The Speech of the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, at the presentation of the 2nd Volume of the Essay on the History of the Party
The study of our history is a factor for the strengthening, maturing and development of the party
In the crowded conference hall of the party, at the headquarters of the CC in Perissos, the 2nd Volume of the “Essay on the History of the KKE, from 1949-1968” was presented by the GS of the CC of the KKE. The Essay had been approved by the Nationwide Conference in July and was recently issued by “Synchroni Epochi”. Rizospastis published the entire speech of Aleka Papariga at the meeting, which was supplemented by an artistic programme and marks the beginning of series of events by the party organizations for the presentation of the 2nd Volume of the Essay throughout the entire country.
"We are particularly moved and satisfied to present today the second volume of the Essay on the history of the KKE which concerns the period 1949-1968. Already from the 1980s the writing of the 1st volume of the Essay on the history of the KKE, the period 1918-1949, had been scheduled. After the 14th congress-reconstruction of the KKE, this task was implemented with the shaping of the 1st volume which was published in 1995 and at the same time the writing of the 2nd volume 1949-1968 was scheduled.
We are the only party
in Greece which studies in a scientific and above all collective way
its history, which exhibits it openly to the judgement of our friends
and supporters, militants, all the workers, to the judgement of the
youth; the only party which evaluates its contribution, and openly speaks
about its mistakes and oversights.
We study our history
in order to evaluate our contribution, as well as our mistakes and oversights
so that we acquire new experience and understanding. We see all these
as factors which strengthen, mature and develop the party. We seek through
this process that our activity becomes more incisive and effective,
in the struggle for the abolition of class exploitation, for socialism.
Much has been written about the important events in modern Greek History,
historical and other books or monographs, research, and articles about
the KKE and important moments in its history have been published.
What sets the publication
which we are presenting today apart, in our opinion, is that it is a
product of collective study based on vast written material, which has
already been publicly exhibited, and even on sources hostile to the
ideology of the KKE. The bibliography used includes archival sources,
documents of the party, documents of EDA, newspapers and journals, Greek
and foreign bibliography. The analytical bibliography comprises 11 full
The second Volume of
the Essay was discussed throughout the whole party and the organs of
KNE. After many comments were gathered together, finally it was further
elaborated and shaped into a decision through the process of the Nationwide
Conference, which based on our Statutes is the second most important
party body after the Congress.
The Volume, which approaches
800 pages, mentions the most central events in contemporary Greek history.
The most important,
the most special thing is that the pages of the Essay do not discuss
only the activity of those “above”, of the parties, the leaderships,
of the personalities, but also the activity of those “below”, the
workers, the working people in general, the movement. The class
struggle is present, that is to say the driving force of social development.
There is another special characteristic, that we do not enclose the
history of the party, the movement, the developments within the borders
of Greece alone. The Essay makes a wide and deep examination of the
international economic and political developments, because Greece was
and is an integral part of the international imperialist system, the
class struggle in all its forms was also an integral part of the corresponding
international and regional developments, and because our party was also
an organic section of the International Communist Movement (ICM).
An element of experience
and maturity of the party
The study concerning
the writing of the Essay began many years ago, it stumbled on objective
and subjective weaknesses, don’t forget that the last 20 years were
hard for us, they required that the party proceed in its ideological,
political and organizational reconstruction after the well-known events
of 1991. They required that we reconnect our links with wider working
class, popular masses, that we follow the rapid developments,
old phenomena which appeared in new forms, as well as new elements,
and above that we would be every day in the front line of the organization
of the resistance and the working class and people’s counterattack.
The events of the day
are always a challenge, the daily struggle as well, but it is a mortal
danger for the communist party if it does not operate on the basis of
its strategic task. In such an instance the events of the day,
the daily struggle are not dealt with, neither the immediate pressing
problems. As the introduction of the Essay says, the KKE has historically
achieved to maintain close links with the working class, the workers.
The fact that the KKE managed in the crisis of 1991 to safeguard its
historical continuation, despite the loss of important forces, is due
to these deep historical roots.
Many times we have
heard the view that the study of a period, shorter or longer, which
contains important events, must take place much later when its protagonists
have passed away.
