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Contribution of KKE to the 22nd International Communist Seminar of Workers’ Party of Belgium

The attacks on the democratic rights and freedoms in the world capitalist crisis. Strategies and actions in response »

Dear comrades,

We thank the WP of Belgium for once again hosting this international seminar which allows the exchange of views on crucial issues regarding the communist movement and the struggle of the labour movement.

We want using this opportunity to reiterate our solidarity with the comrades of the CP Mexico who carried out their Mayday rally and march besieged by the forces of repression in a suffocating way, in a an obvious attempt to intimidate as well as call into question the right to free activity at the orders of the local government of the “progressive” Party of the Democratic Revolution; with the CP Bangladesh whose offices became the target of armed attacks and attempted arson by fanatic islamists on the 5th of May; with the comrades from FARC and the Clandestine Colombian CP which the imperialist organizations and governments label “terrorists”.

We express our solidarity with the working class-people’s struggles which are developing despite the employer and state intimidation, violence and repression, with the communists who are struggling unselfishly, even sacrificing their lives for the rights and the cause of the working class in conditions of illegality, bans and harsh persecution.

The “law and order” doctrine proclaimed and applied by the Greek government is not something particular to Greece. The workers at “Arcelor Mittal” have felt it intensely, millions of workers all over the world they do on a daily basis.

The intensification of the repression, the escalation of the attack on democratic and trade union rights and freedoms on the part of the bourgeois class in the entire capitalist world is part and parcel of the strategy for the reinforcement of its interests and power, in conditions of prolonged capitalist crisis and rising popular discontent. It is the other side of the pro-monopoly restructurings, the strategy of competitiveness and entrepreneurship, the intensification of exploitation and the concentration and centralization of capital. They have the long view based on their clear class criterion: They are worried about the organized popular struggle especially when it acquires a clear class orientation and content, even if this does not threaten the dominance of capital in the short run.

Lenin’s position that “politically, imperialism is, in general, a striving towards violence and reaction” is manifestly been confirmed. This general trend- which is expressed through the strengthening of the bourgeois political system with new repressive mechanisms, both state and para-state, with the adoption of the most reactionary and authoritarian laws in order to break the labour and people’s movement- is extended and exacerbated in the conditions of crisis.

A new situation is being formed in Greece

This trend is clearly manifested in our country. In conditions when the capitalist crisis is deepening and popular discontent is swelling however without the labour movement having been able to regroup, the aggressiveness of capital has created a new situation, with reactionary changes which have already been expressed at the level of bourgeois institutions and governmental praxis.

The escalation of the repression is manifested both by the increase of the employers’ arbitrariness and intimidation, as well as by the accentuation of the state repression through the courts and the police.

In recent years more than 90% of strikes had already been declared illegal and inappropriate by the bourgeois courts. And it is of very great importance that in these conditions, despite the intimidation, bans, repression strike struggles were successfully carried out in our country with the decisive contribution of the communists and PAME.

Certain additional examples:

- Training of Army’s Special Forces for crowd control operations in urban areas, that is for the repression of people’s mobilization. We have already some first appearance of such forces in police operations.

- Mandatory collection of DNA sample from residents of Halkidiki who struggle against the building of gold mines in their region; police night home invasions and arrests on the pretext of provocations by obscure groups.

- Preparations to drastically limit the right to demonstrate in the center of Athens

- 2 September 2011: The court bans the creation of a Student Union, because its aims are against the imperialist mechanisms of NATO and the European Union and the imperialist political line of the USA because according to the court “It is not allowed to have an aim which is contrary to public order” which is formed by “those provisions that form the foundations of the state social and economic system of the country.”

- 11 January 2012: A court rejects the foundation of a Parents Association of a school because its constitution refers to struggling for “a truly unified higher education with equal departments and faculties.”

- 20 July 2012: At the order of the Prime Minister himself the factory of Greek Steelworks is occupied by the riot police. After that there follow persecutions and trials against the strikers that are still under way. We are speaking about the 9-month long heroic struggle of the metalworkers that received broad class solidarity and support internationally.

- 30 January 2013. The government carried out an obvious provocation against PAME and arrests 35 trade unionists, characterizing a simple demonstration to the Ministry of Labour as “extremism”. The accusation collapsed and the government’s plan fails in the face of the mobilization of thousands of workers.

