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Issue #1539      14 March 2012

The crisis is a crisis of the capitalist system

Socialism is the future!

Communist Party of Greece (KKE)

Opening remarks (abridged) made by Aleka Papariga, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, to the 13th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Athens from December 9-11, 2011.

With the first signs of the crisis in our country, we found ourselves ideologically and politically prepared to face, with a very rapid adjustment, our heightened duties, to specialise our strategy and tactics, to contribute to the rallying and increase of the militancy of the working class and popular forces with radical demands and advanced forms of struggle.

… there was no political issue of greater or lesser importance, and especially no working class, popular socio-economic problem on which we did not try, through work at the base, to rally forces on a social-class basis. To widely enlighten the people concerning the crisis, its character and the way out, to organise and escalate the class struggle in all its forms from top to bottom and inversely so as to draw in new working class and popular masses.

There was a relatively unprecedented attempt to organise the resistance collectively with new forms of struggle and slogans of disobedience and defiance so that the people do not pay tolls on the summer weekends, the tickets to enter privatised beaches. Recently the property tax included in the electricity bill which is accompanied by the unacceptable and unprecedented threat to cut the electricity, regardless of whether the amount that corresponds to the electricity consumption has been paid.

The main front of struggle is directed, of course, against unemployment, against the reduction of wages and pensions, dismissals in the public and private sector, against the abolition of collective bargaining agreements, against temporary and flexible forms of labour. Against the overwhelming reduction of funding of the social-security funds, education, health prevention and welfare, against the serious cuts at the expense of people with disabilities, against the reduction and abolition of maternity provisions, the funding of nurseries etc.

Today we place emphasis on and monitor very closely the danger of a relatively more generalised military conflict in the geo-strategic area of the Black Sea, the Middle East, the Eastern Mediterranean. Of course we elaborate the specific position against the imperialist war, regardless of the pretexts which will be used, and we especially elaborate the strategy of transforming the war into a struggle for power.

The bourgeois class of our country will be found at the side of one or the other imperialist axis or pole with the aim of taking part in the re-distribution of markets, so that it does not find itself at the margin. The people must not shed their blood for the interests of the imperialists, for their own one or others. The same is true for the other peoples.

Impasse

It is even more apparent today that there is an impasse in the bourgeois management of the crisis. The classic recipes cannot be implemented even as they were implemented with difficulty in the past; the management of the consequences of the crisis is impossible particularly of unemployment and poverty. We assess that the recovery when it comes will be anaemic and perhaps there will be a new crisis cycle before it arrives.

The labour movement and its allies, particularly the self-employed without staff, and the other poor small businessmen who face bankruptcy, the poor farmers with small holdings, must demonstrate endurance in the face of the toughness and complexity of the struggle, in the face of the intransigence of the enemy. The defensive stance today has no result, because we are in the conditions of an assault which aims to abolish gains won in the 20th century particularly after the Second World War in Europe.

Escalate class struggle

What is required today is the planning and the escalation of the class struggle, to erect obstacles – as far as possible – in the way of the worst measures which are on the horizon, to delay new decisions and to buy time for the counter-attack, the outcome of which must be directed to the overthrow of the power of the monopolies, the bourgeois political system, for working class-people’s power, socialism.

The measures which are taken in the name of the crisis or for the regulation of the crisis in favour of the monopolies, go beyond the crisis itself. They are measures which aim at the restarting of the profitability in the recovery period, as the capitalist states themselves do not predict that it will be stable and dynamic.

Greece is on course for a controlled bankruptcy, while an uncontrolled bankruptcy is very possible, as well as its exit from the Eurozone, or the use of a double Euro. An internally depreciated one and an external one which will be determined by the EU and IMF so that the creditors will be secured as far as possible.

No bourgeois political proposal, liberal, social-democratic, no “renewal”, can constitute a pro-people way out, protect the people from destitution even in the short-term, even less so in the long term, unless it poses as a question of principle the rupture with the monopolies – industrial, banking, ship-owning, trade – that is to say rupture with capitalist ownership, its state institutions, its international alliances.

