Speech of Giorgos Marinos Member of the PB of the CC of the KKE at the 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties in Lisbon
We thank the Portuguese Communist Party for the hospitality and we salute the representatives of the CPs, which participate in the 15th International Meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties.
The KKE honours the communist Alvaro Cunhal, General Secretary of the Portuguese Communist Party, an illustrious figure of the communist movement, on the occasion of the 100 year anniversary of his birth this year.
Alvaro Cunhal devoted his life to the struggle for the interests of the working class, for the cause of socialism, was a strong supporter of the principle of proletarian internationalism.
The struggles of this generation of communists inspire us to continue our struggle more decisively in order to implement the tasks that we have ahead of us, to overthrow the outdated capitalist system.
The developments we are witnessing confirm the assessment that capitalism is becoming continually more reactionary and dangerous, it gives rise to crises and wars. It condemns millions of workers to unemployment, poverty, it can not satisfy the expanded needs of the people.
This situation manifests itself all over the globe and the communist movement is obliged to make the greatest possible effort for its own independent ideological, political and mass struggle, to acquire a unified revolutionary strategy.
We assess that it is precisely this issue that must take its due position in all the discussions of the CPs in combination with the coordinated activity on the people’s problems in conflict with capital’s forces.
The communist movement must answer this crucial question, with what strategy will it be able to stand on solid ground and express as effectively as possible the interests of the working class, the popular strata in a line of conflict with capitalist barbarity. Treating socialism not as a goal for the distant future, but as an issue of the daily activity as its timeliness is highlighted by the torments of the peoples.
From this standpoint, we would like to focus our attention on issues where different opinions, disagreements are expressed in the communist movement, taking into account that the position which argues that we can proceed “on the basis of what we agree on” leads to complacency, does not allow a deeper examination of the weaknesses and the taking of measures in order to deal with matters of strategic importance, which are necessary for the regroupment of the communist parties, so that they can fulfill their role as the vanguard of the working class.
First, the problem of the crisis also concerned us in previous international meetings, but unfortunately we observe that there remain approaches that talk of a “crisis of neo-liberalism”, a “financial crisis”. These approaches are limited to incriminating a form of capitalism’s management, exonerating the social-democratic, neo-Keynesian management, the capitalist system itself. These positions absolutize the role of banking capital, underestimating the role of other sections of capital, bypassing the reality of the merging of industrial and banking capital, the role of finance capital that is a characteristic trait of capitalism in its highest imperialist stage today.
The problem is deeper and is related to the laws of the system’s operation. The crisis manifests itself periodically in the capitalist states, irrespective of the form of bourgeois management.
The peoples are facing a capitalist crisis of over-production and capital over-accumulation, the preconditions of which were created in the conditions of the growth of the capitalist economy.
The capitalist crisis which stops the expanded reproduction of social capital has its basis in the basic contradiction of the system, in the social character of production and in the capitalist appropriation of its results due to the capitalist ownership of the means of production. It is precisely this that is the source of surplus value and exploitation, the source of the anarchic and uneven development that characterizes the system.
The strengthening of the monopolies, the internationalization of the capitalist economy sharpen the anarchic development, sharpen the contradictions with greater intensity and lead to deeper crises, to a tougher competition amongst the major business groups and the capitalist states, and bring imperialist wars closer.
Problems emerged during the crisis which are related to the struggle of the CPs and the labour and people’s movement and allow us to provide some examples.
The bourgeois governments, liberal, social-democratic, and with the participation of the governmental left, imposed harsh anti-people measures in Greece. Memoranda and loan agreements with the EU, the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund were signed, but the attack on the working class and people’s rights is not exclusively related to the memoranda, as the European Left Party and other opportunist forces claim in order to support the “anti-memorandum line” and to exonerate the more general strategy of capital.
