|NCP's Ryan Linke with Italian and Kurdish comrades|
by New Worker
COMMUNISTS from many countries gathered in Highgate Cemetery on Sunday 13th March to mark the anniversary of the death of Karl Marx 168 years ago and to remember his life’s work and all the millions of people around the world who are carrying it forward.
The embassies of Venezuela and Cuba sent representatives, and there were communists from Ireland, Bangladesh, Iran, Italy and many other places.
An oration was given by Brian Campfield, president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. He focussed on the modern battles against capitalism and austerity, the Canadian/European Trade Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership, which would give big business the power to ride roughshod over democratically elected national and local governments and “create unprecedented threats to both workers and citizens through regulatory convergence which of itself will threaten our public services, jobs, food and safety standards, health and safety and the limited employment protections that workers currently enjoy”.
He also said: “We must also hammer the point that the case of the so-called ‘migrant crisis’ is essentially a consequence of the wars that the western imperialist powers have triggered over the last number of decades, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Libya and now in Syria and we mustn’t forget the despicable role played by the European Union in encouraging crisis and war in Ukraine.
“Comrades and friends, on this occasion, at the grave of Karl Marx, who hasn’t gone away and whose ideas are very much alive, let us rededicate ourselves to international solidarity, let us restate our opposition to war, let us reject the rule of corporations and highlight that the democracy worth fighting for is the one that gives control over all the major decisions that affect people’s lives to the people themselves, a socialist democracy.
“In the words of James Connolly: ‘We only want the earth’.”
Robert Griffiths spoke on behalf of the Communist Party of Britain and focused on the issue of the European Union, pointing out that the EU treaties and institutions obstruct the road to socialism.
And on the question of building unity with workers in Europe he said: “When Marx drafted the rules of the International Working Men’s Association in 1864, he didn’t specify that solidarity between the workers of Europe and North America required the formation of international capitalist alliances.
“Antonio Gramsci condemned those who waited for socialism to come ‘by royal decree countersigned by two ministers’. He did not believe instead that it would arrive in a European directive countersigned by two European commissioners and the president of a European central bank.”
After the speeches wreath were laid at the tomb and then the whole gathering sang the Internationale before departing.