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Contribution of the KKE at the ECA meeting, Madrid May 11, 2024

“Historical conclusions from the tactics of the anti-fascist fronts. The contemporary struggle of communists against fascism”

Dear comrades, 

In the past few months, the European bourgeois media have been stirring up a debate, estimating that the electoral performance of nationalist and even fascist forces will skyrocket in the upcoming elections. Thus, various bourgeois social-democratic parties in EU countries, such as in Germany, and other countries are calling for support for “pro-European and progressive” policies in the forthcoming European elections, in order to put a brake on the rise of the far right and fascism! 

Their hypocrisy is blatant! It is also through their support that in recent years in several European countries, such as the Baltic countries, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Ukraine, anti-fascist monuments have been demolished and monuments to the Nazi Waffen-SS have been erected, Communist parties and symbols have been banned, while history has been rewritten to suit the capitalists, i.e. the main ‘sponsors’ of fascism throughout history and the world. 

Moreover, for years now, the Council of Europe, the EU and the European Parliament have been spewing anti-communism in a series of resolutions, seeking to equate communism with fascism —something that effectively exonerates fascism. In fact, the EU even tried to semantically erase the Day of the Anti-Fascist Victory of the Peoples, 9 May, by calling it “Europe Day”.

Furthermore, while the imperialist war is being waged in Ukraine, there are forces invoking the “anti-fascist struggle” and the policy of the “anti-fascist fronts” of the 7th Congress of the Comintern to hide the real causes of the war from the people. And this is happening at a time when the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which is presented by the EU leaders more or less as the defender of freedom and democracy, is fighting for Ukraine and neo-Nazi groups such as “Rusich” and the “Russian Imperial Legion”, which are presented as defenders of the values of the “Russian world”, are fighting for Russia.

Given all of the above, the issue we are discussing today is particularly relevant. Today’s event of the European Communist Action provides us with the opportunity to underline some —in our opinion— useful conclusions that the KKE has come to by studying history, and also to present some aspects of the contemporary experience and assessments of the struggle against fascism: 


1. The anniversary of 9 May, which we recently commemorated, 79 years since the end of the Second World War, is not “European Union Day”, as the representatives of the reactionary EU edifice have been unhistorically trying to establish in the past years. It is the Day of the Great Anti-fascist Victory of the Peoples, the great epic of the Soviet Red Army and people, as well as of the resistance movements of Europe, with the vanguard and decisive role of the Communist Parties.


2. The communists pay tribute to all those who fought with a gun in their hands; to all those who sacrificed, were tortured, imprisoned and exiled; to all those who fought in every way against the Nazi–fascist imperialist Axis of Germany, Italy, Japan and their allies. The KKE is proud to have been the soul, lifeblood and guidance of the heroic struggle of the National Liberation Front (EAM), the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS), the United Panhellenic Organization of Youth (EPON) and other EAM-derived organizations, as well as for the thousands of its members, who, with their heroic action and sacrifice, wrote some of the most brilliant pages in its history and contributed to the victorious outcome of the war.


3. The fact that the Soviet Union and the partisan movements fought fascism does not change the fact that the Second World War, like the First World War, was an imperialist war. It was the peak of imperialist competition for the redivision of markets and spheres of influence, sharpened under conditions of capitalist crisis. When the contradictions of the monopolies, which clash over their profitability, cannot be resolved by fragile compromises within the framework of an imperialist “peace”, they are to be resolved by war.

The womb that gave birth to the First and the Second World Wars, the wars that took place in the decades after the end of the Second World War up to the present day in Ukraine and the Middle East, is actually the same. And this womb is the capitalist relations of production, the capitalist system in its imperialist stage. Within this framework, the bourgeois classes also make use of nationalist and even fascist forces in their war plans, as we can see with those nostalgic for Bandera and the Azov Battalions in Ukraine, or the “Higher Political School” of the fascist philosopher Ivan Ilyin, recently established in a large state university in the Russian capital. 


4. The Second World War was just only on the side of the USSR, which was fighting for the defence of workers’ Socialist power, and on the side of the resistance movements fighting against the fascist occupation, for the survival and prosperity of their people.

