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We make a vanguard contribution to the reinforcement of the current disputing the dominant policy among the people by intensifying our ideological - political - organizational action
The following article by Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the CC of the KKE, on the post-election developments and the tasks of the Party was published on 22/07/23 in the newspaper Rizospastis - organ of the CC of the KKE.
A few weeks ago, we came out of an arduous, long and relatively intense electoral period with two successive electoral battles that reflected the current negative political correlation of forces. The overall correlation of forces remains negative, as the parties of bourgeois consensus, of a liberal and social democratic nature across the political spectrum, continue to dominate the political system, winning very high percentages —barely below their respective ones in 2019 — i.e. a little over 90%. The only exception, the only main representative of a still weak current disputing the dominant policy is the KKE.
The electoral political correlation recorded on 25 June resulted in the formation of a single-party government of the New Democracy party, thanks to the seat bonus from its rigged law, winning 40.6% but fewer votes than those it received in 2019.
SYRIZA is the official opposition party but it emerged out of the elections badly wounded, with 17.8% and having lost hundreds of thousands of voters compared to 2019.
PASOK and KKE followed after, with higher percentages and votes, the former with 11.8% and 165,000 more votes and the latter with 7.7% and 101,000 more votes, compared to the previous 2019 elections.
The populist, nationalist Greek Solution party re-entered Parliament with 4.5%. The fascist formation called Spartans, which represents the jailed cadre of the criminal organization Golden Dawn, Kasidiaris, and the Niki party, which is gripped by irrational, nationalist and racist views, got into parliament for the first time with 4.7% and 3.7% respectively.
Finally, Mrs. Konstantopoulou’s Plefsi party crossed the 3%threshold. It is a leader-centred party, without a coherent programme and with a tendency towards a verbose and arrogant elitist populism. From its very first interventions (e.g. during the voting in parliament on the issue of expatriates), this party seems to play the role of the government’s lackey on several issues. MeRA25 and other groups and movements of the broader Right and Left failed to make it into the parliament.
In May and June, the KKE waged a difficult but crystal clear, honest struggle, with stability, and consistency, making a serious effort to explain its views to broader workers’–people’s forces, helping to overcome years-long entrenched misconceptions, false dilemmas and illusions, prejudices and deliberate distortions of its positions and elaborations with which the dominant bourgeois propaganda has bombarded and continues to bombard the minds of the people.
This electoral period has highlighted a basic conclusion that needs to be more deeply understood and assimilated, first of all by the cadres and members of the KKE and KNE, but also by those who have joined forces with the KKE and look to it as the political force that expresses hope and optimism that at last “the darkness will turn into light”, that we will all together pave the way to finally cross the avenues of a new society, free from the capitalist shackles of exploitation of man by man.
This conclusion refers to the factors that have led to the increase in the Party’s prestige and its mass political influence, which cannot be limited to specific electoral figures. Our action has been based on these factors and must from now on be improved, so that known weaknesses be overcome, so that these factors ultimately become the course that we must follow in order to achieve quantitative and, above all, qualitative results in all the objectives that we have set, in all areas of our activity.
We highlight four main factors among many other specific and secondary ones. These factors constitute the great “trump card” and advantage of our Party:
FIRST: We rely on a solidly elaborated scientific strategy based on our theory, which is reflected in our programme (19th Congress in 2013). At the same time, it takes into account the collectively studied historical experience of the history of the KKE and of the European and international communist and labour movement (Nationwide Conference in 2011 and 2018). It includes our assessments from the experience of socialist construction in the Soviet Union and other socialist countries (18th Congress in 2009). It is based on elaborated documents (20th and 21st Congress in 2017 and 2021 respectively) about important issues of the class struggle in our country and the capitalist environment, the developments in the EU, the imperialist apparatus of NATO, the positions on the imperialist war between Russia and NATO in Ukraine (2022), the international economic crisis (2010–2017), the anaemic recovery (2018–2022), the pandemic and extraordinary measures (2020–2022). It also includes our comprehensive positions and elaborations on the economy, health, education, labour rights, women's equality, civil protection, energy, transport, water, environment, digital foreclosures and people’s housing. It contains all our contributions in the Parliament and the European Parliament. It includes the positions and elaborations of KNE and the collective debate in all the organs and BOs that recently culminated in its 13th Congress in February 2013, which was a complete success despite being held on the eve of the parliamentary elections. Therefore, we further strengthen and develop our ideological–political work, elaboration and intervention in the Party and KNE by improving the ideological–political lessons, but at the same time by popularizing this line in a creative way, so that it is easily understandable for the workers’–people’s forces in the Greek society.
