Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee: Theses on Socialism

The following is a document summing up the experience of revolution and counter-revolution in the USSR submitted by the Central Committee f the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) to the Party’s 18th Congress. I am posting the theses here as an important Marxist-Leninist summation worthy of discussion and debate in the international communist movement. I would also encourage folks to read the review  of the theses by the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist).

memorial2A. The contribution of the Socialist System

1. The development of capitalism and the class struggle inevitably brought communism to the historical limelight during the middle of the 19th century. The first scientific communist programme is the “Communist Manifesto” written by K. Marx and Fr. Engels 160 years ago in 1848. The first proletarian revolution was the Paris Commune in 1871. With the 20th century came the success of the October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, which was a starting point for one of the greatest achievements of civilization in the History of humankind, the abolition of exploitation of man by man. Following this, after World War II, state power was seized, in order for socialist construction to take place, in a series of countries in Europe, Asia, as well as the American continent, in Cuba.

Despite the various problems of socialist countries, the socialist system of the 20th century proved its superiority over capitalism and the huge advantages that it provides for peoples’ lives and working conditions.

The Soviet Union and the world socialist system constituted the only real counterweight to imperialist aggression.

The role of the Soviet Union in the Anti-fascist People’s victory, during World War II, was decisive. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) crushed the German and allied forces’ military machine who had invaded Soviet territory. It liberated a series of countries in Europe from the German occupation forces. More than 20 million Soviet citizens gave their life for the socialist homeland while 10 million were disabled or wounded. The extent of material devastation to Soviet territory was enormous.

The victories of the Red Army significantly propelled the development of national liberation and anti-fascist movements, which were led by Communist Parties. In many countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the anti-fascist struggle, with the decisive contribution of the Red Army, led to the overthrow of bourgeois rule.

The socialist system provided historic examples of internationalist solidarity to peoples who were fighting against exploitation, foreign occupation and imperialist intervention; it decisively contributed to the dissolution of the colonial system and to the limitation of military confrontations and conflicts.

The achievements of workers in the socialist states were a point of reference for many decades and contributed to the gains won by the working class and the popular movement in capitalist societies. The international balance of forces that was formed after World War II forced capitalist states, to a certain degree, to back down and to manoeuvre in order to restrain the revolutionary line of struggle and to create conditions in which they could assimilate the working class movement.

The abolition of capitalist relations of production freed mankind from the bonds of wage slavery and opened the road for the production and development of the sciences with the goal of satisfying people’s needs. In this way, everyone had guaranteed work, public free health care and education, the provision of cheap services from the state, housing, and access to intellectual and cultural pursuits.

In 1913, the farmers, workers and employees of the Russian Empire held 53% of the national income, while the exploiting classes held 47%; that is almost one half. After the Great October Socialist Revolution, the share of the income not coming from labour fell sharply; however in 1927-28, the exploitative elements still expropriated 8.1% of the national income. By the mid-1930s, the total state income belonged entirely to the workers.[1]

The complete eradication of the terrible legacy of illiteracy in combination with the increase in the general level of education and specialization and the abolition of unemployment, constitute unique achievements of socialism. In the Soviet Union, according to a 1970 census survey, more than 3/4 of the working population of the cities and 50% of workers in the rural areas had completed mid-level or higher education[2].

The USSR, during its 24 year course before the Nazi assault, realized important steps in its industrial and economic development, trying to overcome the backwardness that it had inherited from capitalism.

The cultural revolution, as an inseparable element of socialist construction, gave working people the possibility of knowing and experiencing the achievements of human culture.

In the Soviet Union in 1975 it was guaranteed by law that the hours of work could not surpass 41 hours per week[3], one of the least in the world. All workers were guaranteed days for rest and relaxation and annual paid holidays.

Free time was extended and its content was changed. Free time was no longer time for the reproduction of the labour power commodity, in order to keep it fit for capitalist exploitation. Workers were given the opportunity to utilize their free time in order to raise their cultural and educational level, and to participate in workers’ power and the administration of production.

Social Security for working people was of outmost priority for the socialist state. A comprehensive system of retirement benefits with the important achievement of low age limits for retirement (55 years for women, 60 for men) was created. Funding for the state retirement fund was guaranteed through the state budget fiscal appropriations) and insurance contributions from enterprises and foundations. Similar conditions prevailed in the rest of the European socialist states.

Socialist power laid the foundation for the abolition of inequality for women, overcoming the great difficulties that objectively existed. Socialism ensured in practice the social character of motherhood and socialized childcare. It instituted equal rights for women and men in the economic, political and cultural realm, without of course meaning that all forms of unequal relations between the two genders that had developed over such a long period of time could be removed immediately.

The dictatorship of the proletariat, the revolutionary workers’ power, as a state that expressed the interests of the social majority of exploited people, and not of the minority of exploiters, proved itself a superior form of democracy. For the first time in History the unit of production could become the nucleus of democracy, with the representative participation of working people in power and administration, the possibility to elect and recall representatives amongst themselves to participate in the higher levels of power. Workers’ power de-marginalized the masses and a vast number of mass organizations were developed: trade union, cultural and educational where the majority of the population was organized.

Bourgeois and opportunist propaganda, speaking of lack of freedom and anti-democratic regimes, projects the concepts of “democracy” and “freedom” in their bourgeois content, identifying democracy with bourgeois parliamentarism and freedom with bourgeois individualism and private capitalist ownership. The real essence of freedom and democracy under capitalism is the economic coercion of wage slavery and the dictatorship of capital generally in society and especially inside capitalist enterprises. Our critical approach regarding workers’ and people’s control and participation has no relation whatsoever to the bourgeois and opportunist approaches of democracy in the USSR.

The October Revolution launched a process of equality between nations and nationalities within the framework of a giant multinational state and provided the direction for the resolution of the national problem by abolishing national oppression in all its forms and manifestations. This process was undermined however, during the course of the erosion of communist relations and was completely stopped with the counter-revolutionary developments in the 1980s.

The socialist states made serious efforts to develop forms of cooperation and economic relations based on the principle of proletarian internationalism. With the founding in 1949 of the Council of Mutual Assistance (CMA) an effort was made to form a new, unprecedented type of international relations that was based on principles of equality, of mutual benefit and mutual aid between states that were building socialism. One subject requiring further research is that of the relations between the member states of the CMA, as well as, the economic relations between the member states of the CMA with capitalist states, especially during the period when socialist construction began to retreat.

The gains that were undoubtedly achieved in the socialist states, in comparison to their starting point as well as in comparison to the living standard of working people in the capitalist world, prove that socialism holds intrinsic potential for dramatic and continual improvement in the lives of humankind and the development of the human personality.

The level of development of socialism in each revolutionary worker’s state was not the same and to a large extent was dependent on the level of capitalist development that existed when power was seized – an issue that must be taken under consideration when assessments and comparisons are made.

The most significant fact, however, is that the historic leap that was attempted and accomplished with the October Revolution in Russia as the starting point, gave an important momentum to the development of man, as the main productive force, in his scientific and technological achievements, in the advancement of his living standards, educational and cultural level.

What was historically new, was that this development concerned the masses as a whole, in contrast to capitalist development which is intertwined with exploitation and social injustice, with great devastation such as that, which occurred with the native populations in the American continent, in Australia, with the massive slavery system in the USA in the previous centuries, with colonial exploitation, with the anarchy of production and the ensuing destruction of the great economic crises, with imperialist wars, child labour and so much more.

The contribution and the superiority of socialist construction in the USSR should be judged in correlation with the imperialist strategy of encirclement that caused great destruction, continuous obstacles and threats. The imperialist strategy took various forms during different periods of revolutionary workers’ power (direct imperialist attack in 1918 and 1941, declaration of the Cold War in 1946, differentiated political diplomatic relations in relation to other states of Central and Eastern Europe).

This fact does not annul the need to focus our attention to internal conditions, to the economic-political relations, with the decisive role of the subjective factor in the dominance, development and supremacy of the new social relations.

B. Theoretical positions on Socialism as the first, lower stage of Communism

2. Socialism is the first stage of the communist socio-economic formation; it is not an independent socio-economic formation. It is an immature, undeveloped communism.

The complete establishment of communist relations requires the overcoming of the elements of immaturity that characterize its lower stage, socialism.

Immature communism signifies that communist relations in production and distribution have not yet fully prevailed.

The basic law of the communist mode of production is valid: “Production for the extended satisfaction of social needs.”

The concentrated means of production are socialized, but in the beginning there still remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the base for the existence of commodity-money relations.

A large part of the social product for individual consumption is distributed based on labour, and not on needs, according to the principle, “to each according to his labour, while each one works according to his abilities.” Under conditions of developed communism the principle that predominates is: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” for the totality of the social product.

Under socialism, there still continue to exist social inequalities, social stratification, significant differences or even contradictions, such as those between city and country, intellectual workers and manual labourers, specialized and unspecialized workers. All of these inequalities must be completely eradicated, gradually and in a planned way.

The more immature socialist development is, the more the educational and technological level of the mass of workers does not yet permit their substantive role in the organization of labour, in their perception of the different segments of the production process, in the administrative work. Under these conditions, workers in management positions tend to isolate the individual interest and the interest of the production unit from the social interest, while workers performing intellectual labor and having a high scientific specialization tend to lay claim to a larger share of the total social product, since the “communist stance” towards labour has not yet prevailed.

In order for the communist mode of production to be extended, develop and entirely prevail, the class struggle of the working class must continue – under new conditions, with other forms and means in relation to the struggle that was carried out under capitalism and during the first period of revolutionary power where capitalist relations are being abolished. It is an ongoing battle for the abolition of every form of group and individual ownership, as well as, of the petit bourgeois consciousness that has deep historical roots; it is a struggle for the formation of the analogous social consciousness and stance corresponding to the social character of work. For this reason, the existence of a state that is the revolutionary power of the working class, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is necessary.

The leap that takes place during the revolutionary period of the transition from capitalism to developed communism is qualitatively superior from any previous one, since communist relations, which are not of an exploitative nature, are not shaped within the framework of capitalism.

It is a struggle of the “seeds” of the new against the “vestiges” of the old system in all spheres of social life. The struggle for the change of all the economic relations and by extension, all the social relations, into communist relations, means that the social revolution cannot be restricted only to the seizure of power or the formation of an initial economic base, but must be extended throughout the entire period of socialism.

3. Socialist construction is an uninterrupted process, which starts with the seizure of power by the working class. In the beginning, the new mode of production is formed which essentially prevails with the complete abolition of capitalist relations, the relation of capital to wage labour. Subsequently, communist relations and the new type of man develop further to a level that guarantees their irreversible domination.

Socialist construction contains the possibility of a reversal of its course and a retreat backwards to capitalism, as a defeat of the struggle for the full development of the new communist relations against the remnants of the old capitalist relations. Such a retreat is not a new phenomenon in social development and in every case it constitutes a temporary phenomenon in its History. It is an irrefutable fact that no socio-economic system has ever been immediately consolidated in the history of humankind. The passage from a lower phase of development to a higher one is not a straight forward ascending process. This is shown by the very history of the prevalence of capitalism.[4]

4. We consider as flawed the approach that, speaking of “transitional societies”, assigns autonomous characteristics and a long-term existence to the period of “transition from capitalism to socialism” (construction of the base of the new socio-economic formation). Starting from this viewpoint the current systems in China and Vietnam are interpreted as transitional “multi-sectoral societies”, in which communist relations “co-exist” with exploitative relations of production for decades.

We do not overlook the special characteristics of the period which in Marxist bibliography is known as the “transitional period”, during which the socialist revolution seeks victory, a possible civil war develops, the sharp struggle of communist relations that are just beginning to develop against capitalist exploitative relations, which have still not been abolished, is waged. The duration of this period depends on the backwardness that socialism has inherited from capitalism. Historical experience has shown that this period cannot last for a long time. In the USSR this period was completed by the middle of the 1930s. The struggle with capitalist relations, the difficulties in the construction of a socialist base were sharpened due to the feudal and patriarchal inheritance in the former colonies of Tsarist Russia. Lenin, in his time, stressed that in countries where industry is more developed, the transitional measures towards socialism are restricted or in some cases become completely unnecessary.

The so-called transitional period is not independent from the process of socialist construction, since it is during its course that the basis is established for the development of a communist society in its first phase.

5. The formation of a communist mode of production begins with the socialization of the concentrated means of production, with central planning, with the allocation of the labour force in the different branches of the economy, with the planned distribution of the social product.

On the basis of these new economic relations, the productive forces develop with rapid rates: man and the means of production, the organization of production and all of the economy. Socialist accumulation is achieved, a new level of social prosperity. This new level makes possible the gradual extension of new relations in the area of productive forces that previously were not mature enough to be included in the directly social production.

Even more, the material prerequisites are formed for the abolition of the differentiation in the allocation of the social product among the workers of the state (social) sector.

The complete dominance of communist relations, the passage to the higher phase of the new socio-economic formation requires the abolition, not only of capitalist ownership but also of every form of private and group ownership over the means of production and the social product. The complete eradication of the difference between town and country, that is the complete abolition of classes, the eradication of the difference between manual and intellectual labour, one of the most profound roots of social inequality[5] which must be abolished, the complete extinction of national conflicts.

In accordance with the all-encompassing social law of the correspondence between relations of production with the level of the development of the productive forces, each historically new level of development of productive forces that is initially achieved by socialist construction, demands a further “revolutionisation” of relations of production and all economic relations, in the direction of their complete transformation to communist relations, by means of revolutionary policies. As was shown in practice, whatever delay or even more importantly, a retreat in the development of communist relations leads to a sharpening of the contradiction between productive forces and relations of productions. On this basis, the aforementioned social contradictions and differentiations may develop into social antagonisms and lead to a sharpening of the class struggle. In socialism there exists an objective base that under certain conditions allows for social forces to act as potential bearers of exploitative relations, as was witnessed in the USSR in the 1980s.

