Statement by Giorgos Marinos, Member of the Political Bureau of the CC of KKE (Communist Party of Greece) at the Eleventh International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties , New Delhi, India. November 20-22, 2009 .Â Statements by other parties will be posted as they become available.
We would like to thank the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India for hosting and organizing the Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. The fact that the International Meeting takes place in Asia for the first time is a very significant step. Amongst others, it underlines our solidarity with the peoples in the region who increasingly become the target of imperialist plans and rivalries. It underlines as well our solidarity with the struggle of communist parties that often face extremely difficult conditions, persecution, discrimination, and assassinations.
The examination of developments regarding the capitalist crisis will enrich our experience. It will contribute to the development
of the communists’ struggle. Communists study the capitalist crisis, its causes and its consequences, the conditions it creates for the
development of the ideological, political and mass struggle.
Nevertheless, the focus of our attention on the capitalist
crisis should not distract us from the capitalist development of the
previous period , in which the factors that led to the crisis developed. Furthermore, the working people must treat capitalist development in a unified way, in all the stages of the economic cycle and draw
conclusions as well.
Capitalism is not dangerous only in the phase of the crisis, the economic recession. It is dangerous as a whole. Because, in all its stages, it is characterized by the exploitation of labour, by surplus value created by unpaid labour, by the drive for capitalist profit which is the life and soul of the capitalist system.
Even in conditions of economic upswing, of expansion of the production and increase of the wealth produced by the workers, it is big capital that appropriates the fruits of this development, increasing its profit and its power. The profits of magnates, bankers, ship owners, as well as other sectors of plutocracy, the strengthening of monopoly capital are immense.
On the contrary, workers face the increase of unemployment, the
freezing of salaries and pensions, the postponement of the retirement age,
the downgrading of the right to education, healthcare, welfare, sports,
culture, as well as the heavy consequences from the privatizations
and the deregulation of fields and sectors of the economy.
These tendencies do not apply merely to those capitalist countries which hold an intermediate or subordinate position in the capitalist pyramid. They also apply to the US, to the EU as an interstate imperialist organisation. They apply to the capitalist world as a whole.
On this basis, the preconditions of the crisis developed. Therefore, the communist parties must struggle in order to highlight the real causes of the crisis and reveal the fake allegations of social democracy and opportunism that use many pretexts in order to safeguard capitalism and conceal its irreconcilable contradictions.
There can be no retreat. The ideological-political struggle must intensify.
We must respond resolutely to the allegations of the bourgeois and opportunist forces, especially to those of the European Left Party and the “Die Linke” party which play a leading role in the attempt to promote capital’s positions in the working class. We must respond to the new wave of anticommunism unfolding on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the counterrevolution with the full support of liberal, social democratic and opportunist forces.
First: the allegation that the crisis has been caused exclusively by neo-liberal management conceals the truth. It exonerates capitalism from its responsibilities and whitewashes social democracy. Capitalism has suffered crises since 19th century. With its transition to the imperialist stage, crises took on a systemic character.
All forms of management have been tested in order to prevent and avoid crises: the reinforcement of the state economic activity and the stimulation of the demand according to neo-Keynesian recipes; likewise neoliberal recipes but also the mixtures of social democratic policies. However, the laws of capitalism will assert themselves. Economic crises of overproduction have manifested themselves in all periods, irrespective of the form of management.
The capitalist restructuring initiated after the crisis of 1973 and spread in the 1990s has not occurred by accident. The goal was to deal with the problems concerning the reproduction of capital and the slowdown of capitalist development. These changes meet the inner need of the system for greater centralization and profit – making of capital through the deregulation of markets, the free movement of capital, goods, services and labor. But even this management has lost its dynamic. It led to an economic crisis.
Second: the characterization of the crisis as a financial one and the theory of casino-capitalism conceal the real causes of the crisis. Furthermore, thee theories have been refuted by developments since the crisis has already embraced all spheres of economy. The history of crises has proved that they can initially manifest themselves in the financial system but their root is the over-accumulation of capital that takes place in the sphere of production.
The bad loans granted by banks and other financial companies in the US have served a specific need: to provide a profitable way out for over-accumulated capital that included the surplus value created by the exploitation of labour, by unpaid labour in the production; to continue expanded reproduction, overcoming the problems regarding the purchasing power of the workers’ families by means of lending for home purchase or the satisfaction of other needs. The analysis of these complicated issues regarding the reproduction of social capital requires the comprehensive examination of the relationship between industrial, commercial and bank capital, taking into account that in the era of imperialism, even more so nowadays, the merging of industrial with bank capital, the formation of financial capital has taken on huge dimensions.
The real cause of the crisis is the intensification of the main contradiction of capitalism, the contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist appropriation of its results due to the fact that the means of production are under capitalist ownership. The goal of capitalism is profit and not the satisfaction of the people’s needs. These elements prevail in the exploitative system. They constitute the basis of anarchic, uneven development. They are the basis of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall, which is caused by the increase of the organic composition of capital. They are the basis of the contradiction between production and consumption. These factors lead to disfunctions in the reproduction of social capital, to “outbreaks”, and crises of overproduction.