The war was unjust and imperialist for Britain, the USA and the powers that have their own responsibility for the emergence and prevalence of fascism in Germany, because it was aimed at maintaining and extending the role they had secured in the imperialist system thanks to their victory in the First World War. On the other hand, the war was imperialist and unjust for the Fascist Axis, because it aimed at overturning the correlation of forces that had been established after the First World War. Both rival imperialist alliances were competing equally to secure their profits and geopolitical interests. Both are guilty of major crimes against humanity. By way of example, the fascist Axis led the way in mass executions and purges, but the USA and Britain also bombed Dresden, used nuclear weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not out of military necessity but as a warning to the USSR, seeking to impose their own political plans on post-war developments.

The conclusion that the war was unjust for all the bourgeois powers that participated in the Second World War must be fully digested among the ranks of the international communist movement! This is of particular importance today, when various bourgeois powers take on the mantle of “anti-fascism” and attempt to hide their real predatory aims in the imperialist war; in this war where the Euro-Atlantic imperialist axis (USA, NATO, EU) is clashing with the Eurasian imperialist axis that is being formed among China, Russia and their allies, using the Ukrainian bourgeoisie (which has historically vindicated the Ukrainian collaborators of the Nazis) as its spearhead.


5. Fascism is one of the political forms of capitalist power. In the aftermath of the First World War and under the influence of the victorious October Socialist Revolution, the German and Italian bourgeoisie were confronted with a growing communist and workers’– people’s movement that challenged their power with the 1918–1919 revolution in Germany and the mass occupations of the factories of the Italian North in Italy during the Biennio Rosso (Red Biennium) in 1918–1920. At the same time, the German bourgeoisie, which was among the big losers of the previous war, and the Italian bourgeoisie, which believed that although victorious it had been wronged by the post-war sharing of the imperialist spoils, sought to dynamically challenge the correlation of forces. Under these circumstances, fascism-Nazism was chosen as the most appropriate form of their political power to suppress the class enemy at home and to wage war with other capitalist states abroad.

The main differentiating element of the fascist form of capitalist power is the active and mass alignment of people’s forces behind the reactionary plans of capitalist power. This was not necessary for the victors of the previous war, since, owing to the imperialist super-profits, they were able to secure the consent of the workers’–people’s forces to capitalist power by forging alliances with the middle strata and buying off the labour aristocracy.

There is no other differentiation whatsoever. The particularities of fascism and Nazism cannot be traced only to the cessation of parliamentary procedures, a characteristic found in all bourgeois dictatorial regimes. All the more so since both fascism and Nazism emerged through bourgeois parliaments. Nor is the particular essence of fascism–Nazism to be found in the unprecedented repression of the workers’–people’s and communist movements, which is common not only to bourgeois dictatorships but also to parliamentary regimes.

Let us recall that in its 105-year history, the KKE has faced terrible persecution from bourgeois regimes, sometimes dictatorial and sometimes in the form of parliamentary democracy. To illustrate, the dictatorial Metaxas regime in Greece in 1939 created the so-called Provisional Administration of the KKE composed of informers, seeking to strike a blow against the KKE, while today the social-democrat Maduro, speaking in the name of “socialism of the 21st century”, is attacking the Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) and has constructed a fake PCV, which is officially recognized by the bourgeois state.

Nor can the exploitation of other peoples be identified as a particular feature of fascism and Nazism, since the parliamentary tradition of France and England was the other face of colonialism. Even the racialism that characterizes Nazism, but not fascism, is not found only in fascist and Nazi regimes. The ideology of the “civilizing” of the lower races was the ideological cloak of colonialism, and even after the war many capitalist member states of the European Union, especially Great Britain, maintained close relations with the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

The common features of fascism with other political forms show that the anti-fascist struggle remains incomplete unless it aims at the struggle for the overthrow of capitalist power.


6.  The 7th Congress of the CI adopted the strategy of the Anti-Fascist People’s Fronts, which, both before and after World War II, claimed government in the framework of capitalism, in the first period as a means of defence against the rise of fascism and in the second as a form of transition to workers’ power.

