Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Communist Party of Greece: Statement of the CC on national and international developments

Statement by the Central Committee of the KKE on national and international developments

1. The Central Committee of the KKE met on Monday, September 7, 2020, and examined the tasks and actions of the Party and the KNE under these complex and difficult conditions for the people, formed by the course of international and national developments. These developments are defined by:

The further escalation of the intra-imperialist competitions in the Eastern Mediterranean region, which include the contradictions of the bourgeois classes of Greece and Turkey and the escalation of Turkish aggression.

The course and outbreak of the pandemic in our country and internationally, the tragic situation in public health systems, the consequences of the pandemic on the life and the rights of the working class and the popular strata, as a result of anti-popular policies and measures.

The outbreak, the evolution and the depth of the economic crisis, whose basic cause is not the pandemic, as claimed by bourgeois governments and international organizations. Serious problems of capital over-accumulation pre-existed in world capitalist economy, which mathematically led to a new crisis that was accelerated by the pandemic.

The intensification of authoritarianism, repression, and anti-communism, as manifested recently in the voting of the new law for the restriction and ban of demonstrations by the ND government.

The above factors, despite their relative independence, are not independent of each other, nor did they coincide, as the government and the other bourgeois parties claim, competing with each other over who is the best manager of the same anti-popular strategy.

These factors feed off each other, because in fact they are manifestations of the same bourgeois policy. At the core of this policy lies the safeguarding of the profitability of the capital at all levels, the service of the capitalist function and especially the shielding of the competitiveness of the capitalist economy. Therefore, they are in stark contrast to the needs of workers and peoples. It is no coincidence that even the treatment for the pandemic, e.g. the vaccine, is subject to various intra-imperialist competitions. These are, after all, the impasses of the capitalist system itself.

This policy, on the one hand, intensifies the attack on workers' - people's rights, invoking the "extraordinary conditions", while on the other hand, it entangles the people in the competitions between the capitalist states and their alliances, over who will win the most in this current phase. These competitions, which involve both the negotiations for new financial support packages for business groups, as well as  the control of wealth resources and energy routes, are to be paid by the peoples with further exploitation, poverty, unemployment, and even their own blood in case of military conflicts.

Under these circumstances, the Central Committee of the KKE addresses the working class, the poor self-employed and farmers, the youth and the women of the popular forces, the retirees, the progressive people, scientists, and artists. It calls them to militantly join forces with the KKE:

To protect the life and health of the people.

To defend the workers' - people's rights, to abolish the anti - labor provisions of Legislative Acts, so that no worker is left without a decent income.

To defend popular freedoms against state repression and bans, against employer intimidation.

To intensify the struggle against imperialist wars and our country's participation in US-NATO-EU plans. No to any change in international treaties, no to any bargaining for the co-exploitation of the Aegean under "EU-NATO supervision". The borders, the sovereign rights, the territorial integrity of the country cannot be guaranteed by the USA, NATO, the EU, the bargaining and the agreements of the bourgeois classes and governments.

2. On the competitions in the Eastern Mediterranean, the contradictions of the bourgeois classes of Greece and Turkey, and the escalation of Turkish aggression.

We are facing very dangerous developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Aegean, and Cyprus region. These developments are defined by the US, NATO and EU policy, their competition with China and Russia over the control of ports and natural wealth by energy giants, the involvement of bourgeois classes of the region seeking their geo-strategic upgrade. The consequences of the pandemic also affect this global balance of forces. This is the framework in which the contradictions of the bourgeois classes of Greece and Turkey and the escalation of Turkish aggression, with the questioning of borders and international treaties, are developing today. In fact, Greece’s deeper entanglement in the imperialist plans of the US - NATO and also EU forces, such as France, chosen by the Greek bourgeoisie, is a factor that makes the situation in Greek-Turkish relations more complicated and dangerous.

The mere fact that the two countries' fleets are lined up, for a month now, in a position of battle in the Eastern Mediterranean, is enough to show the great dangers for the peoples, but also to reject the complacency that was systematically cultivated by all governments of ND, PASOK, SYRIZA, which claim that if Greece was a "protagonist" in NATO plans, this would shield its sovereign rights. Today, this position, on the basis of which they filled Greece with US-NATO bases, sent military missions abroad, and spend 4 billion euros every year on NATO, is completely bankrupt. Nevertheless, a new round of armaments is imminent, which is again to be paid by the Greek people and will not be used for the defense of the country, as shown by the decision to deploy a “Patriot” squadron of the Greek Armed Forces to Saudi Arabia, serving the offensive US plans against the peoples.

