Article of the International Relations Section of the CC of the KKE
Greece continues to attract the attention of workers of many countries all over the world, in light of the new crucially important parliamentary elections, which will be held on the 17th of June, as none of the three parties, which received the most votes, could form a coalition government. Of particular interest, judging by the relevant articles in communist and other progressive newspapers, journals and web-pages are the recent election results as well as the political line traced by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), which has found itself in the firing line of various analysts in this period. But let us start from the beginning.
On the Result of the May 6th elections
The elections on the 6th of May created a new political scene, as the three parties, which had governed together supporting the anti-people political line of capital and the European Union (EE), fell in the elections. Specifically:
The social-democratic PASOK gathered only 833,529 votes or 13.2%, an unprecedented fall of -2,179,013 and -30.8%.
The conservative ND received 1,192,054 or 18.9%, a fall of 1,103,665 votes or -14.6%.
The nationalist LAOS could not reach the 3% threshold to enter Parliament, receiving 183,466 or 2.9%, a fall of -202,739 or -1.6%.
At the same time, nevertheless, the change of the political scene does not mean an overthrow of the political scene, as the forces which support the political line of the “EU one way street” were the ones that chiefly benefited from the anger of the workers. And so, the large majority of the voters of the bourgeois parties were scattered mainly to ideologically related political formations . Specifically:
SYRIZA, which is an alliance of opportunist forces, which had left the KKE from the “right” (in the Party splits in 1968 and 1991) and which has been joined in recent years by forces from the social-democratic PASOK, gathered 1,061,265 votes or 16.8%, an increase +745,600 or +12.2%,
A split from SYRIZA, Democratic Left, which had also absorbed former PASOK MPs and officials, gathered 386,116 votes or 6.1%.
A large number of votes were also directed to reactionary and nationalist parties such as the “Independent Greeks”, which emerged from ND and received 670,596 votes or 10.6% and the fascist Nazi “Golden Dawn”, which received 440,894 votes or 7%.
Also, about 20% of the electorate voted for dozens of parties, which participated in the elections, but could not break through the 3% threshold.
The KKE had a small increase in this election. Specifically it received 536,072 votes or 8.5%, that is to say +18,823 votes or +1%. The KKE elected 26 MPs (of the 300 in Parliament), 5 more than it had previously. In working class neighbourhoods the KKE received almost double its average percentage. Indeed in one of the 56 electoral regions (Samos-Ikaria) the KKE came first with 24.7%.
The CC of the KKE came to certain initial conclusions on the election result. It mentions in its statement amongst other things: “the CC salutes the thousands of working men and women, and unemployed who appreciated the militancy, consistency and the truthful clarity of the KKE’s words, the militancy and unselfishness of the communists and supported it at the ballot box, irrespective of their level of agreement with its overall political proposal. A large section of the workers as well as a section of the party’s voters, under the pressure of the exacerbation of the popular problems, the misleading slogans concerning the renegotiation of the memorandum and the immediate relief for the workers, could not understand and take on board the difference between a government and real power.” But as is noted by the CC of the KKE: “the political proposal of the KKE regarding the struggle for working class-people’s power will find itself at the core of the people in the next period, as the difference between a government and real people’s power will become even clearer, as well as the overall proposal concerning the immediate issues of the people’s survival and working class popular power. From this standpoint political electoral activity of the KKE in harmony with its strategy, as is proper, constitutes an important legacy for the years to come.”
Certain international bourgeois media, presenting SYRIZA as the “winner” of the May 6th elections, did not explore beyond its title: “Coalition of the Radical Left” and came to the conclusion that it is a radical left or even communist party. Of course this has no basis in reality. The central force within SYRIZA is the party “Coalition of the Left” (SYN), which has a social-democratic programme. In 1992 it voted for the Maastricht treaty in the Greek Parliament and is a supporter of the imperialist European Union, which it believes can be improved. It joined the anti-communist campaign against the USSR and the other socialist countries we knew in the 20th century. SYN is a member of the Presidium of the so-called “European Left Party” (ELP), which is an instrument of the EU to eradicate the communist characteristics of the CPs in the EU countries.
