A prestigious international conference took place in Prague at the end of May, organised by the Communist Party of Bohemia & Moravia (KSCM), and was attended by 27 foreign participants from 18 countries and a dozen representatives from the Czech Republic, including the left-wing Social Democratic Party.
The conference aimed to review the current global situation, the timelines of building an antifascist front, and among other topics, the shape of socialism in the 21st century and democratic approaches to securing a fair society.
Although it might be a tad premature to draw any fundamental conclusions, the positives already prevail. They also talked about other European and global issues and how to address them. It is impossible to solve these matters in a short period of time, but an opportunity to exchange views is likely to help work them out. The discussion brought together not only European representatives, but also radical left-wing parties, mostly communist ones from other continents – e.g. Vietnam, Japan, Brazil, Cuba. From Europe, there were representatives of parties associated with the European Left (EL) and delegated by GUE/NGL, e.g. Die Linke, Party of democratic socialism (SDS) and French communist party as well as parties outside of this grouping, like Communist party of Greece - KKE. There were also non-EU participants in Prague – from the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and Belarus.
All in all, it laid the foundations for an intensive exchange of views and enabled common conclusions and suggestions to be sought. A consensus the conference easily reached on the issue of war and peace and a possible strategy related to the functioning of the left-wing parties. A common resolution, underpinning the fight for peace and social justice, was accepted by large majority. The resulting position of the Greek KKE seems quite disharmonious. A KSCM MP in the Czech parliament also suggested a concrete measure in order to improve the exchange of information and experiences among representatives of these radical parties in the Europe-wide national parliaments as well as beyond EU boundaries and has called on GUE/NGL to join (see here).
It was maybe a pity that only a short discussion was centred on the topic with the working title “Socialism for the 21st century”. Last year, KSCM already sent out their idea to foreign partners. This topic is being discussed in the Czech Republic too, but not with great intensity. It is undoubtedly one of those left-wing visions which, following systemic changes in the so-called socialist countries, is being submitted to the left and to the whole of society. It is a positive act because in the last quarter of a century, the whole European radical left has suffered and still suffers from the inability to depict attractive visions which would find great support in civil society. The justified criticism of the radical left all over Europe is based on the fact that without planning approaches which are acceptable and appealing for a significant part of the population, it is impossible to seriously consider the profound systemic socio-political changes.
The Czech radical left, above all presented by KSCM’s long-term election results on the domestic political battlefield as well as in the context of European elections, cannot abandon its responsibility neither for national politics nor for its international dimension. In what sense? Given that the EL focuses mostly on political questions at European Union level, even though non-EU political parties are among its members, the KSCM is trying to contribute more actively on a wider scale, but perhaps its involvement is slightly less visible within the European Union. On the other hand, its three MEPs are the only representatives of the radical left in the European parliament from the entire region. The Czech SDS has a very active role in the European left, while the KSCM acts as an observer there.
Nevertheless, all of this lays the foundations for making the Czech left active and giving it significant influence, from a European perspective, on the very important issue of regional policy. As for strategic matters such as the issue of war and peace, the Prague conference channels the same effort as the EL. Therefore, there is room for powerful joint action. The very first common step could be participation in the EL Summer University, which takes place this year in Litoměřice in the Czech Republic. This conference has not been effective in overcoming all the divergences and differences in the approaches and thoughts of various radical left parties. A stone bridge might not have been built yet, but there is at least a solid bench to be used. Moreover, the latter is there for everyone willing to walk on it. Perhaps it is now time to revive the idea of a “Popular Front” of all Europeans, whose hearts beat on the left, which also resonated at the conference.