08.12.2010: "What is decisive is the ability and the will to overcome our differences"

Interview with Stefan Engel, Party Chairman of the MLPD, on the founding of ICOR

stefan-engel-in-essen.jpgWhat does the founding of ICOR mean for the MLPD?

For the first time in our party history we are part of a common and international organization together with revolutionaries from 41 parties and organizations from 33 countries. This is an elevating feeling for every proletarian internationalist. At the same time, we have to get used to this situation, since we are  responsible for everything that is happening in our fraternal organizations and their countries in a much more immediate way. This requires a new quality of proletarian internationalism for which we have to fight for systematically.

Which changes will the founding of ICOR bring about for the MLPD?

Even before the founding of ICOR, the MLPD  developed a diversified internationalist theory and practice and maintained many fruitful and friendly international relations. There we could learn a lot from the different conditions and struggles in other countries and develop  diversified  international solidarity with revolutionary movements, parties and organizations. However,the binding cross-border cooperation has been sporadic and limited. Against the background of the reorganization of international production, in which the concrete essence, the concrete mode of existence and operation of the imperialist world system has changed in part to a large degree, this is a very dissatisfactory state.

While the imperialists are coming more and more to  agreements with each other, the international proletariat is still split nationally and also often divided within the individual countries. This is a heavy burden that has been imposed on the international Marxist-Leninist, revolutionary and working class movement since the revisionist degeneration of the CPSU in 1956.

It is urgently necessary to open a common international front against the so-called "struggle against international terrorism", which is nothing else than the oppression and military imposition of imperialist interests and which also means the systematic restriction of democratic rights and liberties in domestic policy.

However, I am also thinkingabout the world economic and financial crisis, which in 2008 first  hit all capitalist countries without exception and induced the leading economic powers of the world to implement an historically unprecedented international crisis management. Since the crisis of the euro at the latest this crisis management itself has got into a crisis and a shifting of the burden of the crisis onto the people has set in on a broad scale. A change of mood among the masses has set in, at least in Europe; mass struggles, mass strikes and political crises in the governments are increasing.

In this situation in which no country in the world can conduct  serious economic and power politics any longer without relating it to the world market, the international production or the international political context, the international Marxist-Leninist and working-class movement had no suitable instrument for the cooperation in party building and class struggle. This shall be changed now and will surely extend our possibilities for cross-borders cooperation. In addition a mutual exchange and mutual help in the construction of revolutionary parties in the countries is to be organized, in order to strengthen the international Marxist-Leninist, revolutionary and working class movement  and develop it into a quantitatively and qualitatively strong force.

What are the most important common activities which the MLPD has in mind?

Today an immense change of the international basis of production is taking place. Conventional, nation-state organized, partly also backward production is being replaced systematically by internationally integrated production systems. This has the dimension of an international structural crisis which will accompany the continuous process of the reorganization of  international production until its relative conclusion. It is combined with massive job cuts and the exploitation of wage labor that is brought to a head. For this the working relations are being lastingly changed. Subcontracted work, temporary contracts, part-time jobs, low wages etc. and the restriction of the democratic rights of the working class are international phenomena which we also have to combat internationally.

The MLPD has already participated in various activities until now like organizing the International Automobile Workers' Counsel or the International Miners' Seminar 2007. Here rather accidental connections and acquaintances were established on the international level. I expect from ICOR e.g. a systematic cooperation with the class-conscious revolutionary working class movement in those countries in which the ICOR organizations are also active.

In the ecological field it is absolutely necessary to build up an international front of resistance. In view of the impending worldwide climatic catastrophe it is simple-minded to think that one could combat the climatic catastrophe effectively on the regional and national level alone. I also think that there are good and new possibilities for uniting the various social movements and in particular the women's movement. I am firmly convinced that the preparation of the World Women's Conference in Venezuela 2011 will also benefit from the founding of ICOR, the member organizations of which have all committed themselves to supporting it actively.

All of these common activities shall strengthen and unite the revolutionary forces.