6. The development of the communist mode of production in its first stage, socialism, is a process by which the allocation of the social product in a monetary form is abolished. Communist production – even in its immature stage – is directly social production: the division of labour does not take place for exchange, it is not effected through the market, and the products of labour that are individually consumed are not commodities.

The division of labour in the socialized means of production is based on a plan that organizes production and determines its proportions with the aim of satisfying social needs, and the distribution of goods (use values). In other words, it is a centrally planned division of social labour and directly integrates – not via the market – individual labour, as part of the total social labour. Central planning distributes the total societal working time, so that the different functions of labour are in correct proportions in order to satisfy different social needs.

The concept of planning should not be understood as a techno-economic tool, but as a communist relation of production and allocation that links workers to the means of production, to socialist bodies. It includes a consciously planned choice of motives and goals for production, not with the goal of commodity exchange, but with the goal of the planned extended satisfaction of social needs (basic economic law of the communist mode of production).

One essential problem of central planning is the complex issue of the determination of ‘social needs’, especially under international conditions, where capitalism shapes a rather warped conception of what social needs really are.

Social needs are determined based on the level of development of the productive forces that have been achieved in the given historical period. These needs must be understood in their historical context, changing in relationship with the development of the productive forces. Likewise, the way in which the basic law of communism is realized must develop, with the immediate goal of overcoming the inadequacies and the inequalities that exist in the covering of social needs.

7. A basic characteristic of the first stage of communist relations is the distribution of one part of produced goods “according to labour”. The “measure” of work has created a theoretical and political debate. The distribution of a section of socialist production “according to labour” (which in terms of form resembles commodity exchange) is a vestige of capitalism. The new mode of production has not managed to discard it yet, because it has not developed all of the human productive power necessary and all the means of production in their proper dimensions, with the broad use of new technology. Labour productivity does not yet allow a decisively great reduction of labour time, the abolition of heavy labour and of one-sided labour, so that the social need for compulsory labour is abolished.

The planned distribution of labour power and the means of production entails the planned distribution of the social product. The distribution of the social product cannot happen through the market, based on the laws and categories of commodity exchange.

According to Marx, the mode of distribution will change when the particular mode of the social productive organism and the corresponding historical level of development of the productive forces changes[6] (e.g. these were at a certain level in the USSR in the 1930s, yet at a different level in the USSR in the 1950s and 1960s).

Marxism clearly defines labour time as the measure of individual participation of the producer to common labour. Consequently, the labour time of the producer is also defined as a measure of the share he deserves from the product that is destined for individual consumption and is distributed based on labour.[7] Another part (education, healthcare, etc.) is already distributed based on needs.

“Time” as a measure of work in socialist production must be viewed “merely for the shake of a parallel with the production of commodities.”[8]

““Labour time” under socialism is not the “socially necessary labour time” that constitutes a measureme of value for the exchange of commodities in commodity production. “Labour time” is the measure of individual contribution to social labour for the production of the total product. It is noted characteristically in “Capital”: “In socialized production money capital gets out of the picture. Society distributes labour power and the means of production to different branches of production. The producers would, if you so wish, receive paper vouchers with which they can take from the stock of consumption products of the society an amount analogous to the time they worked. These vouchers are not money. They do not circulate.” [9]

Access to that part of the social product that is distributed “according to labour” is determined by the individual work contribution of each person in the totality of social labour, without distinguishing between complex and simple, manual labour or otherwise. The measure of individual contribution is labour time, which the plan determines based on the total needs of social production, the material conditions of the production process in which “individual” labour is included; the special needs of social production for the concentration of labour force in certain areas, branches, etc.; the special social needs, such as motherhood, individuals with special needs, etc.; the personal stance of each individual regarding the organization and the execution of the productive process. In other words, labour time must be linked to goals, such as the conservation of materials, the implementation of more productive technologies, a more rational organization of labour, workers’ control of administration-management.

The planned development of the productive forces in the communist mode of production should increasingly free up more time from work, which should then be used to raise the educational-cultural level of working people; to allow for worker participation in the carrying out of their duties regarding workers’ power and management of production, etc. The comprehensive development of man as the productive force in the building of a new type of society and of communist relations (including the communist stance towards directly social labour) is a two-way relationship. Depending on the historical phase, either one or the other side will have priority.

The development of central planning and the extension of social ownership in all areas makes money gradually superfluous, removing its content as a form of value.

8. The product of individual and cooperative production, the greater part of which is derived from agriculture, is exchanged with the socialist product by means of commodity-money relations. Cooperative production is subordinated to some extent to central planning, which determines the plan for one part of the production and sets the state price.

The direction by which to resolve the differences between city and country, between industrial and agricultural production, is the merging of farmers-producers in the joint use of large tracts of land, for the production of social product with the use of modern mechanization and other means of scientific-technological progress for the enhancement of labour productivity, the creation of strong infrastructure for the preservation of the product from unforeseen weather hazards, the subjection of social labour for the production of agricultural raw materials and their industrial processing to unified socialist organizations. This direction serves to transform the whole of agricultural production into a part of socialized production.

C. Socialism in the USSR – Causes of the victory of counter-revolution

9. We studied the experience of the USSR because it constituted the vanguard of socialist construction. The further study of the course of socialism in the rest of the European states, as well as of the course of socialist power in the Asian countries (China, Vietnam, DPR Korea) and in Cuba is necessary.

The socialist character of the USSR is grounded on the following: the abolition of capitalist relations of production, the existence of socialist ownership to which (despite various contradictions) cooperative ownership is subjugated, central planning, workers’ power and the unprecedented achievements benefiting the whole working people.

These cannot be negated by the fact that, following a certain period, the Party gradually lost its revolutionary characteristics and as a result, counter-revolutionary forces were able to dominate the Party and the government in the 1980s.

We characterize the developments of 1989-1991 as a victory of counter-revolution, as an overthrow of socialist construction, as a social retreat. It is not accidental that these developments were supported by international reaction, that socialist construction, especially during the period of the abolition of capitalist relations and the founding of socialism, up until the Second World War, draws ideological and political fire from international imperialism.

We reject the term “collapse” because it underestimates the extent of counter-revolutionary activity, the social base on which it can develop and predominate due to the weaknesses and deviations of the subjective factor during socialist construction.

The victory of counter-revolution in 1989-1991 does not reveal a lack of the minimal level of development of the material pre-requisites necessary to begin socialist construction in Russia.

Marx noted that mankind does not set itself but the problems that it can solve, because the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution have been born. From the moment that the working class, the main productive force, struggles to carry out its historic mission, even more with the onset of the revolution, the productive forces have developed to the level of conflict with the relations of production, with the capitalist mode of production, in other words, the material prerequisites for socialism, upon which revolutionary conditions were shaped, exist.

Based on the statistical evidence from that period, capitalist relations of production at the monopoly stage of their development predominated in Russia. It was on this material basis that revolutionary power depended for the socialization of the concentrated means of production. [10]

The working class of Russia, especially its industrial segment, founded the Soviets as organizational nuclei for revolutionary action in the struggle to seize state power, under the guidance of the CP (Bolshevik). The Bolshevik Party, under the leadership of Lenin, was theoretically prepared for the socialist revolution: analysis of the Russian society, the theory of the weak link in the imperialist chain, evaluation of the revolutionary situation, the theory for the dictatorship of the proletariat. It showed a characteristic ability in serving its strategy with the corresponding – at each stage of the development of the class struggle – tactics: alliances, slogans, manoeuvring, etc.

However, socialism faced additional specific difficulties, due to the fact that socialist construction began in a country with a lower level of development of the productive forces (medium-weak, as V. I. Lenin characterized it) compared to the advanced capitalist countries[11] and a large degree of uneven distribution of development due to the extensive existence of pre-capitalist relationships.

Socialist construction began following the enormous war destruction of WW I and in the midst of the civil war. Subsequently it faced the immense destruction of WW II, while capitalist powers, like the USA, never experienced war within their borders. In contrast, they used war to overcome the big economic crisis of the 1930s.

The gigantic economic and social development that was accomplished under these conditions proves the superiority of the communist relations of production.

The developments do not confirm the assessments of several opportunist and petit bourgeois currents. Social democratic viewpoints regarding the immaturity of the socialist revolution in Russia have not been confirmed. Trotskyite positions claiming that it was impossible to construct socialism in the USSR were disproved. The viewpoint that the society that emerged after the October Revolution was not socialist in character or that it quickly degenerated after the first years of its existence, and therefore that the interruption of the 70-year course of the history of the USSR was inevitable, is subjective and cannot be backed up by the facts.

We oppose theories that claim that these societies were some sort of “a new exploitative system” or a form of “state capitalism”, as various opportunist currents claim.

Furthermore, the developments do not validate the overall stance of “Maoist” trends regarding socialist construction in the USSR, the characterization of the USSR as social-imperialist, the rapprochement with the USA, as well as the inconsistencies in matters of socialist construction in China (e.g. the recognition of the national bourgeoisie as an ally of socialist construction, etc.).

Our own critical assessment considers as given the defence of the construction of socialism in the USSR and other countries.

10. In studying counter-revolution in the USSR we prioritize the internal factors (without ignoring the influence of external factors), because the counter-revolutionary overthrow did not result from an imperialist military intervention, but rather from within and from the top, through the policies of the CP.

Based on the theory of scientific communism we formulated a study along the following lines:

§ The economy, that is, the developments in the relations of production and distribution in socialism as the basis for the emergence and the resolution of social contradictions and differentiations.
§ The operation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the CP in socialist construction.
§ The strategy and developments in the international communist movement

11. The course of building a new society in the Soviet Union was determined by the ability of the Bolshevik CP to fulfill its revolutionary, guiding role. First and foremost, to process and formulate the requisite revolutionary strategy at each step; to confront opportunism and to provide a decisive response to the new, emergent demands and challenges of developing socialism-communism.

Up until World War II, the base of the new society was created: socialist production based on central planning prevailed and capitalist relations were abolished. The class struggle to abolish the exploiters was being carried out with success; impressive results were achieved concerning the growth of social prosperity.

After World War II, socialist construction entered a new phase. The Party was faced with new demands and challenges regarding the development of socialism-communism. The 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) stands out as a turning point, since at that congress a series of opportunist positions were adopted on economic issues, on the strategy of the communist movement and on international relations. The struggle that was taking place before the congress continued and was then consolidated by a turn in favor of the revisionist-opportunist positions,[12] with the result that the Party gradually began to lose its revolutionary characteristics. In the decade of the 1980s, with perestroika, opportunism fully developed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force. The consistent communist forces that reacted in the final phase of the betrayal, at the 28th CPSU Congress, did not manage in a timely manner to expose it and to organize the revolutionary reaction of the working class.

Assessment of the economy during the course of Socialist construction in the Ussr

12. With the formulation of the first Plan of Central Planning, the following issues already came at the center of the theoretical conflict and political struggle regarding the economy: Is socialist production commodity production? what is the role of the law of value, of commodity-money relations under socialist construction? The discussion and polemics were interrupted by WW II; however they continued and sharpened after the war ended.

We consider as incorrect the theoretical approach that the law of value is a law of motion of the communist mode of production in its first stage. This approach became dominant since the decade of the 1950s in the USSR and in the majority of CPs. This position was strengthened due to the expansion of non-capitalist commodity production, which objectively emerged through the planned passage from pre-capitalist relations in agricultural production to cooperative commodity-money ones.

This material base exacerbated the theoretical shortcomings and weaknesses of the subjective factor in the formulation and implementation of central planning. A theoretical base was created for opportunist policies which weakened central planning, eroded social ownership and strengthened counter-revolutionary forces.

13. The first period of socialist construction up until World War II faced the basic, primary problem of abolishing capitalist ownership and of handling in a planned fashion the social and economic problems that were inherited from capitalism and were exacerbated by the imperialist encirclement and intervention.

From 1917-1940, Soviet power noted achievements for the most part. It carried out the electrification and industrialization of production, the expansion of transport means, and the mechanization of a large part of agricultural production. Planned production was initiated and achieved impressive rates in the development of socialist industrial production. It successfully developed domestic productive capacities in all the industrial branches. Production cooperatives (kolkhoz) and state farms (sovkhoz) were created, and in this way the base for the expansion and the predominance of communist relations in agricultural production was established. The “cultural revolution” was realized. The shaping of a new generation of communist specialists and scientists commenced. The most important achievement is the complete abolition of capitalist relations of production, with the abolition of hired labor power, thus laying the foundation for the development of communism.

14. The implementation of certain “transitional measures”, within the perspective of the complete abolition of capitalist relations, was inevitable in a country like Russia of the years 1917-1921.

The factors that forced the Bolshevik CP to implement a temporary policy to preserve to a certain extent capitalist production relations were: the class composition, where the petit bourgeois agrarian element was in the majority, the lack of a distribution, supply and monitoring mechanism, backward small-sized production and mainly, the dramatic worsening of sustenance and living conditions due to the destruction caused by the civil war and the imperialist intervention. All these factors made the development of medium-term central planning difficult at that point.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) that was implemented following the civil war had the basic goal of restoring industry following the ravages of war and on this base to build in the field of agricultural production relations that would “attract” farmers into the cooperatives. It consituted a policy of temporary concessions to capitalism. A number of companies were given over to capitalists for use (without them having ownership rights over these companies), trade was developed, the exchange between agricultural production and the socialized industry was regulated based on the concept of the “tax in kind”. The possibility was granted to peasants to put on the market the remaining portion of agricultural production.

These maneuverings and temporary concessions to capitalist relations that are demanded under certain circumstances and special conditions are not in any way an inevitable characteristic of the process of socialist construction. The NEP was used in the decade of the 1980s as a cover-up to justify the historic reversal from socialism to capitalism carried out by the policies of Perestroika .

