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Political Resolution of the International Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East

25. March 2001

Athens, Greece, March 15-19, 2001

Political Resolution of the International Conference
On the Balkans and the Middle East




1. The Balkans and the Middle East are again the focus of all the explosive contradictions of world Capitalism.
Two years after NATO´s war of aggression on Kosovo and a few months after the demise of Milosevic, South Serbia and Macedonia are in flames; a new series of wars of extermination threaten to pulverize not only the remnants of former Yugoslavia but all the Balkan countries as well.
In the Middle East, the heroic Intifada of the Palestinian people faces the most reactionary Zionist “national unity” government of war criminals headed by the butcher Ariel Sharon; at the same time Iraq became again the target of military aggressions by U.S. imperialism. A new devastating war is a danger present as never before after the end of the Gulf War.
The International Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East, called by the Balkan Socialist Center …‘Christian Rakovsky´ in Athens on March 17-18, 2001, bringing together internationalist forces from twelve countries and from a broad political spectrum of the revolutionary, class struggle, anti-bureaucratic Left, calls urgently all the workers, poor peasants, pauperized masses in our region to unite and fight against this modern barbarism and the forces responsible for it: NATO, American and European Union imperialism, Zionism, the IMF/WB and all the local ruling classes and bureaucratic cliques.
The decade of disasters, frustrations and despair, following the disintegration and tragedy of Yugoslavia, the Gulf War, the fraud of the Oslo …‘peace process´ cannot continue indefinitely.
The Palestinian people were the first to say NO in the practice of revolt: with its heroic rebellion, the new Intifada, it put an end to the Oslo trap and exacerbated the crisis of Zionism and imperialism.
“Ten years is enough!” This slogan raised on a banner in a demonstration in Ljulbljana, Slovenia, on February 2001, it is the battle cry of all the oppressed multitudes in the Balkans, the Middle East, all over the planet. The new movements against Capitalist Globalization inspire it from Seattle to Prague and beyond. It expresses the historical necessity and actuality of the struggle for emancipation.

2. The current crisis in the region with all the deadly dangers, barbarism, and new threats for catastrophes that it brings, manifests not the strength but the historical weakness and decline of Global capitalism. The Asian 1997 Crash, Russia´s 1998 default, the Latin American debacle in 1999 and 2000, and now, the new downturn in U.S. are clear signs of exhaustion of finance Globalization as a way out of the crisis and of control of the masses.
During the week when our international meeting took place, “about $310 billion in investor wealth was evaporated in the latest selling frenzy” in the stockmarkets from New York to Tokyo as a bourgeois commentator reports (Stocks mauled, Dow Below 10,000, by H. Haddadin, The same journalist adds: “That bring the total wealth destruction since the market´ peaks in March 2000 to a staggering $ 4.9 trillion – almost half of the value of all U.S. goods and services last year”. The whole myth of the “American new paradigm” and of a “New Economy” based on information technology immune to crises was blown apart.
The burst of the gigantic financial bubble has immediate consequences on the “real economy”, on the production sphere, intensifying the crisis of over-accumulation and the downturn. The implications on all social and political relations internationally and within every country are explosive.
The collapse in the globalized financial markets has a significance that supersedes its undoubted economic meaning: it gives a blow to the fetishistic illusions spread by and presenting the globalization finance capital as the “end of History” with the “complete and final victory of Capitalism over Socialism” as it was portrayed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the counter-revolutionary turn to capitalist restoration. The tragedy in the East did not revived senile Capitalism in the West or on a global scale.

3. Not only that: the default of Russia has persuaded imperialism that after a decade of continuous efforts the full re-absorption of the former Soviet space into the world Capitalist market is not yet accomplished. This failure drives the expansion of NATO to Russia´s borders, its new doctrine and military re-structuring, their first practical application in the Kosovo war and the plan to transform the Balkans into a vast military base in a waste land full of pulverized mini-States and protectorates.
The attacks by UCK units, which were one of the instruments of the imperialist aggression against Yugoslavia in Precevo and Tetovo, show the limits of imperialism´s control on the region. They are threatening to annihilate the former Yugoslav Macedonia but also to drive all the Balkan peoples into further mutual destruction. The beneficiary will be not the legitimate rights of the ethnic Albanian community but NATO the real instigator of the permanent massacre perpetrated in the region by the nationalist ruling cliques.
Now more urgently than ever before we call all the working and pauperized masses to fight to kick out of the Balkans NATO, all imperialist troops and military bases.
Both U.S. and European Union imperialists are responsible for the Balkan tragedy and the instigation and manipulation of local nationalisms, the use of mutual hatred and mutual destruction to impose mutual impotence for resistance.
Western imperialists had promised, during the Kosovo war, that “the market and the Deutschmark will bring peace”. The turn to the market, the dollar and the mark-or rather its facade, the euro-brought catastrophe. this is the lesson from Kosovo and now Tetovo.
We refuse any intervention of the so-called “international community” of the brigands, including those made under the umbrella of the United Nations and the European Union or by the intermediary of their employees, the NGOs.
…· Down with American and European imperialism!
…· No to the EU “Stability Pact”, to the IMF starvation programs and the barbarism of the so-called “market reforms” advanced by the local ruling elites.
…· For the right of return of all refugees in their homelands.
…· No to the re-colonization of the Balkans! For a Balkan Socialist Federation build from below, by the multitude of the oppressed, exploited, displaced people of all nationalities, organized in their own sovereign Councils (Soviets).

