Speech of G. Marinos, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee
We would like to thank the South African CP for hosting the international meeting and for the hospitality they have provided us.
We send militant greetings to the communist men and women of Africa, to the anti-imperialist movements, to the people of the continent who have experienced capitalism in all its barbarity. We salute the fact that the International Meeting of the CWP is being held on the African continent for the first time.
We salute the delegations of the workers’ and communist parties and we thank them for the solidarity that they have expressed with the struggles of the KKE, PAME and the working class of our country.
The developments have raised the level of what is required of us and the workings of the International Meeting of the CPs must be distinguished by the serious responsibility which the communists have in relation to the working class, the peoples, who face the fierce assault of capital and its political representatives, an assault which under the conditions of the capitalist crisis has become more intense and dangerous.
We are not any run of the mill political force, we are Communist Parties, and we have a specific mission – to organize the struggle of the working class, the class struggle, with the aim of overthrowing the exploitative system in every country and the construction of a new socialist-communist society.
For this reason we are obliged to collectively elaborate our experience from the struggle and to utilize it to take the strategy and tactics of the international communist movement a step forward, so that it corresponds to the needs of the class struggle.
The capitalist crisis continues and deepens. Despite the assistance of the bourgeois states and the imperialist organizations which have supported the monopoly businesses with billions of dollars, the contradictions of the system cannot be checked.
The recession of 2009 continued into this year, and in many capitalist states will continue into 2011. The assessments concerning an anaemic recovery and the creation of the pre-conditions for a new crisis place massive responsibilities on our shoulders.
Internationally, unemployment has exceeded every precedent.
The number of unemployed has surpassed 23 million in the EU member-states, without including the millions of workers who are on part-time or temporary contracts.
The importance for the communists to have a common viewpoint concerning the causes of the crisis remains and indeed has been reinforced, precisely because a fierce ideological-political battle is being waged over this issue which is related to the direction and the future of the class struggle.
The bourgeois forces which defend capitalism claim that the crisis was causes by "management" policies, the lack of control over the financial system, the overspending of the bourgeois state, the lack of transparency in the exercise of economic policies.
The forces of social democracy and opportunism operate within this "administrative" logic and limit their criticism to neo-liberalism, seeking the solution through the development of the system itself, the regulation of the market. They foster illusions concerning capitalism "with a human face" in order to deceive the workers.
Unfortunately identical or similar positions are influencing the ranks of the communist movement and causing serious damage.
They shift the causes from the exploitative relations of production, the laws and contradictions of capitalism, to the bourgeois administrative policies and their various "mixtures".
Marxist-Leninist analysis leads to the safe conclusion which stresses that the causes of the crisis can be found in the heart of the system, in the conditions of capitalist production, in its anarchy, its uneven development, the sharpening of its basic contradiction, the contradiction between the social character of production and labour on the one hand and the individual-capitalist form of appropriation on the other, because the means of production are found in the hands of the capitalists.
The development of the crisis proves that it is a crisis of the over-accumulation of capital which had been concentrated in the recent period from the exploitation of the labour force, under the conditions of capitalist economic growth.
This is the situation which we are experiencing in Greece today.
The slowing down of the economy which was apparent in 2008 developed in 2009 into economic recession and the reduction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2 %, which continued into 2010 with a further reduction of 4% and will continue in 2011.
We are referring to a reduction of industrial production (manufacturing, energy, transport, telecommunications) and in other sectors and branches of the economy, such as tourism and retail, which in combination with the anti-people policies of the social democratic and liberal governments provokes an increase in unemployment and more generally the worsening of the living conditions of the working class, of the small and medium farmers, of the small tradesmen, craftsmen and traders.
The liberal government of ND which was in power until October 2009 and afterwards the social democratic government of PASOK, supported by the reactionary and racist LAOS party, took harsh anti-people measures using as pretexts the deficit and the public debt which is a large proportion of the GDP.
The social democratic government signed an agreement, a memorandum, with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, known as the "Troika," in order to ensure a loan of 110 billion Euros for the needs of the capitalists.
The memorandum legislates for amongst other things the reduction of wages and pensions, the abolition of industry-level collective bargaining agreements, the overturning of labour and social security rights, privatizations, the reactionary changes in the Health sector, in Welfare and in Education.
This situation triggered intense popular discontent and large mobilizations in which the KKE and PAME, the class-oriented trade union movement, played the leading role.
