Resolution of the CC of the KKE- Conclusions from the elections on 6th May 2012 and 17th June 2012
The CC of the KKE met on 9th July 2012 to discuss the conclusions from the elections and the immediate tasks of the party. The CC took into account the discussion which had preceded in the organs and Party Base Organizations (PBOs), in the meetings with friends and supporters of the Party, the observations, suggestions and proposals, as well as the conclusions from the organs and base organizations of KNE. The conclusions of the CC will be tabled for discussion and approval by the PBOs and the organizations of KNE. The discussion in the party and KNE, as well as with friends and supporters, demonstrated that despite the losses and the negative correlation of forces, there exists stubbornness and determination regarding the intervention in the movement and the developments, the complex demands and needs of the people which are increasing, the strengthening of the organizations of the party and KNE. The CC is publishing the following assessments.
1. The two elections which were held only a month apart (May 6 and June 17) had common elements as well as certain differences which determined the voting criteria between the first and second elections. The two elections took place in conditions of a prolonged capitalist economic crisis which sharpened the state debt. The management of the state debt had as a consequence Memorandum I with the goal of internally depreciating the value of labour power. There followed Memorandum II as a supplement to the Loan Agreement which brought a new haircut of the debt and a new depreciation of labour power.
At the same time, official sources were promoting the possibility of a new controlled or uncontrolled bankruptcy in the conditions of the new manifestation of the economic crisis in the Eurozone. All these factors as well as capital’s high level of aggressiveness in order to overturn labour relations as a whole, and the increase of unemployment affected the electorate’s behaviour. The working class and popular struggles which broke out and escalated during the crisis created a wave of popular anger and discontent at the expense of both PASOK and ND but at the same time the system intervened with the aim of reducing the people’s resistance, of diverting it from radical goals, using provocations and confusion.
In the May elections there was an unprecedented and simultaneous fall of the electoral influence of both PASOK and ND, while the third partner in the previous three-party government -LAOS- did not enter Parliament. The KKE had a small increase but with obvious losses towards SYRIZA in the large urban centres. At the same time, it won votes from other parties chiefly from PASOK and ND. The large majority of the voters of the two bourgeois parties were scattered chiefly to ideologically related political parties which had as their common denominator the denunciation of the Memorandum, which they elevated as the cause of the crisis and its intensification. A large part of the discontent against PASOK and ND benefited SYRIZA, which posed the issue of a left government as well as new parties that were formed by MPs who had left ND and SYRIZA, the Independent Greeks and the Democratic Left, while for the first time the fascist and anti-communist “Golden Dawn” received a significant number of votes and entered the Parliament.
In the second elections ND and SYRIZA were strengthened, while the KKE suffered major losses, 48.3% of its votes on May 6; about 55% of the losses were towards SYRIZA while 38% abstained according to various opinion polls. All the other parties suffered losses apart from Golden Dawn and the Democratic Left. In the second elections the basic voting criterion was the necessity to form a government with ND or SYRIZA at its core, while the voting criteria based on the abolition of the Memorandum were significantly weakened. Instead of the abolition, renegotiation was promoted combined with the assurance that Greece would remain within the Eurozone and EU at all costs. Although in the May elections a positive tendency to condemn ND and PASOK was expressed to a certain extent, with a clear opposition to the Memorandum and the choices of the EU, in the second elections there was a retreat under the storm of intimidating dilemmas and the expectation of immediate relief from a left or centre-left government.
The most obvious negative characteristics of the election results were the significant reduction of the electoral influence of the KKE, the strengthening of ND and SYRIZA, the endurance of Golden Dawn. The strengthening of SYRIZA took place despite the fact that its rationale of managing the system had been exposed. The governmental programme it presented removed whatever radical sloganeering phraseology it had promoted before the May 6 elections. In these conditions, more so than in any other period, a systematic and well thought out ideological and political offensive was launched against the party, adjusted to the needs of the system for the reformation of the bourgeois political system, in order to trap popular discontent in options which are harmless for the system, and to head off the dynamism brought by the class struggle and the organized labour movement.
The CC assesses that there is a serious shortcoming in the work of the party with its circle of influence, its supporters and friends in order to highlight our positions in relation to the character of elections for the bourgeois parliament and the election of a government within the framework of the system in general. This does not come into conflict with the need to strengthen the KKE in the bourgeois parliament as well, as a force for working class-popular opposition, but elections must not be considered the be-all and end-all, detached from the level of the development of the class struggle.
