Speech by Greek communist leader Dimitris Koutsoumpas at the 2013 Brussells meeting of communist and workers parties from Europe convened by the KKE on the theme: The role of the communist and workers parties of Europe in order to strengthen the struggle of the working class and popular strata against the EU and the strategy of capital, for the pro-people way out from the capitalist crisis, the overthrow of capitalism, socialism.
What is needed is the coordination and elaboration of common revolutionary strategy.
We would like to thank the communist and workers parties for responding to the invitation of the KKE. The European Communist Meeting has been established as a space for the discussion of the developments in Europe, as well as of the international developments and contributes to the exchange of experiences from the struggle of the communists and the labour-peoples movement with the aim of strengthening our common activity.
We believe that the communist and workers parties are obliged to reinforce their independent ideological-political and mass activity, to insist on the coordination of their struggle against the exploitative system, the EU, capital and the parties that serve its interests. Besides, the various bourgeois and opportunist parties utilize many ways in order to elaborate their political intervention, to coordinate themselves promoting the one or the other form of management in favour of capitalism.
The KKE will do everything possible for the strengthening of the European communist and labour movement, for the strengthening of the independent activity of our parties in the direction of the necessity of the formation of a victorious revolutionary strategy. Our meeting today constitutes at the same time a call for the peoples of Europe to rally and struggle together with the communist and workers parties in each country for a more effective organization of the struggle, for the promotion of social struggles and the peoples alliance. It is a call for the peoples to direct their struggle to the confrontation with the real enemy i.e. the power of the monopolies themselves, the imperialist organizations, the EU, NATO.
The capitalist crisis, a crisis of overproduction and capital over-accumulation, which is continuing in Greece and in a series of EU countries, is accompanied by harsh anti-worker measures. It is not a peculiarity or a specific phenomenon of an individual country. The anti-people attack is being escalated in all the EU member-states, as well as in other countries of the European continent in order to buttress the competitiveness of the monopoly businesses, to safeguard cheaper labour power and to find new fields for the profitability of capital. In reality, we are referring to the anti-people restructurings which had been decided on and initiated long before the outbreak of the crisis.
With the outbreak of the crisis these directions were just made possible to be accelerated and generalized. They do not only concern the indebted states of the EU, but all the countries. Overall, in all capitalist countries, in conditions of recession or growth, in the countries of the poor South or the rich North, in the old capitalist inter-state unions, such as the EU, or in the younger ones, the working people are facing and they will continue to face the capitalist restructurings which are necessary for the capital. For example in Greece, they are rapidly proceeding with the shrinkage, closure and privatization of public organizations, like EAS (Hellenic Defense Systems), LARCO (General Mining & Metallurgical Company), the state radio-television company and in other sectors of strategic importance.
At the same time, the confrontation over the formula for the management of the crisis is being continued amongst the political and economic staff of the bourgeois class. This confrontation reflects the conflict between different interests of sections of the bourgeois classes in Europe while various forces of a social democratic, opportunist shade seek to involve sections of the working class, of the popular strata, to place them under a false flag. The confrontation over the management of the debt, of the crisis is sharpening especially amongst the indebted states concerning the change in the formula of the fiscal policy. This confrontation takes place on the terrain of the change in the correlation of forces in Europe.
The communist and labour movement should not underestimate the fact that unevenness within the Eurozone, and generally in the EU and beyond it, is continuingly increasing. For instance, the discrepancy in the strength between Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc is continually increasing. The gap has expanded in favour of Germany in comparison to 2000, regarding a series of basic indicators of economy. This explains to a great extent the fact that the governments of France and Italy, with the support of the US administration, are exerting pressure on the German government to shoulder more burdens in various ways (haircut of debt, Eurobonds etc).
Sections of the bourgeois classes of our countries, bourgeois liberal and neo-liberal parties, social-democratic parties both the traditional and the new ones- , left and the new left, mutated opportunist workers communist parties all participate in this spurious and false conflict over the formula of the management. Their basic differences are to be found here, nevertheless, they follow the same line of the imperialist capitalist edifice of the EU; they are bound by its anti-people political choices, directives and decisions. We underline this because in reality this intra-bourgeois confrontation has no relation to the real interests of the working people, as the path of development which is driven by the capitalist profit with the aim of the expanded reproduction of capital cannot lead to the peoples prosperity. It is opposed to it both in the phase of crisis as well as in the phase of the high rates of development.
No alternative management of capitalism can abolish the factors that contribute to the inflation of the debt, such as the uneven development in the Eurozone, in the EU and the periodic outbreak of the crisis in the framework of the capitalist path of development.
