Dear friends and comrades,
On the occasion of this event, we should like to highlight several dangerous points underlying the attempts being made to vindicate fascism and Nazism in recent years, following the overturning of socialism in the countries of Eastern Europe and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In this contribution, I should like to present certain basic aspects of the way my party, the Communist Party of Greece, has approached these developments.
You probably know that the Communist Party of Greece has gone through "fire and steel" over the course of its lengthy history, from the time it was founded, in November 1918; it has experienced situations far more difficult than today’s. Tens of thousands of Greek communists unyieldingly withstood torture, imprisonment, and exile, stood before the firing squad defending their ideas. I say this, not to distinguish our party from the other revolutionary parties and organizations of the world, which may have similar examples to cite from their history, but rather to clarify from the start that our initiative to hold this event does not stem from any feeling of panic vis-à-vis the phenomena of the vindication of Nazism and other present day manifestation of imperialist barbarity. We have unbounded trust in the strength of the working class and the peoples and believe that today’s event can also make a small contribution to their social emancipation and liberation.
Immediately after World War II, an unprecedented attempt to distort history was begun. Murderous imperialism tried to wipe out the traces of its crime, the war, or to justify it. This attempt took on different dimensions and facets from one country to another. In my country, for example, school textbooks silence the indubitable historical fact that it was the Communist Party of Greece that took the initiative to found the National Liberation Front (EAM) and the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), which with mass anti-fascist struggles in the cities and armed battles in the mountains wrote pages of glory in our modern history, which our younger generation is not being taught in the classroom. But at the same time, what is happening today, first and forejost in the Baltic countries that have acceded to the EU, is unprecedented.
The historical rehabilitation of Nazism, with monuments being put up to honour the local S.S., the statements made by state officials acknowledging these developments, the ban on activity imposed on the political force of the communist parties, which is the force that played the vanguard role in crushing Nazism, provoke our intense and righteous indignation, as do the constant bans placed on the electoral candidacy for elections of the cadres of communist parties and other organizations, the sentencing of anti-fascist war veterans, the prohibition of the symbols of the U.S.S.R. and the Red Army, but also the stripping of civil rights from large parts of the population, again based on "historical" anti-soviet arguments. All this is something inconceivable, not just for Greek communists, but even for the bourgeois parties of our country.
We do not believe that those who are so keen on distorting history are targeting the past. They are abusing the historical truth, not because they view the past from some other angle, but because in reality they want to shoot down the future! By means of anticommunist hysteria, anti-Sovietism and thus the vindication of Nazism, they wish to sow the seeds of fatalism, individualism and the apathy of the younger generation, "watering" them with the poison of compromise with the bourgeois system. They want to obliterate the prospect of socialism!
But who is behind this attempt? Let me give some examples:
First: Amongst other things, in the book "The History of Latvia in the Twentieth Century", the Nazi concentration camp at Salaspils, where thousands of people, thousands, were tortured and lost their lives, is characterized as having been "a reformatory and labour camp" and an "expanded public prison". And who funded this publishing effort? Amongst the funders of this book, as the book itself says, were US authorities.
Second: The EU, this imperialist union, has proceeded to designate 9th May "The Day of Europe". Out of all 365 days in the year, the EU chose 9th May. Was it perhaps to honour the day of the Victory overFascism? Anything but! As shown by the various events organized over the past few years on this date, mainly in schools, it constitutes a conscious attempt to erase the day of the Victory over Fascism from the peoples’ historical memory. They want to wipe out the memory of this enormous struggle waged by the peoples of Europe against Nazism, along with the huge contribution made by the peoples, first of all by the Soviet people to achieve this victory.
These two examples show, I believe, very tellingly that the main imperialist forces of our time, the USA and the EU, do not just tolerate this attempt to distort history, but in fact play a leading role in the decisions and funding entailed in this undertaking, rewriting history. What moves them to do this is nothing other than the class interest of the prevailing socio-economic factors, of the bourgeois class, in its attempt to stop the peoples and youth from drawing conclusions, first of all political conclusions, from recent history.