15. The new phase of development of the productive forces at the end of the decade of 1920s allowed the replacement of NEP by the policy of “socialist attack against capitalism” that had as its main goal the complete abolition of capitalist relations. Concessions towards capitalists were withdrawn and the policy of collectivization was developed, that is the complete cooperative organization of the agricultural economy, mainly in its developed form, the kolkhoz[13]. At the same time, the sovkhozes, the state-socialist units in agricultural production that were based on the mechanization of production and whose entire product was social property, were developed (albeit in a limited way)[14].

The first five-year plan began in 1928, 7 years after the victory of revolution (the civil The first five-year plan began in 1928, 7 years after the victory of revolution (the civil war ended in 1921). Soviet power experienced difficulty in formulating a central plan for the socialist economy from the very beginning, mainly due to the continuing existence of capitalist relations (NEP) and an exceptionally large number of individual commodity producers, mainly farmers. Weaknesses were also evident in the subjective factor, the Party, which did not have cadre specialists to guide the organization of production and was thus obliged for a certain time period to depend almost exclusively on bourgeois specialists.

The specific conditions (imperialist encirclement, the threat of war in combination with great backwardness) forced the promotion of collectivization at accelerated rates, which sharpened the class struggle, especially in the rural areas.

Despite the mistakes and certain bureaucratic exaggerations in the development of the collectivization movement in agricultural production, that were in any case noted in Party decisions [15], the orientation of Soviet power for the reinforcement and the generalization of this movement was in the correct direction. It aimed to develop a transitional form of ownership (cooperative) that would contribute to the transformation of small individual commodity production into socialized production.

16. The policy of “socialism’s attack against capitalism” was carried out under conditions of intense class struggle. The kulaks (the bourgeois class in the village), social strata that benefited from the NEP (NEPmen), sections of the intelligentsia who originated from the old exploiting classes; all these reacted in many ways, with actions of sabotage against industry (e.g. the “Shakhty affair”[16]) and counter-revolutionary actions in the villages. These class-based, anti-socialist interests were reflected in the CP, where opportunist currents developed.

The two basic “opposition” tendencies (Trotsky – Bukharin), that operated during that period, had a common base in absolutiizing the element of backwardness in Soviet society and during the decade of the 1930s their views converged as to how the problems of the Soviet economy should be confronted. Their positions were rejected by the AUCP (Bolshevik) and were not confirmed by reality.[17]

Along the way, several opportunist forces united with openly counter-revolutionary forces that were organizing plans to overthrow Soviet power in cooperation with secret services from imperialist countries[18].

The fact that some leading cadre of the Party and of Soviet power spearheaded opportunist currents indicates that it is possible even for vanguard cadre to deviate, to weaken when faced with the sharpness of the class struggle and to finally severe their ties with the communist movement and go on to align themselves with the counter-revolution.

17. Two basic currents developed in the theory and the policies among party cadre and economists. The consistent current of Marxist thought and politics, under the leadership of Stalin, recognized that the law of value was inconsistent with the fundamental laws governing socialist production, which is not commodity production. It argued that: the operation of the law of value (of commodity-money relations) in the USSR had its roots in cooperative and individual agricultural production. The law of value does not regulate socialist production – distribution. The consumer products are produced and consumed as commodities.[19] The means of production are not commodities, despite the fact that they appear as commodities “in form but not in content.” They become commodities only in external trade.[20]

Polemics were waged against “market” economists and political leaders who believed that the products of socialist production are commodities whether they are destined for individual consumption or for the productive process, and maintained that the law of value is generally a law of the socialist economy as well. In this regard characteristic is the rejection of the positions of Voznesensky (head of GOSPLAN)[21] that “the law of value operates not only in the distribution of products, but also in the distribution of labour itself among the different branches of the national economy of the USSR. In this sphere, the state plan utilizes the law of value to guarantee the correct distribution of social labour among the different branches of the economy in the interest of socialism.” [22]

At the same time, due criticism was placed on the economists who supported the complete abolition of allocation in monetary form, without taking into account the objective restrictions imposed by the productive base of society at that time.

In his work, “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR””[23], I.V. Stalin refers, quite correctly, to the fact that under socialism the contradiction between the productive forces that are developing and the relations of production that are lagging behind also manifests itself. He considered that in the USSR cooperative ownership (kolkhoz) and the circulation of products of individual consumption in the form of commodities had begun to act as a brake on the powerful development of the productive forces, because they blocked the complete development of central planning in the full extent of production–allocation. He outlined the differences between the two cooperating classes, the working class and the kolkhoz agrarian class, but also the need to abolish them through the planned abolition of commodification in agricultural production.[24]

The consistent current supported the acceleration of the socialization of agricultural production by the merging of the small kolkhozes into bigger ones [25] and the gradual transformation of the kolkhozes into sovkhozes, with the first step being the allotment of all agricultural production to the state.

Concerning the issue of the conflict relative to the proportions between Subdivision I of social production (production of the means of production) and Subdivision II (production of consumer products), this current supported, correctly, that the main criterion for the planned proportional distribution of labour and of production among the different branches of socialist industry should be the precedence of Subdivision I. Expanded reproduction, socialist accumulation (social wealth) necessary for the future expansion of social prosperity, are are dependent on this category of production (Subdivision I).

A weak point of the revolutionary current was the incomplete interpretation of the relations of distribution, regarding that part of the social product that is distributed in proportion to labour.

18. Following World War II, the discussion on the economy continued and sharpened. A conflict developed around the interpretation of certain problems [26]. We consider as correct the position of the soviet leadership taken at the beginning of the decade of the 1950s, that the problems at the economic level were an expression of the sharpening of the contradiction between the productive forces that were developing and the relations of production that were lagging behind. The development of the productive forces had reached a new level after the post-war reconstruction of the economy. A new dynamic stimulus to the further development of the productive forces demanded a deepening and extension of communist relations. The delay of the later concerned: central planning, the deepening of the communist character of the relations of distribution, a more energetic and conscious workers’ participation in the organization of work and in the control of its administration from the bottom up, the transformation of cooperative relations of ownership (next to which private commodity ownership survived) into social ownership.

The need had matured for communist relations to be expanded, consciously,in a well-planned manner, that is theoretically and politically prepared, and to predominate in those fields of social production where, in the previous period, their full dominance was still not possible (from the point of view of their material maturity, the productivity of labour).

Social resistance (kolkhoz farmers, executives in industry) to this perspective was expressed on an ideological and political level in an internal party struggle. The sharpened debate, which resulted in the theoretical acceptance of the law of value as a law of socialism, signified political choices with more immediate and more powerful consequences on the course of the development of communism, in comparison with the pre-war period, when the material backwardness made the effect of these theoretical positions less painful.

After the 20th Congress of the CPSU, political choices were gradually adopted that widened commodity-money (potentially capitalist) relations, in the name of correcting weaknesses in central planning and the administration of socialist bodies (enterprises).

In order to solve the problems that arose in the economy, ways and means were used that belonged to the past. With the promotion of “market” policies, instead of reinforcing social ownership and central planning, the homogenization of the working class (with the widening of the abilities and possibilities for multi-specialization, for alternation in the technical division of labour), workers’ control and participation in the organization of labour, so that it would begin to develop into communist self-administration, the reverse trend began to develop, with the corresponding effect of course at the level of social consciousness. The previous experience and the effectiveness of the factory soviet, the Stakhanovite movement in quality control, the more effective organization and administration, clever inventions for the conservation of material and work time, were not utilized.

The “market” economists (Lieberman, Nemtsinov, Trapeznikov, etc.) mistakenly interpreted the existing problems of the economy, not as subjective weaknesses in planning[27], but as consequences stemming from the objective weakness of central planning to respond to the development of the volume of production and its new capabilities, to the development of multi-faceted needs.

They claimed that the theoretical cause was the voluntarist denial of the commodity character of production under socialism, the undervaluation of the development of agriculture, the overestimation of the possibility of subjective intervention in economic administration.

They maintained that it was not possible for the central organs to determine quality, technology, the prices of all commodities, and salaries, but that the use of market mechanisms was also necessary in order to facilitate the goals of a planned economy. They argued that the problems of adaptation of the volume and structure of production to the needs of consumption and the problems of inter-branch proportions could be dealt with through the influence of demand and of the prices that are determined based on the law of value.

Gradually, at a theoretical level, theories of “socialist commodity production” or “socialism with a market”, the acceptance of the law of value as a law of the communist mode of production, which operates even in the phase of developed socialist construction, prevailed. These theories constituted the base for the formulation of economic policies.[28]

19. The political weakening of central planning and social ownership came to a climax after the 20th congress. Instead of planning the transformation of the kolkhozes into sovkhozes, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery[29] passed into the ownership of the kolkhoz[30] at a time when their production had developed adequately and when approximetely 10 tractors corresponded to each kolkhoz. The directive that had been promulgated in the early 1950s for the development, on the initiative of the communists, of a broad movement of kolkhoz members for the unification of small kolkhozes into bigger ones, was revised in practice.

In 1957, the branch ministries that directed industrial production in the USSR and at each republic were dissolved and the Organs of Regional Administration “Sovnarkhoz” (Regional Economic Councils) were formed. In this way the central direction of planning was weakened.[31].

These changes not only did not solve the problems, but, on the contrary, they brought new problems to the surface or created additional ones, such as a shortage in animal feed, the abandonment of technological renewal in the kolkhoz.

In the mid 1960s, mistakes of a subjective nature in the administration of the agricultural sector of the economy were pinpointed as the cause of the problems[32].

Subsequent reforms included: The reduction in the quantities given to the state by the kolkhoz[33], the possibility of selling the excess quantities at higher prices, the lifting of the restrictions on the transactions of the kolkhoz households and of the tax on private animal ownership. Debts of the kolkhozes to the State Bank were erased, the deadlines to pay off debt from monetary advancements were extended, the sale of animal feed directly to private animal owners was permitted. Thus, the portion of agricultural production which came from individual households and the kolkhozes and which was sold freely on the market was preserved and increased[34] while the lagging behind of livestock production deepened, the unevenness in the satisfaction of the needs in agricultural products between the various regions and Republics of the USSR increased.

A similar policy of reinforcing the commodity (at the expense of the directly social) character of production was implemented in industry, known as the “Kosygin Reforms”[35], (“The system of self-management of enterprises” – with a substantive and not formal character). It was argued that this would combat the reduction in the annual rate of increase of labour productivity and of annual production, that were observed during the first years of the 1960s, as a result of the measures which undermined central planning in the direction of the industrial sectors (Sovnarkhoz-1957).

The first wave of reforms was launched during the interval between the 23rd (1966) and 24th (1971) Congresses.

According to the New System, the additional remunerations (bonuses) for directors would be calculated not on the basis of the overfulfillement of the production plan in terms of volume of production [36], but rather on the basis of the overfulfillement of the sales plan and would be dependent on the rate of profit of the enterprise.

A part of the additional remuneration of the workers would also come from profit, as would the further satisfaction of housing needs etc. In this way, profit was adopted as a motive for production. The wage differentiations increased.

The possibility was provided for horizontal commodity-money transactions between enterprises, for direct agreements with ‘consumer units and commercial organizations’, for price-fixing, for the formation of profits on the basis of these transactions, etc.

The Central Plan would determine the total level of production and investments only for new enterprises. Modernisation of old enterprises would be financed out of the profits of the enterprises.

This theoretical sliding and the corresponding political retreat in the USSR came during a new phase of a further development of the productive forces, which demanded more effective incentives and indices of central planning and in its sectoral, cross-sectoral and enterprise level implementation. That is, it necessitated a corresponding development of central planning in the direction of strengthening the communist mode of production.

Through the market reforms, through the detachment of the socialist production unit from central planning, the socialist character of ownership over the means of production was weakened. The possibility was created for the violation of the principle of distribution “according to work”.

At the same time, proposals and plans for the use of computers and information technology[37] which could have contributed to the improvement in the technical processing of data, in order to improve the observation and control of production through physical indicators, were rejected.

The 24th CPSU Congress (1971), with its directives on the formulation of the 9th 5-Year plan (1971-1975), reversed the proportional priority of Subdivision I over Subdivision II. The reversal of proportion had been proposed at the 20th Congress, but had not been accepted. The modification was rationalized as a choice reinforcing the level of popular consumption. In reality, it was a choice that violated socialist law and had negative consequences on the growth of labour productivity. The development of labour productivity – a fundamental element for the increase of social wealth, the satisfaction of needs and the all-round development of man – presupposes the development of the means of production. Planning should have dealt with greater efficacy with the following need: the introduction of contemporary technology in industry, in transport services, storage and distribution of products.

This choice to overturn the proportions not only did not help to deal with contradictions that had been expressed (e.g. the excess income in money form and the lack of an adequate amount of consumer goods, such as electronic household appliances, colour TVs ), but distanced central planning from its basic goal (the rise of social prosperity). It further aggravated the contradiction between the level of development of the productive forces and the level of the communist relations of production-distribution.

The period when Andropov was the GS of the CC of the CPSU (November 1982-February 1984), which preceded the period of perestroika, is too brief to be definitively judged. Nevertheless, in articles and documents of the CPSU of this period, references are being made to the need to intensify the struggle against bourgeois and reformist views concerning socialist construction, as well as to the need for vigilance vis-à-vis the sabotage of imperialism.

In the 1980’s, at the political level, the decisions of the 27th Congress (1986) constituted a further opportunist choice. Subsequently, the counterrevolution was also promoted through the passing of the law (1987), which institutionally legitimised capitalist economic relations, under the guise of the acceptance of various forms of ownership.

In the beginning of the 1990’s the social democratic approach of “the planned market economy” (the platform of the CC of the CPSU at the 28th Congress) was speedily abandoned in favour of the position of the “regulated market economy” and this was further replaced by the “free market economy”.