Before the war, the CPs throught the “Fronts” sought co-operation with social-Democratic political forces, even with bourgeois democratic ones, with the aim of isolating the fascist bourgeois forces and preventing their predominance in every country. At the same time, most of the CPs at that time were focusing on fighting exclusively against the fascist forces, and thus not only did they not turn against the   bourgeois powers and the capitalist states that participated in the exploitation of the working class and took part in the war, but they also established in the consciousness of the workers and the people that they were anti-fascist. Moreover, while the war was raging, the CPs sought a post-war cooperation —even governmental one— with these forces. Thus the CPs were unable to link the armed anti-fascist liberation struggle with the struggle for the conquest of workers’ power.

A characteristic example is our country, Greece, which 80 years ago was liberated from the Nazi troops, thanks to the magnificent victories of the Red Army, as well as the irreplaceable contribution of the armed resistance, anti-fascist and liberation movement and their organizations, such as the National Liberation Front (EAM), the Greek People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) and many other armed resistance organizations, formed on the initiative of the KKE. And yet, despite this magnificent mass and armed resistance movement and the fact that during the period of liberation, in October 1944, conditions of a revolutionary situation were formed in Greece, i.e. conditions when the bourgeois power was shaken, with a generalized economic and political crisis, with weakness in the functioning of the repression mechanisms and the institutions of governance that the bourgeoisie had in Greece, the workers’–people’s movement could not win. And this happened because our Party failed to develop the armed liberation and anti-fascist struggle into a socialist revolution in a conscious and planned manner; instead, it was stuck on the line of national unity and the formation of a government of the anti-fascist forces. It thus gave the bourgeoisie (which overcame its old conflicts between the pro-British and pro-German in the face of the fear of losing its power) and its Anglo-American allies the opportunity to launch an all-out political-military offensive against the KKE and the working-class movement in order to consolidate the already shaken bourgeois power. In the context of this attack, the so-called bourgeois democratic forces did not hesitate to use former Nazi collaborators. The heroic, three-year struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) could not thwart this planning.

But even in those European countries where the policy of the anti-fascist fronts resulted in the participation of the CPs in the post-war coalition governments, not only did this not constitute the first step towards a transition to workers’ power, but was used to ensure the consensus of the most vanguard workers’–people’s forces until the capitalist power was consolidated. Afterwards, the CPs were driven out of all governments. 


7. It is important to see why today all over Europe, and in some cases beyond it, the bourgeois system resorts to such nationalist, racist and fascist “crutches” to get back on its feet. This is undeniable, since the financial support of such forces by parts of the capital, by the forces of its repressive mechanisms, such as the police and the armed forces, and the promotion and presentation of such forces as supposedly “anti-system” by the big bourgeois media, is unfolding before our eyes.

It becomes obvious that such forces are exploited by each bourgeoisie both as the henchmen of the system, and as the spearhead against the workers’–people’s movement. The notion, fostered within the ranks of the international communist movement, that fascism is “exported” by the USA, which is described as a fascist or pro-fascist power, is utterly unfounded and erroneous.


8. Here, too, we should note that the KKE, studying the History of the Comintern, assessed that the division of the states of the international imperialist system into “fascist”/“pro-war” and “democratic”/ “pro-peace” which prevailed in the ranks of the Comintern before the Second World War was wrong and damaging. Today, certain forces in the ranks of the international communist movement are reverting to this false division, which obscures both the class nature of the bourgeois regimes and the cause of the emergence and strengthening of the fascist current, which lies in monopoly capitalism itself and in the service of capitalist interests in each country. The KKE has drawn lessons from history and does not agree with this approach of dividing the imperialist forces into “bad” (“fascist”, “neo-fascist”) and “good” ones, nor, of course, with calls to form “anti-fascist fronts” in a non-class direction, i.e. alliances without socio-class criteria but with all “progressive and honest people”, as some call upon us. Such approaches and calls lead the communist movement and the working class to their disarmament, to the renunciation of their historical mission and to the formulation of a line of supposed purification of imperialism by the “fascist forces”. At the same time, it offers an alibi to the so-called democratic and pro-peace bourgeois forces.


