• Aims and purposes of the party

  • Scientific socialism

  • We live in a world of class struggle

  • Capitalist camps hasten to carve up the world

  • Our era is an age of transition from capitalism to socialism

  • Considering the socialist construction experience of the USSR

  • Socialism responds to the aspirations of working class people

  • The current stage of social policy is a transition from national capitalism to imperialist capitalism

  • Capitalism cannot resolve the present social crisis

  • The struggle of the working class forces concessions from the capitalists

  • Reforms fail to resolve the fundamental contradictions of capitalism

  • The conduct of the reformist left shows a lack of alternatives

  • Brussels buttresses the bourgeoisie

  • We must disengage from the power of big business – there is an alternative

  • Developing a policy of co-operation

  • The labour movement: from democratic reform to socialist renewal

  • We must build a mass movement to combat big business

  • Principles of alliance policy

  • The labour movement must disengage from the power structures of big business

  • A socialist planned economy will resolve the problems of our society and humankind

  • There is no militant labour movement without communists

  • Parliament is a platform, not an instrument of change

  • A revolutionary situation

  • A state of the working people

  • Internationalism

  • Communism

  • Communist goals for social progress

Aims and purposes of the party

The Communist Workers’ Party – for Peace and Socialism (KTP) is a party of the working class. It is the successor to the Communist Party founded in 1918 in all respects in which the party operates on the basis of scientific socialism and Marxism-Leninism. Membership of the Communist Workers’ Party is open to the working people of Finland: industrial workers, clerical employees, farmers, non-manual workers, sole traders, small entrepreneurs, pensioners, students and all dispossessed sections of the population living on pensions, student financial aid or grants. People in these population segments mainly derive their income and benefits from their own labour and the livelihood thereby obtained. This provides a strong foundation for collaboration between these individuals in a society based on a class divide between the working class and the capitalist class.

A small minority in society belongs to the capitalist class, which owns most of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and which is increasingly aligned and integrated with international big business. The vast majority belong to a working class that owns no such means, but provides the labour that generates all of the new value required for income and development in society and the added value that remains for employers. This majority also includes the farmers and sole traders who live by their own labours. The clash between capital and labour is the fundamental conflict in our society. Labour is social by nature. All of the basic problems of society arise from the exploitation of added value generated by the labour of working people and the unjust division of its fruits due to capitalist private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

With support from the political right even nowadays, capitalists apply the new wealth generated by working people to accumulate greater concentrations of capital, to reinforce their own competitive position, and to buttress the interests of private capitalists or capital consortia. The fruits of the labour of working people are also increasingly used for rearmament to defend capitalist interests. To achieve these aims the capitalists rely on bourgeois governments, political parties and organisations, and on a social superstructure that perpetuates class division.

Whatever the conditions, the Communist Workers’ Party works on the terms of the working class and its allies by organising to improve the situation of working people, promote social progress and establish a durable partnership between various branches of the working population with a view to achieving a socialist Finland.

Scientific socialism

The Communist Workers’ Party (KTP) differs essentially from all other political parties in basing its work on a scientific appreciation of social phenomena that acknowledges the governing role of social imperatives in the functioning of society. A capitalist society based on industrial production emerged in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. This gave rise to a huge working class centred on the population employed in factories, whose labour increasingly enabled the capitalists to accumulate added value. This exploitation also indirectly subjugated the agrarian population, whose mission was to provide cheap raw materials and foodstuffs, and to provide land for capitalist requirements. The capitalists also conquered new territories and established a global system of colonial slavery that served a key function in the project of capital accumulation. Colonialism was based on the theft of natural resources, involving subjugation of indigenous peoples and even genocide. The working class, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples of the colonies engaged in a fierce class struggle to defend their rights against the capitalists.

Many philosophers and economists sought to understand the internal workings of society and find ways of correcting social anomalies. This conundrum was eventually settled when Marx and Engels broke through the social boundaries and became personally involved with the working class in its struggle against the capitalists, clearing the obstacles to a scientific understanding of the laws that govern the evolution of society. The scientific notion of social evolution as a rule-governed phenomenon demonstrated the situation of the working population. The investigation performed by Marx and Engels in the social sciences gave rise to the philosophy of dialectical and historical materialism and to its associated economics. Lenin subsequently explained the evolution of capitalism in society with contributions including the theory of imperialist capitalism. We distinguish these scientific disciplines as Marxism-Leninism to contrast them with the bourgeois social sciences. They represented a turning point in the work of the labour movement. Social phenomena could now be understood in scientific terms. The new social sciences provided a theoretical foundation for organised activities by the working class, enabling the formulation of ways of resolving the problems of society and building a fair and equitable socialist society. This gave rise to a labour movement oriented towards socialism and communism.

The Communist Workers’ Party is first and foremost a party of the working class. The main goal of its work is to foster class consciousness among the working class and to arrange activities that spread awareness based on a Marxist-Leninist conception of society among working people.

We live in a world of class struggle

The history of social development in every country has been one of conflicts between classes, and the story of capitalism is replete with harsh exploitation and class struggle. There was a time when workers could expect working days of more than 16 hours. The fruits of peasant labour benefited the capitalist in the form of accumulated wealth and capital. Entire peoples were enslaved or murdered by the capitalist system, and for centuries capitalist manufacturing industry polluted the planet’s waters, soil and atmosphere for the sake of capital growth.