The truth is that the measures that were imposed are included in the strategy of the European Union, in the strategy of the monopolies, using the capitalist restructurings since the beginning of the 1990s. This strategy seeks the reduction of the price of labour power, the strengthening of the competitiveness of the European monopolies against their competitors, especially against the major business groups of the emerging capitalist powers of China, India, Brazil where the levels of the price of labour power are very low .
In this framework, the anti-people measures are not only implemented in states that have signed a memorandum but also in many other capitalist states in Europe and all over the world.
The confrontation over the forms of management of the capitalist economy is intensifying during the crisis.
Two blocs of economic and political forces have been formed in Greece. The one with as its core the ND-PASOK government together with the EU which is in favour of the harsh fiscal policy and the other with SYRIZA, the International Monetary Fund and the USA, which support a more relaxed fiscal policy with the aim of strengthening the state-funding of the monopolies. These management proposals respond to the needs of specific sections of capital and are a part of the more general inter-imperialist competition.
In conclusion, we can say that each form of bourgeois management serves the profitability of the monopolies through the imposition of the anti-people measures, the intensification of the exploitation of the working class, the deterioration of the situation for the popular strata.
On the basis of the different forms of bourgeois management of the system, (liberal or Keynesian), the reformation of the political scene is being promoted in Greece so that the bourgeois class can control the developments, impede the class struggle, insert every kind of barrier in the face of the struggle of the KKE and the class-oriented movement. The reformation is expressed through the creation of a centre-right pole with the liberal ND party as its axis and the centre-left pole with SYRIZA as its axis.
Our party wants to inform the CPs that the ELP and other opportunist forces are attempting in a planned way to distort the reality and present SYRIZA as a pro-people force, which is fighting for the interests of the workers against capital. The truth is that SYRIZA as an opportunist formation which developed into a pillar of social-democratic management is supported by sections of the bourgeois class, it is a defender of capitalism and the European Union. It is a party that extolled the political line of Obama as progressive and fostered the myth that a new wind would blow for the workers in Europe with the election of Hollande.
A feature of the reformation of the bourgeois political system in Greece is also the criminal fascist organization of Golden Dawn.
Golden Dawn is the creation of capitalism, it is supported by the bourgeois state and its mechanisms. It developed with the toleration of the bourgeois parties in order to operate as capital’s force of repression to strike against the labour and people’s movement, against the communists.
Our party argues that the isolation and crushing of Golden Dawn is a matter for the organized struggle of the working class, the people’s alliance. This struggle can not be carried out through the so-called anti-fascist fronts which bourgeois and opportunist forces propose, but through the struggle that has as its goals the abolition of the causes which give rise to fascism, the overthrow of capitalist exploitation, the conflict with the EU which has anti-communism as its official ideology and promotes the anti-historical equation of fascism with communism.
Second, reality demonstrates that in conditions of capitalist crisis the inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening, as well as the competition for the acquisition of new areas to invest accumulated capital, for the control of natural resources. On this terrain, the causes of military conflicts and multifaceted interventions are being formed. This is something that we are experiencing in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, the Caspian Sea, in many regions of the globe.
The KKE is opposed to the imperialist wars, is fighting against Greece’s involvement and has clarified that in any case, whatever form Greece’s participation in an imperialist war takes, the KKE must be ready to lead the independent organization of the workers’-people’s resistance, so that this struggle is linked to the struggle for the defeat of the bourgeois class, both of the domestic bourgeois class and the foreign one as an invader.
The KKE must take the initiative, in line with the specific conditions, for the formation of the workers’ and people’s front with as its slogan: “the people will bring the liberation and the way-out from the capitalist system, which as long as it prevails brings war and “peace” with the gun to the people’s head.”
This position is of particular importance for the international communist movement and protects the peoples from being entrapped by the one or the other section of the bourgeois class, by the one or the other imperialist alliance. This is even more important as in recent years there is an attempt for the view about a so-called “multi-polar world” to be adopted and for false dilemmas to be posed which aim at manipulating the peoples and entangling them in the inter-imperialist competition.
Third, the stance of the communists and the peoples against the imperialist system and the imperialist union is of great importance.
