Aleka Papariga’s speech reprinted below – on the 94th anniversary of the formation of the Greek Communist Party pictured above – dealt with the part’s heroic past and made a critical analysis of the relations between the KKE and other parties in Greece in the present crisis.
94 years have passed since the beginning of the 1st founding Congress of the Socialist Workers Party of Greece (SEKE), which at its 3rd Extraordinary Congress in 1924 was renamed the Communist Party of Greece.
What can we remember first in a few sentences? 94 years of great struggles, glorious activity. Human achievements which it is difficult for someone who did not experience them or has not learnt about them to imagine. The younger generations are the major victims of the truth being turned on its head, its concealment, the misinformation. And more particularly the small children today who learn everything from the directed programmes on the many internet sites, encyclopaedias, school textbooks.
What is it that kept the KKE alive despite the unfavourable circumstances, the persecution and the illegality, at the same time when a series of bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties, well-fed in the bosom of the system, petted by the foreign powers as well, are dissolving themselves, so that new ones can be born with old ideas and a new form and with new faces?
No party can exist for 94 years only because its cadre and members want it. Something deeper must determine this longevity, regardless of the fluctuations in its strength. There are two basic factors:
First. Our stable trust in the revolutionary worldview of Marxism-Leninism and the principle of proletarian internationalism, a theory which is developed with the scientific explanation of the progress of class struggle, the developments in the capitalist system and the critical assessment of socialist construction in the 20th century. We remain immovable at the side of the exploited, sworn enemies of capitalism. We rejected compromise and Eurocommunism.
Second. The KKE is the organized conscious vanguard of the working class, of the vanguard revolutionary class in the era of the passage from capitalism to socialism. Its endurance was forged with ties of blood to the working class, to the people.
A fighter everyday, the organizer of the peoples victory tomorrow.
At every anniversary of the partys foundation, everyone remembers important events, of national and international significance, in which the KKE played the leading role: As an inspirer, the life blood and leader of the national liberation struggle against the Italo-German and Bulgarian occupation and later against the Junta. The leader in the climactic moment of the class struggle up to the present day in our country: In the armed struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), which was a contribution of political and moral significance, with communists unbowed in the face of the execution squads, in the prisons and in exile.
It was not just this. The KKE was the pioneer in ideas, positions, demands and struggles, in every phase, even when it was an illegal party. It was a pioneer in the first days after the fall of the Junta, even before its activity was legalised. Up until today there has been no radical idea, no gain for the working class or the people, no struggle in which the KKE did not play a leading role or was absent from the front line. Together with the KKE its youth, OKNE, EPON (United Panhelleniv Organization of Youth), in which its role was the same as the role it had in EAM, KNE, as well of course the friends, comrades, allies it had in every phase.
The KKE, the fighter today, the organizer of the peoples victory tomorrow.
The overthrows and the overthrows which occurred , the gains did not come from above, but due to the strength of the class struggle and with sacrifices.
Our party, against the current, fought against the theories about Greece being a country with no productive potential, about the alleged salvation of the country and people by the Marshall Plan, that allegedly the EEC would ensure that we would eat with golden spoons It fought in a scientific way against the theories of competitiveness, the non-class viewpoint of globalization, the European integration as a progressive inevitability which is also in the interests of the peoples. It fought the theories about the inferiority of the woman, the racist theories, nationalism and the Great Idea.
The principles and the ideals of the KKE, chiefly the un-paralleled heroic struggles and sacrifices of the communists and workers, inspired radical scientists, intellectuals and artists, even some that were not communists, which resulted in important scientific and gigantic cultural work in many fields, which is a valuable treasure for the new generation of the working class, the young men and women.
The KKE is the only party which educates the working man and woman to feel pride in their class, not to feel inferior, as the ruling ideology wants.
From the first moment of its foundation the KKE felt its responsibility for the joint action of the Communist Parties. We participated in the Communist International, we defended the contribution of socialism, and concerned ourselves with the joint action with the global working class, with the peoples which were struggling for socialism, against imperialist intervention, for national liberation.
Today we are and we will be with the people, in the front line because merely the implementation of the measures which were taken with the Memoranda will mean a real hell, apart from the new measures which are waiting for us if there is no decisive counterattack of rupture and overthrow.
A climactic moment in its modern trajectory was the period in 1968 when opportunism threatened its existence, and of even greater significance was its unwavering stance in the face of an exceptionally difficult and unprecedented moment: When the counterrevolution swept away the gains of the October Revolution and the formation of the socialist system after the 2nd World War in Europe and globally.
A refusal which will prove to be historic.
