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Speech of the GS of the CC of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumpas
Dear Representatives of the Communist and Workers’ Parties,
We would like to warmly welcome you to this year's meeting, which, based on the decision of the Working Group, is co-organized by the CP of Turkey and the CP of Greece, here on the Asia Minor coast, on the Aegean coast, which should be a sea of peace and cooperation and not of aggression and provocation, of disputing of sovereign rights in the framework of the antagonisms of the bourgeois classes in the region.
The working class, our people, even more so the neighbouring peoples, the Greek and the Turkish people have the same interests. We all share the concerns and the will for peace, friendship, progress and socialism.
The KKE opposes the agreement of continuation and expansion of the US-NATO bases in Greece. We struggle against the country's involvement in imperialist plans against other peoples. We struggle for the disentanglement of the country from the imperialist unions of NATO and the EU.
The KKE denounces the latest invasion of Turkish troops in Syria and expresses its solidarity with the Syrian people, who experience the harsh consequences of the long imperialist war.
It should be emphasized that this year’s meeting in particular is taking place at a critical juncture, with the sharpening of imperialist antagonisms and contradictions, the continuation of local and regional imperialist wars and conflicts, the intensification of the exploitation of the working class and the popular strata, the capitalist economic crises, the intensifying concern about a new danger of an international and perhaps a deeper and synchronized crisis in the coming years, the sharpening of the environmental issues and climate change, of refugees and immigration, the restriction of people’s rights and freedoms, the rise of anti-communism, racism, nationalism, etc.
But this is also a highly symbolic year for our internationalist struggle and solidarity, because this year marks the 100 years since the foundation of the Communist International.
The CC of the KKE commemorates the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Communist International (CI) (2 - 6 March 1919).
Our Party has developed serious activity in the international movement. Besides, this expresses an urgent necessity today, after the counter-revolutionary overthrows of 1991 and also because of the economic crisis of capitalism, which imposes even greater coordination and organization of joint action, in order for the ICM to take quicker steps in the direction of formulating a single strategy against imperialist aggression and imperialist war, for peoples' peace, for socialism.
The labour movement since its birth, with the very emergence and spread of Marxist worldview and the foundation of the first political parties of the working class, embraced internationalism. has a common interest in overthrowing the bourgeoisie.
The Leninist analysis of imperialism, the position on uneven development and the weakest “link” in a country or group of countries and the tasks that derive from this position for each CP, the historical experience of the whole past century, unambiguously lead to the conclusion that the national field of struggle remains the dominant one, but this should not ultimately be interpreted as a resignation from the need to coordinate and elaborate a joint strategy and activity of the communists in every corner of the world. A need that is becoming even more important today, since capitalist internationalization has taken on higher forms, not only in the field of economics but also in politics, together with the establishment of international and regional transnational unions, such as NATO, the EU, the IMF etc.
Since its foundation, our Party has been committed to the principles of Proletarian Internationalism. For 100 years it has consistently struggled and did not back down from its principles. As a section of the Communist International (CI), it received a lot of support to be established as a Party of a New Type. At the same time, it suffered the negative consequences of the issues of theoretical immaturity or even opportunism that emerged in the ICM, but never rejected the need for a joint strategy of the communist movement against imperialism, for socialism.
It did not “theorize” any negative experience in a wrong direction. Even if international choices and decisions affected us negatively, too, we have never fallen into the mistake of justifying our own mistakes or failures, by blaming someone else apart from ourselves.
In particular, some issues related to aspects of the strategy of the ICM in the past decades provide valuable lessons for today and must be discussed within the communist movement, because wrong views and ideological constructs, which have often failed in practice and led to the defeat and retreat of the revolutionary movement, reaching inevitably their extreme counter-revolutionary expression, are repeatedly expressed by various sides.
I would like to approach this issue a little more specifically, in a codified way but non-hierarchical way.
A FIRST issue that also exists as a fundamental conclusion in the elaborations of the KKE and which deserves further analysis is the inability of the ICM to form a single revolutionary strategy, especially during and immediately after the end of World War II and the decades that followed. Even though they were proclaiming the necessity of socialism, some communist parties, especially those of the strong capitalist countries, while forming their political line, set goals that, regardless of intentions, did not serve a strategy of concentrating and organizing forces aiming to prepare for the conflict and total rupture with the bourgeoisie. Thus, the political line of that time did not function as a component of the strategy for socialism. It is a fact that there was an inability to elaborate a revolutionary strategy during and immediately after World War II, since the CI as a whole and most of the Communist Parties in the capitalist West were unable to form a strategy of turning the imperialist war or the liberation war against the foreign occupation and fascism into the struggle for the seizure of workers’ power, in conditions of intense sharpening of the social-class contradictions within the country in which they acted. At the same time, the ruling class timely showed the ability to form alliances to defend its power, but also to realign its international and domestic alliances.
A SECOND ISSUE is the fact that several parties used to set, and still set today, the formation of some “democratic governments”, in the form of a parliamentary reform or of an intermediate stage in the revolutionary process, as a political objective in their strategy. We insist that it is worth mentioning and reflecting on how our own Party and almost all the CPs raised, for example, the issue of their country's dependence in their programmes and how we linked this to the position of creating alliances and proposals of a “democratic governance”. Practical historical experience and theoretical elaborations and studies further prove to us that any kind of multi-faceted dependencies (economic - political, cultural, etc.) exist anyway within the international imperialist system, between the various capitalist countries, they are formed precisely because of the uneven development and of course they are dependencies that cannot be resolved in the framework of capitalism but only with the socialist revolution, with the transition to socialism. There is also, of course, the particular issue of dependence concerning the military-political occupation of one country by another, which can be resolved within capitalism, that is, to succeed in expelling, for example, the occupier from your country, but the system will remain a bourgeois democracy, capitalism. But this problem can also be resolved differently, taking a step forward, by establishing workers’ power, i.e. by overthrowing capitalism and constructing people’s power and economy, a task that is for the revolutionary communist movement to set.