We have a more objective
position on this issue. The historical study follows the period when
the events and the developments take place, precisely because tendencies
and developments are confirmed in hindsight, hence predictions as well.
The experience and maturity of the Party, which is acquired through
the development of events and over time, assist in the detection of
mistakes, failures, weaknesses and omissions.
The scientific study
of this period was undeniably influenced by events of major importance,
like the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and the other socialist
countries, the ideological and organizational crisis of the International
Communist Movement (ICM). Even if we had elaborated the history of this
period before 1989-1991, today we would have to decide that a new study
be carried out. The need to reassess the strategy of the KKE, the ICM,
and the parties of power was inevitable.
In any case, the overthrow
of the socialist system was not determined by the result of a military
confrontation. The imperialist encirclement was present, the imperialist
conspiracy, but the determining fundamental factors in this were the
internal processes, the class struggle within the course of socialist
development itself, the internal subjective mistakes, the estrangement
from basic principles, the adoption of mistaken choices, above all in
the economy, which led to opportunism, in the distortion of the character
of the party, of the working class character of power.
As is mentioned in
the introduction to the Essay, we finally proceeded to a reassessment
of events and persons concerning the period of the 6th Extended Plenum
of the CC in March 1956, as well as the next ones, the 7th
and 8th Plenums of the CC in 1957 and 1958 respectively;
likewise concerning the tenure of the GS of the CC of the KKE up to
the 6th Wider Plenum, Nikos Zachariades, and thus the need
to rehabilitate Nikos Zachariades arose, who was removed and expelled
with the unjust and mistaken accusation that he lured the party into
a sectarian, dogmatic, adventurist line. It was an accusation-product
of the prevalence of opportunism in the international communist movement,
in the CPSU, and in the other CPs of power, factors which contributed
to its dominance in the KKE as well.
We clarify that the
re-evaluation of positions and political choices of the party based
on the criterion of historical verification does not constitute an obsession
with mistakes. On the contrary, we consider that it gives us new strength
to face today’s complex tasks, it warns us to constantly monitor our
activity, to study the developments, to verify our assessments, to work
with certainty without a moment of relaxation, routine, and complacency.
Reading the Essay you
will ascertain that for us there is not only the question of highlighting
the mistake, the failings, the weaknesses, or of highlighting personal
responsibilities. It is chiefly of importance to see which objective
and subjective factors led to the mistake, how the gradual underestimation
of the various factors leads to finding yourself at the crucial moment
not up to the demands of the revolutionary struggle.
The CP must be an all-seasons
party. Let’s think for example the post-dictatorship period. It is
considered by many to be the most peaceful period in the activity of
the party. And yet it was an exceptionally complex period. An important
section of this period is connected with that period when the bourgeois
political system for a series of reasons, which we do not have the time
to expound analytically, made concessions and retreats towards the pressure
of the movement with as a clear goal the rise in productivity for the
greatest possible profit, as well as the assimilation of popular masses
especially in the phase when it sought to create an atmosphere of compromise
and relaxation during the course of Greece’s connection with and accession
to the EEC. In such conditions the impact of reformism and opportunism
is suffocating. The last 20 years we have been living in different conditions
with as a starting point the furious anti-communism which accompanies
the counterrevolution, the defeat of the movement globally, with as
a consequence the retreat of its main forms e.g. the trade union movement
globally which has found itself without masses, weak and disoriented
in the face of the consequences of the storm of the economic capitalist
crisis. We are talking about new problems, complex problems. The history
of the party and the international movement demonstrates that if the
party has not acquired a revolutionary strategy, if it does not have
the ability to specialise in every phase or turn, then it can make a
fundamental mistake and even in simple matters. The ability of a CP,
its adequacy is judged as to how quickly it corrects its mistakes. Of
course, it cannot wait for the scientific historical study to see them.
There are different kinds of mistake, some, if they are not corrected
in a timely way, can become decisive.
The history of the
international communist movement provides similar examples for the correction
of the strategy during the development of the revolutionary situation;
the best example of this is the Bolsheviks and Lenin’s party, who
led this correction with the April Theses in 1917, which resulted in
the preparation and successful conduct of the Socialist Revolution in
Russia in October. From the same standpoint of the revolutionary correction
of mistakes, the CC treats the relations of the KKE with the CPSU and
the other CPs of the socialist countries.
