A seminar was held, organized by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, on the 15-16 December 2012 in Moscow with the theme: “The International Communist Movement Today and Tomorrow.”

The following parties participated in the Seminar: CP of Vietnam, CP of Brazil, KKE, CP of India, CP of India (Marxist), CP of China, CP of Cuba, Lebanese CP , CP of the Ukraine, Portuguese CP, CP of the Russian Federation, CP of Bohemia-Moravia.

KKE was represented by Elisseos Vagenas, a member of the CC and responsible for the International Relations Section of the party.

First Contribution

We thank the Communist Party of the Russian Federation for the invitation to this informal meeting of Communist parties, with as its theme the problems and prospect of the international Communist movement.

Our meeting today is being conducted in conditions of the deepening of the global capitalist crisis, which demonstrates the impasses and limits of the capitalist mode of production. But it will not be overthrown on its own, it will not fall like a “ripe apple”, if the subjective factor and above all the Communist party, the Communist movement, is not able to form a revolutionary strategy.

Unfortunately, the Communist movement today is undergoing a deep ideological, political and organizational crisis.

The KKE from 1998 onwards has undertaken a series of initiatives so that the Communists can meet, exchange thoughts, experiences from their activity, to coordinate themselves regarding issues on which they can agree. The International Meetings of Athens began in 1998 in this direction. They were embraced by dozens of Communist Parties and today have been established as an important annual event for the international Communist movement.

Our party insists that these meetings must remain meetings of Communist parties, because they will lose their essence and be led to dissolution if they are blunted with the participation of other “left” parties or forces, which state that they are anti-imperialist.

At the same as a party we hold a series of regional and thematic Communist meetings at the level of Europe, the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. We actively participate in initiatives and invitations of other Communist parties. But, dear comrades, we know, we are convinced that the Communist movement will not be able to overcome the crisis in which it finds itself just through these activities.

The crucial issue is the acquisition of the revolutionary strategy and tactics which serve it, so that the revolutionary positions are strengthened in the Communist movement and that reformist and opportunist ones retreat and are weakened in the tough confrontation which is being waged.

The line of “resistance-rupture” with the capitalist system must gain ground against the line “adaptation-assimilation” into the system.

It is obvious that we cannot we mention here in detail, due to the time restriction, all the issues regarding the situation of the Communist movement and its prospects. Nevertheless, I would like to briefly focus on some basic positions of the KKE.

The KKE considers the stance in relation to the socialism we knew as well as the assessments concerning the causes of its overthrow to be an important issue. Our party defended socialism, even in the most difficult conditions, from the frenzied anti-Communist offensive. It defended the contribution of the USSR to the struggle of the peoples.

But it did not leave it at that. Even from the beginning of the 1990s we prioritized the scientific investigation of the causes of the victory of the counterrevolution in the USSR as well as in the other socialist countries.

Later, after 18 years of study we came to the decision of the 18th Congress, in relation to the causes of socialism’s overthrow, the mistakes which were made at the economic and political level, in the strategy of the international Communist movement and which led to the victory of the counterrevolution.

Our approach focuses on the retreat from the principles of socialist construction, where to put it succinctly commodity relations were strengthened at the level of the economy with the reforms in the 1950s and 1960s and in the course of events social forces were created which were interested in the overthrow of socialism.

At the level of politics we had the mistaken views regarding the “State of the Whole People” and also at the level of international relations the mistaken view regarding “peaceful competition” of the two socio-political systems. Socialism was overthrown from above and from “within”, due to the gradual opportunist corrosion of the CPs.

The KKE continues in this and its other elaborations to base itself on the worldview of Marxism-Leninism, which it considers relevant today, assessing as its priority the struggle against bourgeois and opportunist theories, and their organizations, such as for example in the past the current of so-called “Eurocommunism” and today the so-called “European Left Party”.