From December 2009 up to the present day there have been 13 general strikes, dozens of occupations of ministries and other state buildings, a variety of sectoral and other struggles with the participation of hundreds of thousands of workers.
The message of the KKE "Peoples of Europe, Rise up" which was issued from the Acropolis monument was of special importance.
We can draw valuable conclusions from the rich experience we have gained in this period.
Firstly, the anti-people measures are not the product of this period. They are measures that had been decided on in the European Union and other international imperialist organizations, with the participation of the Greek and other bourgeois governments in previous years, within the framework of the capitalist restructurings in order to reduce the cost of the labour force, to strengthen competitiveness and to increase the profitability of the large corporations.
The view that the EU, an inter-state imperialist union, could allegedly prevent the outbreak of the capitalist crisis has been shown to be extremely dangerous. It has also been proved that this is not related only to the specific situation in Greece. The developments in Ireland and Portugal reveal that the outbreak of the crisis has a general character.
These measures which have now been imposed during the crisis are not temporary but permanent in character and will be reinforced further according to the needs of capital if the resistance does not become more powerful.
The following conclusion is beyond any doubt:
As long as state power and the means of production are found in the hands of the capitalists, development will strengthen their position and increase the profits of capital.
Either with restrictive or with expansionist public finance policies, with the extension of the renegotiation of the debt, the contradictions will sharpen, the peoples will be called on to cover the costs of the crisis.
Secondly, the social democratic government of PASOK has taken on the basic responsibility for the measures, but the liberal ND party and the other bourgeois parties essentially agree with them.
The opportunist forces (SYN/SYRIZA) sow confusion, make excuses for the European Union (EU), that interstate imperialist union, and focus their criticism on the role of the International Monetary fund. It is also important to point out that in these conditions the peoples who are struggling with the communists in the vanguard must be clear that the anti-worker measures of the EU and IMF are not being imposed on the bourgeois governments against their will and their interests.
On the contrary, these measures have the full support of the domestic plutocracy because they ensure the continuance of their profitability both in the crisis and also in the period of recovery. In addition their implementation does not constitute a new form of occupation as some forces claim, in essence denying the guilt of the bourgeois classes of their countries and their governments.
Employer-led and government-led trade unionism has criminal responsibilities. It controls the administrations of the two general confederations (in the public and private sector) and has the majority in a large number of trade unions, utilizing both state mechanisms and the intervention of the employers.
These forces have supported the European one-way street for years, the strategy of capital, and they implement the line of class collaboration.
Thirdly, the KKE and the class-oriented movement are the consistent forces which stand at the people’s side and organize the struggle in the face of serious difficulties and anti-communist attacks.
The KKE promptly informed and prepared the workers concerning the crisis and the anti-worker, anti-people assault. It made it clear that the workers were not responsible for the crisis, the debt and the deficit but that the forces of capital and the policies which serve its interests are responsible, condensing this political position into the slogan "The plutocracy must pay for the crisis."
The KKE and PAME play the vanguard role in the daily struggles and fight against the imperialist European Union, the bourgeois and opportunist parties, the subjugated reformist forces in the trade union movement.
They focus their attention on the unity of the working class and the social alliance, on rallying working class and popular forces in a line and with aims that come into conflict with capitalist path of development. In the direction of a path of development which has as its criterion the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people, popular power and the people’s economy, socialism.
A very important element is the coordination of the struggle of PAME and the other militant rallies of the small farmers, small tradesmen, craftsmen and traders, the militant women’s movement, the militant movement of students on the basis of a common framework of struggle which contributes to the mobilization of more popular forces, to the construction of the social alliance.
This combination of ideological, political and mass struggle contributed to the increase in the influence of the KKE, PAME and the other militant rallies, and this was expressed in the recent elections for the local and regional government bodies through the significant strengthening of "People’s Rally", the list which the KKE supports.
Sources of strength for our party are its programmatic positions which were enriched at the 18th Congress through the decision concerning the "Assessments and Conclusions on Socialist Construction in the 20th Century."
A source of strength for our party is its faith in the class struggle, its commitment to the socialist revolution for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism.
This struggle determines the ideological-political and organizational work of the party, its activity in the working class, popular strata and the youth.
It has been proved in practice that the revolutionary line of struggle which the KKE follows does not narrow mass work but strengthens it. It raises the expectations of the workers, it provides a way out and a prospect for the future, it contributes to shifts in the correlation of forces.