Allow me to concentrate
on certain reassessments which are made in this Essay, which help our
methodology be understood.
Chapter: The global
balance of forces and the strategy of the International Communist Movement
in the years 1950-1968.
In this chapter you
will see why we make the assessment that the balance of forces at a
global level was underestimated or/and mistakenly estimated by a large
part, the majority of the CPs, in the final analysis by the ICM itself.
It is a fact that the World War II did not only bring about the defeat
of Germany in Europe, but also the creation of the socialist system,
as up to this point socialism existed in only one country, the USSR.
This did not at all mean that the balance of forces had changed.
The underestimation of the balance of forces, which continued to be
in favour of international imperialism, was combined with an underestimation
of the strategy of imperialism which never stopped ideologically, politically
and economically encircling the socialist system in order to regain
the lost ground.
The underestimation developed into a mistaken view that between two warring socio-economic systems, the old exploitative one and the new one without exploitation, peaceful competition was possible. This mistaken position influenced the strategy of every country through the strengthening of the viewpoint of reform instead of rupture. The mistaken views were not only related to international relations, but also to the course of socialist construction. The 20th Congress constituted the culmination of the mistaken views, the victory of opportunism.
In the same chapter
it is also interesting to study all the evidence that shows that the
acquisition of national independence of the colonial countries was idealized,
which took place under the leadership of the bourgeois class or basic
sections of it that wanted to take into their own hands the ownership
and utilization of raw materials, the natural resources of their countries.
The fact that popular masses took part in these national liberation
movements does not change the class that had the hegemony and leadership
in them. National independence was able to bring about industrial development,
the modernization of their social life but strengthened the dominance
The class struggle
and the imperialist intervention in particular strengthened in relation
to the former colonies where their governments initially utilized the
full internationalist assistance of the USSR and the other socialist
countries. The mistaken assessments which prevailed in the ICM exerted
influence on the KKE, this is the truth. Nevertheless in the Essay,
and not only, in other documents as well, we recognize our responsibilities,
we do not transfer them elsewhere, because the communist party must
assume its own responsibilities in relation to the working class and
the people of its country.
Examination of the course of capitalism in Greece
Chapter: The economic
developments in Greece
We assess that this
chapter offers much to all those who are not directly concerned with
questions of the history of the party, with issues of its ideological-political
direction and its choices. It describes in a quite a comprehensive way,
for the needs of the Essay, the course of Greek capitalism in the phase
of the post-war reconstruction and the capitalist industrialization
in Greece, the role of the Marshall Plan, the famous “American aid”
and the course of association with the EEC.
The Marshall Plan and
the EEC are not facts merely of economic importance for Greece. They
still constitute the basic ideological-political arsenal at the expense
of the movement, in the attempt to assimilate radical popular forces
into the system, an assimilation which was intensified after the accession
and the transformation of the EEC into the EU. It is well-known that
the KKE and EDA fought ferociously against association to the EEC. In
this period there was a full discussion within the bourgeois class of
the country, concerning industrialization and general economic development
in Greece, the role of foreign investments.
This period is suitable for many conclusions to be drawn and mainly for the evaluation of the position of the KKE in relation to the question of European capitalist inter-state regional integration. The bourgeois parties, opportunism presented the EEC/EU as an inevitable and irreversible process. They argued that the incorporation of agricultural and industrial production in the EEC/EU market constituted a progress, that it was a process which blunted unevenness, a process of convergence of the working class and popular incomes to higher levels within the EU market.
opportunism sowed fear and defeatist compromise, declaring that the
labour and people’s movement is incapable of fighting in one country
for its own power, of creating the political conditions, of creating
its own path of development, with as much self-sufficiency as possible,
in rupture with the commitments of the imperialist unions.
In this chapter answers
are also given as to why capitalist development, the industrialization
came about through expansive state intervention. Without the widened
capitalist state sector not only Greece but capitalist Europe could
not have dealt with post-war reconstruction, the way out of the
destruction of the economic crises in the 1930s and the war, to enter
a new course of capitalist development.
