The following statement by by Al. Papariga, General Secretary of the CC of KKE, is from the website of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). It is useful to understand the strategic and tactical approach of the Greek Communists in the current crisis:
KKE has always exposed, especially after 1991, the deception concerning the ceaseless development of capitalism, competitiveness and productivity with the supposed common benefit for workers and capitalists alike. It spoke of the inevitable economic crisis in all the capitalist economies. It predicted the crisis, the inevitability of a deep and sudden sharpening of all social contradictions and intra-imperialist ones.
The apologists of the capitalist system, among them the self-proclaimed supporters of the old PASOK or the revisionists, by reducing the cause of the economic crisis to an issue of management, negate or cover up the very base on which it arises, capitalism itself.
Today’s conditions demand the rate at which social-political consciousness develops to be accelerated and chiefly, be expressed through organization and planned struggle that has future prospects. It is the living standard of the people, of the working class and low-income families that concerns us, not the profits of the capitalists.
Our strategy is to stop the barbaric measures from being imposed as much as we possibly can under today’s conditions, to prevent them from being legitimated in people’s consciousness, for working people to disassociate themselves from PASOK and ND and their policies, for the movement to regroup and move forward on a course of counter-attack in order to overturn today’s balance of forces, for people’s power. We are not indifferent and neutral observers but since the political balance of forces does not permit us effective intervention in favour of the people, we put priority on the movement, outside of the Parliament.
The time has come for a social-popular front for political and mass action to take shape, to take on distinct form, developed from the existing militant forces that must be multiplied; that is the militant forces of the workers-employees in the private and public sectors, of the poor self-employed small businesses, the poor farmers, with a strengthening of the participation of the youth, children of working class and low-income families, especially those that study and work, are in training programmes, women and immigrants, fighters in the fields of science, art and culture.
For this reason joining forces with KKE is necessary, regardless of whether working people agree with KKE on everything, or if they have questions or different viewpoints on socialism.
The beginnings of such a front exist today as shown by All Workers’ Militant front (PAME), Αll Greek Antimonopoly Rally of the self-employed and the small tradesman (PASEVE), All Peasants’ Militant Rally (PASY), Students’ Militant Front (MAS) and other formations of the movement. Other formations will arise along the way including such formations in the mass movements against imperialist war, for individual and collective, democratic, trade union rights, and related formations that act in the area of local governance.
The heart of the struggles are workplaces, streets with small shops, the countryside, schools, universities, immigrant neighborhoods, every working class, popular neighborhood. Blockage of the new anti-worker measures including the abolition of collective labor agreements contracts and promotion of individual ones, worktime reduction, flexible work relations, etc., must be forcefully carried out in every workplace.
The working people must alter the balance of forces starting from below and this must be expressed as the struggle develops at the political level as well. The people must no longer put up with paying continually, submitting to indescribable sacrifices for the profits of industrialists, ship-owners, large merchants, the monopolies in general.
This social popular front must have two interrelated aims.
The first is the struggle which includes resistance, attrition, and undermining of the barbaric measures that the government and its allies are trying to push through; struggle against the machinery whose one part is the bourgeois political system of the country and the plutocracy.
A struggle of attrition is not enough; some small or bigger victories must also be won.
However, the most important task of the front must be creative, to liberate a popular militant standpoint, militant optimism and dignity, class patriotism and internationalism, popular action and initiative that can transform the front into a widespread current of change and overturning of the balance of forces.
This front has one choice, creative and realistic. To strengthen the alternative proposal for people’s power and a people’s economy having as key slogan, the socialization of the monopolies, the formation of popular cooperatives in sectors where socialization is not possible, nationwide planning with workers’ people’s control from the bottom up. To prove and demonstrate the actual development possibilities of the country which still exist, however precious time must not be lost in their further undermining and destruction.
KKE is escalating its efforts to propagate its political proposal while at the same time it increases its presence in daily struggles.
On May 15, we are organizing a nationwide rally that will make our proposal, our initiative, our total opposition to today’s policies, to today’s system, even more widely known.