Of particular importance in this period is the insistence on systematically clarifying that the KKE does not participate in bourgeois governments, combined with exposing the anti-popular character of these governments and the strategic agreement of the bourgeois parties of New Democracy, SYRIZA and PASOK. We have drawn on the negative experience of the double elections in 2012, which took place under different conditions. A crucial element at that time was that the correct position of the CC of the Party (which had discussed while preparing the positions of the 19th Congress, preceded by the 2011 study on the historical experience of governments in the framework of capitalism) could not be assimilated in such a short period of time. The totality of the Party, its supporters and voters based their thinking on previous programmatic elaborations that referred to transitional programmes and governments, while the policy of SYRIZA with its hollow promises and political adventurism of the “ruling left” had not yet been tested in practice and could therefore more easily deceive radical workers’–people’s forces. These elements had an impact on us back then; however, today we have taken them into account, studied them, and drawn conclusions.
SECOND: During this period, we have communicated more correctly and improved our propaganda and thus popularization regarding our position on the kind of power - government in which the KKE will take part. We have also clarified the reason why the KKE will be the only militant people’s opposition defending the workers’–people’s interests today, until the moment when the people decide to come to the fore and become the real protagonists of developments.
The ideological–political work that preceded the pre-election period increased the capacity of our forces to intervene in a well-targeted way, for example to expose the real culprit behind the train crash in Tempe.
Undoubtedly, our ability to predict and timely highlight the anti-popular agenda of the government, based on the directions of the EU, the OECD, the Bank of Greece, etc, has played an important role.
The improvement of the Party’s central propaganda, the elaboration of slogans, the multiformity for a broad communication with a plan and escalation, the correct use of new technologies and many means that brought us in contact with wider popular forces, especially with sections of the youth, had a positive contribution.
The bourgeois press deliberately highlights communication as a key element in the rise of the KKE’s influence. It even attributes it only to social media or to “charismatic” cadres, or even to the “aura” or the sound bites of the GS of the CC. The KKE does not underestimate electoral propaganda or communication and its various forms, and has always tried and is trying to become better and to promote all these means more effectively. However, that is quite different from the deliberate, disorienting and damaging idealization of all these means, which, in the final analysis, are finite. There are many examples in the bourgeois parliamentary system, with the most recent being that of SYRIZA, as the communicative skills of its cadres and of the party as a whole have evaporated.
THIRD: Drawing on our great experience, we have taken action so that the regroupment of the labour–trade union movement takes place at a faster pace; that it gains mass characteristics through the creation of new unions, through an increase in new members, through an active participation in the processes of the movement and the general assemblies of unions, and through an overall change in the negative correlation of forces in executive boards, representatives in second-level bodies, etc. This work aims to consolidate and further deepen the anti-capitalist orientation of the movement, not in words but in practice, in the way that it will be expressed in discussions, in the processes of the movement, in demands, in slogans, etc. In the past years, we have managed to take important steps, guided by our resolutions on the work in the trade union movement.
Especially after the 21st Congress, we heavily focused on the orientation towards work among the working class, in the large workplaces, in the urban centres, among the youth, the self-employed tradesmen in the cities and the countryside, and the small-scale farmers.
The successful and emblematic struggles of the workers in COSCO, e-food, LARCO, the Perama Ship Repair Zone as well as of builders were marked by the vanguard role of the KKE and KNE forces as well as of the forces of PAME in the class-oriented labour movement.