20. The direction which held sway can be judged today not only theoretically, but also by the results. After two decades of the application of these reforms, the problems had clearly sharpened. Stagnation reared its head for the first time in the history of socialist construction. Technological backwardness continued to be a reality for the majority of industries. Shortages appeared in many consumer products, as well as additional problems within the market, because enterprises were causing an artificial rise in prices, by hoarding commodities in warehouses or by supplying them in controlled quantities.

The ever increasing involvement of market elements in the directly social production of socialism was weakening it. It led to a fall in the dynamics of socialist development, strengthened the short-term individual and group interests (with significant income differentials among the workers in each enterprise, between the workers and the managerial mechanism, between different enterprises), against the overall interests of society. In the course of time, the social conditions were created for the counterrevolution to flourish and finally prevail using perestroika as its vehicle.

Through these reforms the possibility was created for monetary amounts which had been accumulated primarily through illegal means (smuggling, etc), to be invested in the “black” (illegal) market. These opportunities concerned primarily officials in the management layers of enterprises and sectors, the cadre of foreign trade. Data regarding the so-called “Para-economy” were also provided by the Procurator General of the USSR. According to these statistics, a significant proportion of the cooperative or state agricultural production was also channelled to the consumers by illegal means.

The income differentiation among the individual agricultural producers, the kolkhozniks, widened, as well as the opposition to the tendency to strengthen the social character of agricultural production. Those agricultural producers who were getting rich were strengthened as a layer of society which was an obstacle to socialist construction.

The social differentiations in industry was even more intense through the concentration of “enterprise profits”. The so-called “shadow capital”, the result not only of enterprise profits, but also of the black market, of criminal acts of embezzlement of the social product, sought a legal functioning as capital in production, i.e. the privatisation of the means of production, the re-establishment of capitalism. The “owners” of this capital formed the driving social force of the counterrevolution. They utilised their position in the state and party mechanisms, the support of sectors of the population which were vulnerable to the influence of bourgeois ideology and to wavering e.g. a significant part of the intelligentsia, sections of the youth, especially students, who for different reasons were dissatisfied [38]. These forces directly or indirectly influenced the Party, strengthening its opportunist erosion and its counterrevolutionary degeneration, which was expressed through the policies of “perestroika” and sought the institutional consolidation of capitalist relations. This was achieved after the perestroika, with the overthrow of socialism.

Conclusions concerning the role of the Communist Party in the process of Socialist construction

21. The indispensable role of the Party in the process of the socialist construction is expressed in its leadership of working class state-power, in the mobilisation of masses to participate in this process.

The working class is formed as the leading force of this new state power, first and foremost through its Party.

The struggle for the development of the new society is carried out by the revolutionary workers’ power with the communist party, which utilises the laws of motion of socialist-communist society, as its guiding nucleus. The human being, becoming the master of the social processes, passes gradually from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom. From this flows the higher role of the subjective factor in relation to all the preceding socio-economic formations, where human activity was dominated by the spontaneous enforcement of social laws based on the spontaneous development of the relations of production.

Consequently, the scientific class nature of the policies of the CP is a crucial precondition for socialist construction. To the extent that these features are lost, opportunism sets in which if it is not dealt with will in time develop into a counterrevolutionary force.

The duty to develop the communist relations of production requires the development of the theory of scientific communism through the utilisation of scientific study by the CP for class oriented purposes, the study of the laws of motion of the communist socio-economic formation. Experience has shown that the governing parties, in the USSR and other socialist states, did not fulfil this task successfully.

Class consciousness in the whole working class does not develop spontaneously or in a unified manner. The rise of the communist consciousness of the masses of the working class is determined above all by the strengthening of the communist relations of production and by the level of working class participation with the leadership of the CP which is the main vehicle for the spread of revolutionary consciousness amongst the masses. Along with this material base, ideological work must become rooted, the impact of the revolutionary party which consolidates its leading role to the extent to which it mobilises the working class to construct socialism.

The consciousness of the vanguard must always be ahead of the consciousness shaped on a mass scale within the working class by the economic relations. From this arises the necessity for the Party to have a high theoretical-ideological level and toughness, to be unwavering in the struggle against opportunism, not only under the conditions of capitalism, but even more so under the conditions of socialist construction.

22. The opportunist turn which held sway since the 1950’s after the 2nd world war, the gradual loss of the revolutionary role of the Party, confirm that the danger of the development of deviations in socialist society never disappears. Beyond the imperialist encirclement and its undoubtedly negative impact, the social basis of opportunism remains as long as forms of private and group ownership remain, as long as commodity-money relations remain, as well as social differentiations. The material basis for opportunism will continue to exist for the entire duration of socialist construction and as long as capitalism, particularly the powerful capitalist states, remain on the Earth.

The new phase after the 2nd world war found the Party weakened ideologically and in class terms, with massive losses of cadre experienced and hardened in the class struggle, with theoretical weaknesses in response to new problems which were sharpening. It was vulnerable to the inner-party struggle which reflected existing social differentiations. Under these conditions the scales tipped in favour of the adoption of opportunist and revisionist positions which had been defeated in previous phases of the inner-party struggle.

The adoption of revisionist and opportunist views by the leadership of the CPSU and other CPs in the end transformed these parties into vehicles which led the counterrevolution in the 1980’s.

The opportunist turn which was carried out at the 20th congress (1956) of the CPSU and the subsequent gradual loss of the revolutionary characteristics of the Party, a governing party which was at the same time the target of imperialist aggression, made the awakening and rallying of consistent communists more difficult. Thus consistent communist forces were not able to reveal the treacherous counterrevolutionary nature of the line which prevailed at the Plenum of the C.C of April 1985 and at the 27th congress of the CPSU (1986) in time. They were not able to rally a visible pole for the defence of socialism, in order to differentiate their position[39] and to clash successfully with the counterrevolutionary forces. A revolutionary communist vanguard, capable of leading the working class, ideologically, politically and organisationally against the developing counterrevolution, was not formed in time.

Even if this development could not have been stopped, especially by the 1980’s, it is certain that resistance, in both the governing parties and within the international communist movement, would have ensured that today’s struggle for the reconstruction of the international movement would be taking place under better conditions, and that there would exist the preconditions for it to overcome its deep crisis.

We do not consider inevitable the speedy development and prevalence of revisionist ideological positions and opportunist policies, the gradual opportunist erosion of the CPSU, and of the other governing C.P.’s, the degeneration of the revolutionary character of state-power. We are investigating all the factors which contributed to this development. We could include the following in a list of contributing factors:

A) The decline in the level of political Marxist education in the leadership of the C.P’s and overall in the Party, because of the specific conditions of the war, the large losses in cadre and the sudden increase in the number of party members, which had among its results the delayed development of the political economy of Socialism.

§ The changes in the class composition of the Party, in its structure and functioning and their impact on the ideological level and the revolutionary characteristics of the Party, its members and cadre need further investigation.

§ The relative dependence which communist state-power in the USSR had from its outset on administrative and scientific cadre of bourgeois origin.
§ The historical inheritance of the USSR from the point of view of the breadth of pre-capitalist backwardness and its uneven capitalist development.
§ The massive losses during the 2nd world war and the sacrifices at the level of social prosperity required by the post-war reconstruction, under the conditions of competition with capitalist reconstruction in Western Europe which was supported to a significant extent by the capacity and the need of the USA to export capital.
§ Problems and contradictions in the assimilation of the countries of eastern and central Europe into the socialist system.
§ The fear of a new war, due to the imperialist interventions in Korea etc, the Cold war, the Hellsteim dogma of West Germany (the non- recognition of the GDR, and its characterization as a «zone of soviet occupation»).

B) The differentiated political intervention of international imperialism, with the support of social democracy, through more flexible trade transactions with certain states of central and eastern Europe among the countries of socialist construction and more direct ideological and political pressure on the USSR.

C) Problems of strategy and the split in the international communist movement

The development of Soviet Power

23. The theoretical foundation for the analysis of the course of Soviet power is that socialist state-power is the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is the state-power of the working class which is not shared with anyone, which is what occurs in all forms of state-power. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the organ of the working class in the class struggle which continues through other means and forms.

The working class, as the bearer of communist relations which are being formed, as the collective owner of the socialised means of production, is the only class which can lead the struggle for the total predominance of communist relations, for the disappearance of classes and the withering away of the state.

Through its revolutionary state-power, the working class as the ruling class will carry out an alliance with other popular strata which are not yet workers in socialised (socialist) production (e.g. the cooperative small owners in the town and countryside, the self-employed in the service sector, scientists-intellectuals and technicians in the administration of production whose background is bourgeois or from the upper-middle strata). Through this alliance, the working class will seek to lead these strata in socialist construction, towards the total predominance of communist relations.

The necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat is also a result of the continuination of class struggle internationally. It will be retained until all social relations become communist, i.e. as long as there is a need for a state to exist as a mechanism of political domination.

24. The political choices concerning the superstructure, the institutions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, workers’ control, etc are closely connected with the political choices at the level of the economy.

An important issue for elucidation is the development of the Soviets as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. In the first Constitution of the RSFSR[40] and in the first Constitution of the USSR in 1924 (as well as in the constitutions of the Republics in 1925), the communist relationship between the masses and the state machine was ensured through the indirect electoral representation of the workers which was carried out with the production unit as the electoral unit. The right to vote was ensured only for working people (not generally for the citizens). The bourgeois class, the landowners, anyone who exploited another’s labour, priests and monks, counterrevolutionary elements were denied the right to vote. The concessions to the capitalists in the NEP period did not include political rights.

In the constitution of 1936 direct electoral representation was established through geographical electoral wards (the region became the electoral unit and representation was proportional to the number of inhabitants). The carrying out of elections in general assemblies was abolished, replaced by these electoral wards. The right to vote was granted to all via the generalized secret ballot.

The changes in the constitution of 1936 aimed at solving certain problems[41], such as the lack of direct communication of party and soviet officials with the base, the functioning of the Soviets, bureaucratic phenomena etc, and also at stabilising soviet power in the face of the coming war.

The downgrading of the production unit as the pillar of the organisation of working class state-power (due to the abolition of the indirect election of delegates through congresses and general assemblies) must be studied further. Its negative impact on the class composition of the higher state organs and on the application of the right of recall of delegates (which according to Lenin constitutes a basic element of democracy in the dictatorship of the proletariat) must also be studied.

25. After the 20th Congress (1956) the powers of the local soviets were strengthened on questions which concerned the “self-management” and “self-sufficiency” of socialist enterprises. In this way, democratic centralism on the political level retreated to bring it to par with the retreat of central planning on the economic level. Measures were taken which strengthened the “permanence” of officials in the soviets, through the gradual increase of the terms of office of their organs and an increase of the possibility for the exemption of delegates from their duties in production.

At the 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) non-objective assessments concerning “developed socialism” and the “end of class struggle” were adopted. In the name of “non-antagonistic contradictions” between social classes and groups, the position that the USSR was an “all-peoples’ state” (consolidated in the constitutional revision of 1977) and the CPSU an “all-peoples’ party” was adopted.

This development contributed to the altering of the characteristics of the revolutionary workers’ state, the degeneration of the class composition of the Party and its cadre, the loss of revolutionary vigilance, which was theorised with the thesis for the “irreversibility” of socialist construction.

Through perestroika and the reform of the political system in 1988, the Soviet system degenerated into a bourgeois organ.

26. Practical experience reveals the gradual distancing of the masses from participation in the soviet system, which by the 1980s had a purely formal character. This distancing cannot be attributed exclusively or primarily to the changes in the functioning of the soviets, but to the social differentiations which were strengthened by the economic policies, to the sharpening of contradictions between individual and group interests on the one hand, and on the other the collective social interest.

As long as the leadership of the CPSU adopted policies which weakened the social character of ownership and strengthened narrow individual and group interests, a feeling of alienation from social ownership was created and consciousness was eroded. The road to passivity, indifference and individualism was opened, as reality was becoming more and more removed from the official pronouncements, as the levels of industrial and agricultural production fell, and thus the ability to satisfy the increasing social needs also fell. Thus, the criteria of workers’ control degenerated or took on a purely formal character.

The working class, the popular masses in general, did not turn their backs on socialism. It is notable that the slogans used during perestroika were “revolution within the revolution”, “more democracy”, “more socialism”, because a large section of the people, who saw the problems, wanted changes within the framework of socialism. For this reason the measures which initially weakened communist relations and strengthened commodity-money relations, and those which later paved the way for the return of private ownership over the means of production were promoted as measures to strengthen socialism.

An issue which needs specific future comparative study are the forms of organisation of workers’ participation, their rights and duties, in different periods of soviet power- the Workers’ Committees[42], in Lenin’s time, the Stakhanovite movement, in opposition to the “self-management councils” under Gorbachev- in relation to central planning and the realisation of the social character of ownership of the means of production.

As part of the study of socialist construction in other countries of Europe and Asia, there should be included the following : How the form of working class state-power was expressed in the People’s Democracies, the alliance of the working class with the petit bourgeois strata and the struggle between them. The bourgeois nationalist influences in certain policies of C.P’s in power e.g. CPC, the Union of Yugoslav Communists. How the unification after 1945 with sections of social democracy affected the character of the C.P’s in power e.g. the Polish United Workers’ Party, the Socialist Unity Party in Germany, the CP of Czechoslovakia, the Hungarian Workers’ party.

Developments in the International Communist Movement and its strategy

27. In the class struggle worldwide and in the shaping of the balance of forces, the developments in the international communist movement, and questions of its strategy played a serious role[43]. Problems of ideological and strategic unity were expressed during the entire course of the Communist International (CI), which related to the nature of the revolution, the character of the coming war[44]. The opportunist groups in the CP of the Bolsheviks (Trotskyists – Bukharinites) were connected to the struggle which developed within the CI concerning the strategy of the international communist movement.