The accession into the mechanism will not hinder a weak recovery and a new cyclical crisis, even more intense than what we are experiencing now. From now, the people must be ready to create a rupture in the system and not become an ‘Iphigenia’. We do not endorse the viewpoint that the sacrifices of the people will go in vain; they will be utilized for the profits of capital, they will go to line the pockets of the capitalists.
The recovery of the Greek capitalist economy is becoming increasingly difficult, even if it becomes stabilized within the Eurozone. The shrinkage in manufacturing and in industry as a whole can only recover with great difficulty.
The management of the crisis either by the EU or by the IMF cannot overcome the contradictions of capitalist production whose goal and motive is profit. Whatever appears as a means of solving one problem e.g. the debt of Greece may greatly exacerbate other problems. Disengagement from the EU, disobedience is a prerequisite for the improvement of people’s lives. Every measure of resistance has value as long as it is joined up with the alternative prospect of power. Otherwise, disjointed reactions or forms of negotiation only serve to strengthen the extortion process.
The government after creating the conditions which jeopardized payments and led to bankruptcy, went ahead with its pre-decided plan to support a mechanism that the EU and the IMF set up following a series of inconsistencies, which allowed the IMF to penetrate even deeper into Europe as the so-called ‘savior of the peoples’.
The estimations concerning impending destruction greatly exaggerate the situation and serve as a form of extortion.
From the very first moment we recognized and emphasized that adherence to the mechanisms will be a fact, the government would find capital to borrow because no bourgeois, or anti-people government would leave its bourgeois class, the businessmen of the country, without support. The Greek government wanted to create the ideal framework for extortion, the perfect atmosphere in which the panic-struck Greek people would readily accept measures that have been already decided upon even 20 years ago.
Of course, the anxiety of the government over the terms of borrowing came up against real contradictions and conflicts that have nothing to do with the people. Greece found itself in the eye of the cyclone because its enormous debt was utilised by the competing capitalist countries within the EU and also between the USA, Russia, and China. Greece drew attention due to its position and its links with the eastern section of EU, Eurasia, and even the Far East. Greece became the weak link for the Eurozone and the interests of European capital and wider, because through Greece the competing countries spearheaded by big business can link up with peninsular Western Europe.
It’s not an issue of different interests between the corresponding peoples. These conflicts should lead to the promotion of unity and joint action of the peoples because independently of which country or which currency comes first, the people will lose and will continue to lose, instead of winning of achieving new gains.
As to the public debt that will be dealt with through loans, combined with the Stability and Development Pact or supposedly through renegotiation which will be handled internally, is a total hoax, disorientation, it’s a utopia.
To begin with, the debt is not merely a Greek issue. Many capitalist countries including developed ones exhibit an increasingly rising public debt. It is not an issue of management capabilities as it suits the bourgeois parties and opportunism to project.
It is a result of the gradual long-term decline of domestic manufacturing and agricultural production with the sharpening of antagonisms at the level of the EU and internationally.
Due to their small share, the industrial branches that were developed in Greece in energy, telecommunications, and other specific branches of manufacturing, were not able to compensate for the shrinkage of manufacturing as a whole.
The debt arises from enormous tax breaks given to business, state funding of big capital, enormous expenditure on NATO weapons programmes, capitalist competition under the conditions of the EU, counterproductive expenditures for the Olympic Games.
Competitiveness and intra-imperialist contradictions, the consequences which led to a sharpening of the crisis
The dollar desires to regain the position it enjoyed as the worldwide reserve currency. The devaluation of Euro benefits Germany which is the biggest export power in Europe during a period in which it is losing its leading position in worldwide export to China.
It has to do with the movement of capital that causes random profit gains through the so-called high risk investment products, that is insurance premium on state bonds. These movements are substantial, however they are not speculative in the strict meaning of the term, as they fall within the logic of the system.
There is also the pressure from capitalists who want to make direct investments in Greece but first want to pass anti-worker measures which have been pushed through in the rest of Europe but in Greece have been delayed mainly due to the people’s struggles that KKE has inspired and supported. These capitalists want to end the practice of closed professions, creating the conditions needed to take over new spheres at the expense of the middle layers, in sectors where the powerful monopolies have not yet been able to dominate, such as in the construction industry, transport, pharmaceuticals, etc.