We must confirm and reinforce our principles because this will strengthen the efforts to deal with the crisis which affects the communist movement.
Our experience teaches us that revolutionary struggle is predicated on the fight against opportunism, which expresses the impact of bourgeois ideology on the labour movement, and is a tool in the hands of the system, an obstacle to the radicalization of popular forces, a vehicle for subjugation and compromise, as the history of eurocommunism and its more recent expressions have proved.
Opportunism wears many masks.
For this reason there must be strict criteria in order to discover what lies behind the term "left" and the self-proclaimed left parties and initiatives.
Life shows that the strategy and tactics of a series of forces that call themselves "leftwing" are an obstacle to the anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist struggle.
We are in opposition to the European Left Party, in which Die Linke from Germany plays a leading role, because it defends the imperialist European Union, and is dependent on it. Its social democratic strategy of managing the system which it promotes with the assistance of capitalism, its participation in the slanderous campaign against the USSR and socialism which was constructed in the 20th century, from an anti-communist anti-historical position, it spreads confusion amongst the workers, it impedes the development of political class consciousness.
Similar parties outside of the ELP do the same, such as the Left party of Sweden which has utilized the foundation "International Left forum" (VIF) to intervene in a liquidationist fashion for the social-democratization of CPs.
In the opinion of the KKE the ideological-political conflict with these forces must be strengthened, their role must be exposed, taking into account that these forces, together with the mechanisms of the socialist international intervene, in combination with state mechanisms and interstate bodies, corrosively within the ranks of the communist movement, operating as a factor which prolongs its crisis.
In addition the theses concerning "21st century socialism" are dangerous for the communist movement. These positions are advanced by petty bourgeois forces in Latin America, in opposition to scientific socialism.
This is an opportunist ideological construct which distorts all the principles and laws of socialism-communism, impedes the development of class struggle and causes confusion within the working class.
The necessity of socialist revolution, the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of a new communist socio-economic formation, is not determined by the correlation of forces at any given historical moment but by the historical requirement for the solution of the basic contradiction between capital and labour, the abolition of exploitation of man by man, the abolition of classes.
For this reason the painful overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, and indeed all the counterrevolutionary changes which were caused by opportunist corrosion, do not change the character of our epoch as the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism.
The first duty is the acquisition of state power by the working class in order to create, through the conscious activity of the vanguard class and its party, a new socio-economic base through the social ownership of the means of production and central planning.
In order for all classes to be abolished not only must the exploiters be overthrown, not only must their ownership be abolished but every form of private ownership of the means of production.
This Leninist direction is of special importance in the struggle of the communists, it protects us from mistakes and deviations.
The replacement of the principles of Marxism-Leninism by revisionist approaches in the name of national peculiarities has done great damage to the communist movement.
We are talking about strategic issues, about the central direction of our struggle and not national peculiarity can negate the need for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, the need for working class state power, for the socialization of the means of production and central planning.
No national peculiarity can justify the position concerning "socialism with a capitalist market." It is one thing to make a necessary temporary retreat in adverse conditions (such as the NEP in Lenin’s time), and quite another to accept capitalist laws and categories as tools for socialist construction, as is happening today in China.
The Communist formation has its own laws. Socialism with capitalist relations of production has never existed, and will never exist.
The struggle of the peoples will become more effective to the extent which the front against imperialism and the imperialist unions is strengthened, to the extent which the conflict is intensified against the theory of the so-called "multi-polar world" that hides the essence of imperialism-monopoly capitalism.
It is one thing to utilize inter-imperialist contradictions to assist the anti-imperialist struggle and quite another to idealize the stance of old or new, up and coming or not, imperialist states and unions (EU, OSCE, Shanghai Co-operation Organization, etc) which are opposed to the USA on behalf of their own monopoly groups in order to win a larger share of the markets.
This is not only true of the European Union and Japan. It is also true of Brazil, India, Russia and indeed of China, where capitalist relations of production are now predominant. China’s capitalist monopoly groups are active in every continent and at the political level it promotes a strategy of cooperation with the Socialist International, which plays a key role in capital’s assault.
The opposition to the uneven relations which characterize the imperialist system, the opposition to the strong presence of transnational capital in certain states must acquire a deeper anti-imperialist-anti-monopoly content, by fighting against positions which lead to an alliance with sections of domestic capital and the political forces which represent their interests.