In the conditions of the capitalist crisis we are witnessing the sharpening of the contradictions which focus on who, which state, which section of capital, which imperialist power and alliance will take control of the natural resources, the energy routes of oil and natural gas, on how the shares of the markets will be distributed.
In conditions of the crisis, these contradictions prove that the capitalist crisis and the imperialist war are twin brothers.
In conditions of the crisis the realignments in the correlation of forces between the capitalist states are accelerating, new powers emerge which seek the redistribution of the markets to their own benefit. The old powers seek to preserve their positions and gain new ones if possible.
The position that War is the continuation of politics with other means holds true. When the system, the ruling classes cannot serve their predatory interests in a different way they resort to open war. This has been demonstrated many times in history. This is the way that capitalism operates; this is the system of exploitation. Indeed, the wolves appear with the most innocent intentions. Thus, we see that the USA, which for ten years used Agent Orange on a mass scale in Vietnam, killing 400,000 people and causing up until the present time 500.000 disabled people and people with deformities, is utilizing the argument regarding the use of chemical weapons for its plans in Syria. It is the same power which 9 years ago used white phosphorus bombs. It is the same power which hand in hand with the EU (the NATO aircrafts were taking off from the airports of EU countries) dropped depleted uranium bombs on Yugoslavia.
From this meeting we salute the very important common position of 77 Communist and Workers parties from all over the world against the imperialist hypocrisy and the plans for an imperialist war against Syria.
Today the peoples have accumulated bitter experience from the impasses of the capitalist barbarity. Nevertheless, bourgeois and opportunist forces are seeking to muddy the peoples thoughts. They are talking about a crisis which is allegedly due to some neo-liberal dogmatism, exonerating in this way the capitalist system itself and propagandizing amongst the workers another, healthy, as they label it, capitalist development. Some seek to convince the people that the only memoranda are responsible for the unemployment in Greece, which has risen rapidly to 30%, the destitution, the worsening of their lives, concealing that the capitalist crisis struck first, after the decisions for the anti-people restructurings had already been taken and then the memoranda later followed or that a similar barbaric political line is being implemented in countries without a memorandum.
In France, for example, which does not have a memorandum and Troika, Hollande carrying out a reform of the social-security system, with dramatic increases in the social-security contributions of the workers and an increase in the retirement age.
Others, again, suddenly discovered that Greece has lost its sovereignty and is under occupation, attempting in this way to conceal the harsh class character of the measures that are being implemented. Measures, that are in the interests of the capitalists, both domestic and foreign and which are being taken, not due to submissive stance, betrayal, but with the agreement and to the benefit of the Greek bourgeois class and the political parties that serve it in the political system which they govern with as their only aims to safeguard the profitability of capital and the perpetuation of this system.
Moreover, the bourgeois class of every country cedes sovereign rights for the same reasons, inside the framework of such imperialist unions, like the EU and NATO, in order to strengthen, in order to reinforce its power, as well as to ensure a share of the loot in the conflict with the monopolies of other powers.
So the solution for the workers can not be the false hope about another alleged management of capitalism, as the so-called European Left Party (ELP) claims. This has been demonstrated to be a vain hope on many occasions in practice as well. It is a painful waste of valuable time for the workers. The anti-people measures and the enormous problems of the people in Obama’s USA demonstrate this, as well as the new wind of Hollande in France, which has proven to be poisonous for the working class-peoples interests.
The solution is not to be found either in the so-called democratization of the EU, i.e. the humanization of capitalism, which is being preached in Greece by the SYRIZA party and in Europe by the European Left Party.
The EU cannot be transformed from a Lions Den for the peoples into a formation with equality and democracy, something that was demonstrated by Lenin in his work On the slogan for a United States of Europe, which today has been fully vindicated.
The workers can and must chart their own counterattack against the reactionary course and militarism of the EU, which can not be a return to the capitalism of the 18th and 19th centuries, which is promoted by certain forces in the name of restoring the sovereignty of the bourgeois states.
Not only because history does not turn back, as we are now in the imperialist and final stage of capitalism, in which the monopolies are seeking the formation of such anti-people capitalist inter-state unions in order to satisfy their interests, and also for another reason: Because even if we assume that a country withdraws from such an inter-state capitalist union, there will continue to exist thousands and tens of thousands of fish-hooks which will keep it trapped inside relations of uneven interdependence, which are formed in the framework of the imperialist pyramid of the global capitalist system.
So, according to our party’s assessment, the satisfaction of the working class and peoples needs, as well as the peoples sovereignty, the disengagement from the bonds of the imperialist unions can only be guaranteed by working class peoples power, the socialization of the monopolies, the central scientific planning of the economy, the workers and peoples control.