The ongoing struggle between the working class and the capitalist class has continued to this day, and our own era is still characterised by a strong tendency for capitalists to expand their economic and political power. This has caused the world wars and countless local military confrontations that even today bring unhappiness to millions of working people. The escalating class struggle is characterised by a strong conflict of interest between capitalists and the working class, manifest as strikes and other forms of industrial action taken over pay and conditions of employment. Class struggle is also visible in the conflicts that accompany improvements in social benefits and basic welfare, and in the anti-privatisation movement. The root question in all of this is access to economic and political power. The class struggle has extended to the fields of economics, politics and ideology, and has given the working class long-term experience of working to build society. The stage of class struggle characteristic of our time has involved accelerated exploitation of working people and even their complete impoverishment. The absence of major class confrontation arising from the conflict between classes everywhere nowadays indicates a low level of class consciousness and organisation of the working class and the strength of the capitalists under conditions in which the rights and interests of the workers are under attack.

An escalation of class struggle can be seen all over the world. The colonial slavery of old has given way to a neo-colonial system of economic subjugation of third world countries where problems accumulate. Unemployment, poverty, famine, destruction of habitats, wars and refugee problems are escalating. Neo-colonialism has also made third world countries indebted to wealthy lenders, who then set the economic development agenda for those countries. As the architects of neo-colonial exploitation and unlimited freedom of capitalism (globalisation), the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other agencies serve the interests of global capital. Yet despite the huge capital sums now existing in the contemporary world, there have never been more people and especially children dying of starvation. The formerly socialist territories of Eastern Europe have seen an increase in inequality, unemployment, poverty and disease, and a decrease in life expectancy. The situation in Russia may even be described as catastrophic, as an emerging capitalist class applies criminal means of accumulating capital.

Unemployment, cuts in social services and basic welfare, privatisation of the public sector and a shift in income distribution to favour capital income have led to a general fall in living standards for ordinary people in the industrialised capitalist countries, and environmental problems are escalating everywhere. A close association between capitalist concentrations and the NATO military alliance and European Union have resulted in growing military power that increases the danger of war. The decline of socialism in the world following a shift towards capitalism by the USSR and other formerly socialist countries of Eastern Europe motivated by counter-revolutionary forces did not make the world a safer place. Quite the opposite. Wars have even broken out in Europe, and have become more common in various other parts of the world. The capitalist states are spending ever-increasing sums on rearmament under pressure from the capitalist lobby so that these interests can carve up the world once again. Although these capital interests form temporary alliances from time to time, such agreements do not prevent mounting discord between them concerning the division of the world, and the danger of war is growing.

The basic mission of the Communist Workers’ Party is to organise the working class for the struggle against capitalism under the conditions prevailing at the time. Communists engage in the struggle to defend working class interests in various ways and in diverse contexts: in workers’ organisations such as the trade union movement, in initiatives for peace, solidarity, and the environment, in opposition to the European Union, and in other civic activities. Communists will be involved in any popular movement that forms part of the anti-capitalist front.

Capitalist camps hasten to carve up the world

In the evolution of society feudalism was followed by capitalism and the formation of capitalist nation states, with increasingly sophisticated forces of production enabling the emergence of a broad market. At the same time states enacted national legislation to protect economic development within certain geographical territories of the state. These national borders became too cramped for capitalist operations as concentrations of private capital increased, to the point at which they require unlimited supra-national freedom of action permitting global capital transfers through the territories of capitalist states.

Economic confederations of states, such as the European Union and many other free trade areas, have been established on the terms and conditions of the capitalists and their communities. The efforts of these economic confederations to exert global control over raw materials and market territories have entailed attempts to subjugate each independent state to some degree, with the European Union most obviously exemplifying this trend. The evolution of the European Union towards a federal super-state was boosted by the opportunity that emerged when the economies of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe were converted to capitalism.

The European Union is a supranational project of capital and monopolies seeking to create a pan-European federation to serve as an instrument of its own power. To this end, the European Union has secured approval for its own legislation, economy and currency, and it has drafted a separate constitution, formed joint military forces, harmonised armaments and production, and established other institutions to supplant the corresponding national bodies. The European Union standardises and subjugates all European states in political, economic and military terms. It has already expanded into Eastern Europe as far as the Russian border. Through the European Union, German capital is again achieving its goal of controlling the whole of Europe politically and economically. This goal characterises German internal and foreign policy as German military personnel once again see active service beyond the country’s borders under the guise of crisis management and anti-terrorist operations.

The Communist Workers’ Party opposes European Union enlargement under any circumstances, and also opposes Finland’s membership of the European Union. The Party works to secure the disengagement of Finland from the European Union. Finnish membership of the European Union has resulted in a transfer of economic and legislative powers to agencies abroad. European Union membership has destroyed national legislation, making the interests of supranational capital responsible for Finland’s future. The federalist evolution of the European Union signifies a reinforcement of right wing political influence throughout Europe, a deterioration in the status of peoples to increase the profits of capitalist communities, and an assault on the radical labour movement. Initiatives were already proposed in European Union quarters in 2006 to condemn communist ideology and activity. Similar efforts have been made at the Council of Europe.

The evolution and enlargement of the European Union towards a federal super-state has increased the power of the bourgeoisie and eroded the broad democracy, basic social welfare and guaranteed minimum working conditions that were achieved though decades of working class struggle. It has meant a transfer of the wealth created by the efforts of working people away from improved basic social welfare towards rearmament and towards support for the capitalist community.

In place of the European Union, the Communist Workers’ Party proposes mutual and equitable collaboration between all of the states of Europe and beyond that conserves the independence of nation states. To realise this aim, the Communist Workers’ Party is building a common front against European Union harmonisation and all of the institutions established for the European Union, and is seeking to enlarge this work into a broad struggle against international big business.

Our era is an age of transition from capitalism to socialism

When determining the character of an era we must consider the class and social forces that are ruling society. The definition of the character of an era explains the current stage of human development, the origin of society and the direction in which it is moving. Back in the 1970s and 80s the communists in Finland determined our era to be one of transition from capitalism to socialism. There were monopolies, including state monopolies, in capitalist countries, and big business was centralising at an unprecedented rate. As the world’s most influential agent of imperialist capitalism, the USA subjugated independent states by force of arms, attacking such countries as Vietnam, from which it nevertheless was ultimately forced to withdraw in defeat after suffering major losses. The democratically elected President and government of Chile were violently overthrown with US support in 1973. At this time there was also a powerful alliance of socialist countries in Eastern Europe united in the CMEA Trade Organisation. The USSR played a key role in this organisation. The main capitalist states of Europe were united in the European Economic Community. The military antagonists in Europe and on a global scale were the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation NATO and the Warsaw Pact led by the USSR.

