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Regional Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties at the initiative of the KKE
On October 26, 2017, at the initiative of the KKE, took place the Meeting of Communist and Workers’ parties of the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Gulf on the topic “The Communist and Workers’ parties firmly at the side of the just struggle of the Palestinian people, in the struggle against imperialist war and capitalist exploitation”.
In the regional meeting that was held in the headquarters of the Central Committee of the KKE took part representatives from the following parties: Egyptian Communist Party, Algerian Party for Democracy and Socialism, Revolutionary Communist Party of France, Communist Party of Greece, Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, Tudeh Party (Iran),Communist Party of Israel, Communist Party (Italy), AKEL (Cyprus), Lebanese Communist Party, Palestinian Communist Party, Palestinian People’s Party, Syrian Communist Party, Communist Party of Turkey.
The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, delivered the introductory speech.
It is our pleasure to welcome you to Athens and thank you for your response to the invitation of the KKE and your participation in the meeting of the Communist and Workers’ Parties of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Gulf region.
We all circulate in a common geographical area with common geostrategic elements, so today we can collectively look at the situation in our region, plan our action on the side of the just struggle of the Palestinian people and take the necessary measures to fight against imperialist wars and capitalist exploitation, as is referred to in the meeting topic for today.
The KKE stands by the working class of the countries of our region, expresses its international solidarity and supports the struggle of the peoples against capitalist barbarism, the attack by capital and its political representatives.
We fight against the longstanding occupation and criminal stance of the Israeli state against the Palestinian people that has left thousands dead or maimed, thousands displaced or imprisoned, and scores of children murdered.
Israeli aggression expresses the aims of Israeli capital for regional control, supported by the United States and NATO, but also by powerful European capitalist countries and bourgeois governments that covertly or openly incriminate the struggle of the Palestinian people, characterize it as terrorist, while subordinate opportunist forces sit on the fence, hypocritically equating the perpetrator with its victims.
The course of the Palestinian problem reveals that the agreements that have been signed, such as those of Oslo in 1993, Camp David, 2000 or Annapolis in 2007, are unfair; they bear the stamp of imperialist interventions, of pressures akin to someone putting a gun to your head; they perpetuate the occupation and suffering of the people of Palestine.
The agonizing blockade of the Gaza Strip continues, the occupation settlements on the West Bank and Jerusalem are spreading further, the "wall of shame" continues to be maintained to consolidate the occupation map.
The Palestinian people have the right to live in their homeland, to control and determine their own fate, without exploiters and tyrants.
We continue our struggle and demand: An independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Withdrawal of the Israeli army from all the occupied territories of 1967, including the Golan Heights and the Sabah District of Southern Lebanon.
A halt to all settlements and the withdrawal of settlers located beyond the 1967 borders; the release of all political prisoners and the return of refugees.
The internationalist stance of the KKE is consistently expressed within our country against the bourgeois class and its parties. From this standpoint, our party has denounced the SYRIZA-ANEL government, which in practice is implementing military and political-economic collaboration with Israel, and it condemns the policies of the European Union that seeks to improve its relations with the Israeli state.
The Greek government is responsible for the involvement of Greek military units in dozens of exercises with Israel, among them one of the largest international exercises held in this state under the name Blue Flag 2017 early this November.
Our party demands that the Greek government cancel its political-military agreements with Israel and immediately recognize the Palestinian state on the basis of the decision of the Greek Parliament in December 2015.
The KKE has stood and stands by the Cypriot people against the Turkish occupation that has been perpetuated for 43 years under the responsibility of the United States, Britain and other powerful capitalist states.
The Greek Communists condemned the Annan Plan to partition Cyprus in 2004, which afterwards was rejected by the Cypriot people in a referendum and we condemn every partition plan leading to two states.
Power lies in the organization of the popular struggle and the coordination of the action of the workers of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, the workers of our region against imperialist plans and interventions, reinforcing internationalist action against nationalism which poisons the peoples.
We support the solution for an independent sovereign Cyprus, with one citizenship, an international personality; that is, a state - without occupying troops, foreign military forces and bases, without guarantors and patrons, a common homeland for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, with a sovereign people.
The KKE expresses its internationalist solidarity with the Syrian people undergoing the ordeal of war with hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded, with countless homeless refugees, victims of imperialist intervention and criminal gangs like the Islamic State type, organized, trained and equipped by the US and its allies, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, etc.
Our party has condemned from the very beginning, since 2011, imperialist intervention and has exposed the US, NATO and EU aims to promote the so-called New Middle East project, the change of borders and reshaping of territories to promote the interests of US and European monopolies, the control of energy resources in the region, in competition with Russia and China, more generally within the framework of intra-imperialist contradictions.
The struggle of the Syrian people is harsh, and today, when the criminal organization ISIS is in a trajectory of defeat and retreat, there is no room for complacency. We are opposed to the plans that include "security zones" and the partitioning of the country and we stress, once again, that developments in Syria and other countries are a matter for their peoples who have the right and the duty to defend their own interests and make the choice that supports this, with the leading role of the working class and the Communist parties.