The stance of the above forces - allies of the Greek bourgeoisie, despite their words of "sympathy" from time to time, cannot conceal that it is being dictated by the pursuit of strengthening their positions in the region against Russia and China, the maintenance of NATO cohesion, which is experiencing shocks, and the gradual promotion of Turkey's upgrade to a co-exploitation status in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The feasibility agreements, signed by the ND government with Italy and Egypt on the delimitation of the maritime economic zones, are part of the co-management prospect and the even bigger compromise that will follow with Turkey.

Various sections of the bourgeoisie systematically cultivate the argument that in this way a military conflict is avoided. This is false and misleading, conceals the responsibilities of the bourgeois foreign policy, which generally serves domestic and foreign monopolies, and at the same time disguises the heavy responsibilities of the governments to date (Helsinki and Madrid agreements on military bases etc.), which are complicit in how we got to the current situation. It takes advantage of the clear will of the Greek people to live in peace and friendship with other peoples. This line of the bourgeoisie paves the way for new concessions of sovereign rights to the detriment of the people.

Such agreements can only open a new round of military conflicts, putting the Greek and neighboring peoples in danger.

In fact, these are temporary agreements between bourgeois classes, imperialist alliances and energy giants, preparing for the new round of competition and wars. After all, imperialist agreements also change with the realignment of forces and interests, with the intensification of competition.

SYRIZA and KINAL, despite some individual differences, mainly for opposition reasons, support the government policy and the agreements signed by ND. They even commit to comply with them. Various opportunist forces, with their positions, are grist to the mill of the line of co-exploitation promoted by the Greek bourgeoisie, in cooperation with the US and the EU. Some, in fact, go so far as to deny the existence of sovereign rights or completely detach them from territorial integrity. In practice, they play the game of the imperialist centers and the Greek bourgeoisie, whose aggression can coexist with concessions in order to gain other benefits. They let the bourgeoisie free to define its own class interests each time as "national interest" and trap the people under its own flag, by accepting its nationalist outbursts and also the imperialist bargains and compromises.

After all, the Greek bourgeoisie contributes to the imperialist war also with its stance towards the sharpening of contradictions, the interventions and the multi-faceted pressures, and therefore to the consequent changes of borders, all of which constitute problems that affect the peoples. The Greek bourgeois state, as well as all the governments that serve the bourgeoisie, claim to play a key role in the exploitation of the wealth of the region, in dangerous plans for the peoples, since they actively support the proliferation of US-NATO military bases in Greece, the full integration of the Greek military forces in the imperialist plans, which lead to war, change of borders, fragmentation, and annexations, that also give birth to the Refugee-Immigration issue, etc.

Greece is fully aligned with NATO strategy, which aims to encircle Russia and develop forces in the Black Sea and the Baltic, it has accepted the doctrine of nuclear "first strike", and the plans for further expansion of NATO in the Balkans, guided by the Prespa Agreement. It willingly assumes, in the framework of NATO, the role of the "channel" to NATO’s competitors, e.g. Russia, and of the "hinge" in the Balkans. It has become an expanded, compared to the past, US launching pad. The ND governments, in alliance with PASOK and the governments of SYRIZA, are complicit in the dangerous transformation of Greece into a target of imperialist competitions.

Our people must reject all blackmailing dilemmas, they must not accept any concession of sovereign rights. Defending sovereign rights, territorial integrity, and borders, from the point of view of the popular interests, is not just hollow words. It acquires real meaning only when it goes along with the struggle:

- For the disengagement of our country from the dangerous plans of NATO, the USA, the EU.

- To close the foreign military bases in Greece.

- For the disentanglement from these organizations, with the people in power, being the owner of the wealth it produces.

This is the only road that benefits the workers, farmers, poor self-employed, craftsmen, merchants, scientists, men and women, young people and retirees in Greece, and not the monopolies, the cosmopolitanism of the big capital and their various political managers.

If the people in the region walk their own path, they will find a way to resolve any differences. We do not claim that no agreements will be signed, that no dialogue will take place, that there will be no mutual compromises in this process, but these will be for the benefit of the peoples themselves and their own mutual interests. We are strongly opposed to the agreements of profitability of the monopoly groups, the agreements that represent the interests of the bourgeois classes and not the peoples, that have been inherited or arisen under conditions of competition of neighboring capitalist states.