Counter-revolutionary forces in the countries of Eastern Europe and beyond diverted the USSR and the smaller socialist countries onto the capitalist path in the early 1990s. Conditions have changed dramatically since this time. When characterising the era we see how a concerted alliance of capitalist forces was formed against the socialist world order led by the USSR. The capitalist and socialist world systems, each with access to nuclear weapons, stood in mutual opposition. Conflicts between the capitalists were set aside as they focused their collective energies on destroying the socialist countries. New capitalist alliances comparable to the European Union rapidly emerged after the economic systems of the socialist countries of Eastern Europe had been overthrown in the early 1990s.

The conflicts between supranational monopoly corporations and capitalist alliances are now escalating as they seek to capture new sources of raw materials and new markets. The imperialist re-division of the globe has gained in strength, with temporary alliances formed and a rapid rise in rearmament. We are experiencing the highest imperialist stage of decadent capitalism with a growing danger of war. Following a temporary decline in socialism worldwide, capitalism has grown in strength and renewed its exploitation of working people. At the same time the crises of capitalism are escalating, with worsening economic problems that capitalist economic theory cannot resolve.

The class struggle between existing socialist countries and imperialist capitalism has intensified. Class struggle and conflict have escalated within the capitalist countries as cuts have been made in previous achievements of working people concerning working conditions, remuneration and social security. To be capable of defending its achievements and reversing its current retreat, the working class must call on previous experience of building a revolutionary labour movement and socialism.

Working class organisation and a common struggle for objectives is the beginning of growth in class consciousness. This requires the Communist Workers’ Party to develop forms of class struggle together with the working class, and to reinforce international communist collaboration.

Considering the socialist construction experience of the USSR

Before the October revolution of Russian socialism in 1917 capitalism alone controlled the world. The October revolution gave rise to the first socialist state in Soviet Russia, which later became the USSR. Socialism enabled a programme of national construction without the exploitation of one person by another. The revolution of the workers emerged victorious from a bitter class struggle that had verged on war in the early years and established its position. It managed to defend itself against the administration of the Tsar, the bourgeoisie and the invading military forces of fourteen Western capitalist countries that sought to destroy the power of the workers by force of arms. The subsequent construction of a socialist society in the USSR demonstrates the ability of worker power to resolve the issues of social development on a socialist basis.

Before the October revolution tsarist Russia was the most underdeveloped state in Europe. Under the leadership of the Communist Party, the economy of the Soviet Union was swiftly improved to secure steady development of agriculture and industry. With the capitalist world of the 1930s enduring a severe depression, the USSR successfully constructed its first five-year plan against the background of a planned socialist economy. The threat of war nevertheless hung over the economy of the USSR, and the country’s economic resources had to be diverted to reinforcing national defence. Thanks to rapid growth in its industrial and agricultural base, the USSR also managed to repel the armed assault of fascist Germany in 1941. With the Communist Party and state leadership at the helm, the socialist society, the Red Army and the entire population dealt a death blow to the fascist aggressors, liberating the nation and many European states from the tyranny of fascism. The outcome of the war in Eastern Europe gave rise to a number of socialist countries, liberating entire peoples from the yoke of colonialism and opening the road to their independence. Where the USSR had stood alone before the Second World War, a powerful alliance of socialist countries emerged after the war ended.

In a short time the USSR managed to repair the economic damage of the war, and was also able to rise to the pinnacle of global economic and technical development. This was evidenced in colossal industrial and power plant projects, the opening of new waterways, electrification of the country and mechanisation of agriculture. The conquest of space was a historic achievement in its own right. Economic and technical development in the USSR laid the foundations for the transition to communism. Everyone was in work, with free public access to health services and education. The prices of food, housing and transport were very low.

An international conference of Communist and Labour Parties in 1960 identified right wing revisionism as the principal threat to party political and communist ideology. It was essential to combat this threat.

This assessment was nevertheless not taken seriously, with crucial errors made at this time in the socialist construction work of the USSR. These errors were not due to socialist theory, but to a departure from this theory by the party leadership that eventually led to a collapse of the socialist society. In 1961 the Communist Party of the USSR erred in removing from the party programme the Marxist foundations of socialism, which are the doctrine of class struggle and the dictatorship of the proletariat. Class struggle does not come to an end when a socialist society is established, but continues in the sphere of politics, economics and ideology.

Class conflicts existed in society, and the new direction taken fostered an illusion in the party and in the population of progress towards communism without confrontation. This progress was supported by such slogans as a “state of the whole people”. If a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie prevails in capitalist states, then a dictatorship of the working class holds sway in and during the construction of socialism until social classes have been completely eliminated. The power of the working class is essential for constructing socialism. With councils of the working class in the USSR no longer able to oversee those in charge of the economy and administration, particularly high status public officials, the outcome was that those officials arranged various perks for themselves, rose above the law, became corrupt and broke away from the people. Confidence in the fairness of the system began to falter. An economic reform approved in 1965 reinforced a trend of private ownership that led to stagnation in production. The national economy was directed towards the creation of markets in capital and labour. In fact the Communist Party of the Soviet Union refused to proceed with the construction of socialism, masking this stage of development as “advanced socialism”. There was no desire to resuscitate the true power of workers’ councils, leaving the workers already in disarray and intellectually defenceless against a rising petit bourgeois ethos. The slowing in growth of productive forces in the 1960s and 1970s led to declining economic growth in the USSR, leaving it trailing the capitalist countries in quality of production. A crisis of ideology also arose alongside the political and economic crisis, and was reinforced in the form of the perestroika doctrine, which amounted to capitalism as a new social structure.