Distortion of reality

What is important today in our country and more generally in Europe is that the following are repelled from a class standpoint: the universal deception which the people are on the receiving end of that we are experiencing a debt crisis, a crisis of fiscal indicators, that the crisis came about due to bad management, the waste of money on social services instead of productive and other investments. That the productive model of development and the low level of competitiveness is to blame, that everyone, that is to say all the classes and social strata consume more than their income; that the bad architecture of the European structure is responsible, something that is promoted with small differences by bourgeois, reformist and opportunist parties.

All the abovementioned versions distort reality, conceal that it is a crisis of over-accumulated capital which expresses the sharpening of the basic contradiction in capitalism. They detach the economy from politics; they impede the development of radical anti-monopoly, anti-capitalist consciousness.

The workers in Greece, in the Eurozone, must reject the theory that makes the protection of the state from bankruptcy a national goal, and therefore that sacrifices are needed for such a goal which is indeed characterised as modern patriotism. The workers are not responsible and should not pay for the public debt.

The people’s anger is not enough to bring about the people’s counter-attack, if it does not acquire an anti-monopoly, in essence anti-capitalist content. The experience of the bourgeois class and its parties in defusing and diverting the people’s discontent, something which was apparent in the instance of the so-called “Arab Spring” given the specific characteristics in the various countries must not be underestimated at all. Consequently the question “rupture or subjugation” is absolutely timely.

In the face of the impasses of the management of the system, something natural and predictable for the defenders of the capitalist system happened: a coalition government was formed through the procedures of the parliament. This with the dynamic intervention of the EU, between the two basic bourgeois parties and a small far-right party [LAOS] which in recent years has carried out the dirty work of provocation and anti-communism on behalf of PASOK [social democrats] above all but also of ND [conservatives].

Today in Greece a lot of taboos and myths which had influenced the people have collapsed and we believe that this is valid for other capitalist countries, especially in the old capitalist world of Europe. Their main core is that the EU constitutes an inevitability, that it is inconceivable for a people not to seek accession to the EU or seek disengagement from it, or that the EU can be transformed into a Europe of the peoples through the emergence of left governments or coalitions of left and progressive forces.

Platform for struggle

Only the people’s power can ensure the people’s sovereignty and the real disengagement from the imperialist alliances such as the EU and NATO.

We promote the following platform with three axes: people’s power, disengagement, unilateral cancellation of the debt. The disengagement without socialisation will also be destructive for the people, while the socialisation is impossible without disengagement.

Today the people can see, more than ever, that capital, the monopolies and their power do not share the same homeland with the people. They place profit over national language and cultural heritage. They form their alliances according to profit and sacrifice everything for it.

For that reason the term homeland acquires a substantial content for the people only in people’s power, with the institutions of the workers’ and people’s participation, defence and protection.

We talk openly to the people about a socio-political alliance of the working class with the poor petty bourgeois popular strata in the city and the countryside; about the regrouping of the workers’ and people’s movement with a clear anti-imperialist anti-monopoly orientation, anti-capitalist in the final analysis. It should have a clear orientation to utilise every rift, every crack in the bourgeois governance for its weakening, for its overthrow.

The policy of alliances has objectively two aspects irrespective of the variety of the forms it can take on: it will either aim at the preservation and the longevity of the bourgeois political power or there will be a basic agreement for the conquest of people’s power.

Every rift in the political system, in the mechanisms of the capitalist power, everything that weakens the bourgeois government and generally the bourgeois parties, contributes to the strengthening of the forces of the people’s alliance for the radical overthrow of the system of capitalist exploitation, of the dictatorship of the monopolies.

Social democratic views

We systematically confront views like “the problems of the Greek economy were the super profits accumulated in the banking system or in the stock exchanges in opposition to the profit in industry, in production”; views that separate the profits into “legitimate” and “illegitimate”, views that claim that allegedly healthy capitalism developed into “casino capitalism”.

The reduction of imperialism to a foreign policy and to a type of interstate relations instead of a socioeconomic system, i.e. monopoly capitalism, needs to be dealt with specifically.