We struggle so that the people understand the real causes of the crisis, and we devote all our forces to the organisation of the struggle of the working class and the popular strata against capitalist aggressiveness and its anti-people policy that supports capital and tries to place the burden of the crisis on the peoples’ shoulders. People should draw conclusions. Trillions of dollars have been allocated for the reinforcement of bankers, magnates and other capitalists strengthening the offensive on workers’ and peoples’ forces, the effort to make them pay for capitalist crisis. This course is followed both in the US and the EU as well as in other capitalist countries, both by neoliberal and social democratic parties. The decision of the G20 is also at the same direction. Their contradictions reflect the rivalries between the monopoly interests they serve.
Capitalist powers fear the crisis of capital over-accumulation and overproduction that embraces the US, the EU, Russia, Japan, Latin America and is causing a slowdown in the economy of China and India. In order to mislead the people they use several contrived theories. They promote false expectations in order to check social response and hinder the development of class struggle.
The social democratic forces, the Socialist International and its cadres, play a leading role in this effort.
First: they present the control of the capital’s movement as a way out. They talk about the democratization of the World Bank and the European Central Bank. However, it has been proved that nothing can prevent the sharpening of capitalist contradictions and that no measure can change the nature of the bank system which is a tool of capitalism.
Second: they promote the nationalization of certain banks or other capitalist enterprises as a way out. This position is deceptive because even in that case the criterion of profit remains on the basis of a deregulated market that breeds competition and aggressiveness against the peoples.
Third: they are worried about the increase of unemployment. As a solution they promote the increase of growth rates combined with the so-called “green development”. They are actually fooling the peoples. Capitalist development has never managed to ensure the right to work for all the people, and it will not do so.
The source of the evil is the fact that the means of production are in the hands of the capitalists. Profit is the criterion for development. In any case, the system is characterized by the anarchy in production and uneven development between various fields and sectors of the economy as well as geographical areas.
This fact underlines that in capitalism workers can never be before profits. It reveals how misleading the allegations about the “rationalized”, “human” capitalism and the regulation of the market are. Communists must refute resolutely these illusions about the management of the capitalist system and face up to the difficulties in the organisation and the development of the class struggle, clarifying that there is no common interest between capital and the working class, neither in the phase of the crisis nor in the recovery phase of capitalist development.
Capitalists and their parties promote new anti-people’s measures in the name of climate changes, concealing the fact that they constitute the result of the exploitation of the natural resources by capital with the aim of profit-making. Energy, water, forests, wastes, agricultural production, are privatized and concentrated in the hands of a few multinational corporations, now also it is done in the name of the environment. Similar measures are promoted, to a greater or lesser extent, in all capitalist countries irrespective of the degree of capitalist development.
Furthermore, the protection of the environment is also used as a pretext for imperialist interventions. Multinational monopolies, through the powerful imperialist powers, above all the USA and the EU, promote anti-people’s interstate agreements in the framework of the WTO and the Doha round of trade negotiations with the less developed capitalist countries. Thus they set goals, e.g., for biofuels, that destroy vast forest areas. They promote genetically modified food and other measures as well, striking an even bigger blow to workers’ income and that of the poor and medium-sized peasantry.
“Green economy,” promoted mainly by the EU, constitutes a way out for the over-accumulation of capital and the safeguarding of monopoly profits by means of intensifying the exploitation of workers and natural resources. Not only does it not solve the problem of climate change but, on the contrary, it intensifies it. Climate and environmental problems cannot be dealt with apart from the ownership of the concentrated means of production and the issue of political power.
Social concession, class collaboration is one of the most insidious and dangerous tools for the manipulation and disarmament of the working class. We are thus obliged to strengthen the ideological front and to struggle against such positions, which in most cases are expressed not only by neoliberal or social democratic parties but also by parties that present themselves as “left”, namely opportunist parties. These parties try to build relationships with communist parties and exert influence on their ranks, their ideology and their policy.
Some of these so-called “left” parties do not only promote positions that serve capitalism but they also resort to open anticommunism, they slander socialism adn the history of the communist movement.
The effort of the communist movement for the unity of the working class should not be based on its relationship with so-called “left” opportunist parties. It should depend on its ability to convince, to rally and mobilise working and popular forces against monopolies and imperialism, and against their open or covert allies.
KKE believes that the clarification of this crucial issue will give an impetus to the struggle of the communist movement. It will strengthen its independent action and the recruitment of new forces in the labour movement. This issue is particularly important for the change of the correlation of forces and the effectiveness of the struggle in conditions of crisis but also for the future.
Furthermore we would like to stress the following: This intense ideological-political struggle requires a bigger effort to tackle developments according to a Marxist-Leninist analysis. It also requires the strengthening of the international meetings of communist and workers parties in thisÂ respect. Only in that way can international meetings fulfil their role, respond to the complicated duties of the communists, and meet the expectation of the working people.