Alongside these developments the Communist Party of the Soviet Union embraced bilateral party relations with the communist parties of various other countries in the international sphere, but no regular or sufficiently frequent joint conferences of communist parties were arranged. This state of affairs reinforced the key role of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union among communist parties, and also prevented the parties from recognising the anti-socialist trend arising in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, as no joint debates took place. These parties also had no common forum for considering such issues.

Many communist parties followed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union all the way to its disbandment and the dissolution of the USSR in 1991 without ever recognising the anti-socialist trend that had developed.

Many of the parties that followed the Communist Party of the Soviet Union changed their names and political ideologies. The old Communist Party of Finland folded, with some of its affiliates reorganising into the Left Alliance on a policy platform that had already drifted to the political right. The founders of the Left Alliance also included the Communist Party of Finland (Unity), a section that had been expelled from the old party and had taken orders from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to the bitter end. The collapse of the social systems in the USSR and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe thereby fostered great difficulties for the working class and labour movement everywhere. This temporary setback for socialism gave the world’s capitalist consortia and the far right an almost free hand to implement their policies of exploitation, expropriation and war.

The experience of building socialism demonstrates that it is capable of resolving the problems of human equality, dignity and spiritual growth.

The socialist USSR crushed German fascism in the Second World War and saved many people from the yoke of fascist tyranny. The victory over fascism also liberated peoples from colonialism. Socialism managed to defend world peace. It created strong support for the struggle of working people everywhere, fostered solidarity, and provided an incentive to demand and build broad programmes of social welfare, affluence and democracy.

To overcome capitalism, the communist parties need unity of struggle and a common strategy of empowering the class struggle of the working class and achieving victory. Previous experience of building socialism will form the basis for a new socialist society throughout the world. This experience will also benefit communists in Finland.

Socialism responds to the aspirations of working class people

Marx and Engels showed how the problems and conflicts of society were due to private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. Conflicts can only be eliminated by changing to a society that holds those means in its own hands. This requires a transition to socialism where conditions will be created for a communist classless society. Marx and Engels understood this as the historic mission of the working class, based on the fact that as an exploited class, the working class has an interest in eliminating exploitation, because it does not own the means of production, distribution and exchange. The livelihood of workers depends on working for wages, and so workers as a class will accept social ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

A scientific understanding of society based on Marxism-Leninism provides theoretical support to the struggle of the working class and its allies. This is essential for the transition to socialism and the evolution towards communism of a social system based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange. The transition from capitalism to a new and more sophisticated society will not happen by itself, but calls for a keen awareness of social affairs, work and daily struggle from working people. Throughout its objective evolution, capitalism has presented humanity with a choice between social decay and a revolutionary transition to a new social structure. The innermost strata of capitalism give rise to the qualitative conditions that lead people to a new, socialist society based on comradeship, solidarity, mutual assistance, community, and human endeavour in harmony with the natural world. The daily tasks of the Communist Workers’ Party are linked to these principles in overthrowing capitalism and building socialism.

The current stage of social policy is a transition from national capitalism to imperialist capitalism

The Western industrialised countries have tried to rescue contemporary capitalism through economic doctrines and political decisions that were previously applied during economic recessions and wars. Current social policy can be aptly described in terms of cutbacks, expropriations, population displacement, unemployment and impoverishment falling very heavily on the most deprived sections of the working class. We are living through perpetual crises of capitalism, anarchy in the market economy and instability. The policy of rescuing capitalism involves a union of proprietors, the political right wing and reactionaries that seeks to implement its objectives with the aid of reformists, petit bourgeois labour parties and the leaders of the trade union movement. This right wing policy has been rolled out in one country after another since as far back as the 1960s in order to shift income distributions increasingly in favour of the business community at the expense of working people.

Income distributions are changing through unemployment, unpaid labour, wage cuts, taxation, and a combination of reduced contributions and increased subsidies for business in favour of capital gains. A major shift in the distribution of income and GNP in Finland at the expense of working people began in the 1990s, dating particularly to 1995 when the country became a Member State of the European Union. Employee taxation has been increased in a wide variety of ways during European Union membership. Particularly indirect taxation and rising employee social insurance contributions have offset minor reductions in income tax. At the same time taxation of enterprises and capital gains has been cut, even as business profits, shareholder dividends and management stock options have reached record high levels.

Right wing economic policy, the “creative destruction” of the capitalist, means a reduction of social guidance in policymaking and deteriorating social welfare, unemployment benefits and pensions. This is accompanied by a programme seeking the greatest possible degree of privatisation and commercialisation of the social sphere, leading to growing social inequality and diversion of public assets into a casino economy. The crisis of capitalism thereby becomes a permanent crisis of bourgeois society as a whole.

Capitalism cannot resolve the current social crisis

Even today the economic problems that characterise the unbridled evolution of a capitalist economy are emerging due to relative overproduction of goods and services. Individual capitalists seek to rationalise production in order to cut costs to less than the average for a manufacturing sector, thereby enabling the enterprise to increase its profits. This is achieved by upgrading technology, reducing labour costs and increasing fixed capital. When other capitalists rationalise their operations to the same or lower cost levels the capitalist experiences a fall in the ratio of profit to total investment. Marx referred to this law-like economic phenomenon as the tendency of the rate of profit to fall. The capitalist combats this trend by further exploitation, i.e. by reducing wages and social contributions, and by rationalising and buying out the competition. The profits made by big business in recent years have largely consisted of precisely this kind of added value extraction.