The independent ideological, political, and organizational work of the CPs and an alliance policy which is suited to a revolutionary force are basic principles which when violated lead to the alteration of the CPs’ communist characteristics, to their degeneration.
We have a great deal of work to do and many difficult duties to undertake. The coordination of our activity is necessary and we must insist on the implementation of the goals which the international meetings of the Communist and Workers’ Parties decide on.
Firstly, It is certain that the capitalist crisis will continue and consequently there is a clear need to promote the duty for the organization of the working class-popular struggle in every country in order to prevent the anti-people measures, to rally more popular forces around anti-monopoly goals, so that the bonds between the Communist Parties and the working class, the youth and the popular strata are strengthened , as well as their organization in the workplaces, so that new trade unions are won to a class-oriented line, so that party organizations are built in the factories and more generally in the workplaces, and of course so that strong communist youth organizations are developed.
The KKE implements with consistency the decisions which are contained in the joint statements of the international meetings, takes initiatives to organize regional and thematic meetings and persists concerning the question of the common activity of the CPs of Europe and the Balkans where ideological and organizational fragmentation have led to a large-scale retreat.
We will continue on this road in the next period, working in parallel to strengthen the initiative of the theoretical journals of sister Marxist-Leninist parties to publish together with us the "International Communist Review". As a party we persist in our view that a discrete Marxist-Leninist pole must be formed which will assist the communist movement in dealing with its crisis.
Secondly: The sharpening of inter-imperialist competition and the difficulties the capitalist system has in dealing with the crisis, intensify imperialist aggression and increase the dangers of new cycle of regional conflicts in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, in the Korean peninsula, in Iran, in the Caucasus, in the Balkans and other areas.
These dangers are intensifying if we take into account the new NATO strategy, this dangerous tool of imperialism, which allows for interventions, wars, under the guise of a wide variety of pretexts, such as "terrorism," "extremism," "climate change," "waves of immigration."
The conditions, the correlation of forces have changes and this is apparent in international relations, in the international organizations, such as the UN. Today international law which had been shaped by the conflict between socialism and capitalism does not exist. It has been replaced by a law which serves the interests of the imperialists, and for this reason any talk of a "new global architecture" or the "democratization of international relations" has no basis in reality.
In light of this situation, communists must play a leading role in order to inform the people and develop the anti-imperialist struggle, in order to open a strong front against the bourgeois governments which participate in the imperialist plans, to strengthen a fighting movement for disengagement from NATO and the withdrawal of the occupation forces from Afghanistan and Iraq.
The greatest possible international solidarity with states and peoples which are threatened by imperialism must be expressed, and the so-called "anti-missile shield" of NATO-USA must not be installed.
We must strengthen our support for socialist Cuba, as well as for the struggles of the Palestinian people and the peoples of the Middle East, which resist and do not submit to the plans of the USA and Israel.
We must demand a just solution to the Cyprus problem, with the withdrawal of all the occupation forces. The Cyprus problem is above all an International issue of the invasion and occupation of 37% of an independent member-state of the UN by the Turkish army, with the active assistance of the USA and NATO.
Thirdly, anticommunism is continuing to intensify, with at its centre the anti-historical identification of communism with fascist and Nazi brutality. The Council of Europe, the European Union and the other imperialist organizations promote harsh measures in order to restrict the activity of the CPs and to squeeze their finances. Reactionary changes to the political systems are being pushed forward; bourgeois state power is being reinforced with new repressive mechanisms.
CPs remain illegal and are persecuted in the states of Eastern and Central Europe, in Asia, Africa and in other regions. Communist parties, revolutionary and anti-imperialist movements in Latin America are being targeted under the pretext of the war against "terrorism"; the forms of struggle and resistance which the people choose are being criminalized.
We have a serious responsibility and obligation to fight for, in a coordinated manner, the legalization of the CPs and anti-imperialist forces and to defend the history of the communist movement and massive contribution of the Soviet Union and the socialism which was constructed in the 20th century.
Fourthly, the situation demands that we give more support to the international anti-imperialist organizations, that we contribute to the strengthening of the WFTU, which has made important progress and will hold its 16th congress in April 2011 in Athens.
We must contribute to the strengthening of the WPC, WFDY, which will hold the 17th World Festival of Youth and Students here in a few days and the WIDF. We must strengthen their anti-imperialist character.
December 3, 2010