2. The struggles which unfolded after the outbreak and intensification of the crisis, despite the upsurge in mass participation, the dynamism of the forms of struggle (over 30 strike mobilizations, mass demonstrations, occupations, non-payment of the heavy taxes and tolls etc) did not lead to the understanding of the character of the crisis, to the adoption of the political way out of it, in conflict with the EU i.e. the unilateral cancellation of the debt, the socialization of the concentrated means of production. There were struggles that did not prevent the measures. They were not accompanied by an increase in the mass participation in the trade union organizations of workers and employees, urban and rural self-employed, by substantial changes in the balance of forces, by the rise of the youth movement, the strengthening of the mass participation in the special forms of women’s organisation. The mass condemnation of ND and PASOK, the fact that they were abandoned by young workers, had more to do with questions of management and less with the class character of these parties, the activity of the monopolies and the imperialist character of the EU.
It was accompanied by a reduction of expectations and demands. It has been demonstrated from similar instances in history, and for this reason we had highlighted from the beginning of 2010, that there coexist two possibilities: the movement can be wounded and retreat or make a significant step in the direction of the counterattack, the political rupture and confrontation with monopolies and the bourgeois parties. The joining of new sections of the working class and intermediate strata contributed to the mass participation in the struggles, which had not acquired the necessary political experience, and were mainly imbued by a desire for another management which would allegedly halt the decline and solve their acute problems immediately.
The opposition to the choices of the EU, the memoranda, did not go hand in hand with the understanding that these express the interests of the bourgeois class of the country. The capitalist crisis and the Memoranda were reduced to a question of selfish, incompetent and subservient management-negotiation by the bourgeois political personnel. This was the basis of the shallow anti-memorandum rationale which is promoted by SYRIZA, the Independent Greeks as well as the Golden Dawn. An especially negative role was played by the reformist-opportunist current which is relatively stronger in sections of workers and employees whose permanent status was secure up to now, with relatively better salaries and benefits. The illusion regarding an immediate solution, without conflict and rupture with capital, the EU, was strengthened in the working class in the private sector who suddenly experienced conditions of relative and absolute destitution, large-scale unemployment and insecurity. This period requires specific study so that more complete conclusions can be drawn regarding the ideological-political struggle, the bonds which were created between the party and the working class, the popular strata, a study which is combined with the elaboration of the theses for the 19th congress.
The various sections of the bourgeois class, assisted by cells within ND and PASOK on which they exert a particular influence, as well as by mechanisms of the state, began an attempt to reform the bourgeois political scene. They saw that the two bourgeois parties could not control the popular anger and indignation, and consequently there was a danger of an unstable bourgeois political system being created in conditions of the deepening crisis.
In this framework and of course under the pressure of the struggles, of the generalised popular outrage, new phenomena are emerging (compared to the post- dictatorship period), like the defection of 60 MPs, the overturn of G. Papandreou, the coalition government of PASOK-ND with L.Papademos as Prime Minister, initially with the participation of LAOS. The parliament in 2009 began with 5 parties and ended its term with 9 parties and political formations.
On this terrain two poles were formed on 6th May: one based on ND as the centre-right pole and the other based on SYRIZA as the centre-left, which caused the election results on 17th June. The pole of SYRIZA was reinforced by an organized mass transfer of PASOK organizations, headed by a large section of its officials particularly from the public sector, the former state enterprises, the banks, as well as from the state apparatus. The organized transfer embraced a section of PASOK’s local organizations. This transfer was facilitated due to the disillusionment and discontent, due to the influence of the positions of opportunism in these sections of the workers and employees. The bourgeois class of the country placed emphasis on the regroupment of social-democracy which is its main instrument for the prevalence of reformism in the labour movement. Thus, the terrain was formed for the election of a new parliament and government without a parliamentary majority of the two traditional bourgeois parties.
During the second election period there was a blatant intervention by the European Commission, the USA, the IMF, OECD, the international media in order to prevent the questioning of the Memorandum-Loan Agreement in a period when a deeper crisis broke out in Spain and it was expected that this country, as well as others e.g. Italy and Cyprus, will seek to enter the regime of borrowing from the EU-IMF. This intervention took place in conditions of the sharpening of the contradictions and the competition between the leading powers inside the EU as well as their general contradictions with the USA, China, Russia and other emerging powers in the global capitalist economy. The Greek state and the political parties of the “EU one-way street” are involved in various versions concerning the development of the Eurozone, the EU, the various formulas of austerity. At the same time, they seek clearly to head off any tendency for popular emancipation, to form a new bipolar system based on ND and SYRIZA.
The June elections were used as an experiment and instrument in the inter-imperialist competition: how the losses caused from the sharpening and deepening crisis will be distributed, what will be the course of the Eurozone. The Anti-Merkel rhetoric of SYRIZA was used by forces in the USA-Britain and by a section of Germany’s European competitors who seek to limit its strength in the Euro zone. At the same time, it benefited ND-PASOK-DIMAR which intimidated the people using the danger of Greece being expelled from the Eurozone. This intervention developed into an unprecedented manipulation of the electorate, with arguments about the danger of Greece being expelled from the Eurozone and the danger of the inability to form a government.
