Editors’ Note: As a contribution to an understanding of the various viewpoints expressed at the November meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in November 2013 we post segment #6 of a recent Central Committee statement of the Portuguese CP, dealing with the debates and discussions that took place in Lisbon. In the other paragraphs of the statement, the PCP make explicit its own strategy. Readers are encouraged to read the full PCP statement at http://solidnet.org/portugal-portuguese-communist-party/portuguese-cp-pcp-central-committee-statement-15-16-december-2013-en-pt
Below that, is an article by Giorgos Marinos of the Political Bureau of KKE (CP Greece) in the Greek Communist newspaper Rizospastis, reflecting his party’s views of the same issues.
Portuguese Communist Party
# 6. For a Stronger International Communist and Revolutionary Movement
The Central Committee highly values the 15th International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties held in Lisbon on 8-10 November 2013, with the participation of 75 parties from 63 countries of all continents. The 15th IMCWP was an important step in the International Meetings process, due to the significant number of participants, the topical themes debated, as well as the extensive exchange of information, experiences and opinions that it enabled.
A significant number of guidelines for common or convergent action were adopted, and a will was expressed to continue and reinforce this multilateral cooperation process. Since the adoption of a final Declaration was not possible, the PCP took the initiative of, and responsibility for, drafting a Motion on “The world situation and the workers’ and peoples’ struggle” that was underwritten by 56 parties.
As the host Party, the PCP worked wholeheartedly to prepare and host the 15th IMCWP, striving – within the terms of fraternal relations, and using collective work as a method – for it to contribute to strengthen this important forum of internationalist exchange and cooperation. Fully aware of the fact that there are inevitably differences of opinion and even, in some cases, major disagreements, the PCP will continue to strive toward strengthening, unifying the International Communist and Revolutionary Movement and its operational capabilities – based on a frank and fraternal debate of common problems, and on the principles of equality, mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual solidarity, and rejecting the various – be they adaptation to the system, or dogmatic and sectarian – types of opportunism. The PCP will continue its engagement in international solidarity with the political and social forces that – in their respective countries – fight to defend workers’ and peoples’ interests, and to broaden and expand the anti-imperialist front.
Communist Party of Greece (KKE)
Published in the newspaper “Rizospastis” on Dec. 12, 2013
After the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties (IMCWP) which was held on the 8,9,10 of November 2013 in Lisbon, hosted by the Portuguese Communist Party, we witness some activity and the representatives of various CPs are making an effort to analyze what took place there from their own ideological-political standpoint.The KKE also takes part in this discussion with the aim of highlighting the issues that concern the communist movement, of informing the communists internationally about the real facts and the positions of the parties.
1.The KKE immediately after the counterrevolution demonstrated particular concern for the regroupment of the communist movement.It contributed to the gathering of forces and to the carrying out of the International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties, fighting against major difficulties and particularly against positions that rejected the discrete presence of the CPs and looked to merging with opportunist forces, traditional or new-mutated ones, in the name of the joint activity of the “left”.Our party paid particular importance to highlighting common goals and to developing joint activity despite the serious ideological-political differences and attempted, with the contribution of other CPs as well, to establish the International Meetings which were held in Athens from 1998 until 2004 and later were hosted in other countries.
Our party demonstrates particular persistence for the unity of the communist movement. This is a difficult, complex problem, which can only be resolved through the creation of solid foundations which will be based on the Marxist-Leninist worldview, on the principles of the class struggle, on the revolutionary strategy. On this basis, the real communist character of the CPs can be strengthened, the class unity of the working class and its alliance with the popular strata can be acquired, and the concentration and preparation of working class popular forces can be achieved for the overthrow of capitalist barbarity, for socialism-communism.
It is obvious that the revolutionary unity of the communist movement has major demands and can not be achieved without a strategic axis, without the combining of revolutionary theory and practice which will pose as its daily task the preparation of the CPs themselves and of the working class in order to respond to the needs of the conflict against the exploitative capitalist system, capital and its political representatives and opportunism, which is a canker in the ranks of the communist movement.The viewpoint that links the unity of the communist movement with the simplistic position “unity around what we agree on” impedes discussion and overlooks the need to elaborate a revolutionary strategy and the adjustment of the CPs to the major demands of the class struggle for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man.
It leaves them defenseless against the corrosive work of the bourgeois and opportunist forces which are trying to assimilate the CPs into parliamentarianism, to castrate them and make them a part of the bourgeois political system, with unprincipled collaborations, with participation in governments of bourgeois management which have a “left”-“progressive” label, with entrapment in the logic of class collaboration, with support for imperialist centres, as is happening e.g. with the CPs of the so-called European Left Party, as well as other CPs that are following the same path.
