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The political developments in Greece, the referendum on the EU in Britain and the positions of the KKE
The political event of the Party Organizations of the KKE in Britain was held on Saturday 4/6 in London. The main speaker was Giorgos Marinos, member of the PB of the CC of the KKE. The event’s title was “The political developments in Greece, the referendum on the EU in Britain and the positions of the KKE”.
His speech was as follows:
We would like to thank you for your participation in today's meeting of the KKE's party organizations in Britain and we believe that we can have a substantial discussion which will lend strength to all of us so that we can continue our struggle in these complex conditions.
It is a fact that the developments in Greece have taken on international dimensions and can be utilized to draw important conclusions.
During the eight (8) years of the capitalist crisis of capital over-accumulation, the management policy of all the bourgeois parties has been tested, which in collaboration with the EU, ECB and IMF, known as the Troika, used all means available in order to thrust the burden of the crisis onto the working class and popular strata, advancing a strategy to increase the competitiveness and the profitability of the big businesses.
During this period, an intense inter-imperialist competition manifested itself between the EU, chiefly Germany, and the IMF, USA over the management of the debt and the formula for the management of the debt from the standpoint of the interests of the plutocracy.
ND and PASOK implemented the two memoranda and very harsh anti-people measures that provoked intense popular indignation. Illusions about a lesser evil and false expectations fostered by SYRIZA and the government it formed together with the nationalist party "Independent Greeks" (ANEL) flourished in the context of poverty and high levels of unemployment.
Dear comrades and friends,
Remember the situation before and after the elections of January 2015, the discussions in Britain and other European countries, remember the events held in support of SYRIZA and the attacks on the KKE, which the opportunist forces called on to submit to new social-democracy in the name of left unity.
Think about that now! Think about how it important it is that the KKE defended communist principles, dealt with the pressure in a decisive way, demonstrated confidence in the working class and came into conflict with the SYRIZA-ANEL government, the EU and big capital, the real opponent that is being served by this government.
The deceitful role of the cadres of "Popular Unity", the former Speaker of the Parliament who participated in the SYRIZA government and distinguished themselves in the offensive against the KKE is not forgotten but is part of the experience that warns and teaches the workers about the role of the "leftwing" managers of capitalism, who sloganeer in order to conceal the fact that they operate within the boundaries of the system.
This is also true of Antarsya that supported the government, constantly and indiscriminately attacked the KKE and with noisy slogans attempts to conceal the fact that its political line operates within the boundaries of capitalism, but with another currency or with other imperialist alliances.
Today things are clearer. SYRIZA, as a social-democratic party in government serves the interests of big capital and implements a very harsh anti-people political line, at the same time attempting to entrap popular forces with lies and vulgar claims.
The political record of this government means that it is imperative that it be condemned in the people's consciousness. This is a precondition for the development of the class struggle and also in order to deal with the false dilemmas that feed the false polarization between SYRIZA and ND.
This experience is of great importance and highlights the need to bring class criteria to the fore in our analysis.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government with the support of the other bourgeois parties passed and is implementing the 3rd memorandum.
In the recent period, the government voted 2 laws through parliament, in the framework of passing the assessment of this memorandum being carried out by the EU-ECB-IMF. We are talking about laws that have extremely painful outcomes for the working class and popular families.
The social character of social insurance is being eradicated by these laws, and pensions have been drastically reduced. EKAS has been abolished, the supplementary pension for the poorest pensioners, who are now being forced by the government to live on 450 Euros a month, a form of slow death.
These laws impose unbearable direct and indirect taxation at the expense of the working class and popular families, have created a fund for the privatization of state businesses. It has introduced an "automatic contingency mechanism" that will be used to further reduce salaries and pensions and carry out other cuts; the path has been cleared for the seizure of the primary residences of workers who cannot repay their loans.
At the same time, the SYRIZA government submitted the so-called "law for development" to Parliament that contains provocative measures which favour big capital, with new tax exemptions and greater financial support for it. It is also preparing a new raft of harsh measures at the expense of the workers for the 2nd assessment in the autumn which will include the right for businesses to carry out mass dismissals, restrictions on the right to strike etc.