At the end of the 1920s, Bukharin, as President of the CI, supported forces in the C.P’s and the CI which overemphasised the “stabilisation of capitalism” and the unlikelihood of a new revolutionary upsurge, and expressed a spirit of compromise with social democracy, especially its “left wing”, etc.

The weakening of the functioning of the CI as a united centre had appeared many years before its dissolution (May 1943)[45]. A negative development for the international movement was the lack of a centre for the coordinated elaboration of a revolutionary strategy for the transformation of the struggle against imperialist war or foreign occupation into a struggle for state-power, as a common duty which concerned each CP in the conditions of its own country[46].

Notwithstanding the factors which led to the dissolution of the CI, there is an objective need for the international communist movement to form a unified revolutionary strategy, to plan and coordinate its activity.

A deeper study concerning the dissolution of the CI must take into consideration a series of developments [47], such as : the cessation of the activity of the Red Trade union International, in 1937, because the majority of its sections merged with the mass reformist unions, or joined these unions. The decision of the 6th Congress of the Communist International of Youth (1935), according to which the struggle against fascism and war demanded a change in the character of the communist youth unions, which led in some cases to the unification of communist youth organisations with socialist youths (e.g. in Spain, in Lithuania etc).

While the war led to a further sharpening of the class contradictions inside many countries, the antifascist struggle led to the overthrow of bourgeois power, with the critical support of the people’s movements by the Red Army, only in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

In the capitalist West, the C.P’s did not elaborate a strategy for the transformation of the imperialist war or the national liberation struggle into a struggle for the capture of state-power. The strategy of the communist movement did not utilise the fact that the contradiction between capital and labour was an integral feature of the antifascist-national liberation struggle in many countries, in order to raise the question of state-power, since socialism and the prospect of communism are the only alternative solution to capitalist barbarity. There was a retreat from the thesis that between capitalism and socialism there is no intermediate social system, and thus no intermediate political power between bourgeois and working class state-power.

This thesis holds true, irrespective of the balance of forces, independently of the problems which can act as a catalyst for the speeding up of the developments e.g. the sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions, imperialist war, changes in the form of bourgeois state power which can take place.

28. After the end of the 2nd World War the alliances were realigned. The capitalist states and the bourgeois and opportunist forces which participated in the national liberation struggle in each country (e.g. social democratic forces) united against the communist movement and the states undergoing socialist construction.

In these conditions the negative results of the increased opportunist erosion of some sections of the international communist movement became even more clear. The lack of an organisational connection between the CPs, after the dissolution of the CI, and the seriously damaged ideological unity did not allow the formulation of a unified strategy of the international communist movement against the strategy of international imperialism.

The COMINFORM, which was established in 1947[48] and was dissolved in 1956, as well as the international meetings of C.P’s which followed, could not adequately deal with these problems.

The international imperialist system remained strong after the war, despite the undoubted strengthening of the forces of socialism. Immediately after the end of the war, imperialism, under the hegemony of the USA, began the Cold War. It was carefully elaborated strategy of undermining the socialist system.

The “Cold War” included the organization of psychological warfare, the intensification of military spending to exhaust the USSR economically, networks of subversion and erosion of the socialist system from within, open provocations and the incitement of counterrevolutionary developments (e.g. in Yugoslavia 1947-48, in the GDR 1953, in Hungary in 1956, in Czechoslovakia in 1968 etc). A differentiated economic and diplomatic strategy was followed vis-a-vis the new socialist states in order to break their alliance with the USSR, to strengthen the conditions for their opportunist corruption. At the same time, the imperialist system, with the USA at its head, created a series of military, political, economic alliances and international lending organisations (NATO, EC, IMF, World Bank, international trade agreements), which ensured the coordination of capitalist states, and settled some of the contradictions amongst them, in order to serve the common strategic goal of a suffocating pressure on the socialist system. They organised imperialist interventions, systematic and multi-faceted provocations and anti-communist campaigns. They used the most up-to-date ideological weapons to manipulate the peoples, to create a hostile climate against the socialist states and the communist movement in general. They utilised the opportunist deviations and the problems of ideological unity of the communist movement. They supported economically, politically, and morally every form of discontent or disagreement with the CPSU and the USSR. They made billions of dollars available from their state budgets for this purpose.

29. The line of “peaceful co-existence”, as was developed in the post 2nd world war period, to some extent at the 19th Congress (October 1952)[49] and fully at the 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956)[50], acknowledged the imperialist barbarity and aggression of the USA and Britain, and of certain sections of the bourgeoisie and its respective political forces in the western European capitalist states, but not as an integral element of monopoly capitalism, of imperialism. In this way, it allowed the development of utopian views, such as that it is possible for imperialism to accept in the long term the co-existence with forces that have broken its worldwide domination. Since the 20th Congress of the CPSU, this notion was also linked to the possibility of a parliamentary transition to socialism in Europe.

Both sections of the communist movement (in power or not) overestimated the strength of the socialist system and underestimated the dynamic of the post-war reconstruction of capitalism. At the same time, the crisis in the international communist movement, which was initially expressed with the rupture of relations between the CPSU and the CPC and later with the creation of the current known as “Euro-communism”, deepened.

In Western Europe in the ranks of many CPs, under the pretext of the national peculiarities of each country, the opportunist current known as Euro-communism held sway – which denied the scientific laws of the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary struggle in general. It adopted the “parliamentary road” to socialism, that is a reformist social democratic strategy. In general, the view that social democracy was separated into a “left” and a “right” wing was dominant in the C.P’s, weakening the ideological struggle against it. In the name of the unity of the working class, the C.P’s made a series of ideological and political concessions, while the statements concerning unity from the side of social democracy did not aim at the overthrow of the capitalist system, but at the removal of the working class from the influence of communist ideas and its alienation as a class.

The stance of many CPs in relation to social democracy was part of the strategy of the “anti-monopoly government”, a sort of stage between socialism and capitalism, which also found expression in governments which managed capitalism in alliance with social democracy. This strategy was initially based on the assessment that there was a relationship of “subordination and dependency” of every capitalist country from the USA[51]. Nevertheless, it was adopted even by the CPUSA, in the country which was at the top of the imperialist pyramid.

This strategy held sway especially after the 20th congress of the CPSU (1956) and its thesis concerning “a variety of forms of transition to socialism, under certain conditions”. This thesis was essentiallly a revision of the lessons of the soviet revolutionary experience. The united strategy of capitalism against the socialist states and the labour movement in the capitalist countries was underestimated. The contradictions between the capitalist countries, which of course contained the element of dependency, as is inevitable within the imperialist pyramid, were not correctly analysed. Thus, C.Ps chose a policy of alliances that included bourgeois forces, those defined as “nationally thinking” as opposed to those which were servants of foreign imperialism. Such views held sway as well in that section of the communist movement which after 1960 oriented itself towards the CP of China.

The mutual interaction of contemporary opportunism between the CPs of the capitalist countries and the governing CPs was strengthened in the conditions of the fear of a nuclear strike against the socialist countries, the sharpening of class struggle inside the socialist states (central and eastern Europe) and new imperialist wars (Vietnam, Korea). The flexible tactics of imperialism had an impact on the development of opportunism in the CPs of the socialist states, on the undermining of socialist construction, and of the revolutionary struggle in capitalist Europe and worldwide. Thus, directly and indirectly, imperialist pressure on the socialist states was strengthened.

Assessment of the stance of Kke

30. The 14th Congress of the KKE (1991) and the National Conference (1995) exercised self-criticism concerning the following: we did not avoid as a party the idealisation of socialism, as it was constructed in the 20th century. We underestimated the problems which we observed, attributing them mainly to objective factors. We justified them as problems in the development of socialism, something which has proven not to correspond to reality.

Our ability to arrive at the correct conclusions was restricted by the fact that our Party did not pay the necessary attention to the need to acquire theoretical sufficiency, to promote the creative study and assimilation of our theory, to utilise the rich experience of the class and revolutionary struggle, to contribute with its own forces to the creative development of ideological and political theses based on the developing conditions. To a great extent, as a party, we adopted mistaken theoretical assessments and political choices of the CPSU.

We adapted to and tolerated the formality of the relations which appeared between the communist parties, the uncritical adoption of theses of the CPSU concerning questions of theory and ideology. From our experience the conclusion emerges that the respect for the experience of other parties must be combined with an objective judgement of their policies and practices, with comradely criticism concerning mistakes and with opposition to deviations.

The conference of 1995 criticised the fact that our party accepted uncritically the policy of Perestroika, assessing it as a reform policy which would benefit socialism. This fact reflected the strengthening of opportunism within the ranks of the Party in this period.

This critical treatment of the stance of the KKE vis-à-vis socialist construction does not denigrate the fact that our Party throughout its history, true to its internationalist character, defended the process of socialist construction in the 20th century, with the lives of thousands of its members and cadre. It militantly propagandised the contribution of socialism. The defence of the contribution of socialism in the 20th century was and is the conscious choice of our Party in the past and today after the negative developments.

The KKE did not join the side of those forces who, originating in the communist movement and in the name of criticism of the USSR and the other countries, were led to the denial of the socialist character of these countries, to the adoption of the propaganda of imperialism; neither did it revise its defence of socialism, despite its weaknesses.

D. The necessity and relevance of Socialism. Enrichment of our programmatic conception of Socialism
The Necessity and Relevance of Socialism

31. The programme of the Party states: “The counterrevolutionary overthrows do not change the character of the epoch. The 21st century will be the century of a new upsurge of the world revolutionary movement and of a new series of social revolutions”.

The struggles which are restricted to defending some gains, despite the fact that they are necessary, cannot provide real solutions. The only way out and the inevitable perspective remains socialism, despite the defeat at the end of the 20th century.

The necessity of socialism emerges from the sharpening of the contradictions of the contemporary capitalist world, of the imperialist system. It flows from the fact that in the imperialist stage of development of capitalism, which is characterised by the domination of the monopolies, the material conditions that necessitate the transition to a superior socio-economic system have fully matured. Capitalism has socialised production to an unprecedented level. However, the means of production, the products of social labour constitute private, capitalist property. This contradiction is the source of all the crisis phenomena of contemporary capitalist societies: unemployment and poverty, which reach explosive levels during economic crises, the extended daily working time despite the increase of labour productivity, the failure to satisfy the contemporary social needs for education and professional specialisation, for healthcare based on the modern scientific and technological breakthroughs, the provocative destruction of the environment with severe consequences for public health and the health of the workers, the lack of protection from natural disasters despite the new technological possibilities, the destruction of imperialist wars, the drug trade and trade in human organs, etc.

At the same time, these contradictions in capitalism point to the way out: The adjustment of the relations of production to match the level of development of the productive forces. The abolition of private ownership of the means of production, starting with the most concentrated, their socialisation, their planned use in social production with the aim of satisfying social needs. Central planning of the economy by the revolutionary working class state-power, workers’ control. The socialist aim is realistic, because it is rooted in the development of capitalism itself. Its realisation is not dependent on the balance of forces, the conditions under which revolutionary action develops and which can speed up or slow down developments.

The victory of the socialist revolution, initially in one country or in a group of countries, springs from the operation of the law of uneven economic and political development of capitalism[52]. The conditions for socialist revolution do not mature simultaneously worldwide. The imperialist chain will break at its weakest link.
The specific “national” duty of each CP is the realisation of the socialist revolution and the socialist construction in its country, as a part of the world revolutionary process. This will contribute to the creation of a “fully consummated socialism” within the framework of the “revolutionary collaboration of the proletarians of all countries”[53].

The Leninist thesis concerning the weak link does not overlook the dialectic relationship of the national with the international in the revolutionary process, which is expressed by the fact that the passage to the highest phase of communism requires the worldwide victory of socialism, or at least, its victory in the developed and dominant countries in the imperialist system.

Enrichment of our programmatic conception concerning Socialism

32. The degree of maturation of the material preconditions for socialism differs between the various capitalist societies as a result of the law of unequal development of capitalism. The basic yardstick for the development of capitalist relations is the extent and concentration of salaried labour.

Under the conditions of imperialism, the relative capitalist backwardness can flame a sudden sharpening of contradictions, hence a revolutionary crisis and the possibility of victory. However, the degree of socio-economic backwardness will correspondingly make more difficult the future socialist construction, the struggle of the new against the old. The speed of socialist construction is influenced by what it inherits[54].

Whatever the case, the level of the capitalist past that the revolutionary workers’ power inherits does not justify the questioning of the basic laws of socialist revolution and construction. These laws have general applicability in all capitalist countries, irrespective of their historically conditioned peculiarities which undoubtedly existed during the course of socialist construction in the 20th century and will definitely exist during a future socialist construction.

33. The 15th Congress of the KKE defined the coming revolution in Greece as socialist. It also defined the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly and democratic character of the Front as the alliance of the working class with the other popular strata. The subsequent Congresses, especially the 16th, enriched the programmatic content of the Front.

In the Programme of the KKE our basic theses concerning socialism have been expressed, which today we can enrich, utilising the conclusions concerning socialist construction in the USSR during the 20th century [55] based on the Marxist-Leninist theses which were developed in the 2nd chapter.

34. The high level of monopolisation, especially in recent years, is the material pre-condition for the socialisation of the means of production in industry, trade and tourism, so that the wealth which is produced can become social property. Every form of private-business activity in the areas of health, welfare, social security and education should be immediately abolished.

Social ownership and central planning will create the possibility for the disappearance of unemployment.

Central planning of the economy based on the social ownership of the concentrated means of production is a communist relation of production. The state plans will cover long-term, intermediate and short term goals in the planning of socialist construction and social prosperity.

