May 10, 2020
Remarks of the General Secretary of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas to the parties of the European Communist Initiative
We would like to convey to all of you the comradely wishes of the CC of the KKE for health and strength in our struggle which is an ongoing one, under all conditions, and invaluable for the interests of the working class and the peoples.
In the midst of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus that is threatening the peoples around the world, the Communist Party of Greece took the initiative to utilize the possibility of a teleconference, so that even under such complex conditions we will be able to make use of new ways of exchanging views and developing the creative coordination of action of the ECI parties.
We must emphasize that despite the pandemic and the aspirations of the anti-popular governments, the Communist and Workers’ Parties of Europe are present and honored this year’s May Day as well as the innumerable heroes of the struggle for labor rights and the cause of the working class with multifaceted activities.
Especially yesterday, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Antifascist Victory, which was achieved with the fierce struggle of the Soviet people and the Red Army led by the Bolshevik Party as well as the vital action of the partisan movements led by the CPs
Our Party faces this unprecedented situation facing the people with a high sense of responsibility.
From the very first moment, we adapted the operation and action of the Party organizations within the framework of the measures to prevent and protect public health. At the same time, we demanded that all necessary measures be taken immediately to protect the health of the people and the rights of the workers.
The content of our Party’s intervention in these difficult conditions is aptly illustrated by the slogan: “We stay strong, we do not stay silent.”
WE STAY STRONG, protecting ourselves, our family, our friends and comrades, our colleagues. We do not stay silent when it comes to deficiencies in the public health system. We highlight and demand all that should have already been done to address the pandemic.
We particularly highlight the need to recruit thousands of healthcare professionals, the immediate requisition of the private health sector, to protect our fellow people who are suffering in the workplaces producing the necessary means for the survival of the people, as well as the protection of our fellow people who are fighting an immense self-sacrificing battle in hospitals and all healthcare units, to protect our health and lives.
We stay strong, we do not lower our resistance, demands, and solidarity in the workplace and neighborhoods, certainly taking into account the protection measures and the special conditions.
We do not stay silent in the face of employer arbitrariness and government policy, which once again seek to place the burden of this crisis on the workers.
The bourgeois state, the government and their mechanisms unfolded a fierce propagandist ideological-political attack against our Party and the class-oriented labor and trade union movement, PAME, on the occasion of the mass events for the 1st of May that took place all over the country, the most prominent being the rally in Syntagma Square, outside the Parliament that figured prominently in many European and international media.
They unleashed all this anti-communist slime because they were bothered and worried by the symbolism of the events:
They are bothered by DISOBEDIENCE towards injustice and exploitation. It bothers them that the working class and its movement, led by the communists, can and must disobey anti-labor repressive measures that affect workers’ rights, find ways to express people’s protest and organize the struggle, under all circumstances, even prohibitions, using varied and original forms.
They were also annoyed and worried by the workers’ DISCIPLINE. Discipline in the observance of all the protection measures that the communists and the mass unions that rally with PAME called for. They are bothered by the fact that on this emblematic May Day, as in the previous Days of Action that preceded it, such as Day for Health (April 7), Day for Supermarket Workers (April 15) and Action Day to defend labor rights in all workplaces and sectors (April 28), the organization, the collectivity, the voluntary conscious individual disciplined participation and action for a common purpose, the vigilance, the readiness, the quality and the superiority of the struggling people were literally radiant.
The elements of insubordination and disobedience, the continuation of the struggle under any circumstances, shows us the path that we, all the Communist and Workers’ Parties, must consistently follow based on our program and our strategic goal,
The element of DISCIPLINE highlights the leading role that only the Communist Party must and can play as a leader of the class, the only Party that can stand on scientific facts, open bright paths, lead the struggle and the social alliance, take our cause to the end, that is the final victory of the workers of all Europe, against the dictatorship of the monopolies, to lead the peoples to a new society free from the exploitation of man by man.
All this is what worries the bourgeoisie, this is what we must systematically and persistently show to our peoples in the near future.
IT IS UP TO US TO BREAK THE SILENCE that the government and the big employers want to impose in the name of the slogan “let’s overcome this crisis together”, which is a reflection of hypocritical bourgeois ethics.
IT IS UP TO US TO DEMAND MEASURES to support the workers and the self-employed who have been hit by the restrictive measures.
TO DEMAND the cancellation of thousands of redundancies and the much more damaging changes that preceded them.
WE WILL NOT LEGITIMIZE measures taken under the pretext of the epidemic, with a view to become permanent, such as those concerning further “flexibility” of work.
The New Democracy government communication strategy of turning everything into “individual responsibility” is devious, precisely because it hides the truth from the people.
It aims to conceal the enormous deficiencies in the public health system due to the EU’s overall policy, which has been accepted and endorsed by all Greek governments, as well as the current policy of downgrading, commercialization, and cuts that all governments, firstly of ND – PASOK and then SYRIZA, have followed over time.
THE MYTH WHICH IS UTTERLY REFUTED during the coronavirus pandemic is the one saying that the public and the private sector can coexist harmoniously and thus contribute to addressing this situation. This myth is refuted by the profiteering of private health centers conducting the coronavirus testing, which is only accessible to those who can afford it, depriving state planning of valuable resources and at the same time increasing the risk of spreading the virus. This was tragically proved in many cases and deaths in Greece that occurred in private clinics and structures that did not fully meet hygiene standards.
This myth is also refuted by the fact that the state depends on the world market “war” conducted by the big companies, which found the opportunity to run a very lucrative business, for the supply of basic materials and drugs.
