Experiences from the struggles, the alliances and the co-operative actions among communists today
Speech by the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece, Aleka Papariga.
International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties, Athens, June 23-25, 2000
The communists of our country, the members of KNE, the Central Committee welcome you to Athens, to our new meeting. The friends of the Party, along with the forces which we have co-operated with in the recent period in political and social struggles as well as electoral battles, many progressive people, are awaiting with great interest the exchange of opinions and experiences.
We proposed the specific topic because many of the comrades who had attended previous international meetings had expressed their thoughts on this issue. The topic was at the center of discussion as well at many important international initiatives such as at the meeting of the Forum in San Paolo, the meeting for cooperation in the Mediterranean that AKEL hosted and others.
Important events have marked the year that has passed and new initiatives that are becoming visible now make even more timely this exchange of opinions around the issue of co-operation and alliances. We are referring to the mobilisations against capitast integration, known as globalisation; to the mobilisations in Seattle, in Davos, in Washington. We are referring to the initiative of the group of 77, to the developments in the struggle in Colombia, and in a series of countries in Latin America, to the mobilisations against NATO and the war in Yugoslavia, to the intensification of the conflict in Palestine, in Cyprus, in the Ukraine, in South Africa, and in all of the African continent. In practice this means struggle in many areas of the world.
We are referring to new initiatives that are being prepared such as the mobilisation against the WTO in Prague in September that is being supported by the CP of Czechoslovakia and other forces.
First: The issue of political alliances of communist and workers' parties is inseparably tied to daily struggles but also to our final goal, socialism, that today is becoming more and more timely. Especially today when capitalist restructuring and the new dogma of NATO have an even deeper impact on all the countries, independently of whether they are members of imperialist alliances, independent of the level of capitalist development in one or the other, independently if they are on the path to building socialism. Today, we have a clearer picture of how the opponent outlines his own policy of alliances, how he encourages or makes use of obstacles. We know the methods that are being used to push the Communist Parties and in general the anti-imperialist forces or to attract them through outside pressure into a line of consent and class submission.
Second: We are not discussing today the general necessity for alliances but the specific experiences that we have gained in a period where the most important struggles of the past decade have been expressed in many countries around the world, in places where resistance had come to a standstill. Certainly the movements that are developing and the coalitions that are appearing have a lack of uniformity. They do not always have continuity, they are characterised by a certain fragmentation. Despite all of this, the myth of so-called globalisation is starting to be called into question.
Third: The policy of alliances provides the answer to the agonising question of how it will be possible for the people to obstruct and put a stop to imperialist policies. How will as many countries as possible break away from imperialist integration, dependence and subjugation. The policy of alliances is inextricably linked to the strategically important question of how we will pass into a new period of development of powerful social movements, revolutionary movements. It lends wings to hope, to optimism, to the defeat of fatalism.
In 1996 at the 15th Convention of our Party the strategy of alliances of the Party was elaborated in the proposal for the constitution of a social- political alliance with the form of a Peoples' Front that would rally social and political forces around it, socio-political elements that would agree that the struggle must be conducted in the direction of opposition to the interests of monopoly capital, and of imperialist alliances.
At the end of the year our 16th Convention will take place. There our estimations will be made public, placed before the people. What have we done for the building of the Front? What results have we had? What experience can be extracted?
The Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Monopoly Democratic Front (AADF) as an alliance with all-Greek character and a program of action has not been formed yet. Such decisions that are inevitably tied to the sharpening of the class struggle and the maturing of the political consciousness of the people are not pushed forward within such severe timelines. The AADF does not constitute a plan on paper. Clearly however we are not all at the same point. We can say that we have laid some groundwork for its construction, inadequate as of yet. The responsibility is not all our own. It is not possible for some obstacles to be overcome from one day to the next: the negative situation that exists in the trade union movement with the responsibility of its leaders, the climate of compromise and consent that prevail in the forces that are considered as left and progressive by some elements of public opinion. We will continue and we will increase our initiatives. We believe that in the next years on a national and international level the contradictions will be sharpened, and we must be prepared to jump in and move ahead without delay.
The proposal of KKE causes debate, causes activity around it and our Party comes under attack. Today, one especially intense wave of ideological and political attack has our 16th Convention in its sights. The mechanisms of imperialism that were especially bothered by the anti-imperialist initiatives of the Party which expressed the will of a broad spectrum of peoples' forces, non-communists, are participating actively in this attack. A few years ago, they accused us of acting alone, under the pretext then that we had not yet managed to widen our affiliations. Today, now that positive tendencies exist in the policy of alliances, today we are under attack again because supposedly we make bad alliances. We have reached the point of attack-comedy, as we are being accused by the class enemy that the alliances we make distort our communist character. The bourgeois parties and their mechanisms want us either at the absolute fringes or for us to participate in alliances to their liking, so that they have us under control.
