|November 9 marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was one of a series of events in 1989 that seized the imagination of the entire world. First came the agreement in Poland that year between the government and the anti-communist workers' organization called Solidarność. Then in November, the Berlin Wall was torn down and in December, Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife were brutally executed in Romania. Within two years the Soviet Union had collapsed, changing the map of the world.
In 1990, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the U.S. and Canada adopted the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (Paris Charter) which declared the shared values of the only kind of democracy they would accept in changed circumstances.
Henceforth, any country which did not adopt a market economy, a multiparty system and the U.S. imperialist definition of human rights was to be targeted for "regime change." On this basis, the counterrevolutionary forces established political systems in which the triumphant capitalists placed both "radicals" and "conservatives" in government while the anti-worker, anti-people policy remained the same. So-called colour revolutions were organized along with military aggression when this did not succeed in bringing about the changes the forces promoting the counterrevolutions demanded.
Euphoria, euphoria and more euphoria was the order of the day 30 years ago for the bourgeoisie. Everything would be set right. A massive campaign against communism was launched on an unprecedented scale.
But the euphoria that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall soon evaporated as the working class in the countries of both eastern and western Europe, and the entire world, could see that the changes which took place did not favour the working people.
Within a matter of five years, the result was war in Bosnia, the Russian invasion of Chechnya, Georgia's claims on Abkhazia, Armenians and Azeris fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, and massive unemployment and the accumulation of poverty on one pole and the accumulation of riches on the other.
During these 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the so-called liberation of eastern Europe and the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the retreat of revolution has permitted the rampage of the neo-liberal anti-social offensive. The U.S. striving for world domination has expanded the membership of the U.S.-led NATO military alliance, as well as its reach, beyond the borders of the North Atlantic. With the help of its NATO allies, the U.S. has launched multiple wars of aggression and occupation, causing hundreds and thousands of deaths and destruction. Under the pretext of war on terrorism, regime change, destruction and rule by exception are presented as the "new normal."
In all the allegedly democratic countries where the rule of the international financial oligarchy prevails, the working people are subjected to the worst treatment by the monopolies and oligopolies and the governments they have taken over. This onslaught against the working class, against the communist and workers' movement, against the broad masses of people of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, is facilitated by the disinforming role of the state and its agencies and all those who seek to hold on to positions of power and privilege within the capitalist world order.
Today, the international financial oligarchy has usurped the powers of national states to impose supranational narrow private interests. It rules through cartels and coalitions disguised as governments. The more they usurp power and try to establish their hegemony over their rivals while keeping the people in check, the more they rule by exception in the name of national security and the national interest, while the more vain become their attempts to manipulate elections to stave off the civil wars raging within the own ranks, and the more obvious that their rule is superfluous. Modern institutions are required which realize the striving of the people to humanize the natural and social environment and to make sure peace prevails.
Thirty years ago, the bourgeoisie, imperialism and world reaction manipulated the broad discontent with pseudo-socialism of the peoples in the former Soviet Union and the people's democracies of eastern Europe to install the capitalist system. Today, the discontent of the masses of people everywhere with the neo-liberal capitalist world order is such that the bourgeoisie, imperialism and world reaction are once again doing their utmost to manipulate this discontent to rescue their bankrupt liberal democratic institutions and stave off the consequences of the anarchy that exists, which they cannot control.
Once again media reporting on the significance of the fall of the Berlin Wall is intent on drowning out any discussion of the real problems which require real solutions. The need for democratic renewal is forgotten in a false debate that juxtaposes the dogmatic rendering of communism and socialism and the dogmatic rendering of capitalism. All of it merely emphasizes the absurdity and superficiality of the bourgeoisie's discourse. It brings to the fore their arrogant disconnect with the real problems that required solutions 30 years ago and still need to be addressed today, more urgently than ever. It cannot be otherwise because what is being celebrated is the usurpation of the movement of the workers and peoples to exercise control over their lives in the name of "freedom" and "democracy."