With income redistribution undermining their capacity for consumption, the public is unable to purchase the products and services that the capitalists bring to the market at an accelerating pace. This results in an economic downturn. With no incentive to invest in manufacturing during a recession and deregulation of transfers, capital is instead invested in speculative ventures. Rapidly growing speculation with consequent redistribution of assets is a characteristic feature of the current slump. Free movement of capital has encouraged uncontrolled speculation between various parts of the world that is no longer guided by real economic phenomena. This speculation has already spread from stock exchange and foreign currency trading to natural resources, increasing the prices of raw materials as well.

All of these developments increase exploitation of working people. Due to the right wing policies pursued during the recession of the early 1990s and thereafter, for example, the income distribution in Finland has become increasingly skewed with passing years in favour of capital gains. The share of wages in the national economy continues to diminish. The only way to steer this social trend in favour of working people is to make income distribution more equitable, but this will require the replacement of right wing economic policies with an approach that respects the interests of working people. Communists seek to bring about a mass movement capable of overthrowing current economic policies that favour big business.

The struggle of the working class forces concessions from the capitalists

Prior to the current brutal right wing economic policy, a bourgeois regulated economy was implemented to sustain capitalism in the Western world. This was particularly the case following the Second World War. It was based on reforms of bourgeois society that enhanced social security, increased wage levels and enlarged public ownership of basic sectors of the productive economy. This brought about a more equitable distribution of income in society, moderated the eruption of capitalist economic problems and laid the foundations for affluence.

The implementers of this policy had to reckon with the strength and combat effectiveness of the working class in the form of the powerful labour movement of the day combining communists, other leftist forces, democratic movements and trade unions. These circumstances forced the capitalists and political bourgeoisie to consent to reforms. The policies were only implemented in Western capitalist countries because the working class in these countries had the backing of a powerful and progressive socialist world order.

Although economic policy based on bourgeois regulation did not even attempt to put an end to the dictatorship of monopolies, it nevertheless showed that social progress could be influenced by limiting the power of big business with a view to achieving outcomes that benefit the entire working population.

Reforms fail to resolve the fundamental contradictions of capitalism

Under the foregoing circumstances many reformists argued that the age of class struggle had ended and that all benefits were shared. The communists nevertheless called attention to several contexts showing that the reforms had not brought about any shift in the fundamental conflict between capital and labour and in the class nature of capitalist society. While economic policy based on regulation of a bourgeois society ameliorated some of the worst conflicts of capitalism, led to more balanced income distribution and thereby retarded the outbreak of crisis phenomena in capitalism, it naturally failed to eliminate the fundamental problems of capitalism.

The first large scale recession in capitalism since the Second World War occurred in the mid-1970s, and has subsequently been followed by several major economic problems. The people viewed these problems as failures by the governing political parties. While a regulated economy based on conciliation brought reformist labour parties, together with more moderate bourgeois party factions, to power in many Western countries, subsequent economic problems led to these groups losing their positions to more right wing forces. At the same time a rightist conservative economic policy emerged in various parts of the capitalist world in the 1970s and 1980s as a motive force in business and economic policy instead of regulation and conciliation.

The conduct of the reformist left shows a lack of alternatives

Considering the era of regulation and conciliation to be over, conservative factions of bourgeois political parties displaced moderate and reformist groups to take power in countries governed by the bourgeoisie. Social democrats were only able to maintain their status by implementing right wing policies. On taking office in 1995 the Social Democrat-led governments of countries such as Finland and Sweden were only able to promise austerity, retrenchment and cutbacks in social security. This represented a full-blooded right wing conservative economic policy adopted by the Social Democrats and Left Alliance of Finland regardless of the makeup of the governing coalition.

The reformist forces implement a right wing policy in order to maintain their positions of influence in society. The Social Democrats in Sweden argue that they must maintain the main elements of an affluent society, whereas the message in Finland speaks of the need to maintain the foundations of such a society. Although these powers project an image of resisting the downward spiral of society and agreeing to essential austerity only out of dire emergency, actual practice nevertheless shows that the changes directed by reformists are more austere than the right wing would ever dare to propose. This demonstrates that they have found no alternative to the dead-end option of ever-intensifying capitalist exploitation and that there is indeed no alternative economic policy that could harmonise a capitalist market economy with the interests of the masses.

Brussels buttresses the bourgeoisie

The leadership of social democratic parties and of most of the rest of the left wing and trade union movement strongly favours enlarging the European Union and extending its influence, because the reformist labour movement was one way of organising a capitalist society at the height of the bourgeois regulation policy. The only option for reformists for maintaining the previous situation while projecting a credible image of their own policies is to adapt to the policies of the conservative right wing. A strong European Union where the parties of the Socialist International dominated by the social democrats are organised as a political force and centre of power is thus viewed as the only option. The leftist parties involved in the work of the European Union seek the same goal. All of these parties claim to support the European Union as a means of controlling big business, and they are loathe to admit that the European Union was constructed to prevent regulatory control of capital, or that it will take a powerful and combat-effective labour movement to restrain the power of capital.

Most supporters of the labour movement in various European Union countries have opposed accession to the European Union in national referenda. This view has also been reflected in plebiscites on the Constitution of the European Union, indicating that people are capable of disengaging from a reformist policy that serves the interests of monopolies. It also shows that there is support among working people for the anti-big business policies espoused by communists and a willingness to join the struggle against the forces of the right.

We must disengage from the power of big business – there is an alternative

Conservative, rightist and reformist economic doctrines have successively run aground, and if any of these could ever have provided an alternative within the framework of capitalism, then it would have come to light by now. Communists hold that there is an alternative to the current rightist social policy. Human labour is capable of generating all of the material affluence and the values and services that are necessary for social progress. The only alternative is to disengage from policies that serve the interests of big business. This will mean improving social regulation and the associated equitable distribution of income by returning to a policy of regulation and taking further steps to end social coercion by big business permanently.