- May 2013: A court’s decision bans, after the intervention of the business group, the President of the trade union of telecommunications workers from coming near the company It ordered that the statements be removed from the website which concern the labour relations in this “business” based on the denunciations of the workers and that new ones not be uploaded.

- May 2013. Monopoly group (Kolios-Agno) in order to break the strike struggle of the workers demands that the courts ban the strikers from being present inside or immediately outside of the factory compound, from meeting in the trade union’s meeting hall and from using the conference room. In addition it demands that the court condemn the members of the trade union’s committee and make each one of them pay a fine of 3000 euros and that they be detained.

For the 3rd time in the last 6 months the government has carried out the civil mobilization of strikers, the seamen, the workers in the Athens Metro and the teachers. Since 2010 civil mobilization (requisition) has been used 5 times against strikes. I.e. in the last 3 years 50% of the civil mobilization of strikers in the last 30 years has occurred.

“Law and order”, i.e. the savage repression of any questioning of the dominant political line has emerged as the basic doctrine of bourgeois governance. At the same time, while a number of democratic and trade union rights already belong to the past, the government is discussing restrictions of mobilizations and marches in the centre of Athens, it is planning a law which bans, in essence, the right of the workers to strike. Indeed many officials of the parties of the coalition government demand restrictive provisions to be integrated into the country’s constitution.

Reactionary developments at the level of the EU

The functioning and role of EU repressive mechanisms, Europol, Eurojust and Frontex is strengthening in the same direction.

The imperialist interventions have been institutionalized. The connection between the “civil protection apparatus” and the “mutual defence and solidarity clause” is becoming stronger –providing for the intervention in member-states on the pretext of crisis management-, the reactionary characteristics and aggressiveness of the EU are being reinforced in relation to military interventions in its member-states, with the pretext of “terrorism”, “destruction of natural or human resources”, “cyber attacks” etc for the breaking of the labour movement and the protection of the bourgeois political system. The warnings of Jean-Claude Juncker that crisis and high levels of joblessness risk sparking a "social rebellion" in Europe are not at all accidental.

The offensive is escalating with the adoption of activity against “radicalism” and “extreme ideologies”, with the pretext of “terrorism”. The recent conference of RAN (Radicalization Awareness Network) of the EU on 29/1/2013 is a very recent example. On October 2010 the Council of Europe adopted a resolution against “extremism” which is defined as “a rejection of basic values and rules of the game in a democratic constitutional state”, that is of the bourgeois democracy and its class law.

The ideology and political activity which leads outside of the boundaries of the capitalist system is being criminalized, anticommunism is intensifying and being transmitted through the various channels of manipulation. The surveillance mechanisms have multiplied as well as the collection of data against radical militants aided by new technology. As was announced last year in August, the instances of legal surveillance in Greece by the police and the intelligence service surpassed 50,000 marking an increase by 70% in just one year.

The EU openly criminalizes the communist ideology; it strengthens its reactionary legal arsenal for persecutions, bans, violent repression and attacks against the labour-people’s movement, above all against the communist parties which call the exploitative capitalist system into question. This tendency was generalized with the EU’s enlargement in 2004.

At the same time the intervention of the EU is strengthening in order to buttress the bourgeois political systems in members states and more generally. The reactionary characteristics of the so-called “European parties”- amongst them the “Party of the European Left”, which expresses the organizational merger of the opportunist current with class mechanisms of the imperialist EU.

The processes for the reformation of the political systems is an element of their reactionary development

The swelling of popular discontent, the working class struggles and protests even if they do not correspond to the intensity of the attack are a source of concern for capital and the bourgeois political system, especially as the impasses of various bourgeois versions for the management of the crisis are intensifying. The course of the inter-imperialist competition and the contradictions amongst sections of capital are also exerting a significant impact on the orientation and international alliances of the country.

Together with the repression and ideological offensive, the efforts for the reformation of the bourgeois political system are accelerating. New parties are appearing which aim at or are already participating in coalition governments. Realignments are being witnessed both in the centre-right and in social-democracy and opportunism.

