Remarks of Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the CC of Communist Party of Greece (KKE) At the International Conference of the “Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals” 23-24 March 2009 Belgrade

Ten years have passed since the incidents that shocked our region causing a conflict between the people of a Balkan country and the strongest political-military, imperialist organisation of our era, NATO.

This battle, which was objectively unequal concerning the military forces, has not gone in vain, as some may claim, due to the dominance of the modern “Holy Alliance.” On the contrary, it had helped the people especially in the Balkans, Europe and generally to draw important conclusions regarding their present and future.

First of all it has been the “source” for the awakening of the popular masses that “had fallen asleep” over the previous years, after the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and Eastern Europe, with the “lullabies” for the allegedly “peaceful settlement” of the problems, the “peaceful development” that the so-called globalisation would bring about after the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Pact.

At the same time, the struggle of the Yugoslavian people 10 years ago has revealed several myths spread by the bourgeois system after World War II.

The global capitalist crisis affecting simultaneously the strong imperialist countries as well as the regional rising countries, serves for many revelations. In addition, it proves how flimsy were the arguments of the sustainable development, the advantages of the so-called globalisation and the inevitable accession to the regional inter-state imperialist unions such as the EU. Thus, the role of the various, only in words, “left” and “socialist” forces, the social-democrat parties, and the social democracy that aided the efforts to break the resistance of the Yugoslavian people has revealed. The governments of the socialist and the allegedly “left” parties in Greece, Italy, France etc. had surrendered their countries for the realisation of these imperialist plans. No matter if these forces are trying to present themselves as “progressive”, as “an alternative in favour of the peoples” one thing is clear: there is no way for them to whitewash the crimes they committed ten years ago at the expense of the Yugoslavian people.

The developments in Yugoslavia have shown the particularly dangerous strategy of the imperialist interventions carried out in the name of the principles of the so-called “self-determinism” and the supposed “protection” of minorities, which have been used as a pretext for the establishment of states-protectorates, as it happens in Kosovo, Bosnia etc.

Nowadays, the imperialists instigate existent and non existent minority issues not because they really care for the rights of the ethnic and religious minorities but because they follow the well known and tested “divide and rule” method. The promotion of political parties established on the basis of ethnicities and minorities serves the same goal.

Apart from the bourgeois parties, the imperialists are unfortunately supported in this effort by the opportunist forces that turn a blind eye to these plans and often equate the victim with the perpetrator.

Nowadays the international law, as the peoples knew it in the period of the active presence and action of the socialist system in the international affairs, does not exist. It has been fully substituted by the imperialist doctrine of the “pre-emptive strike” and the “war against terrorism.”

The reflections for the so-called “reformation of the UN,” for “new security systems” in Europe as well as the proclamations about the “multipolar world,” reflect a tendency for the change of the balance of forces between the imperialist blocks as well as their common effort to conceal from the peoples the aggressive character of the imperialist unions and alliances. The opportunist misleading views on the allegedly humanisation of capitalism and the democratisation of the UN contribute to this effort. However, war, violence, blackmail and intimidation are inherent in the exploitative character of the capitalist system, even more so in its highest stage, imperialism.

Intra-imperialist rivalries are evolving on all levels – economic, military and political – and between the various groups of states as well. It is even being manifested in the field of environmental policy, between transnational monopolies as well as capitalist states.

The hotspots of war that appeared after the creation of new markets in the former socialist countries are still hot, or at risk of being kindled anew, as rivalry is intensifying, above all, to control the sources and pipelines of oil and natural gas. Under these conditions, the US and NATO are deploying new missiles in Europe, while the US fomented the Georgian offensive against South Ossetia that provoked the response by Russia. The Caucasus region is becoming a hot zone of US-Russian competition, entailing new dangers of a more general conflagration in the region, in which the EU, NATO, Turkey and other forces are also involved.