This takes place in interaction with the continuation of the ideological-political unification. Up to now there exists an important ideological-political platform, which signifies a unification in a series of important questions that define the character of ICOR, its goals and organizational principles of the coordination and cooperation. It is a revolutionary, anti-imperialist, anti-revisionist and anti-Trotzkyite platform. However, we have to achieve unity in all essential questions step by step in an interrelated process of theoretical discussion and practical cooperation. This is important in order to be able to cooperate reliably, to defeat imperialism and achieve socialism in an approaching revolutionary world crisis.

The MLPD  actively participated in the preparatory process of ICOR. Which experiences were made and how  was the founding of ICOR finally accomplished?

When the MLPD proposed this initiative in 2007, it was met with a great matured will of many significant revolutionary parties and organizations to make a step internationally of practical cooperation on a higher level. Somehow the time was  ripe for this step.

The really complicated point was to bring together the different revolutionary parties and organizations with regard to their ideological-political foundations, their practical experiences, their historical background, but also their different capabilities and possibilities. This could only succeed by finding an appropriate method for an association on the basis of equal rights which simultaneously takes into consideration the different conditions, possibilities and necessities and nevertheless signifying a step towards a binding practical cooperation.

The documents of ICOR show that with the foundations, with the constitution and the resolutions such a method has been found, which could be practiced successfully in the immediate preparatory process and the founding of ICOR.

41 parties and organizations are founding members of ICOR. The potential for the union on this basis, however, is many times more great. For this reason ICOR has to conduct an open-door policy and systematically win all revolutionary parties and organizations for this common platform of practical cooperation. A number of parties and organizations have not yet declared their membership in it, but offered practical cooperation wherever it is possible and useful. This shows the great attraction of ICOR beyond the range of its present membership.

The MLPD, of course, has actively contributed its diverse experiences and competence in the foundation of ICOR in the same way as the other participating organizations have done it in accordance with their possibilities.

Of course we know that ICOR also means a unity of opposites. Regarding the ideological-political situation alone, there are different currents of revolutionary parties and organizations which have to find common cause here, which have different customs, also in their organizational work, in their style of discussion, in their way of dealing with each other. All this must still come together step by step and it will still take some time until really the necessary relationship of trust will be created in order that this can function in practice.

We have to show patience here. However, the decisive point is the ability and will of all participants to overcome our differences. In order to overcome the imperialist world system we have to achieve a strategic superiority of the revolutionary working-class movement and its allies.

What is the next point on the agenda of ICOR?

At the founding congress a schedule was adopted how ICOR will realize its common practical activities and build up its international form of organization. In the first half-year of 2011 four continental conferences will take place in Africa, Asia, America and Europe, in which also the continental structures will be developed that have to realize the main practical coordination of party building and class struggle today.

In addition, the decision was taken to already develop a coordinated work in certain core issues of class struggle. This is being done first in   common conduct of international days of struggle like that for the liberation of women on March 8, the day of struggle of the international working class on May 1, the day of struggle against fascism and imperialist wars and the day of struggle for the protection of the environment at the beginning of December.

The conduct of these days of struggle is a school for our practical cooperation and marks at the same time the degree of the unification up to now.

The MLPD  assumed a lot of responsibility the whole time to achieve this success  and will surely continue to do that in future?

The MLPD will do everything possible in order to make the project of ICOR  be a success, and it further contribute its diverse experiences and possibilities for this. It is presently our most important task on the international level.

Of course, such an organization that has no international revolutionary center and that is not supported by a socialist country or a socialist camp, can only work if the members of ICOR  all play a  part in the realization of the goals and tasks that it has set itself. For this they have to get to know each other, they have to set themselves corresponding realistic tasks and also have to develop a confidence-building cooperation. All this takes time and requires patience, but needs intelligent action as well, since  the founding of ICOR is only the first step of this common project.

At any rate, we are optimistic that this project has a future.

We wish ICOR and its work great success!


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