3. The CC assesses every election result- whether it is positive or negative as that of 17th June, taking into account the objective conditions in which the elections took place in correspondence with the activity and handling of issues by the subjective factor. The interrelation between the objective and subjective factors is necessary, because only in this way can our party examine specifically its subjective weaknesses and mistakes, so that it can acquire the ability to promote its strategy in whatever conditions, less or more favourable.
The breadth and endurance of the electoral influence of the party is determined by the level of the class struggle and is an indicator of it. The level of the class struggle emerges from the interaction of the activity of the subjective factor with the objective determining factors which are the developments in the capitalist economy, the class stratification etc.
According to the abovementioned the criterion for the self-critical approach of the CC regarding the activity of the party in general and in the election period is the following:
First: if our activity utilised all the possibilities which were provided by the objective conditions in the previous years for the sharpening of the class struggle, to widen the circle of influence of the party and to deepen its agreement with the party’s strategy as well as its determination to support it in all conditions, including the elections, without any wavering.
Secondly, whether during the election campaign the way we handled issues and our activity contributed so as to strengthen the positive tendencies in the elections and weaken the negative ones which are generally determined by the level of class struggle.
-The elections highlighted the long-term weaknesses and delays in our work for the regroupment of the labour movement, the strengthening of the social alliance, the party building in conditions where there are difficulties in the organization of the masses, so that all the possibilities which flow from the objective developments are exhausted. These tasks, of course, need time, a persistent effort, and a stable and elaborated orientation. In the final analysis the CC bears the primary responsibility as well as all the leading bodies, each PBO as to how we operate in the masses according to our positions, combatively and able to rally forces which have different viewpoints and different level of experience and desire for action.
The CC must evaluate its work analytically and more specifically, as to how it worked in the period after the 18th congress on the basis of the abovementioned duties and assimilate these conclusions into a substantial self-critical examination of the work of the CC in view of the 19th congress.
-The CC was also not able, according to the demands of the struggle and its own analyses at times, to orient all the party in a practical way to address itself chiefly to younger age-groups on the basis of class criteria. These age-groups grew up in conditions of the global defeat of the labour movement, the deep crisis of the communist movement, of the attempt to replace the communist movement with a social-democratic-opportunist left movement which will seek to participate in the bourgeois management. It was not able to coordinate the work of the whole party with the support and assistance to KNE, especially in education where the ideological offensive is well-elaborated and exerts a significant influence.
-These factors and others which will be highlighted in the discussion will constitute the evaluation of the work of the CC in the pre-congress period. It was demonstrated that closer ideological-political bonds must be formed with the friends and supporters of the party, as a permanent feature of our work, not only in periods when the struggles and developments are in an intense phase. Ideological-political discussion on current affairs is not sufficient. An important section of our supporters are not aware of the positions of the party e.g. regarding governments within the framework of the capitalist system, the developments in the EU, the relations between economy and politics, the character of the capitalist economic crisis, the content of people’s power. This requires that the party forces are assisted and oriented towards the development of greater competence in explaining the positions of the party and its strategy.
-The CC and especially the PB, tackled in a weak and inadequate way the need for constant elaborations in our propaganda so that class consciousness is not diverted into harmless channels in conditions where there are many and multifaceted mechanisms of manipulation. The party’s propaganda is not vivid and imbued with examples and information drawn from the developments in the movement and from the sectors. Our propaganda has not acquired a vivid and explanatory character. The issue of propaganda cannot be reduced to a mere issue of “public communications policy”. Even more so, the way that the discussions are carried out on TV cannot serve as a criterion. The self-criticism of the CC regarding propaganda refers to forms of vivid propaganda which facilitate the dialogue, participation, and not to the passive watching of the TV programmes which cannot convey the richness of our positions, their basis and criteria. The role of internet as a mean for the information of the youth and a tool to attack the party was also underestimated.
4. The CC assesses that the general political line in the elections responded to the character of the crisis, the way out which was necessary for the people, in conditions when new anti-worker measures were on the horizon, irrespective of the various manoeuvres that the new government would carry out. The problem is that the CC did not detect in good time the depth of the overall reduction of the two parties and particularly the collapse of PASOK, as well as the strengthening-support of SYRIZA, the plan to attack the party. Initially it detected a reduction of PASOK’s influence which was transferred to the Democratic Left. However, this did not exert any influence on the voters of the KKE, something which was borne out by the opinion polls. 15 days before the elections a sudden turn to SYRIZA was detected in combination with the weakening of PASOK, the Democratic Left and the party. Despite the attempts that were made to detect the losses, their extent was not confirmed by the assessments of the party organizations.