This will entail a new policy that serves the interests of the working class and of the entire population, prioritising nationalisation of natural resources, basic industry and data communications.

  • Big business and its unfettered practice must be brought under social regulation and control, with exporting of capital made subject to licensing.

  • Privatisation of publicly owned property and operations must end. Central and local government enterprises and local government services must be developed to safeguard the regional production structure, employment and basic services.

  • Transport services, health services and care of the elderly, hospital functions, education, alcohol sales and pharmacy services must be developed on purely social criteria.

  • Large monopoly enterprises and business banking must be taken into public ownership. This applies in particular to merchant banks, insurance companies and energy provision. Steps must be taken at the same time to safeguard operating conditions for small and family businesses.

  • Full employment must be ensured. This can be achieved by shifting the income distribution in favour of working people to resuscitate domestic demand. Steps must be taken to ensure housing construction, suburban renovation programmes and social investment.

  • A new income distribution must be introduced by increasing wages, pensions, unemployment benefits and other basic social security allowances.

  • Society must improve the social security system to guarantee a basic livelihood to everyone who is unable to secure this through earned income.

  • Social services must be guaranteed for the entire population, meaning the development of education and health services that are free at the point of need, together with affordable public transport.

  • Undisrupted production of basic foodstuffs and self-sufficiency in agricultural products must be ensured to an optimal degree.

  • It is essential to disengage from a European Union membership that serves the interests of monopoly corporations and to ensure that Finland remains outside of military alliances.

A democratic policy of this kind will lay the foundations for harmonising production and consumption and for an equitable distribution of incomes in society. This policy direction will nevertheless no longer serve the capitalist conception of social progress. The new public policy will end speculation and lay the ground for systematic crisis-free social development.

Developing a policy of co-operation

Co-operation between various levels of the working population will be essential for implementing the new social policy, and so communists seek to build a democratic mass movement against big business that will combat capitalism and militarism in order to safeguard democracy and progress.

Mass movements of this kind have traditionally formed against right wing extremism, fascism, racial discrimination, war and policies of alignment with multinational monopolies, and in support of human development, the environment and peace. Such a movement must also emerge to safeguard everyday material affluence. It is essential to build co-operation to this end.

Bourgeois democracy was originally necessary to the bourgeoisie in combating feudalism by ensuring national mobility of capital and labour. Modern big business is now seeking to expand its operations across national boundaries in the form of capitalist blocs and federations. This means destroying the prerogatives of national legislation, and limiting or nullifying the democratic rights and political influence of citizens. Big business has already managed to co-opt the traditional political parties as guarantors of its own consensus policies.

Global problems have also become crucial to the life of society and prioritised a policy of co-operation. A reconstruction of bourgeois society has led to an enlargement of the working class, introducing new strata that do not always acknowledge their own class status. The struggle for the rights of working people will require a broader range of strata of the working class. Participating in mass movements strengthens the class-consciousness of various segments of the working population by demonstrating the power of collective action and teaching us to recognise national and imperialist capitalism as the real common adversary.

The labour movement: from democratic reform to socialist renewal

A policy of co-operation can involve a broad diversity of social forces, ranging from blue and white collar workers and their unions to farmers, various political parties, and civil movements. Proactive and well-organised co-operation can achieve significant social progress as occurred, for example, in the post-war reform of bourgeois society in Finland. Subsequent developments have shown that the only way to maintain such social achievements is by continuing, developing and reinforcing opposition to the business community.

Any successful reform policy will inevitably encounter increasing resistance from the bourgeoisie, as the economic and social interests of working people and the resolution of ecological and global problems generally conflict with the interests of monopoly capitalists. Sooner or later a policy of reform will no longer suffice and we shall need the ability to transfer political and economic power from the business community to the working class and its allies. This ability will be acquired through collective action and cohesion in combat. It will then become clear that the only way of resolving problems is to focus the forces for change in society on the struggle to overthrow capitalism for good and to embark on the project of building socialism.

We must build a mass movement to combat big business

Although most people will not immediately feel that socialism is inevitable, a fairly substantial proportion appreciates how the interests of big business form an obstacle to real social reform. A mass movement against big business will arise and grow as social critics increasingly come to realise that a change in the current direction can only be brought about by overthrowing big capital and its right wing political enablers.

These critics can be found in all strata of society, including employees, the unemployed, pensioners, young adults, farmers, small entrepreneurs and various popular movements. It is the role of communists to stay in touch with activists in these population segments and to stress the necessity of an alternative to big business and imperialist capitalism. People of this kind must be brought together to formulate policies that provide an alternative to capitalism and war.

Principles of alliance policy

Communists have long experience and the ability to assess an alliance policy and its importance in the work of opposing capitalism, fascism and war. This experience also helps us to understand the major significance of alliance policy in defending the economic and social interests of the working population. Implementing an alliance policy does not require communists to suspend their own ideological exertions or to retreat from their main mission of building a socialist society. On the contrary, an alliance policy is part of this work.

The Communist Workers’ Party steers clear of any co-operation policy involving identification with the far right, nationalism, racism or ethnic discrimination. Co-operation must also be based on something more than the mere establishment or operation of a movement directed from above: the aims and purposes are always crucial. Co-operation and alliances must be built from the bottom up in a way that aligns with the interests of the working class.

The Communist Workers’ Party finds its natural allies in the grassroots organisations and membership of the labour and trade union movements.

The labour movement must disengage from the power structures of big business

A labour movement capable of disengaging from the burdens of capitalist society will always be needed to implement and develop any reform policy. The post-war reform policy gave the labour movement of the day a significant status in society, and the leadership of the reformist labour movement has adopted right wing policies in order to conserve this status. This is why it never ventures into any real struggle against capital. The people, by contrast, disagree with the leadership of the labour movement concerning the capacity to engage in a class struggle.