Here a series of views
are demolished which we hear today, for instance that the widened state
sector was a dogmatic mistaken political line for the system, even more
so that it was a choice of social-democracy, that Keynesianism was a
management choice only of social-democracy. The views of the Far-right
LAOS party and certain PASOK officials that in Greece the Soviet model
was implemented provoke hilarity. This is yet another attempt to conceal
the class character of the state.
Certainly, the rapid
pre-war and post-war development of the USSR exerted influence on certain
economists. Nevertheless, capitalist nationalization had no relation,
either as a viewpoint or in practice with socialist socialization of
the concentrated means of production, with the national planning and
workers’ control, regardless of whatever mistakes and deviations took
place in the course in the USSR, especially after the Second World War,
as it did not abolish in general capitalist ownership, the monopolies,
but operated in favour of them.
The capitalist state
sector of course took on greater dimensions in capitalist Europe, precisely
in order to strengthen the competition with the socialist system and
particularly with the USSR. Another important aspect which this chapter
includes concerns the question of whether foreign capital, foreign assistance
especially “American assistance” was what determined post-war capitalist
economic development in Greece, industrialization, or whether this occurred
as the result of internal capital accumulation, the capitalist utilization
of domestic capabilities.
The role of the
“American assistance” and the EEC
The general conviction
in the past and today, the most common viewpoint concerning the bourgeois
political parties, petit bourgeois views and opportunist views, is that
the development in Greece took place as a result of the American assistance
initially and later on in the EEC/EU today; that without direct foreign
investments Greece could not upgrade its industrial production.
Next to these views
there is also the development of bourgeois, petit bourgeois and opportunist
views which even if only for propaganda reasons and to justify a certain
tactic, propagate that capitalism never developed in Greece, or that
Greece did not have a bourgeois class, something which even today is
claimed by certain people. And even today they talk about a comprador
and parasitic bourgeois class. Consequently the relative backwardness
of Greek capitalism in comparison with the strongest and developed capitalism
of the leading powers is due to the weakness or lack of the capability
of internal capitalist accumulation…
We provide these views
in a concise and abstract way, but all these views are used to hide
the uneven development within the framework of the internationalized
capitalist market, in the regional imperialist unions, or to whitewash
the bourgeois class and capital in Greece. Even to pass reformist, revisionist,
and opportunist views concerning the necessity to give emphasis to capitalist
modernization, for the support of domestic capital, a position from
which the existence of two stages in revolutionary process flows, a
position which our party had mistakenly adopted for many years.
The “American assistance”
aimed at the industrialization of Greece initially, as well as of Western
Europe. In the specific instance of our country it did not chiefly serve
it because it focussed on the use of the country as a military base
and because it understood that despite the defeat of the Democratic
Army of Greece (DSE) it had to strengthen the repressive and military
mechanisms of the state to finally break the movement which had developed
shortly after the defeat and despite banning the activity of the KKE
and the mass executions and persecutions. The war in Korea, the contradictions
in the Middle East, the arms race on the part of the USA led to the
reduction in the initially agreed upon amounts.
Nevertheless the Greek
capitalist economy matured from an agricultural industrial country into
an industrial agricultural, to use an old party expression which many
remember. How did this industrialization take place? Above all through
internal accumulation, which shows that in Greece from this period there
were the material pre-conditions for the transition to socialism, a
question which of course did not concern merely the post-war period,
but also the pre-war period.
The foundation of the
EEC played a very important role in the formation of the unified strategy
of capital, in the largest part of Europe. The foundation of the EEC
did not restrict, did not abolish the inter-imperialist contradictions.
For a period, as long as there existed the socialist system in Europe,
these contradictions were concealed or did not take on major dimensions.
After 1991 and despite the fact that it was proclaimed that the integration
of Europe is becoming total, the inter-imperialist contradictions are
obvious, they will intensify, and centrifugal forces are already visible.
On the policy of
The same period is suitable for the study and assessment of the policy of alliances both of the parties of the bourgeois class and their political forces and of the KKE and by extension the EDA(United Democratic Left) .
It is obvious that
the bourgeois class has the possibility of greater flexibility, while
the majority of the political forces were interested in the stabilization
of the bourgeois political system regardless of the competition between
them, or the differences on issues of tactics and political modernization.