An integral element of the reformation of the bourgeois political system is the greater turn to reaction, repression and state-employer violence, the anti-communist and anti-socialist offensive which is a problem that concerns the large majority of the people. The anti-communist offensive seeks alternatively the following: to pressure the KKE, so that the hopes are fulfilled regarding the adulteration of its character and its transformation into a component of the “governmental left” or its isolation or even to achieve the outlawing of its activity. This issue must be dealt with decisively by the people, in order for exceptionally negative consequences for the labour and people’s movement to be avoided. Consequently, new duties emerge for the labour movement, the People’s Alliance, that is to say issues of strategic importance.At the same time the concerns about the reactionary changes in the Constitution and the electoral law are intensifying, about the parties and their funding, the strengthening of the role of the President of the Republic, with the aim of buttressing the stability of bourgeois governance.

Regarding the more direct control of the activity of the parties, specific interventions by the Council of Europe had begun from 2003 onwards in the form of Recommendations and Resolutions (resolution 1344/2003 had as its theme “threats to democracy from extremist parties and movements in Europe”, which was finalized in a “a Code of good practices in the sector of the political parties”) which speaks clearly about “banning or dissolving parties which advocate the use of violence or use violence as a means to overthrow the democratic constitutional order”.

A feature of the reformation of the bourgeois political system is the intensification of state anti-communism, as well as the development and parliamentary representation of national socialism/fascism, the sharpening of authoritarianism and of state and para-state repression (for instance the provocation that led to burning of the MARFIN bank and the death of 3 workers or the murderous attack against PAME in Syntagma square during strikes).

Golden Dawn is a National-Socialist fascist organization. It strikes against immigrants and is hostile to the struggle of the labour and people’s movement, it utilizes vulgar anti-communism. It is a section and party of the bourgeois political system; it is an organization of the bourgeois class, of capital. Its economic programme has many common points of reference with “anti-memorandum” bourgeois and opportunist forces. The official anti-immigrant political line with violence and repression reinforces the atmosphere of racism and converges with these views.

Golden Dawn is supported by important cells in the state and para-state and its role is aimed at striking against the KKE, at breaking the labour movement. Such forces are nurtured by the adoption of anti-communism as the official policy of the EU, the criminalization of the activity of CPs in many countries, the “theory of the extremes”, the slandering of socialism and above all the anti-historical equation of communism with fascism.

The anti-historical theory of the “two extremes”, which is our country dates form the 1950s and 1960s-which equates the activity of fascist organizations with the activity of the revolutionary movement-is the vehicle through which they are trying to identify fascism with communism, in order to impose a deathly silence on the movement and in the end attack the communists and the leading workers, amongst many others.

Recently, under the pretext of the activity of fascist organizations, a discussion began about legal bans which will pave the way for bans at the expense of communists. It is no accident that immediately various “well-wishers” emerged to remind people that the KKE also exists and operates outside of the constitutional arc.

Golden Dawn and similar formations cannot be dealt with by blurred “anti-fascist” formations allied to forces of capital which nurture this phenomenon. It will be substantially and effectively dealt with by the rise of the class organization and struggle. It will be isolated by the organizations of labour and people’s movement; it will be weakened through the activity and strengthening of the People’s Alliance; it will vanish with the overthrow of the capitalist system that reproduces it. There is already some relevant initial experience accumulated in this regard.

The struggle in anti-monopoly, anti-capitalist direction can defend the labour-democratic rights

There is an intense political and ideological confrontation around issues of democratic rights and freedoms, around the question of what line and what direction should the response of the labour movement be in. This also reflects in the communist movement.

Bourgeois and opportunist political forces foster a non-class theory of democracy detaching the economic base from the superstructure. They present the tendency to reaction of the bourgeois parliamentary democracy – the monopolies’ dictatorship with democratic guise - as a “deviation”, preaching a more “ethical”, “democratic” and “humane” capitalism. The speech of SYRIZA’s President to the conference of SEB (Hellenic Federation of Enterprises) is indicative of this, which invoked Lenin and specifically his saying that socialism equals Soviet Power plus electrification in order to end up stating in front of an audience of industrialists that “today we can say: Development equals democracy plus investments!”

Indeed some of these forces claim that the problem of the capitalist crisis is a problem of democracy, reversing reality and adhering to the most extreme idealistic viewpoints, bypassing the fact that the economic base conditions the political superstructure and not vice versa.