4. Turkey´s recent crash and collapse of the lira is powerful manifestation of the world crisis and affects deeply the internal situation and all the foreign relations of the country.
The IMF, totally unable to control the crisis, as previously in the Asian crash, dictates a policy of mass starvation that leads to social explosion. This policy has to be defeated by mass action
…· Stop the mass sacking and the closure of factories! No to the IMF “structural reforms” and privatizations; for the re-nationalization of all State enterprises, now privatized, under workers control and workers management; for a sliding scale of wages and hours- less work, work for all!
…· For the abolition of all foreign debt; all agreements with the IMF, the World Bank and all bilateral agreements with the imperialist States have to be cancelled. Fight corruption by opening the books of the banks under workers control! For the expropriation of all banks and private financial institutions.

The economic crisis coincides and interacts with the political crisis, the splits among the rulers and the intensification of State repression against the left wing political prisoners, as the recent events dramatically had shown, as well as the repression of the Kurdish people.
…· Close all the F type prisons! Freedom to the political prisoners!
…· Freedom and self-determination for the Kurdish people! For a United, Free and Socialist Kurdistan!

5. Destabilization, because of the capitalist crisis, affects in uneven way and in different forms both Turkey and Greece.
Following the dictates of the European Union and of the EMU, the Greek government launches what they call “the second wave of modernization´ a savage attack against all the social positions of the working masses, through the “flexibilization” of labor relations, the demolition of the National Health Service, the planned attack against the pension system etc. Social resistances to these attacks have brought the bourgeois political system to its deepest crisis from the time of the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974. A counter-offensive of the working class at the head of the masses of the working poor in the towns and in the countryside is both possible and necessary. It needs to be organized on a socialist program of expropriation of capital under workers control and workers management by a revolutionary force politically completely independent not only from the bourgeois Parties but as well from all forms of …‘Center Left´ of …‘Plural Left´ coalitions of class collaboration.
The sharpening of the social economic and political crisis internally interacts with the chaotic situation in the Balkans that the Greek Capitalists consider as “their” sphere of exploitation.
The antagonisms between the ruling classes in Greece and Turkey over hegemony in the region, driven by the crisis, always can bring a war confrontation over the Aegean or Cyprus. In this case it will be a war reactionary on both sides which has to be transformed by the two peoples into a class war against their own local oppressors and exploiters and into a revolutionary war against imperialism.
Cyprus is always the victim of these antagonisms and of the overall role of imperialism in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. We are against the new “solutions” advanced by the E.U. and U.S. imperialism under the cover of the United Nations and secret diplomacy, with the collaboration of Athens, Ankara and the Greek and Turkish Cypriot bourgeoisie´s. The fake “solutions” of “Federation” or “Co-federation” cannot hide the fact that partition will be imposed de jure. The poor masses in Cyprus have to mobilize independently from the bourgeois cliques, together with the working class in Greece and Turkey, to end partition and occupation of the island, to stop the establishment of settlers from Turkey in Northern Cyprus, to secure the right of the refugees to return at their homes, to kick out all foreign troops and imperialist bases and integrate a free, united, socialist Cyprus within a Balkan Socialist Federation.