SYRIZA is attempting to conceal the class character of its policies with blatant lies and promises about capitalist growth that in reality will be based on the destruction of the workers'-people's rights and will continue the vicious cycle of capital accumulation which will lead to a new capitalist crisis.
The offensive of the exploiters embraces all the EU member-states, all the capitalist states, regardless of whether they have memoranda or not.
Capital is thirsty for profits in order to replace the losses it underwent during the crisis and to equip itself with new resources to strengthen its position in the recovery phase, which the system's think tanks assess will be unstable and weak.
Capital's thirst for profits is transformed into political decisions and laws by social-democratic, liberal or new left parties.
We express our internationalist solidarity with the French workers and we denounce the social-democratic government of Hollande which, via the "El Khomri" law and using intense repression against the struggling workers, is demolishing sectoral labour agreements and paving the way for mass dismissals, as well as increasing flexible labour time and lengthening daily working time.
Dear comrades and friends,
SYRIZA has also distinguished itself in terms of furthering integrating Greece into the imperialist organizations.
The government has made the military base of Suda, Crete, all the military bases and Euro-Atlantic command centres available to the USA, NATO and the EU. It participates in the imperialist plans, interventions and wars, as can be witnessed by looking at the examples of the wars in Syria and Libya, at whose expense a new intervention is being prepared.
In essence, SYRIZA is also entangling our country in the inter-imperialist contradictions between the USA, the EU, Russia and China over the control of markets, energy and energy pipelines, which contain the danger of even a generalized imperialist war. NATO's presence in the Aegean at the invitation of the government is connected to the rivalries and wars in the region and emboldens the provocativeness of the Turkish state.
The imperialist wars and the repressive policies of the EU uproot millions of refugees and immigrants from their homes and trap thousands of families of persecuted people in Greece, who are living in wretched conditions. They have other European countries as their destination. The KKE in these conditions maintains a stance based on internationalist principles, stands at the side of the refugees and immigrants, contributes to the organization of the people's solidarity, confronts racism and xenophobia and struggles against the real causes of this situation, against capitalism that gives rise to wars, crises, refugees and poverty.
Dear comrades and friends,
In conclusion, we would like to note that the so-called left government has been tried and tested and its political line has borne out what the KKE had stressed from the beginning: that governments of bourgeois management which wear a leftwing mask in order to trap popular forces serve the interests of big capital, are damaging to the labour movement and try to transform it into an instrument of class collaboration and support for capitalist development.
This is the role of social-democracy and the centre-left. This is what has been demonstrated by the experience of France, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, Brazil and other states.
The CPs that participate in or support governments of bourgeois management, regardless of intentions, bear grave responsibilities. Reality has demonstrated that the economic laws of capitalism which determine the system's motion cannot be tamed. They function on the basis of the profits of the big businesses, the intensification of the exploitation of the working class and the strengthening of bourgeois power.
Comrades and friends,
The KKE plays a leading role in a difficult struggle and strengthens its bonds with the working class, poor farmers and urban self-employed. Every day the party organizations, the organizations of KNE struggle concerning every problem the people have, are present in the factories, workplaces, organize dozens of events in the popular neighbourhoods and are trying to develop the workers'-people's struggle.
The communist men and women support the struggle of PAME, the class-oriented movement, in which hundreds of trade unions participate; they support the struggle of the farmers, the urban self-employed, the youth.
Through daily activity, strikes, occupations, dozens of mass demonstrations, the superiority of the class-oriented movement is apparent. This movement comes into conflict with capital, the anti-people political line and government and employer-led trade unionism. It wins over new forces, new trade unions in its efforts to change the correlation of forces, to regroup the movement, to strengthen its mass characteristics, insisting on fighting for demands that correspond to the contemporary needs of the people.
A strong labour movement that fights in an antimonopoly-anticapitalist direction can be the spine of a great social alliance that will gather popular forces together, make its mark on the daily struggles and fight to overthrow capitalist barbarity.
It has been demonstrated in reality that a party with a revolutionary strategy, which has dispensed with the rationale of intermediate transitional stages that operate within the framework of the system and have tormented the communist movement for decades, can struggle for socialism and can draw strength from the everyday struggles for the workers'-people's rights. Such a party can be distinguished by the sacrifices it makes in these everyday struggles.
