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AUSTRALIAN
MARXIST
REVIEW

Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 51March 2010

Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

Contribution by Giorgos Marinos,
Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee

We would like to thank the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Communist Party of India for hosting and organising the Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties. The fact that the international meeting takes place in Asia for the first time is a very significant step. Amongst others, it underlines our solidarity with the peoples in the region that has increasingly become the target of imperialist plans and rivalries, as well as our solidarity with the struggle of the communist parties that often face extremely difficult conditions, persecution, discrimination, assassinations.

An examination of developments regarding the capitalist crisis will enrich our experience and it will contribute to the development of the communists’ struggle. Communists study the capitalist crisis, its causes and its consequences, the conditions it creates for the development of the ideological, political and mass struggle. Nevertheless, the concentration of our attention on the capitalist crisis should not distract us from the capitalist development of the previous period in which the factors that led to the crisis developed. Furthermore, the working people must treat capitalist development in a unified way in all the stages of the economic cycle and draw conclusions as well.

Capitalism is not dangerous only in the phase of the crisis, the economic recession. It is dangerous as a whole. Because in all its stages it is characterised by the exploitation of the labour force, by the surplus value which is created by the unpaid labour, by the drive for capitalist profit, which is the life and soul of the capitalist system.

Even in conditions of economic rise, of expansion of production and increase of the wealth produced by the workers, it is big capital that appropriates the fruits of this development, increasing its profit and its power. The profits of magnates, bankers, ship owners as well as other sectors of the plutocracy, and the strengthening of monopoly capital are immense.

On the contrary, workers face increasing unemployment, freezing of salaries and pensions, an increase in the retirement age, the downgrading of the right to education, healthcare, welfare, sports, culture, as well as the heavy consequences of privatisations and the liberation of fields and sectors of the economy.

These tendencies do not apply merely to the capitalist countries that hold an intermediate or subordinate position in the capitalist pyramid. They also apply to the US, to the European Union (EU) as an interstate imperialist organisation; they apply in the capitalist world as a whole.

On this ground developed the preconditions of the crisis. Therefore, the communist parties must struggle in order to highlight the real causes of the crisis and reveal the fake allegations of social democracy and opportunism that use many pretexts to safeguard capitalism and conceal its irreconcilable contradictions.

There can be no retreat; the ideological-political struggle must intensify.

We must respond resolutely to the allegations of the bourgeois and opportunist forces, especially to that of the European Left Party and the party “die Linke” that play a leading role in the attempt to promote capital’s positions in the working class. We must respond to the new wave of anti-communism unfolding on the occasion of 20 years of the counterrevolution which has the full support of liberal, social-democratic and opportunist forces.

First: the allegation that the crisis has been caused exclusively by neo-liberal management conceals the truth, it exonerates capitalism from its responsibilities and whitewashes social democracy. Capitalism has suffered crises since the 19th Century. With its transition to the imperialist stage, crises took on a systemic character.

All forms of management have been tested in order to prevent and avoid crises: reinforcement of the state’s commercial activity and stimulation of demand according to new Keynesian recipes; likewise neo-liberal recipes but also mixtures of social-democratic and neo-liberal policies. However, the laws of capitalism persist. Economic crises of overproduction manifested themselves in all periods, irrespective of the form of management.

Capitalist restructurings, initiated after the crisis of 1973 and spread in the 1990s, have not occurred by accident. Their goal was to deal with the problems concerning reproduction of capital and the slowdown of capitalist development. These changes meet the internal needs of the system for increased centralisation and profit making of capital through the liberation of markets, the free movement of capital, goods, services and the workforce. But even this management has lost its dynamics; it led to an economic crisis.

Second: the characterisation of the crisis as a financial one and the theory of casino-capitalism conceal the real causes of the crisis. Furthermore, they have been refuted by developments as the crisis has already embraced all spheres of economy.

The history of crises has proved they can initially manifest themselves in the financial system but their root is the over-accumulation of capital that takes place in the sphere of production.

The bad loans granted by banks and other financial companies in the US have served a specific need: to provide a profitable way out for over-accumulated capital that included the surplus value created by the exploitation of the labour force, by the unpaid labour in production; to provide a way out for over-accumulated capital and continue with expanded reproduction, overcoming the problems regarding the purchasing power of the workers’ families by facilitating lending for home purchasing or the satisfaction of other needs.

Analysis of these complicated issues regarding the reproduction of social capital requires a comprehensive examination of the relationship between industrial, commercial and bank capital, taking into account that in the era of imperialism, even more so nowadays, the merging of industrial with bank capital. The formation of financial capital has taken on huge dimensions.

The real cause of the crisis is the intensification of the main contradiction of capitalism, the contradiction between the social character of production and the capitalist appropriation of its results due to the fact that the means of production are under capitalist ownership. The goal of capitalism is profit and not the satisfaction of people’s needs.

These elements prevail in this exploitative system. They constitute the basis of its anarchic, uneven development; the basis of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall which is caused by an increase in the organic composition of capital; the basis of the contradiction between production and consumption. These factors lead to the dysfunctions in the reproduction of social capital, to “outbreaks”, and crises of overproduction.