3. On the protection of the life and health of the people from the pandemic and state policy.

The resurgence of the pandemic in Greece bears the stamp of government policy, which  gambled the health of the people for the big business interests, especially in tourism and transportations, and did not strictly follow the health protocols and protection measures. After all, from the beginning of the management of the pandemic, the criterion was not the health of the people, as the government hypocritically said, but the avoidance of a break down of  the already crushed public health system, for which the current and all previous governments are to blame. The criterion was to control the effects of the pandemic on the economy in the best way possible, especially during tourist season, to avoid a crackdown on government stability from an uncontrolled outbreak of the pandemic, as we have seen in other EU countries and the US. The criterion was, therefore, the proper function of capitalism. In fact, the international difficulty of the system in addressing the pandemic, with the millions of dead, shows that the problem is deeper and entirely due to the barbarity of the system that treats health as a commodity.

On the one hand, the government limited to a minimum any precautionary measure that would prevent tourists - customers, caused overcrowding in the means of transport, and took insufficient measures in elderly and refugees - immigrants structures, increasing the possibility of even mass COVID-19 cases. On the other hand, it lectured the people on the compliance with preventive health measures, adapting some scientific data. At the same time, the big employers hide cases of coronavirus in workplaces, while even requiring the attendance at work of workers who should be in quarantine.

The increase in cases and any laxity that has been cultivated reflects their own irresponsibility, retractions and contradictions in protection measures, and mainly the submission of public health to the profitability of big businessmen.

The concern becomes even greater in view of the new school year, which begins with huge shortages of teachers and infrastructure, as a result of the policy of all governments to date. These shortcomings create conditions of overcrowding in schools.

Most importantly, the government did not use the time gained from the people's sacrifices to shield the public health system from an expected second wave of the pandemic in winter conditions and the risk of failing to meet acute needs for other serious illnesses (such as scheduled surgeries postponed during the first wave of the pandemic and the general lock-down).

The beds and ICUs, as well as their limited increase, which the government is celebrating, are not enough even for the current needs, let alone for conditions of a pandemic. The waiting period for an ICU bed in "normal" conditions reaches up to 50 patients a day, while in the winter, with the outbreak of the flu, it exceeds 100 patients.

We immediately demand:

- Mass recruitment of permanent doctors and nurses in Primary Health Care Units and Hospitals. No to any dismissal, permanent employment for all contract and auxiliary staff.

- Massive and repeated tests on workers in the sectors of health and welfare, means of transportation, catering, tourism, trade and also in large workplaces (factories, etc.).

- Opening of all the health units and welfare institutions for the disabled and the chronically ill that have closed in the previous years, ensuring full permanent staff and appropriate operating infrastructure.

- Requisition plan of all structures and services of the private health sector, which will be implemented depending on the needs (e.g. for molecular diagnostic tests).

- Measures to protect workers in the workplace with all the necessary means for their health and safety.

- Free administration of the flu vaccine and the vaccine against the pneumococcal disease.

- Urgent recruitment of permanent staff in the means of transportation in order to increase routes and reduce overcrowding, with a simultaneous reduction in the occupancy of ships and planes and a reduction of the ticket price.

- Decisive reduction of the number of students per class, so that no class has more than 15 students.

- Development of a Primary Health Care network that will also specifically apply to schools, with the presence of nurses in school units and the provision of constant presence of doctors in groups of schools or crowded schools.

- Extraordinary funds from the state budget for mass appointments of teachers and other workers, for the upgrading of infrastructure and equipment, the cleanliness and control of the implementation of hygiene measures and personal protective equipment etc., in the educational structures of all levels, including pre-school age.

4. On the defense of workers' - people's rights in conditions of the new capitalist economic crisis.

The pandemic acted as a catalyst for the outbreak of a new and deep capitalist crisis on a global scale, as the signs were already visible. The crisis arose from the "normality" of the contradictions of the capitalist system and no mixture of management can prevent its manifestation.

The adoption of an expansionist-Keynesian policy by the EU and the capitalist states, i.e. a greater state intervention, with the allocation of funds to business groups and other similar measures that are necessary for the capitalist economic recovery, will not bring a dynamic growth, not even to any level of the past, because the previous capitalist recovery was also weak and did not reach the pre-crisis levels. The basic problem of capitalism to return to previous growth rates and manage the over-accumulation of capital, the debt, etc, remains and is sharpened.