Rivalry is intensifying as regards the military presence and political influence of various imperialist centers in Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, as well as in the Arctic. Military spending is increasing, as are arms exports and plans to produce and deploy new nuclear weapons.

The hopes spread by several forces concerning the reversal of this situation due to the election of Barack Obama in the US leadership and the beginning of US-Russia talks, are false. In fact, a hard bargain is driven between the old and rising imperialist forces, in the framework of the world economic crisis. Their goal is to create new “axis” and “anti-axis” which, nevertheless, cannot negate the imperialist rivalries for the control of the energy sources, their transportation as well as the shares of the markets ensured for the monopolies of each side. The peoples should not expect any positive result from these consultations neither take sides according to religious or language particularities. These particularities may exist; however, they cannot change the criminal class character of the big capital that determines the stance of each imperialist power, no matter if it is Slav-speaking or English-speaking, Orthodox or Catholic….

How can people respond nowadays? Several promote the following sleight-of-hand: they restrict imperialism to the USA and NATO and actually present the EU as a solution for the people. They support the idea that the disengagement of the EU from the USA and NATO can bring about progressive and socialist developments. The fact that three-quarters of the 27 EU member-states are members of NATO at the same time, proves that this argument is used to throw dust in people’s eyes. Besides, the disengagement of the EU, in other words its independent role, (towards NATO) entails the readiness of the EU or a part of it, to claim new markets even through armed interventions. This has already begun to happen! It does not constitute a solution for the peoples. The EU has shown its anti-people character: it played a leading role in the dissolution of the united Yugoslavia, then it recognised the secession of Kosovo; it intends to substitute the NATO forces through the EU-army and aids this structure with the deployment of EULEX [EULEX Kosovo is the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo, is a deployment of European Union police and civilian resources in Kosovo] which manages the intervention of the imperialists in the region.

It should be clear that despite their statements, the imperialist organisations, namely the NATO and the EU, have nothing to do with security and peace. On the contrary, their interventions intensify the dangers for the peoples. 60 years after the foundation of NATO, the struggle against these imperialist organisations should strengthen; for the disengagement of the peoples from the imperialist wars, the occupation of countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as from other dangerous plans and after all for the disengagement from these organisation themselves.

Under the conditions of the new economic crisis, which is a result of the nature of the capitalist system, there is a need to strengthen the struggle for the recognition of the right of each people to choose itself its own path of development. This right can establish another development, in favour of the peoples, outside of the imperialist organisations with a prospect of a new socialist communist society that constitutes the only real alternative for the peoples.

Nowadays the capitalists and their governments dread to hear the word “crisis”. The peoples should get courage from this weakness of the system that can weaken its strength. The workers should struggle and refuse to carry the burden of the crisis and avoid new wars that might be caused due to the rivalries and utilised as a tool for the overcoming of the crisis.

In order these to be realised, especially in our region, the “powder keg” of the Balkans, there is a need to strengthen the struggle against the illusions that the accession of the Balkan countries to the EU and NATO will bring peace, prosperity and equal chances for the people, that it will protect them from the capitalist crisis and wars. We assure you that the Greek people have a long, negative experience that has led us to the reverse conclusion. We believe that communists along with other progressive people should oppose the presence and expansion of NATO and EU in the region, as well as nationalism and the notions for a “Great Greece, Albania, Serbia, or Bulgaria” that use the minority issues, the changes of borders, for the disorientation and the dilution of the real class interests as well as the integration of the people to the imperialist plans.

Concerning the issue that arose between Greece and FYROM I would like to underline that the main issue is not the name of the country, but the safeguard of relations of peaceful cooperation, the development of good neighbouring relations, the safeguard of inviolability of borders and the avoidance of every irredentist propaganda.

We would like to assure you that our party, as much as it is in our powers, will contribute to the strengthening of a strong people’s movement struggling for disobedience and insubordination to the choices of NATO, EU and the new world order.

This movement represents the interests of the Greek, Serbian, Albanian people, the Balkan peoples in general as well as the Balkan working class.