The implementation of central planning will be organised by sector, through a single unified state authority, with regional and industry-level branches. Planning will be based on a totality of goals and criteria such as:

§ In energy: the development of infrastructure to meet the needs of centrally planned production, the reduction of the level of energy dependency of the country, the safeguarding of adequate and cheap popular consumption, the safety of workers of the sector, and of residential areas, the protection of public health and the environment. In this direction, energy policies will have the following pillars; the utilisation of all domestic energy sources (lignite, hydro-electric, wind etc), systematic research and discovery of new sources, the pursuit of mutually beneficial interstate collaborations.
§ In transport priority will be given to mass rather than individual transport, to rail transport on the mainland of the country. All forms of transport will be planned with the criterion of being interlinked and complementary and with the goals of cheap and fast movement of people and goods, the saving of energy and the protection of the environment, the planned development and the obliteration of uneven regional development, the full control of national security and defence. Precondition for the realisation of these goals in the development of transport is the planning of the relevant infrastructure-ports, airports, railway stations, roads- and of an industry for the production of means of transportation. The same applies to telecommunications, the processing of raw materials, to manufacturing, especially machine-production, with the aim of a self-reliant economy (to the extent possible), reducing the dependence on external trade and transactions with capitalist economies in these crucial sectors.
§ The land will be socialised, as will the large capitalist agricultural businesses. State productive units for the production and processing of agricultural products as raw materials or as articles of consumption will be set up.
§ Productive cooperatives will be promoted in small agricultural production and in small commodity production in the cities. Productive cooperatives will create the preconditions for the extension of communist relations in all sectors of the economy through the concentration of small commodity production, its organisation, the division of labour inside the cooperatives, the increase in labour productivity, and the utilisation of new technology. A system for the distribution of cooperative products through state and cooperative shops will be created. Central planning will determine the proportions between the product that is distributed through the cooperative market (and their prices) and the product that is distributed through the state mechanism. The aim is that eventually all the produce of the cooperatives will be distributed through a unified state mechanism.
§ The productive cooperatives are linked to the central planning through set production targets and plans for the consumption of raw materials, energy, new machines and services.
§ The new achievements in technology and science will be used with the aim of reducing labour time, the increase of free time which can be used for the upgrading of the educational-cultural level of the workers, for the real ability of the workers to participate in the control of the management, and the institutions of state-power.
§ Scientific research will be organised by state institutions – higher education bodies, institutes etc- and will serve central planning, the administration of social production, in order to develop social prosperity

35. A part of the social product will be distributed according to need through public and free services- healthcare, education, social security, leisure, protection of children and the aged, as well as through cheap (and in some cases free) transport, telecommunications services, energy and water supply for popular consumption etc.

A state social infrastructure will be created which will provide high quality social services in order to meet needs which today are paid for by the income of the individual or the family (e.g. restaurants in the workplace, in schools).

All children of pre-school age will be provided with free, public and compulsory pre-school education.

The free, public, general and basic 12-year school education will be ensured for all through a school with a unified structure, programme, administration and functioning, technical infrastructure, trained specialised staff.

Exclusively public and free professional education will be ensured after the completion of the compulsory basic education.

Through a unified system of free public higher education, scientific personnel will be formed, capable of teaching in the educational institutions and of providing the specialised staff in areas of research, socialised production and state services.

An exclusively free and public health and welfare system will be established. The directly social production (socialised means of production, central planning, workers’ control) creates the material basis, so that a developing socialist economy – in accordance with its level of development- can ensure equally, for every member of society, the conditions for health care and welfare as social goods. They are provided as a precondition for physical and psychological wellbeing, the intellectual and cultural development of every person, which depend on the living and working conditions, the overall environmental and social conditions affecting each person’s ability for labour and social activity.

36. With the creation and implementation of the first state plan, the operation of commodity-money relations will already be restricted. Their continual restriction, with the prospect of their complete disappearance, is linked with the planned extension of communist relations in the whole of production and distribution, with the expansion of social services to satisfy an ever larger part of the needs of individual consumption. Money gradually loses its content as a form of value, its function as a means of commodity exchange and is transformed into a form of certification of labour carried out, so that workers can have access to the section of the social product which is distributed in accordance to their labour.

Access to these products is determined by the individual’s labour contribution within the framework of the whole of socially useful labour. The measure of an individual’s contribution is labour time, which is determined by the Plan in accordance with the following: the overall needs of social production, (e.g. the transfer of labour force to specific regions, or priority industries), other special social needs (e.g. maternity, individuals with special needs), the vanguard stance in the organization and execution of labour.

Each policy in the formation of the working “wage” is shaped based on the above principles. Whatever deviations exist, as an inherited differentiation on the basis of “value” determinations (which reduce complex and specialized labour into simple labour), will be dealt with in a planned way, giving priority to raising the income of the lowest paid sections of the workers.

Central planning aims, in the medium and long term, to develop in a generalized way the ability of the workers to perform specialised labour, as well as shifts in the technical division of labour, to achieve the generalised development of labour productivity and the reduction of labour time.

The role and the function of the Central Bank will change. The regulation of the function of money, as a means of commodity circulation, will be restricted to the exchange between socialist production and the production of agricultural cooperatives, in general the commodity production of certain consumer goods, until the final disappearance of commodity production. On this basis, the respective functions of certain specialised state credit organisms for agricultural and other productive cooperatives and certain small producers, will be controlled.

The same will hold true for international-interstate transactions (trade, tourism), as long as capitalist states exist on earth. Consequently, as a department of state planning it will regulate gold reserves or reserves of other commodities which operate as world money.

The new role of the Central Bank in the exercise of general social accounting will be shaped and it will be connected with the organs and goals of central planning.

37. Socialist construction is not compatible with participation of a country in imperialist formations, such as the EU and NATO. Revolutionary state-power, in accordance with the international and regional situation, will seek to develop inter-state relations, with mutual benefit, between Greece and other countries, especially with countries whose level of development, problems and immediate interests can ensure such a beneficial cooperation. The socialist state will seek cooperation with countries and peoples who have objectively a direct interest in resisting the economic, political and military centres of imperialism, and above all with other peoples who are constructing socialism. It will seek to use every available rupture which might exist in the imperialist front due to inter-imperialist contradictions, in order to defend and strengthen the revolution and socialism. A socialist Greece, loyal to the principles of proletarian internationalism, will be, to the extent of its capacities, a bulwark for the world anti-imperialist, revolutionary and communist movement.

38. Revolutionary working class state power, the dictatorship of the proletariat, has a duty to obstruct the attempts of the bourgeois class and international reaction to restore the rule of capital. It has a duty to create a new society, with abolition of the exploitation of man by man. Its functions-organizational, cultural, political, educational and defensive – will be guided by the Party. It will express a higher form of democracy, with the energetic participation of the working class, of the people, in solving the basic problems in the construction of socialist society and in the control over state-power and its organs, being its basic characteristic. It is an organ of the class struggle of the working class, which continues through other forms and under new conditions.

Democratic centralism is a fundamental principle in the formation and functioning of the socialist state, in the development of socialist democracy, in the administration of the productive unit, of every social service.

The revolutionary workers’ power will be based on the institutions that will be born by the revolutionary struggle of the working class and its allies. The bourgeois parliamentary institutions will be replaced by the new institutions of workers’ power.

The nuclei of working class state-power will be the units of production, workplaces, through which working class and social control of the administration will be exercised. The workers’ representatives to the organs of state-power will be elected (and if necessary recalled) from these “communities of production”. The exercise of workers’ and social control will be institutionalised and safeguarded in practice, as will the unhindered criticism of decisions and manoeuvres which obstruct socialist construction, the unhindered denunciation of subjective arbitrariness and bureaucratic behaviour of officials, and other negative phenomena and deviations from socialist-communist principles.

The representation of the cooperative farmers and small commodity producers safeguards their alliance with the working class. The composition of the highest organs is made up of delegates elected from the lower ones through corresponding bodies. It will be ensured that the majority of the representatives to these organs will made up of workers from the units of socialist production and the public social services.

The highest organ of state-power is a working body- it both legislates and governs at the same time- and within its framework the allocation of executive and legislative authorities is made. It is not a parliament, the representatives are not permanent, they can be recalled, they are not cut off from production, but are on secondment from their work for the duration of their term, according to the requirements of their functions as representatives and have no special economic benefit from their participation in the organs of state-power. From the highest body, the government, the heads of the various executive authorities (ministries, administrations, committees etc) are chosen.

A revolutionary constitution and revolutionary legislation will be enacted, which will be in accordance to the new social relations-social ownership, central planning, workers’ control- and which defend revolutionary legality. On this basis, Labour law, Family law and all the legal consolidation of the new social relations will be shaped. A new judicial system will be formed, which will be based on revolutionary popular institutions for the bestowal of justice. The new judicial authorities will be under the direct supervision of the organs of state-power. The judicial corps will be made up of elected and recallable people’s lay judges, as well as of permanent staff, answerable to the institutions of working class state power.

Among the duties of revolutionary working class state power will be the radical overhaul of that section of the administrative mechanism of the bourgeois state which unavoidably will be inherited during the first phase of socialism. Working time, the rights and duties of the workers will be regulated according to revolutionary law. The party’s leadership, without any privileges, will safeguard the revolutionary transformation of the public administration.

The new organs of revolutionary security and defence will be based on the participation of he workers and the people, and also it will have permanent specialised staff.

In the place of the bourgeois army and security mechanisms, which will have been completely dissolved, new institutions will be created, based on the armed revolutionary struggle for the destruction of the resistance of the exploiters and for the defence of the revolution.

The direct control of the army and of the forces for the defence of the revolution by the working class state-power will be ensured. Theri cadre will be created on the basis of their stance vis-à-vis the revolution. Gradually, via new military schools, a new corps will be created mainly out of youth from working class background. It will be educated in the principles of the new state-power. The positive experience of socialist construction will be utilised, where the duties for the defence of the revolution were not only carried out by special permanent forces, but also with the responsibility of the people through workers’ committees etc.

39. The KKE, as the vanguard of the working class, has a duty to lead the struggle for the full transformation of all social relations into communist ones.

The vanguard revolutionary role of the Party is consolidated through the constant effort to deepen and develop its understanding of Marxism-Leninism, scientific communism, with the assimilation of contemporary scientific achievements and the class-based understanding of the problems which rear their heads during the development of the communist socio-economic formation.

In every phase it is important to guarantee the proletarian composition of the party, as socialist society is not homogenous and has social contradictions.

The vanguard revolutionary and leading role of the party is borne out by its ability to activate the participation of he workers and workers’ control, above all in the productive unit (workplace) and in the social services, in order for the working class to develop into the subject of communist self-management.

The role of the Party is not simply ideological-educational. It is the party of the class which has state power. The leading role of the Party in the exercise of state power is a decisive duty. Consequently, the CP must have a direct organizational relationship with all the structures of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It must be concerned with all the important political questions which have to do with the exercise of state-power; it must mobilize the working class in the control of state-power and the administration of production. It is obliged to give the strategic direction, without being sidetracked by secondary issues.

Epilogue

Our Party will continue study and research, towards a better codification of our conclusions, including issues which have not been fully dealt with. Equally important is the assimilation of our present elaborations on socialism-communism by all the members of the Party and the Communist Youth.

It is this duty that will determine the ability of the Party to fully connect its strategy with the everyday struggle, to formulate goals for the immediate problems of the working people in connection with the strategy for the conquest of revolutionary workers’ power and for socialist construction

The CC of KKE
19th of October 2008

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[1] The Economic School, University of Lomonosov, Moscow. “Political Economy”, Vol. 5, Gutenberg Press, 1980, p. 604-605.

[2] The Economic School, University of Lomonosov, Moscow. “Political Economy”, Vol. 4, Gutenberg Press, 1980, p. 604-605.

[3] The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, Vol 31, p. 340, refers to the law with the title, “Principles of Workplace Legislation in the USSR and the United Republics”

[4] Capitalist relations of production, as a historically new form of exploitation of man by man, with the relation of wage labour-capital, appeared and were extended in the second half of the 14th century in the cities of northern Italy (e.g. Genoa, Venice, etc.) However, for a variety of reasons, they could not pass to a higher level of development and become dominant, which had as a result a return to feudal relations. The development of capitalist relations later in England and in Holland in the 16th century brought the bourgeoisie to the forefront and led to a series of bourgeois revolutions until, finally, through a process of conflict and compromise with the feudal classes, it was able to establish itself in the 19th century. In the “History of the World” of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Vol. C2, p. 943-983, the course of the extension of capitalist relations in the cities of northern Italy is described in detail, as well as the process of their decay and overthrow, that led to the return and dominance of feudal relations. A characteristic revealing the extent that capitalist relations had reached in Italian cities was that harsh class conflicts, including uprisings and strikes, took place between hired laborers and bourgeois artisans, merchants and bankers. One characteristic event concerns the case of the uprising of 4,000 workers in textile manufacturing shops in Florence in 1343. In the 15th century the manufacturing industry was restricted and the rich city residents transferred funds into agricultural activities. One key fact that reveals the retreat of capitalist relations is that, while in the 13th century, in certain cities serfdom had been abolished or relaxed, in the second half of the 15th century a return to it took place. (Vol. C2, p. 962-964)

[5] V.I. Lenin, Collected Works, SE, Athens, Vol 39, p. 15.

[6] K. Marx, “Capital”, Volume 1, pg. 91-92

[7] K Marx, “Criticism of the Gotha Programme”, Synchroni Epochi, Publications, p. 21, 22, 23 and Fr. Engels, “Anti-Duhring”, Synchroni Epochi Publications, 2006, p. 328, 323, 330.

[8] K. Marx, “Capital”, Synchroni Epochi Publications, V. 1, p 91-92.

[9] K. Marx, “Capital”, Synchroni Epochi Publications, Volume 2, pg. 357.