One of the most important moments of the last decade, which will prove to be historic in the immediate years to follow, was our refusal in May 2012 to state that we would give support to a government of bourgeois management of the crisis, with the mask of left unity or left government.
Yes, we suffered electoral and political wounds. Yes, some of our friends and supporters believed that the sharpened problems of our tortured people can be solved with the recipes a la SYRIZA or a la the Democratic Left and the Independent Greeks. Yes some of them again remembered the theory of stages led hundreds of thousands of radicals, anti-imperialist, militants of the national resistance in 1981 to lend impetus to PASOK at the expense of the KKE.
Unfortunately the bourgeois political system, its multi-tentacled mechanisms, with the help of opportunism, also exploiting our subjective weaknesses has been able to erase the experience of the workers and the people, taking advantage of the impatience and the illusion that there can allegedly exist immediate solutions, without conflict, sacrifices and rupture.
Imagine the KKE giving a vote of confidence or participating in a government with SYRIZA at its core. SYRIZA which on paper does not call the monopoly-capitalist character of the EU into question, and in practice merely questions the German dominance in the Eurozone. SYRIZA which attributes the anti-people goals of the EU to neo-liberalism, providing an alibi in this way for their social-democratic allies, for its own forces which took a position in favour of the EU and Greeces participation in it. Today with the obvious cracks in the cohesion of the Eurozone and more generally in the EU, it is adjusting its political line of submission, claiming that there is the opportunity with its government for the life of the people to improve continually and for its gains to be consolidated within the EU.
Imagine the KKE supporting or participating in a government which operates according to the EUs and Euro-armys line. In a government which trumpets national independence and dignity, when the EU has decided on the primacy of imperialist EU law over national law. In a government which considers that there exist good monopolies, good capitalists In a EU which supports as its official ideology the equation of fascism with communism, which supports the blockade of Cuba.
Can even one worker tell us whether in modern history we have seen gains which have been taken from the people given back?
ND, first of all, all the parties and SYRIZA proclaim the productive reorganization which will put Greece back on a development course. Who will decide and on what terms will the investments be made? The capitalists, the monopoly groups. What will be the criterion for an investment to be made? Cheap labour power, flexible employment, temporary employment, mass long-term unemployment. Where will they invest? Where they can make the maximum possible profit and not where the human needs require it. The recovery when it comes it will be supported on the corpses, the ruins of the social rights, the relative and absolute destitution.
Enough is enough. We cannot return to the past. All those who believe that we will return to the situation even of 2000, 2009 will have the same fate as Lots wife. The memoranda were formed for this purpose, the recent ones and the future ones, in order to safeguard the maximum profitability in conditions where capitalist competition will close even new businesses in favour of the strongest.
It hurts them that the KKE does not define itself in relation to the other parties.
We are proud of the fact that we have the courage to recognize mistakes, without of course arbitrarily ignoring the objective conditions of the crisis at every juncture.
We made mistakes. Some of them are unjustifiable. We were the first to pay a high price for them. We learned and we are alert. Without excusing them, we make it clear, they were not mistakes made due to choosing to betray the people, they were not mistakes born of cowardice and fear in the face of sacrifices. The bourgeois parties do not make mistakes, They consciously commit crimes!
The 94 year history demonstrates that the KKE must retain its complete independence, in combination of course with its stable dedication to our fundamental principles. No alliance however necessary it may be can cast doubt on the ideological, political and organizational independence of the KKE. Because this alliance will lose its dynamism, it will deviate, it will die.
The history of the international communist movement demonstrated that when opportunism is underestimated, then the CPs could not, and nor can they today, contribute to the radicalization, the stability of the vanguard, stability which is also essential in the period of retreat, if you want to prepare the next counterattack.
Maybe, dear comrades and friends, by raising the banner of criticizing SYRIZA we are leaving the people defenceless against the strategy of ND, the three-party anti-people government?
The position of SYRIZA accuses us of criticizing them from the right is motivated by narrow political calculations and is self-interested. Unless they have confused what is from the right and what is from the left.
In the 1980s, ND accused us that we were flirting with PASOK. At the beginning of the 1990s when we openly and honestly stated that PASOK was in a course of converging and identifying with the strategy of ND – this was the period when this was the PASOK with the slogan Out with the Right – they accused us of being NDs lackeys. Gentlemen, you know very well that it is this that hurts you, that we do not define ourselves in relation to other parties. We do not have a split personality, we do not suffer from double-vision nor are we two-faced. We are not an anti-ND, anti-PASOK, anti-SYRIZA party. The criteria for us are the two development paths, the capitalist path and the socialist one. The criterion for us is the contradiction between capital and labour, between the monopolies and the people. The criterion for us is an independent Greece, internationalist for the peoples and freed from the imperialist commitments and dependency.