The American factor showed such flexibility. In the pages of the Essay
you will see through the reference to specific sources, that the foreign
factor sometimes placed emphasis on supporting the right-wing political
current, sometimes the centre, depending on whether it wanted the policy
of the carrot or the whip. It was on this terrain in the post-dictatorship
period that the two-party rotation between ND and PASOK was crystallised,
which, as it can not function beneficially for the repression and assimilation
today, is substituted by the two poles centre-right and centre-left
or by other variations which we may see in due course.
The most important conclusions can be drawn for the alliance policy of the party. The mistaken strategy leads to mistakes on the issue of alliances; consequently the question must not be whether the party and the labour movement have a policy of alliances, of course they must, the issue is its character and perspective. The alliance which aims at an electoral gathering together of votes around immediate and pressing problems, in the spirit of managing the system, is neither correct or viable for a long time, even more so because it fosters dangerous illusions, leads to the disarmament of the movement, to disillusionment, as there is the hope that an alliance based on the above can solve problems without a working class people’s counterattack and indeed without the overthrow of power as a condition. For this reason the main thing in the formation of the alliance policy of the party is the social character of the alliance, that is to say the correct definition of the social forces the general and long term interest of which objectively coincide with the direct general interests of the working class, the liberation from exploitation.
For this reason, the
social character of the alliance is characterised by the activity in
the direction of the overthrow of the system. Of course this is not
a relationship without contradictions both as regards the questions
of interests and at the level of consciousness.
In the alliance policy
the ideological-political and organizational independence of the party
must be safeguarded in a practical way, which in the final analysis
is determined by its programmatic independence, by the character and
mission of the labour movement and the party in the struggle for socialism.
Whatever form the alliance policy may take on, in no instance should
the party betray its programme, and adopt as its own programme the agreement
framework of the social or, in the instance where it is possible, political
forces. The sacrifice of the programme in the name of the alliance,
with simply the aim of a hope for a better electoral result and without
a political line of rupture, the accession of the party into an electoral
formation, even if it maintains its organizational independence, is
a sacrifice of the interests of the working class and the poor popular
shows that every form of alliance objectively has a strategic character;
it is governed by a strategic direction even if it emerges as an alliance
on various immediate problems, even if it hypocritically projects the
salvation of the country from bankruptcy, as it does today. The bourgeois
class and its parties always operate strategically with or without agreements
between them, even if they seek or make temporary alliances with opportunist
parties. The alliance either will have as its direction the defence
or the reconstruction of the bourgeois political system or the concentration
of forces for its overthrow.
This conclusion for
the KKE is exceptionally valuable, irreplaceable. In every phase the
links which contribute to the concentration of forces may differ, but
the most important issue is for the chain not to break.
The central political
issue which the 2nd volume investigates
The central political
issue in the history of the KKE in the period which the 2nd
volume historically examines, is the removal and expulsion of the GS
of the CC, the PB of the CC and the change in composition of the CC
which took place with the justification that they exercised dogmatic,
sectarian, adventurist political line on the basis of an “abnormal
inner-party regime.” The removal took place at the 6th
extended plenary session of the CC which was convoked by the committee
of 6 fraternal CPs. This committee determined the composition of the
CC, inviting and rehabilitating removed members of the CC who had been
elected by the 7th Congress and later on.
We consider the events
in Tashkent, the removal of Zachariades, his later life, and the removal
of other members of the PB as a rupture of the leadership and a section
of the KKE against the CPSU, which was caused by the right turn of the
CPSU at its 20th Congress. The “abnormal inner-party regime”
was used as a pretext, utilising certain existing problems (10 years
without a congress, the practice of relieving members of the CC from
their duties, the extensive use of the characterization “provocateur”
for cadre). The Essay attempts a comprehensive assessment of N. Zachariades
as GS of the CC of the KKE in such an important period in the history
of the Party.
The Nationwide Conference
recognises the class character and selflessness in the general direction
of the activity of Nikos Zachariades as GS, his communist heroism, in
a course with great gains as well as mistakes, related to the mature
development of the party, with the special role which N. Zachariades
had as GS of the CC.
In the historical evaluation
the relationship of the leading personality with the conditions of the
era, domestic and international, processes inside and outside the party.