Our party defends the character of the Communist Party, as a party of the working class, which does not merely struggle for the better sale of the price of its labour power, but struggles for the overthrow of the exploitative capitalist system, its struggles on a daily basis for socialism, which today is the only alternative solution for the worker.
We believe that the necessity and timeliness of socialism has not been shaken by the counterrevolutionary changes in the USSR and Europe as a whole, because the necessity does not spring from the correlation of forces, which is negative, but from the existence of objective conditions for the construction of socialism, from the impasses of capitalism, such as the current global capitalist crisis. A crisis which is not simply caused by a form of management e.g. neo-liberalism, as various apologists of the capitalist system claim, but by the basic contradiction between capital and labour.

We form our alliance policy on the basis of our strategic goal, which is socialism-communism. We have rejected the formation of “left” coalitions, “anti-fascist fronts”, the cooperation with social-democracy (We consider it a mistake to separate it into “left” and “right”) as dangerous and damaging. On the contrary we seek to rally and concentrate social forces, the working class and the popular urban and rural petty bourgeois strata in an anti-monopoly anti-capitalist direction, struggling for every popular problem, in conflict and rupture with the imperialist unions. Such a popular alliance in the period of the revolutionary situation will be transformed into a revolutionary workers front, it will give birth to new popular organs of power.

We continue to believe that the maxim of the Communist Manifesto holds true, that “The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie”[1], i.e. we consider that the struggle at the national level is the main front. Nevertheless this struggle must be coordinated at a regional and international level because it is an international struggle with the slogan which still holds true “Workers of all countries, Unite”. Our party remains faithful to proletarian internationalism!

We face imperialism based on the characteristics given to it by Lenin. We do not identify imperialism only with the USA, because there are other strong imperialist powers and unions, such as the imperialist EU. We consider that every country, where the capitalist relations of production and the monopolies are dominant has a place in the imperialist system, based on its economic, political and military strength.

The views which treat imperialism as a policy of the ruling class, as a foreign policy and not as a phase in the development of capitalism which is connected to the dominance of the monopoly in capitalist production, the fusion of industrial and banking capital, the export of capital and the economic character of imperialist wars (division and re-division of markets) do a lot of damage.

It would be a serious mistake for the people’s movement to rest its hopes on the so-called emerging powers, or to choose them as a “camp”. Because as Lenin warned, this would lead us to the mistaken assessment that “monopolies in the economy are compatible with non-monopolistic, non-violent, non-annexationist methods in politics”.[2] The so-called “multi-polar world”, the so-called “new architecture of international relations”, is not the world of peace and security for the peoples, but the world of sharpening inter-imperialist contradictions.

As a party we exclude the possibility of participating in bourgeois governments, even those called “left” or “patriotic”, because after the study of the history of our party and the international Communist movement we have come to the conclusion that there are no intermediate stages between capitalism and socialism. There is no transitional power. The power will be in the hands of the working class or in the hands of capital.

The participation of the CP in a “left” government in the framework of capitalism has proved damaging for the people’s movement. In essence the exploitation of the working class has been perpetuated and the profitability of capital has been supported with “left slogans”.

We focus on the organization of the struggle of the working class in the trade unions, in the labour and trade union movement, which will acknowledge the class struggle, will come into conflict with the so-called “social peace” and the “social dialogue” which the bourgeois power wants and the opportunists support.

We are not searching for new revolutionary subjects, because we consider that historic role of the working class, which is the grave-digger of capitalism, has not changed.

We defend the laws of the socialist revolution and construction and we reject the rationale of “national models”, which in essence negate these laws.

As a party we do not restrict ourselves to pointing out that there are diametrically opposing views amongst our parties on these fundamental issues, including those found here today. We seek the discussion, the exchange of views between the CPs. We seek the joint elaboration of contemporary theoretical issues, above all between CPs which have a significant convergence of views.

But we are ready to develop joint action on issues of anti-imperialist activity with all the other Communist parties, where we can agree at a bilateral, regional and multilateral level. We consider the ideological front against bourgeois and opportunist theories, against anti-Communism and anti-Sovietism to be necessary. And we also consider the development of activities against the imperialist powers to be necessary, such as those decided on by the recent 14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers parties in Beirut.

And today more particularly against the imperialist intervention in Syria and the imperialist war which is being prepared against Iran.

As a party we are ready to contribute in this direction.

