The text below is the speech delivered by Kostas Papadakis, member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and also member of the European Parliament (MEP), during his visit in Sydney, Australia on Saturday 29th of September.
K. Papadakis travelled to Australia in order to represent the KKE in political events, held in Melbourne and Sydney, honoring the 100 years since the founding of the KKE and the 50th anniversary of KNE:
Dear comrades, trade-unionists, friends of the CPA, cadres of the Australian trade-unions.
On behalf of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece we want to thank the CC of the Communist Party of Australia for organizing this meeting. We hope that this meeting will contribute so that through our exchange of experience we obtain more tools for the struggle we are waging in the two countries. This year, the KKE (Communist Party of Greece )completes 100 years of life and activity and KNE (Communist Youth of Greece) its 50 years.
The Festival of KKE and KNE was just held with over a hundred thousand of participant workers and youth, dedicated to the 100 years of the Party and to the 50 years of KNE.
The experience that we have accumulated contributes to the strengthening of internationalist solidarity and common activity, elements very important for the struggle against the capitalist system, the capital and its political representatives, for the great cause that we serve, the struggle for socialism.
The KKE has an heroic history. It led the class struggle in the 20s and 30s, it was the organizer and main lifeblood of the National Liberation Front (EAM) and of the People’s Liberation Army (ELAS) in the Resistance against the Nazi occupation – in the armed, class struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) 1946-1949, in the decades that followed in conditions of clandestine action and under harsh persecution, during the military dictatorship in 1967-1974, until today.
The communists, men and women, in the prison cells and in the exile islands demonstrated great endurance and self-sacrifice that stem from the exalted communist ideals, from the faith in the working class’ right, that is the vanguard force of society.
Their contribution was immense, with thousands of honoured dead in the fields of battle and in the execution sites of the bourgeois state, thousands of uncompromising combatants of class struggle.
The developments in Greece have been many times in the forefront of public attention, have generated a lot of debates in the international communist movement, many myths were cultivated and then were torn down during the deep capitalist crisis that began in 2008, until recently.
We want to underline that the capitalist crisis has been the pretext so that the bourgeois governments voted and applied decisions of the EU that were already set on course regarding the abolition of working class’ and people’s rights, for the consolidation of Greek and European monopolies in order to be able to cope with the international competition.
In Europe and other parts of the globe, as well as in Australia, a whole mechanism of bourgeois, opportunist and trotskyist forces was set in motion that not only obfuscated the KKE’s positions but also slandered them while at the same time presented SYRIZA as a force of resistance and of social progress. In this campaign of lies and speculation the European Left Party, this opportunist formation, played and continues to play the leading role in which SYRIZA participating.
Essentially, a small opportunist party that was under mutation since 2012 into a social democratic party was intended to be presented as a factor of radical change.
We remember speeches that were calling on the KKE to cooperate with SYRIZA, to support its policy against the “troika”, against the “right”, against “neoliberalism”, as they were saying at that time, but these positions went bankrupt.
The KKE maintained a principled stance, respecting its history and the interests of our people. We tried to inform on the concrete situation in Greece, with well-founded arguments we underlined that SYRIZA is an establishment party, a pillar of capitalism, a representative of the capital.
Abroad there were forces that took to the heart the words and actions of the KKE, others that were left behind, cultivated expectations, saying that in Greece the “golden recipe” was uncovered. A recipe that will resolve the people’s problems and give an example to the rest of the countries.
But class struggle has its own laws. After the victory of SYRIZA in the elections and the formation of government with the nationalist party of the “Independent Greeks” (ANEL) in 2015, SYRIZA showed its real colours.
In these four years it has been proved in practice that this government is a government of bourgeois management that ruthlessly uses all available means of misleading and manipulating the workers and the people, and that precisely is why it is the most useful government for the capitalist class, for the USA and the EU.
Essentially SYRIZA robbed blindly the loot from the hands of the New Democracy Party and took the place of the old social democracy of PASOK.
