Anticommunist resolution blocked in Europe

An impressive wave of militant, popular resistance to an anticommunist resolution presented before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe blocked its passage when it came up for a vote Jan. 25.

While critics of the resolution hailed the vote, they warned that its backers are boldly continuing their efforts to legitimize and legislate anticommunism. They called for an intensified campaign against such measures worldwide. “No form of anticommunism should be legitimized in the consciousness of the people,” said a statement by the Communist Party of Greece.

The resolution, titled “Need for International Condemnation of Crimes of Totalitarian Communist Regimes,” equated communism with Nazism/fascism, claiming that “communist ideology, wherever and whenever implemented, has always resulted in massive terror, crimes and large-scale violation of human rights” and that this is “a direct result of the class struggle theory.” It called on communist parties to renounce their views.

Despite frantic efforts by reactionary forces to push the vote through, including shameless maneuvering by Council President Van Der Linden to prevent speakers against the resolution from taking the floor, it failed to win enough votes to pass. Significantly, the majority of voting members chose not to partake in the vote; less than half of the 315 regular parliament members of the Council were present.

The resolution was voted on in two parts. In the case of the “Draft Resolution,” 99 members voted in favor, 42 against and 12 abstained. The second vote, on the “Draft Recommendation,” which would have mandated the resolution’s immediate application in the Council’s home countries, did not gather the necessary 96 (two-thirds) votes to go through: 85 voted in favor, 50 against, 11 abstained.

The resolution is thus relegated to the status of an “archival document.” However, after the vote, the resolution’s backers, including its author, Swedish parliamentarian Goran Lindblad, made it clear that they will continue their efforts to bring the resolution to life.

The broad militant movement against the resolution, including mass mobilizations and petition campaigns, was key to blocking it.

The highpoint of the demonstrations against the resolution took place outside Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, France, on Jan. 24, where delegations from communist parties and progressive people’s organizations from all over Europe demonstrated in a mass show of militancy.

Gennady Zyuganov, president of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, released a statement at the Strasbourg demonstration that said, “The ‘left direction’ the world is taking has frightened the most aggressive right-wing forces. They are trying, using the Council of Europe, to create a judicial parody at the expense of the left and the communists, poisoning the political atmosphere in Europe.”

Communist parties from all over the world have issued declarations condemning the “new McCarthyism,” including 18 communist parties from the former Soviet Union. On Jan. 21 in Brussels, 17 communist and workers’ parties met on the initiative of the Workers’ Party of Belgium where they declared their intent to build the broadest possible movement against all forms of anticommunist attack. The movement has succeeded in rallying many thousands, including an impressive number of leading personalities from the fields of art, culture and science.

The fightback against anticommunism concerns everyone, opponents of the resolution said. They pointed out that today, under the pretext of the “war against terrorism,” many basic democratic liberties are under serious threat. Reactionary forces are relentlessly trying to silence even the smallest whisper of dissent.

The situation demands coordination on a worldwide level, they said. Aleka Papariga, general secretary of Communist Party of Greece, commented, “The best response to anticommunism is for communists to become even more impassioned, more militant, more resolute in the battle against imperialist war and terror.”

Laura Petricola

(laurajopetricola@yahoo.com) writes from Athens, Greece.