9. To justify the above distorted approach, a speculation is rife over the definition of fascism given by G. Dimitrov at the 7th Comintern Congress as “the open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital”. We believe that the 7th Congress drew an absolute distinction between the “power” of finance capital from the interests of industrial capital. Similarly, it drew an absolute distinction between fascist and democratic capitalist states. As a consequence of this distinction, the alliance of the workers’ and communist movement with part of the bourgeois powers and states was elevated into an ideology, and class preparedness against the opposing class was weakened, as we saw earlier.

Today, some who refer to that definition of fascism selectively ignore the fact that the Communist International, before that definition of fascism, had given another definition in its Programme (1928), in which, among other things, it noted that “Under certain special historical conditions, the progress of this bourgeois, imperialist, reactionary offensive assumes the form of fascism”, while the features of fascism were presented in detail in the Resolution on the International Situation at the 6th Congress of the Communist International (1928). It is also ignored that Dimitrov's well-known definition in 1935 was given under other historical circumstances, when the imperialist powers were planning the dissolution of the only socialist state in the world, while the USSR, for its part, was trying to cause a rift among the imperialist powers and take advantage of their contradictions. This definition is therefore used detached from the historical conditions that gave rise to it and is mechanistically and unscientifically transferred to the present conditions, where the USSR does not exist and the situation that has developed in China is in no way consistent with the principles of socialism. We are talking about a capitalist superpower competing with the USA for supremacy in the international imperialist system.  


10. Both in the past and today the way for the emergence and development of fascist forms is paved not only by the right-wing forces, but also by the forces of social democracy, which support the unhistorical theory of the “two extremes”, the unacceptable identification of communism with fascism.  In this way they seek not only to exonerate capitalism for the crimes of fascism-Nazism, but also to attribute them to the communist movement, the only force that has consistently fought against with self-sacrifice.

Moreover, the disillusionment of people’s forces having a low political criterion with the promises of the right-wing and social-democratic parties in government, under conditions of lack of strong CPs and great workers’ struggles, propels the political recovery of nationalist, racist and even fascist forces. This becomes particularly pronounced in conditions of extensive destruction of the lower and middle strata in the phase of capitalist crisis, increasing poverty, unemployment and the wear and tear of the bourgeois parliamentary parties. It is then that the bourgeoisie makes multiple use of the Nazi parties as outposts to serve its interests. It exploits the actions of the Nazis who, with extreme nationalism and alleged “solidarity”, cast their net to co-opt people’s forces, the unemployed, the ruined petty bourgeois strata.


11. Today, the way to fascist forces and their white-washing is also opened by those opportunist “communist” forces which, in the name of “restoring the sovereignty of the country” that is threatened by the EU, as is the case in Italy, or “repelling the exported fascism of the USA”, as is the case in Russia, talk or collaborate with forces prone to fascism.

12. In the past decades, the KKE has faced and continues to face various fascist formations, which exploit the nationalist, national-socialist criminal ideology to dress up their murderous action against immigrants, trade unionists, communist militants and others. One such case was the fascist “Golden Dawn”, which attempted to reintroduce the tactics of the Nazi “assault squads” and alternate their actions with political activism. We are talking about a fascist group which, after the fall of the military dictatorship in the 1970s, maintained contacts with its leading members and with other nationalist far-right groups, cultivating a vulgar anti-communism, racism and hatred of the labour movement. They acquired strong connections within the army, the police, the secret services, and engaged in thuggish attacks, placing explosive devices against the offices of the KKE, other parties and youth organizations, in bookstores and cinemas, e.g. where Soviet and anti-fascist films were shown. In the 1980s, the Golden Dawn began to operate in a more organized way, frequently carrying out attacks and bullying, e.g. on immigrants and students. With the onset of the deep capitalist economic crisis in 2008–2009, the Golden Dawn is brought from the margins to the fore. The successive anti-popular measures of various governments caused a major reformation in the bourgeois political system, both in social democracy, with the rise of SYRIZA and the fall of PASOK, and in the far right. 

The Nazi Golden Dawn exploited the consequences of the crisis to reach out to middle strata damaged by the crisis, as well as to an impoverished section of the working class, which had not established contact of fostered relations with the organized, class-oriented labour and trade union movement. However, its transition from the margins to the centre of the political scene would not have been possible without the support of powerful sections of the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus. The Golden Dawn was presented to the people as an “anti-systemic force”, which fights against the “ills” of the society and wants the best for the people. In the demonstrations of the “indignants”, reactionary slogans appeared and were strongly promoted by the bourgeois media, such as “out with the parties” or “out with the unions”, providing political cover for the Golden Dawn. Thus, the bourgeois system exploited the Golden Dawn in order to repel forces from the organized class struggle and to aggressively support the aims of the bourgeoisie, at the expense of the workers, e.g. with positions against strikes, for further wage cuts, abolition of contracts, so that, for example, shipowners “can be convinced to have their ships constructed in Greece”. The representatives of the Golden Dawn easily found a place in the panels of the bourgeois media and formed a parliamentary group. With thuggish attacks against trade unionists and cadres of the KKE and with murders of immigrants, it tried to establish itself as the iron fist of the bourgeois system. At that time, the the Golden Dawn maintained communication channels with other bourgeois parties and local actors. 

The KKE exposed its role and isolated it, together with other fascist formations, from the trade union movement and political activities, at the same time that the other bourgeois parties maintained an attitude of bourgeois comme il faut, of “parliamentary criteria” towards them. Characteristically, the communist mayor of Patras refused to grant premises for the pre-election propaganda of the positions of the Nazi Golden Dawn. He was prosecuted, but under the people’s solidarity, the communist mayor was acquitted in court. At many public events the communists prevented the presence of representatives of the Golden Dawn.

The murder of the antifascist musician Pavlos Fyssas, the murderous attacks against immigrants and communist trade unionists, aroused a great popular wave of resistance, which stifled this fascist gang for the time being and led to the imprisonment of its leadership. It is telling that under the responsibility of all bourgeois governments, including that of the “leftist” SYRIZA, 7 years passed between the arrest of the killers of the Golden Dawn and their trial and conviction. The decisive people’s struggle, with the communists at the forefront, contributed to the conviction of the Nazi criminals. The KKE and the lawyers of the communist unionists in the trial of the Golden Dawn  highlighted the Nazi and pro-system role of the Golden Dawn as well as the fact that the criminal activity of this organization resulted precisely from its criminal Nazi ideology. However, we are well aware that as long as the capitalist system, which is the womb of such forms, exists, we are not done with fascism.  As D. Koutsoumbas, GS of the CC the KKE, noted “The main thing is for the people to destroy the evil at its roots, by overthrowing the system that hatches the serpent’s egg, i.e. Nazism, fascism”.


Dear comrades,

The KKE has concluded that the struggle against fascism, for the defence of workers’ rights and people’s achievements, is inseparable from the struggle against the monopolies, against capitalist exploitation and their power. The CP must under no circumstances slip into an alliance with bourgeois and opportunist forces in the name of a shallow and insubstantial “anti-fascism”. In the words of Brecht, “Those who are against Fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes out of barbarism, are like people who wish to eat their veal without slaughtering the calf. They are willing to eat the calf, but they dislike the sight of blood. They are easily satisfied if the butcher washes his hands before weighing the meat. They are not against the property relations which engender barbarism; they are only against barbarism itself. They raise their voices against barbarism, and they do so in countries where precisely the same property relations prevail, but where the butchers wash their hands before weighing the meat.” 

That is why the CP's commitment to the goal of workers’ power, to the struggle for the rallying of the forces of the social alliance of the working class and the other urban and rural popular strata in an anti-monopoly and anti-capitalist direction of struggle must be unwavering. Only in this way will the workers’–people’s opposition to bourgeois power be strengthened and the perspective of the people’s struggle for the overthrow of capitalist barbarity and the building of the new socialist–communist society be promoted.

Particularly today, when the peoples are confronted with the sharpening of inter-imperialist competition and various parts of the world are ablaze over how the imperialists will divide natural wealth, labour power, transport routes for commodities, market shares and geopolitical footholds, we must have a clear front against both the false “anti-fascism” and the capitalist system that gives rise to fascism and war.


The peoples must rise up! 

They must take to the streets of struggle, with the communists at the forefront!

To send an anti-war and anti-imperialist message in the European elections, against the EU of war, by supporting the CPs.