Together with SYN there are forces that entered SYRIZA from the Social-democratic PASOK, as well as various smaller ultra-left groups of a Trotskyist hue, and mutated former “maoist” groups, which add political “spice” to the basically social-democratic and anti-communist “meal”. A basic goal of this particular formation is the reduction of the electoral, trade union and more general political influence of the KKE, Thus, there are numerous examples over the last decade of the anti-KKE character of this political formation. In dozens of trade unions, sectoral federations and labour centres (local trade union councils), the forces of SYRIZA cooperate and form electoral alliances with PASOK forces in order to impede the election of communist delegates to the higher trade union bodies. SYRIZA is the sworn enemy of the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) which is a rally of class-oriented trade unions. SYRIZA’s forces openly collaborate with government and employer-led forces in the leading bodies of the compromised trade union confederations in the private (GSEE) and public sector (ADEDY). In many instances they have a similar stance in local elections. A particularly characteristic example was the stance in the municipal elections of 2010 in Ikaria. The KKE possesses significant electoral influence on this island, which was a former place of exile for communists. In the 2010 elections SYRIZA collaborated with the social-democratic PASOK, the liberal ND and the nationalist LAOS so that the island would not elect a communist mayor. Then the KKE’s candidate received 49.5% of the votes and the municipality was won by the anti-KKE alliance by a few hundred votes.
Today SYRIZA is trying to attack the KKE with proposals of political expediency regarding the so-called “unity of the left”, in an attempt for the KKE to erase whole sections of its programme, to abandon its principles and to accept the policy of managing the capitalist system, which is proposed by SYRIZA.
Based on this, the least we could say is that the stance of certain CPs was not responsible, which rushed to salute the electoral rise of this opportunist and anti-communist formation in the name of the electoral increase of the “left”, without knowing the real situation in Greece. They saluted a sworn enemy of the KKE, an enemy whose participation in a coalition government of the supporters of the EU has been proposed by the president of the Greek industrialists.
The illusion of “unity of the left” and the lie of the “left government”.
Many politicized workers, from various countries in Europe and the world, pose this question: Why does the KKE not make some compromises? Why does it insist on its political line for the rallying of social forces, which want to struggle against the monopolies, against capitalism, against the imperialist unions, for people’s working class power and does not support the political line of “unity of the left”, the struggle to correct capitalist reality, and the EU, with political and/or governmental collaboration with other “left” and social-democratic forces, as other CPs in Europe have done?
To begin with, The KKE has for some time now clarified that the meanings “left” and “right” are not terms that reflect today’s political situation. The term “Left” today could be used to describe the GS of NATO or the Prime Minister of a country who is conducting an imperialist war and is carrying out anti-worker and anti-people measures at the expense of the workers in his country. The Communist Party is not simply a “left party”, but the party which struggles for the overthrow of capitalism, the construction of the new socialist-communist society. It is this path, this line of struggle that can bring about gains and not the reverse!
As history has demonstrated, reforms, the struggle to “correct” the capitalist system, to blunt the most extreme anti-people measures, which is what the opportunist-social-democratic forces focus on, have never led to the overthrow of capitalism anywhere. On the contrary! On many occasions this approach has led to the consolidation of capitalism, through the creation of illusions amongst millions of workers, that capitalism can be allegedly humanized; that today the European Central Bank can be transformed from a tool of capitalism into… a charitable organization which will hand out interest-free loans or that the European Union, can be transformed from a union which serves capital into a “union of the peoples”, as SYN/SYRIZA and the ELP claim.
This is the reason why the KKE promotes its political proposal in a comprehensive fashion, which it specialized for the elections on the 6th of May in the slogan: “ Out of the EU, with people’s power and the unilateral cancellation of the debt.”
