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Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East, Athens March 15-19, 2001

25. March 2001

Communiquà© by the Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky”

Communiquà© on the International Seminar and Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East, Athens March 15-19, 2001

The Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” held its Second International Conference in Athens. This time the agenda was extended to explore the explosive developments both in the Balkans and the Middle East. A two days International Seminar on March the 15th and 16th, 2001 preceded the Conference that took place on the weekend of March the 17th and 18th. On Monday March 19th a Public Meeting in the Polytechnic University of Athens presented the political results of the four days deliberations. The meetings in public were followed by two hundred people.
Delegations from twelve countries participated and/or send documents prepared specifically for this event.
From Greece: the EEK (Workers Revolutionary Party), which was also the host of the event. The NAR (New Left Current), the Aristeri Anasyntaxi (Left Regroupment), the Greek section of the International Research Group “Logic of History” and the comrades of the Group of Social Left participated as well as observers.
From Turkey: Marxist Workers League and Revolutionary Marxist League.
From Slovenia: the Collective Globala
From Yugoslavia: the Institute for Economic Democracy sent a document. (For technical reasons the delegate was prevented to come).
From Romania: the Rezistenta Comunista and the Antifascist Union sent a message of solidarity, expressing their readiness to translate into Romanian and publish the materials of the Conference, as well as a document for discussion.
From Bulgaria, a worker representative from Sofia.
From Kurdistan: the Kurdish Party of Liberation/Rizgari
From Israel/Palestine: the Militants for the IV International, the Action Committee for a Democratic and Secular republic, the Abna el Balad movement.
From Iran: the Fedayin of the People.
From Russia: representatives of the all-Russian political movement Alternativi from Moscow and from Leningrad, the latter being a member of the Executive Committee of the Regional Party of Communists (Region of Leningrad).
From Ukraine: the representative of the Ukrainian Trotskyist Opposition, a group affiliated to the ITO (International Trotskyist Opposition), was prevented to come by the Greek authorities refusing to provide the visa. The UTO sent the document that it had already prepared as a contribution to the Conference.
From Italy: the Associazione Marxista Rivoluzionaria Proposta, leading the left wing minority Proggeto Communista in the Party of Rifondazione Communista.

In the Conference was read a specially written for this occasion political contribution sent by the National Committee of the Partido Obrero (Workers Party, Argentina). Messages of solidarity were sent and read by: Yevgenyi Kozlov, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Regional Party of Communists (Leningrad), Osvaldo Coggiola (leader of the University unions in Brazil and member of the National Committee of the Partido Obrero of Argentina), Rafael Fernandez from the National Committee of the Partido de los Trabalhadores (Party of Workers) of Uruguay, the Marxist Workers League of Finland and the Antifascistisk Aktion of Sweden. The International Leninist Current has presented parts from the Call for the International Seminar and Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East by the Rakovsky Center in its web site and its Political Bureau has sent its critical remarks to the organizers and asked for the resolutions of the Conference.

All delegations contributed passionately to this intensive and extended in 5 days collective work on the central problems of war and revolution in this vast area focusing all the contradictions of world Capitalism in this advanced stage of historical decline and crisis. Our International Seminar and Conference took place in extraordinary conditions: Precevo in South Serbia and Macedonia are in flames and the Balkans are again exploding while, in the Middle East, the Palestinian Intifada confronts a Zionist “national unity” government of war criminals and exacerbates the crisis both of Zionism and U.S. imperialism.
The Conference started by keeping one minute of silence in the memory of the great Bolivian revolutionary and leader of the Oposicion Trotskista comrade Juan Pablo Bacherer.
The main report on behalf of the Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” was presented by cde Savas Michael (EEK). Following the discussion on the international report there were national reports and discussions on the situation in the different countries represented in the Conference.
After a debate and amendments on a draft, a Political Resolution was voted unanimously in its general line.
A Plan of common Action with a series of practical steps was decided. Among them, to extend and develop a network of solidarity; to send messages of support to the political prisoners in the Turkish prisons, and to the struggling Palestinian and Kurdish peoples; to have on May Day 2001 a common leaflet with the main slogans of the Conference (“NATO out of the Balkans”, “Smash the IMF”, “Victory to Intifada”, “Socialist Federations in the Balkans and the Middle East”); to form a common international and internationalist contingent to participate in the anti-G7 mobilization in Genoa next July; to publish all the materials in a book form in English and to translate most of them in the languages of the participant countries; to assist the work of the “Christian Rakovsky” Center; to held meetings of the same international and internationalist character on general as well as on particular topics in the participant countries; to have a new International Conference in a year to check and develop the common work.
From the beginning of the discussions the central question of the International was raised and debated. The EEK of Greece, the Marxist Workers League of Turkey, the Militants for the IV International from Palestine, the AMR Proposta of Italy, the contribution sent by the Partido Obrero of Argentina, the messages from the PT of Uruguay, from the Marxist Workers League of Finland and from comrade Osvaldo Coggiola (PO) from Brazil have raised the urgent issue of the struggle to refound the Fourth International, as the historical and programmatic basis of the Workers Revolutionary International. Other delegations have expressed their reservations or disagreement. All participants have agreed to continue the debate together with the joint actions of international solidarity and internationalism.