Skip to content Communist Party of Greece

Personal tools
You are here: Home » News » 2004 » The struggle of the working class for socialism at the national and international level

The struggle of the working class for socialism at the national and international level

At the beginning of the 1990s, following the counterrevolutionary developments in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, the wave of reactionary ideology and propaganda was in full spate. The imperialist victors exploited the defeat of the forces of socialism to unleash their propaganda, in order to stabilise the results of the counterrevolution, although capitalism had not become exonerated in the minds of the people.

The main core of the bourgeois ideological offensive was the theory that a new world order was being born in which, supposedly, the basic contradiction of the 20th century, that between capitalism and socialism, would cease to exist. The confusion created by the changes allowed the advocates and defenders of the capitalist system to pretend to ignore reality, promising the abolition of war and the arms race, talking about equality and democracy in international relations, and about the «peaceful», conciliatory settlement of class contradictions.

The developments of the last decade have clearly proven the falsity of such ideological constructs, that had been adopted to one or the other degree by a variety of forces positing themselves on the «left», but negating the struggle against monopoly capitalism and imperialism and the goal of socialism. The integral features of capitalism: asymmetric development of the forces of production to the detriment of the real needs of the working class, the widening of the gap between capitalist economies, the increasing accumulation of capital and the inevitable, ever-present internal social contradictions, especially the basic contradiction between labour and capital, have been amply demonstrated. The scientific character and the timeliness of the Marxist-Leninist analysis of the increasingly reactionary character of imperialism have once again been highlighted.

In the era of imperialism war and capitalist profiteering go hand in hand. Alliances between capitalist countries, like the EU, cannot establish peace and security for their people. Inter-imperialist contradictions and rivalries continue to exist and to sharpen. Consequently the arguments regarding a «multi-polar world» bypass the existence of imperialism and the social necessity that stems from it, that is the struggle for socialism. They ignore the dialectical unity of coexistence and conflict between the various imperialist centers. A conflict that will be carried out either by economic and political means or by military means and open warfare.

The enlargement of the EU with new member states marks a new stage in the strategic goal of European finance capital to expand its spheres of influence to the east, to solidify and strengthen the imperialist center that is the EU against its rivals. The events of September 11, 2001 came as a blessing for the aggressive policies of both the USA and the EU. The "war against terrorism" gave a second pretext for intervention, in addition to the "protection" of the rights of minorities, which they skillfully used during the wars in the Balkans. The concept of "crisis prevention and management" has provided the framework for military interventions anywhere in the world and for the adoption of restrictive measures and «anti-terrorist» laws, clearly pointing to the working class as the number one social enemy.

In the socioeconomic sphere the strategy of capitalist restructuring, a well-planned offensive against the working class, is being implemented. It is an offensive that is rapidly de-constructing the so-called «welfare state». In reality such a welfare state has never existed and can never exist under capitalism. Every bourgeois state carries out certain social functions so that labour power can be reproduced. The breadth of such functions is primarily determined by the needs for capital accumulation, the level of capitalist development, as well as the level of the class struggle.

In postwar Europe the «welfare state» was the answer of the bourgeoisie to the positive paradigm of the socialist system and its achievements, as well as to the presence of a powerful communist movement in the European capitalist societies. Following the counterrevolutionary events and the weakening of the communist movement, the reverse trend manifests itself. Capitalist profits and social welfare can only coexist as an exception and with the explicit aim of assimilating the class struggle to the needs of capital.

The so called "labor cost" (that is the price of labor power) is dropping, the exploitation of the working class is intensified. Part-time and temporary labor steadily increases, the so-called "employability" is advancing. The systems of social security have already been undermined and virtually overthrown in most of the countries. Unemployment is growing. The privatization of large sectors of industrial production (energy, telecommunications, etc.), of public services and of the health, educational and social systems is advancing with disastrous consequences for large sectors of the working class. In the EU the intermediate revision of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is accelerating the financial destruction of the small and middle peasants. In this respect it is critical to point out the similarity of proposals and governmental policies emanating from both «conservative» (and even ultra-right) parties and from social democratic parties.

These developments in the strategy of world imperialism have been interpreted in different ways by social and political forces that are, at least theoretically, against them. The classless term "globalization" has been used extensively to indicate a supposedly new and unprecedented stage in the development of capitalism. In essence it represents only the further expansion of capitalist production to the external market in the form of the exportation of capital and goods, a process that begun in the 19th century and has continued unabated ever since. It reflects and expresses the way in which capitalist economies work, that is the internationalization of capital and production. Of course, compared to Marx's time, capitalist internationalization is far more dynamic today. Speed in information technology and electronic telecommunications has made possible the extremely rapid growth of the exportation of financial capital. These developments, however, are determined by capitalist ownership over the means of production and by the laws of the capitalist system, which is primarily based on the production of material products.

