We, Socialists (people united in a political movement) aim at protecting the rights of citizens, employees and self-employed workers. We who make up the overwhelming majority of the Russian population, as well as the unemployed, and those in need of social care. We are the movement fighting for a just social order.
Protection of the immediate interests is unthinkable without the possibility of self-organization. Meanwhile, however, we are increasingly faced with the limitations of basic political rights and freedoms. Our authorities are trying to gain control, but in fact all the while, eliminating the freedom of speech, association, assembly, rallies and demonstrations, and the right to strike. At the same time, the struggles for social rights are inseparable from the struggle for political freedom and real democracy.
In 1951 in Frankfurt-am-Main, the first Declaration of the Socialist International was adopted, and newly created after the Second World War. It proclaimed:
“Socialism aims to liberate the peoples from dependence on a minority which owns or controls the means of production. It aims to put economic power in the hands of the people as a whole, and to create a community in which free men work together as equals”.
“Whether Socialists build their faith on Marxist or other methods of analysing society, whether they are inspired by religious or humanitarian principles, they all strive for the same goal — a system of social justice, better living, freedom and world peace”.
“Without freedom there can be no Socialism. Socialism can be achieved only through democracy. Democracy can be fully realised only through Socialism”.
“Socialists express their solidarity with all peoples suffering under dictatorship, whether Fascist or Communist, in their efforts to win freedom”.
In 1952, a group of veterans of the Russian Socialist Movement (Mensheviks and SRs), trapped in forced exile from the 20s, turned to its descendants with the statement “Towards a unified socialist party” which became known as the “Letter of 14 socialists”. It criticized Stalin’s totalitarian regime and called for workers to fight for a fair and freedom-loving society:
“Now there can be no doubt that” socialism “without freedom is the worst kind of slavery and inhuman barbarism. Now it has lost all sense of the old debate about the relationship between socialism and democracy. Democracy for us is an integral part of socialism itself, it enters into the very definition of socialism…
Socialists around the world now know that there are no “different paths to socialism.” For not a man for socialism, but socialism for the man – in order to provide the maximum amount of material and spiritual benefits to the maximum number of people on the basis of a maximum of freedom and equality.
The continuous rise in living standards of the masses, all-round free development of personality, concern for people, and not an abstract state, specifically receiving face of the party and bureaucracy – this overwhelming and overpowering Moloch, is the goal of socialism and how it is understood by the world socialist movement, democratic, humanities, evolutionary, not seeking to rule over their people, but to serve them…
The Unified Socialist Party after Bolshevik Russia was broad, tolerant, humanitarian and freedom-loving. Paving the way for the creation of such a party is a shared responsibility of all those who remained faithful to the banner of democratic socialism.
In 2013, we aim to overcome the authoritarian oligarchic regime. At the same time we should avoid trying to force workers to drive in the “realm of freedom”, which in fact turns totalitarian into slavery.
Hundreds of years of Russian existence and its achievements paid utmost exertion on the people, the victims and the heroism. But during all this time man was never the purpose of the system of state and government. He was only the means for those in power. So after victories what inevitably followed was defeat.
So for today, whatever you take, whether it is industry, military, school and health – all are undermined. Pension reform failed – there are no more opportunities to accumulate our retirement savings.
Officials have gained luxury from our country’s natural resources, and our government savings are lying in foreign banks and do not work for our country.
Now many egregious crimes have taken place against the overall well-being of the individual, and against impunity. To mobilize people for a quick and cohesive resistance to manifestations of lawlessness throughout Russia is one of our main objectives. The Kremlin has turned the election into a farce, not allowing the opposition electoral rights before the elections, and falsifying the results of the elections. This has violated the constitutional argument that “the only source of power in the Russian Federation is the people.
The current regime in Russia is:
Oligarchic by its social content, as almost all the largest property is in the hands of oligarchs;
Authoritarian by its political and legal structure, as in our country, the government is trying to subdue the entire political life, many democratic processes have turned into a pathetic imitation, which is cynically referred to as “managed democracy”;
Criminalized by the methods of action, laws are observed by authorities only in so far as they protect their own interests;
Bonapartist by the ways of political behaviour, i.e zigzagging between different classes and groups in society in order to strengthen the dictatorship of the oligarchy, richly “decorated” feudal survivals (actual continuity of power, the concentration of large and medium-sized businesses in the hands of family members or officials of the security forces);
Nomenclature by its origin and tradition, this is reproducing the worst features of not only the “communist”, but the tsarist past.
Our President is in fact a non-hereditary monarch, standing on the branches of government, which has almost autocratic powers that are not balanced by other political and legal institutions.
Our Parliament is not “a place for discussion”. Today it is a political monopoly of one party, “rabid printer” stamping solutions for the safety of usurped power . This power is based on personal loyalty to the leader of the power of the “vertical” layer of irresponsible bureaucracy occupied with “saving” the state budget.
One part of voters who fell under the influence of the media seized power, craves for a “strong hand” and sees in it a means of targeting elementary order. However, the ability of the notorious “hand” is limited because of the current system of government which is inextricably linked with the raw nature of the economy, massive corruption and poverty of the vast majority of the population.