The necessity for an exclusively public and free health system with the abolition of any business activity has been dramatically demonstrated. Today, it is indisputable that the health of the people, their care, protection, and security are incompatible with capitalist profit, greedy capital and the capitalist mode of production.
Either a solution will be provided based on the real needs of the people or the people will suffer, they will live in miserable conditions, they will constantly pay out of their own pockets so that the few and chosen ones of capital will make huge profits.
And as life confirms, the monopolies seek to increase their wealth both in conditions of capitalist development and in conditions of crisis of the capitalist economy.
Especially in the recent period, the activity and competitions at a European and international level have intensified over how to more effectively support the stricken capitalist economy.
The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic acted certainly as a catalyst for the worsening of the serious problems that pre-existed in the capitalist economy.
The KKE, even when both the current and the previous government were celebrating “growth”, warned that the problem of capital accumulation, as the root cause of the crisis, not only has not been overcome, but is sharpened, bringing closer a risk of a new crisis, perhaps faster than expected.
In fact, the Greek economy is even more exposed to these shocks, due to its so-called “extroversion”, i.e. the great dependence on tourism and shipping, generally on transportation.
All previous governments of ND, SYRIZA and PASOK-KINAL waved the flag of this extroversion, while undermining the country’s great productive potential, which is valuable and necessary especially in conditions such as the present, simply because it was imposed by the profits of capital and the EU commitments.
It is on this ground that the discussion for a strong state intervention in the economy, called the “new Marshall Plan”, is developing.
This term, in fact, is used by both the followers of the current ESM support mechanisms (Germany, the Netherlands, Austria) and the followers of the Eurobond or something in-between, from the heavily indebted countries of the south.
Also, this term is used by all bourgeois forces, regardless of whether they appear as opponents (neoliberals, right-wing forces, social democrats of all shades and others).
This identification shows their agreement on the need for the bourgeois states and their allies, such as the EU, to intervene with an expansionary fiscal policy, to support not the workers and the people, who are again the victims in terms of health and rights, but business groups and their profitability.
At the same time, to strengthen the position of the European capital against its competitors, such as the USA, China, Russia, etc., in the framework of the realignments that will take place in the international imperialist system.
Of course, this does not mean that there are no differences between them, within the EU, over who will win and who will lose, which can lead to another fragile compromise.
In fact, the opposite is true. Countries with smaller deficits and debts argue that lending to economies should be a matter of each state individually, through current support mechanisms. Countries with higher deficits, such as Italy and Spain, which will need large packages to support their own business groups, argue that this lending should be done on a “debt pooling” basis.
What is being confirmed once again is the fraud of “European solidarity”.
The EU and the Eurozone are by nature alliances of competing states and economies that, especially in times of crisis, “show their teeth” to one another and above all to peoples.
Thus, those who are bemoaning again about the cohesion of the EU and the “common European house that is threatened”, know that this false image is fading in the eyes of the people.
It is also confirmed that the bourgeois management mix that is selected each time, is not determined by the particular political views of each bourgeois government, but by the needs and priorities of the capital at a given time.
For this reason, after all, we have seen social-democratic forces, such as SYRIZA in Greece, implying restrictive policies that they allegedly opposed, as well as neoliberal forces now implying a more expansive policy, which they have previously criticized.
This is nothing new. Modern history is full of such examples. In any case, the common denominator is the following: The workers are the ones who will be called to pay the price of the new rescue packages again.
The workers paid for the memoranda (the harsh anti-popular austerity measures) in the past years that still remain in force, and they will be called to pay the new loans and deficits, together with the new measures already being tested in the “healthcare experimental tube”, on the pretext of the pandemic.
In Greece, the class-oriented trade unions, the militant organizations of the private and public sector, as well as those of the self-employed in the city and the countryside (professionals, farmers, scientists), artists, students, pupils, make important demands to support the people’s income, to abolish the hundreds of anti-popular laws and government decisions concerning all sectors, which have the support of the KKE.
We make specific and elaborate demands for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the workers, the poor and middle peasantry, the self-employed in the city, the students and the working youth, the women of the working-class strata, as well as the immigrants and refugees found in our country that are victims of imperialist wars and capitalist exploitation.
We take advantage of any possibility of organizing workers-people’s struggle and believe that promoting and demanding the above from today, and in the special conditions of the restrictions, with greater intensity and varied ways and forms on the next day, is a basic condition for preparing the people’s counter-attack, cultivating a climate of readiness, rallying and wide Social Alliance with the working class at the forefront.
The coronavirus will be cured and the pandemic will end, just as others did in the past. Capitalism, however, is incurable and will continue to torture humankind, with poverty, unemployment, wars, the destruction of the environment, until the peoples decide to lead the way in the developments.
More and more people in the world are realizing and shouting out loud that “capitalism is the real virus”.
Today’s system can only be overthrown and replaced by a superior social system, socialism – communism, where social ownership of the means of production with workers’ power, scientific central planning for the satisfaction of people’s needs, workers’ control of all the administrative organs and participation in all the organs of power, from the bottom to the top, can lead to prosperity for the people, to peace and the progress of humankind.
We must be consistently and unwaveringly oriented to this task. Our daily tactics and practice must be subordinated to this task, of course always taking into account the particular conditions, the correlation of forces, but without retreating because of them or altering our strategic goal.
Internationalism, workers’- communist solidarity and action, are what should accompany us at every step, as we have done so far, but with faster steps that will lead to realistic perhaps small leaps in the present, but which will prepare the big leap in the future, for the peoples of our countries, for the whole Europe, for the whole world.