In this sense, the KKE remains consistently oriented to Marxism-Leninism. As Lenin wrote: “The proletariat is fighting, and will continue to fight, to destroy the old regime. Towards this end it will direct all its propaganda and agitation, and all its efforts to organise and mobilise the masses. If it fails to destroy the old regime completely, it will take advantage even of its partial destruction. But it will never advocate partial destruction, depict this in rosy colours, or call upon the people to support it. Real support in a genuine struggle is given to those who strive for the maximum (achieving something less in the event of failure) and not to those who opportunistically curtail the aims of the struggle before the fight.”
The KKE has rejected the idea of forming a “left government”, which will keep Greece in the EU and NATO and the capitalist relations of production untouched, and which will allegedly be able to implement a pro-people management of the system. Our party is struggling for the development of the class struggle, the political consciousness of the workers, their liberation from the influence of the bourgeois parties and ideological constructs and for the formation of a social alliance, which will defend the interests of the workers and will also seek to extricate the country from imperialist interventions, and will also pose the question of power.
Goal : The reduction of the influence of the KKE and its assimilation into the system!
The refusal of the KKE to submit itself to “left” formations or even to a government of the “left” is being targeted by its enemies, and “friends”, who directly or indirectly call on the KKE to “unite” with the other “left” forces. The CPs which are in the presidium of the ELP are following this line. There were also some rather crude attacks e.g. by various Trotskyist groups that are more well-known abroad than in our own country who characterized the KKE as sectarian and dogmatic.
How is it possible for the KKE to rally hundreds of thousands of people in Greece, with the line of class struggle, if the party is sectarian? How is it possible, for example, for the All-workers’ Militant Front (PAME) to rally dozens of first-level trade unions, sectoral federations, and labour centres which represent hundreds of thousands of workers?
We should note here that PAME, as the class-oriented pole in the labour and trade union movement rallies 8 sectoral federations, 13 labour centres, hundreds of first-level and sectoral unions, with 850,000 members. In addition, PAME also operates in trade unions where the class-oriented forces are not in the majority. For example, PAME is the second force in a series of sectoral federations (such as the federation in the tourist and catering sector and the Metalworkers’ Federation) as well as in the country’s two largest labour centres (Athens and Thessalonica).
How is it possible for the Panhellenic Anti-monopoly rally of the self-employed (PASEVE) to organize thousands of self-employed people, who understand the need to come into conflict with the monopolies? How is it possible for thousands of poor farmers, through their farmer’s associations and their committees, to be inspired by the struggle of the All-farmers Militant Rally (PASY) against the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy? How is it possible for women and thousands of students, who belong to the working class and popular strata to enter the struggle in the framework of the demands and the initiatives of the Federation of Greek Women (OGE) and the Students’ Front of Struggle (MAS)? The members and cadres of the KKE play a leading role in all these socio-political organizations without hiding their identity.
They accuse the KKE of being “isolated”, or even “dogmatic” and “sectarian” due to its rejection of a “left government” or due to the fact that its percentage in the elections does not increase as fast as that of the social-democratic formation of SYRIZA. These accusations against the KKE do not stick. We should remember that 2,5 years ago PASOK, the other social-democratic party, received 44% while this time it received just 13%. This decline, which took place in conditions of political fluidity boosted SYRIZA, its closest ideological relation. Even more so as a revolutionary communist party, like the KKE, is not judged exclusively by its percentage in elections.
Our party has accumulated immense historical experience regarding the policy of cooperation! It led the anti-fascist struggle of a large armed front that made an enormous contribution to the people’s struggle. Nevertheless, in that period the party did not manage to form a strategy for the transformation of the antifascist struggle to a struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power. During the 1950’s and 1980’s the KKE formed “left” alliances. The KKE has drawn valuable conclusions from its experience regarding the policy of alliances and it does not intend to repeat similar mistakes.