For example, the so-called “movements of the indignants” and the “squares” which appeared in recent years with the support of mechanisms of the bourgeois class and the leading role of sections of the labour aristocracy and petty bourgeois strata, promoted as their banner petty bourgeois democratic slogans (“democracy now”, “direct democracy” etc), as well as reactionary slogans like “parties out”, “trade unions out”. It was not only forces of right and left opportunism that met in this line, but bourgeois nationalist and reactionary forces as well.

On this basis they seek to drag the working class and its movement into a position of supporting bourgeois democracy: either by calling for “anti-fascist fronts”, or in an alliance of the forces of the “constitutional arc” against the “fascist danger”, their common denominator is for the labour movement to line up in support of the bourgeois institutions, the bourgeois constitution etc. This led, for example, in France the PCF to call for a vote in favour fro the conservative liberal Chirac so that Le Pen would not win, or similar forces in Italy that supported various centre-left formation so that Berlusconi would not win, without of course curtailing the reactionary trends. How can the fascist views be dealt with if you defend the system that creates them? Fascism is capitalism, and as Brecht stressed in his era “'Any proclamation against fascism which refrains from dealing with the social relations from which this arose as a natural in necessity is lacking in sincerity. Whoever does not wish to abandon the private ownership of the means of production, not only will not be rid of fascism, but will need it.

It is no accident that another prominent figure of the communist movement, Alvaro Cunhal (this year is the 100th anniversary of his birth), noted in 1997, when comparing the situation of the working class in a regime of bourgeois democracy with that of a fascist dictatorship: “ How many of these situations and the characteristics of the labour relations and exploitation which were imposed by the power of the monopolies and land-owners in the era of the dictatorship are being repeated today with the replacement of the power of the monopolies and land-owners by the counterrevolutionary political line of the successive governments?”

Is it not obvious that the basic cause is found in the socio-economic system? Is this not one of history’s great lessons?”

The problem is even greater when it is transferred from the electoral process to the movement. The acceptance of bourgeois legality leads in the end to the subjugation to – more and more restricted- the boundaries which are posed every time by the bourgeois state, to compromise with the “freedom” of capital to exploit the labour force.

At the level of the strategy of the CPs, the detachment of the front of struggle for democratic rights from the anti-monopoly-anti-capitalist of capitalism, objectively leads to the rationale of an intermediate stage on the terrain of capitalism, in the rationale of the struggle for reforms on the terrain of the domination of the monopolies, even if they declare their faith in the struggle for socialism.

We have known the strategy of eurocommunism as a full development of this view. A strategy which detached politics from the economy and considered that the road to socialism passes through the expansion of bourgeois democracy. The outcome is well-known and the examples quite a few (e.g. The stance of eurocommunism in relation to the April revolution in Portugal, in Greece the line of support to the ND government in the name of the “National Anti-dictatorship, National Unity” after the fall of the military dictatorship etc). At the same time opportunism, while supporting the political system of the dictatorship of the monopolies, with as its tool the Party of the European Left acts to undermine and target the communist parties. As the President of SYRIZA characteristically mentioned in an interview that a party of the working class, a Bolshevik party, a party of the new type, “would not be a tool, but an impediment for the construction of an open broad democratic society.”

In reality, the working class and the popular strata can only respond to capital’s offensive through questioning bourgeois legality and bourgeois democracy, in an anti-capitalist anti-monopoly direction. The law is what is right for the workers: this slogan expresses the backbone of a new legitimacy born out of the struggles.

There are many examples (e.g. from the anti-dictatorship struggle in Greece and other countries). We restrict ourselves to a characteristic example from the recent labour struggles in our country.

In the instance of the Athens’ Metro, the strike in January 2013 ceased immediately after the declaration of civil mobilization by the government. There was a complete retreat without even a meeting of the trade union’s executive committee, merely based on the opinion of a lawyer. On the other hand, the seamen have carried out 35 strikes with complete success in the period 2010-2013 and continue, despite being in a state of civil mobilization, i.e. under a state of martial law. And indeed in conditions of a very negative correlation of forces in the central organs of the federation. The activity of PAME, and the class-oriented trade unions in a planned way, with organization, class orientation, good preparation, class solidarity is the key.