As our aim we announce a society of political, economic and social democracy, that is democratic socialism. The first steps on the path to it, should be fair elections, free media and independent courts.
The most important condition of democracy – freedom of information, the lack of monopoly of state and pro-government structures to major media (primarily television channels).
We are against clericalism and obscurantism, for drastic fusion between religion and the state and against any attempts of religious organizations to influence on public policy. But at the same time we do not oppose the right of citizens to practice any religion and do not head off the believers to create a charitable organizations, brotherhoods and education institutions.
We are against xenophobia and its manifestations in all areas of life, beginning from discrimination against citizens in the production team and ending in the political system of society. We are against all kinds of propaganda and political activity, inciting ethnic hatred and spreading ideas of racial superiority.
We stand for the amendment of the Constitution of the Russian Federation to ensure civilian control over all institutions of state power and the development of local municipalities. We are for the type of government (parliamentary or semi-presidential republic), which would limit the powers of the head of state, for the political organization of society, which would provide direct participation of people in decision-making at the broadest level. We need such a democratic political system, which will in fact provide control of the public (including people’s control bodies elected by direct and secret suffrage, civil society organizations, political parties and trade unions, as well as the media) the results of the work of government agencies.
We demand free and democratic elections. However, it is important to note we do not believe in traditional form of representative democracy, and we will seek all forms of expansion, improvement and supplement by other forms of representation (functional, delegated, etc.). The imposition of the important issues on the national referendum should also be extended.
We stand for the election of judges at all levels (from the Chartered lawyers), as well as the election of regional leaders ‘bottom-up’.
In this situation, effective ways to fight against the authoritarian regime, i.e. the struggle for freedom, for the preservation of Russia, for the future of our children and for the right to a decent life, are organized protests, agitation and propaganda, processions and rallies, strikes, civil disobedience, specific human rights activities, participation in the territorial public self-government and democratic reform in order to use its structures for the promotion of worthy candidates to the representative and executive authorities and local self-government.
We fight for the rights of working people, because freedom and democracy should not end at the doorstep of the enterprise. We will express the will to protect the rights and represent the interests of Russian workers, to support the trade union movements. We vote for the provision of industrial democracy, based on the progressive labour legislation, we vote for the inevitability of punishment for employers who violate labour rights.
We also fight for the rights of those who temporarily lost their jobs, for their right to receive a salary for their work and for the strict observance of labour legislation by employers, avoiding mass layoffs as a means of solving business problems. We vote for the priority of public ownership of natural resources (minerals of land, forests and water) and the means of production of natural monopolies and industrial giants that were created in the USSR (natural monopoly – energy, rail, pipeline and air transport), although our views on the form and the effectiveness of public ownership may be different. At the same time we support a variety of different forms of property (including the expansion of the collective and cooperative ownership), for the development of self-employment and the formation of an effective system of employment assistance for those who are temporarily unemployed. We believe that the size and complexity of the economy require, and technical facilities are creating the possibility of development of methods of democratic and decentralized planning, and other post-market management tools that complementing and partly replacing market mechanisms.
We are against the gap between the rich and the poor, against the shameless exploitation of people and nature. We are for general well-being and satisfaction of the spiritual and material needs, for the society where (according to Karl Marx) the free development of each one is the condition for the free development of all.
In recent times the working people of Russia have been increasingly preoccupied about their income and expenses.
Whether they get paid in full or not?
How much will the cost for public services rise?
How much will the price for food rise?
Whether the enterprise will stand or be shut down?
And finally: how to feed a family?
Official facilities contract in Russia, as shagreen, and for the health, education and child care in kinder garden which people have to pay from their own pockets. The courts, laws, police, government officials – are all against the simple worker. Leaving the simple worker to ask: What do I do? How do I live?
We claim that poverty in our potentially rich country can be explained by a deliberate policy of the authorities. The poor are easy to control, enough to be limited with hand-outs and populist rhetoric. Our will to a better life, to produce creativity and to build free labour for our own benefit and the benefit of the country is suppressed. We work and feed ourselves and our families not because of our state, but in spite of it.
At the same time we are against false “equal distribution” for the creation of conditions conducive to the expression of the economic initiative of enterprises and individuals. We stand for the removal of artificial barriers to the development of small businesses, today reducible “to nothing” by completely impudent officials, security forces and bandits.
Due to the globalization of the world economy, Russia serves mainly as an exporter of raw materials (oil, gas, metals, wood) to the West and supplying military weapons to developing countries. Under the guise of maintaining stability in the dollar price by any means, the export of Russian oil revenues is growing at an unprecedented pace.
In such a situation, there is an obvious need of public control over the mining corporations and their financial flows.
We must do everything to ensure that the raw nature of the economy in Russia is no longer defining. Therefore, our task is the priority development of the manufacturing industry and not mining. For this purpose it is necessary to promote investment in major projects, even with long-term payback, to become highly profitable and efficient, allowing the industry to move to a brand new level, ensuring the production of products are in line with modern technology.