1. Alliance: yes, there is no other choice, but with whom, in what direction and for what purpose. Each day we are more and more convinced by the developments in Greece and in all of the world that the minimum line of coalition-building at the social and political level must be the expressed decision to oppose the options of monopoly capitalism and the imperialist alliances, to stand against the regime of the monopolies to the point of confrontation. Behind this line not many other hopes exist. The danger of integration exists. We know however, that it is not possible from the beginning for an alliance on an all-Greek level to have the necessary political depth. It would not be possible from the beginning to judge its stability or even its viability with great certainty until the end of its declared goal. However, from the beginning a tough direction of overall opposition must be guaranteed, that describes the prospects for getting out of the framework of today's system.
Greece is not on the path of alignment in the EU and NATO. It has been integrated and it participates actively, actively in imperialist schemes in the area. It is not possible today to get round the fact that generalised privatisations are taking place in areas of strategic importance, and that lax working relations are being introduced, social insurance is being overturned, that a mercenary army is being founded in our country for action even within Greece itself against the peoples' movement, and in the Balkans and in the Black Sea.
2. We are not merely standing by. We are continuing our political initiatives. We are helping in the maturation of the pre-requisites for the Front within smaller individual fronts of struggle and organising around anti-monopoly, anti-imperialist goals that for us are the torrents, the streams towards the big river. In this way, we meet with social and political forces, socio-political elements where in practice we are all being tested as to whether we can agree on overall goals. We already have obtained good experience with co-operations in the struggles against NATO, in the war against Yugoslavia, in workers' and farmers' struggles, in the struggles for education, in issues of democracy. In the recent electoral battle, 1/3 of those participating in our electoral platform were not members of the party. They came from other areas; they were co-operators. We cooperated as well with a new political grouping that is called Communist Renewal. Of course, all of the cooperative actions and all of the fronts and organising do not constitute the Front but they sow the seed. They accelerate to one degree or another positive actions towards its construction.
3. In the lines of the Front we see the participation of class, radical organisations and the movements of the working class, of the petit bourgeois sections of the cities, of the countryside, small business people and the poor farmers, movements for peace, for the rights of women, the youth, movements for the environment, for democracy, against the roots of social criminality, of drug-abusers, etc.
It is an alliance of social and political forces that is not limited to the above struggle, to the support simply of mass movements, in the demand for a change of the balance of forces in the Parliament only, but an alliance that aims at the organisation of the people and the conducting of its struggle from the top and from the bottom, with the prospect of opening up a different road of development for Greek society. It acts in today's institutions but at the same time it helps within the popular struggle for the birth of new peoples'institutions.
An alliance that will help to gain concessions in favour of the people, it raises the question of power.
4. The AADF will encompass dissimilar social and political forces. Consequently it will be marked as much by the element of unity as by the differences that demand a particular struggle within its ranks. It will be based on necessary compromises because we want to help in the integration of as many forces as possible, compromises however that will not lead the peoples' movement into dissolution and towards the logic of managing the system.
5. We are aware of our responsibility to preserve unity of action, for the ranks of the Front to be widened, enriched and re-aligned with new forces that will appear. When we say to the people that KKE must be strengthened we say it because this is in the interest of the Front. The alliance will be judged especially in periods of heightening of the attack by the bourgeois class and by international organisations, when the greatest decisiveness, stability and militancy is required.
6. We believe that alliances such as the one we are proposing inevitably will shelter forces with different concepts about the character of power, so much more so that the AADF will not be built on agreement about socialism. The progress of the struggle, the balance of power, the existence or not of a revolutionary situation, will decide the final outcome. Other disagreements that will appear or that already exist and may be strengthened will also have an impact, independent of the initial agreement. It is not possible for us to speak in Greece about the prospect of a way out towards another road of development without taking into consideration that we have to solve the knotty issue of obedience or not to the EU and NATO, resistance or not, participation or not. Consequently, the alliance can only have a direction openly declared to the people.
If a government with anti-imperialist anti-monopoly character appears in the course of the struggle of the AAD Front, when the necessary pre- requisites for socialist power have not yet taken shape, that government had better put through in as short a time as possible substantial changes, otherwise it will find itself under attack from two sides. One the one side, from the people who are not satisfied with their life, and on the other from the enemy who will hammer on it in order to overturn it. Detailed and specific choices cannot be outlined analytically from now. However, at least one general direction must exist from the viewpoint of the Front so that the people can be politically prepared.