Based on such unscientific interpretations, various forces have arisen that have, at the national level, fully adapted to the capitalist system and to its dominant policies, while at the international and regional levels are trying to appear as forces of opposition and trying to lead various anti-globalization, anti-war and other movements. As a rule, these organizations deliberately underestimate the need for struggle at the national level, which is the real basis for a consistent struggle at the international level. They avoid any concrete class analysis of the given correlation of forces in their own country and prefer to speak generally about changes in the situation at an international and regional level without any mention of how this particular situation will actually begin to change.

These are views that clearly distort reality by arguing that today’s movement has emerged outside of the working class and its movement, that it constitutes a denial of the class struggle of the 20th century. That it is a movement mainly of the intelligentsia and youth, outside the framework of political parties, without a rigid organizational structure. In practice, despite their anti-capitalist rhetoric, many of these organizations often adopt overtly anticommunist positions, slandering the Socialist societies that were constructed during the 20th century and their achievements, denying the need for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. In this vein they play right into the hands of the strategy of the bourgeoisie and not unexpectedly are quietly tolerated by it.

Nevertheless, these views allude to critical theoretical and political issues in the revolutionary and labor movement. Basic questions of the movement re-appear: Is it possible for the popular movement in each country to postpone the initiatives it must take when conditions are ripe, to wait for conditions to mature in other movements in other countries? Finally is it possible to bring about the overthrow of capitalism in just one country or is this possible only worldwide?

A Leninist analysis provides the framework for correctly answering these fundamental questions. The future of the working class movement globally is integrally linked to the future of the movement in each country. To its ability to radically alter the correlation of forces in the interior of as many countries, smaller or larger, to move in the direction of changes at the level of state power, in complete and clear opposition to the interests of monopolies and imperialism. To the ability of communist and workers’ parties to formulate a coherent, scientific revolutionary strategy that challenges capitalism.

Such a strategy should unite in common struggle forces that have different perspectives, that may disagree on socialism, but that are willing to actively fight against the interests of monopolies and imperialism. The basis of this alliance, of an Anti-imperialist, Anti-monopoly Front, will be a social alliance between the working class and the petty bourgeois strata, which, in their mutual interest and overcoming their differences, will join their efforts in the fight against their common adversary. It will be based on the dialectical relationship and interaction of social and political alliances. It will draw its strength mainly from the development of the class struggle and from the processes and realignments that this will bring at the social and political level. In turn, the Front will provide a new dynamic to the class struggle.

For the formation of such a Front it is not enough to have common action based on common or similar views on everyday issues. There must also be a certain level of agreement on the general direction for solving problems, which will be expressed in a programmatic framework for a people's economy and peoples' power. Foundations of the people's economy are: 1. Social state ownership of the basic and centralised means of production 2. Exclusively public, free systems of education, health, welfare and social security, accessible to all. 3. A central, nation-wide mechanism for planning and managing the economy that will mobilise the socialised, centralised means of production, the workforce and the resources. 4. The people's economy presupposes the disengagement of the country from international imperialist organisations, like the EU, NATO, etc.

Disengagement from the imperialist organisations does not mean national isolation or break-up of international economic relations. It is disengagement from an unequal division of labour and pursuit of economic relations on the basis of mutual interest. From the point of view of the labour movement this disengagement is essential for all countries. In parallel to the tendency of disengagement will exist the tendency of mutual co-operation of the disengaged countries, of co-operation and ties with other countries that will be moving in the same direction, tendencies that we believe are ensured by the internationalisation of class struggle.

When we speak of people's power we mean socialist power. Today, the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly struggle is more closely linked with and has become an integral part of the struggle against capitalism since, by its very nature, it creates ruptures that undermine the foundations of the monopoly dominated capitalist society. However, the struggle of the Front does not necessarily and inevitably lead to socialism.

The Anti-imperialist Anti-monopoly Democratic Front, under conditions of a revolutionary situation, could develop the characteristics of a revolutionary front fighting for the overthrow of the rule of the monopolies. Within this process, new popular institutions will come into being, which may reach the level of a revolutionary government. With the victorious outcome of the struggle, the characteristics of this revolutionary government will be consolidated and stabilised as rule by the working class and its allies, i.e. the dictatorship of the proletariat.

Under conditions of acute class confrontation, combined with a great decline in the influence of the bourgeois parties and their allies, even if the conditions for revolutionary social change are not mature, a parliament-based government of the anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly forces may arise. The Front must take advantage of this possibility, control the government, and support political measures in favour of the popular interests. The future of such a government will depend on whether, through the mobilisation of the people, it will withstand the reaction of the ruling class. If it succeeds, it will contribute to the maturing and the start-up of the revolutionary process.