Of course, we know that the forces of capital will seek to utilize every tool which they possess, not merely to mislead the workers, but to intimidate them as well. In Greece, capital is seeking to use Golden Dawn in this direction. A criminal Nazi organization of killers that presented itself as allegedly anti-systemic, and which recently, after initially attacking mafia-style, striking and endangering the lives of cadres of the KKE, murdered a young man.
It is the same organization, which with racist hatred has murdered, beaten and tortured dozens of immigrants in our country.
It is the same organization that in recent years has been organizing slave-trading offices to hire out workers, playing a leading role so that wages and salaries fall, in line with the orders of the employers.
It is trying to liquidate and control the trade unions to make them submissive, organs of the big contractors, the ship-owners, the exploiters of the workers toil, demonstrating once again that fascism is born from the womb of capitalisms decay. The effective activity for the complete eradication of fascism is connected to the peoples struggle and alliance aimed at the overthrow of the system that breeds the Nazis. This is the path, this is the direction the struggles of the labour and peoples movement must have.
The so-called antifascist fronts with political forces that defend capitalist exploitation or conceal the relationship of fascism with system are disorienting. The capitalist exploitative system, with its crises, the imperialist wars, the aim to revive fascism, the enormous peoples problems which it reproduces, demonstrates that it has exhausted its historical limits. The necessity to struggle for its overthrow is being highlighted.
The role of the Communist Party is irreplaceable in these conditions for the organization of the struggle of the workers, in order to repel the anti-worker-anti-people measures, as well as through the formation of the revolutionary strategy, to create the preconditions for a radical change in the negative correlation of forces, which will pave the way through the organized movement and activity of the working class and popular masses for permanent eradication of the causes which reproduce poverty and war for the workers and profits and wealth for the capitalists.
The KKE, which a few months ago held its 19th Congress, confirmed with the unanimous approval of the new Programme, the new Statutes and Political Resolution, that the party will in no instance give the kiss of life to the rotten capitalist system, the rotten bourgeois state, by participating in one or the other form for the management of the crisis in favour of capital through various governments, however they present or call themselves in order to trick the workers.
The political scene in Greece is being restructured, reformed. The transformation of the opportunist party SYRIZA into a social-democratic party and new pillar of the two-party bourgeois political system is advancing rapidly.
In conditions of the dominance of the monopolies, through the imperialist unions of NATO and the EU, such a governmental management can in no instance provide solutions, nor can it relieve the working class and the popular strata in the slightest.
On the contrary it will bring the labour and peoples movement to its knees, it will break it, it will assimilate forces, and the people will lose valuable time. The KKE places special emphasis today on the formation of the Peoples Alliance, which will express the interests of the working class, the self-employed and poor farmers, the youth and women from the working class and popular families and will have a clear orientation against the monopolies and capitalism. Such a Peoples Alliance, which will be social, will have movement characteristics, with a line of rupture and overthrow, and has no relationship with political mergers at the summit and solutions from above, in the name of a blurred governmental left.
Today, the Peoples Alliance has taken its first steps and has acquired a certain form with the common framework of activity in the labour and trade union movement through the All-workers Militant Front (PAME), amongst the poor farmers of the countryside through the All-farmers Militant Rally (PASY), amongst the self-employed through the Nationwide Rally of Professionals Craftsmen and Tradesmen (PASEVE), amongst the youth who are rallied in the Students Struggle Front (MAS), amongst the women through the associations and groups of the Federation of Greek Women (OGE).
The Peoples Alliance answers the issue regarding the organisation of the struggle for the repulsion of the barbaric anti-labour anti-people measures, with the concentration of forces and a counterattack struggle, so as to achieve some gains in the course of the struggle for the overthrow of the power of the monopolies.
The Peoples Alliance has a clear antimonopoly anti-capitalist orientation. It promotes the rupture with the imperialist unions, it fights against the imperialist war and interventions and any participation in them.
It acts in order to strengthen the rallying of anti-monopoly anti-capitalist social forces, it seeks the struggle to be directed towards working class-peoples power.
The Peoples Alliance directs its struggle against the repressive mechanisms. Each social force, apart from a common framework of activity has its own tasks. We aim for the Peoples Alliance to concentrate its forces in each city, focusing on the monopoly groups, factories, shopping centres, hospitals, Health Centres, electric power plants, telecommunications, infrastructure, public transport. It guarantees the common activity of these forces on the basis of each sector and generally with the unemployed, the self-employed, the poor farmers and the other poor hard- working people. It has an upward course as a process of maturation of the political consciousness, the organization and the forms of struggle.