Dear comrades and friends,
As you are aware, the possibility of a departure from the Euro and the EU was discussed in Greece and this experience helps us to take a position on the developments in Britain and the question of a Brexit.
Despite the activity of a well-funded propaganda apparatus, despite the intervention of bourgeois forces that are attempting to subjugate the people, despite the efforts of the opportunist parties like the Party of the European Left which supports and prettifies the EU, significant sections of popular forces are resisting, with varying levels of understanding as regards its imperialist character.
It has been demonstrated that the EU did not lead to the satisfaction of the needs of the people today, but indeed that the peoples in its member states are facing sharpening chronic problems.
Even the official statistics show that unemployment in the EU torments more than 22 million people, while the percentage of individuals in danger of becoming impoverished stands at 25%.Youth unemployment is more than 20% or 4 million in absolute numbers.
The EU treaties and the strategies of the EU bodies aim at reinforcing the competitiveness and increasing the profitability of the monopolies so that they can meet the requirements of the international competition and increase their strength. During this entire period, the liberalization of the markets in strategically important sectors of the economy has proceeded, as has the expansion of flexible labour relations with the goal of increasing the rate of exploitation of labour power.
In recent years, the EU's arsenal has been strengthened with modern weapons like the "Europe 2020" strategy, "reinforced economic governance" and other instruments which are used for the permanent supervision of the economies of the member-states in the direction of implementing harsh anti-people measures.
The EU is synonymous with wars and interventions. It allies with the USA and NATO as witnessed in the imperialist wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, using the pretext of combating terrorism and defeating the 'Islamic State" which was of course created, trained and armed by the USA and its allies.
The EU plays a leading role in anticommunism, which has become its official ideology, in the distortion of history, the slandering of socialism's great contribution to social progress, concealing the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of fascism in the 2nd World War.
In conclusion, the EU from its creation to the present day (as the evolution of the EEC) is an inter-state imperialist alliance that expresses and serves the interests of the monopoly groups against the working class, poor farmers and other popular strata in Europe.
This historical course refutes and exposes the social-democratic and opportunist forces that try to inculcate the workers with the notion that the EU used to be good and people-friendly but allegedly lost its way.
Dear comrades and friends,
The common interests of the European monopolies are expressed by the plans for the further deepening of EMU and capitalist unification more generally.
The "Five Presidents' Report" (of the Commission, Eurogroup, Euro Summit, European Central Bank, European Parliament) entitled "Completing Europe's Economic and Monetary Union", published in June 2015 serves this direction.
This so-called "leap forwards" is attempting to respond to the problems caused by the strengthening of "centrifugal" trends, the stance of sections of the bourgeois class and political forces that oppose unification and desire the relaxation of the unified mechanisms and commitments of the European Union for each member-state.
The goal of capitalist unification cannot negate the objective trend towards uneven development inside the EU, nor can it erase the role of the bourgeois states (on a nation-state basis). Each monopoly has its headquarters in a specific bourgeois state and these states also constitute a significant field for capital accumulation. The bourgeois states constitute the basis for the implementation of fiscal policies, funding programmes and tax exemptions to benefit their monopolies.
The difficulties in managing the capitalist crisis, the unequal relations and competition inside the EU, inside the states and inside the bourgeoisie of each state itself are factors that lead to the emergence and development of what is known as 'Euroscepticism".
In essence, this expresses the interests and aims of sections of capital. However, this trend manifests itself in various forms. Nationalist, racist and fascist parties like, e.g. the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) of Farage, the National front of Lepen in France, the Alternative for Germany etc and similar formations in Austria, Hungary and Greece, e.g. Fascist Golden Dawn, are vehicles of "Euroscepticism".
But the "Eurosceptic" trend is also expressed by parties that have a leftwing label, criticize or reject the EU and Euro, support a national currency and seek other imperialist alliances, with a strategy that operates within the framework of capitalism.
Dear comrades and friends,
Britain is a strong imperialist power; the wealth produced by its workers and recorded in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is more than 2.2 trillion Euros.