Another version of the social-democratic perception adopts the position on the need for the “rehabilitation” of capitalism, for its humanisation by means of controlling the most parasitic functions of the financial system. They do not want and they cannot acknowledge that there is no company, no monopoly group, which does not activate the greater part of its capital as foreign, i.e. borrowed capital and not its own, its shareholders’.

In conditions that the average rate of profit has the tendency to fall these businesses have difficulties in borrowing and thus the expansion of production becomes difficult and a recession appears. In addition, they do not want to recognise that the banks do not merely lend, do not merely invest in the money market but they also buy or participate in industrial capital. They do not accept the cohesion of industrial with banking capital.

It is clear for us that in conditions of a crisis there are definitely possibilities for a sudden sharpening of the class struggle, for a sudden entrance of broader popular forces without the necessary social and political experience.

We are conscious of the danger for the movement to find itself in a state of retreat since it experiences the barbarity of unemployment, impoverishment, destitution, the consequences of the state and employers’ violence. Also the ideological influence of the bourgeois ideology, of reformism and opportunism, under the impact of anti-communism which is officially adopted by the state bodies and its ideological mechanisms.

Despite these difficulties, the campaign to intimidate the people in the name of the crisis, despite the intimidation in the workplaces, the impatience of the masses especially of those who come from the petty bourgeois popular strata, which so far have had a relatively good living standard, the KKE has remained firmly oriented to the necessity and timeliness of socialism.

The sharpening of the economic crisis, the contradictions within the EU, the rising anti-capitalist consciousness contribute so that the people understand more easily that a radical fundamental change is necessary. Of course these processes do not lead automatically to the choice of confrontation, to a firm participation in the organisation of the class struggle.

Nevertheless, today there is a relatively more fertile ground for a deeper ideological-political confrontation in comparison to previous years when the deterioration of the position of the working people was evolving more slowly compared to the current storm.

The KKE calls on the people to fight so that the concentrated means of production in industry become the people’s property, for the socialisation of land, of the big enterprises in agriculture and the concentrated trade. On the basis of these relations agriculture must be reorganised according to incentives for its concentration, initially, in productive cooperatives.

Only central planning can overcome the unevenness in the development of regions within a country. Only the people’s power can realise mutually beneficial trade agreements with other peoples, other economies and eradicate the phenomenon of the imperialist competitions over the utilisation of the natural resources in sea and land.

Of course there is no revolutionary situation in Greece so as to pose in practice the overthrow of the capitalist system as an immediate duty but all things show that if the workers’ movement, the most radical section of the people, does not direct the struggle to the workers’ power it will be trapped in the various versions of bourgeois management and it will lose every opportunity of escalation.

The solution for the people is not to align with a section of the domestic bourgeois class, with one of the imperialist centres abandoning another one at a time when their contradictions have sharpened. Neither is it a solution to support new bourgeois parties against the old ones, coalition governments instead of one-party governments.

The solution lies in organised struggle which will have at its core the workplaces, the trade unions, and will be oriented towards the conflict and the rupture with the monopolies, the parties, their governments and their imperialist alliances in the prospect of their overthrow. This is the only realistic line of struggle.

In the next months, in the next year the mass participation in the assemblies in every large workplace, in the people’s meetings in the workers’ and people’s neighbourhoods, in the organised resistance and counterattack against the consequences of the anti-people laws, against the taxes and the cuts in salaries and pensions, in the struggle for unemployment benefits and the operation of medical, educational welfare units, for the protection of the families [from popular strata] must be multiplied.

It is obvious that the current developments, the capitalist crisis and the imperialist aggressiveness impose the strengthening of the struggle of the international communist movement for the interests of the working class, the popular strata, for the overthrow of the capitalist barbarity intensifying its efforts for a unified revolutionary strategy. The KKE deploys its forces in this direction.

The full text of her speech is available at www.solidnet.org and will be published in
the forthcoming issue of the Australian Marxist Review.  

Next article – Unfulfilled promises may come back to haunt Obama

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