It is with great pleasure that we greet comrades from the Balkans who are meeting in Athens today.
Following on from our conference in Belgrade in December, we are enthused to see this regional initiative beginning to extend the reach and improve the organisation of anti-imperialist work in south-east Europe at this critical time.
The Balkans is a region steeped in revolutionary and anti-imperialist history and traditions. The Greek, Yugoslav, Albanian and Bulgarian masses all fought revolutionary wars against Nazi fascist occupation and for socialist liberation. While Greece’s revolution was drowned in blood, other Balkans nations were able to break free, for a time, from the stranglehold of capitalist-imperialist oppression and to pursue a path of independent socialist development.
Whatever the differences in their approach to the implementation of socialism, whatever the trials brought about by revisionism and the Sino-Soviet split, the fact remains that for four and a half decades, most of the people of the Balkans had a respite from the poverty, insecurity and endless war that had been their lot before 1945, and which all returned with a vengeance after the collapse of the socialist states.
In all parts of the Balkans, this proud tradition and historical memory have not disappeared. Suffering under the crushing heel of western monopoly corporations, whose economic brigandage is backed up by the armed might of Nato bases and by the debauched rampaging of the imperialists’ local neo-nazi gangs, the people of the Balkans, as elsewhere in the former eastern European and Soviet states, look back with increasing nostalgia to the too-brief time of their freedom from capitalist exploitation and fratricidal warfare.
As the world market spirals deeper into crisis, the financial overlords of the monopolist countries are fighting to survive – at the expense of the workers and of each other. On the one hand, they are trying to pass the burden of the crisis onto the workers by crushing living standards and wringing every last ounce of profit from our labour. On the other hand, even as they compete with one another over who should receive what share from the spoils of the globe, they are uniting to try to destroy every country that resists their drive to plunder and domination.
As Nato’s war against Russia grinds on and reality forces its way through the propaganda lies, it is becoming very clear to workers in the oppressed countries that they have a side in this war. Russia is not an aggressive imperialist power trying to control and superexploit the globe, and nor is China. These are simply countries whose socialist revolutions have left their people with both the will and the ability to stand up for themselves against the marauding Nato beast.
In doing so, they have drawn a line of demarcation across the entire globe.
All of us who wish for freedom from imperialist domination understand that in order to defeat so mighty an enemy we must maximise the unity of our forces – we must stand together with all those who are also facing the same enemy.
This is the principal question facing humanity today: will you stand on the side of the imperialists or on the side of those who oppose imperialism?
There is no neutrality in this war, whose tentacles are felt in every corner of the globe. The overwhelming economic, military and media might of the neo-nazi Nato alliance means that to be ‘neutral’ is to allow the powerful to act unhindered.
Workers who cannot be mobilised – or at least persuaded into a position of sympathy – for the cause of anti-imperialism will remain as a reserve for the exploiters. This is why they are so keen to spread the revolutionary-sounding lie about Russian and Chinese ‘aggression’ and ‘imperialism’ – our class enemies understand even if the workers themselves do not, the importance of our failing to take a side in this pivotal conflict, which will decide the fate of humanity for decades to come.
In the Balkans, where national-liberation and socialist forces fought valiantly to gain independence and freedom for their peoples in the first half of the 20th century, struggles that were of central importance in WW1 and WW2, we once again see that your stance can greatly affect the outcome of a war that is on the verge of spilling over into WW3.
Just as the imperialists have used every trick to break the peoples of the Balkans into tiny warring groups, endlessly pitted against one another, at this crucial moment in history, the anti-imperialist forces must exert all their power to create a unifying force, for it is only by standing together that we can win through to freedom.
Disunited, we are the stupid tools of our oppressors. United, there is nothing that can stop us.
This is the task the Platform has set itself: to be a driving force in bringing together all those genuine anti-imperialist forces from around the globe so that their voices can be amplified in each country and region and their message can be understood by workers and oppressed peoples everywhere:
Defeat for the neo-nazi Nato warmongering alliance; Unity and victory to the resistance!