Altogether they voted in favour of the 3rd memorandum and applied (together) the anti-people’s measures of 3 memorandums, (together) they led vast sections of our people, working men and women, poor farmers, small professionals of the cities to poverty. They undermine the future of our youth.
The current government, as well as the previous ones, is to blame for the dramatic cut-downs in salaries and pensions, for the increase of the retirement age to 67 years of age, for the applying of harsh taxation against the people, for the privatization of public enterprises of strategic importance such as ports, airports, railroads, the water and electricity networks, natural gas, the giving up of precious public plots of land and even archeological monuments to private owners for up to 99 years, for the downgrading of health-care and education, for the abolition of the Sunday day-off, for the auctions of people’s houses. The unemployment rate is still very high while the flexible working relations are expanding.
It was this government that passed the law in parliament for the limiting of the right to strike and many times has resorted to repression and authoritarian measures against the workers on strike and against demonstrators, against members of the KKE and of KNE that were informing the people, they protected the statue of President Trueman – executioner of peoples, the butcher that gave the order to drop the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki-Syriza government unleashed the brutality of the police forces, beating and detaining. This government rejected together with the rest of the bourgeois parties a draft Law tabled by the deputies of the KKE presenting the positions of 530 trade-unions regarding the Collective Bargaining Agreements.
The support of the big capital with funding, tax exemptions, reducing the taxation of the big companies further underscore the anti-people policy of SYRIZA.
Now, with the ebbing out of the capitalist crisis and in view of weak steps towards the recuperation of capitalist economy they are using the argument of “fair growth” as a trump card, trying to convince with the fairytale that an economy where the means of production are in the hands of the capitalists and that is functioning with profit as its criterion can resolve the popular problems.
It is a method of misguiding the people that is used to hide that in an unfair, exploitative society there can be no fair development.
In past August, officially the financial program of the EU and the IMF ended. Now the government is projecting another myth, of the so called “New Era”.
But, the 700 memorandum application laws remain intact, the total of anti-people measures is here, a new cut-down of pensions is being prepared, a new lowering of the non-taxable income will be put in effect, the supervision of the economy by the EU and the IMF remains. The breadcrumbs that the governments is promising are good only to recycle extreme poverty.
Dear friends and comrades,
In July we experienced in our country the tragedy of the great fires in East Attika, only a few dozen kilometers away from the centre of Athens. We sincerely thank you for your support and internationalist solidarity.
The 99 dead, the hundreds of burnt houses and the tremendous environmental destruction demonstrate in the most painful way the consequences of the commercialization of the land, of the chaotic capitalist development in favour of enterprise profit, of the lacks in firefighting means that further underline the class orientation of the bourgeois state.
The anti-popular policy of “cost-profit” that is dominating in the EU and is followed by the bourgeois governments has put its mark in the deficiencies of substructures and of means that have to do with the people’s needs and this is a scenario that we have experienced in Greece and in other capitalist countries during fires, earthquakes, floods.
The KKE in time with a special activity in May and with its interventions in Parliament and in the mass movement had underlined these problems and had expressed its concern, but it was met with reassurances from the government.
Our Party entered the battle from the first moment next to the citizens, we put the real culprit in the cross-hairs and underscored the political responsibilities, we developed rich activity and we moved towards a radical political context with demands for the support of the damaged parties.
The field were the anti-peoples character of the SYRIZA-ANEL government really shines is foreign policy.
They have surrendered everything to the USA, NATO and the EU. They have given the military base in Souda, Crete, used in the war against the Syrian people and other peoples of the region for imperialist wars, it has given bases for spying aircrafts of the AWACS family and DRONES , of helicopters and flying fuel-tanker aircrafts. It takes part in the NATO exercises and in common exercises with Israel that is murdering the Palestinian people.
Mr Tsipras was the one to characterize Trump as “devilishly good”, he has been whitewashing the US imperialism and its crimes. This social democratic party, SYRIZA, receives flattery from the US Ambassador as being the most consistent ally of the US, while the Ambassador of the US characterized the Greek government a “hinge”.
