Speech of Giorgos Marinos Member of the PB of the CC, of the KKE at the 16th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties in Ecuador
We thank the CP of Ecuador that hosts the 16th International Meeting and salute the CPs that participate. We express our internationalist solidarity with the people of Ecuador and the peoples of Latin America, with the communists and people’s movements that are facing state repression, anti-communist attacks and persecution.
We declare our will to intensify the efforts for the release of the three Cuban militants who still remain imprisoned in the USA. Dear comrades The developments themselves underline the fact that we have much work to do. Capitalism is becoming even more aggressive and dangerous at the expense of the peoples and is characterized by the full scale offensive against the working class and people’s rights, the crises and imperialist wars.
The tasks of the communists are very important and require that we exchange experience from the development of the struggle in each country in a systematic way, that we intensify the efforts to coordinate our activity and to form the basis for the strengthening of the international communist movement. It is well known that the crisis of capital over-accumulation and overproduction that broke out in a synchronized way in 2008 in many countries expresses the anarchy of capitalist production, its contradictions, the sharpening of the basic contradiction between the social character of production and labour and the capitalist appropriation of their results on the terrain of the power of the monopolies and capitalist ownership of the means of production.
The reality reveals that the basis of the crisis is not the one or the other form of bourgeois management. The crisis is not a product of “neo-liberalism”, or the “uncontrolled activity of the banks” as the forces of opportunism, the Party of the European Left (PEL) in Europe, claim. These claims mislead the peoples, exonerate the capitalist system and its economic laws, foster illusions that there exist pro-people forms for the management of the system and lend support to the social-democratic form of management.
A full scale offensive has manifested itself in Greece during the capitalist crisis against the working class, the popular strata, the youth, with painful consequences for salaries, pensions, labour and social security rights. More than 30% of the labour force is unemployed.
During the crisis, the government of the social-democratic PASOK, to begin with, and later the coalition of the liberal ND party and PASOK imposed harsh anti-people measures that had been decided on in the European Union (EU) and in the general staff of capital before the crisis, promote the capitalist restructurings that aim at reducing the price of labour power, strengthening the competitiveness and profitability of the big businesses.
The fact is that despite the destruction of productive forces and capital, despite the expectations that were fostered we witness economic stagnation and even recession in the EU, even in the powerful capitalist states like Germany, Italy, France. The anti-people offensive is underway in all the European states, regardless of whether they have signed memoranda with the EU and International Monetary Fund, regardless of their deficit and debt levels.
The bourgeois general staff are trying to trap the people in one or the other management formula, the “restrictive” or “expansive” economic policy, Keynesianism has been disinterred, tried and tested anti-people dogmas are presented as new ones. The basic conclusion is that every bourgeois management formula, even in the conditions of economic growth, has the profits of the monopolies as its criteria. Consequently, the measures against the people will continue. It is not just the traditional bourgeois parties that function in the line of managing the system, but also the new social-democratic parties, with opportunist roots, like SYRIZA in Greece.
This party is attempting to create a positive impression abroad and promote itself as a radical force, here in Latin America as well. However, in reality it is a supporter of capitalist development, the imperialist European Union and its strategy. It is in favour of Greece staying in NATO and gives its credentials to the USA and the forces of capital at a national and international level. Its political line is based on reinforcing the competitiveness and the profitability of capital, it has nothing to do with satisfying the needs of the people and recovering the losses the workers suffered during the crisis. It recycles unemployment and manages poverty.
In contrast, the KKE is trying to organize the working class-people’s struggle. It supports the struggle of the All-workers’ Militant Front (PAME) and the other militant rallies of the farmers, urban self-employed, women and youth. It comes into conflict with the forces of capital, the anti-people political line of the governments and the EU. It contributes to organizing the resistance and fights for the recovery of the losses the workers suffered during the crisis. It struggles for the people’s counterattack, the people’s social alliance, against the monopolies, against capitalism.
The daily struggle of the KKE in the factories, businesses, sectors, popular neighbourhoods is not limited to the creation of better conditions for the sale of labour power. But, it is linked to the effort to regroup the labour movement, to reinforce the class orientation of the trade unions, their ability to rally working class forces in confrontation with capital, its political representatives and employer-government led trade unionism, which is a vehicle of class collaboration and the disarming of the workers and bears serious responsibilities for the retreat of the movement. Our party is intensifying its efforts so that the working class, society’s leading class, can build its alliance with the popular strata and strengthen the anti-monopoly-anti-capitalist struggle.