Britain joined the EEC in January 1973 and was its 7th member. This occurred in the context of intense confrontations especially with France that used its veto in 1961 and 1967 against British entry, in the period of De Gaulle’s presidency, who called Britain "the Trojan Horse of the USA inside Europe".
Historically, powerful sections of the British bourgeoisie have expressed their opposition to basic axes of 'European unification".
While it has ratified the Maastricht Treaty and the other treaties, it does not participate in the Eurozone, it has not signed the Schengen Agreement and has (for want of a better word) a special status with exemptions, like its non-participation in the European system of bank supervision and consolidation, rejecting in this way the monitoring of its banking and financial system i.e. the City of London, which is also the headquarters of major shipping companies belonging to Greek ship-owners.
The special agreement between the EU and Britain signed in February 2016 does not only concern the restriction of social benefits for immigrants and their children, but provides Britain with the ability to monitor its own financial institutions, putting a brake on the unification process.
The referendum of the 23rd of June that the Conservative government decided to call is a step beyond the usual referenda that took place in previous years regarding the approval of a treaty, like those held in France and Denmark in the 1990s, or the approval of the EU constitution, as carried out in France and Ireland in 2005.
Dear comrades and friends,
In order to examine the conditions in which powerful sections of British capital support the BREXIT, we must note that the impact of the law of uneven development led to a change in the correlation of forces inside the EU and this was intensely expressed during the crisis which clearly demonstrated that Germany was in a stronger competitive position than Britain, France and Italy.
At the same time, we witnessed changes at an international level in the positions of strong capitalist states at the expense of the USA and in China's favour, which is playing a special role in the capitalist BRICS alliance together with Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa.
New sizeable markets are being formed; China's transactions with Britain are worth more than 70 billion pounds.
Sections of the British bourgeoisie are worried about the direction and conditions of the large liberalized market being created by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the initiative of the USA and EU.
The recent intervention of Obama in favour of Britain remaining in the EU underscores the USA's desire to have a loyal ally inside this predatory alliance and to jointly handle the developments regarding the TTIP. This demonstrates that in this phase the USA is taking the developments inside the EU very seriously and does not want disturbances that could negatively impact on the fragile international economic situation and the US economy itself.
In these conditions:
One section of the British bourgeoisie that supports the REMAIN vote assesses that it has the strength and robustness to meet the requirements of the competition inside the EU and identifies its interests with remaining in the EU, utilizing its historic exemptions and choosing to struggle in alliance with the USA for a better position in its competition with Germany.
The other section of the bourgeoisie that supports the LEAVE vote assesses that is at a disadvantage due to the strong presence of Germany and is impeded by the EU’s legal framework of restrictions and controls. It aims to form new conditions to maintain the markets it has already acquired and to win positions in new markets in the BRICS countries and elsewhere. It even looks to the formation of a centre in the framework of the British Commonwealth, which includes India, Australia, South Africa and other states that are former British colonies.
In any case, whether with a vote for REMAIN or LEAVE, the British bourgeoisie will continue to negotiate with the EU to serve its own interests.
Comrades and friends,
An expected and characteristic feature of the developments is the provision of millions of pounds worth of donations to the LEAVE and REMAIN campaigns by many businesses.
Amongst the powerful economic groups that support the campaign to remain in the EU are:
The Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and the majority of the members of the Institute of Directors.
Large property companies, like the media giant Bloomberg, banks like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and other businesses.
At a political level REMAIN is supported by:
The Conservative Party and other bourgeois parties rallied in the official cross-party campaign "Britain Stronger in Europe".
The Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been promoted as a people-friendly reformist, but has turned out to be a supporter of the EU and attempts to conceal the anti-people character of this predatory alliance. He claims that it brings jobs, protection for the workers, consumers and environment, advertising the benefits of investments and capitalist growth, regurgitating all the utopian positions of social-democracy that in reality is a pillar of support for the system of exploitation.
The Trades Union Congress of Britain (TUC) is in favour of remaining and is trying to turn reality on its head by presenting the EU as the champion of workers' rights, demonstrating in a tangible way how dangerous reformist views and employer and government-led trade unionism are for the workers in every country. We can also see Mr. Varoufakis involving himself in the REMAIN campaign, a ridiculous sight if we remember his role in Greece. Of course, we will not comment further on this but restrict ourselves to noting that it is not new for the system to use such figures to deceive the people in a contemptible way.