We can draw valuable conclusions about what the labour movement needs, what organization, direction and preparation. The issue of the stance towards bourgeois legality acquires more general importance in the conditions of a crisis.

We assess in the political resolution of our 19th Congress that: The developments indicate that the intensification of state violence and repression, the restriction of political and trade union liberties will be expressed in a reactionary revision of the constitution that will incorporate the relevant laws and the restrictions of the EU. The bourgeois class and its parties are even not satisfied with the bourgeois democracy they established themselves. Their choice to break the labour movement, to impede any possible radicalization of the working class and the poor popular strata is inextricably linked with the restriction of the activity of the KKE, with the declaration of anticommunism as the official state ideology, with the utilization of the well known theory of the “two extremes”.

In case of a more direct and active involvement in an imperialist war the first repressive measures that will be taken will be related to the labour-people’s movement and the KKE. Therefore, our party must achieve a complete readiness targeting mainly the development of more substantial and strong bonds with the largest possible section of the working class, it must overcome weaknesses either in terms of orientation or in terms of taking practical measures, in order to reinforce the People’s Alliance, in order for the anti-monopoly anti-capitalist direction of struggle that protects the people from all kinds of attacks to become a conviction of the people”.

It’s a fact that today the revolutionary struggle, the people’s movements will have to face a much more organized repressive machine, more technologically developed means of information and mass destruction. They will have to deal with the mechanisms of the capitalist state’s violence which are integrated into inter-state structures, like NATO, the Euro-army, the Schengen Agreement etc.

Despite all this the human being does not cease to be the decisive factor in using and dealing with technology. On this basis, the workers’ and people’s activity has the potential to neutralize these means or to use them in favour of the revolutionary movement.

The anti-monopoly anti-capitalist line of struggle gives a comprehensive answer to the complex problems which are placed before us by the developments, as well as the deepening of the capitalist crisis, the intensification of the inter-imperialist competition, the sharpening of the aggressiveness of capital.

The People’s Alliance of the working class, the semi-proletarians, the self-employed and the poor farmers, youth and women from the working class and popular strata in the struggle against the monopolies and capitalist ownership, against the assimilation of our country in imperialist unions, provides the answer as to how the popular forces will be prepared for the decisive confrontations and class conflicts.

The notions democracy, people’s sovereignty, imperialism and imperialist war have a deeper, class content for the people’s alliance. They are directly related to the abolition of class exploitation, to the socialization of the concentrated means of production combined with the organization of the small farmers in cooperatives and the socialisation of land.

The People’s Alliance begins with the resistance, solidarity and survival of the people as its starting point. The struggle for all the working class and popular rights. It adopts the socialization of the monopolies, all the concentrated means of production, central planning, workers’-social control. It adopts the disengagement of Greece from the EU and NATO, from every form of relations with imperialist unions. It has as its goal the abolition of the foreign bases, the presence, under the various pretexts, of foreign military and police forces in Greece. It struggles against the state repression, the employers’ violence, it defends the trade union and political freedoms.

The People’s Alliance provides the answer to the issue of how the struggle should be organized today in order to repel the barbaric anti-worker anti-people measures, with a concentration of forces and a struggle of counterattack, so that there can be some gains, on the road of struggle for the overthrow of the power of the monopolies.

It answers regarding the timeliness and necessity of socialism which with working class power, the abolition of the exploitation of man by man, is the basis for the qualitative enhancement of the people’s rights, the satisfaction of the contemporary social needs, the participation of the people in the building of the new society, democracy for the many. The revolutionary working class power, that is the dictatorship of the proletariat, is by far better than the “best” bourgeois parliamentary democracy; it will replace all obsolete bourgeois institutions with new ones created by the people; it expresses a higher form of democracy whose chief characteristic is the active participation of the working class and generally of the people. The revolutionary constitution and the new revolutionary legislation that will be formed, will be in accordance with the new social relations.

The stable orientation to the strengthening of the labour movement, the formation of the people’s alliance, the consistency in the perspective of workers’ people’s power is the task of the communists. It requires steady ideological and organizational work in order to neutralize the fear, the caution towards the perspective of the revolutionary overthrow, as well as against the mechanisms for buying off and assimilating the working class.


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