The KKE despite the difficulties has contributed to the issuing of joint statements at international and other meetings of the communist parties. However, our party has underlined that the compromise of issues of strategic importance and the quest for formulations which will mitigate the disagreements in the name of the agreement on a joint statement does not contribute to the correct objective information of the communists, the working class, the peoples.It causes confusion, does not allow the understanding of the real situation and impedes the development of the thinking about the causes of the problems, the necessity of a single revolutionary strategy which will empower the discrete struggle of the communist movement for the interests of the working class, the popular strata, all over the world.
At the 15th International Meeting in Lisbon it was not possible for a joint statement to be issued due to different approaches on very serious issues. Because views are being expressed that “muddy the waters” and distort facts, we want to refer to certain issues.The KKE, even before the International Meeting, took a specific position on the first draft joint statement and argues that it was not a basis for discussion if there were not significant changes. It tabled a series of observations, proposals and other CPs did the same. Unfortunately, basic proposals of our party were not taken into account.The observations of the KKE included, amongst other things, the following issues:
In relation to the concept of imperialism: the KKE treats this concept as it has been established by V.I. Lenin, as the final and highest stage of capitalism. Unfortunately in the draft Joint Statement this crucial issue was not expressed correctly and in certain sections there was room for the misinterpretation of this concept, which was limited in the text and treated merely as an aggressive foreign policy.
Cause and nature of the capitalist crisis: we are facing today a deep capitalist economic crisis of overproduction and capital over-accumulation and over-production, the cause of which lies in the basic contradiction between capital and labour, rejecting characterizations such as “financial”, “structural” crisis that muddy the character of the capitalist crisis and its causes.
The issue of social alliances: the KKE supports a political line for the alliance of the working class with the other poor popular strata, such as the poor farmers, the poor urban and rural petty bourgeois strata. In no instance can it agree to alliances with sections of the bourgeois class which are labeled “antimonopoly strata”.
The stance towards the so-called “emerging” countries: the problems that these countries are facing today, where capitalist relations of production are predominant in their economic basis, are not “imported” from abroad, as the draft Joint Statement presented them, but are the result of the capitalist mode of production itself in these countries.The same holds true regarding the developments in Latin America. The KKE carefully follows the developments and processes, we express our solidarity with the struggle of the communist parties and the peoples, but we criticize the political line that is being implemented in capitalist countries with a strong monopoly basis that play a particular role in the inter-imperialist competition and implement a strategy that serves the interests and the profitability of capital at the expense of the working class and popular strata which live in conditions of exploitation.
Reforms in the framework of capitalism: the KKE struggles in our country for the workers to have gains, like e.g. on the issue of fighting for an exclusively free public education system, healthcare, welfare, increases in salaries and pensions etc. However, we link this struggle of ours with the radical change of society, working class power and the socialization of the monopolies. It is damaging to sow illusions that in the framework of capitalism this exploitative system can be “corrected” with reforms.
The issue of inter-state capitalist unions: the EU is an inter-state capitalist union, reactionary due to its nature as a representative of the European monopolies and regarding its aggressiveness against the peoples and that the deepening of capitalist unification (integration) is not the only thing responsible for this. The same is also occurring in relation to other inter-state unions, which emerge on the terrain of capitalism in Asia, Eurasia, Latin America etc and are in the service of the large business groups and the workers must not choose imperialist and imperialist “centre”.
Contradictions between capitalist countries: the competition between “old” and new emerging capitalist powers is taking place over market shares, the control of natural resources, the transport routes, the pipelines etc. Each bourgeois class, based on its strength (economic, political, military) is a “predator”, larger or smaller, that exploits labour power, and in addition seeks to increase its role in international affairs.So, we consider that the working class can not take the side of any bourgeois class, in contrast with various formulations which existed in the text of the draft Joint Statement.Especially on the issue of Latin America, the draft Joint Statement reached the point of considering that the bourgeois governments of strong capitalist powers, imperialist countries that appear amongst the G20, lend impetus … to the anti-imperialist struggle. It overlooks the fact that these governments manage the bourgeois state power in order to strengthen the monopolies which are dominant in their economies.
On the issue of revolution or reform: On this issue the communist and workers’ parties can give only one answer: revolution! Unfortunately, in the draft Joint Statement there was talk in several places of “developments in processes that build sovereignty and social progress-based alternatives” or about the “achievement of positions within the institutions” through which there will be a “change in the class content of power”.The experience of the communist parties regarding the choices of managing capitalism is painful and the example of “Euro-communism” is well-known to all. Such positions foster confusion and illusions, beautify bourgeois power, disarm the labour and people’s movement. The experience from the coup in Chile, this year marks the 40 years since it occurred, is characteristic and it is not permissible to support these positions.
The front against opportunism: It is necessary that the responsibilities of the opportunist forces must be stressed, which have inflicted a lot of damage on the communist movement and the struggle of the working class.
Political alliances with other forces: the alliance of the working class with the other popular strata is a crucial issue. The policy of alliances, the concentration and preparation of forces are determined by the strategic goal of overthrowing capitalist barbarity and can not be integrated into various management games at the top with social-democracy and opportunism.