When he spoke about imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism, Lenin was speaking first of all about the economic basis of the system, the dominance of the monopolies. In his work “Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism”, he mentioned that:
“Unless the economic roots of this phenomenon are understood and its political and social significance is appreciated, not a step can be taken toward the solution of the practical problem of the communist movement
This position is of great importance for our analysis.
The European Union is not dangerous only due to its course of “unification” (integration) but also due to the fact that it is an inter-state, imperialist union of the monopolies. Both the European Union, as well as the other unions that emerged in Asia or in Latin America and also the BRICS have a specific economic base, they are supported on the cooperation and merging of the strength of the major business monopoly groups and despite the contradictions that manifest themselves in their ranks their basic criterion is their own interests, the control of the markets and consequently they are against the peoples and their rights.
Imperialism is not merely an aggressive foreign policy, it is capitalism in its final, highest stage, it is a system in which the capitalist states are assimilated and they take their position in line with their economic, military and political strength.
In these conditions it is very important to deal with the issues of “dependency” and “sovereignty” on a class basis. The issue must begin to be discussed, we must concern ourselves because it has very serious political consequences, the mistaken treatment of this leads to the support for management solutions and to an alliance policy with sections of the bourgeois class, with political forces that are defenders of the exploitative system.
The 19th congress of the KKE assessed that in the framework of uneven development “Capitalism in Greece is in the imperialist stage of its development, in an intermediate position in the international imperialist system, with strong uneven dependencies on the USA and the EU.”
That is to say, the basic issue is the uneven development of capitalism which forms relations of uneven dependency and interdependency and for this reason positions that present Greece as well as other states with a lower position in the imperialist pyramid as being occupied, as being colonies have no basis.
Of course, as long as the bourgeois class has the reins of power it builds international relations according to its class interest and on this basis it cedes sovereign rights. The concepts of “independence”, “sovereignty” are concepts with a class content and they must be dealt with in a direction which stresses that the working class with its own power can become the master in its own country, choose the path of development that corresponds to its own interests and build the respective international relations with disengagement from the EU, NATO and the other imperialist unions.
In addition we want to note that the colonies as an element of the historical course of capitalism have disappeared. This is the undeniable reality. Colonialism was overthrown through the struggle of the peoples and the major contribution of socialism. This page has been turned and unfortunately today positions are reviving which present the uneven relations of capitalist states inside the imperialist system as a phenomenon of neocolonialism. Countries with developed monopoly capitalism, with a strong bourgeois class and bourgeois state are characterized as new colonies, an intermediate stage is being adopted as a form of bourgeois management for the resolution of these problems.
Fourth, the character of our era is a fundamental issue for the elaboration of the revolutionary strategy. The objective facts prove that, irrespective of the counterrevolutionary overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, our era continues to be an era of transition from capitalism to socialism.
Why? Because capitalism has decayed; because it is plagued by insurmountable contradictions; because it has exhausted its historical limits. The emergence and the development of monopolies, of the big joint-stock companies, the emergence and development of the working class, the entrance of capitalism into its higher imperialist stage underline that the material preconditions have matured which allow for the construction of the new socialist-communist society. This is a defining element of the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the developments as it shows the direction of the struggle of the communist parties that have the obligation to prepare themselves in a multifaceted way so as to meet the needs of the struggle for socialism-communism; so as to contribute to the maturation of the subjective factor, to the preparation of the working class as the vanguard class in the capitalist society, in order for it to play the leading role in the alliance with the popular strata and to struggle for the power.
The formation of the political class consciousness cannot be carried out with the old tools for managing the system. Political positions that trap the working class into the bourgeois management with the form of intermediate stages between capitalism and socialism, political positions that support the participation in the one or the other government of bourgeois management which is labeled either as “left” or “progressive” have no place in the era of transition from capitalism to socialism.