This is why we need a labour movement with no social status to lose in dismantling capitalism. Systematic representations in various social spheres on behalf of an alternative free from capitalism will give rise at some point to resistance to the current right wing policy. Alternative demands will become part of the debate and begin to test the durability of society when some visible representations can be secured in support of this option. People must be found for this activity who do not consider themselves bound to organisations that identify with the current administration.

The Communist Workers’ Party will work to organise various segments of the working population into a movement against monopoly capital with a view to fostering social resistance of sufficient strength to form a mass movement capable of effecting social change. This may arise through large-scale protests and the demands of social movements, strikes and other forms of mobilisation. The resistance must be capable of breaking through media propaganda and securing the support of a majority of the people.

A socialist planned economy will resolve the problems of our society and humankind

There is no guarantee that implementing a policy that serves the needs of the people will lead to socialism, but the social conflicts that are characteristic of capitalism may only be finally stopped by instituting a socialist transition stage in economic policy that brings social functions within the ambit of democratic regulation and permanently eliminates the ability of big business and the bourgeoisie to regain power.

  • A socialist society will be a community of working people in which human livelihood will be based on personal labour and the income that this brings about. Economic exploitation of one group of people by another and speculation can play no part in socialism.

  • Resources of land and water, power plants, industry, banks, insurance companies, trade and associated property will be transfer to social ownership and control. Private trading that does not rely on exploiting the work of others and is based on the personal work of an individual must remain possible in a socialist society.

  • Agricultural output in a socialist society will be based on family farms, co-operatives and social production practices. Advanced co-operative production arrangements formerly had a strong foothold in Finland. The Communist Workers’ Party does not support large-scale private agriculture, but favours social ownership and control of agricultural mass production operations.

  • The national economy will be managed systematically to provide opportunities for the rational use of raw materials, and physical and intellectual labour resources. This will mean paying attention to the overall needs of society. Social guidance will take the form of a broad network of collaboration and evaluation between the various segments of society.

  • The real revolution will occur in the spheres of science and culture, which will become the property of the entire population. On making the transition to socialism, the evolution of society will be based on deliberate collective action, meaning mastery not only of regularities of nature, but also of the internal laws of society and the scientific worldview. Knowledge will shatter the foundations of all mysticism and views based on supernatural phenomena. The scientific worldview will nevertheless not mean a general consensus, as continuous progress always relies on the emergence of various opinions. The scientific worldview will provide a coherent scientific foundation and approach for resolving social and technical problems.

  • Many structures of capitalist society can be transferred to a socialist society and modified for a socialist and democratic basis. The power structures of national and local government in capitalism serve the class interests of big business, whereas under socialism the power structures of society elected by the people only serve the interests of the working population.

There is no militant labour movement without communists

Communists cannot alone implement a social policy that serves the needs of the people. All reform policy depends on an appreciation by various segments of the working population that real reform can only be brought about by engaging with the power and privileges of big business.

Communists will nevertheless retain a significant responsibility and status in this progress, based on the fact that from the very beginning they stressed the necessity of a socialist society, providing a scientific and theoretical justification for doing so. This is why the mission of communists is to lay the theoretical groundwork and policy formulations for social evolution. Communists must serve as the engines and pioneers of this social process. This does not make this function the sole preserve of communists, and groups working on other criteria will also internalise the scientific principles governing social progress and begin seeking scientific grounds for social evolution.

Implementing a new policy that serves the interests of the people under current capitalism will require overthrowing right wing conservative policies and replacing them with clear solutions that eliminate the dominance of the business community. With their anti-capitalist objective of socialism, only the communists are capable of making an initiative seeking this kind of political objective. The march of history shows that successful struggles against the business community always arise in concert with an anti-capitalist alternative. There has never been a militant labour movement without communists.

Parliament is a platform, not an instrument of change

The parliament of a capitalist state is an instrument of class power that implements capitalist policies. Capitalist societies are structured to ensure that their civil service, elected officials and associated organisations, and the status of the leaders of those organisations depend on perpetuating the power of the business community. Even though the people elect representatives to parliamentary and other public positions, the offices of these representatives largely require them to implement only the kind of social policies that are consistent with bourgeois economic policy criteria. Any representatives who object to this are snapped back into line by party whips and other sanctions. A mass media overseen by the business community ensures the voting behaviour of the electorate.

We cannot rely on Parliament to effect any real social change, but must instead depend on the emergence of a social situation in which large numbers of people override the parliaments that they have elected. History has demonstrated the truth of this assessment time and time again. Many modern revolutions have also confirmed the same point that democracy is realised only when the oppressed overthrow the oppressor.

A revolutionary situation

The transition from capitalism to socialism is a socially inevitable process. The law of correspondence between the forces and relations of production in a capitalist class society holds that the latter will begin to impede growth of the former in various ways. This is manifesting precisely in the form of our present conditions of accelerating social crisis, perpetual mass unemployment, regional differences in living standards and armed conflict. Experience of the evolution of societies indicates that we shall reach a situation in which the social conflicts become so poignant that they can be resolved only by changing the prevailing relations of production. We call this stage in the evolution of society a revolutionary situation. It signifies an exceptional breakthrough in social evolution, as it creates circumstances for effecting a change in the form of ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange and in the arrangements for governing society, and for rescinding the power of the capitalist class.

A gradual escalation of conflict developing in society will not rouse the people to revolutionary action, as each individual seeks to focus on everyday concerns adopting a “wait and see” attitude in the belief that problems can always be overcome. At some point, however, a situation will arise where the problems are not resolved, people no longer have confidence in the assurances of the ruling administration, and the social crisis rapidly comes to a head. People see that the only way to influence matters is to take them into their own hands. Social activism and awareness grow very rapidly under such circumstances.