Recently on November 1st, many thousands of working men and women, popular forces, youth participated in the great national demonstration organized by the All-workers’ Militant Front (PAME) in Athens, in cooperation with many other militant rallies of the farmers, the urban self-employed, women, students, against capital’s offensive and the anti-people political line of the government and EU. Over 1,000 trade unions and other organizations of the people’s movement took the decision to participate. A significant number of trade unions where PAME is not in the majority took part in the mobilization.
The imperialist aggressiveness has been intensifying and the inter-imperialist competition has been sharpening during the capitalist crisis. In the Southeastern Mediterranean, the imperialist intervention in Iraq and Syria is continuing, with the new pretext of combating the “Islamic State” and the jihadists. Turkey not only maintains its occupation of a large part of Cyprus, but also disputes the sovereign rights of the island and Greece, violates borders, tramples on sovereign rights.
The competition over the control of the hydrocarbons in the region is intensifying. Israel continues its murderous offensive against the Palestinian people and has the support of the USA and the EU that incriminate the people’s resistance as being terrorism, they equate the victim with the persecutor. The intervention of the EU-USA and NATO in Ukraine and the ascendance of reactionary and even fascist forces into the state and governmental leadership of the country, the more general competition of the euro-Atlantic powers with Russia have formed an explosive situation.
These developments, the intensification of anti-communism, the goal of banning the CP of Ukraine, the banning of CPs in Europe and other regions of the world require the reinforcement of vigilance and internationalist solidarity. 100 years after the 1st world War and 75 years after the 2nd World War, there is the great danger of generalized military conflicts.
What is the thread that connects these developments, what are the real causes of the imperialist interventions and wars? The monopolies and major business groups are at the core of imperialism which is the highest stage of capitalism (and not just the expression of an aggressive foreign policy). They compete to expand their business activities, to control the markets, the natural resources and the energy pipelines and this is also expressed at an inter-state level.
This is manifested in old and new flashpoints of tension and war. War is the continuation of politics with other violent means. The communists have a great responsibility to enlighten and guide the working class and popular strata so that they overcome the multi-faceted traps set by the bourgeois classes and imperialist unions, so that they organize themselves and show their strength. Every retreat of the CPs from the independent political struggle, every involvement in intra-bourgeois contradictions and plans or participation in governments of bourgeois management had painful consequences for the peoples.
The mass struggle against the imperialist plans must go hand in hand with the organization of the struggle to eradicate the causes of war, to overthrow capitalist barbarity. The KKE has multifaceted activity against the imperialist wars, interventions and threats, but it does not limit itself to this. The line of struggle that the 19th Congress of our party, which was held in 2013, finalized has more general significance. It notes that in the instance of Greece's involvement in an imperialist war, the KKE must be ready to lead the independent organization of the workers'-people's struggle in all its forms, so that it is linked to the struggle to defeat the bourgeois class, both the domestic one and the foreign invader.”
It is a fact that the strategy of the CPs and the basic direction of their struggle are determined by the character of our era. This determines the character of the revolution and its driving forces, the line of rallying, the alliance policy and the ideological-political work in the working class so that the struggle is oriented towards overthrowing the causes of exploitation.
Social development moves towards a higher level and cannot retreat due to occurrence of the counterrevolution and the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries. This entire historical course has been characterized by major social confrontations, victories and defeats of the leading classes in every phase. There have been setbacks but the decisive element has been the general law concerning the replacement of the old socio-economic system by the new one. Capitalism has developed, the concentration and centralization of capital led to the birth of the monopolies, the stock companies. The material preconditions for the construction of the new socialist society have matured. These are basic elements for the elaboration of a modern revolutionary strategy, with at its centre the socialist character of the revolution and the resolution of the basic contradiction between capital and labour.
The strategy of “intermediate stages” between capitalism and socialism operates inside the framework of the exploitative system, as the power and means of production remain in the hands of the bourgeois class and capitalist exploitation and anarchy are maintained. This strategy has caused delays in the struggle of the communist movement, it is a feature of its crisis and leads to the participation in or support for bourgeois governments, to the quest for “left” governments of bourgeois management.
The consequences are extremely negative. The subjective factor, the CP and the working class, is “educated” in a solution which is within the boundaries of capitalism. Valuable time is wasted. Unfortunately, this has not been understood. Advocates of such views have reached the point of incriminating the position regarding the timeliness of socialism as being sectarian. Lenin in his work “Under a false flag” in reference to “our era”, which began with the 1st World War and was confirmed by the October Socialist Revolution in 1917, places the bourgeois class in the “same situation” that the feudal lords were in, he spoke of an era of imperialism and imperialist shocks.