Movements at the national level in such a direction, with a distinct class orientation, a powerful Communist Party with a correct policy of alliances, that can lead to the solution of the issue of power and to the disengagement of each country from the international imperialist system, will also prove instrumental in changing the international correlation of forces. They will accelerate similar developments in other countries. This has to be perceived as a common strategy of struggle for the working classes of at least the European capitalist countries.

Such struggles at the national level are strategically linked to international co-ordination and common action, to the internationalisation of the class struggle. The evolving demonstrations and other actions at the international level should not lead us to believe that a strong global movement has been created with an orientation that disputes the foundations of the capitalist system.

The future effectiveness of this movement will be judged both by its composition and by its orientation. The growing international movement must ultimately crystallise into an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist movement that is powered by the national movements and which in turn supplies them with a new dynamic. It must become a movement that will help the people gain the ability not only to thwart new measures, not only to avert war wherever possible, but also the power to reverse the correlation of forces. Otherwise, the bourgeoisie and its agents will assimilate it.

It must be a genuinely internationalist movement that will not be swept along by the policy of "divide and rule" or by the effort on the part of the imperialist states to use it as a pawn in their power conflicts. It should not be indifferent to inter-imperialist contradictions, nor, on the other hand, side with and actively support the one or the other competitor in such cases. Grasping the objective nature of these contradictions, the popular movements should take advantage of them to weaken the opponent (imperialism in general) and create the conditions for the victory of Socialism.

Progress in such a direction will largely depend on the course of co-ordination and common action by the international communist movement, a course that should also pass the test of dialogue around modern ideological problems, and the ideological differences that existed in the past, but that became sharper as a result of the victory of the counter-revolution. Communist parties that are struggling with consistency against imperialism, with their goal of socialism clearly defined are in a position to achieve a vanguard role in an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist alliance. To unite in the common struggle forces that disagree on issues of socialism, or which today do not profess socialism, but are nevertheless aiming for a firm showdown with the forces of capital.

A consistent and successful struggle against monopoly capital and imperialism cannot be carried out without an unrelenting struggle with opportunism and social democracy, ideological and political currents that need to be defeated in the movement. History has shown that modern opportunism, under conditions of an intense struggle between the two socio-political systems, became the ideological bulwark for the overthrow of socialist power. It slandered the values of socialism and communism, negating the achievements of the socialist societies. In the name of «renovation» it abandoned class struggle, supporting the capitalist restructuring policies. Opportunism rejects the laws of social development leading to socialism, at the same time covering its further retreat with anti-capitalist rhetoric and with the social democratic slogan «another world is possible».

In any case we believe it is imperative for all those fighting for socialism to defend the achievements of the socialist societies that were constructed during the 20th century, to critically analyse, on the basis of Marxism-Leninism, the factors that led to the counterrevolutionary events of the last two decades. Imperialism is unceasingly trying to distort and negate the achievements of socialism for the working class, in an obvious effort to prevent any attempt towards popular co-ordination and resistance to its policies.

Nevertheless, it is becoming more and more apparent daily that the socialist societies of the 20th century managed to solve successfully a significant number of problems that are critical for the daily lives of the working class (full employment, free housing, free health care and vacation time, free and assured education, high levels of cultural development). Problems that are plaguing the lives of the working masses in the capitalist countries. At the same time socialism, precisely due to its character as a society free from exploitation, proved to be a significant counterweight globally to the aggressive policies of world imperialism.

The counterrevolutionary events in the socialist countries do not alter the objective tendencies of social development and the social need for the revolutionary leap. The Marxist-Leninist theory for the socialist revolution remains today as timely and vibrant as ever. The elimination of the contradiction between labour and capital is the objective basis and the moving force for the evolution of society. Despite the negative developments at the end of the 20th century, we retain the unshakeable belief in the socialist and communist perspective as a historical necessity. The 21st century will prove to be the new era of socialist revolution.

Dr Vasilis Opsimos, PhD
Center for Marxist Research
Troias 36, Athens, Greece 11251
Fax: (301)2108812460 Email:


Home | News | Campaigns | About KKE | Documents | International Meetings | On the EU | Theory & Socialism | Other Articles | About Greece | Photos / Music | Printings | Red Links | Contacts

Communist Party of Greece – Central Committee
145 leof.Irakliou, Gr- 14231 Athens tel:(+30) 210 2592111 - fax: (+30) 210 2592298 - e-mail:

Powered by Plone