This useful document from the Greek Communists deals with the demands of the developing political situation within Greece and vital questions of party and class ‘The activity of the Party as the vanguard of the working class is not the same as trade union activity, nor is it simply a matter of supporting the unions. Its main mission is the political and organisational preparation of the forces of the working class for gaining power.’
1. The Nationwide Conference emphasised that the urgent and timely duty of regrouping the workers’ and people’s movement has arisen from the developments themselves. In essence, it can be expressed as follows: To raise the level of consciousness, organisation and struggle of the working class to the level of the contemporary demands of the class struggle which has at its core the necessity and possibility of socialism-communism, the only realistic answer to the capitalist economic crisis, to exploitation and repression, to imperialist barbarism. (18th Congress).
This struggle demands that the Party and the class pole of the trade union movement be in the position to take up militant positions against the aggressive strategy of capital and its state against the working class and its movement in order to dynamically achieve the satisfaction of the contemporary and basic needs of the working people, with combined mass struggles of defence and attack, leading to a conflict with the interests of the monopolies and their power, with an overturning in the balance of forces on a social and political level, with a plan for and the prospect of people’s power.
A line of struggle which is in accordance with the Decisions of the 18th Congress which emphasizes: "Today, it is even more vital and imperative for the viewpoint to gain ground that the struggle around heightening problems, the struggle against the repercussions of the crisis, the struggle against new anti-worker, anti-people measures must develop into a struggle against the power of the monopolies and their imperialist unions." Capitalist restructuring and the economic crisis did great damage to workers’ achievements, causing upheavals which led the broad workers and popular masses to conditions of utter, permanent poverty. Young people, women, low-income people, unskilled labourers have been hit the hardest, while the expropriation of large sections of the self-employed and farmers with small landholdings is accelerating.
The situation will deteriorate even more with the government’s newly-promoted administrative reform by the name of "Kallikratis" which aims at the adaptation of regional and local bodies of the bourgeois state to the contemporary needs of capital. The program the PASOK government put forward for facing the crisis is certain to have even heavier and deeper consequences on the life, the rights, and the freedoms of the people, and an even greater and deeper plundering of the working classes, the wealth-producing resources of the country. Unemployment, part-time, flexible work and poverty will become permanent features and will reach even greater levels.
All the contradictions will sharpen, first of all, the contradiction capital-labour. The phase of recovery leads to a new concentration of capital, to the increase in the degree of exploitation, to unevenness and to the acceleration of restructuring at a regional and international level. The stage of recovery when and as it appears, on the one hand will not improve the position of the working class and specific sections of the middle strata. On the other hand, it will lead to a new crisis.
As our Party has demonstrated, there is no ‘people-friendly’ way out of the capitalist economic crisis as long as the causes that give rise to it are not dealt with. The capitalist economic crisis is at the same time a period of the acquisition of political experience and revolutionary energy as the historical limitations of the capitalist mode of production are exposed, revealing its deeply reactionary, dangerous and parasitic character.
For the working class and the broad popular masses and primarily for the future of their children it has become a matter of life and death for them to grasp the necessity of the struggle for the overthrow of the power of the monopolies, for another road of development that has at its centre the contemporary, comprehensive needs of the working class, of the popular masses, that promotes even economic development.
The implementation of new anti-worker, anti-people measures that the PASOK government is pushing through in the name of the crisis and the deficit, under the flag of a new, more just administration and distribution of the national income, a "new" model of development e.g. will bring to the surface mass, militant reactions and political agitation as well as new difficulties. The class struggle will sharpen. The workers mobilisations around STAGE programmes in the Public Sector, around labour contracts, and mainly the strike mobilisations during this period with PAME at the forefront provide proof of the aforementioned assessments.
PASOK is certain to do everything it can to strike at and undermine the movement even further. It is renewing itself as a vehicle for dangerous anti-communism. Especially with the support of its forces in the mass movement (GSEE, ADEDY, etc.) and its buying out by the EU, it will attempt to entrap worker and popular forces with new reformist delusions of "social dialogue" and its deliberations and social-democratic theories regarding the adjustments of and humanizing of the capitalist system.
The front against reformism must be strengthened. All these reasons make the regrouping of the workers-people’s movement an urgent necessity in order for it to reach the necessary level of ideological and political confrontation with the central line of struggle being: Development for the people and not for the monopolies.
2. The essence of the regrouping is the preparation and organisation of the working class and its allies for a decisive confrontation with the monopolies, for the overthrow of their power. In other words, the duty of better organisation or improvement in the level of the trade union struggle of the working class pre-dominates. It is our own plan for a way out of the vicious cycle of capitalist economic crises, with the elimination of the causes which give rise to them. For this reason, the duties and conditions for its promotion are at a high level.