Furthermore, the workers will not benefit from this growth, while at the same time the fierce attack on the workers'-people's income and all rights continues. A bigger state intervention, after all, puts again the burden on the people, in a different way. The people are to pay the new government loans and lift the burden of the loss-making private business groups.

That is why this policy does not constitute a pro-people turn, as particularly claimed by social democratic forces, such as SYRIZA, which accuses ND that "it can not implement such a policy because it does not believe in it." It turns out that the bourgeois parties, despite their differences, have the ability to adapt to the needs and priorities of the capitalist system. After all, SYRIZA did the same thing as a government, adopting policies that it allegedly opposed before. It also proves that the bourgeois state, not only is not "above classes", but it intervenes based on the criterion of saving the capitalist system.

The money, which is allocated to support the capital through state subsidies, freeing businessmen from debts and losses, will be earned from the bleeding and heavy taxation of the workers and the popular strata.

The situation formed in the workplaces under the pretext of the pandemic is explosive and cannot be prettified with the crumbs of subsidies, such as e.g. the SYN-Ergasia program, from which big employers benefit again through the subsidy of salaries. Unemployment, redundancies, part-time work, rapid expansion of flexible working forms, intensification, special purpose leaves, extension of teleworking, increase of unpaid working hours, unpaid overtime in case of preventive quarantine of employees, reductions in wages,  and debts of households, self-employed, small and medium-scale farmers have skyrocketed. These measures, which passed with various government Legislative Acts, will continue to be valid, unless the labor-popular movement abolishes them. The same, after all, happened with the "extraordinary temporary legislation" of the memoranda that was made permanent by all governments.

We must strengthen the labor-popular struggle:

- To immediately abolish the anti-labor - anti-popular provisions of the Legislative Acts.

- To ensure an income that meets the acute needs of all workers and the unemployed.

- No to any auction of main residence, no cutting off of water, electricity and phone in poor peoples’ houses due to debts.

- To reduce working hours without reducing wages. To abolish all forms of flexible work.

- Compulsory social security for all, with reduction or abolition of workers’ contributions that should be paid by the state and employers. Exclusively public and free health - welfare for all.

- Immediate support for the self-employed by securing a tax-free limit of 12,000 euros and writing off part of debts to banks and the State.

- Securing lowest guaranteed prices for agricultural products.

5. On the defense of popular and trade union rights and freedoms.

Recently, the ND government strengthened its legal arsenal to intensify the repression of popular struggles, confirming that anti-popular economic policy goes hand in hand with state repression and authoritarianism. The law on the restriction of demonstrations, in combination with the EU-inspired measures against so-called "radicalization", complete the institutional framework, formed by all previous governments, which restricts the right to strike, mobilizations against auctions, etc.

At the same time, the government and its various propaganda mechanisms intensify anti-communism and the attack against the KKE, mainly on the occasion of the government’s decision to have a representative attend the Union of Retired Army Officers events in Grammos and the imposition of a fine on the party's finances.

The struggle against state repression, employer intimidation and authoritarianism, against the attack on popular and trade union rights, as well as the rights of refugees and immigrants, must be at the forefront of the struggle of the class-oriented labor movement and the Social Alliance, starting from the workplace. Every worker, progressive individual, scientist, artist, lawyer, etc. can and must contribute to this struggle. The Golden Dawn trial, which is about to be completed, is a front of particular importance.

The defense of popular and trade union rights will be based on the organized disobedience of the class-oriented movement, with the aim of abolishing in practice the reactionary laws. Above all, however, this struggle will strengthen the overall anti-capitalist-anti-monopoly orientation of the struggle, the emergence of the class essence of bourgeois democracy, against perceptions that detach repression from the capitalist exploitative character of the bourgeois state, strengthening the two false poles of progress – conservatism, and facilitating the illusions of a future social democratic government of management.

The law restricting the right to strike, voted by the SYRIZA government and supplemented by ND, and the law banning and restricting demonstrations, voted by the ND government, must be immediately abolished.

6. Based on the above developments, there is an urgent need for the Party Organizations, the KNE, the friends and supporters of the Party to struggle for the organization of the workers' - people's counterattack. There is no time to lose, much less now that developments can be rapid and unpredictable. The KKE, the KNE, and the class-oriented labor movement have shown that they can combine this struggle with the necessary observance of the protection measures of the people in conditions of a pandemic, such as today.

The new measures, which the government is preparing to announce in Thessaloniki, will not confer any benefit to the people. This stems from the proposals made by the “Pissarides Commission”, as well as from the European Fund itself.