We struggle so that the people realise the real causes of the crisis and we devote all our forces to the organisation of the struggle of the working class and the popular strata against capitalist aggression and the anti-people policies that support capital and try to place the burden of the crisis on the peoples’ shoulders. People should draw conclusions.

Trillions of dollars have been allocated for the reinforcement of bankers, magnates and other capitalists, strengthening their offensive against workers’ and peoples’ forces, the effort to make them pay for the capitalist crisis. This course is followed both in the US and the EU as well as in other capitalist countries, both by neo-liberal and social-democratic parties. The decision of the G20 is also in the same direction. Their contradictions reflect the rivalries between the monopoly interests they serve.

Capitalist powers fear the crisis of capital over-accumulation and overproduction that embraces the US, the EU, Russia, Japan, Latin America causing a slowdown in the economy of China and India. In order to mislead the people they use several contrived theories; they promote false expectations in order to check the social reactions and hinder the development of class struggle.

The social-democratic forces, the Socialist International and its cadres play a leading role in this effort.

First: they present control of the movement of capital as a way out, they talk about the democratisation of the World Bank and the European Central Bank. However, it has been proved that nothing can prevent the sharpening of the capitalist contradictions and that no measure can change the nature of the banking system, which is a tool of capitalism.

Second: they promote the nationalisation of certain banks or other capitalist enterprises as a way out. This position is deceptive because the criterion of profit remains on the ground of a liberated market that breeds competition and aggressiveness against the peoples.

Third: they are worried about the increase in unemployment and as a solution they promote an increase in the rate of development combined with so-called “green development”. They are actually fooling the peoples. Capitalist development has never managed to ensure the right to work for all the people, and it won’t do so.

The source of the evil is the fact that the means of production are in the hands of the capitalists, that profit is the criterion for development and that in any case the system is characterised by anarchy of production and uneven development between various fields and sectors of the economy as well as geographical areas.

This fact underlines that in capitalism, workers can never be before profits; it reveals how misleading the allegations about “rationalised”, “humanised” capitalism and the regulation of the market are.

Communists must refute resolutely these illusions about the management of the capitalist system and confront the difficulties in the organisation and development of the class struggle, clarifying that there is no common interest between capital and the working class, neither in the phase of the crisis nor in the phase of the revival of capitalist development.

Capitalists and their parties promote new anti-people measures in the name of climate change, concealing the fact that it is the result of exploitation of natural resources by capital with the aim of making profits. Energy, water, forests, wastes, agricultural production, are privatised and accumulated in the hands of a few multinational corporations, now also in the name of the environment. Similar measures are promoted, to a larger or lesser extent, in all capitalist countries irrespective of the degree of capitalist development.

Furthermore, the protection of the environment is also used as a pretext for imperialist interventions. Multinational monopolies, through the powerful imperialist powers, above all the USA and the EU, promote anti-people interstate agreements in the framework of the WTO and the Doha round of negotiations with the less developed capitalist countries. Thus they set goals e.g. for bio-fuels, that destroy vast forest areas, they promote genetically modified food and other measures, striking an even bigger blow to workers’ income and the poor and medium sized peasantry.

The “green economy”, promoted mainly by the EU, constitutes a way out for the over-accumulation of capital and for safeguarding monopoly profits by means of intensifying the exploitation of workers and natural resources; not only it does not solve the problem of climate change but on the contrary, it intensifies it. Climate and environmental problems cannot be dealt with as detached from the ownership of the highly monopolised means of production and the issue of political power.

Comrades,

Social concession or class collaboration is one of the most insidious and dangerous tools for the manipulation of the working class and for its disarmament. We are thus obliged to strengthen the ideological front and struggle against such positions, which in most cases are expressed not only by neo-liberal or social-democratic parties but also by parties that present themselves as “left”, namely opportunist parties. These parties try to build relationships with communist parties and exert influence on their ranks, their ideology and their policy.

Some of these so-called “left” parties do not only promote positions that serve capitalism but they also resort to open anti-communism, they slander socialism and the history of the communist movement.

The effort of the communist movement for the unity of the working class should not be based on its relationship with the so-called “left” opportunist parties; it should depend on its ability to convince, to rally and mobilise working and popular forces against monopolies and imperialism against their open or covert support structures.

The KKE believes that the clarification of this crucial issue will give impetus to the struggle of the communist movement; it will strengthen its independent action and the recruitment of new forces in the labour movement. This issue is particularly important to change the correlation of forces and the effectiveness of the struggle under conditions of crisis but also for the future.

Furthermore we would like to stress the following:

This intense ideological-political struggle requires a bigger effort to tackle developments employing a Marxist-Leninist analysis. It also requires strengthening the international meetings of communist and workers parties in this direction. Only in this way can the international meetings fulfil their role, respond to the complicated duties of the communists and meet the expectation of the working people.

In Greece we experience the difficulties of a hard battle characterised by the aggressiveness of the EU and the social-democratic government. Under conditions of crisis, capitalist restructuring is purposely accelerated, the effort to impose so-called “flexicurity” and flexible forms of employment in general intensifies, the policy of dismantling social security rights continues, healthcare, welfare and education are being further privatised while salaries and pensions are frozen. All means are used to reduce the price of the labour force, to increase the degree of exploitation and of capitalist profit-making.