We live in this era, the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism and a major discussion must begin about the strategy that corresponds to our era. The 19th Congress of the KKE assessed that over the last 20 years, the already mature material pre-conditions for socialism in Greece have developed even further. The capitalist relations have expanded and strengthened, in agricultural production, education, health, culture-sports and the mass media. There was greater concentration of wage labour and capital in manufacturing, retail trade, construction, in tourism. Enterprises belonging to private capital have developed with the abolition of the state monopoly in telecommunications and in the monopolised sections of energy and transport. Wage labour increased significantly as a percentage of employment as a whole.
On this basis the KKE came to the conclusion that 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 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.
The KKE operates in the direction of preparing the subjective factor for the prospect of the socialist revolution, despite the fact that the time period of its outbreak is determined by the revolutionary situation (when the "lower classes" do not want to live in the old way and the "upper classes" cannot carry on in the old way), which is an objective issue. The strengthening of the KKE and KNE and the regroupment of the labour movement, the people’s alliance are basic directions that respond to the need to prepare the party and the labour-people’s movement The People’s Alliance, expresses the interests of the working class, the semi-proletarians, the self-employed and the poor farmers , the youth and the women from the working class-popular strata in the struggle against the monopolies and capitalist ownership, against the assimilation of the country in the imperialist unions. The Peoples’ Alliance is a social one and has movement characteristics in an anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist direction. The parties that have such a line will participate in its organs and in its ranks through its cadres and members, through the members of their youth organizations, who are elected in the organs of the movement and work in the people’s organizations and they will not participate as parties-components of the alliance.
This is true for our party also. The labour movement, the movements of the urban self-employed and farmers and the form that their alliance takes on (the People's Alliance) with 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. Dear comrades, The KKE carefully examines the processes that are underway in Latin America and the development of the labour and people’s movement. It supports the efforts of Cuba against both the USA’s embargo and its continuation of every kind of attack. It denounces the attempts to impose coups and reactionary solutions. It expresses its solidarity with the Colombian militants of FARC.
At the same time, we consider it necessary to focus on certain themes and to participate in the discussion that has begun in the International Communist Movement on strategically important issues. Broad popular strata in Latin America that were indignant at the anti-people political line of liberal and social-democratic governments, and entrusted their votes to political forces that promoted relief from poverty, spoke about the independence and sovereignty of these countries, with a focus on dealing with the unequal relations and dependencies on the USA. How de we assess the situation?
First, it can not be hidden that in these states political power and the means of production belong to the bourgeois class, profit is the criterion for development and that the exploitation of man by man is maintained. This is the basic issue. The governments of “progressivism”, with differences in the various countries, are managing the capitalist system. Some of them take measures to relieve the popular forces from extreme poverty and to safeguard a minimum level of social services so that labour power can be reproduced, which remains a commodity. Some also nationalize certain private businesses, especially in the energy and mining sectors.
However, this element does not constitute a radical change, because it is a development that is taking place in the framework of the more general capitalist relations of production and state ownership (the collective capitalist) and it does not change the exploitative character of system. We have experienced state-owned businesses and relatively expanded social services during social-democratic (in particular) governments in many European capitalist countries, but there was a high level of exploitation of the working class and the crises were not averted.
Second, through the maintenance of the capitalist economic base, the anarchy in production and the preconditions for the manifestation of the capitalist crisis are formed, with the increase of unemployment, the expansion of relative and absolute destitution, the abolition of any rights that had been gained in the previous period. The activity of the laws of capitalism recently led to the rapid rise of inflation in Argentina, in Venezuela etc, to very high levels, which results in the reduction of the purchasing power of the families from the popular strata. The gap has widened between the increase in productivity and the level of real wages. The reference to the reduction of the percentage of poverty can not conceal the problem of widespread poverty, the causes which create and reproduce it and the enormous profits that are in the hands of the capitalists at the same time. In any case, poverty reduction programmes are implemented in many capitalist countries in order to avoid eruptions and to manipulate the working class.
In our opinion, the CPs are obliged to work persistently, consistently in order to equip the working class so that it can become capable of struggling for the wealth it produced and which belongs to it. Brazil is the 6th capitalist power in the world. It possesses a strong industrial sector and agricultural production, significant infrastructure, mineral wealth, energy resources. It possesses a large working class. Its monopoly capital extends its activities particularly in Latin America, and in Africa, in many regions all over the globe. It takes part in the international inter-imperialist competition, utilising the participation of Brazil in BRICS. 100 business groups dominate industry, mining, the agricultural-food sector, the finance sector, the retail sector, services, with a large level of profitability. 53 million people live under the poverty line and 23 million in conditions of extreme absolute destitution in this state. 5% of the richest possess an income larger than that of the poorest 50%.
