alferovCommunist Party of the Russian Federation leader Gennady Zyuganov opened an international conference on 'Marx's Capital and its Impact on World Development' in Moscow at the weekend.

 With representatives of 37 foreign Communist and workers' parties and national liberation movements present, he paid tribute to Marx as 'the great scientist and revolutionary, the founder of communist theory'.

'The ideas of Marx have played a truly crucial role in the history of peoples and countries', Mr Zyuganov declared on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx.

'Marxism opened the era of the liberation of human society from exploitation and proves the inevitability of the victory of socialism', the CPFR chair added.

He proclaimed the theory of dialectical and historical materialism as 'the most important achievement of Marx and Engels', because it reveals why revolutionary change occurs when obsolete relations of production - such as monopoly capitalist ownership and exploitation - hold back society's productive forces.

Mr Zyuganov cited examples of the enormous inequality in wealth and living standards across the world today - not least in Russia - and pointed to capitalism and imperialism's record of crisis, impoverishment, alienation and war. He also warned that the welfare state in Western Europe was only a 'temporary concession' by the ruling capitalist classes who feared the advance of socialism in the 20th century.

'The dictatorship of capital must be overthrown and replaced by the power of the working class majority', Mr Zyuganov concluded to vigorous applause.

A second inaugural address was delivered by Nobel laureate for physics, Zhores Alferov, one of many scientists, intellectuals and economists to participate in the conference.

He recalled the remarks of English philosopher Bertrand Russell that the 20th century would be regarded in future as 'the age of Einstein and Lenin', a combination of scientific thought and revolutionary action.

Einstein was himself a socialist and an admirer of Marx and Lenin.

'However, all three warned of the dangers of excessive bureaucracy that might arise from the centralisation of economic and political power, as we saw in the Soviet Union', said Professor Alferov, who is himself a Communist deputy in the Russian Duma.

'Nonetheless, our experience also demonstrates that only a socialist society - not capitalism - will make the best use of scientific accomplishments', he insisted.

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Among the parties attending the three-day event were those in government in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, Nepal, Syria, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania, Venezuela and Nicaragua.