Under these conditions the KKE is increasing its efforts for unity of the working class and for a social alliance with the peasantry and other oppressed popular strata. We insist on the organisation of the working class in the workplaces and the trade unions; we supports PAME, the class-oriented pole in the trade union movement that struggles against the forces of yellow trade unionism and fights hard battles for the rights of the working class.

The strengthening and the effectiveness of the struggle of the class-pole of the movement require its orientation against efforts to place the burden of the crisis on people’s shoulders; likewise the promotion of demands that meet the people’s needs (full-stable employment, substantial increases in wages and pensions, exclusively free, public healthcare, welfare, education system etc).

The trade unions that struggle through the ranks of PAME have achieved significant results. Through strikes, demonstrations, occupations and other forms of struggle they have rescinded dismissals; they force the employers to reinstate dismissed workers; they sign collective labour contracts that provide increases exceeding the incomes policy; they intercept the attacks against immigrants.

KKE along with the class-oriented movement, confront these difficulties and are particularly demanding regarding strengthening the ideological, political, mass struggle for the liberation of working-popular forces from the influence of bourgeois policy and ideology, reformism.

In our opinion, communist parties must combine their efforts for strengthening the class-oriented movement at national level with strengthening the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), which is making significant progress in its reconstruction.

We should be in a state of alertness. The capitalist crisis intensifies the intra-imperialist contradictions in a period when significant reshufflings are taking place, when the share of the US and China in the Gross World Product has reduced, the EU reinforces its presence and China, Russia, India and Brazil are strengthened.

Working people should not have any illusions about the so-called “multi-polar world”, about the slogans of social democracy about the “democratisation of the UN” or the “new architecture of international relations”. These slogans only intended to humanise capitalism. In fact there has never been a “unipolar world”! Intra-imperialist contradictions have always existed. Nevertheless, in the past they were mitigated due to the need to confront the USSR and the other socialist countries.

Nowadays, we witness a new intensification of the intra-imperialist contradictions as well as the pursuit of several rising imperialist forces and alliances to play an upgraded role in international affairs which is described through the model of the “multi-polar world”.

In fact imperialism is characterised by the drive for markets and natural resources. Communists have assumed great responsibilities as regards the enlightenment and mobilisation of the peoples against imperialist wars and interventions, against imperialist occupation, as well as against all imperialist organisations and centres irrespective of their “colour”, their name or the region where they are formed.

The conflicts inside but also between imperialist organisations such as the WTO should not trap the working people in demands for a better or a more “fair” management of the capitalist system. The agreements concluded there reflect the correlation of forces and it is an illusion to believe they can become fairer.

Communists do not struggle for a better position of their country in the world capitalist market or for a better management of capitalism but for the overthrow of capitalism and for socialist construction!

The working people both in developed capitalist countries and in countries with medium and lower rates of capitalist development should respond with a unified common front against imperialists, against the efforts to divide the peoples by disregarding class criteria as in “South and North” and in “rich and poor” countries.

Communists must respond to these pseudo-divisions with the elaboration of a common strategy against imperialism, with an even more distinctive unity at global level that will be forged in our coordinated struggles at national, regional and global level in cooperation with other anti-imperialist forces.

The historical slogan of the Communist Manifesto “proletarians of all countries, unite!” is still relevant.

The gulf between capitalists and the working class increases both in the so-called “developing” and “developed” countries. The social contradictions sharpen due to the overall attack, launched by big capital after the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe, on the rights and gains of workers around the world.

Historical experience has proved that the communist movement strengthens to the extent that it is firmly dedicated to the line of anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly struggle and to its strategic goal, namely to the struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, for socialism, for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man. In the modern era, the era of transition from capitalism to socialism, the struggle should not aim at bourgeois democratic transformations but at socialist power that will overthrow the power of the monopolies and solve the problems of economic backwardness, dependence etc.

The enemies of socialism and the various anti-communists, who celebrated a few days ago the fall of the Berlin Wall and the overthrow of socialism, cannot stop the course of history, no matter what they do.

Socialism has made a great historical contribution. In a few years it solved problems that capitalism has not managed to solve throughout centuries. It established the right to work, to free healthcare and education, it developed sports and culture for the people, it abolished the exploitation of man by man, it showed the supremacy of socialism over capitalism.

The Soviet Union has been a key factor in the victory over fascism having lost 20 million of its people in the battle.

We study the shortfalls, the mistakes, the opportunist deviations that led to the overthrow of socialism; we draw lessons. Socialism of the new century constitutes an integral continuation of the heritage and the lessons of socialism of the 20th Century.

Socialism is ever more relevant and necessary. The intensification of the main contradiction, unemployment, poverty, exploitation and the capitalist crisis show capitalism’s historical limits.

The way to the satisfaction of people’s needs is through workers’ power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, the socialisation of the means of production and land, central planning and workers’ control.

This is the beacon that lights our path.

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