A THIRD IMPORTANT ISSUE, in our view, is that historical experience has shown how utopian was and still is the perception of the transition to socialism through the so-called gradual “expansion of bourgeois democracy”. . Thus, the preconditions for the class-oriented emancipation of the workers’-peoples’ movements were not formed. This is a process that matures and broadens the revolutionary initiative and the ties with the popular masses until the emergence of new conditions, when the prolonged economic and political crises would objectively fuel mass popular revolutionary action. In Western Europe, mainly under the influence of Eurocommunism in the 1960s - 1970s and 1980s, the tactics of forming coalition governments with social democracy, that is, with bourgeois parties, and the participation of CPs in governments which essentially managed capitalist development, in the logic of stages, with the first stage being resolving the bourgeois-democratic and anti-monopoly demands and the issue of dependency, led almost all Western European countries only to a further strengthening of the capital’s power, in support of new mechanisms of repression and manipulation.
A FOURTH ISSUE The revival of revisionism and opportunism in the ranks of the communist movement came with a retreat to the reformist positions of social democracy and, in many cases in the capitalist West, led to a management program of cooperation with the forces of bourgeois democracy, while many Communist and Workers’ Parties were substantially transformed or are still transforming into social democratic ones. It is obvious that the experience of the October Revolution was completely ignored on this particular issue. At that time, the policy of alliance between social democracy and the bourgeoisie was viewed by the Bolsheviks as a betrayal of the working class. Most social democratic parties back then came to a complete rupture with the slogan of turning the imperialist war into struggle for workers’ power in every country. Lenin opened a front against social democracy at an international level. This front was first of all expressed in Russia, resulting in the non-entrapment of the revolutionary forces in the goals and manoeuvres of the domestic bourgeoisie, in the petty-bourgeois and opportunist pressures. Later on, the idea that the CPs would not be able to liberate the labour forces that followed social democracy and that they would be isolated if they did not pursue a policy of alliance with the social democratic parties prevailed, the distinction of “right-wing” and “left-wing” social democracy became a “doctrine” in order for the communist movement to take the “left-wing” on its side. This is something that was never been borne out since the biggest section of the popular base of the other parties, for decades now, as practice has shown, can be won over through the sharpening of the class struggle, with a strong ideological front against all variations of bourgeois policy and at the moments of the escalation of social-political conflicts.
After the dissolution of the Communist International and due to the strategic problems accumulated in the Communist Parties, it was not possible to achieve the formation of a new international organization of the Cps.
The ICM had to overcome strong negative factors, such as the numerous petty-bourgeois elements and the consolidated traditions of bourgeois parliamentarianism. Both of these factors became an alibi for many CPs to put forward the “national particularities” over the scientific laws of the socialist revolution.
The years that have passed since the 1989-1991 counter-revolution are already long enough. They offer new experience, both positive and negative. In a series of countries, the CPs have been regrouped or created from scratch. The international meetings of CPs have been systematized, regional and thematic meetings are regularly held and other initiatives are developed, that have more or less succeeded in obtaining a certain unity of action on some issues. These are steps that need to be consolidated and multiplied. However, all these dramatically fall behind the role that the communist movement must play in international developments.
At the same time, a number of problems continued or even worsened. The regroupment efforts brought older problems to the surface, alongside the difficulties arising by the counter-revolution and the temporary defeat of socialism. In parallel, state repression, the criminalization of communist ideology and action, of class struggle are intensifying. The signs that have emerged in recent years, especially in the EU, constitute more general warnings.
All constituents of the bourgeois political spectrum in the European Parliament including liberals, social democrats, “neo-leftists”, ecologists, greens, the far-right, nationalists and centre-left voted in favour of the recent EU decision. They reverse the historical truth, proceed to witch-hunting, equating fascism with communism, Hitlerism with Stalinism. Similar things happen on other continents as well.
Our Party believes that the international meetings of Communist and Workers’ Parties are useful and must certainly continue, in the framework of the exchange of views and experiences within the Communist and anti-imperialist movement, of the effort for coordination. But, for a meaningful reconstruction or a far more successful counter-attack by the ICM, something more is needed. We need a joint effort of the CPs whose ideological and political views are based on Marxism-Leninism, which recognize the historical attempt of socialist construction in the 20th century and its contribution, regardless of the fact that it ended, as well as the necessity of the struggle for socialism.
The KKE is now more mature than ever to contribute in this direction.
The KKE is aware that the process of revolutionary reconstruction will be slow, torturous and vulnerable, it will be based on the Communist Parties’ ability to be ideologically and organizationally strengthened in their own countries in a multi-faceted way.
It combines revolutionary action with revolutionary theory, overcoming mistaken positions that dominated the International Communist Movement during the past decades and are reproduced in various forms today.
Every Communist Party will be strengthened by laying strong foundations in the working class, in strategic sectors of the economy, reinforcing its involvement in the workers’ – people’s movement.
The 100 years since the foundation of the CI should be a new starting point for the revolutionary reconstruction of the international labour and communist movement, against the counter-revolutionary action of today's dominant capitalist forces and backwardness.
The slogan of the “Communist Manifesto”, “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” remains timely.