Moreover, various crucial fronts of struggle together with the vanguard work for the organization of the struggle to address acute people’s problems (earthquakes, floods, fires, the tragedy in Tempe, the shipwreck off Pylos, etc.) substantially strengthened the orientation and action of the mass movement.
The battles that preceded had a positive contribution to the elections in the labour movement (first-level unions, Labour Centres and Federations), particularly in the unions of hospital doctors and teachers. In the majority of the trade unions our forces took first or second place. Another example is the university student elections where “Panspoudastiki”, the list supported by KNE, took first place nationwide for the second consecutive year, while the list supported by New Democracy was reduced to second place.
FOURTH: We have achieved all this because we have a robust and well-organized Party throughout Greece, especially in the large urban centers, with a strong network in the working-class and popular neighborhoods, in towns and villages, in important sectors of the country’s economic life, in the private and public sector. In addition, a revolutionary organization of young volunteers, the Communist Youth of Greece, which enjoys great prestige among university and school students and the working youth, stands by the Party’s side.
Our Party works based on principles. On a daily basis, it builds itself everywhere, renews its ranks with new forces, organizes a collective discussion on all important issues within its ranks, decides democratically, and then implements all the objectives and decisions taken and accordingly organizes information and action among the supporters of the Party.
From December to February, the KKE managed to hold all the account-and-election assemblies of the KNE BOs, its Sectoral and Regional Conferences, and the 13th Congress of KNE, which was completed on 13 February 2023. We then managed to hold the biennial account-and-election assemblies of the PBOs as well as the Sectoral and Regional Conferences around the country by Eastertime, just before the formal start of the pre-election period.
All these are crucial issues, in contrast to the alleged innovations of the “digital” parties, whose thousands of members supposedly take part in the process of electing the party’s leaders but in practice, are nowhere to be found in everyday life. This happens to such an extent that even SYRIZA’s own cadres say that their party neither had nor has any contact with society.
Furthermore, we have to assess and highlight that together with this great internal organizational process, the entire mass political activity of the Party, the work of the Party Organizations, the targeted efforts to detach forces from other political parties and to persuade them to join forces with the KKE, made a positive contribution.
Of particular importance were the initiatives and events of the Central Committee, the thematic events that brought to the fore the Party’s proposals for people’s problems such as health, education, workers’–people’s rights in the workplace, people’s housing, civil protection, women’s inequality, violence, children’s rights and the environment, combined with the promotion of the Party's political proposal for a different path of struggle, for a workers’–people’s power. The cultural and historical events and discussions, the book presentations, the festivals of KNE (of school and university students, etc. that took place from March to May) also made an invaluable contribution.
The more and the faster we succeed in overcoming existing weaknesses in our political guidance work and in the functioning of the Party Base Organizations, the better the results will be. And this is another great advantage of ours, in relation to and in comparison with all the bourgeois and opportunist parties.
All in all, it is particularly important today to understand the demands for enhancing our intervention on key aspects of the period ahead, such as:
- The possibility of a new economic crisis in the Eurozone and its consequences.
- The shift of the EU towards the policy of strict budgetary discipline and expensive loans, which signals an escalation of the capital’s attack on the workers.
- The negotiations and the negative settlements that have been initiated concerning Greek–Turkish relations under the umbrella of NATO and the deeper involvement of Greece on the side of NATO, which seems to be among the priorities of the newly-elected New Democracy government even from the first days of its term of office.
- The rearrangements in social democracy and in the bourgeois political system as a whole (e.g. the nationalist current).
It is crucial to grasp the importance of forming a class, strategic criterion for understanding the developments and for consistently joining forces with the KKE, among the broader masses that have recently approached us, so that they do not adopt a wait-and-see stance regarding the policy of the New Democracy governing majority and do not have illusions about the plans for the reconstitution of social democracy.
We need to wage an apt ideological struggle against the attempt of the New Democracy government to secure consensus on anti-popular policy. For example, we need to point out that the government is promoting heavier taxation on the self-employed on the pretext of the “crackdown on tax evasion” as a precondition for easing the burden on of wage earners. Or it is promoting the sacrifices of the people to achieve the investment grade target as necessary to ensure “growth for all” in the coming years. We will not stand by and watch nor will we show tolerance towards an unquestionably anti-popular government.