The power will be either in the hands of the bourgeois class i.e. the capitalists or in the hands of the working class. The means of production will be either under capitalist or social ownership. Regardless of their intentions, the solutions within the framework of the system not only do not constitute a form of approaching the socialist solution but on the contrary they favour the perpetuation of capitalism, they buy time for it, they foster illusions among the working people.
Our party does not at all diminish the importance of historical experience; it takes seriously into consideration the complex character of the political and social processes.
It studies the developments in Chile but also in Portugal in the 1970s, it studies the recent experience in Cyprus and the developments in Latin America.
On the basis of this study we can make the case and on the basis of the results that no management solution has been confirmed as a way for the transition to socialism and it could not have been otherwise. Because this path perpetuates the contradiction between capital and labour, can not prevent the capitalist crises, unemployment, exploitation because it maintains the causes that breed them, because capitalist profit continues to be the criterion of development.
The choice of the intermediate stages violates a commonly accepted position, the position that between capitalism and socialism-communism there is no intermediate socio-economic system, no intermediate political power.
Of course the communists struggle inside the bourgeois parliaments for the promotion and the defense of the people’s rights combining and giving priority to the extra-parliamentary activity but this has no relation with the adoption of parliamentary views that sow confusion that a pro-people solution can emerge through the bourgeois institutions.
The parliamentary path which historically has been extolled by the opportunist forces is one of the most significant factors that lead to the assimilation of strong Communist Parties, to the reduction of the demands of the working people.
The rationale of reforms and the rejection of the revolutionary path, the rejection of the socialist revolution, constitute a painful retreat and negation of the most basic element that characterizes a Communist Party.
The class struggle has its own laws which are founded on the contradiction between capital and labour which has a universal character and concerns the capitalist states as a whole. The class struggle is not restricted to the development of struggles in order to determine the conditions for the sale of labour power. But it is determined by the issue of the abolition of the capitalist exploitation, of the struggle for the conquest of power.
The Communist Party in each country has the obligation to study the specific situation, the development of capitalism, the course of the sectors and the branches of economy, the changes in the superstructure, the class and social structure in order to chart a revolutionary strategy. However, this is totally different from the positions which in the name of national particularities negate the revolutionary strategy and replace the struggle for socialism by governmental solutions and a policy for alliances which correspond to the bourgeois management.
The treatment of socialism merely as a declaration is causing great damage. It downgrades the strategic goal itself, the goal that determines the tactics, the stance of the Communist Parties as a whole, their work in the labour and people’s movement, their policy for alliances.
In their programmatic declarations “Eurocommunism” and the other opportunist currents referred to socialism but their political line negated the revolutionary path. In the name of national peculiarities they fought against the laws of the socialist revolution and construction. In the works of Carrillo and Berlinguer the term socialism appears deprived of its essence: without the working class power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, without the socialization of the means of production and central planning. They were talking about transformation, the democratization of the bourgeois state, of the dictatorship of the monopolies, they were fostering illusions about pro-people solutions through the parliamentary path, through the bourgeois government, the alliance with social democracy.
Today, opportunist platforms have emerged which are equally dangerous as “Eurocommunism”, such as “market socialism”, “socialism of the 21st century”, which oppose scientific socialism. There is talk of a “social economy”, the utopia of a humanized capitalism is sought. In several cases there is an attempt to reduce, to negate the crucial importance of the class struggle at a national level in the name of “globalization”.
In any case, the front against opportunism is an element of the confrontation with the capitalism system, with imperialism and any tolerance or retreat has a corrosive effect at the expense of the communist movement and its prospect.
The so called European Left Party which is forming networks all over the world with the funds of the EU is causing great damage to the communist movement; it is a vehicle that promotes the strategy of the EU in the labour movement, it is inextricably linked with social democracy and it must be dealt with in a strict ideological-political way.
Its core consists of forces which celebrated the overthrow of socialism, forces which in the framework of anticommunism identify themselves with various bourgeois and other reactionary forces in the name of “anti-Stalinism”.
