maximizing new markets and profits as inherent ingredient of capitalism is exacerbating today and takes the form of war, lack of basic security, social deprivation and poverty. Today's wars are the result of the conquests of imperialism, of businesses marketplace greed and of politics, where people, the working class and the entire nations have been subjected to economic and market oppression.
Ordinary people, workers and the poor are pushed into exacerbated political situation, where they have to pay a high price, whereas the political elite, which does not pay a penny, and cheating populist exchange governments and parties like chameleons change color. The rich move their homes where they are most comfortable - since they can. The transnational companies will change counterparts depending on their identity and their homeland - because it is the spirit of the game. The refugees who have been expelled from their homes face often a ruthless and inhuman life in the context of exploitation, crime and hatred.
It is the task of people of solidarity, of humanists, of the labor movement and of all communists to present the current situation in such a light that the power structures of the political, religious and oppressive structures are exposed and that those who place peoples and their dreams against one another are kept responsible and that the workers gain strength and visions in the struggle for a better world.
A better future will not be achieved by becoming new rulers occupying the present structures. We do not need new millionaires to replace Sipilä or Trump. We need a revolution of the working people. There is a need for extensive discussion on a radical change in the social system and on peace that cannot be bought as popcorn from the shelves. There is a need for a different process to eliminate the banks' supremacy – for a new people's bank to support employment and cooperative activities. There is a need for a knowledgeable, non-violent and mass-driven struggle, a participatory democracy, environmental protection and feministic logic, a collective bottom-up approach to build a new society – that is what is needed here!
A violent state project
State violence has taken place recently in Catalonia. The Spanish police have beaten those who participated in the Catalan referendum. In the summer, state violence spoke of the mouth of US President Donald Trump. Trump threatened Venezuela with war. September 25, Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the United States took a stance against the Kurdish independence, imposed trade sanctions, and instead of recognizing independence, spoke of a possible ethnic war. The Moroccan army has been using state violence since 1975 to occupy Western Sahara.
And there more examples: Cuba, Palestine, Cyprus - Sámi Country and ILO 169. The austerity policy of the Sipilä government in Finland is constitutional violence and its weapons are related to the arms used by international big capital. Domestic poverty, rising differences between classes and unemployment are the Finnish face of exploitation. In Finland conscientious objection is a crime. Sipilä's government is seeking approval for two weapons acquisition both worth more than 10 billion. Finland's parliament needs a consolidated politics of antimilitarism and of rejection of new arms in order to keep Finland out of wars, military exercises and NATO.
When the rules of free market economy encounter resistance, Sipilä, Rahoy, King of Morocco, Trump and militarists alike pull the trigger of state violence. As soon as the people acknowledge their rights, the patriarchal violent state calls upon right wing propaganda. While socialism unites dissatisfied people the Venezuelan neocatholic fascist kill the poor, dark-skinned, and chavistas. Right wing extremist financed by the US and religious fundamentalists attack left wing people, socialists and communists. The Venezuelan Communist Party's International Affairs Officer reported that, in some areas, the country has witnessed regional civil war. In the present situation, the party must first ensure the safety of its members and then develop a strategy for extreme conditions.
Those who carry the black flag of capitalism and fascism use consciously state violence against peoples and popular protest. Capitalism propagates deliberately and incorrectly the construction of a radically different society based upon participatory democracy and socialism, as a violent project.
I agree with Marx that the bourgeois state is the instrument to subjugate and to keep in check the oppressed class. The close history and the long road of class struggle are a witness, object, and eyewitness to how in a capitalist society the State is in the hands of the bourgeoisie and of large capital a tool of violence to subjugate the working class. Moving to socialism means a radical change in the current state and the replacement of a bourgeois-dominated power machine by different State of the working class and of those forces that implement the change as a common front.
The working class and those who want a radical change – us, we must boldly begin to act in a concrete way for a different policy and resort to a new peace-loving, anti-militarist approach to overcome the present trend, the austerity politics, militarism, discrimination against women and minorities towards socialism, communism and towards a better world without wars and armies.
It is true that Lenin writes in his book The State and the Revolution that the liberation of the oppressed class "is impossible without a violent revolution". A Marxist thinker whom I greatly appreciate, Seppo Ruotsalainen, Dr. of social sciences, sees the transition to socialism and Lenin's idea of the necessity of violence in a broader context. According to Dr. Ruotsalainen, violence is a relative concept in as far as there are different degrees of violence, stages and nuances, which do not need to mean armed clash. According to Ruotsalainen, in a situation where relations between the two sections of the society are exacerbated to the utmost, the process is usually always quite different than peaceful. That stage is accompanied by massive demonstrations, strikes, clashes between opposing groups, etc. Recent times from the summer to the present date confirm this. The bourgeoisie tries to make our class struggle unlawful and to prevent us in every way to reach our goal.
All trade union movement activists can confirm that the labor movement does not need to exacerbate social confrontation with violence. The labor movement demands economic, social and political improvements of the situation of the working class. We have been campaigning for work sharing and basic security - that we need to get the right pay for the job and that work assures your livelihood. International solidarity is our core business and we do not accept bourgeois war against other workers. It is clear that the labor movement in its struggle collides with both bourgeois laws and the law of capitalism, militarism and it is through mass action that we are acting against them, changing their attributes and changing the world.
The conflict between labor and capital is not solved with weapons. The main contradiction of the capitalist societal system is the subordination of labor to capital. In this fight we will overcome only when the worker becomes aware of his place in a collective mass combat. In this struggle, it is not enough to ask to what extent the capitalist class allows the workers’ movement to advance, but just as important is our workers' own consciousness of our own place in the labor liberation struggle.
When violence threatens – take and read a book
I participated a few weeks ago in the Venezuelan International Solidarity Meeting in Caracas. More than 200 participants from over 60 countries attended the event. The Venezuelan Socialist government organized the event as the United States has threatened with war.
US President Donald Trump threatened with a military intervention in Venezuela because Venezuela held elections in July as a result of which the ruling government has been overthrown. The elections of the constitutional assembly in Venezuela, however, were held in accordance with the current constitution. The opposition decided to boycott the elections.
At the Caracas Solidarity Event - as good communists, we wrote in ten different groups for five days the statement of the situation and the action plan for the next half-year. We named the outcome of the process Caracas Declaration - Caracas Proclama.
Last week at the meeting of the European Left (EL) I launched a call that the numerous working groups of the EL would adopt and apply the proclaimed idea of people’s self-determination, sovereignty, freedom of action and anti-capitalism in the work of the European Left.
Imagine for a moment that you were the leader of a state. The United States would threaten your land with war. You would convene as required by the situation an international solidarity event. You would write about the need for peace, sovereignty and participatory democracy. You would invite all people who love peace in the world, mass movements and parties to cooperate. What else would you still do in the same situation?
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro spoke in Caracas under the threat of war, of a knowledgeable worker, man or woman, and that the war against imperialism can only be won by reinforcing the working class's awareness of its rights. President Maduro participated in Caracas' solidarity work and suggested that as the US threatens Venezuela with war it is worth setting up a library - We are all Venezuela - Todos Somos Venezuela