CPI in Brussels

The Communist Party of Ireland, along with other activists from Ireland, recently received an invitation from MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace to attend the EU Parliament in Brussels to participate in two events. First, a film showing of Ithaka, a documentary highlighting the ongoing persecution of journalist Julian Assange and the effects it has had on his loved ones. Assange was head of the WikiLeaks news organisation which released information dealing with NATO war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assange’s father John Shipton was present and answered questions from the audience.

Second, the launch of a research paper dealing with unilateral coercive measures – “sanctions” – and their relevance in international law. The panel put forward an analysis dealing with this measures in the context of US primacy over the world order. As the CPI itself has previously said, the law is but congealed politics, it is beholden to imperialism.

The visit offered the delegation an opportunity to witness firsthand the machinations of the European Union from within the “belly of the beast”. There exist over twelve thousand registered lobbying firms in Brussels alone, with an estimated 5 lobbyists swarming the city for every MEP. In particular, the arms industry is a key mover in Brussels. Contrary to the notions of “critical engagement” on the EU, the EU is a fortress of reaction, whether it is controlled by the far-right or liberals. 

While it was a great opportunity to meet other activists from Ireland, as well as abroad, we also availed of the chance to meet with comrades from the Communist Movement. Portuguese Communist Party MEP João Pimenta Lopes met the CPI delegation. The meeting dealt with the political environment both the Portuguese and Irish peoples were in. Specifically, the cost of living crisis, or more correctly, the crisis of capitalism, and the efforts of ruling elites to promote militarism at the expense of improving the people’s wellbeing. 

There was an acknowledgment that, in both countries, there was a noticeable increase in anti-communism, from both the left and right. In Portugal, reactionary forces tried to have cultural performers pull out of the PCP’s festival Avante.Fortunately, they failed.

Next the CPI met with comrades from the Communist Party of Greece. There was discussion relating to the efforts of both parties to engage with the people on the true nature of capitalism, the need to challenge reformism in the workers’ movement. We must always be honest with the people, rather than sell them notions about a nicer, fairer capitalism. This makes Communists stand apart from other left tendencies, and precisely this that earns us scorn from some. 

In both meetings, there was a report given on the CPI’s recent 26th Congress, which both the KKE and PCP sent fraternal greetings to. The role of anti-communism in the EU parliament was noted as being a result of the imperialist nature of the EU itself. In particular, the role of Communists in defending the people and representing their interests in a time of capitalist crisis, militarism and environmental damage. This takes place within and without parliamentary struggle.