[10] On the eve of World War I there was an important for that time growth and concentration of the working class in Russia: it was estimated that the total number of workers was 15 million, of which 4 million were workers in industry and railroads. In addition, it was estimated that 56.6% of industrial workers was concentrated in large industries with more than 500 workers. Russia was 5th in the world and 4th in Europe in terms of its share in the volume of international industrial production. Of course, the rise of industrial production had begun at the end of the first decade of the 20th century. The branches of means of production increased their production by 83% during the period 1909-1913 (average increase 13%). However, large capitalist industry was concentrated in six areas: Central, N-W (Petrograd), Baltic, South, Poland, Urals, which accounted for about 79% of industrial workers and 75% of industrial production. The profound unevenness that characterized the economy of the Russian Empire on the eve of WW I is imprinted in statistical data from that era, despite their various flaws. The working class was nearly 20% of the total population (depending on the source it was variably sited from 17%-19.5%). Small commodity producers (peasants, artisans, etc) accounted for 66.7% and the exploiting classes 16.3%, out of which 12.3% were kulaks. National Academy of Sciences of USSR, “Political Economy”, Cypraiou Publications, 1960, p.542 and “The Great Soviet Encyclopedia” Vol. 31, p.183-185.

[11] In 1913 the per capita GNP of Russia was 11.5% that of the USA. Approximately 2/3 of the population was illiterate.

[12] As it can be deduced from the history of the CPSU, there was a sharp struggle in the Presidium of the CC in June 1957, one year after the 20th Congress. The members of the Presidium of the C.C, Malenkov, Kaganovitch, Molotov, opposed the line of the 20th Congress on both internal and external policies: against expansion of the rights of the union republics in economic and cultural construction, against measures restricting the state mechanism and reorganizing the Department of Industry and Reconstruction, against the measure of increasing material incentives for the Kolkhoz farmers, against the abolition of obligatory handing over of agricultural products by the individual households of the kolkhozniks. Molotov also opposed the branching out to virgin lands. All three took a stand against the international political line of the party. Finally, Malenkov, Kaganovitch, Molotov and Shepilov were stripped of their rank in the CC and the Presidium of the CC at the Plenary Session of the C.C in June. Bulganin was given a severe reprimand with a warning. Other members were penalized. Pervukhin was downgraded from regular to substitute member of the Presidium of the CC, Saburov was removed as substitute member of the Presidium. In October 1957, the Presidium and the Secretariat were enlarged with new members. “History of the CPSU”, Political and Literary Editions, 1960, pgs. 861-865

[13] An orientation that was laid out in the 15th Congress (1927). The AUCP (b) gave weight to the rise in productivity of small and medium-sized households and in providing technology and equipment. The nationalization of land did not come in conflict with the rights of land-usage of small and medium peasants. It benefited the small agricultural household and the forms of cooperation of the scattered agricultural households from the most simple, the “companionships”, up to the “artel”. The position concerning the small agricultural household, the small production, was one of aid, not struggle. It rejected the destruction of lower forms of organization of production in the name of larger ones. At the same time, the advantages of the kolkhoz and the sovhoz were projected. In parallel, it aimed to defeat certain sections of the kulak in the villages and, subsequently, to wipe out the kulak class.

[14] The sovkhozes were state agricultural bodies organized on the basis of the mechanization of agricultural production. The first sovkhozes were created in 1918 from the expropriated land of large landowners. Their produce was given in its entirety to the state. Sovkhoz workers had a wage income, they were considered to be workers in social ownership, however, they had the right to keep a small private agricultural household, just like all the workers who lived in agricultural areas. They had the right, just as kolkhoz farmers, to put on the market one part of the production of their individual households. Certain sources estimate at 21.6 thousand the number of sovkhozes that existed, with 12 million workers (26,4 thousand and 13 million respectively for the kolkhoz). “Agrarian Economy”, Novosti Publications, 1983.

[15] Decision of the CC, 15.3.1930 and personal article of I.V. Stalin (“Dizzy from success”, I.V. Stalin, Collected Works, V.12, pg. 218-227), where mistakes which aggravated the stabilization of the worker-farmer alliance were noted and positions were taken in favour of recognizing errors and correcting them, in as many areas and circumstances as possible and where the mistakes had not created irreversible facts from deviations or incorrect course.

[16] The “Shakhty” affair concerns the sabotage carried out in the coal mining industry of the Donbass area by bourgeois specialists, cadre of industry who had been employed by the soviet power to organize and administrate production. During the trial that took place in 1928, it was proven that these executives had connections to the old capitalist coal mine owners who had left for abroad. The sabotage was part of an overall plan to undermine socialist industry and soviet power.

[17] L. Trotsky and his supporters (later Zinoviev, Kamenev as well) argued that the USSR cannot construct socialism if the socialist revolution has not prevailed in a series of developed capitalist countries, otherwise soviet power will inevitably degenerate. This position led him, at the beginning of the revolution, to project the viewpoint that agricultural production should be submitted by force to industry. (‘dictatorship of industry’). Later on, however, (1932) he condemned the collectivization and the efforts at industrialization as “bureaucratic adventurism”. N. Bukharin claimed that in order to construct socialism in the USSR, capitalism must be developed first in the backward sections of the economy, and especially in agricultural production. Thus, he reacted to the promotion of the collectivization of agricultural production, claiming that only through consumer and supply cooperatives and the liberation of the market could agricultural production start on the road of socialism. Bukharin and his supporters maintained that kulaks could be gradually assimilated into socialism and supported the continuation of NEP. In essence, this tendency expressed in an authentic way the interests of the kulaks, the NEPmen and the petit bourgeois tendencies within soviet society. It is not by chance that the ideas of Bukharin were adopted in the policies of Perestroika in 1988.

[18] This was factually confirmed with the exposure of counter-revolutionary centres in mid 1930s. Despite some excesses in the measures taken to deal with these centres, in the trials of 1936 and 1937, it was revealed that there was cooperation between these centres and sections of the army (Tukhasevsky case, who was reinstated after the 20th CPSU Congress), as well as with the secret services of Germany, G. Britain, France, etc. Even more, sources from capitalist states confirmed the existence of such plans and the participation in those of leading cadre such as Bukharin. A characteristic example are the reports of Joseph Davies (then US Ambassador to Moscow) regarding the Bukharin trial, which he attended from beginning to end. On March 17, 1938, Davis sent a confidential memo to the U.S Secretary of State in Washington: “Not withstanding a prejudice against a judicial system which affords practically no protection for the accused, after daily observation of the witnesses, their manner of testifying, the unconcious corroborations which developed, and other facts in the course of the trial, together with others of which a judicial notice could be taken, iit is my opinion so far as the political defendants are concerned sufficient crimes under Soviet law, among those charged in the indictment, were established by the proof and beyond a reaonable doubt to justify the verdict of guilty of treason and the adjudication of the punishment provided by Soviet criminal statutes. The opinion of those diplomats that attended the trial most regularly was general that there was aformidable political opposition and an exceedingly serious plot” Source: Joseph Davies, “Mission to Moscow”, Simon and Schuster Publications, New York, 1941, p.271-2., L. Martens, “Another Look at Stalin”, Sychroni Epochi Publications, p. 241.

[19] J. I. Stalin, “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR”, Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988, pg. 44.

[20] Ibid., pg. 77-78

[21] GOSPLAN: State Planning Committee. The State Organs of Central Planning in the USSR

[22] N. A. Voznesensky, “The War Economy of the USSR During the Period of the Patriotic War,” Moscow, 1947, pg. 118

[23] J.I. Stalin, “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR,” Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988.

[24] “Undoubtedly, with the abolition of capitalism and the exploiting system in our country, and with the consolidation of the socialist system, the antagonism of interests between town and country, between industry and agriculture, was also bound to disappear. And that is what happened…. Of course, the workers and the collective-farm peasantry do represent two classes differing from one another in status. But this difference does not weaken their friendship in any way. On the contrary, their interests lie along one common line, that of strengthening the socialist system and attaining the victory of communism…. Take, for instance, the distinction between agriculture and industry. In our country it consists not only in the fact that the conditions of labour in agriculture differ from those in industry, but, mainly and chiefly, in the fact that whereas in industry we have public ownership of the means of production and of the product of industry, in agriculture we have not public, but group, collective-farm ownership. It has already been said that this fact leads to the preservation of commodity circulation, and that only when this distinction between industry and agriculture disappears, can commodity production with all its attendant consequences also disappear. It therefore cannot be denied that the disappearance of this essential distinction between agriculture and industry must be a matter of paramount importance for us”. J.I. Stalin, “Economic Problems of Socialism in the USSR,” Sychroni Epochi Publications, 1988, p. 50-52.

[25] There were many small kolkhozes with 10-30 households on small plots of land, where the technological means were not properly utilized and the administrative managerial costs were very high.

[26] Despite the successes that were achieved in the fulfillment of the 4th 5-year plan (1946-1950), the CPSU leadership noted the following problems during that period: Slow rates in the introduction of new scientific and technological achievements in a series of branches of industry and in agricultural production. Factories with old technical equipment and low productivity, production of tool machinery and machines of outdated technology. Phenomena of slowing down, routine, inertia in factory management, indifference concerning the introduction of technical progress as a constant stimulus for the development of the productive forces. Delay in the restoration of agricultural production, low productivity per acre in wheat cultivation, low productivity in livestock production, the total production of which had not even reached pre-war levels, with the result that there were shortages of meat, milk, butter, fruits and vegetables that affected the general goal of raising the level of social prosperity. Source: G. Malenkov, “Report of the CC of the RCP (Bolshevik) of the USSR at the 19th Congress of the Party”, CC KKE publication, p 48-64.

[27] Delay in the development of a mechanism that would reflect in the central planning the real necessary propotions between branches and the sectors of the economy.

[28] It is important to note how bourgeois forces characterized at that point the reforms of 1965:
1.) Bourgeois economic thought characterized them as a return to capitalism (published material in the “Economist”, “Financial Times”)
2.) They had the support of Western bourgeois economists of the Keynesian school and social democracy who characterized the ‘reforms’ as an improvement in planning and the battle against bureaucracy.

[29] The tractors etc until then had been state ownership. Were concentrated in stations (machinery-tractor stations – MTS) and operated by workers

[30] On February of 1958 a plenary session of the Central Committee of CPSU decided the dissolution of the MTS and the selling of their technical equipment to the kolkhoz. This policy resulted in a big expansion of the kolkhoz ownership at the expense of the social ownership.

[31] The Sovnarkoz were abolished in 1965, when the separate Ministries per sector were re-instated

[32] Plenum of the CC of CPSU in March 1965, with a report of L. Breznev on the subect: “Urgent measures for the further development of the agricultural economy in the USSR”.

[33] Up until 1958, in the USSR, forms of procurement of agricultural products from the kolkhozes were being used that limited the market element or retained it in form, but not in content; obligatory procurements at low supply prices, which had the force of a tax, contracts, i.e selling of products by the kolkhozes on the basis of a contract with the supply organizations, payment in kind for the work of the MTS, purchases of products above the obligatory procurements at prices slightly higher than the procurement prices. The procurement system was instituted in 1932-1933. The contract made its appearance earlier and was extended to the supply of technical crops.

[34] In 1970 the supplementary household in the USSR produced 38% of vegetables, 35% of meat and 53% of eggs. In all the supplementary household produced 12% of all agricultural products which were sold on the market (14% of livestock produce, 8% of non-livestock produce). Supplementary households produced 41% of potatoes, 13% of vegetables, 17% of meat, 9% of eggs, 6% of milk, 15% of wool which was sold as commodities (Economic School of Lomonosov University, Moscow: “Political Economy”,. Gutenberg. Athens 1984. Volume 4. P 319)

[35] Plenum of the CC of the CPSU, September 1965 on the subject “For the improvement of the management of industry, for the perfection of planning and the strengthening of the economic drive of industrial production”. The “Kosygin reforms” climaxed in the 1970s.

[36] In industry, the reforms were applied experimentally in 1962, in the operation of two clothing production enterprises, according to a proposed system of administration by professor Liebermann (known as the Kharkov System).
Lieberman argued that the calculation of bonuses to directors in proportion with the overfulfillement of the Plan, introduced a contradiction between the interests of the directors and the interest of Soviet society as a whole. This is because the directors concealed the real productive capacity of the enterprises, they created stockpiles of raw materials and goods and they were disinterested in the discontinuation of the production of ‘useless goods’. They blocked the application of new technology in order not to alter the “norms”, that is the indexes of social production, based on which the plans’ coverage was measured. In this way, e.g. they produced thick paper, instead of thin, because the norms were measured by weight. He made some correct observations, but proposed mistaken policies. On this basis communists and workers were persuaded of the necessity of these measures.

[37] See articles of V.M Glouskov published at KOMEP (Communist Review) 1/2005 and N.D. Pihorovich at KOMEP 3/2005

[38] See Documents of the Pan-Hellenic Conference of KKE (1995) “Thoughts on the factors that determined the overthrow of the socialist system in Europe. The necessity and relevance of socialism”, pages 23-24

[39] V. Tiulkin, first secretary of the CC of the RCWP-RCP, in his speech at the international conference on the 80-year anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Moscow, notes that
The 19th Conference of the CPSU declared political pluralism.
The road to market policies was opened at the 28th Congress of the CPSU.
The Plenum of the CC of CPSU (April 1991) opened the way for privatisation policies.
The policy of national “independence” (breaking from the USSR) was followed by the group of communists in the congresses of Soviets.
The dissolution of the USSR was rubber-stamped by the so-called communist majority in the Supreme Soviet.
In an article in 2000, on the 10th anniversary of the convocation of the 28th Congress of the CPSU, Tiulkin mentions that, in the All-Russia Conference which created the Communist party of the Russian Federation (within the framework of the CPSU) appeared for the first time the faction “ Movement of the communist initiative” which, together with others, voted against the decisions of the 28th Congress of the CPSU.