But why they are attacking the KKE? Of course they are irritated by the significant international activity of the KKE for the reconstruction of the international communist movement on the basis of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism. Besides, the International Meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties as well as other international communist initiatives started in Athens. But the most important thing is that the KKE is a party with strong roots in the working class, with significant experience in the workers’ and people’s struggles, a party that refuses to abandon its principles, a party that refuses to become the “tail” of social democracy, a party that does not submit to the EU and NATO. At this point we quote a comment of an article published in the well known French newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique: “the secret goal and wish of all the left people in Greece is to dissolve the Communist Party and reshape it on a new basis and give to the Greek left its proper position in society”. That is to discredit the KKE and transform it, like certain other mutated communist parties of Europe, into a “communist alibi” of social democracy for the management of capitalist barbarity.
Our own goal is to thwart their plans! To preserve and strengthen the KKE. Despite the pressure exerted on our party there are several encouraging signs that show that the KKE will prove to be a tough nut to crack. Ten days after the elections of May 6th the students’ elections took place in Greece. The lists supported by the Communist Youth of Greece received 16% in Technological Educational Institutes (TEI) and 14% in the universities, an increase compared to last year. On the contrary, the lists of SYRIZA achieved a low score with 2,3% in TEI and 6,9% in universities.
Face-lift of the bourgeois system
The KKE has for some time warned the Greek people that the bourgeois class is preparing a face-lift of the political scene in order to preserve its power. The reason is that it cannot manage the political system on the basis of the rotation of a conservative (ND) and a social-democratic party (PASOK) in power as it has been doing since 1974, after the fall of military dictatorship. The bourgeois system seeks to get rid of parties and persons who have been exposed in the eyes of the people once and for all. Under these conditions SYRIZA, which has a social-democratic programme, reaped benefits in the elections by spreading blatant lies, both before and during the election period, fostering illusions which in essence claim that there can be a better future for the workers without a conflict with the monopolies and the imperialist unions. That is why it bears enormous responsibilities vis-à-vis the people!
The KKE urges the working people to realize that this face-lift has nothing to do with the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people. Even the so called “left government” is a leaking lifeboat for the working people who have been suffocated by the impasses of the capitalist system.
The people must not be trapped in false dilemmas
In the electoral battle of 17th June the bourgeois parties and opportunism promote new misleading dilemmas, which will be utilized in the next period in order to trap the people, reduce the endurance of the radical masses to the pressures exerted on them, as well as the influence of the KKE in the elections. The KKE does not conceal the fact that this battle will be particularly difficult for the communists!
In order to make clear what kind of false dilemmas we are talking about allow us to examine some of them:
1. Euro or drachma?
One of the false dilemmas is the accusation brought by ND against SYRIZA arguing that its policy leads the country out of euro and that it would be catastrophic for the working people. SYRIZA answers that the cost of the exit of Greece from the euro would be immense for the other countries of the Eurozone and for that reason it will never occur.
Of course in reality, taking into account that the capitalist crisis is in progress, we cannot exclude, given the scenarios which are already being discussed, the shrinkage of the Eurozone through the expulsion of Greece and other countries or through an internal devaluation of euro in our country. Consequently the blackmails of the EU and the IMF are real and the answer cannot be the complacency that SYRIZA fosters.
However, we should note that all the parties apart from the KKE i.e. ND, SYRIZA, PASOK, and Democratic Left are quarrelling over who is the most competent to keep the country in the euro. Each party is accusing the other of leading Greece to the drachma with its policy. All of them aim at imposing on the people’s consciousness the false dilemma “euro or drachma” in order to conceal the fact that they have the same strategy because they are parties committed to the EU. They call on the people to vote for and struggle under false flags, contrary to their interests in the false line “inside or outside the euro” when all the parties –apart from the KKE- are saying inside the EU and the euro. Either with the euro or the drachma the people will be destitute.