The first and basic condition that must be met for the regrouping is: The improvement of the ability of the Party and the class-oriented movement to link up with the broad workers’ and popular masses, to contribute to the participation of new working masses, women, youth, into the organised struggle. To organise their action, their alliances and at the same time to work at a deeper level in order for them to comprehend the need for the struggle for power. For the struggle of the workers’ movement to be linked more directly and more closely to the question of power.
A struggle for a change of the class in power and not a change in parties.
It expresses the readiness of the Party to respond to the new demands that arise for new, more complex, tougher battles, under whatever conditions. It constitutes at the same time a condition for the building of a popular alliance, that is, the Anti-Monopoly, Anti-imperialist Democratic Front (AADF) and the struggle for people’s power.
A second condition is the mass organising of the trade union movement and the change in the balance of forces within its ranks, where the strength and influence of the reformist, opportunist forces is powerful. It demands a systematic effort, a sharpening of the struggle with the goal to bankrupt and defeat these concepts, consistent action in order to increase the influence of the Party within the ranks of the working class and trade union movement and to strengthen the forces of the class pole.
A third condition is to deal with the delays in the adaptation of the structure of the trade union movement to the changes that are taking place in the productive framework.
A fourth condition is the overcoming of the delays in the building of powerful mass Party and KNE organizations in large workplaces, in branches and industrial zones, which have been caused firstly by ideological and political inadequacies, but is also related to the gaps in organisational policies in the assignments of forces, cadres, members, and Party base organizations.
A fifth condition is the fully developed line concerning rallying of forces and the joint action of the working class with the self-employed, small businesses and small-medium farmers.
A sixth condition is the reinforcement of the internationalist character of the struggle of the working class and its movement. Objective difficulties exist and under no condition should they be underestimated: The shameful condition that exists in the trade union movement with the responsibility of the compromised majority, the consequences of the upheaval in working relations, unemployment, the united strategy of the monopolies under conditions of a general retreat of the movement, the long-lasting effect of the victory of counter-revolution, the situation in the workers’ movement in Europe and more generally on a worldwide level, the long-term political divisiveness and buying off of important sections of the working class.
Capitalist restructuring, especially in labour relations, caused new difficulties for the trade union movement and the struggles of the working class, they sharpened even more the lack of correspondence between the structure of the trade union movement in relation to the changes between branches and sectors of the economy that have occurred. It has reinforced the tendency for a concentration of the working class without however seriously affecting its comparatively low degree of trade union concentration. The low degree of trade union organisation and the inclusion in the ranks of the working class of new forces as a rule under flexible labour relations, created a complex new situation.
This fact, in combination with an intensified adherence to and incorporation of reformist and opportunist trade union leaders in the strategy of capital and the EU, demands more rapid changes and adaptations from the side of the class pole in the trade union movement. The formation of a series of branch union organizations is first of all, a very positive step. It does much to combat sectionalism yet it is not enough if their activity is not part of a uniform anti-monopoly policy by branch, by area and they do not wage a resolute battle with the compromised and sold-out union leaderships.
Without this, they can easily focus only on partial, local, sectional battles or become inactive. The capability of the vanguard to predict, to study and to grapple with class consciousness and decisiveness facing the machinations of the class enemy at all levels, especially where the working class works, lives, and is concentrated must be assessed. The Party’s experience is rich and instructive revealing that under adverse conditions, difficulties and negative relations can be overcome or the prerequisites can be created for their reversal as things progress.
3. The Conference judges that the basic inhibitive subjective factor in promoting the strategy and tactic of the Party has to do with the separation of the economic struggle from the political struggle.
This is true both in our daily action as a Party as a whole, and in the movement, in combination with the reduced participation of all the forces in the struggle or the difficulty of including more forces as well as incorporating the reserve forces that exist. The problem is expressed in practice by the view or the practice that the sharpening of economic problems is a factor that shapes or can shape class political consciousness.
That the struggle around the heightened economic problems by itself automatically creates the conditions for political experience and the pre-requisites for the continual and steady improvement in the position of the working class and the development of its movement.
That the intensity of the economic struggles and the fight against the existent governmental policies lead automatically to the heightening of political consciousness and the political struggle. The economic problems, more generally the problems concerning living conditions and labour for the working class definitely constitute the base of its struggles and mobilisation and this struggle must be ceaselessly carried out at the branch level and in every company, and must be based on the most accurate knowledge of the conditions that exist in each specific workplace.