In addition, the developments in Argentina teach us how utopian the fostering of illusions about a pro-people political line in the framework of capitalism is. Significant domestic and foreign monopoly groups control all the dynamic sectors of the economy, e.g. in the steel and car industries, in food processing etc. The governments of Argentina restructured the high debt that increased during (and after) the crisis of 2001, but the people paid and are paying for this. The people who bear no responsibilities for the debt and did not benefit from its creation.
The basic political line of the government is the buttressing and reinforcement of Argentina’s capital in relation to its competitors in Latin America and in the international imperialist system. The rate of exploitation of the working class has increased. The government promotes important economic agreements with China, Russia as well as with US monopoly groups, like the well-known “CHEVRON” for the exploitation of the rich energy shale deposits (vaca muerta).
We are talking about Brazil and Argentina, noting that the situation of the working class, the popular strata in other countries of Latin America with a lower position in the imperialist pyramid, where “left” governments are in power, is even worse. Dealing with these chronic problems, ensuring the right to work, free health services, education which were achieved by Cuba in a course after the revolution, highlights the necessity of socialism, of working class power.
The argument about a positive change in the correlation of forces in favour of the peoples and CPs in Latin America does not express the reality. The participation in or support for “left” governments weakens radical processes, strengthens the position of social-democracy, and has a negative impact on the CPs. In Europe, parties in France and Italy, with title Communist Party, participated in “left” and “centre-left” governments. The experience is painful. The labour movement was set many years back, a harsh anti-people political line was implemented, these governments took part in imperialist interventions, the communist movement was charged with responsibilities for these things and unreliability. These “experiments” went bankrupt and became the bridge for the return of conservative governments, rightwing parties which utilised the disappointment of the people’s expectations in order to impose a harsh anti-people political line. The view about “progressivism” as well as the analysis that prettifies the character of the inter-state unions is integrated into the rationale of so-called “21st Century Socialism”, which is being used for the attempted manipulation of the peoples (particularly) of Latin America. T
his is a vehicle to promote the opportunist position about the “humanization” of capitalism. It deifies parliamentarianism and undermines the revolutionary struggle. It has been trying from the moment of its appearance to slander scientific socialism, the socialist construction in the Soviet Union. The utopian rationale of the democratization-transformation of the bourgeois state, of the power of the monopolies and the promotion of the “mixed” capitalist economy are presented as a new “model” of socialism. They present a mishmash of movements with positions for a social-democratic, Keynesian management of the system as “revolutionary subjects” in the place of the working class, the vanguard class whose historic mission is to overthrow capitalist exploitation. They present the solution of CPs collaborating with (left) social-democracy in the place of the need for an alliance policy of the CPs that will contribute to the concentration and preparation of working class-popular forces in an anti-capitalist-antimonopoly direction.
The KKE struggles against NATO, the political-military alliance that is the armed wing Euro-American imperialism and is responsible for dozens of interventions, wars, coups. Our party struggles in the line of disengagement, with the people as masters of their own country. The positions that promote the “dissolution” of NATO, when they are detached from the struggle for the disengagement of each country, weaken the struggle against this murderous apparatus. The KKE fights against the EU, the inter-state imperialist union in Europe, with the aim of disengagement, with the power and wealth in the hands of the people and the development of mutually beneficial relations with other states and peoples. Our party has an open front against bourgeois and opportunist forces that prettify the role of the EU and support it, like the Party of the European Left (PEL). The problem is not only one or the other anti-people policy of the EU, but its class essence as a union of the monopolies against the peoples.
Certain comrades ask us why the KKE left the “left group” of GUE/NGL. We say to these comrades that the CC of our party assessed that this group has been transformed into the parliamentary group of the PEL, that it supports the EU, its forces have supported imperialist interventions and wars e.g. in Libya and in Syria. Parties such as the German Die Linke, SYRIZA and others engage in anti-communism, participate in the offensive against the Soviet Union and its historical course and have participated in events that have added fuel to the fire of the anti-Cuba attacks. The KKE is not integrated in any political group. Its EU parliamentary group carries out multi-faceted activity inside and outside the EU parliament, has made a large number of interventions and is at the disposal of the Communist and Workers’ parties. Those who predicted the isolation of the KKE and tried to slander it have been exposed on this occasion as well.