And here we see that recently others have been recruited to take part in this attempt, such as the Council of Europe, within which the despicable anticommunist memorandum was drafted, while the European Court of Human Rights has based a recent decision on anti-soviet "interpretations" of history. What the aforementioned European institutions really succeed in doing by identifying with the anticommunist and anti-soviet hysteria is to reveal their class nature, refuting all by themselves the theories regarding "independent" institutions, which supposedly represent the peoples of Europe.
This is not happening, of course, because the balance of power is tipped against the working class and the peoples of Europe today. In truth, behind this campaign lies the fear, the uneasiness of the ruling powers over the social reversals that are coming. Thus they are trying to "arm" their "new order" the best they can! And they are doing this ideologically and politically by distorting history for one thing, as well as in organisation and practice. They are chaining new countries and peoples with the bonds of dependence on NATO and the EU! Whenever they can they ban communist parties or create serious political discrimination against their activity. They are strengthening their repressive mechanisms with the European Arrest Warrant, European laws supposedly "against terrorism", with the European electronic surveillance systems and other "tools" of this oppressive system, showing how correct Marx, Engels and Lenin were in their approach to the nature of the state.
Imperialism is concerning itself with wiping out the past so as to safe-guard its future. It fears the historical past, because today as well it fears the power of the working class and the peoples. Its governments and parties know that they are defending and supporting an unjust system that is being eaten away by its own contradictions. They know that capitalism is a historically outdated system and that it cannot be made more humane. They know that the class contradictions, the dividing lines, cannot be abolished. And they know, what’s more, that the all-out offensive launched by capital against the peoples is going to become harsher.
It is precisely for these reasons that they are taking their measures, because the workers’ and peoples’ victories in the 20th century must be made an example to avoid! This is what they are aiming for: to prevent the past from being repeated! The peoples must never stand up to them!
The question inevitably arises: What can we do in the face of these developments? In the face of the adversary’s huge arsenal? The response can be none other than that of our fathers and grandfathers to the fascist monster! We shall not sit by with our hands folded!!! And today we have many means at our disposal to fight, so that the peoples first of all will know what is happening and what lies behind it. Here I would like to refer to an example from my own country.
At the beginning of this year a question arose as to what stance was to be taken by the Greek political forces vis-a-vis the anti- communist memorandum of the Council of Europe. This was an issue which the leading mass media in our country did not present inside Greece, so that it could be pushed through quietly. But the Communist Party of Greece managed in a very short time to hold thousands of demonstrations, meetings and picket lines, to put up thousands of posters all over the country and to give out thousands of leaflets against the anticommunist memorandum. It tabled the issue for discussion in hundreds of city and town councils, before the leaderships of trade unions and social organizations and in the Greek Parliament, demanding that anticommunism and anti-sovietism be condemned. The result of this effort was that not only the representative of the Communist Party of Greece, but also the representatives of all the political parties of our country in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, including the rightist ruling party and the social democrat opposition party, came out against the adoption of the anticommunist memorandum, for their own reasons, of course.
With this example, I want to stress the importance of informing and enlightening the people, in breaking through the deliberate black-out imposed by the bourgeois political forces and the mass media. Such an effort, both here in the Baltic countries, where the tip of the iceberg has appeared with the attempt to vindicate Nazism, and in the rest of Europe, could be better coordinated and richer in form, so as to become more effective. According to our information, already strong interest in participating in such events has been expressed by broader political and social forces in countries that waged great battles against fascism, such as Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Balkan countries. This process is, in our view, closely linked to today’s struggle against imperialist wars and to safeguard and broaden the social gains and freedoms that are now being targeted by the monopolies. It is linked to the struggle for a different world which, the Communist Party of Greece believes, is not only feasible, but indeed is none other than one of socialism!
Together we can do much, for one basic lesson amongst the many taught us by the Second World War is this: that although it may appear to be very mighty indeed, imperialism is not invincible!