We must organize this struggle by forming a front against perceptions and views that are methodically cultivated by the government, the other bourgeois parties, and various mechanisms of the system, reinforcing conservatism, fear, passiveness, and ultimately leading by one or another way to the disarmament of workers' - people's forces.

Such are, for example, the positions that blame exclusively the people and the popular struggle for the evolution of the pandemic and its consequences, in the name of a false individual responsibility, while at the same time whitewash the role of the state and conceal government responsibilities regarding the necessary measures to protect the life, health, and income of the people. In this framework, various conspiracy theories, as well as irrational and metaphysical explanations for the origin and evolution of the pandemic are being used.

Above all, however, is the position calling for "national unity and co-operation to face the unprecedented difficulties", which is systematically promoted by both ND and SYRIZA (in the name of a "responsible" but toothless opposition), KINAL and the other parties. This position essentially calls on the people to lower the banner of demands for their needs, to consent to the goals of the bourgeoisie, presenting them as "national" and, in the "best" case, to each time elect the managers of the same dangerous anti-popular strategy. The developments have once again brought to the fore the bankruptcy of the so-called model of "extroversion", which had been flagged by all governments, declaring tourism a "motor engine" of the economy, while undermining the country's productive potential.

In fact, these difficult and complex conditions bring even more to the surface the unbridgeable class contradictions that exist within society and prove that there is not, nor can be, a common interest between the capital, on the one hand, and the working class and the people, on the other. Overcoming the economic crisis and dealing with the sharpened competitions demand the further crushing of workers' and people's rights, but also a new round of warfare. The very evolution and management of the pandemic, focusing on the profitability of the monopoly groups and the fiscal stability of the bourgeois state, once again brought to the fore the barbarity and decay of the capitalist system. That is why the bourgeois state, especially under such circumstances, intensifies its ideological and political intervention, combining methods and means with manipulation and repression.

The very developments (the sharpening of imperialist competition and risks of military conflicts, the pandemic and the management of the economic crisis), bring to the fore the issue of the only real way out from the point of view of the workers' and people's interests.

We need to break the vicious circle of contradictions of a system that fails to meet the vital rights and needs of the vast majority of the people, at a time when the rise in productivity and the development of technology and science form preconditions for leaps towards a radical improvement and resolution of social problems. It becomes more obvious that the organization of the economy based on capitalist profit and the power in the hands of a social minority, that is, the representatives of monopoly groups, become an obstacle to social progress and prosperity. The accumulating evidence reveal the necessity of socialism - communism, that is, workers' power, for the establishment of social ownership, the central scientific planning of the economy, based on the expanding satisfaction of all social needs.

The KKE is the only party that not only includes this way out in its Programme, but also does not detach this path from the struggle against workers'-people's problems and the preconditions for resolving them. It is also the only party that uses all its strength so that our people and the workers believe in their power and ability to determine the developments, to put their own seal, to achieve this way out. The members and cadres of the KKE struggle in this direction wherever they are, they lead in the organization of the workers'-people's struggles against all their problems, they carry out the ideological-political struggle against perceptions, distortions, and prejudices, which consider that the current system is eternal although it is rotting and promote the increasing adaptation of the people’s needs and rights to the limits set by the capitalist system, based on its "modernizations" and "restructurings", as the only supposed way out. They utilize the various fronts of struggle to show the possibilities of the other path of development, of socialism, as well as to prove that these possibilities exist today in Greece.

That is why the communists fight the battle to prevent the daily struggle from being trapped in the different variants of bourgeois government management and within the limits set by international imperialist organizations (the EU, NATO, the IMF, etc). The people have gained rich experience from the previous decade and the stance of all governments, so that they can overcome the traps and false dilemmas set by the ND government, SYRIZA, as the new vehicle of social democracy, KINAL and the other parties, in the context of the continuous reform of the bourgeois political system.

We fight the battle so that the daily struggles on the various fronts lead to the strengthening of the class-oriented labor movement and the mass participation in trade unions and the organizations of self-employed – professionals, farmers, the radical women's movement, students and pupils. To strengthen the joint action, the Social Alliance, in an anti-capitalist – anti-monopoly direction, the confrontation with imperialist organizations, to open the way to the struggle for the overthrow of capitalist barbarity.

Precisely for all these reasons, now more than ever, it is necessary to strengthen the  struggle alongside the KKE .

September 2020