The KKE calls on the people to bypass this dilemma. They should not accept the choice of which currency they will measure their poverty in, as well as the reductions in their income and pensions, the taxes, the medical expenses and the tuition fees. The dilemma “euro or drachma” is the other side of the coin of the intimidation concerning the uncontrolled bankruptcy which is already a fact for the overwhelming majority of the people. They want the people to be trapped in the false dilemmas so as to be able to blackmail them when they want to pass anti-people laws, telling them to choose between the barbaric measures and the return to drachma which they identify with chaos and misery. At the same time, there are sections of the plutocracy, both in Greece and abroad, that seek a return to drachma. This would enable them to make more profits for themselves and the bourgeoisie as a whole than they do now in the conditions of the country’s assimilation into the euro. The bankrupted people will not make any progress either with the euro or with the drachma as long as monopolies direct production, as long as the country remains in the EU and the bourgeoisie remains in power. The only answer to the dilemma “euro or drachma” from the viewpoint of the people’s interests is: disengagement from the EU with people’s power and unilateral cancellation of debt. It goes without saying that in this case the country will have its own currency.
2. Greek or European solution?
All of them are talking about a European solution of the crisis in Greece and refer to negotiations with the EU bodies for a comprehensive solution to the debt problem that will concern Greece as well. All Greek parties, apart from the KKE, saluted the election of Hollande in the French presidency, which as they claim puts an end to the anti-people duo “Mercozy”. They also talk about the consultations with the EU on development measures, by subsidizing the big businesses so that they can make investments.
Their tactics seek to conceal that those who are chiefly responsible for the suffering of the people are not in Brussels but within the country. It is the bourgeoisie, the employers who possess the means of production i.e. the ships, the offices, the services in our country. The participation of Greece in the Eurozone, based on the decisions of the parties of plutocracy, serves their interests. It is provocative to present the EU as a terrain where a pro-people way out from the crisis can be found. It is the EU which has elaborated the memoranda together with the national governments and the IMF. It is the EU which has as its strategy the “EU 2020” and the Maastricht Treaty i.e. the source of all anti-labour and anti-people measures with or without memoranda. They tell the people that even the slightest relief from the measures is a matter of negotiations within the EU that endeavours to ensure for its monopolies a way out of the crisis at the expense of the peoples. They urge the victim to expect a solution from the persecutor, in a Eurozone which is sinking even deeper into the crisis and becomes even more reactionary, given the rivalries inside the EU but also between the EU and other imperialist centres.
SYRIZA also bears an enormous responsibility as it seeks a renegotiation of the strategy of the memorandum putting the movement on ice and fostering a stance of “wait and see” until the negotiations of the “left government” it dreams of with the EU partners yield results. At the same time, it talks about “social cohesion”, about “social peace” that will be imposed by a “left government” i.e. muzzling the workers’ and people’s struggles in a period when they have to be escalated and radicalized against the national plutocracy and the parties that serve it or support it through intimidation and illusions.
The KKE reveals to the people that it is necessary to have a people’s and workers’ movement that will struggle for the rupture and the overthrow of the choices of capital and the EU and to promote the coordination at a European level not through negotiations but through strengthening the workers’ people’s movement in its struggle against the EU, in the line of rupture.
3. Austerity or development?
In a capitalist Europe foundering in the crisis the governments seek “development” namely the exit of EU capital from the crisis. In Greece the pro-EU parties quarrel over the proportion of austerity and development included in their policy. They seek to conceal that the capitalist path of development entails austerity in the conditions of sharp capitalist competition and acute inter-imperialist contradictions. The measures of “fiscal consolidation” taken in a series of countries, with or without memoranda, in the name of the need to create a surplus in the state budget in order to provide subsidies to capital are also serving development. In addition, the “structural changes” are promoted in Greece and throughout Europe also in the name of development and include chiefly the abolition of social security and labour rights in order to make the labour power cheaper for capital. The privatizations and the liberalization of markets that provide new profitable fields for the plutocracy also aim at development, squeezing small businessmen and the self-employed. Consequently, everything is done for development which owing to its capitalist nature is served solely by anti-people measures that appear either as austerity measures or “structural changes” or as bailouts for big businesses. In the previous period the bourgeois governments in the Eurozone have loosened or intensified the measures in one or the other direction in order to regulate the contradictions between them as well as the deep crisis.