As a conclusion we can say that the class content and consequently the contemporary content of the ideological-political and mass struggle today is determined by the rupture, the conflict against the monopolies and the capitalist system, against the imperialist organizations. It is determined by the organization of the working class in the workplaces, by the formation of the alliance with the popular strata, the multi-faceted preparation for the overthrow of capitalism, for the socialist-communist society, for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.
Our duty is to reflect on the fact that Marx and Engels in their era, which was an era of bourgeois revolutions, spoke about the independent ideological-political struggle of the working class. Our duty is to take into account how deeply they studied the experience of the Paris Commune in 1871 and that they spoke of the necessity of the working class power, of the smashing of the bourgeois state.
We have the duty to reflect on the experience of the great October Revolution in 1917 and to contribute to the adjustment of the programmatic directions of the Communist Parties, of their strategy to the requirements of our era.
“Imperialism is the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat” stressed Lenin.
A revolutionary situation was formed after the First World War in Germany, in Hungary, in Slovakia, in Italy. A revolutionary situation was formed in Greece in 1944 but the possibility was not transformed into a reality.
The crucial factor in order to wage decisively the battle is the prompt preparation of the communist parties and the working class for tough class confrontations that correspond to the needs of our era.
The bourgeois democratic character of the revolution corresponded to the period of the overthrow of feudalism, when the bourgeois class was a revolutionary class. Now capitalism has replaced feudalism, the basic contradiction between capital and labour is sharpening.
The programme of the KKE, which was approved unanimously by the recent 19th Congress, makes the following reference: “The Greek people will be liberated from the bonds of capitalist exploitation and the imperialist unions when the working class together with its allies carries out the socialist revolution and moves forwards to construct socialism-communism.The KKE’s strategic goal is the conquest of revolutionary working-class power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, for the socialist construction as the immature phase of the communist society.
The revolutionary change in Greece will be socialist.”
The motor forces of the socialist revolution will be the working class as the leading force, the semi-proletarians, the oppressed popular strata of the urban self-employed, the poor farmers, who are negatively affected by the monopolies.
The programme of the KKE analyses the issue of the objective factors that may lead to a revolutionary situation (those below who no longer wish to live as they used to and those above who cannot govern as they used to). It gives a particular emphasis to the deepening of the capitalist crisis and the involvement of Greece in an imperialist war, it paves the way for the preparation of the party, and the labour and people’s movement.
The KKE and PAME play a leading role in the class struggle and have a significant contribution to the development of dozens of strike mobilisations and other multifaceted struggles. Nevertheless, we note that the labour and people’s movement was not well prepared and organised so as to deal with the aggressiveness of capital in the conditions of the capitalist crisis. The negative correlation of forces, the impact of the employer and government-led trade unionism, the role of opportunism, social democracy, the labour aristocracy, which support the strategy of capital, are crucial factors.
Today in conditions of non-revolutionary situation our party gives priority to:
The regroupment of the labour movement so that it becomes capable of meeting the needs of the class struggle, so that the working class fulfils its role as the vanguard class in society, as a vehicle of the revolutionary change.
The regroupment of the labour movement means strong, mass trade unions that will struggle in a class direction, based on the workers, on the young working people, the women, the immigrants, through collective procedures that safeguard the participation in decision-making and the implementation of the decisions. Strengthening of PAME, of the class-oriented rally in the labour movement, the change of the correlation of forces at the expense of the forces of reformism, opportunism, employer and government-led trade unionism, the vehicles of social partnership.
Strong party organizations in the factories, in enterprises of strategic importance.
The labour movement is struggling in a militant and organized way concerning all the problems of the working class based on the criterion of the contemporary needs, achieving the orientation of confrontation against the forces of capital for the overthrow of the capitalist exploitation as well as a high level of class unity.
The working class with its vanguard stance must play the leading role in the construction of the people’s alliance that provides an answer to the question regarding the organization of the struggle to repel the barbaric anti-labour- anti-people measures, to organize the people’s counterattack.
