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The communists in the parliaments and the class struggle
Giorgos Toussas, member of the CC of the KKE and MEP, participated in the “Round-table”, which was organized by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) on the 14-15 March 2014, with the topic : “the communists in the parliaments and the class struggle”.
First of all we would also like to utilize this occasion to express our solidarity with the communists of Ukraine, who are facing a very strong reactionary political “wave” in this period which was provoked by the inter-bourgeois confrontation and the open intervention of the USA and the EU in the internal affairs of Ukraine and by their fierce competition with Russia over the control of the markets, the natural resources and the pipelines of this country.
We want to condemn the effort to ban the Communist Party of Ukraine and the communist ideology. As you know, our party has taken a series of initiatives over the last period intervening in the parliament, in the European parliament, in the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe against the plans to ban the communist party and the communist ideology in the Ukraine. We carried out a mass protest at the embassy of Ukraine in Athens while the joint statement which we drafted together with the German Communist Party has been supported by almost 40 communist and workers’ parties.
The position of the KKE is that in light of these reactionary political developments in the Ukraine, given the rise of reactionary or even openly fascist forces, given the danger of the working people being divided on the basis of national and linguistic characteristics and under the “false flags” of the different sections of the bourgeois class, it is necessary for the communist and labour movement to organize their independent struggle for socialism, having as their criterion their interests and not the imperialist that the one or the other section of the plutocracy of their country chooses.
As regards the subject of the today’s event: “the communists in the parliaments and the class struggle” we would like to underline that we treat parliament as an institution of bourgeois democracy, as an instrument of capitalism for the management of the monopolies’ power with the aim of safeguarding of its interests. On this basis, we are diametrically opposed to the opportunist views which were adopted in Western Europe by the so called current of “eurocommunism”, views that foster the illusion that a “parliamentary transition” to socialism is possible through the parliaments and the participation in them. Allow me to present several fundamental positions of the KKE on the issue we are examining:
- the examination of the issue that we are discussing points to a deeper issue, i.e. the stance of the communists towards capitalism. The communist parties can agree that it is a socioeconomic system where the power, the bourgeois state and its institutions are in the hands of the bourgeois class that possesses the means of production and appropriates the wealth that the working class and the popular strata produce.
The starting position of the KKE is the Leninist position that stresses that
“democracy in general” does not exist in any capitalist country. What exists is only bourgeois democracy. In addition, there is no “dictatorship in general” but the dictatorship of the oppressed class, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat over the oppressors and the exploiters namely over the bourgeois class with the aim of defeating the resistance of the exploiters in the struggle for their dominance.
“…The most democratic bourgeois republic is no more than a machine for the suppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie, for the suppression of the working people by a handful of capitalists…” and this suppression is being escalated when the power of capital is at stake or is being shaken or even in the case when the interests impose the use of the most reactionary, fascist forces as it is happening in this period in the Ukraine with the intervention of the USA, the EU and the NATO in competition with the bourgeois class of Russia over the control of the region.
However, the struggle against fascism cannot be trapped in the support for the bourgeois democracy, it cannot be restricted to the struggle for the upholding and the expansion of the democratic, trade union rights within the framework of the bourgeois political system as this would mean the entanglement of the struggle within the existent exploitative system. The struggle for these rights and against the open, fascist form of the dictatorship of the bourgeois class, the struggle for the defense of any democratic rights as for instance the right of the Communist Party to legal activity, its right to participate in the bourgeois elections cannot look to the past; it must look to the future. This is the meaning of the Marxist-Leninist perception regarding the smashing of the bourgeois state apparatus and all its institutions, with the passing of the means of production and the power into the hands of the working class, with the emergence of new institutions of power that will emanate from the people. Over the decades it has been proved, theoretically and practically, that the power will be either in the hands of the working class or in the hands of the bourgeois class. “Dreams of some third way are reactionary, petty-bourgeois limitations”.
In our opinion these are fundamental issues for the elaboration of the political line of the communist parties, issues which are very useful in the struggle to win over workers’ and people’s consciousness, for the maturation of the subjective factor.
- The KKE has been represented in the national parliament and the European Parliament for many years. In this period our party participates in the parliament with 12 MPs and with 2 MEPs in the European parliament, having clarified the class anti-people character of the parliament and the European parliament, as well as that the participation of the people in the elections every four years cannot solve the basic problem of the class struggle.