Today, it is even more obvious to the peoples that the imperialist wars of recent times in our region and in other parts of the globe have been carried out with carefully-constructed pretenses used by the US, NATO and the EU to promote their positions. This applies to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia and the NATO attack in 1999, to the war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, for all cases of intervention and wars.
We are concerned about the aggressiveness of the Turkish ruling class in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, the controversy over the Greek borders, the Treaty of Lausanne by President Erdogan himself.
We oppose the plans promoted by the ruling classes of Greece and Turkey with the common denominator being the exploitation of the workers, and we note that interstate relations are at the service of the interests of the monopolies of the two countries which, among other things, are members of NATO and participate in the implementation of its strategy.
Under these circumstances, we attach great importance to the cultivation of the friendship of the two peoples through the valuable effort of the joint action of the Communist Party of Greece and the Communist Party of Turkey that together have achieved a high level of cooperation.
We are carefully studying the developments in the Gulf and we consider dangerous the threats of the US and President Trump against Iran concerning the US position to abandon the agreement reached in July 2015 on Iran's nuclear program.
Our party has opposed Saudi Arabia's intervention in Yemen within the framework of its competition with Iran, and we are concerned about recent developments in Lebanon that indicates a plan of interference in domestic affairs on the part of Saudi Arabia which will have dangerous consequences.
The above developments confirm that our region has a special, strategic position in imperialist designs because it has significant energy resources and is a transit hub for oil and gas pipelines, an area with critical maritime and land transport channels and is of great military importance.
On this basis, intra-imperialist rivalries, the rivalries of the ruling classes for control of the region, control of the markets and of the natural resources are sharpening and this is reflected in the situation in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Gulf, but also in the Balkans, Ukraine, more generally in Central and Eastern Europe, where competition between NATO and Russia has elevated dramatically.
We are studying and analyzing these developments globally in connection to developments in Asia, the Pacific, the competition between the US and China and we believe that there are real dangers for igniting and spreading the flames of war in the Korean Peninsula.
Communists estimate NATO's dangerous character as the armed hand of Euro-Atlantic imperialism, and this mechanism of war is spreading to all sections of the globe.
NATO command in February 2016, and with the responsibility of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, decided to send warships to the Aegean in the name of controlling migratory and refugee flows, but this is just the pretext.
The truth is that the presence of the Standing NATO Naval force in the Aegean Sea, which cooperates with the naval force of the EU under the name "SOPHIA", as well as the NATO-led "security mission" in the Eastern Mediterranean, called Sea Guardian that Greek, Turkish, Italian and Spanish warships participate in, are part of a more general NATO and EU military mobilization in confrontation with Russia, forming the background for military operations in Syria, Iraq and Libya within the framework of Euro-Atlantic aims in the region.
The KKE denounced the SYRIZA-ANEL government and exposed the real reasons for the NATO presence in our region and our struggle against NATO must continue even more decisively, to take on a more mass character.
The same applies for the EU, which not only has never been an innocent ‘dove of peace’, but 22 of the 29 members of the European predatory alliance are members of NATO. The two imperialist organizations are working closely against the peoples, while the EU has formed its own Security and Defense Policy, is being militarized and is becoming more reactionary. It has forces participating in 17 missions abroad.
The KKE has informed the Communist and Workers Movement internationally and has exposed the myths spread abroad by the so-called "left" government of SYRIZA with the nationalist party ANEL. In practice, it has been shown that this government is continuing the anti-people policy of the previous ND and PASOK governments, has imposed harsh memoranda and measures on the working people, and condemns the working class, the popular strata to high unemployment, deep poverty.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government, which is doing the dirty work on behalf of capital, is particularly distinguished by the involvement of our country in imperialist plans, wars and interventions, and recently in November with the visit of Prime Minister Tsipras to the US and his meeting with President Trump. This government has carried out a "political striptease", as the KKE has characteristically noted.
Tsipras pledged to upgrade the military base of Souda in Crete, which has fulfilled and continues to fulfill a special mission to promote US and NATO designs in our region against the peoples.
He greeted the fact that Greece allocates 2% of its GDP, many billions of euros, for equipment that in no way concerns the country's defense but NATO's military plans.
He welcomed billion-dollar deals - a gift to the American war industry, featuring the F-16 aircraft.
The Greek Prime Minister attempted to whitewash the crimes of American imperialism against the sentiments and will of our people and gave assurances that Greece is a "useful ally" for the US, a strategic pillar for the entry of American monopolies in the region, with priority being given to energy projects.
Both the Greek government and the other bourgeois governments of the states of the region develop their policies based on the doctrine of geostrategic advancement, and it is clear that this doctrine serves the interests of the monopolies; it involves our countries even more in the imperialist rivalries.
We estimate with great responsibility that in every region, even in those that have not experienced ‘hotspots’ of war, massive firepower and modern weapons have been amassed; nuclear arsenals are on standby, and this situation means that communists are confronted with very serious duties.
• To lead in the fight against imperialist wars and interventions and open a powerful front against border changes.