The promise of "freedom" has turned into the wars of occupation and aggression carried out by the U.S. imperialists and their NATO allies along with other big powers. It takes the form of murderous sanctions, the caging of children, violence against women and families, the brutal murders of Indigenous peoples as we see in Bolivia, trafficking in human beings as cheap labour, and a new world order where prerogative powers are used to impose arrangements that do not have the consent of the peoples. National interest and national security are cited to justify plunder, stepped up exploitation and criminalization. Rational political discourse which unifies the polity and opens a path to progress is absent because political parties have become a cartel party system without members, legislatures are no longer vehicles which are seen to express national sovereignty, and bodies politic are destroyed in the name of high ideals. The upshot is anarchy and violence and the further marginalization of the people from the decision-making process.
The only success stories people are told are those of a tiny handful of billionaires, which in fact serves to underscore the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor poorer. People from the former East Germany openly say that the freedom they achieved is the "freedom to buy consumer goods" while their profound desire to exercise control over their lives is as remote as ever. The united Germany, in rivalry with France and Great Britain, has become a main contender with the U.S. for control over Europe, Africa and Asia.
Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, all the euphoria about the fall of communism and the victory of capitalism has nothing to show for it. To divert attention from the state of the capitalist-imperialist world, the ruling elite, in addition to equating pseudo-socialism with communism, are targeting communist ideology as hate ideology that motivates violence. To stop people speaking their minds for fear of reprisals, the propaganda is still carried within the perspective of the Cold War that a "free market economy" and ideological and political pluralism are superior to communism. What is the reality on the world scale? What is such a reality telling us? What needs to be done to solve the serious problems which face societies and humankind?
The fact is that all over the world people are demanding change; a broad disaffection exists everywhere. What is the content of the democratic renewal, which is the fundamental demand of the peoples, and what form should it take?
The aim of the propaganda that communism has failed is to encourage those who say either that communism is all wrong or those who claim that the liberal democratic institutions can be made to function without corruption, and to get the people to side with one or the other. As is the case in all other spheres, a diversion is created between two false opposites.
Having gone through such a tumultuous period, the world has learned that the problems it faces are not a matter of a fight between dogmas. It is a matter of what is happening in this world itself. What is the stage of its development and what should be done about it?
Democratic renewal is the main content of this period. It surpasses all other considerations and is the banner which is bringing new forces onto the centre-stage of history. Millions upon millions of people have direct experience with their conditions of life and work and they perceive their reality not through the eyes of dogmas but by paying with their hides.
The diversionary discourse about the "victory of democracy" over "communism" was used to create euphoria 30 years ago, while today it is aimed at keeping the old forces and old content in power even though under today's conditions there is no place for these old forms and old content. Since 1989, governments called "radical," "conservative," "right-wing," "left-wing" and "centrist" have worked to sabotage democratic renewal and lead their people right into the arms of the world's greatest enemies.
The new period that was irresistibly ushered in by the changes which took place so rapidly 30 years ago showed that no force could continue to act in the old way. The conditions surpassed the necessity for old forms, which have passed away, while new forms have yet to be brought into being. The new conditions bring forth an agenda of their own, independent of anyone's will, in the form of the demand of the peoples to exercise control over their lives as peoples and as individuals and over their destiny as nations. It is the struggle for the right to be of individuals, collectives and entire societies and nations, including oppressed nation-states, which we see today. Since 1989 the consciousness of the peoples worldwide rejects the abandonment of individuals to fend for themselves, the marginalization of the peoples in decision-making and the suppression of the right of nations to self-determination.
It is the agenda for democratic renewal which has been put on the table of the world for solution. This is the demand of millions upon millions of people all over the world, in developing countries but also and notably in the so-called advanced economies which are mired in crisis and where the weight of the old arrangements is exhausting the people as never before.
To Humanize the Natural and Social Environment -- All Out for Democratic Renewal!