On this basis the KKE intervenes in the national and the European parliament, it tries to impede the anti-people measures, it votes against the anti-people draft-laws, directives and other acts of the EU, it tables questions, draft-laws and amendments on serious issues that concern the working class, the popular strata, on issues regarding the protection of the unemployed, the relief of the popular strata from the loans and taxation, on health, education combined with the struggle which is organized by the class trade unions the labour and people’s movement.
Normally, the positions of the KKE are rejected by the bourgeois and the opportunist parties and there is no expectation that the people’s problems can be solved in this way. This intervention helps to reveal the exploitative character of capitalism and the bourgeois parliamentary democracy as the “dictatorship of the monopolies”.
It contributes to the enlightenment of the working class, the popular strata, the youth, it informs the working people, it prepares them so as to enhance the organization of their struggle.
When the anti-people measures and laws are adopted, our party insists, it calls them into question and makes efforts so that they are not legitimised in the people’s consciousness.
This activity i.e. the intervention with a question denouncing the measures that commercialize health or impose taxes on the people, the denunciation of a draft-law regarding the social security rights of the working people or the intervention in the European Parliament against the imperialist interventions of the EU can be integrated in the general mass struggle by means of combining the struggle with the organizations of the party and KNE; it can be adopted by the trade unions and the other organizations of the mass movement. Our party and our MPs are acting in this direction.
The communist MPs and MEPs have strong bonds with the workers in factories, enterprises, with the poor and medium sized farmers and self-employed. They act in the neighborhoods, in schools, universities, hospitals where our people live and work. The income of the communists MPs does not differ from that of the working class and the popular strata. They give the entire parliamentary pay to the KKE and the party, according to the possibilities of the class struggle, gives them a salary that cannot exceed that of the working people.
The communists MPs and MEPs, in consultation with the party organizations, collect material so that the interventions in the Parliament become more revealing, and more effective.
They are in the forefront of the workers’ and people’s mobilizations they contribute to the organization of the struggle.
That is to say, the working class the popular strata have an interest to strengthen the KKE in the EU parliamentary elections, in the municipal and regional elections that will take place May and we insist on this.
At the same time, we tell the truth to the people.
We tell them that this is merely an aspect of the struggle. The basic issue is to accelerate the regroupment of the labour movement, to strengthen the trade unions, to achieve a class orientation, to change the correlation of forces and defeat the forces that support the EU and the bourgeois policy, to defeat the forces of reformism, opportunism that foster class collaboration and seek to disarm the labour movement.
We say to the working people that it is necessary to create the people’s alliance, the alliance between the working class, the poor farmers, the small self-employed in urban centers, women and the youth from the working class families so as to strengthen the anti-capitalist anti-monopoly struggle, overthrow the capitalist barbarity, conquer working class people’s power and pave the way for the socialist-communist society.
It must be understood that the confrontation with the bourgeois and opportunist forces in the national and the European parliament regarding the people’s problems, which is aimed at the conflict with the bourgeois class, the bourgeois state, the EU and the capitalist system, has nothing to do with the fostering of confusion and illusions that the struggle in the parliament can lead to pro-people reforms of the system or of the EU -the imperialist union of the strong monopoly groups- as the forces of the European Left Party or SYRIZA and the other forces of opportunism do.
This view causes a great deal of damage, it erodes consciousness. It starts from the dangerous illusion regarding the humanization of capitalism while at the same time the system in its current imperialist stage becomes even more reactionary and dangerous.
- We have to acknowledge that the adherence to bourgeois parliamentarianism is a source of serious problems and deviations in the communist movement, it has led to the social democratic mutation of parties as the experience of eurocommunism has demonstrated or to complacency, to the non adoption of the necessary measures in order to deal with reactionary fascist forces as the Communist Parties found themselves unprepared, with a limited class vigilance.
The KKE supports the Leninist position that stresses that the political struggle is not restricted to our stance in relation to parliamentarianism but includes the struggle of the working class as a whole which is directed towards the overthrow of the capitalist regime.
As regards the stance of the communists in relation to bourgeois democracy Lenin noted: “Communists, expose this hypocrisy, and tell the workers and the working people in general this frank and straightforward truth: the democratic republic, the Constituent Assembly, general elections, etc., are, in practice, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, and for the emancipation of labor from the yoke of capital there is no other way but to replace this dictatorship with the dictatorship of the proletariat. The dictatorship of the proletariat alone can emancipate humanity from the oppression of capital, from the lies, falsehood and hypocrisy of bourgeois democracy — democracy for the rich — and establish democracy for the poor, that is, make the blessings of democracy really accessible to the workers and poor peasants, whereas now (even in the most democratic — bourgeois — republic) the blessings of democracy are, in fact, inaccessible to the vast majority of working people”.