The strategy of the so called “geostrategical upgrade” forms favorable conditions for capitalist profiteering pinpointing the transformation of our country in a node for the transportation of commodities and energy on behalf of the monopolies’ interests. Our country is entangled in great adventures and dangers, in the inter-imperialist competitions of the USA, NATO and the EU with Russia and China for the sharing of wealth-producing resources and energy markets.
All in all, this is an experience that can be used to draw invaluable lessons.
The Communist Party has the duty to develop a revolutionary strategy and to strengthen its independent political and ideological struggle so that the front with social democracy and each and every bourgeois or opportunist formation is sharpened, under all circumstances, so that the traps set by the forces of the establishment are disarmed.
No government of bourgeois administration that defends the system of exploitation and one or the other imperialist alliance cannot serve the people’s interests; furthermore, the support, or the tolerance of a Communist Party to a bourgeois government in the name of putting on pressure or with any other justification only legalizes the capitalist exploitation and has negative influence in the orientation and the struggle of the workers’ and people’s movement, generates a great retreat, a fall-back.
Between the bourgeois parties there may be differences regarding their historical course and tradition, in secondary political issues, but in practice their strategic convergence is demonstrated continuously.
The comparisons for example of the strategic choices of SYRIZA and of ND have a more general relevance that surpasses the borders of our country.
SYRIZA and ND both administrate capitalism, the power of the monopolies, the capitalist property of the means of production, they are in favour of the criterion of profit and of competitivity of the capital that leads to intensifying the exploitation of the working class by the capital.
These Parties defend NATO – this criminal imperialist mechanism against the peoples – and provocatively present it as a factor of stability and of security. Both parties evaluated positively and supported the dangerous decisions of the recent NATO Summit in Brussels that foresee war preparations, encirclement of Russia and deployment of military forces aiming at immediate intervention with heavy firepower all around the globe, in imperialist wars and interventions.
SYRIZA and ND both take the side of the EU – this interstate imperialist union – that with its decisions has played the leading role in the overthrow of fundamental working class rights, applies and expands flexible working relations, flexicurity, outsourcing. Lashes out against the social character of social security and implements measures for the increase of the retirement age limit and for the so called “active aging”. It is a factor of the commercialization of health-care and of education. With all means necessary tries to provide cheap labor force for the businessmen.
This union of capital in cooperation with NATO or autonomously participates in imperialist wars and interventions and continues its militarization with new mechanisms such as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and others.
The EU leads the anti-communist campaign and the falsification of history, has the nerve to equalize fascism and its atrocities with communism that is the youth of the world.
The bourgeois parties use all means to manipulate the popular forces and the social democracy sets the trap of false dilemmas, such as “rightwing – counter-rightwing” or “progress versus liberalism”.
We follow the developments in Europe and the increase of the extreme right-wing forces and we want to underline that the communists have the duty to struggle with their own policy against these forces and simultaneously to take up all necessary ideological-political measures against the efforts of the social democracy and of other bourgeois parties that utilize the fear of the increase of the extreme right to promote their anti-people policy in the context of the argument of “the lesser of two evils”. The extreme right-wing forces are, in the end, a reserve force of the system, they are openly supported by big monopoly groups, they collaborate in government with other bourgeois parties in Italy, in Greece including of course social democracy and elsewhere.
The communists, the class forces in the working class movement in our country struggle against the Nazi criminal organization Golden Dawn, they lead the struggle for its isolation.
In practice, it is demonstrated that the extreme right-wing reactionary forces are fed by the anti-people policy of the bourgeois parties that frustrate the people’s expectations, they are supported by mechanisms of the bourgeois state, they are born of the capitalist system and the struggle against these forces in order to be consistent and efficient has to be directed towards uprooting the causes that generate these phenomena, to be directed against the exploitative system for its overthrow.