7. We do not consider correct the concept that a struggle on a national level is a deadend, that solutions can be obtained only through world-wide based struggle that will bring simultaneous world-wide results. The enemy knows that the national field of struggle cannot be abolished under the pretext of so-called globalisation. It strives to integrate it, obedient and subjugated to its own imperialist policies.
Clearly today the internationalisation of the class struggle, of the anti- imperialist struggles and the fight for socialism have taken on greater weight. Clearly today there is the need for us to conduct simultaneous co- ordinated strikes at the centers of imperialism. However, the internationalisation of the struggle cannot bring results unless a powerful peoples' movement, a workers' movement with class orientation, a powerful CP with a correct policy of alliances that guides in the solving of the issue of power, in the detaching of its country from the international imperialist system, exists at a national level. The difficulties and weaknesses that presently exist must not be converted into a theoretical concept proposing that on the national field everything is over, or that the national field is out of date. Uneven development is being intensified today, therefore the struggle will have an uneven course. That which has importance is that the movements at a national level will make as many advancing steps as they can, to claim significant changes and overturns and in this way can give momentum to the change in the international balance of forces.
Precisely because the internationalisation of the struggle has still greater weight today, we support the need for the workers and communist parties to be co-ordinated, for us to fight to develop a broad discernible pole of the communist movement but also generally of the anti-imperialist struggle, so that international support and solidarity can be promoted.
We believe that we, the communist and workers' parties, the anti- imperialist forces, the radical forces that exist all over the world, must undertake more seriously the support of the existing or the creation of new international movements, of initiatives with the form of international organisations, especially now that the imperialist alliances are spreading so-called non-governmental organisations everywhere, a large part of which they have under their control or on their side.
Temporary facts from the EU for our country state that from 1985-1991 24 non-governmental organisations were given aid while in the period 1995-1996 their number reached 73.
We must contribute to the co-ordination of the struggle of the class trade union movements and organisations at the center of capitalist restructuring. The internationalisation of the struggle without basing it on a class oriented workers movement is almost impossible.
An issue of special importance is the support of international and regional movements against NATO and the international monopolies, against the militarisation of Europe, against the anti-ballistic system of the USA, against nuclear arms, imperialist intervention and military occupation, against the changes in borders. The struggle against laws with the pretext of terrorism lead to the creation of an individual file, to the suppression of movements, prosecutions, murders, etc. Very serious problems exist which are caused by genetically engineered products, generally the use of science and techniques at the expense of human beings. The problem of hunger, starvation and of poverty.
We believe that the international communist and generally the anti- imperialist movement must have strength at a national level, and the national forces will become stronger if all together we give a dynamic push to the international movement.
It is not a luxury but a need and of interest to the Greek movement to be concerned and to organise solidarity actions based on whatever happens in the Middle East, in Africa, in Latin America, in South-East Asia. Actions concerning the debt that is hanging like a noose at the expense of countries that have fallen into the noose of the IMF and World Bank. It is to the benefit of every people to be interested in and to fight against the crimes of imperialism that are taking place in the Balkans, against "euro- atlanticism", for what is happening at the expense of the Palestinian people, for what is happening in Cyprus, in Cuba.
We believe that we must counter-attack as well on the ideological front. We must unmask the myth of so-called globalisation. It is important that the people do not get trapped in non-class terms.
We must de-mythologise the theories around capitalist integration, that underestimate, willingly or not, the case of uneven development, the inter- imperialist contradictions, the circle of countries that have an interest to resist relations of dependence and inequality that they are condemned to as members and allies of imperialist unions.
To counter-attack for the necessity of socialism, to project our scientific world-theory and the principles of Marxism-Leninism, without inhibitions due to the overthrows or the mistakes and deviations that were noted. For us to project the vision of socialism in every country.
No people, no working class will become a vanguard revolutionary force condemning only imperialism, fixed on some fragmented goals and struggles. Nor is the projection of the vision of socialism enough if we do not manage to help in the organisation of struggles, the struggle for conflict and the overthrow of the foundations of the capitalist system, on all of the fronts in the area of work, education, in social policies, in the area of culture, athletics, the environment, the media, struggles of all kinds.
The alliances in the direction of conflict with the monopolies and imperialism give the possibility to the people to limit the consequences, and to even extract some concessions but also to counterattack with the goal of final victory.