We say to you clearly, gentlemen of SYRIZA. You are beginning to resemble PASOK in everything, from tactics to your methods of propaganda.
PASOK in 1981 was able to win over a section of the people which hoped that we will arrive at socialism by an easy road and without sacrifices. And we ask: Was this choice vindicated? The answer is obvious.
Today SYRIZA is saying the same things to us; that the KKE must change, to become a component of it, in essence to accept the EU and NATO. And when SYRIZA adorns its positions with some questioning of the Eurozone and/or NATO , it then negates them as it allies with European parties, the ELP, which essentially demand that the EU should be transformed into a Europe of the workers and that NATO should dissolve itself. This is not going to happen even in the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.
Of course the EU can undergo changes, to be transformed into a federation or split. What is this, a change in direction? A change of sides? Now indeed all the parties are talking about the danger of a fascist consolidation in society due to Golden Dawn. While ND is talking about the two extremes, this is convenient for it in order to break the labour movement.
ND is attacking Golden Dawn as if it were an anti-system force, while in fact one of the systems reserves, and of course it understands this. SYRIZA is talking about the danger of a fascist consolidation in society and the need for an anti-fascist front, more or less arguing along the same lines as ND. There must always be a danger so the people give up on the rationale of rupture and overthrow. The labour movement, the peoples alliance, the class struggle aimed at power, can marginalize Golden Dawn.
It is a fact that temporarily a disparate governmental formation with SYRIZA as its main force, on its own or with other political forces, and in this instance it is not unlikely that this would constitute a meeting point between nationalism and cosmopolitanism, might place ND into the position of being the official parliamentary opposition- temporarily we should note.
But is it possible, especially for the mature sections of the working class and the poor popular strata, to forget the experience of the period when ERE was defeated by the Union of the Centre1 with the support of EDA (United Democratic Left) in the elections of 1964? What was the result? Or when ND was beaten by PASOK, how many years did it take for ND to come back? Only eight
ND was defeated in 1981 but the pro-monopoly political line was not abandoned. On the contrary the rotation of the two bourgeois parties was consolidated. PASOK abandoned in a flash its positions about the EEC, NATO and the US-NATO bases.
The hope of the people lies in the strategy of the KKE
We pose to the people the real question: today who can fight against the bourgeois parties, who can contribute to the creation of initially- cracks in the bourgeois political system? Which strategy can deprive the bourgeois system of its reserves, lead to a destabilization in favour of the people?
Which other party, if not the KKE, the peoples alliance, the antimonopoly line of struggle, the regroupment of the labour movement from the bottom up in the workplaces and the sectors? Which political force can inspire militant optimism in the people, endurance in the difficulties, militant realism?
Is it enough for a party to turn on the left indicator while its line is moving in an increasingly right-wing direction?
Of course ND and SYRIZA are not the same parties, of course SYRIZA and PASOK are not the same parties.
The dead weight of SYRIZA that will draw it to the same path is that it has no line of rupture with the monopolies, the capitalist enterprises, the EU and NATO.
The conflict with Germany does not constitute a line of rupture and overthrow. The argument that ND is not negotiating but is shining Merkels shoes does not radicalize the people.
The talk about casino capitalism, about corruption and bribes as a cause of the crisis is superficial, populist propaganda that leads the people to choose the one or the other formula for the management of the capitalist crisis.
The demand for cheap loans by the ECB which will be seized by the capitalist business groups does not at all constitute an anti-monopoly anti-imperialist anti-capitalist direction.
No proposal for the management of the system can relieve the people
In the EU and in particular in the Eurozone there appear two basic tendencies, which are contradictory although both are pro-monopoly. The one seeks federalization or something similar along with the reinforcement of the unified organs at the expense of the organs at a national level and the other is reflecting about a split, about siding with another block of imperialist alliances.
From ND to SYRIZA all the political forces call the people to align with the one or the other tendency, with one group of states against another. This is a false flag for the people. No proposal for the management of the system irrespective of whether it supports the Euro or is not afraid of the drachma can relieve our lives, or ensure social prosperity for the people and a peaceful life.
From ND to SYRIZA, all the parties are concealing from the people that the dangers regarding local military conflicts in the wider region are increasing. A region that whets the appetite of all the old and new imperialist centers because it has oil, natural gas, natural resources and is located at the crossing point of three continents.
The crisis is deepening and we know very well that when the imperialists cannot come to terms with each other by political means they take up arms. They divide the peoples into the one or the other imperialist camp. They arrange the new division with the blood of the peoples.