We know that imperialism is the monopoly stage of capitalism, is the system where the capitalist states take part in accordance with their economic, political and military power in a context of differences created by the uneven capitalist development.
We must focus our attention to the fact that the motive forces of all capitalist states are the monopoly interests because this is the only criterion that allows us to interpret objectively the role and the activities of each state and of the capitalist alliances, to analyze the international developments.
That way we can analyze the strategy of the USA and of the EU, explain the financial, trade wars for example between the USA and China or the USA and Germany, the escalation of the US-Russian relations, the contradictions and competitions that lead to imperialist wars and interventions.
Focusing our attention to the “cell” of imperialism, the monopolies, we can clearly say that Russia has no relation whatsoever with the USSR and moves forward with the criterion of the interest of its economic groups, and the same applies for China where the capitalist relations of production have become dominant and the Chinese monopolies expand in the whole globe.
Capitalism is in decline. The temporary weak development is facing many problems and is precarious. The capitalist development and the accumulation of capital are forming the conditions for a new economic crisis and the communists have the obligation to weigh correctly all the facts and adjust their struggle accordingly on time.
The developments are very dangerous and we are correct to speak about the possibility of generalized imperialist wars breaking out.
The offensive of the USA, of France, of Britain and of Israel is escalating in competition with Russia and Iran, in Idlib that has been transformed into a Jihadi stronghold.
The attacks of Israel in Syria are a common phenomenon and the latest developments with the shooting down of the Russian aircraft have led to a sharpening of its relations with Russia that is threatening to respond. Turkey continues to maintain the occupied territories and to forward its own interests, a new plan of dividing the Syrian territories is in effect and the war has entered a new phase.
We express our solidarity to the people of Syria and we are prepared to act immediately in case of new imperialist attacks such as of past April that we condemned in a massive manner.
We stand by the side of the Palestinian people against Israeli occupation and against Israeli crimes. We condemn the decision of the USA to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and we demand the end of the occupation and the recognition of the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Our Party has expressed its concern regarding the developments in the Balkans, with the aggressiveness of the Turkish bourgeois class, the dangerous treaties, such as the one between the SYRIZA government with FYROM, as well as with the plans for border change between Serbia and Kosovo in a region that is a field of intense competition between the USA, the EU, Russia and China. The latter intervenes in the region to promote its plan for the New Silk Road. The Cyprus and Palestinian issues also find themselves in a critical moment, arrangements are being sought after to serve the capital’s interests that are very damaging for the peoples.
The communists, men and women, struggle in all fronts in collision course with the capital and its power, against the anti-people policy of the government and the rest of the bourgeois parties.
The parliamentary groups of our party in the national and European parliament have had an important contribution, they project our positions, the demands of the workers and we want to express our opinion regarding an open discussion in the communist movement on parliamentary action. Thus, we must note that one thing is having a showdown in the parliament for every popular problem in a direction of clashing with the bourgeois class and its parties, and it is another thing to cultivate confusion and illusions that parliamentary struggle can lead to pro-people reforms of the system or of the EU, as the ELP, SYRIZA and other bourgeois forces do in Greece.
The only road for the communists and for the class-oriented workers movement is the development of class struggle, the rejection of class-collaboration; the exploited cannot collaborate with their exploiters.
The KKE supports the struggle of the class-oriented trade-union movement, of PAME – the All Worker’s Militant Front – the class rally of trade-unions, labor centers, federations and trade-unionists. PAME through its intervention in the trade-unions struggles with its own list of demands that clashes with the reformist trade-unions and with the pro-employer trade-unionists. PAME works through the ranks of the WFTU, for the Collective Bargaining Agreements, salaries and pensions, for social security, for all people’s problems, in order to abolish the memorandum laws and to recover the losses of the workers. In these conditions the slogan of PAME “Our needs in the forefront” is particularly important. Internationally, it is very important to strengthen the intervention of the WFTU, to strengthen the WFTU with new trade-unions, and simultaneously to defeat the ITUC line and to weaken ITUC that is supporting the capitalists’ interests. The WFTU gets stronger in all continents incorporating important trade-union organizations in its ranks and we believe that in Australia such a step ahead can happen.