The People’s Alliance expresses the interests of the working class, the semi-proletarians, the self employed and the poor farmers, the young people and the women of the poor popular strata in the struggle against the monopolies and capitalist ownership, against the assimilation of the country into the imperialist unions. The People’s Alliance is a social alliance and struggles in terms of the movement, following a line of rupture and overthrow.
Today it is being formed on the basis of the common struggle of PAME, the class-oriented rally in the labour movement, of PASY among the poor farmers, PASEVE among the self-employed, MAS among students, OGE among women.
It struggles for salaries, pensions, for an exclusively public and free system for healthcare, welfare, education, for all the problems of the workers and the people.
It supports the view that the struggle for a pro-people way out from the crisis is inextricably linked with the struggle for the disengagement from the EU, the unilateral cancellation of the public debt.
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- people’s power.
The People’s Alliance adopts the socialization of the concentrated means of production, the central planning, the workers’-social control.
The rallying of the majority of the working class with the KKE and the winning over of vanguard sections of the popular strata will go through various phases. The labour movement, the movement of the self-employed in the cities and the farmers and the form of their alliance, the people’s alliance, with the anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist goals, with the vanguard activity of the KKE’s forces in non-revolutionary conditions, constitute the first form for the creation of the revolutionary workers’ and people’s front in revolutionary conditions.
In the conditions of the revolutionary situation, the revolutionary workers’ and people’s front, using all forms of activity, can become the centre of the people’s uprising for the overthrow of the dictatorship of the bourgeois class, for the prevalence of revolutionary institutions that undertake the new organization of society, the establishment of revolutionary working class power which will be based on the productive unit, the social services, the administrative units, the producer cooperatives.
Under the responsibility of the workers’ power:
The means of production will be socialized: in industry, energy-water supply, telecommunications, construction, repair, public transport, wholesale and retail trade, import-export trade, the concentrated tourist – restaurant infrastructures.
Land will be socialized as well as the capitalist agricultural cultivations.
Private ownership and economic activity in education, health-welfare, culture, sports and mass media will be abolished. They will be organized exclusively as social services.
State productive units will be created for the production and the processing of agricultural products.
Agricultural producer cooperatives will be promoted.
Central Planning integrates the labour force, means of production, raw materials and other industrial materials and resources, which will be used in the organization of production, social and administrative services. This is a communist relation of production and distribution that links the working people with the means of the production, the socialist organizations.
The overthrow of socialism is a heavy blow for the communist movement and the causes of the overthrow teach the essential compliance with the laws of the socialist construction, the observance of the revolutionary principles for the construction and the functioning of the Communist Parties, the ideological-political alertness for the prevention of opportunist mistakes and deviations. This is a duty of high importance. Nevertheless, the counterrevolution cannot overshadow the irreplaceable historical contribution of socialism which was constructed in the 20th century to social progress. The stance of each communist party is judged in relation to the defense of socialism against the slanderous attacks of bourgeois and opportunist forces.
The KKE, which undertook the responsibility for the organization of the International Meetings after the counterrevolution, will continue the effort for the joint action and the formation of a unified revolutionary strategy of the communist movement, despite the difficulties.
It will continue to contribute to the International Meetings of the Communist Parties insisting on the preservation of their communist character confronting views or plans that support the transformation of the meetings into a space of the “left”.
Our party is decisively opposed to the transformation of the Working Group into a “guiding center”, directly or indirectly, and rejects the adoption of positions that violate tested communist principles, introducing positions that lead to the support of the bourgeois management.
The KKE devotes its forces, as it has always done, for the coordination of the struggle of the Communist Parties in Europe and considers that the INITIATIVE of communist and workers’ parties to research and study European issues is a great achievement for the strengthening of the struggle against the imperialist EU.
In the conditions of the crisis of the communist movement our party supports the idea of the creation of a discrete Marxist-Leninist pole and supports the effort of the “International Communist Review” in which 11 theoretical journals of communist parties take part.