As much as this struggle is sharpened, even if it takes on the highest possible forms, it does not automatically lead to class consciousness. The struggle of the working class will always be limited and without prospects if it is not carried out in a way that combines all forms of struggle Â ideological, political, economic; if the struggle does submit itself to the concentration and preparation of the working class for victory at the level of state-power, for the abolition of the power of the monopolies and the exploitation of man by man.
Deeper ideological and political work is absolutely necessary in order to expose the mechanisms of exploitation and especially the conditions for their abolition. The struggle of the working class for wages, for work conditions, for social security and other rights, etc., is a struggle that concerns the terms for negotiation the selling of its labour power. It is without question a necessary struggle and must be unceasingly carried out, yet it is always restricted as it deals with only one side of capitalist relations, the economic and political strategy of capital and of the state. It is a struggle for the protection of the working class against the exploitative mania of employers. It is a school of comprehending what class exploitation means and how it transpires. The position of the working class will not change no matter how many victories it achieves. It can improve at some level its living conditions temporarily but it does not change in the slightest its productive relations which are those of exploitation, dependence on capital, a relation of wage slavery. The law of state capital concentration excludes any lessening of the degree of exploitation of labour that threatens the concentration of social capital; the boss always remains a boss.
Under today’s conditions where international imperialism in Europe and in Greece has exhausted all the possibilities that it had vis a vis concessions such as in the period following WWII or in the first years after 1974 in Greece, under conditions where all of the basic gains of the working class are overturned the one after the other the position of the working class as a whole will continue to deteriorate as long as it is not clear that the essence and the goal of the class struggle is the abolition of capitalist relations, as long as the delusions claiming it is possible to achieve a better management of capitalism and to satisfy basic needs and for there to be direct fundamental solutions under capitalism are not destroyed. The heightened battle with reformist and opportunist ideas that are constantly being readjusted and their final bankruptcy is one of the basic conditions for class consciousness, while delusions of Parliamentary solutions are only one expression of these concepts.
When, for example, we speak of the politicisation of the struggle it should be clear what content we are giving it. It does not simply concern only opposition and the expression of discontent towards the existing bourgeois party government or governmental cooperation within the framework of bourgeois management. Politicisation, the political struggle, must contribute to the realisation of a solution for the basic problem which is the problem of state-power. Overthrow at the level of state-power is and must be a goal and the core of the class struggle, independently if deeper agreement exists as to what socialist revolution means or when and how it will be carried out.
In addition, it must be understood that the contemporary needs of the working class do not depend only on the salary or wage level. The realisation that an inseparable part of the struggle is the specialisation of our policies on women, the youth, young couples, for the needs of families, have been unjustifiably set back. Steps have been taken, but they are not consistent and they do not mobilise broad sections of the working class, the broad masses of women and youth. Activity based only on experience and disjointed efforts, as militant and persistent as they are, by the leading bodies of the Party base organizations, are not enough to overcome the gaps that have been detected.
The dialectical relation between economics and politics demands systematic, ongoing theoretical work in order to enrich our ideological-political front with lively, contemporary examples and assessments, as well as with facts acquired from observing the class enemy and how it defends its positions, how it manoeuvres, how it influences popular psychology.
Many times we speak or we work without taking into account this factor, that is, how the opponent works and often our propaganda seems pre-packaged. The relation between economics and politics must constitute today the foundation of ideological work in the Party and around it, something that contributes, among other things, to the deeper understanding of the conclusions on socialist construction.
4. The activity of the Party as the vanguard of the working class is not the same as trade union activity, nor is it simply a matter of supporting the unions. Its main mission is the political and organisational preparation of the forces of the working class for gaining power. This mission is secured only by continual ideological work first of all within the ranks of the Party, in order to reinforce its precise role within the ranks of the working class. To unite and educate the working class around this prospect. The organisation of the working class within trade unions to some extent expresses this progress.
The surest indicator is the increase in the organisational strength of the Party, and of KNE, the adoption of the ideas of socialism-communism. The increase in the strength of the Party, the mobilising around it, within the base oeganizations, of new working class forces and their planned mobilisation are the most decisive factors for setting the popular and workers’ masses in motion so that they can gain consciousness of their class interests.
Conscientiously fulfilling this duty can aid the Party to further its leadership role in the trade unions, to have an effect on their orientation, their mass character, the way in which they function and make decisions, with respect of course for their independence.
http://inter.kke.gr/Documents/2010-09-29-party-conference/Â Â Â
Via 21st Century Manifesto, August 2011
Originally Posted September 29, 2009