[1] The Communist Manifesto. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Collected Works. Vol. 6
[2] Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism. V.I. Lenin. Collected Works. Vol. 22

Second Contribution

During the discussion the basic issues, on which there is an ideological and political struggle in the ranks of the Communist movement, came to the fore.

Such issues are: the causes of the capitalist crisis, the importance of the struggle at a national level and its development at a regional and international level; the stance of the Communists towards the so-called multipolar world and today’s international law, which becomes more reactionary; the stance towards the group of BRICS countries and generally those bourgeois governments which for the time being have not been involved in the global capitalist crisis; the views which, in the name of national particularities, negate the laws of socialist revolution and construction; the causes of the uneven interstate relations, which develop among the capitalist states; the issue of the alliances of the CPs; the way in which the neo-fascist organizations should be dealt with; the political proposal of the Communists, the so-called "intermediate stages" towards socialism etc.

Different even diametrically opposed views were expressed on these issues, thus confirming the assessment of the Theses of the CC of the KKE for the 19th Congress which mention that "the Communist movement remains organizationally and ideologically fragmented".

The representative of the KKE, Elisseos Vagenas, took the floor and noted the following in his second contribution:

First of all I would like to thank the CPRF for the invitation to this informal meeting which gave us the possibility to exchange views on the issues of the Communist movement and its prospect.

We are discussing very complicated issues which each party approaches from the viewpoint of its experience, of the experience from the development of the class struggle in its country against the attack of capital and the political forces that serve its interests.

Yes! There are different approaches among our parties regarding very serious issues , issues of strategic importance. The Communist movement faces great difficulties but we will insist. The achievement of revolutionary strategy and tactics that corresponds to it is a difficult but inevitable issue. It is the irreplaceable tool that will create a solid basis for the ideological-political and mass struggle and will contribute to the concentration and preparation of the working class and popular forces in the conflict with capital, its parties and imperialist unions for the overthrow of the capitalist barbarity. This is the cause of the Communists.

It is the cause of the Communist parties which oppose the opportunist erosion and defend the class struggle till the end, of the parties which struggle for the socialist perspective. The experience which was presented by out party as well as by other parties leads to the conclusion that the attack of capital is severe and unified. Its aim is to further reduce the price of the labour power, to increase the profits of the monopolies, to transfer the burden of the crisis onto the peoples. The regime of the exploitation of man by man breeds and sharpens the social problems. The social needs cannot be satisfied on the ground of capitalism!

The forces that manage capitalism and its crisis are consistently serving this very goal, irrespective of the form of management which is being followed, as it happens in the EU countries namely the restrictive policy, which deepens recession of the capitalist economy, or the expansive policy that inflates the deficits and the debt, as it happens in the USA.

In both cases it is the people who pay for the consequences through the reduction of salaries and pensions, high unemployment rates, the abolition of labour and social security rights, the commercialization of social services, the privatizations, the harsh tax measures.

We often hear that the deterioration of the situation of the working class, the farmers, the urban middle strata, the undermining of the future of the youth are due to "unrestrained" capitalism, neo-liberalism, casino capitalism. This requires attention. It is an organized, planned effort to mislead the people. These characterizations seek to conceal the essence i.e. that the responsible for unemployment, poverty, people’s problems in general, the crises and the imperialist wars is the capitalist mode of production and not merely a form of its management. That is to say the system which lives and breathes from the exploitation of the working class, from the extraction of surplus value, the quest for profit, the competition for the expansion into new markets; the system which is based on the power of the monopolies and the capitalist ownership of the means of production.

Life shows that it is impossible to follow a political line in favour of the workers with the power, the economic instruments and the wealth being in the hands of capital. It is a well-laid trap which we must expose, fight against and we must explain the truth to the peoples in an open and decisive way. It is true that today the crisis has not manifested itself in certain capitalist countries while there are high rates of development. This is a result of the law of the uneven capitalist development. Before the crisis Greece had relatively high rates of capitalist development for a period of twenty years! In this period the crisis of "Asian tigers" had manifested itself, the crisis in Russia and in Turkey, in several other countries.