Which party, if it is required to do so, can give a true meaning to the struggle against war whether it is defensive or aggressive? How can the people be prepared? With the anti-Merkel rhetoric, the superficial anti-memorandum front, flattering Obamas political line and remaining silent concerning the military agreement with Israel? With the participation in the Euro-army?
The KKE is the party which, if it is required to do so, can give meaning to the struggle for freedom because this struggle is connected with the way out from the capitalist system, which as long as it prevails, brings war and imperialist peace with the gun to the peoples heads.
What kind of alliance do the people need? The alliance of the so-called anti-Merkel and anti-memorandum forces or the alliance that expresses the interests of the working class, the semi-proletarians, the poor self-employed and farmers? What kind of movement do the people need, a movement of counterattack and overthrow or a movement that will support the government of the one or the other pole, a movement of the so-called lesser evil?
What does the country need today? Unwavering and emancipated militants or a movement that will produce voters either for the centre-left or the centre-right pole?
We were and we will be present in all the struggles of the people for immediate pressing problems with the ambition of achieving even some relief for the people. But the struggle must have a direction, a perspective, even more so today. The people cannot be groping in the dark.
Peoples power- the only alternative to the barbaric reality today
The workers peoples power, the peoples economy is the only alternative solution to the torments and the barbarity we are experiencing today. It will come to Greece and the other countries with the will of the working class and its allies.
Is there anything for the working people, the salaried worker who has no means of production, the unemployed and the youth with no security to be afraid of from the peoples economy? Nothing at all. They will only lose the chains of the class exploitation. They will organize economy and society at all levels on a new basis; this is the brand-new element today.
Workers and peoples power will socialize the means of production in industry, in energy and water supply, in telecommunications, in construction and repair sector, in public transportation, in the wholesale-retail trade, in exports and imports. Likewise the concentrated tourist and food infrastructure, the capitalist agricultural enterprises.
It will socialize land. The farmers who have lost their land will work in the state production unit that will process and produce consumer products. Those who have a small ownership will be integrated into the agricultural productive cooperatives, voluntarily and on the basis of incentives, and will procure from the state raw materials for cultivation. Their production will be protected from destruction through state infrastructure and on the basis of scientific support. They will sell their production to the state on the basis of central planning and to the popular markets which will be organized by the state with prices that will be set by the state.
Industry and the biggest part of agricultural production will be performed by the socialized sector with workers control at all levels of administration from the bottom up.
In sectors where socialization is not mandatory the use of alien labour is prohibited.
Unemployment will be eradicated, insecurity, every form of exploitation and oppression. Private ownership and economic activity in Education, Healthcare-welfare, Culture, Sports, and media will be abolished. These services will be organized as completely and exclusively free social services for all without any exception.
Central Planning will be organised by sector, through a single unified state authority, with regional and industry-level branches: in energy, transportation, manufacturing, mining industry, telecommunications. Central planning includes land management and construction.
Scientific research will be organised through state organizations- higher education bodies, institutes, etc- and will serve the protection and development of health care, Central Planning, the administration of social production and social services, in order to develop social prosperity. There will be a minimum charge for housing, energy and water supply, heating, food.
The peoples economy is not compatible with the participation of the country in imperialist unions, such as the EU and NATO. The new state-power, depending on the international and regional situation, will seek to develop mutually beneficial inter-state relations, between Greece and other countries.
We will not water down our positions
Today our party is more experienced than ever. Of course this should not make us complacent. We must and we can become a party for all seasons, strong and capable of meeting the challenges at every turn of the struggle. In its ascents and descents. We should be careful because we must not trip up over ourselves. This applies also to the Youth of the Party, KNE.
We should know that the path is tough. Today there are big objective difficulties, the duties are more complex. But we should in no way excuse ourselves due to the negative correlation of forces. There are many things that we have to improve as far as it depends on us.
We are close to the beginning of the pre-congress period for the 19th Congress. All the members of the party, the friends and supporters, the militants who despite their different views respect the KKE, must take part in the pre-congress discussion, the inner-party and the public one. We should be all ears regarding every observation, even an observation which is excessive or unjust. Because an unjust but well-intentioned observation can help us understand our own deficiencies and weaknesses, our shortcomings which were utilized by the propaganda of the enemy.
We say one thing: we will not do our enemy any favours. We will not water down our positions, as they desire. Today we do not have the luxury of making any mistake that will set back the movement, that will deprive it of the ability to counterattack.
We can and we will move forward, unwaveringly, steadily, persistently with militant and revolutionary realism.
Long live the 94 years of the KKE!
Long live KNE!
Long live proletarian internationalism!
1 ERE was the centre-right party before 1967, the Centre Union was the centrist party before 1967.