Contradictions are also expressed between American, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian capital that have taken up positions in the Greek economy as a mid-position country and starting point for their entrance into the international market.
The Anti-imperialist, Anti-monopoly, Democratic Front – People’s power and economy
The Greek people have to choose between two paths of development for Greek society, the path which is being followed and that which must be fought for by the people.
We maintain with facts and with proof that Greece, despite the serious and destructive damage that it has experienced in certain sectors due to the dominance of capital and of monopoly competition, has the pre-requisites to create and develop a self-reliant people’s economy.
The negative developments of the last 20 years in certain branches of industrial production, in the agricultural economy, can be dealt with under different political-economic and social conditions. It’s not too late.
Greek has a satisfactory level of the concentration of production, the means of production, a trade network, and a specific level of development in modern technology. It has a large, experienced labour force, with an improved educational level and specialization in comparison to the past, a large labour force in science.
It has valuable natural wealth-producing resources, important reserves of mineral wealth, which are an advantage in industrial production and the production of consumer goods.
It has the great advantage that it can ensure sufficient food supplies for people’s needs as well as for external trade. It has capabilities in the production of modern products, machinery, tools and appliances.
In order for a people’s economy to exist for all, we must find a solution to the problem of ownership for the satisfaction of people’s needs and not the needs of profit.The choice is one: a change in the historically outdated social relations of ownership that determine the political system as well and concern the basic and concentrated means of production in the following areas: energy, telecommunications, mineral wealth, mining, industry, water supply, transportation.
Socialization of the banking system, the system of extraction, conveyance and management of natural resources; external trade, a centralized network of internal trade; housing for the people, research and the democratic provision of information to the people.
An exclusively public, universal and free system of education, healthcare, welfare and social security.
We estimate that there may be areas that will not be included in complete, nationwide, universal socialization. Complementing the socialized sector, a sector for the productive cooperatives in small-level agriculture may be formed, of small businesses in branches where concentration is low. Their participation in cooperatives will be understood as a beneficial choice, based on experience that exists from the monopoly ring.
The socialized as well as the cooperative sectors, production and distribution as a whole must be included in a centralized, national economic mechanism of planning and administration so that all of the means of production and the labour force can be mobilized, so that every possible form of international economic cooperation can be utilized based on mutual benefit. Domestic production will be protected and the interests of the workers will be protected from any possible consequences that arise from the needs of external trade.
Central planning is necessary in order to formulate strategic goals and choices, in order to prioritize branches and sectors, to determine where greater forces and means will be concentrated. The materialization of programming demands distribution by branch and area, and first of all, workers’ control of administration in every production unit and service, in every administrative organ.
The government as an organ of people’s power will be obliged to ensure the participation of the people in this completely new, totally unknown task, to support the people’s movement, to support and to be monitored by that within new institutions of workers’ and social control.
The centrally planned development of society is a need that stems from today’s demands, first of all the demands of mankind which is the primary productive force. The need to satisfy the wide-ranging modern needs of the working people, the need for the means of production to develop, for science and technology to develop for the benefit of the people, make central planning a vital necessity.
People’s power promotes intrastate commercial agreements and exchanges, agreements for the utilization of techno-knowledge based on mutual interest.
The public debt will be re-examined under people’s power with the main criteria being the interests of the people.
At the very beginning, people’s power will have to confront an organized internal and international reaction. The EU and NATO, the agreements with the USA, do not leave much room for maneuvering by EU member countries.
The solution to this problem by withdrawal from the EU is inevitable with the aim a self-reliant, popular development and cooperation that is in the interest of the people.
It is necessary to step up our activity on the basis of the struggle against the problems.
We struggle ceaselessly for immediate gains for the working people and we will continue so that measures can be imposed by the power of the movement reducing the acute problems, and relieving the people.
We have developed positions and demands for every single problem and issue that has come up. However, that is not enough today; an alternative proposal for progress is needed so that the struggle has an aim, a goal, meaning, and ultimately can apply pressure in every phase.