Today there is a crisis in Greece while the bourgeois statistics shows that in Russia and in Turkey there is growth. Even in the instance when the capitalist motor restarts, the growth will be marked by the most savage exploitation, which will take place on the ruins of the workers’ and people’s rights.

Dear comrades, capitalist competition will intensify, the system will become more aggressive, its possibilities for concessions will be subsequently reduced even further. We should not forget that the preconditions for a new crisis will be created in the conditions of the capitalist growth wherever it takes place!

Thus, the struggle of the Communists acquires great and crucial importance as they have the historical task of strengthening the struggle for the overthrow of the rotten system, so that the working class and the people take the power into their own hands and construct the new society, socialism which is more timely and necessary than before. This workers’ and people’s power expresses the interests of the many.

In our opinion, this means that the means of production, the wealth will be under the ownership of those who produce it, who create it, that the economy will be organized according to the satisfaction of the people’s needs, it will develop in a planned way and will be able to ensure the right to work for all as well as free social services. This path of development will negate the causes of the capitalist crises. The workers’ people’s power will proceed to the disengagement from the imperialist unions, NATO and the EU.

In our struggle we should definitely take into account the national peculiarities e.g. the level of the productive forces’ development, its geographical position, the cultural tradition etc. However, this does not mean that we can invoke the national peculiarities in order to abandon the laws of the socialist revolution.

This is a very big discussion that started after the Great October Socialist Revolution, when several parties, in the name of the national peculiarities of Russia, suggested abandoning the experience of this great Revolution. In a series of CPs in Western Europe this led in turn to the prevalence of the current of "Eurocommunism" under the invocation of the national peculiarities which in fact abandoned the laws of the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and general the revolutionary struggle. These parties considered that the capitalist system can be transformed into a socialist one through "structural changes" and "political democracy". We believe that life refuted this approaches.

A few words about the EU There are 30 million unemployed and the 127 million people who live below the poverty line, in the EU which was built in order to serve the interests of capital, the multinational companies at the expense of people and will become more reactionary. The EU is not a supranational organization, but it is an inter-state imperialist union. That is to say a union of capitalist states, in which the bourgeois class and its parties unite their forces against the peoples.

The bourgeois state remains the basis of the monopolies. The bourgeois state as an apparatus for the oppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie does not disappear inside the imperialist union, but it adjusts its functions. We see this every day. The conflict of interests, the competition for new markets and for more profits remains, the inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening.

Unequal relations are manifested among the capitalist states and the imperialist system more generally, due to the differences that exist in their historical starting points, their development potential, their geographical advantages, their economic and military-political strength.

This is the basic element which reflects the reality and answers to the mistaken analyses regarding "occupation", "colonies", "Centre-Periphery" or "North-South". The bourgeois class is hostile to the peoples, irrespective of its geographical position, irrespective of the position of the capitalist state in the imperialist system.

For example, in Germany and in Ireland, in France and in Greece. The concession of sovereign rights made by the bourgeois class inside an imperialist organization like the EU or NATO is something which is carried out consciously and with the unified class interests against the people as its criterion, for the perpetuation of the capitalist system, for the more effective functioning of the imperialist unions. Indeed, in the framework of the exploitative system develop relations of dependence, or more accurately, unequal relations of interdependence.

Nevertheless, this problem, which is connected to the assimilation of the country in the imperialist "pyramid", can be eradicated only through the abolition of the causes that give rise to it i.e. through the overthrow of the capitalist organization of economy and society, with the solution of the problems of power and the ownership over the means of production. Otherwise the struggle for independence and sovereignty, according to an expression of V. I. Lenin will be carried out "under a false flag".

A few words about the policy of alliances of the Communist Parties. Our party has a historical experience from the formation of "left" and "patriotic" unions with other forces. Two times, in 1968 and 1991 they have been transformed into a "Trojan Horse" of the bourgeois class aiming at the dissolution of the Communist party.

After having studied this experience and the general experience of the alliances, we arrived at the conclusion that the alliance policy of the Communists is determined by the goal of overthrowing the exploitative regime and not maintaining it. Every political force is judged not by the label it gives itself but by its stance vis-à-vis the exploitation of labour by capital, its stance vis-à-vis the imperialist unions.