The KKE notes that the way out in favour of the people does not lie in the management of the crisis with expansive or restrictive tools by the political personnel of capital in the bodies of the EU. It lies in the organization of the struggle at a national level, for a different path of development which will develop all the production potential of the country in favour of the people based on the people’s power, the disengagement from the EU and the socialization of the means of production.
4. “Right” or “left” , “pro-memorandum” or “anti-memorandum”
These are dilemmas which according to the developments will take on a new form of two poles, centre-right and centre left. The abovementioned dilemmas, primarily with the responsibility of SYRIZA, marginalized and obscured the real contradictions within Greece and the EU. The artificial dilemma “memorandum- anti-memorandum” is used by the bourgeois and opportunists in order to conceal that their common denominator is the “EU one way street” namely the alignment with the strategy of capital. Irrespective of their different tactics these forces “right-wing, “left-wing”, “pro-memorandum”, “anti-memorandum” are fooling the working people, the popular strata when they tell them that there can be a solution in favour of the people within the EU. ND, PASOK, Independent Greeks, SYRIZA, Democratic Left and other forces do not have a programme that comes into conflict or at least challenges the power of the monopolies. The terms that they use, namely “development”, “redistribution of wealth”, “audit of the debt”, “European solution” conceal the contradictory class interests that exist in Greece and the EU i.e. the fact that as long as there is capitalist ownership over the means of production there cannot be any prosperity for the popular strata. The memorandum is the tip of the iceberg of the strategy of the EU which provides for anti-people measures in all member-states. Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Hungary, Romania have contracted loan agreements unlike Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Britain which does not participate in the Eurozone. But the assault of capital is common to all countries and includes cuts in salaries, flexible working relations, increase of retirement ages, privatizations of public services, commercialization of health, education, culture, sports the relative and absolute destitution of the working people. Even if we get rid of the memorandum in Greece the anti-people measures will continue, in fact they will intensify as long as capital and its power are not overthrown because this has been established by the strategic guidelines of the EU which were either signed or supported by the bourgeois parties and SYN/SYRIZA.
The real question that the people will have to answer and which will emerge even more intensely in the next period is the following: Greece and working people independent and disengaged from the European commitments or a Greece assimilated into the EU? Will the people be the master of the wealth they produce or will they be slaves in the factories and the businesses of the capitalists? Will the people be organised and play a leading role in the developments or will the movement be out for the count and expect the victimizer to solve its problems as its representative? The KKE has a clear cut position. The fact that all its predictions and assessments have been confirmed is one more reason for the people to trust it and struggle alongside it.
In the forthcoming electoral battle there is a need for the consistent international solidarity with our party to be expressed in a mass way! The Greek communists need to feel the support, the proletarian solidarity and comradely spirit of the communist and workers’ parties, of the other anti-imperialist forces in view of this tough battle given that the bourgeois class aims at the reduction of the electoral results of the KKE. And the reason is that it is worried about its revolutionary policy, about its clear positions in relation to the imperialist organizations, about the solid basis of the KKE in the workers’ and people’s movement, in the factories, in the enterprises, in the popular neighbourhoods of the big cities. Because they cannot subjugate the KKE. The communists, the friends of the KKE, the members and the friends of KNE fight in this battle, organized and determined, declaring to the Greek people and the international working class that after the elections we will be in the workplaces, in the cities and in the countryside alongside the people’s and workers’ families, at the frontline of the struggle regarding the people’s problems, faithful to the historical commitment of the revolutionary party, unwavering in the struggle for the overthrow of the capitalist barbarity, for socialism-communism.
 An agreement of anti-people measures signed by the Greek government with the EU, IMF and ECB to receive new loans
 V.I. Lenin « The fight for power and the “fight” for sops”, volume 11, p 27-31