Thoughts about the factors that determined the reversal of the socialist system in Europe.
The timeliness and necessity of socialism.
Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, developments and changes were taking place that shook the world. In the political system of the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries of Europe, political conditions were created which opened the road to the restoration of capitalist relations in these countries. The main events in this dramatic story were the annexation of the German Democratic Republic, the dissolution of both the Warsaw Treaty and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA) and the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.
These developments placed a number of serious, crucial questions before the international communist and progressive movement, and obliged it to study and search for their causes and to arrive at the necessary assessments and conclusions. This was a duty which objectively presupposed the substantial and responsible contribution of each party, as well as the all-round collective effort of the international revolutionary and progressive movement. Such an effort can and must be constantly enriched as time and scientific research bring to light new historical facts and aspects of these dramatic developments.
The political resolution of the 14th Congress of KKE emphasized the need for a profound and comprehensive study of the course of building socialism, and for our party to draw conclusions and experience, in cooperation with other communist and workers' parties. Within this framework, the Central Committee decided to produce a text containing thoughts on these topics, to organise the essential inner-party and public dialogue on the subject and to convene a national party conference. The C.C. believes that this text can constitute a starting point for reflections, dialogue and multiform discussions both inside and outside the party, with left and progressive working people, with every person of good will who thinks and worries about the social regression which has occurred in the socialist countries with dramatic international repercussions.
For reasons of economy, the subject matter in the text has been focused on the following, most serious issues:
- The appearance of socialism on the European continent and the assessment of its contribution, its construction under conditions of ceaseless, tough confrontation with imperialism, and its enormous contribution to humanity and the peoples' struggle for social emancipation, progress and peace.
- The conditions and circumstances that shaped the political developments in Europe and the world more generally following the adverse changes of 1989-91.
- The counter-revolutionary policy of "perestroika" which began with the slogans "restructuring and renewal" of socialism, but proved to constitute the vehicle by which the socialist political system was overthrown and the means for creating the conditions leading to the restoration of capitalism.
- The search for and identification of the various factors and deeper causes of this adverse development, and the extraction of the necessary assessments and conclusions.
- The critical evaluation of our party's stance throughout this period.
- And the necessity and timeliness of socialism, in contrast with capitalist barbarism and the "new order". In examining all these subjects, we focused our attention on certain issues which we believe to be particularly serious and crucial. They are:
- The interweaving and interdependence of the external and internal, of subjective and objective factors which, along the way, created the conditions for the overthrow of the regimes in the socialist countries of Europe.
- Within this framework, we are trying to investigate the role of imperialism as a serious external factor which exerted a significant and multiple influence. This is obvious from its systematic and intense aggressiveness, from its continuous and permanent effort to take revenge, from its multiform and systematic exploitation of the internal difficulties and mistakes which appeared along the road to the socialist construction, and from the large number of facts and data that prove the longstanding anti-socialist operation planned and focused on the target of regaining lost ground.
- The effect of the subjective factor and the extent to which it was able to respond to the complex demands of the struggle, from the appearance of socialism until the events of 1989-91. This is an issue with obvious special significance, especially since we consider that the capitalist regression was not inevitable. "Perestroika" appeared at a time when problems had accumulated due to mistakes, inadequacies and difficulties stemming from the complexity of situations and from unprecedented problems, but also to backing down and deviations of an ideological nature in face of the hurdles which appeared in the confrontation with imperialism and its aggressiveness.
- The foregoing has obliged us objectively to focus our attention also on examining the system of contradictions in socialism, on taking advantage of the scientific and technological revolution, on developing theory and science, on examining the dialectical relationship between democracy and centralism in the political system and the economy, on the strategy and tactics of confronting imperialism, and on the role of the international communist movement The major adverse developments of recent years have not in the least altered our unwavering conviction and faith in the socialist and communist prospect as a historic necessity and potentiality. The overthrow of a series of socialist regimes cannot constitute the overthrow of the Marxist-Leninist theory of social evolution and even less so can it invalidate this theory. Human history is a process of constant progress which takes place by means of endless and unforeseeable regressions and set-backs. The four great social formations which preceded socialism were successively replaced. The transition from the lower to the higher form of society, "from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom" is an immutable law.
Today it is not possible to predetermine the amount of time that will be required for the victory of socialism and the appearance of communism on a world scale. It will be a long process. It will not be one "action" which will immediately wipe out all the historically inevitable limitations that prevent humans from acting freely and consciously in all senses of the word. But through a variety of difficulties and possible set-backs, history will lean in that direction, toward the full elimination of every means of subjugation and restriction of human activity, toward the basic communist principle "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".