For that reason, we focus our attention on the social alliance of the working class, the popular strata and the mass and trade union organizations. At this field we have concrete results especially with the formation of All Workers’ Militant Front that unites hundreds of unions, industrial federations, labour centers and committees of struggle!

It is a fact that we must struggle against the fascist organizations. In Greece our party is already struggling against the neo-fascist organization "Golden Dawn" which has entered the Parliament. It is obvious that the strengthening of this party is the result of its support by domestic capital, by the political forces which are at the sharp end of the attack against the KKE and the class-oriented labour movement. The strengthening of the neo-fascist movement is closely related to the so-called "movement of the squares" and the "movement of indignant citizens".

In our informational bulletins we have written many times about this "movement" and the responsibilities of the opportunists, who bear an enormous responsibility for the rise of the neo-fascist movement. We believe that the class-oriented movement can deal successfully with the neo-fascist party and there is no reason to create an "anti-fascist front" with social democracy and all of them who are responsible for the reinforcement of this party and are now shedding crocodile tears. In our opinion, the struggle against fascism can be effective if it turns against the causes that breed it and seeks their eradication.

As regards the issue of participating in governments. Our party has a respective experience, in many cases and not merely in local administration. The possibility of forming a "left" government was a significant issue in the recent elections. And they persisted in calling on the KKE to participate in it. Our party refused from start to finish to participate in such a government as it is very well aware that no government which manages capitalism, the power of the monopolies and private ownership of the means of production, no government which implements a programme based on capitalist profits, on competitiveness, productivity and profitability of the major business groups can follow a political line in favour of the working class and popular strata.

No such government, which operates within the framework of the EU and NATO, capitalist ownership and bourgeois power, can control the laws of the system, its contradictions, and prevent the outbreak of the capitalist crisis.

Sooner or later the promises about "relieving" the people will be punctured, they will be proved to be empty words and the expectation and hopes of the people for something better will be replaced by the disillusionment and the retreat of the labour movement. There is a recent example for what I am saying, Cyprus.

Consequently, it is of great significance that the KKE maintained a principled position rejecting the rationale of participating in a government of bourgeois management even if this government will be called "leftwing. Our party chose to continue the class struggle, confronting the difficulties, aware that temporarily it might suffer some losses in the elections. Nevertheless the number of votes in the elections is merely an indicator and indeed not the most important! This is proved very vividly by the history of our neighbors, of our Italian comrades.

Regarding the international issues I should note that we cannot refer to the democratization of international law and international organization as the "Socialist International" and the "European Left Party" are calling for, fostering illusions that the imperialist wars can stop, without touching capitalism and the power of capital. We condemn the unjust, imperialist wars and struggle for the disengagement of the country from them!

Nevertheless, we know that the wars which constitute the continuation of politics by other, violent, means are inevitable as long as society is divided into classes as long as there is exploitation of man by man, as long as imperialism dominates. The replacement of war by peace to the benefit of the people cannot be achieved without the replacement of capitalism by socialism. This truth makes our struggle today even more timely and necessary.

Last, there was a question about the reasons of the foundation of the "International Communist Review". The answer is simple: the issuance of the "International Communist Review" expresses the necessity of cooperation among the theoretical and political journals of Communist Parties that have common positions on a series of fundamental theoretical and ideological issues.

These issues are included in the Declaration of Istanbul. There is no need to read it here as it is available on the website of the ICR. The KKE has been talking about the need of the Communist pole among Communist parties that have convergent ideological and political views, among parties which defend Marxism-Leninism, the contribution of the socialism we knew as well as the necessity of the struggle for socialism since its 17th Congress eight years ago.

Likewise about the upgrading of cooperation, its extension to issues of theory development, to issues which are at the epicenter of the today’s conflict, to the international study about the causes of the victory of the counterrevolution, the elaboration of a joint strategy towards imperialism. We do not share the fears that such a collective effort might create difficulties in the general effort of Communist and workers’ parties which have differences to coordinate around anti-imperialist goals."