[40] Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic

[41] The report of A. Zhdanov at the session of the CC of the CPSU (February-March 1937) refers to the following problems which the new electoral system sought to solve “we must overcome the harmful psychology, which certain of our party and soviet cadre have, who suppose that they can easily win the trust of the people and sleep quietly, waiting for them to be offered parliamentary positions at home, with thundering applause, for their previous services. Through the secret ballot you cant take the people’s trust for granted…We have an important layer of cadre in party and soviet organisations, who think that their task finishes when they are elected to the soviet. This is witnessed by the large number of cadre who do not attend the sessions of the Soviets, the parliamentary groups and soviet departments, who avoid fulfilling basic parliamentary duties… many of our cadre in soviets tend to acquire bureaucratic features and have many weaknesses in their work, and are ready to answer for their work 10 times before the party bureau in a close “family” environment, rather than appear in a session of the soviet and criticise themselves and listen to the criticism of the masses. I think you know this as well as I do” KOMEP 4/2008

[42] The workers’ committees were organs of workers’ control in the period 1917-1918. These organs appeared in March 1917. Workers’ control was carried out based on the decree issued in November 1917. In 1919 the workers’ committees were merged with the trade unions. Later on, in the 1920s, the Production Councils functioned as organs of workers’ control in the factories.

[43] For conclusions on this issue see the “Theses of the CC of KKE on the 60th anniversary since the Anti-fascist victory of the People”, April 2005

[44] Initially the Secretariat of the EC of the CI on September 9, 1939 characterised the war as imperialist and predatory on both sides, calling on the sections of the CI in countries involved in the war to struggle against it

[45] See “History of the 3rd International”, Science Academy of USSR. Page 428 of the Greek edition

[46] It should be noted that at the 7th congress of the KKE (1945) a decision concerning “the international unity of the working class” was voted which mentioned amongst other things “The 7th congress of the KKE… expresses the wish that all the workers parties in the world, which believe in socialism, notwithstanding differences, should be incorporated as quickly as possible in a unified international political organisation of the working class”.

[47] Already, in 1935, the 7th Congress of the CI “recommended to the EC of the CI to shift the center of weight of its activity in the elaboration of basic political theses and theses concerning the tactics of the world labour movement, taking into consideration specific conditions and peculiarities of each country” and at the same time advised the EC of the CI to “ avoid as a rule direct involvement in the internal organisational affairs of the communist parties”. After the 7th Congress the so-called reorganisation of the mechanism of the Communist International started, by means of which “ the operational leadership of the parties, passed into the hands of the parties themselves… regional secretariats, which up to a point exercised some operational guidance, were abolished, .. In place of the departments of the Executive Committee of the CI only two organs were created; the cadre department and the department for propaganda and mass organisations.” Academy of Sciences of the USSR “History of the Third international” ps 433-434l.

[48] In the COMINFORM (Information Bureau of the CPs) the following Communist and Workers’ parties were represented: Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, USSR, Czechoslovakia and France.

[49] Report of the CC of CPR(b) to the 19th Congress. Page 28 of the edition of the CC of KKE

[50] “The 20th Congress of CPSU”, Zioga editions, 1965, page 8.

[51] “ “The preparation of a new war is integrally connected with the subordination of the countries of Europe and of other continents to US imperialism. The Marshall plan, the Western Union, NATO, all these links in the chain of a criminal conspiracy against peace are at the same time links of the chain which the overseas monopolies are tying around peoples’ necks. The duty of the communist and workers’ parties in the capitalist countries is to unite the struggle for national independence with the struggle for peace, to reveal the anti-national, traitorous character of the policies of the bourgeois governments which have been transformed into open lackeys of US imperialism, to unite and rally all democratic patriotic forces in every country around slogans calling for an end to their wretched subordination to the Americans, for a transition to and independent foreign and domestic policy which will meet the national interests of the peoples. The communist and workers’ parties must hold high the flag of the defence of national independence and the sovereignty of the peoples”. (Archive of the KKE; Resolutions of the Information Bureau of the Communist and Workers’ parties, meeting of November1949. Athens. Ps73-74)

[52] V.I Lenin: “On the Slogan of the United States of Europe”, “The military programme of the proletarian revolution”.

[53] V.I. Lenin “Left-Wing Childishness and the Petty-Bourgeois Mentality”

[54] Lenin in his time defended the position that in the countries with weak-intermediate level of capitalist development it is “easier to begin, more difficult to continue” the socialist revolution.

[55] The party’s programme adopted in the 15th Congress (1996) states in Chapter D: “KKE’s concept of the building of socialism is based on Marxist- Leninist theory, and its enrichment with the conclusions and thoughts of our party around the construction of socialism in 20th Century”

14 responses to “Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Central Committee: Theses on Socialism

  1. This is fantastic, I’ve been wondering about the KKE, especially due to all the unrest in Greece and their stance on the unrest and the whole wranglings between the ΚΚΕ, ΚΟΕ, and the KKE (μ-λ). This helps clarify some of the views of the KKE. Glad to see some of this from a very large communist party in Europe. I will be reading through this during the next few days.

    • Words mean nothing, there was the unrest and they were against it, for two years the university students were out in the streets against the reform the KK wasn’t there. That’s the issue. Even as far as words are concerned, it took them half a century to realize what happened to the USSR? What about their stand about Cultural Revolution? And basically where is self-criticism? I haven’t seen any? So how honest can those statements be?

      • Of course they were “there”. The KKE and their youth organization, the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE), were heavily involved and in many places led the organizing of mass student strikes, protests, and building occupations from 2007-2008, around the education reform policies.

        Indeed, “words mean nothing” if they don’t correspond to investigation and reality.

      • First of all, in 2006 they were against the occupations and only a month afterwards started participating against what they up to then accused as PASOK’s (socialdemocrats) occupations. In 2007 they participated I am sorry, but they also participated in closing the occupations. Also it’s quite interesting although they are the only organized force in the high-school student movement how come they didn’t organize a similar situation when university student were out in the streets protesting although they could and there were conditions there as it was shown by the recent past.
        And I didn’t just say a phrase, I supported it with a few examples afterwards. But you haven’t, so it wasn’t my statement that doesn’t correspond to investigation in reality after all.

  2. Hm, anyway one could print this out in pamphlet form? I didn’t see any pdf downloads on the website…

    A couple things I’d be interested is their summation of the civil war in 1946-1947, their summation of how the USSR discouraged the communists from revolutionary upheaval, and what their position on the Maoist line was and is (e.g., the Three Worlds Theory).

    • Doug,
      regarding the 1946-1949 civil war you can find a detailed estimation in KKE’s declaration for the 90th anniversary of the Party in 2007. The link:

      http://inter.kke.gr/News/2007news/2008-01-90kke/

      In our perspective it is not true that Stalin and the USSR discouraged our Party from the revolutionary road to power following WWII. It was rather our own lack of consistency, coupled to the massive intervention of imperialism and the treacherous stance of Tito in 1948, that led to the eventual defeat of the Democratic Army of Greece in 1949.

  3. Jack,

    Yes, it is very good that KKE has avoided the pitfalls of eurocommunism and revisionism that swept so many of the old CPs into the dustbin of history. That the KKE talks about seizing state power and building the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat, rather than developing political “hegemony” within the bourgeois state as the “peaceful transition” to socialism is refreshing. In many ways (though certainly there are disagreements) these theses are more like the views expressed by the “new communist parties” like the Workers Party of Belgium or the Communist Party of the Philippines, and so these theses are very interesting in that regard.

    Doug,

    I’m just going to take a stab at your last question for now. I think all they say about Maoism is this:

    The 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) stands out as a turning point, since at that congress a series of opportunist positions were adopted on economic issues, on the strategy of the communist movement and on international relations. The struggle that was taking place before the congress continued and was then consolidated by a turn in favor of the revisionist-opportunist positions,[12] with the result that the Party gradually began to lose its revolutionary characteristics. In the decade of the 1980s, with perestroika, opportunism fully developed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force.

    I agree with the CC of the KKE here, and it is a common enough position among Marxist-Leninists, basically in line with the 1999 Declaration of the International Communist Seminar. I think the 1999 Declaration benefits from being much clearer than these theses of the CC of the KKE. The CC of the KKE basically unites here with the line that was developed by the Chinese CP in the beginning of the Sino-Soviet dispute (circa 1960) regarding the rise of Krushchevite revisionism. But the theses disagree with the line that was developed by the CCP during the late 1960s and 1970s (and on another more basic point), saying,

    Furthermore, the developments do not validate the overall stance of “Maoist” trends regarding socialist construction in the USSR, the characterization of the USSR as social-imperialist, the rapprochement with the USA, as well as the inconsistencies in matters of socialist construction in China (e.g. the recognition of the national bourgeoisie as an ally of socialist construction, etc.).

    Now, I think this view put forward here by the CC of the KKE somewhat misrepresents the Chinese position on the role of the national bourgeoisie (maybe it is just too brief and I don’t fully understand their position), which changes from the New Democratic stage (where they are a potential ally) of the revolution to the stage of Socialist Construction (where they are a target). Of course even during the New Democratic stage, expropriating the big landlord class and comprador class and leaving the holdings of the national bourgeoisie untouched still put more than 80% of production in the hands of the proletarian state. So that doesn’t look like a fair point from where I’m standing.

    Regarding “Soviet Social-Imperialism”, it is simple enough to agree with the term if we use it the way Lenin did: “socialism in words, imperialism in deeds”. Even then, the USSR is not really consistently progressive or reactionary in its foreign policy. But if on the other hand it means something like “State Monopoly Capitalism” then I just don’t see it, and I think the “Social-Fascism” line that developed along side this view, that the Soviet Union became a “dark fascist state of the Hitler type,” is even more absurd.

    Of course the international line that developed from this, the Theory of Three Worlds, was a mistake. It is the case that the USSR sent over a million Soviet troops to the Chinese border to, by all appearances, enforce the so-called “Brezhnev doctrine.” Taking that into consideration, it isn’t difficult to understand the Chinese CP’s concern.

    The greater error was that many organizations in the U.S. and other countries around the world (with some variation between them on cerain points) basically upheld uncritically the Chinese CP’s “Three Worlds Theoy”. Some went so far as to advocate allying with U.S. imperialism to fight the USSR as the “main danger” (the line put forward in the book, “Sooner or Later” by the Communist Unity Organization, and to a more subtle degree by the Communist Party [Marxist-Leninist]), while others took the view that “both superpowers” were the “main danger” and that the Third World was the main force in their defeat (closer to the variations on the Three Worlds line of the the League of Revolutionary Struggle, the Revolutionary Workers Headquarters, and the Proletarian Unity League). I don’t think this variation on the line was correct either, but it was closer to the main thrust of the Chinese CP’s actual line and it was certainly better than the CUO’s line.

  4. I’m not seeing how any acts by the USSR could be considered imperialist in deeds.

  5. Well, maybe you are right and “imperialist in deeds” is too strong as well. I think maybe “great-nation chauvinism” would probably be a more accurate phrase for Soviet foreign policy, especially Brezhnev’s doctrine of “limited sovereignty.”

    I think more and more as time progressed the USSR dealt with other Parties and other countries with an attitude of great-nation chauvinism and fundamental disinterest in the concerns of the Parties and countries they were dealing with.

    For example, I think Krushchev’s dealings with Cuba were fundamentally chauvinistic. The CPSU encouraged economic dependency on the USSR of the smaller socialist countries in their trade relations. In the Cuban Missile Crisis the USSR basically used Cuba as a staging ground for a Cold War chess game. The whole thing infuriated Fidel Castro. Then there is the positioning by Brezhnev of over 1 million Soviet troops on the Chinese border that I mentioned above. Or take the backing of Le Duan’s invasion of Democratic Kampuchea.

    But as I said, even this is inconsistent. All of this took place in the context of intense U.S. intervention, especially through CIA-backed counter-revolutions and counter-revolutionary attempts, like those in Poland, Afghanistan, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. I think in most cases the USSR played a mainly progressive role internationally.

  6. The fault for the Cuban Missile crisis lies with the Kennedy administration’s plans for invading the island, and his reckless escalation of the crisis through repeated spy plane missions over Cuban airspace, not to mention the blockade. Because of Soviet assistance to Cuba, Cuba stopped being a target of US invasion. I think they should get credit for this. Castro’s assessment of the crisis is a little insane, I think, since he was pushing the Soviets to initiate a nuclear war and was angry when they “capitulated” without consultation.

    The Chinese fired first on Soviet troops in 1969, killing dozens. Mass Soviet mobilization occurred after this attack. Intelligence documents from the CIA as well as information gathered from the Chinese indicate that the responsibility for those clashes lies entirely with the Chinese and that the goal of the Chinese was to draw the US on their side against the Soviets. The Chinese had repeatedly tried to provoke a Soviet response on the border issue for a number of years, but had failed. It was of course wrong for the Soviets to retaliate so strongly and disproportionately, but I think both sides are to blame for this problem. At the very least, I don’t think the Soviet attitude was chauvinistic.

    I don’t know enough about the Vietnam-Cambodia conflict to comment. I don’t think the Soviets participated as much as they could have. They signed a defense pact with Vietnam but did not intervene to defend them from China. China had right before that signed a treaty of cooperation with Japan. The Soviets also repeatedly were spurned by the Chinese when they offered Non-Aggression Pacts.

  7. We need make good relations with your party and we want to meet upcoming International Communist Seminar 2009 this May 15-17, 2009 in Brussels, Belgium.
    Please send us email regularly.

  8. 9 δεκαετιες αγωνας κ θυσια το ΚΚΕ στην ΠΡΩΤΟΠΟΡΙΑ

  9. I would like to draw attention here to the response of the CC of the KKE to comments and criticism regarding it’s Theses on Socialism:

    http://inter.kke.gr/News/2009news/2009-congress2/

    This new document from the CC of the KKE is very interesting and revolutionaries around the world should look at it closely.

  10. I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and test again here frequently. I am fairly certain I will be informed lots of new stuff right right here! Best of luck for the following!

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