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Closing Remarks of the Africa Left Networking Forum Conference

Lennart Kjorling

21 August 2010

It is an honor for the Swedish Left Party and the Left International Forum to be associated with this conference on participatory democracy together with our comrades from the SACP and SCP.

The debates and discussions during this conference have been very diverse. We have covered some areas; some have not been closely related to democracy. But even if we would limit to that discussion we must understand that the conditions for this debate are very different as same countries still live under dictatorship, in some countries on the continent democracy is still very young and limited, where in a country as South Africa the left is in power and there should be good possibilities to develop and deepen democracy.

We also have the case of Zimbabwe where a liberation movement has taken power in a struggle that our party supported. Now the leaders of Zimbabwe(ZANU-PF) are using socialism as a pretext to oppress its own people to stay in power. As we see it is a terrible way of abusing the values we as socialists stand for. Our party was one of the founding members of the first communist international 1921. We were singing the praise of Stalin though we were living close to the former Soviet Union. We were later one of the first communist parties to criticize this abuse of socialism. For many of our comrades who had so strongly supported the first socialist state it was very painful, and because of that we with never accept that socialism develops into dictatorship. We think that this discussion is very important and we must learn from this when we try to establish the socialism that we are dreaming of.

Participatory democracy is a provocative term; all democracy must of course be participatory. We use this term when we want to show the limits and lack within liberal democracy. For us there cannot be democracy without political and economical democracy. No socialism without political and economical democracy!

The last finance crisis has made neoliberalism loose the debate but it is still in power. The popular influence is still losing power and the big transnational companies are everyday stronger. They are now eagerly trying to conquer new space on the African continent to dominant its rich resources. This offensive is threatening the living conditions not just for Africans but for the whole planet in terms of environment and climate contamination and crisis.

In Sweden we can see and observe how these economic interests are trying to take over the advances we have made in the democratic field. Our answer is that we need more democracy to save our planet, and in the long perspective we can't manage that without socialism, which is the most advanced form of democracy. For this we need an alliance between progressive forces of all continents, which we from the Left Party of Sweden want to be a part of.

Again political and economical democracy is equal to Socialism!