A discussion has begun about BRICS and we must answer a key question. What is the objective basis, the criteria that determine the character of BRICS, the inter-state cooperation of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa? The evidence itself demonstrates that these are capitalist states, important links in the chain of the imperialist system, with strong monopolies that control the economy. Unevenness and unequal relations are the basic features. The competition of BRICS e.g. with the USA and the EU, is combined with the competition amongst the BRICS states themselves, because, for example, the political, economic and military and other capabilities and aims of China are different from those of the other states. Even forces that support BRICS are concerned about the slowdown noted in the economies of these states and this is only one aspect of the developments. Because the outbreak of the crisis is gestating, as it is in capitalism’s DNA.
Dear comrades, A discussion has begun about the character and role of the inter-state unions in Latin America. For example, about the “Union of South American Nations” (UNASUR), the “Southern Common Market” (Mercosur), the ‘Community of Latin American and Caribbean States” (CELAC) or other unions. Reality proves that these are unions of capitalist states, which irrespectively of whether states with governments that call themselves “left” participate and regardless of the form of management. The basis of these unions is comprised of the large monopoly groups and their interests. This is the starting point for the commercial and other financial transactions that are being promoted for the development of inter-state relations as well as the relations with other capitalist countries or imperialist unions.
At the same time, the creation of an increasingly denser web of inter-state capitalist unions in the region strengthens the mechanisms of cooperation between the bourgeois states in a process that in the end functions against the people’s struggle. In the framework of uneven development and uneven inter-state relations, the dominant role of Brazil and Argentina, which are using these unions for the further advancement of the interests of the monopolies, can be distinguished.
The relations between the unions of Latin America, the USA and the EU are relations of competition over the control of the markets, and at the same time they are relations of economic and political cooperation. Some comrades are reflecting on the character of the “Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America” (ALBA), in which Cuba participates. Our opinion is that the basic element that determines ALBA’s character is that it as an inter-state union where capitalist states are prevalent and Cuba’s participation does not change this. After the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union, the position regarding a “multi-polar world” is being promoted as a counterweight to the USA. This position exalts BRICS and other inter-state unions.
Objectively, this position is based on a non-class view of the character of the powerful capitalist states, old or “emerging”, where the monopolies are dominant. These states play a particular role in capital exports, seek a leading role in their region and more widely and possess an important position in the imperialist system. The approach regarding a “multipolar world” as means to ensure peace and the people’s interests is a delusion. In essence this viewpoint treats the opponent as an ally, traps popular forces into choosing an imperialist or imperialist union and damages the labour movement. Dear comrades, The KKE from the first moment of the counterrevolution is attempting to contribute with all its forces to the regroupment of the communist movement, to its unity on a revolutionary basis and to the coordination of its struggle.
Now, 20 years after the counterrevolutionary overthrows, the crisis of the Communist Movement is continuing. Bourgeois and opportunist viewpoints influence CPs or are adopted by them and in this way the crisis is being reproduced. If a break is not made, if the strategy of the communist movement is not adjusted towards the concentration and preparation of working class-people’s forces for the struggle to overthrow capitalism, if the fight against opportunism is not reinforced and it is not clarified that socialism is the only solution that can satisfy the people’s needs, then the situation will deteriorate in the years to come. The logic of national specificities constituted the instrument of “eurocommunism” in order to deny the scientific laws of socialist revolution and construction and today the problem manifests itself with the same or similar arguments. Of course, every CP in its country is responsible for studying the development of capitalism and the social structure in order to take the necessary measures in order to adapt its strategy and tactics for the most effective development of the class struggle.
But, this is something quite different from using the “specificities” to substantiate the substitution of the revolutionary path with parliamentarianism, the relegation of socialism into governmental changes which will manage bourgeois society, as , for example, the Sao Paolo Forum and other forces do. The construction of socialism is a unified process, which begins with the conquest of power by the working class in order to form the new mode of production, which will prevail with the complete abolition of capitalist relations, the capital-wage labour relations. The socialization of the means of production and central planning are laws of socialist construction, necessary conditions for the satisfaction of the people’s needs.
Dear comrades, The different approaches on serious issues require further discussion. This is undeniable. However, at the same time, we are obliged to participate in and decisively support the struggle of the working class, the popular strata, the youth, and to utilise every possibility to coordinate our activity. In this direction we propose that we examine together common actions for the next period and amongst which we draw attention to the following: Support for the working class struggles for labour, social, democratic rights of workers. Coordinated actions for May 1st. Promotion of the 70th anniversary of the WFTU. Campaign against anti-communism culminating on the 9th of May 2015, the day of the anti-fascist victory. Intensification of the struggle against the imperialist threats, interventions and occupation, campaign against NATO etc.