In these given conditions it is organized and coordinated for the resistance, solidarity, for survival. It defends workers and peoples income: salaries and collective bargaining agreements, pensions, workers and peoples rights, the prices at which producers sell agricultural products, the protection of the farmers and the self-employed, the peoples housing from the profiteering of the banks and taxation.
It defends the right to exclusively free public education, healthcare-welfare, to cheap high-quality goods for popular consumption, infrastructure for culture and sports. It struggles against all drugs, for womens emancipation and equality, for the protection of the unemployed, for transportation, lodging and meals for school and university students, for the immediate needs of the young couples, against drug addiction, alcoholism.
It demands measures for the protection against earthquakes and floods, public works for infrastructure that improve the living conditions, the balanced intervention of people into the environment. It highlights the development potential of the country from the viewpoint of the existence of raw materials, of the concentration of means of production, the skills of the labour force, the scientific-technological achievements.
The Peoples Alliance struggles against the state repression, against the violence of the employers; it defends the trade union and civil liberties etc, it highlights that the bourgeois democracy is a form of the dictatorship of capital, of the monopolies.
The struggle for a pro-people way-out from the crisis is inextricably linked with the disengagement from the EU and the unilateral cancellation of the public debt without any implications for the social security funds, for public hospitals in rupture with every imperialist union and alliance. The struggle for the disengagement from the EU is linked with the struggle against the power of the monopolies and the struggle of the working class and its allies for working class-peoples power.
The positions of certain bourgeois and other forces for exit from the euro and the EU, without touching the power of the monopolies, without their socialization, without nationwide planning, peoples power, that is to say without those essential tools for the development of the country to the benefit of the people, for the distribution of the labour force, stable work for all, for the eradication of the unevenness of the regions, for mutually beneficial cooperation and relations with all the countries of our continent and the world, do not constitute a pro-people perspective, but the perpetuation of the capitalist system and the power of capital, all those elements that bring us crises and wars.
At the same time the 19th Congress of the KKE prioritized the need to strengthen the bonds of the party organizations with the working class-popular masses, to build the party above all in the strategic sectors, in every work place.
At the same time we take into account the choice of the bourgeois class, both in the conditions of the capitalist crisis, as well of a possible imperialist war with the participation of Greece, to break the labour movement, to impede even the slightest radicalization of the working class and poor popular strata, something that is inextricably linked with the restriction of the activity of the KKE, with the declaration of anticommunism as the official state ideology, with the utilization of the well known theory of the “two extremes”.
This is the reason why we promote the need for the substantial ideological-political and organizational preparation of the labour movement, which will establish the party of the working class in our country, the KKE, as an all-weather party, capable of dealing with every challenge, which the sharp turns in the course of the class struggle may create, on the path for the liberation from capitalist exploitation, for the disengagement from the imperialist unions and the construction of the socialist-communist society.
The KKE does not hide the fact from the workers that the communist and labour movement, particularly after the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, is going through great difficulties. It is experiencing a situation of a deep ideological-political and organizational crisis and is under pressure from bourgeois forces, which in many instances proceed to repressive measures of banning or restricting the activity of communists, and also from opportunist forces, which seek to emasculate it of its revolutionary characteristics and assimilate it into the capitalist system.
This situation in the communist movement, particularly in Europe, comes into a major contradiction with the need of the working class and popular masses to struggle for the wealth, which they produce.
Without a strong communist movement in every country, without the coordination of the activity and the elaboration of a common revolutionary strategy, the communist movement can not fulfil the reasons for its existence.
Of course, we understand that we can not today from one moment to the next overcome a situation that has been formed over many decades now. Nevertheless, we have no alternative but to roll our sleeves up, organizing our struggle, studying together the complex European and global developments, charting and coordinating our common activity against the EU of capital and war.
We have in front of us in a few months an important political battle, the EU parliamentary elections, in which the communist and workers parties must turn their fire against the bourgeois and opportunist strategy, against the EU, advancing their own political proposal.
Comrades, 165 years ago Marx and Engels published their work of genius, The Communist Manifesto, which began with the observation that: A spectre is haunting Europe the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre. The attack which communist ideas are on the receiving end of from the bourgeois and opportunists demonstrates that this spectre continues to disturb the old Europe, despite the fact that it has been weakened, because it constitutes the only real alternative proposal, which is none other than the socialist-communist society. The more flesh and blood the development of the cooperation and common activity of the communist and workers parties in Europe takes on, the more substantially will the terrain be prepared for significant radical changes in the European continent as well. The KKE will contribute in this direction as best it can.