On the “models” of socialism: it has been noted that behind the discussion about “rejecting models” there is the problem manifests itself of rejecting the scientific laws of the revolution and socialist construction, such as the necessity of working class power (the dictatorship of the proletariat), the socialization of the means of production, central planning. Historically in the international communist movement, the revision of our theory and the justification for the distancing from communist principles were hidden behind “national models” and the “variety of paths to socialism”. From this standpoint, our party can not agree with formulations that cause confusion and add grist to the mill of opportunist, social-democratic theories like the so-called “21st Century Socialism.”
In the “Working Group” (it has the responsibility of preparing the International Meetings), which met in Lisbon with the participation of a significant number of CPs, it was ascertained that the draft joint statement did not constitute a basis for discussion and the same was also repeated in the plenum of the CPs. An agreement was reached on a framework of joint actions for the next period so that the struggle can be developed regarding the sharpening popular problems and so that the common position of the CPs on a series of issues can be expressed.The delegation of the KKE both in the “Working Group”, as well as in the plenum of the CPs, posed the positions of the party in a concrete and substantiated way regarding basic issues on which disagreements were expressed.
The delegation of the KKE, in its relevant intervention in the plenum of the CPs, noted the following amongst other things:“The joint statement was burdened from the very beginning with very serious issues of strategic importance, regarding which there are well-known different approaches on the part of the KKE and other CPs. The text is permeated with the view that between capitalism and socialism there exists an intermediate socio-economic system and consequently an intermediate power, but this has no relationship with reality.
The text talks about anti-monopoly revolutionary changes on the terrain of capitalism. This is a utopia, a disorientation, and beautifies the exploitative system.What does the “financialization” of the economy mean? This is a basic position of the bourgeois and opportunist analysis. It conceals the essence of the capitalist crisis. It refers to the so-called “casino-capitalism” and leads to the quest for a “healthy”, “productive” capitalism.
We support the Cuban revolution, we follow the developments, we express our solidarity.We discuss with the CP of Vietnam, but we have a different view regarding the so-called “socialism with a capitalist market”. Socialism has concrete scientific laws and there is a high price to be paid for violating them.
We have discussed the issue of China before and we argue based on data that capitalist relations of production have become predominant there. In 2013, 400 Chinese capitalists increased their fortune by 150 billion dollars.It is clear that we can not support bourgeois governments in Latin America, even if CPs participate in them or support them. Brazil, for example, is a strong imperialist country, there are very strong monopolies, with enormous profits on the one hand, and 55 million destitute people on the other.The intervention of the KKE noted in conclusion that the ” draft joint statement provides a mistaken direction for the struggle, leads to assimilation into the system, impedes the process of adjusting the strategy of the communist movement to the needs of the class struggle for socialism.”
The discussion that took place at the International Meeting was rich and the experience can be utilized, provoke reflection, can lead to the drawing of conclusions and the KKE will contribute to this. But unfortunately in certain contributions, interviews etc of representatives of the CPs, after the meeting, arbitrary interpretations are being provided which give rise to questions.
For example, what does the position mean that the CPs which disagreed with the statement are ones without any responsibility in the leadership of the state or are small? This a dangerous position of defining CPs based on bourgeois criteria. On what grounds is it negative for a CP not to be involved in the game of bourgeois management? This is a duty and precondition for the independent struggle of the CPs, for the regroupment of the communist and labour-people’s movement.What is a truly negative development and sets the communist movement back is the relationship with the social-democracy, the support for or participation in bourgeois governments that manage the power of the monopolies and exploit the peoples.
What is the goal of the discussion about “big” and “small” CPs on the basis of parliamentary criteria? Why is a party which consistently struggles for the overthrow of capitalism, battles to establish a base in the labour movement with great sacrifices and has cadres who have been murdered by the mechanisms of the employers and bourgeois state, small? And why is a party considered to be “big” which absolutizes parliamentary activity and fosters illusions that the people’s problems can be solved, the people’s needs can be satisfied via the bourgeois parliaments?
Historical experience teaches that mass CPs which absolutized parliamentarianism and became detached from the revolutionary line ended up having their bonds with working class devalued and broken, and were led down the path of opportunist-liquidationist downward spiral, like the communist parties in France, Spain and Italy. There exist CPs without parliamentary representation which are struggling in conditions of intense anti-communism, prioritizing the work-places facing thousands of difficulties and are trying to form revolutionary strategy-tactics. And there exist CPs that have parliamentary representation, but support the EU and its strategy, have renounced the revolutionary road along time ago, such as the parties in the leadership of the European Left Party (ELP).
Each party undertakes the responsibility for the position it takes.The KKE argues that the problems of the communist movement can not be dealt with using aphorisms but through a substantial discussion on the controversial issues of strategic importance and with the aim of the revolutionary regroupment. The communist men and women all over the world have both a cause and duty to take part in this process.
Member, Political Bureau
Central Committee of the KKE