BREXIT is supported by: the organization "Business for Britain" comprised of businessmen and leading executives.
Large private insurance, financial, software companies etc also participate in the LEAVE campaign.
The former Mayor of London, Boris Johnson participates in a block of MPS and ministers from the Conservative party in favour of LEAVE. Certain MPs from the Labour party also support a LEAVE vote.
The "Left Leave-Lexit campaign" has also been formed to campaign for a LEAVE vote, with the participation of the CP of Britain, other parties and trade unions from the transport, food, bakery sectors etc.
The CPB correctly characterizes the EU as a union of the monopolies and focuses on its anti-people character, arguing as a central conclusion of its analysis that the EU cannot be reformed.
Comrades and friends,
We warmly salute the communist men and women in Britain and Ireland and we assess that a large section of the working class, popular strata and youth support a vote to leave the EU.
The communist movement must utilize the contradictions in the imperialist camp, reinforcing its independent ideological and political struggle that will draw strength from and be nourished by the struggle to overthrow monopoly power.
This is of particular importance because if we think about what the next day will be like in Britain, we can note that whatever block of bourgeois forces prevails, power will remain in the hands of the bourgeoisie, the working class and popular strata will remain victims of the anti-people political line and capitalist exploitation. Britain will fulfill its obligations to NATO and participate in the imperialist war plans.
Unemployment and under-employment will continue in capitalist Britain, zero-hour contracts that already torment 800,000 workers will increase, the cuts in salaries and social services will continue to cover the primary surplus of 3.5 billion pounds until 2020.
Compulsory unpaid leave, the threats of dismissals, the actual layoffs will continue as they do in the Ford car company and the energy giant Npower.
Thousands of workers will pay a high price for the system's contradictions, monopoly competition, the crisis in important sectors as is being demonstrated by the example of the steel industry and the developments in the Indian company Tata Steel that is facing fierce competition from Chinese monopolies.
And all this in conditions when Britain is in a phase of economic growth, with an increase in wealth and the sharpening of the contradiction between capital and labour that is preparing the ground for the next capitalist crisis.
Dear comrades and friends,
Many states are not members of the EU, many bourgeois governments of various shades have tried out different forms of management, but their common denominator in every continent is the accumulation of wealth on the one side and poverty on the other, the maintenance of the exploitation of man by man.
When we have such rich experience, including the experience provided by the referendum in Britain and the division of the monopoly groups into the REMAIN and LEAVE camps, in the service of their own interests, we can more decisively confront the illusion that withdrawal from the EU and the Euro on its own can be a step or stepping stone to radical changes and ruptures without posing the conditions that connect the necessary condemnation of the EU and disengagement from it with the struggle for capitalism's overthrow, for socialism.
Because this is the absolutely necessary precondition for the socialization and the taking into people’s ownership of the means of productions, the instruments of economic development, mineral wealth, energy, telecommunications, transport, land, retail. It is the necessary precondition for the development of scientific central planning and for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people, abolishing the base that gives rise to capitalist profit and exploitation.
We should think about the value building socialism in a powerful capitalist country like Britain, where the material preconditions for the construction of the new society are overly ripe and show the way forwards. We should think about the major impact such an enormous development would have and what serious responsibilities the working classes in countries that are at the summit of the imperialist pyramid have to fight against their co-option by the system and to stand tall and defiant.
Dear comrades and friends,
The KKE denounced the EEC and its political line ever since this organization was founded in 1957. It voted against our country's accession to the EU and the Maastricht treaty and all these years consistently comes into conflict with this union of monopolies.
The communist movement will multiply its strength and the dynamics of the class struggle to the extent that it regroups itself on a revolutionary basis and makes its mark on the development of the antimonopoly-anticapitalist struggle in each country, acquiring the capacity to concentrate forces for the overthrow of the old capitalist system and for the construction of socialism.
The disengagement from the EU and NATO with workers' power in Greece and each European country will be a contribution to the internationalist struggle of the peoples, will lay the foundations for a Europe of socialism and will pave the way for the abolition of exploitation, the eradication of unemployment and poverty, for people's prosperity.”