The Communist Workers’ Party in Finland is involved in social activism in the labour movement, in popular movements, and in local and central government. This establishes a basis for ensuring that growing social activity can always be channelled into opposition to the power of big business. Long-term work in the labour movement and in popular movements enables the creation of an organisation with the strength to lift political power out of the hands of big business and into the custody of the people when social shifts occur.

A state of the working people

There is no way to predict the type of process whereby political power will shift from the business community to the people, but a revolutionary situation means a social crisis for the ruling big business community that paralyses the old administrative arrangements. This community will obviously use all available means to combat mass movements, including emergency legislation, the police, martial law and the armed forces. The circumstances nevertheless always involve a powerful social movement of the masses that will compel changes in the governing administration. Social mobilisation will install new administrative bodies that will begin to implement the policy programme demanded by the masses.

This will mean establishing a new national power structure based on the goals of the masses with a view to ensuring that the new administration opposes the interests of big business. This power structure will exert the influence of working people against monopolies, meaning the establishment of a state of the working class in place of the state of the bourgeoisie. Communists always view the state as an instrument of class domination, or of class dictatorship. They view a state of the working class as a dictatorship of the proletariat instead of a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. In a state of the working class it will be possible to extend democracy into areas that are off limits in a state of the bourgeoisie, i.e. especially into the sphere of economic policymaking.

Internationalism

Effecting change will require broad resistance to international big business and imperialist capitalism, and so it will also be essential to unite the class struggle of the working class across national borders.

A socialist world order could have emerged when the working class in Russia rose up to build socialism. As later developments demonstrated, even this force was ultimately insufficient to topple the power of international big business. During the cold war period the international struggle of the working class against capitalism was unable to make progress into the strongest bastions of capitalism in the capitalist countries of the developed West. Limiting the power of business communities in these countries in the short term would have resulted in armed conflict between the alliances of the capitalist and socialist countries. The development of socialism suffered a setback when the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was diverted onto a course of right wing revisionism.

Largely for this reason, a conservative right wing economic policy is now being implemented globally on the terms of big business and through force of arms. Known as globalisation, this process constitutes a worldwide expansion of imperialist capitalism that must be reversed in the interests of democratic social progress and the working class. This is why the national strivings of the working class must be combined with a broad international struggle against big business seeking to rescind current economic policies. We need a unified global movement of working people in solidarity against imperialist capitalism. Only a movement of this kind is capable of initiating a reform policy that appeals to mass movements around the globe. This requires communists to develop and harmonise their work internationally.

Communism

A new era for humanity began when Marx and Engels exposed the law-like regularities that govern the internal workings of society. Since that time assessments of society have been placed on a scientific foundation, with scientific meaning ascribed to utopian socialist dreams of a communist future based on equality of all human beings where there is no exploitation, war or corresponding misfortune. Communists continue to view the goal of progress as a communist society that will not be any utopia, but a stage in the rule-governed evolution of society.

By communism we understand a stage of social development that is free of opposing social classes. The relations of production will correspond to a high level of forces of production. The means of production, distribution and exchange will be owned by society with everyone in the same relationship to them, thereby eliminating economic and social exploitation of one person by another. Humanity will work as a harmonious whole, with functions of commodity production and other aspects of the life of society managed in a co-ordinated way as an integrated operation for all of mankind. Key problems in a capitalist class society, such as poverty, war and regional disparities in living standards will have been resolved. Many mechanisms of a class society, such as the apparatus of state as an organ of class power and the associated military complex, will be rendered obsolete in a communist society embodying a civilisation of equal human beings in which the material relations between people and the environment have been resolved.

Social life under communism will be based on the labour of the people and guided by scientific planning.

A socialist society is the preliminary stage of a communist society. Its development settles the problem of how to overcome the social conflicts that arise from private ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, which involve tensions between social planning and a self-directed market economy. The final victory of this work over big business will lay the ground for a communist future for humanity.

Although a communist society has overcome the problems associated with human material livelihood and resolved the conflicts of a class society, it is not devoid of conflict. New challenges will arise as society evolves, even when the class struggle chapter of human history has finally closed. From this perspective it is only liberation from social evolution based on the class struggle and from material deprivation that establishes the right conditions for tackling the dangers and risks that confront the whole of humanity.

Only thereafter can humanity plan progress in harmony with the rest of the material world while ensuring the conditions for conserving diversity. Our need for communism is not merely a matter of human material affluence, but of a basis for safeguarding and preserving the diverse evolution of material things. Human society is part of that evolution and constitutes its highest outcome, with an accompanying reciprocal impact on the natural world. Communism ensures that this reciprocal impact is a positive one.

The idea of a communist society is based on the law-like regularities of history. As a goal for humanity, it is not so remote that it cannot be debated as a realistic model for society. Communists harbour a vision of a communist society that serves as a beacon lighting the road from the present to the future.

Communist goals for social progress

The principal mission for communists in the present era is to broaden the consciousness of the working class and create a movement that will confront the power of big business, economic anarchy and war. The struggle for peace and against armed conflict is a key priority. There is no way to establish conditions for employment and democratic progress towards a socialist and communist society in Finland without a popular front based on mass support. The creation of a popular front against big business will depend on growth in human social awareness that cannot be achieved without a strong communist party.

This statement of principles provides a general outline of the tasks to come, and of the obstacles to be encountered. We shall clarify the details in various other supporting documents to be appended to the statement. Both these documents and the statement itself remain open to modification, clarification and correction according to the needs of society and as circumstances dictate.

The experiences of the Communist Workers’ Party of the class struggle of working people in Finland establish ties of solidarity between our party and the common struggle of the global working class against oppression and capitalism. Ridding the economy of private ownership will enable an equitable distribution of the wealth of the nation and of production, having regard to environmental conservation and the opportunities afforded by the laws of nature.

Working people have nothing to lose but their chains, but a whole world to gain.

Statement of principles of the Communist Workers’ Party (KTP)

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