The bourgeois parties “are playing at home”, they are utilizing the political, ideological apparatuses of the system, the repressive mechanisms, the intervention of the employers, they are deceiving the people, they are using false dilemmas, the rationale of the “lesser evil” in order to trap popular forces.
The participation of the communists in the elections takes place on a different basis. It is based on the defense of the truth. The communists do not flatter the masses; they fight against the rational of the “savior” from above. They point to the real revolutionary path while, when possible, they hold the election campaign along with the mobilization of the working people.
There is a crucial issue that has to do with the prospect of the struggle of the working class.
“ First let the majority of the population, while private property still exists, i.e., while the rule and yoke of capital still exist, express themselves in favour of the party of the proletariat and only then can and should the party take power”—so say the petty-bourgeois democrats who call themselves ‘socialists’ but who are in reality the servitors of the bourgeoisie.
“Let the revolutionary proletariat first overthrow the bourgeoisie, break the yoke of capital, and smash the bourgeois state apparatus, then the victorious proletariat will be able rapidly to gain the sympathy and support of the majority of the non-proletarian working people by satisfying their needs at the expense of the exploiters”—say we” stressed Lenin.
The KKE in the resolution of its 18th Congress (2009) which refers to the causes of the overthrow of the socialism in the Soviet Union mentioned amongst others that “since the 20th Congress of the CPSU (February 1956) and its thesis for a “variety of forms of transition to socialism, under certain conditions”, the line of “peaceful co-existence” was also linked to the possibility of a parliamentary transition to socialism in Europe, a strategy that already existed in a number of Communist Parties and ended up gaining the upper hand in most of them. This thesis constituted in essence a revision of the lessons of the Soviet revolutionary experience and a reformist social democratic strategy”.
At its 19th Congress (2013) the KKE approved unanimously our new Programme that makes clear that today in Greece there exist the material preconditions for the construction of a socialist-communist society. The impending revolution in Greece will be socialist. Our party assesses, as in its previous Programme, that there do not exist any intermediate stages between capitalism and socialism, and no intermediate types of power. We propose to the working class, the poor popular strata, to the youth and women from the working class families to form a People’s Alliance, an alliance of social forces that have their interest in struggling in an anti-monopoly anti-capitalist direction, having as its basic slogans the socialization of the monopolies and the creation of agricultural producer cooperatives, the unilateral cancellation of the debt, the non-participation in military-political interventions and wars, the disengagement from the EU and NATO, with working class-people’s power. The KKE acts in the direction of preparing the subjective factor for the perspective of the socialist revolution, even if the time frame for its manifestation is determined by objective conditions, by the revolutionary situation. Our parliamentary activity serves this very goal. We are working for the creation of a KKE with a solid basis inside the working class, a KKE which will be capable of responding to every sharp turn in the class struggle, as we say an “all-weather party”.
At the same time we seek the regroupment of the labour movement on a class basis and we support the All-workers’ Militant Front (PAME) and the alliance with other anti-monopoly rallies of the small businessmen (PASEVE), the poor farmers (PASY), the students (MAS), the women (OGE). We believe that the formation of the People’s Alliance, which will have a social basis (and it will not be a welding together of political “leaderships”) is what is needed today. A social alliance which will struggle for all the problems of the people, for salaries, pensions, public health, education, social security, for the relief of the unemployed etc and will have a clear anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist character. This social alliance, in conditions of the revolutionary situation, can be transformed into a revolutionary workers’-people’s front, which will create organs of working class-people’s power and will have nothing to do with the bourgeois parliamentary democracy.
The foundation of working class power will be the productive unit, the social services, the administrative unit, the productive cooperatives. The structure of the organs of power will include: the Workers' Council, the Regional Council and the Highest Organ of Working Class Power. All three levels of the organs of power – Workplace, Regional, Nationwide- will engage in the organisation of the protection of the revolution, in the People's Judiciary and the control mechanism.
 V.I. Lenin, First Congress of the Communist International, Collected Works, Synchroni Epochi, vol.37, pp. 487-511.
 V.I. Lenin, Democracy and Dictatorship, Collected Works, Synchroni Epochi, vol.37, pp. 388-393.
 V.I Lenin, The Constituent Assembly Elections andThe Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Synchroni Epochi Collected Works, Vol. 40 , pp. 1-24.
 Resolution of the 18th Congress of the KKE.