6. The highest point of the world crisis is manifested in the region through the new Palestinian Intifada against the Zionist State of Israel and imperialism. The present Palestinian uprising in which youngsters armed with stones and guns confront tanks, helicopters and missiles is the expression of the national struggle of the Palestinian popular masses for liberation.
We fully support the mass struggle of the Palestinian people, including the armed struggle against the Zionist Army and against the far right settlers, apart indiscriminate acts of terrorism against the civilian population, which strengthen the Zionists.
The new Intifada is the revolt against the Oslo agreements whose aim has always been to force the Palestinians to renounce their rights of self-determination by both diplomatic and military means, giving to the PLO leadership restricted powers over 20% of historic Palestine. The so-called “peace process” proved to be an operation to cut to pieces the West Bank and Gaza, establishing an Apartheid regime over a number of Bantustans controlled military and economically by the Zionist State with the agreement of Arafat and his regime.
The PLO gave up the perspective of a democratic and secular Republic in the whole territory of Palestine and replaced it by the program of the Zionist Left and Stalinism of “Two States for two peoples”. The latter not only denies the existence of a million Palestinians under the direct control of the Jewish State but also represents a renunciation of the right of return of the 3.5 million Palestinian refugees.
The bankruptcy of reconciliation and appeasement policies of Arafat and Ocalan´s leaderships, who have chosen to collaborate with the regional and international powers, is obvious. PKK´s renouncing the self-determination rights of the Kurdish nation in the name of “Democratic Republic” is an act of self-destruction. To reclaim the struggle for national liberation today more than ever before it is necessary to brake from the disastrous “two stages” theory of Stalinism and nationalism, to link the democratic struggle with the struggle for social emancipation and Socialism, in a socialist revolution with the working class at the head of the pauperized masses of the towns and countryside.
We defend South Kurdistan from all attacks by the Iraqi regime and the other regional and Western imperialist powers. We oppose any imperialist and colonial control of this Kurdish area. The Kurdish people can and shall be emancipated in a free, united and socialist Kurdistan.
This struggle cannot but challenge the “international order” established historically by the centers of Global Capitalism. The Palestinian people´s as well as the Kurdish people´s national rights clash with the artificial division of the existing State borders in the Middle East. A radical revolutionary reshaping from below, from the popular masses of the region becoming sovereign is necessary. The revolution can start on a national basis but it can develop and win only as an international and world revolution.
For the Palestinian people there is no future in the establishment of a regime of Apartheid with Bantustans renamed as “cantons”. There is also no future in partition – the so-called “two states solution” – either in its “bourgeois democratic” form proposed by some sections of the Israeli Left and Stalinists or, even, in the “socialist” version (” a socialist Israel alongside a socialist Palestine”) advanced by some groups with Trotskyist references.
Equality between Jews and Palestinian Arabs can be established only in an independent, democratic, secular and socialist Republic in the whole historic territory of Palestine, without any ethnic or religious discrimination for its inhabitants. This really liberated territory can become the base of the liberation and re-organization of the whole region from bottom up into a Federation of Socialist States of the Middle East, including the free Kurdistan and Iran.
The International Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East supports all the struggles for emancipation, and in this framework, calls for the support of the Iranian masses in their struggle both against imperialism and the reactionary regime, for their total national and social emancipation.

…· Stop Zionist State terrorism and occupation!
…· Down with imperialism and Zionism! Victory to Intifada! Smash the Zionist State! For the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people!
…· For the right to return of all Palestinian refugees!
…· For the revolutionary unity of the Palestinian Arab masses with the Jewish workers for the establishment of a democratic, united Socialist Republic in the entire historic territory of Palestine!
…· For a Socialist Federation of the Middle East!

7. The International Conference on the Balkans and the Middle East sees the urgent need to develop a common Plan of Action in the entire region.
…· The “Christian Rakovsky” Center will publish all the theoretical and political materials of this International Seminar and Conference in Athens, on March 15-19 2001, in a book form in English. Parts or all of them should be translated and published in the languages of the countries that were represented.
…· A network of connections and exchanges between all radical class struggle, internationalist left wing organizations and activists has to be developed. The Balkan Socialist Center “Christian Rakovsky” will contribute and should be assisted in this broader effort.
…· International meetings should be organized in the coming period in all countries represented in the Conference in a diversity of forms: Seminars on general or more specific topics (for example the Cyprus issue, the future of former Yugoslavia, the problem of discrimination against the immigrants, racism, Zionism and anti-Semitism, the movement against capitalist Globalization, Russia ten years after the collapse), cultural events (for example a Balkan Festival of counter-cultures) etc.
…· On March 30, the Day of Land, and on April 7, the day for the rights of the Palestinian refugees, special messages will be send by all delegations from the different countries to the Palestinian people.
…· On Newroz, March 21st, the New Year of the struggling Kurdish people a special message of greetings will be send by the Conference to the Kurdish popular masses.
…· A Letter of Solidarity by the Conference will be send to the political prisoners in Turkey
…· The Conference condemns the police attack against the thousands of demonstrators in the powerful mobilization against Capitalist Globalization in Naples
…· The Conference condemns the new “anti-terrorist” law of the Greek government, which threatens all the democratic rights of the working people and of the immigrants
…· On May Day 2001 a common leaflet with the main slogans of this Conference (NATO out of the Balkans, Smash the IMF, Victory to Intifada, for Socialist Federations in the Balkans and the Middle East) can be published and distributed in the entire region.
…· A common international and internationalist contingent should be formed to participate in the anti-G7 mobilization in Genoa on July 2001.
…· Particular attention has to be paid to actions of solidarity for all victims of repression in every country of the region.
…· A new International Conference will be held in a year to check the work done, to analyze the experiences and elaborate further our perspective.

These are only some of the ideas and practical proposals that have to be developed with all the imagination and initiative of every and all the participants.
We have to open collectively new roads towards our main goal: universal human emancipation. Internationalism is not a vague abstract moral principle but the expression of the deepest needs of historical development. It needs flesh and bones, international theory, organization, political program. As the immortal song of the international working class says, it is in this way that
The International will be the human race!

Athens, March 18th 2001

The Resolution was amended and voted in its general line unanimously, by all delegations from Greece, Turkey, Israel/Palestine, Kurdistan, Iran, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Italy. The AMR Proposta (Italy) supports the Resolution while expressing reservations on points 3 and 6. The Kurdish Liberation Party (Rizgari) supports the Resolution, while opposing point 3, as they are for open diplomacy and accountability.