Imposing (within reason) a progressive tax on personal and corporate income, and taxing windfall profits (luxury tax) will contribute to the formation and strengthening of s socially-oriented state budget, for the poor to become richer and the public sector workers not to feel slighted aggrieved. Minimum wage should reflect in every region of the country the real cost of living in the region, and the cost of living should be reviewed on a quarterly basis, taking into account inflation.
For small businesses and newly established manufacturing facilities the tax policy should be sparing. It is necessary to provide significant tax exemptions, directing public money to charity funds to pay for life-saving medical operations, to help orphans and the disabled ones, to support (sponsor) talents in the arts, to promote youth science and technology, sports and cultural societies, to develop territorial infrastructure of an effective innovation in the development of production.
Provision of necessary tax revenues should be reached, first of all, by increasing tax revenues from the sale of natural resources, as well as by removing corruption pressure on businesses.
The cost of utilities should not be an average of more than a tenth of the family budget. The government should provide its citizens with the opportunity to live like human beings either by increasing subsidies, partially covering the cost of utilities and transport, either by creating necessary conditions for increasing the size of the average wage.
Housing should be available for working people. The government should help its citizens in need for better housing conditions in accordance with the established social norms, to give them opportunities for new housing waiting lists as soon as possible under the conditions of preferential social rent. Each young family, residing in Russia has the right to independent living.
In order to increase the birth rate the state must facilitate the provision of housing for young families either through the targeted building, or through the provision of loans (grants) for the purchase of housing in such an order when the degree of profitability of loans should depend on the number of children in the family.
We don’t believe in discrimination based on skin colour, nationality, religion, gender, age, type of sexual orientation or appearance, as well as other congenital or acquired characteristics. We stand for giving equal civil rights to all discriminated groups today together with nondiscriminated ones.
We stand for the right of nations to self-determination, for the right to cultural and national autonomy, for the ability of individuals to communicate and carry out legal action in their native language, including the right to establish media in their own languages. At the same time we are against any form of technocratic regimes in ethnically specific regions of Russia, we are for the priority of human rights over the rights of ethnic groups.
We stand for the solution of international problems by peaceful means, for the discontinuation of the nuclear standoff and for general and complete disarmament, for the elimination of the danger of self-destruction of civilization. Operation of nuclear power plants and the disposal of nuclear waste should be implemented with strict compliance to the relevant health standards. The allocation and expenditure of necessary funds for these purposes requires public control. It is unacceptable to put under threat the life and health of future generations.
Socialists – for the most affordable for the masses quality education and health care!
We say “NO!” to artificial commercialization of health and education, in which, instead of including a limited number of paid extra services, now all the necessary services (free before) have become significantly expensive for the family budget.
We say “NO!” to a government strategy that deliberately reduces the number and the proportion of educated people in the country and also reduces the availability of health services for the population.
Among us stands – a worker and a farmer, a student, a teacher, a doctor and a journalist, a man of creative professions and employee, as well as temporarily unemployed.
Only in this way together – shoulder to shoulder – we will be able to defend freedom and retrieve trampled dignity, and win the right for a better future!
May 21, 2013
Declaration signed by:
1. Pavel Kudyukin, participant of the democratic Socialist movement since 1977, historian and sociologist, member of editing board of the website “SD-Inform.org”, Moscow;
2. Evgeniy Konovalov, RSDUY president, Saint Petersburg;
3. Vladimir Maslov, participant of the managing board of SDPR (older), Nizhny Novgorod;
4. Nikolay Prostov, participant of Presidium of the managing board of SDPR (older), Saint Petersburg;
5. Nikita Arkin, co-ordinator of the Left Socialistic Action, Moscow;
6. Vladimir Peshkov, RSDUY vice-president for ideology, member of editing board of the website “SD-Inform.org”, Vologda;
7. Evgeniy Samokhvalov, member of editing board of the website “SD-Inform.org”, member of SDPR (older) and Left Socialistic Action, Moscow;
8. Alexandr Lebedev, member of regional board of SDPR (older), Saratov;
9. Valeriy Nemkin, participant of the managing board of SDPR (older), Murmansk;
10. Vladimir Kardailskiy, executive secretary, participant of the managing board of SDPR (older), Moscow;
11. Olga Sonina, member of Left Socialistic Action, member of editing board of the newspaper “Public outcry”, Moscow;
12. Tatiana Shavshukova, member of Left Socialistic Action, member of editing board of the newspaper “Public outcry”, Moscow;
13. Alexandr Belyayev, chairman of the regional branch of RSDUY, Saint Petersburg;
14. Yutiy Ioffe, chairman of advisory board of RSDUY, Saint Petersburg;
15. Vladimir Sirotin, member of the Left Socialits Action, Moscow;
16. Sergey Simonov, chairman of the regional branch of RSDUY, Moscow;
17. Anna Tsurkan, participant of the executive board of RSDUY, Moscow;
18. Dmitriy Mikhaylov, participant of advisory board of RSDUY, Saint Petersburg;
19. Anatoliy Kanyukov, chairman of the control revisionary commission of RSDUY, Saint Petersburg;
20. Louisa Dibirova, chairman of the regional branch of RSDUY, Makhachkala.
Original text on Russian language placed on the SD-Inform.org.