G.Zyuganov’s speech at the 5-th General Assembly ICAPP
Gennady Zyuganov, Chairman of the Central Committee of the CPRF, leader of the CPRF faction in the State Duma
Esteemed colleagues, leaders and representatives of the political parties of Asia,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a year since the world economic crisis broke out. Its nature and possible consequences are still at the focus of attention. This is a systemic crisis which makes one wonder about the prospects of the American-style global economy that predominates in the world today. This is borne out by the character of the discussion at this Conference where practically every speaker has touched upon the theme.
I think it would be appropriate to express some of the views on the matter worked out by the Russian Communists.
The events late last year and this year have proved the validity of the classical Marxist-Leninist thesis to the effect that crises are an inherent and inevitable part of capitalism. The advocates of a free-for-all market have suddenly discovered that the existing capitalist system would have collapsed but for the resolute state interference. We have watched with interest the government in the citadel of the free market, the USA, doing precisely what the Communists had proposed all along, nationalizing key banks and major corporations.
There is a lively debate on whether the bottom has been reached and whether the recovery of the economy, of which there are some signs, will be fast or slow. Glib pronouncements about the end of the crisis have drowned out some candid and honest assessments which hold that this is a crisis of the current speculative model of capitalism, and that its origin is the United States of America, the beacon of the capitalist world.
Talk about an early end to the crisis is called upon, among other things, to justify the reluctance and inability of the “powers that be” to change anything in the existing model. While at the preparatory stage for the first G20 meeting some concrete and resolute proposals were heard, now they have practically disappeared. And indeed, why change anything if the broken model could be fixed with tax payers’ money. Although the world oligarchy has lost some superfluous fat, it has no intention of giving up its attempts to continue living according to the old templates. The banks, the mainstays of the oligarchic capitalism, which have benefited most from the anti-crisis measures, are staunchly defending corporate interests. They have an iron grip on the actions of their countries’ governments.
However, the locomotive of speculative capitalism has broken down. Cosmetic repairs can be made, but it obviously is no longer able to move forward at the same speed and with the same load. Those who were pinning their hopes exclusively on “effective global capitalism”, including Russia, suffered the most. This should prompt far-reaching conclusions.
We are convinced that the crisis of the world economy is of a fundamental character arising both from the contradictions of capitalism in general (as proved by Marx) and from the faults of the specific model of neo-liberal capitalism. In the opinion of major Western scholars such a fall cannot be overcome easily or rapidly. Recovery is only possible if the governments come up with qualitatively new methods of governing, methods whose novelty and practical implementation match the depth of the slump that has occurred.
It took the Americans nearly ten years to overcome the Great Depression, and they did so with difficulty only thanks to Roosevelt’s New Deal which was based on the left-centre economic philosophy of Keynes. The course relied heavily on the Soviet experience of the early five-year plans in the field of planning and social engineering. Today it bears repeating that notwithstanding all the Western crises, the Soviet country was enjoying a rapid and sustained development using novel economic and social methods. Ultimately it helped the world to recover from the crisis in those years. It helped to free the planet of the plague of fascism.
However, no decisive changes are taking place in the consciousness and methods of running the state and society in the West today, and consequently, due to objective reasons, the crisis there will deepen. The next fall will be even more dangerous. It is perfectly clear today that protective mechanisms need to be found to prevent the destructive sway of globalization, that new approaches must be found.
It cannot be denied that the crisis triggered the process of active erosion of the unjust world economic order that has existed up until now. Similarly, we see the erosion of the economic and political structures that ensured the dominance of one power in the world arena around which the main allies were grouped as satellites.
Serious changes may be needed in the work of such organizations as the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, etc. Simultaneously the question arises of ensuring the stability of the political system that enabled a small group of highly developed capitalist states to dominate the modern world. It is not by chance that we see numerous initiatives to create new political and economic triangles, quadrangles and other structures. It is not by chance that such organizations as NATO seek to impede these processes, to include in their sphere of influence vast areas of Central and Southern Asia and the Pacific. All this indicates just one thing: we witness the creation of a new multi-polar world called upon to replace the current hegemony of the US and its satellites.
In this connection I would like to draw your attention to the call of the newly elected Prime Minister of Japan,Yukio Hatoyama, to renounce old models of cooperation oriented on one key partner, and to create new zones of economic and political cooperation, including in the Far East.
It is hard to say what final shape these ideas will take. But they show that Japan is tired of playing the role of the American aircraft carrier in the Far East and a meek ally of the US. Japan wants to end the state of international isolation in which it has lived for several decades. It wants to acquire a role of its own in creating the mechanisms of cooperation and interaction among Asian countries. We believe that it is a natural and long overdue process that deserves support on the part of Russia and other Asian states.
The active position of the People’s Republic of China in persistently seeking the introduction of new world reserve currencies is worthy of note and support. It seeks to put an end to the predominance of the inflated mass of dollar instruments which merely export inflation and instability to other parts of the world.
We should all be aware of the greatly increased role of the Asian continent in world affairs. Today Asia has become the workshop of the world where the main material values are produced. Increasingly, Asia is becoming a guarantor of international economic stability. All those who look to resume business activity and start a real restructuring of the terms of economic cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit look to Asia.
However, Asia is not only an industrial workshop of the world. It is a place where the most acute international problems are concentrated demanding a constructive and early resolution. The world crisis spells the need for an early settlement of the old Middle East problem, the start of real construction of an independent Palestinian state that lives in peace with Israel. The international community is waiting for an end to the war in Iraq and the settlement of the problems in Afghanistan. It also expects stabilization in Central Asia, in the Caspian area and in the Southern Caucasus. In this, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and active collaboration between Russia, China and India can play an important role.
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation is convinced that our country’s policy must be devoted to Asia much more than it is at present, while simultaneously developing links with all our neighbours.
Striking the right balance in its relations with the East and the West is vital for Russia. It is obvious that the era of unreserved orientation towards Europe and America in Russian politics is coming to an end. Russia is a great Eurasian power and it must be open to cooperation both to the West and the East, and take the most active part in shaping the political and economic landscape and conditions of security in all directions.
Various models and forms of new multilateral interaction are being discussed in Asia today. One idea is to create an Asian Economic Community modeled on the European Union. We look at this idea with interest and we closely follow the discussion of the creation of a Collective Security Zone in North Eastern Asia. To be sure, such a zone can only be viable if all the states in the region are its equal participants, including Russia.
I am confident that Russia in its policy should be ready to cooperate with any new economic and political centers in Asia. To be sure, we hope that nobody will be tempted to ignore the interests of our country. We believe that the Collective Security and “Co-Prosperity” Zone can hardly be viable without Russia much of whose territory, with its vast economic potential, is in the North-Eastern Asia.
I would like to stress once again that considering the unique geographical position of our country, equal attention to the European and Asian dimensions is a long-time and good tradition of our foreign policy. That undoubtedly is true of the policy of the Communist Party which, when it ruled the Soviet Union, had done a great deal to support anti-colonial movements of the Asian peoples, to establish with the newly-free countries equal economic and political relations based on profound respect for their national traditions, history and culture.
Any constructive proposals aimed at expanding and strengthening the cooperation of Asian peoples, at taking them to new summits of prosperity and progress will meet with our genuine and effective support. Thank you for your attention.