During the period of the capitalist crisis, 48 national strikes were organized along with tens of sectoral or per workplace strikes, with the class-oriented movement playing the decisive role. Hundreds of demonstrations were held. We greatly thank you for the internationalist solidarity that was expresses again some days ago in support of the strike of the workers in the Port of Piraeus in the installation of the Chinese multinational corporation COSCO, where its terminal is been advertised in its own website as a “free strike terminal”. In this terminal where the workers gave a hard battle against the bosses’ terrorism and against the court orders that characterized this strike an illegal one, as well as against the employer led trade union that was set up in order to fend off the strike.
We struggle against imperialist wars and against the causes that generate them, against capitalism that gives birth to poverty, unemployment, refugees and migration.
In this struggle we condemn the implication of the government in the imperialist plans, we call on the people not to fall in the trap of the so called “National Unity” with its exploiters, not to show any trust to the bourgeois class and to its parties.
The communists are in the first line of solidarity with the refugees and immigrants, clashing with the criminal attacks of the Golden Dawn, with racism and xenophobia. With this opportunity we want to thank you for your permanent solidarity with the Greek and other immigrants here in Australia; it has been a valuable support for the struggle of the Greek communists in Australia, of the Greek immigrants.
Internationalist solidarity is a force in the hands of the working class, we have great historical experience from the support of the strikes of the seamen. Particularly, the port-workers trade-unions many times had to face difficulties but they clashed decisively with the capitalists and with the bourgeois state definitely contributing to the success of many struggles, they helped against the laying off of Greek seamen. We are grateful for your struggle.
Our Party, analyzing the causes of the counter-revolution and of capitalist restoration, as well as its own historical trajectory, has made important steps ahead, has overcome the strategy of intermediate stages and has achieved a new revolutionary strategy, a new program that corresponds to our era, that is an era of transition from capitalism to socialism, defining the character of the revolution in Greece as socialist.
The premises of the analysis of the KKE are found in the expansion of the monopolies and of the capitalist relations of production in every section of the economic and social life, the maturing of the material preconditions for the building of the new socialist society, the necessity to resolve the fundamental contradiction between capital and salaried labor.
Our Party, equipped with its strategy reinforces its ideological and political work for the maturation of the subjective factor and for the preparation of the worker and people’s forces for harsh class confrontations.
We focus our attention in the struggle for the regroupment of the working class movement and for the construction of the social alliance between the working class, the poor and medium-sized farmers, the self-employed professionals of the cities, with the contribution of the youth and of the women working-class and popular origin.
In the social alliance that is a fundamental tool for the struggle against the monopolies and capitalism PAME, the class-oriented movement, the anti-monopoly rallies of farmers and of the self-employed in the cities fulfill an important role.
The social alliance will adapt to the new facts of the confrontation with the real enemy, the capital and its power, will upgrade its demands and objectives and, in conditions of revolutionary situation it will transform in a revolutionary front for the claim of workers power.
Thusly, with its vanguard role of the KKE and of the working class, with the struggle of the workers the road towards the socialization of the means of production and for the central, scientific planning will open, so that the mineral resources, the factories, the telecommunications, the transportations, the social services, the land, the commerce will pass in the hands of the people, so that Greece disengages from NATO and the EU.
To utilize the productive capabilities of the country, to abolish unemployment, to satisfy the people’s needs, the needs of our youth.
This year we are honoring the 100th Anniversary of the KKE and the 50 years of KNE, with hundreds of mass activities with the participation of thousands of workers and youth, and we will continue with all our forces. On November 25th, we will celebrate in Athens the great central activity and this activity will coincide with the 20th International Meeting of Communist and Worker’s Parties that will take place on November 23-25 in Athens.
We thank you again for your presence and for your solidarity to the KKE.
Source: CPA - Guardian, Issue #1843.