In Greece we experience the difficulties of a hard battle characterised by the aggressiveness of the EU and the social democratic government. Under the conditions of the crisis the enforcement of capitalist restructuring is accelerated. The effort to impose the so called “flexicurity” and the flexible forms of employment in general intensifies, the policy of dismantling the social security rights continues, healthcare, welfare education are being further privatised while salaries and pensions freeze. All means are used to reduce the price of labour, and to increase the degree of exploitation and capitalist profit-making.
Under these conditions KKE increases its efforts for class unity of the working class and the social alliance with the peasantry and other oppressed popular strata. It insists on the organisation of the working class in the workplaces and the trade unions. It supports PAME, the class-oriented pole in the trade union movement that struggles against the forces of yellow trade unionism and fights hard battles for the rights of the working class. The strengthening and the effectiveness of the struggle of the class-pole of the movement require its orientation against the efforts to place the burden of the crisis on people’s shoulders; likewise the promotion of demands that meet the people’s needs (full and stable employment, substantial increases in wages and pensions, exclusively free, public healthcare, welfare, education system etc).
The trade unions that struggle through the ranks of PAME have achieved significant results. Through strikes, demonstrations, occupations and other forms of struggle they rescind dismissals; they force the employers to reinstate dismissed workers; they sign collective labour contracts that provide increases exceeding the incomes policy; they block the attacks against immigrants.
KKE along with the class-oriented movement confront these difficulties and are particularly demanding regarding the strengthening of the ideological, political, mass struggle for the liberation of working-popular forces from the influence of bourgeois politics and ideology from reformism. In our opinion, communist parties must combine efforts for the strengthening of the class oriented movement at national level with the strengthening of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) which is making significant progress in its reconstruction.
We should be in a state of alert. Capitalist crisis intensifies intra-imperialist contradictions in a period when significant reshufflings take place, when the share of the US in the Gross World Product dwindles, the EU reinforces its presence, and China, Russia, India and Brazil are strengthened.
Working people should not have any illusions about the so-called “multipolar world”, about the slogans of social democracy about the “democratisation of the UN” or the “new architecture of the international relations”. These slogans only intend to humanize capitalism. In fact there has never been a “unipolar world”! Intra imperialist contradictions have always existed. Nevertheless, in the past they were mitigated due to the need to confront the USSR and the other socialist countries.
Nowadays, we witness a new intensification of intra-imperialist contradictions as well as the quest of several rising imperialist forces and alliances to play an upgraded role in international affairs, described through the model of the “multi polar world”.
In fact imperialism is characterised by the drive for markets and natural resources. Communists have assumed great responsibilities as regards the enlightenment and mobilisation of the peoples against imperialist wars and interventions, against imperialist occupation, as well as against all imperialist organisations and centres irrespective of their “colour”, their name or the region where they are formed in.
The conflicts inside but also between the imperialist organisation such as the WTO should not trap the working people in demands for a better or a more “fair” management of the capitalist system. The agreements concluded there reflect the correlation of forces. It is an illusion to believe that they can become fairer.
Communists do not struggle for a better position of their country in the world capitalist market or a better management of capitalism but for the overthrow of capitalism and for socialist construction! The working people both in developed capitalist countries and in countries with a medium and lower level of capitalist development should respond with a unified common front against imperialists, against the efforts to divide the peoples irrespective any class criteria in “South and North” in “rich and poor” countries.
Communists must respond to these pseudo-divisions with the elaboration of a common strategy against imperialism, with an even more distinctive unity at global level that will be forged in our coordinated struggles at national, regional and global level in cooperation with other anti-imperialist forces.
The historical slogan of the Communist Manifest “proletarians of all countries, unite!” is still relevant.
The distance between capitalists and the working class increases both in the so called “developing” and “developed” countries. The social contradictions sharpen due to the overall attack launched by big capital after the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe on the rights and the gains of the workers around the world.
Historical experience has proved that the communist movement strengthens to the extent that it is firmly dedicated to the line of anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly struggle and to its strategic goal, namely the struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, that is to say, socialism, the abolition of the exploitation of man by man. In the modern era, an era of transition from capitalism to socialism, the struggle should not aim at bourgeois democratic transformations but at socialist power that will overthrow the power of monopolies and solve problems of economic backwardness, dependence etc. The enemies of socialism and the various anticommunists, who celebrated a few days ago the fall of Berlin Wall and the overthrow of socialism, cannot stop the course of history, no matter what they do.
Socialism has had a great historical contribution. In a few years it solved problems that capitalism has not managed to solve throughout centuries. It established the right to work, to free healthcare and education. It developed sports and culture for the people. It abolished the exploitation of man by man. It showed the supremacy of socialism over capitalism.
The Soviet Union was a key factor in the victory over fascism, having lost 20 million of its people in the battle. We are studying the shortcomings, the mistakes, the opportunist deviations that led to the overthrow of socialism. We are drawing the lessons. Socialism of the new century constitutes an integral continuation of the heritage and the lessons of the socialism of the 20th century.
Socialism is more relevant and necessary. The intensification of the main capitalist contradiction, unemployment, poverty, exploitation and the capitalist crisis show its historical limits.
The way to the satisfaction of the people’s needs is through workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the socialisation of the means of production and land, central planning and workers’ control.
This is the beacon that lights our path.