The essence is that the CC did not focus its attention on the fact that for the first time in comparison with previous elections, the sorely-tested people had to choose between a government based on ND or PASOK and a government of the so-called “left cooperation” of SYRIZA with the KKE and the Democratic Left and indeed with SYRIZA’s false argument regarding the 50 seat bonus. The CC located the particularly complex and difficult character of the elections mainly after the 6th of May and not before, and for this reason it formulated its position that it was the most difficult election of the last 40 years.
The conclusion is that the CC should have determined the framework of the first elections in the same vein with its elaborations immediately after May 6th. It should have prioritised the front against the illusion of the “left government” with an elaboration and formulation of suitable slogans. It did not highlight in good time that SYRIZA is the new political vehicle of social-democracy which is systematically attempting to penetrate the party’s electoral support. The CC did not respond in a timely fashion to the question regarding how the KKE sees the issue of the government of people’s power; how the political struggle will reach such an outcome and which pre-conditions are required for this so that it is understood why the KKE does not participate in a bourgeois government to manage the crisis, in a government which operates within the framework of the system, that is to say on the terrain of capitalism. The position of the KKE regarding a government of people’s power would have been propagandized sooner and more widely, it would have acquired the necessary aggressiveness, and would not have left unanswered the misleading and underhand argument that was systematically fostered, that the KKE does not want to take on governmental responsibilities. It did not sound the alarm during the first election period concerning the danger of the party suffering losses, concerning the systematic effort of the forces of the system to promote in a planned way the weakening of the party. It did not foster, to the extent necessary, a spirit of vigilance and concern among the members of the party, its circle of influence. This does not mean, of course, that the elaboration of suitable tactics in the election period would have made possible the reversal of the reformist current in favour of a government to manage the crisis. Its development has an objective basis, corresponds to the needs of the bourgeois power. However, it is quite likely that the party would have suffered fewer losses and more importantly it would have prevented an atmosphere of disappointment which was justifiably created by the election result especially among the supporters and the friends of the party.
Several friends and supporters of the party, but also a small section of the party members, made the observation that the party could have made a proposal for a government during the process of exploratory mandates which of course would have been rejected by SYRIZA as it would pose the issue of disengagement, the unilateral cancellation of the debt, the rupture with the choices of the EU and the monopolies. They claim that in this way SYRIZA would not have held the initiative.
The CC assesses that the party was correct not to adopt the rationale of discussing with SYRIZA during the process of the exploratory mandates. The party cannot and should not proceed with activities that intensify the confusion regarding the character of this formation which has no relation to the line of conflict and rupture with the monopolies, the imperialist unions. The power of SYRIZA in the elections confirms that the bourgeois political system has alternative plans for its management.
5. The CC assesses that the two electoral battles irrespective of the general shortcomings that were expressed and the losses, constitute a legacy as the party carried out significant work to highlight the two paths of development, the character of the capitalist crisis, the issue of the workers’ and people’s power, the position of the party for the participation in a government of bourgeois management.
In this struggle the KKE swam against the tide, in particularly difficult and complex conditions. It also faced weaknesses, shortcomings, and delays which it can and should tackle as the challenges of the struggle will sharply increase in the next period.
The CC elaborated a programme for the activity of the party in the following period, which will be specialised by the party organizations. It calls on the members of the party and KNE to be at the frontline of the struggle along with the friends and supporters of the party and other militants for the rallying of forces and the counterattack, focusing in the workplaces and the sectors at local, trade union and national level, according to the fundamental duty for the regroupment of the labour movement.
We must improve our ability to specialize and explain our strategy, leading the struggles according to the sharpening of the social contradictions in general and specifically according to each particular problem. In this framework we should focus on elaborating positions, from our own point of view, for each sector, concerning social problems, unemployment, issues of healthcare and medicines, the plundering of the meagre income of the people through taxes, privatizations, education, health-care and other acute problems of the working class, the self-employed, the poor farmers, at the level of each sector, region and workplace.
The party will be at the forefront of similar struggles inside or outside the parliament, upgrading the activity of its parliamentary group.
We must work for the success of the events of the 38th Festival of KNE and ODIGITIS whose main slogan is “Help him who has risen to revolt… you must prepare to take command now…!” Its success will depend on the extent to which the guidance of the party will orient all the base organizations of the party and KNE to the information-discussion, to circulation of the tickets according to political criteria, to the work for the rallying of forces, to communicate with young people, young workers men and women unemployed, school students and other working people.