With regard to the attempt to resurrect social democracy and the illusions of a pro-people, progressive bourgeois government, we must point out that apart from the well-known rivalry for supremacy between SYRIZA and PASOK, processes are taking place for the overall reformation and rearrangement of social democratic parties (e.g. possible defections of SYRIZA cadres originating from PASOK). Certainly, it is necessary to constantly monitor developments and adapt our intervention (especially in view of possible partnerships between SYRIZA and PASOK in the local elections to be held in October). In any case, the main thing is to develop our ideological struggle focusing on the role of the social democratic parties, both when in government and in opposition, in promoting the strategy of capital in Greece and in the EU.
In particular, we should point out that the system utilizes parties of the nationalist current in a multi-faceted manner as a convenient, false opponent to government policy (e.g. concerning the negotiations on Greek-Turkish relations, LGBTQ+ rights/gender rights) and as a pretext to create an “anti-fascist front” in cooperation with social democracy. We need to utilize existing elaborations to strengthen and specialize our intervention, especially in the poor popular strata that are affected by those parties, without, for example, lamping together fascists and Nazis who rally in Spartans with someone who is simply caught up in Velopoulos’ propaganda.
What is needed is a patient and, above all, well-founded discussion with people who come to us from the opportunist political space and remain entrapped in the notion of an “anti-neoliberal”, “anti-right”, “anti-fascist” front, in an undefined and at the same time illusory “transitional programme”, in a repetition of a “government of the left”. Of course, not all cases are the same in this fragmented political space. The intervention of the KKE has to be planned, taking into account the differences, the expected confusions and vacillations, etc.
Finally, it is necessary to highlight and understand the new elements that will largely determine developments in the coming period, such as the NATO-Russia confrontation, the possibility of a new economic crisis in the Eurozone and the EU’s shift towards a strict and restrictive fiscal policy. We must be prepared for an ideological confrontation mainly with the government, which will present the EU’s demands for tougher measures as a one-way street and the outbreak of the crisis as an “exogenous factor” that supposedly obliges it to go back on its pre-election announcements.
Based on the above, and other more specific aspects that will emerge in the course of time, the guiding organs, the Sections of the CC, the CC of KNE, Rizospastis, the 902.gr news portal, the propaganda section, the press office, etc. should prepare themselves.
All in all, through our all-round work and action we must contribute —inasmuch as it depends on us— to the reinforcement of the current disputing the dominant policy, among the people, their struggles and their political choices.
We need to strengthen the responsibility of the leading organs and the PBOs. In the coming period, we must make a great qualitative leap in implementing the directions of the 21st Congress so that we can act as a real ideological and political vanguard in the organization of the people’s struggle.
Especially in the following period, it is necessary to improve the orientation and the ability of the entire Party to timely pick up and intervene even in the slightest hints of militancy among the people and the youth. To contribute to the organization of the struggle, to class orientation, to solidarity, with self-denial and revolutionary enthusiasm, so that in every phase of the struggle, the movement emerges stronger and more experienced, the anti-capitalist struggle is strengthened, and at the same time our Party emerges stronger.
Obviously, maximum readiness and vanguard action is needed. In the past difficult days, the communists have been at the forefront of various fronts, i.e. the disastrous fires, the protection of workers from the heatwave etc.
Of course, we all deserve a few days of much-needed rest. However, we must also prepare ourselves for the new battle of the municipal and regional elections in October. We need a stronger “People’s Rallying”, the list supported by the KKE, to get in touch with the people and the youth in all the towns and villages of our homeland in a more decisively and resolute way. We need to elect more people’s militants to struggle against the party leaders appointed as mayors by New Democracy, SYRIZA, PASOK and against various political imposters who pretend to be independent candidates but are in fact the most dependent representatives of big capital, the anti-popular policy and the parties of the establishment.