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Contribution in the International Meeting of the Communist and Workers' Parties

28.01.2009 - 11:20
(updated: 06.06.2016 - 13:48)
"But man is not made for defeat" he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated."
(Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea, 1952)

Dear comrades,

First of all, let me express my gratitude to Brazilian comrades for organizing this important meeting of communist and workers´ parties.

We are at the moment witnessing an extraordinary process, a broad and still deepening financial crisis, which can be in some aspects compared with economic crisis in 1929/30. Circumstances are of course different, the events are scheduled by the time tables of stock exchange in real time, they are global in the purest meaning of the word. But there is still something very familiar in the hard core of development.

The crisis was kicked off in the United States, but it touches the whole economic system of the world and thereby exemplifies, how dependent we are from each other. The crisis has actualised, and by the same clarified the essence of the dominating economic system, has added curiosity to study capitalism deeper, ad radicis.

The Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, Mrs Josette Sheeran wrote at beginning of November about the impact of the economic crisis on the poor of the world. She illustrated the process by emphasizing, that to the almost 1 billion (923 million) starving people of the world the question is about struggle for life or death. Mrs Sheeran warns about growing instability and insecurity in the societies. The tracks are scaring: according to Sheeran the banking crisis, mass unemployment and wide annexions led before the WWII to isolation, protectionism, nationalism and authoritarian rule.

The financial crisis has - according to some researchers - exposed in the background even a new form of economic crime, the broad utilizing of derivative market for speculative purposes. The speculation has strengthened by IT development in virtual economy. The virtual market has become more operative, more agile and faster. It is imaginary, it acts without resting 24 h per diem, every day, without sabbaths and holidays.

Criminal or not, the real economy is covered, infiltrated by an intensifying net of virtual economy and speculation. The proportional growth of the speculative component (compared with the real economy) can be seen more clearly in the capitalistic development, it has become more and more essential part of capitalism.

Measures taken by the most industrialized countries (USA, EU states, amongst them Finland) to cope with the crisis are for the time being orientated towards keeping the virtual economy alive. The support packages to banks "have only massively increased the destructive force of virtual economy ... on the sector of real economy". (Seppo Ruotsalainen, Tiedonantaja 07.11.2008)

The states have guaranteed speculative adventures of banks approximately for the amount of 3000 billion €, which is about 4 % of GNP of the world. The UN World Food Programme will use this year a little more than 1 billion € to obtain food from over 70 developing countries. It has been estimated that by 30 billion € it could be possible - in a sustainable way - to diminish under nutrition and by 70 billion € extreme poverty till 2015.

In Finland the state and the bourgeois government have strongly supported the banking sector. Besides this and inspite of this the real economy has shown signs of congealing. The unemployment has began to grow in the building industry and forest industry, where the cuts are as energetic as at the beginning of this year (when the Finnish IT-giant Nokia decided to shut down its plant in Bochum, Germany). It’s remarkable, that after the municipal elections (of October 26th 2008) which ended in a historical defeat of our Left parties, the cut down of production and working places has intensified. It’s also noteworthy, that this concerns also high qualified skilled specialists and workers, people working in the research and development units.

The global financial crisis and the workers´ movement

The experience of the workers´ movement shows that the economic crisis hits mainly and first of all the poor and labouring people. The disunion in the Left, in the workers´ movement is feeding the reaction and the Right, increases the risk of short sighted and no constructive solutions, danger of war and isolationist, authoritarian acts. About an outright threat of fascism we presumably cannot speak, but in many countries (like in Finland) the populist Right has advanced.

We can offer to the Left and the progressive movement our own experience and desire in building of a broad front, a democratic alternative. The unity of the progressive forces, of the Left, of the workers´ movement has been crucial at the eve of the WWI, before and after the VII congress of Comintern, during the years after the WWII. To avoid a new catastrophe, I guess, we need open discussion amongst the Left, new approach and ingenuity, innovative spirit in our cooperation.

Latin America shows the alternative

In this aspect Latin America has shown the path. The Cuban Revolution in 1959 and her consistent, sustained progress in the circumstances of the US blockade and various other adversities has inspired, encouraged progressive people all over the world by showing an alternative solution possible. The equality and welfare of the people, health care and education are topping the agenda of the Revolution. The Revolution has also shown the capability to defend her achievements and future.

Latin America has proved the other route possible. The wide social and cultural diversity has produced different kind of solutions according to the different historical experiences, solutions, which are however unified by the endeavour to get off of the heavy loads of the past: the heritage of the military dictatorship, economic and cultural backwardness, poverty, lack of strength, inequality. Latin America has opened very interesting, exciting visions towards the 21st century socialism and has urged the discussion also outside the continent, now when we facing a global financial crisis.

The achievements and experience of Latin America can stimulate the discussion within the workers´ movement and the Left, explicitly from a practical point of view. I can say about Finland, that the Unidad Popular and Salvador Allende united also our Left and progressive people, activated the youth in solidarity actions and campaigns. The defeat of Chile was a bitter setback and tragedy, after which we have rejoiced of each step forwards in Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Argentina, Central America, Uruguay and Paraguay. Especially we are delighted the broad popular support, democracy and peace ability of the social change.

Esa Tulkki
MD, Specialist in International Health Care
Member of the Central Committee
Communist Party of Finland

Esa Tulkki, Sao Paolo 21.-23.11.08: