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Introductory speech of the KKE for the European Communist Meeting
. “We strengthen the workers’-people’s struggle against the capitalist barbarity which creates wars, poverty, refugees and immigrants. For the Europe of socialism, peace, social justice.”
Brussels 7 December 2015
We welcome you to the European Communist Meeting, which is being organized by the KKE so that the communist and workers parties of Europe can have an opportunity to exchange views and thoughts on the developments and our common struggle.
We judge that in the current conditions it is very important for the communists of Europe, irrespective of whether their countries are a part of the imperialist EU or not, regardless of whether they are represented in the EU parliament or not, or in the national parliaments, to be able to meet and discuss. Particularly today, when the capitalist aggressiveness is escalating, demonstrating that economic crises, unemployment, poverty, imperialist wars, the misery that creates immigrants and refugees are part and parcel of the system. Today, when it is being confirmed that this exploitative social system, capitalism, not only can not satisfy the basic needs of the workers, such as social security, health, education, but has transformed these and all the other contemporary human needs into fields of activity where the profitability of the monopolies can be increased. Today, the social impasses of capitalism highlight the timeliness and necessity of socialism.
In the year since the last European Communist Meeting, the developments have been rapid, not only in Europe, but in the wider region, in the world. This is something that is demonstrated by the example of the millions of refugees from Syria or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) that is being prepared by the personnel of the capitalists behind closed doors and clearly will influence the lives of millions of workers in Europe.
The competition amongst the imperialist powers is underway in many corners of the planet, from the Arctic to Africa, from Europe to the South China Sea.
The region of the Eastern Mediterranean is one of those regions that attracts like a “magnet” big monopoly interests, strong imperialist powers and their allies.
The intervention of the USA, EU, Turkey, the Gulf monarchies and other powers in the region since 2011 has led, as was expected, to the Russian military involvement in Syria which began on the 30th of September. Clearly, all these things signal the further sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.
The KKE from the very first moment condemned this intervention that has very serious consequences for the people of Syria and also of the wider region. When bourgeois and opportunist parties celebrated the so-called “Arab Spring”, our party revealed the organized effort to fund and arm the so-called opposition in Syria by the imperialist powers, which had as a result, amongst other things, the formation and spread of the monstrosity of the “Islamic State”, as well as the creation of an enormous wave of refugees.
The KKE at the same time as expressing its solidarity with the French people and its support for the families of the victims of the barbaric massacre carried out by the Islamic State recently in Paris, from the very first moment warned that this must not be used as an alibi for the escalation of imperialist interventions in the region, for an imperialist war and for confrontations between various interests that the peoples of the region will pay a high price for. It must not constitute a new alibi for new repressive measures against democratic and popular freedoms, for the militarization of the political life of the countries of Europe, an alibi for a new wave of xenophobia, racism and far-right fascist views that target our fellow humans who are seeking a better future as refugees and immigrants.
We consider that when imperialist conflicts occur it is misleading to discuss who started it first, who observes “international law”, which has become more reactionary and flexible so that it can be invoked by all the imperialist powers.
The propaganda being unleashed now at an international level is dangerous. This propaganda utilizes the barbarity of the fanatic jihadists in order to foster a pro-war atmosphere amongst the working class and peoples against other peoples, using religion as a pretext.
However the essence, which we communists must clarify, is that the terrain this war is being waged on terrain shaped by the monopoly interests themselves. The essence is to be found in which forces are coming into conflict, forces that have a specific class content.
In these conditions the KKE promotes the demand that the people and the youth in particular must not shed their blood for the interests of capital, of the exploiters.
And this can not be safeguarded for the working people through the participation of our countries in the imperialist organizations, like NATO and the EU. Participation that is accepted by all the bourgeois parties, both liberal and social-democratic, left and right, as it is in Greece by SYRIZA, ND through to Nazi Golden Dawn.
It can not be ensured by the rationale of choosing imperialist, which is being cultivated by various parties, of choosing a bloc of imperialist powers, of international geopolitical alliances.
It is something quite different for workers’ people’s power to utilize existing contradictions and different interests of capitalist states and quite another to join an imperialist alliance, a union of capitalist states, with the illusion that this could prove to be beneficial for the working class and people.
We believe that the communist movement must utilize the inter-imperialist contradictions, with the aim of weakening the imperialist alliances, destabilizing capitalist power in their country or another country, whether it is the aggressor or acting defensively.
For a CP to be able to utilize the inter-imperialist contradictions correctly, it must not be trapped in the plans of any imperialist centre, it must defend the vital interests of the working class in its country, of the working class at a regional and global level.
Our party directly poses the issue of Greece’s withdrawal from all the imperialist alliances, such as NATO and the EU, stressing that this can only be guaranteed by workers’-people’s power, the socialist development path.
At the same time our party in a practical way expresses its solidarity with tens of thousands of tormented people, who are struggling against the waves in order to reach our country and then head to other European countries. No one wants to be uprooted from their homes. We know very well that what drove so many people to be uprooted from their homes has a name: capitalist barbarity which brings poverty, unemployment, wars.
The KKE struggles against the causes of immigration and refugees, against Nazism-fascism and its representatives today in Greece, who sought, amongst other things, to utilize the major issue of immigration flows to sow nationalism, xenophobia and racism amongst the people. Our party calls on the people, the labour-people’s movement to intensify their solidarity with the refugees and immigrants.
This problem can not be solved unless the imperialist interventions and wars of the EU-USA-NATO stop. We struggle so that Greece has no participation in them. The repressive mechanisms of the EU can not provide a solution, and for this reason we demand the abolition of the Dublin Regulations, the Schengen Agreement, Frontex. We consider that the refugees must have decent facilities for their reception and accommodation, and we struggle to increase the personnel and infrastructure related to rescue, registration-identification, accommodation-food, health care and safe transport from the islands to the country’s exit points.
The capitalist crisis does not just steamroller the social rights and gains of the workers in Europe, but also “reshuffles the deck of cards” as regards the correlation of forces amongst the capitalist states. And this is occurring both inside the EU, where the competition and pressure on Germany are sharpening with the aim of it shouldering a greater share of the crisis’ burden, and also in the relations between the states in the capitalist world as a whole.
The so-called “multi-polar world” has been demonstrated to have nothing to do with peace, the security of the peoples, conflict resolution, as its supporters claim. Every “architecture” of international relations, when it has monopoly capitalist (i.e. imperialist) states as its “cornerstone” has the tendency to imperialist intervention and war in its DNA. Last year we spoke more extensively about the open intervention of the USA and EU in Ukraine, in the framework of their competition with Russia over the control of energy routes, raw materials and market shares. This competition and the ascendance to governmental positions by nationalist and anti-communist forces had tragic consequences for the people of Ukraine, who saw their country collapse, experienced civil war for interests alien to theirs, came face to face with anti-people measures as well as repressive measures, like the planned outlawing of the CP and communist ideology in Ukraine.
And from this podium we want once again to express our solidarity with the communists of Ukraine, who are faced with this anti-people development and also to denounce the fact that the Ukrainian President a few months ago included 3 cadres of the KKE on a black list, amongst them our MEP Sotiris Zarianopoulos and Giorgos Lamproulis the Deputy Speaker of the Greek Parliament.
Allow me to pose two other international issues, which are of enormous importance for the peoples of Europe and the organization of our struggle.
1) In the recent period, the USA and NATO began trials for the so-called “anti-missile shield” in Europe. This anti-missile system, despite the fact that it is “presented” as a “protection measure” against Iran or terrorists, it has the clear aim of giving the USA ability to deliver a first nuclear strike against Russia, without the danger of receiving a counter strike. This is a particularly dangerous step, as it transforms Europe into a theatre of nuclear war and confrontation with Russia and what is needed is the activity of communists and other militants in order to dismantle these bases that support the US-NATO plans and of course any other similar imperialist plan.
2) The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which is characterized as an “economic NATO for the monopolies” and is being pushed forward in absolute secrecy, is causing protests. There are even some bourgeois forces that express some disagreements, of course from the standpoint of serving sections of capital that are seeking to win even more benefits.
The new-style social-democrats of SYRIZA, Podemos, as well as other opportunists, with the ELP as their basic vehicle, that also express the interests of sections of capital, state their opposition to this Transatlantic Agreement, focusing their disagreement on certain isolated aspects of it and not its essence. They defend the profitability of the monopoly groups, promoting the myth of a “sustainable” and “eternal” capitalist recovery. They see the TTIP as an “obstacle” to capitalism acquiring “rules, checks and regulations” that would allegedly rein in the monopolies. They deliberately conceal that the TTIP is not an exception, but a clear confirmation of the exploitative character of this system.
Because this agreement paves the way for the calling into question of and abolition of any labour rights left standing by the offensive of capital-EU-bourgeois governments, utilizing the economic crisis. They aim to reduce the rights of the workers as much as possible, as the common goal of the USA and the EU is to drastically lower the price of labour power. In a few words, the anti-worker measures and the negative regime for labour rights implemented in all the EU member-states and the USA will be “married” together, with multiple consequences for the working class and poor popular strata.
For this reason, the communists must be active in exposing these plans, as well as the misleading discussion about the abolition of the EU’s “sovereignty” or about that of its member-states, due to the TTIP. In this way they conceal that the specific agreement is the aim of the bourgeois governments of the EU as well, of course through negotiations with the USA, in the service of the interests of the European monopolies in order to safeguard and advance their positions in the monopoly competition at a global level. The KKE struggles against this anti-people agreement, stressing that it cannot be corrected or adjusted. It calls on the people to struggle for the rejection of the agreement, in the direction of fighting for the overthrow of the exploitative system that the TTIP serves.
Last year when we spoke about the developments in Greece, when SYRIZA was still in opposition, we had described from this podium the “trajectory” that it would follow if the bourgeoisie entrusted it with the reins of bourgeois power. Today, we can look you in the eyes, because the KKE waged and wages a decisive fight to defend the people’s interests and because all the predictions of our party have been borne out.
With the SYRIZA-ANEL government, our people are being faced with a new full-scale assault of capital, an assault which of course the government of leftwing SYRIZA and allegedly patriotic ANEL undertook to complete, implementing the barbaric anti-people agreement-memorandum that it signed in the summer together with ND, PASOK and POTAMI.
Every day via the draft laws it brings to Parliament, it implements the unprecedented barbaric measures. These are measures that increase the taxation of popular families with the most characteristic tax increase being that at the expense of farmers and the self employed. At the same time it is making tax exemptions for capital permanent. It is targeting whatever remains of the right to social security, by increasing the retirement age. It is preparing an attack on the right to strike and other trade union rights, while at the same time proceeding with privatizations. This offensive demonstrates that the exploitation of labour power is a precondition for the recovery of capitalist profitability.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government plays a leading role and actively participates in the plans of NATO, the USA and EU in the region, providing the country’s territory for the creation of new NATO bases and aggressive military infrastructure.
The alleged “left” government provided and is providing important services for the system. With a “left” mantle and claims that it is allegedly struggling inside the EU, in combination with blackmail and illusions, it is trying to persuade a large section of the people that today’s political line is inevitable and that only thing the people can do is to choose which government, which manager of the memorandum will implement the anti-people political line. It contributes to making leftwing and radical forces more conservative, forces that in previous years had fought against the anti-people measures.
It has been borne out for the umpteenth time that so-called left wing governments, so-called parties of left renewal, which have mutated former communists in their ranks can at a given moment do capital’s dirty work better and at the same time lead the people and movement to passivity and disillusionment.
What has also been confirmed in this way is the consistent stance of the KKE that all these years has strongly rejected participation in such governments to manage the capitalist system and the anti-people policies of the EU and NATO’s aggression. And from this podium we would like to thank all the communist and workers’ parties that supported our party in the many crucial electoral battles that we waged in a militant fashion in 2015.
The KKE endured, emerged ideologically, politically and organizationally reinforced, more experienced and stronger from these battles. It maintained its forces in the parliament and today together with KNE it plays the leading role in the struggles in the workplaces, inside the labour-people’s movement. We are battling to expose the plans of the government and the other bourgeois parties, the bourgeois staff that together are attacking the working class with the aim of making it cheaper and more subservient. We must reveal the character of the memoranda, that whatever small recovery of the capitalist economy and capitalist profitability occurs presupposes the abolition of all the people’s gains and will certainly not lead to a rise in living standards, to the relief of the popular families. Even more so when the situation can deteriorate, as the signs of the outbreak of a new international synchronized crisis are appearing and the imperialist contradictions are sharpening.
Today, as the very successful general strike on the 12th of November demonstrated, better preconditions can be formed for the organization and regroupment of the labour movement, for the strengthening of the people’s alliance. Fissures can be created in the current negative correlation of forces in Greece and internationally.
What is needed is that the people utilize their experience and use it to empower their struggle for the overthrow of the system. The labour unions in our country, under the banners of PAME, are preparing a new general strike mobilization. The farmers are also mobilizing at their roadblocks with their tractors. The students and school students are organizing their own large demonstrations. The focus of the struggle is the raft of new anti-people measures that the SYRIZA government is bringing, on the basis of its agreement with the EU, the IMF, the ECB, the “quartet”, in line with the 3rd memorandum it is implementing. It is preparing a new attack on the social-security system, foreclosures and seizures of the homes of the workers, popular and even middle strata, cutting electricity to those who are in arrears with their payments, heavily taxing the popular families while increasing the tax exemptions for the big industrialists, ship-owners and businessmen.
We are deeply convinced that the working people can see better days, as they should, as they deserve, on the basis of the potential that society has today. And this path requires the formation of a strong popular social alliance which will fight against the new anti-people measures and will have the struggle against the monopolies, capitalism and imperialism as its stable compass. Its formation and strengthening today can help change the negative correlation of forces, empower the organization, combativeness and militancy of the working class and the other popular strata. It can counter submission and fatalism, the subjugation of the people to the old and new managers of capitalism’s barbarity, in the struggle for a society without exploitation of man by man, for socialism.
And as reality demonstrates, when you have the goal of overthrowing capitalism and building the new world, socialism, you can struggle more decisively and effectively for the organization and emancipation of the working class. In the current conditions, only on this basis and in this direction can you have victories for the rights and contemporary needs of the workers, of the people.