This concerns problems of strategy in the period when Nikos Zachariades
was GS of the CC. But, his removal and expulsion is due to the
right opportunist turn of the CPSU. Of course, this does not impede
us to see beyond the problems of strategy and problems of inner-party
functioning, methods of dealing with cadres with ideological-political
deviations, mistaken political actions.
which are valuable for today can be drawn from the entirety of this
period. One aspect concerns the objective fact that the class enemy
never gave up on its efforts to intervene inside the party, in order
to attack it with “internal” weapons. In the period 1946-1949 and
generally in a period when the party operates in illegal conditions,
or in a period when the outlawing of the functioning of the party, the
opponent, foreign and domestic services place particular emphasis on
Consequently, in such
conditions, when internal democracy faces difficulties it is possible
for mistakes to occur, either through the neglect of vigilance or in
the name of vigilance that militants can be unjustly treated.
disagreements, violations of decisions should not be confused with the
activity of the class enemy, and the vehicles of various views to be
treated as people who belong to the class enemy. What comes first in
every phase of the life of the party even in the most difficult conditions,
is the ideological-political confrontation, the highlighting and not
the concealment of serious disagreements and dealing with them, solving
them, according to their nature.
Above all we concerned
ourselves with the fundamental mistake which was the decision of the
8th plenary session of the CC in 1958 to proceed with the
dissolution of the party organizations in Greece, without the immediate
goal of creating new ones, as well as the acceptance, without any protest,
of the transformation of EDA into a united party.
Thirty two years later,
the party faced a similar problem with the decision to transform the
Synaspismos of the Left and Progress into a party, something which came
into contradiction with the independence of the KKE. This fact constituted,
in the specific phase, the final and deep rupture. Opportunism does
not change; it uses the same means again and again. Beyond the basic
programmatic and ideological differences which exist, it is proven to
be an unreliable political space.
A milestone of historic
importance the 12th plenary session of the
CC in 1968
Another milestone in
the history of the KKE during the 1960s was the 12th plenary
session in 1968.
Congress of the party which was held 5 years after the 6th
plenary session sealed its right opportunist line. The simmering confrontation
took on new dimensions and a new turn in the conditions of the dictatorship.
In a general direction,
our party retained important forces with powerful reflexes in relation
to at least the most obvious opportunist positions and actions, as was
expressed in 1968 through the sharpening of the confrontation at the
12th plenary session and the split which followed. The need
for its independent organizational formation was strengthened by this
confrontation. A first result was the creation of KNE by the decision
of the PB of the CC.
The reception of the
Essay by the bourgeois press was expected by us. Despite the fact that
a great many themes and important issues are dealt with in the Essay,
despite the fact that a serious effort has been made to look at our
past critically and self-critically, without however a spirit of obsessing
over mistakes, the majority of these articles present this laborious
endeavour in discriminating fashion, as something which was undertaken
only to rehabilitate three figures or to carry out self –criticism
on various issues.
They conceal a series
of assessments of the party concerning important issues, as the first
steps of the post-war reconstruction and development of Greek capitalism,
the course of the formation of the political system, the Cyprus question,
the reflection about the causes of the 7-year dictatorship, the stance
of the USA in relation to Greece, the development of the struggles etc.
Other issues are the language question, the impact of the party on the
Arts and the ideological struggle over the content of artistic creation.
In addition, the activity and influence of the party in the struggle
for the equality and emancipation of women is studied. Regardless of
our disagreements, the objective reporting even of the chapters of the
Essay would have shown basic respect in the reporting of a new publication.
Every step in the ideological
and political maturation of the KKE in the contemporary conditions infuriates
the class enemy, and makes it flexible in using renegades, defectors,
opportunists who have their origins in the bowels of the KKE. The anti-communist
offensive is to be expected, in the face of the election struggle and
most importantly the sharpening of the crisis.
We have rich experience,
we know that when the party was sliding into a mistake, our opponent
praised us, when we corrected the mistake, it attacked us.
A timely message
is given in the Essay.
We communists men and women, our party possesses one shield and is never going to throw it down. Its shield is the working class itself, the vanguard young men and women from the working class and popular strata, the conscious scientists, because science means truth, because the truth about social progress means the socialist-communist perspective".