• To coordinate our struggle against NATO and the EU, against any imperialist alliance, to demand the removal of foreign military bases from the territories of our countries and the return of military forces to our countries from missions abroad.
• To strengthen the struggle for the elimination of nuclear weapons.
• To take solidarity initiatives for refugees and immigrants.
We can exchange thoughts and improve our coordination by setting up a joint action plan for the above issues in the upcoming period.
The Communists' stance towards imperialist wars is critical. The causes of wars, intra-imperialist contradictions and antagonisms highlight the criminal nature of capitalism that has rotted in its imperialist stage that intensifies the exploitation of the working class and accentuates the opposition of labor-capital, generates imperialist wars, crises, poverty and refugees.
The struggle for the defense of borders, sovereign rights, from the point of view of the working class and the popular strata, is inseparable from the struggle to overthrow the power of capital.
The decisions of the 19th Congress that were ratified by our Party, and its program state that:
"In any case, whatever the form of Greece's participation in an imperialist war, the KKE must be ready to lead the independent organization of labor-popular resistance so that it is linked to the struggle for the defeat of the ruling class, both the domestic one, and the foreign one as an invader..."
We live in a very complex and demanding environment. Everyday a multi-layered bourgeois mechanism and all sorts of reactionary forces use all means available to divide the working class, based on religion, national, color and gender criteria, and thus, our duties are very important.
Our response must be decisive. Without any wavering, we must struggle on a daily basis for the class unity of the working class and its alliance with the popular strata in order to create the conditions to strengthen the anti-monopoly, anti-capitalist struggle.
Communists serve principled values and have a duty to lead the political-ideological struggle to uncover the aims and means the ruling class uses to manipulate the peoples.
The bourgeoisie proclaims its own interests as all-encompassing for the integration of the peoples into its own aspirations. The Communists have to expose this myth and to highlight the class character of the developments, to cultivate class criteria for the workers, and to show that under no circumstance can the opposing interests of the two opposing classes be integrated.
And this, dear comrades, also concerns the issues of self-determination and related referendums, for example, in Catalonia, Iraq, Kurdistan, or even the movement taking place in Northern Italy.
The KKE condemns the suppression of workers and the policy that strengthens nationalist, divisive logic.
We are very concerned and we estimate that these developments pose problems of border change, of partitioning of states, of opening up dangerous courses of action.
We note that class contradictions, class exploitation and oppression are, and will remain, the hallmark of developments, whether for example in Spain in its present form or in an autonomous or independent Catalonia, as long as the power of capital remains intact.
The strengthening of the anti-capitalist struggle, the struggle for socialism is the only path that corresponds to the interests of the workers and addresses the policies that divide the peoples. Only socialism can ensure the satisfaction of people's needs and resolve problems of respect for national, historical, cultural traditions.
There are other issues that we need to pay attention to:
Much work and decisive intervention is needed to prevent the manipulation of workers being attempted through capitalist fervor over the energy resources in our region, showing the people that the exploitation of energy resources by monopolies not only offers nothing to the workers, but as experience has shown, the battle over the oil, and gas pipelines leads to conflicts, even to wars where the victims are the peoples.
The same applies to the alliances being formed in our region that are promoted by the bourgeois governments, the alliance for example between Greece - Cyprus - Israel or Egypt serving the plans and interests of the bourgeois classes.
The claims that these alliances are "security and prosperity pillars," as Israeli Minister of Defense, Mr. Lieberman, recently stated in Athens, have nothing to do with reality, and the Communists have the ideological strength to fight against all these efforts to entrap the people.
Our focus is on the cooperation and political struggle of the Communist and Workers’ parties, the cooperation of the working class, of the peoples in the struggle against the real adversary, the power of capital.
The monopolies, states, and governments that promote their interests can maneuver, pretending to be friends of the people’s, but their purpose and geostrategic aspirations do not change; their motive is capitalist profit, and it is on this base that all kinds of bourgeois alliances, the interventions of capitalist states and imperialist unions are consolidated.
The effort of the Communist movement to exploit every opportunity for the weakening of the class opponent is made on the basis of principles, putting emphasis on strengthening the workers’, people’s independent struggle, the people not becoming a part of the intra-imperialist rivalries, not taking the side of the bourgeois of their own country and being dragged behind the strong capitalist states and imperialist alliances.
We honor the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, this momentous event that shook the world. We defend the achievements of Socialism, the achievements of the Soviet Union and its contribution to the struggle of the peoples. We learn from mistakes, omissions and deviations from the laws of socialist construction that led to the overthrow of Socialism, the painful capitalist restoration.
The counter-revolution and the difficulties that accompany it do not shake us, the revolutionary struggle continues, our era is a period of transition from capitalism to socialism. The rotting of the exploitative system and its insurmountable contradictions emphasize that socialism is even more necessary and timely.
Comrades, we are glad that we can share these thoughts with you in today's discussion and in the evening we welcome you, together with thousands of comrades, with our young comrades of the Communist Youth of Greece, to the central political event of our party.
Thank you very much.