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An overview of the congresses of KKE since its foundation

The Communist Party of Greece was originally founded by the name of Socialist Labour Party of Greece (SEKE) in November 1918. In its 3rd Extraordinary Congress (November 1924) the party was renamed Communist Party of Greece (KKE). During its long historical course, the party has always been at the fore front of the class struggle and its Congresses, based on the elaborated strategy and tactics for the overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism, have been the milestone for the Labour Movement in Greece and the starting point for new class struggles under the specific, conditions prevailing each time.

The establishment of the Communist Party was a decisive outcome of a long-term process, which led to the unity of revolutionary ideology with the labour movement, to the revolutionary proletarian party. The organic coexistence of the revolutionary party, based on a revolutionary theory, with the labour movement presupposes long-term elaboration, which is related, on the one hand to Marxist propaganda and on the other, to political consciousness of the working class itself; this implies not only the overall breaking away from the domination of bourgeois ideology and a platform of the most vanguard section of the working class but also gaining of experience from its own organised struggles by its own organisations for its own benefit.

First congress of the Socialist Labour Party of Greece (SEKE)
[17-23 November 1918]

The first attempts for the merging of the socialist associations and organisations to a pan Hellenic party were initiated by «Federation» (a socialist organisation operated in Thessaloniki) which called a conference for this purpose in April 1915.

The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia decisively influenced the acceleration of procedures and the maturing of the need for the foundation of a proletarian party. The victory of the Revolution meant the victory of the Marxist-Leninist theory over the reformist Social-democracy of the Second International.

In 1918 the Socialist Convention resumed its sessions and decided to meet again in October of the same year in order to establish the political party of the working class. In August 1918 a Labour Conference took place in Athens so as to prepare the Pan-Hellenic Labour Congress for the unification of the Working Class Trade Unions and the establishment of a Central Trade Union Organisation.

The pan-Hellenic Labour Congress began its works in Athens on October 21st (November 3rd) 1918, and after intense and hard ideological juxtaposition it adopted the principle of class struggle and the workers and clerks’ militant fight - away from any bourgeois patronising - and its fair demands. This is how the Pan-Hellenic Trade Union Federation ( GSEE) was established .

Shortly after the establishment of GSEE on 4th (17th)-10th(23rd) November 1918 the First Founding Pan-Hellenic Socialist Congress convened at the headquarters of the Piraeus Steamer Engineers’ Union. It united the existing socialist organisations into a unified party of the working class with its own class platform,the Socialist Labour Party of Greece (SEKE). The SEKE (KKE) constitutional Congress was one of the most important historic events of the time, since it formed the basis for the development of conscious class struggle and the fulfilment of the historic role of the working class.

In the congress a profound ideological argument on the most crucial matters, such as the Party’s character and its Platform, took place. Three trends developed:
1.The Left Socialist around D. Ligdopoulos, S. Komiotis and M. Economou.
2.The Right Wing Reformist around A. Sideris, N. Giannios and P. Dimitratos.
3.The Centrist with A. Benaroyias.

Intense discussion developed on:
  • the issue of reforms; whether the party’s platform will be called reforming.
  • the system of government; whether there was a difference between monarchy and democracy.
  • the league of Nations; whether to support it or not
  • war; whether one should abstain from all wars or only the bourgeois wars.
  • land nationalisation and expropriation
  • the Balkans.

Dimosthenis Ligdopoulos
The Left Socialists’ theses dominated the congress as far as most of the crucial issues were concerned. The Right wing trend, led by N. Giannios, being a minority in the Congress withdrew since it didn’t succeed in being acknowledged as a trend with its own leadership.

The congress, finally, approved of «all the documents, the principles, the platform and the constitution as well as a resolution for the Foundation of the Party». (RIZOSPASTIS 18th November 1918).

In the constitutional resolution the proletarian - international character of the party was consolidated as following «The SEKE is based on the following ground principles:
1. Political and economic organisation of the proletariat into a distinct class party aiming at winning political power, nationalisation of the means of production and exchange, that is aiming at the transformation of the capitalist society into a society of collectivism or communism.
2. International communication and solidarity action among workers».

The Party, from the very first moment of its existence,was a revolutionary-internationalist party. It stood by the October Socialist Revolution and it approved a «resolution saluting the Russian Democracy of the Soviets» and a «Protest against the intended intervention of the allies» in the newly - formed Soviet Democracy. The Constitutional Congress decided upon a Program Document titled «The Principles and Platform of the SEKE» in which the principles of class struggle and the winning of political power by the working class for socialism are declared. It also approved the «Program of Contemporary Requirements».

In the document «The Principles and the Platform» of the SEKE a significant attempt is made, considering the circumstances at the time, to construe the development of capitalism and its contradictions, the necessity of socialism, as well as the role of the subjective factor. It states,among others that:
«The private ownership of the means of production, which at other times secured the domination of the product of labour over the producer himself (labourers, farmers, tradesmen, craftsmen), it has now become a means of their exploitation by a number of idle capitalists (stock brokers, merchants, industrialists, landowners) who by virtue of their ownership expropriate the products of labour...

The changing of production from capitalist to socialist by society and for its own benefit as a whole can convert large-scale production, along with the ever increasing productivity of social work, from a source of misery, slavery for the popular masses to a source of high prosperity and multiple, ever lasting perfection. This social change means the emancipation of not only the proletariat but also of the suffering mankind, as a whole. This, however, can be realised only by the working class, since all other classes, regardless of the differences among them, support the institution of the contemporary individualist society. Further more, the workers’ struggle is compulsory and political. The working class cannot safeguard its economic interests or develop its economic organisation unless they possess political power; this can be attained only by unified revolutionary action of the world proletariat organised in a distinct labour party. The SEKE has been commissioned with the duty to mould the working class struggle into a conscious and unified fight and to lead it to its natural and indispensable mission. The SEKE declared itself united to all workers of all countries who had become conscious of their class.

The «Program of Contemporary Requirements» suggests a series of solutions to the basic democratic problems such as:
1. The abolition of monarchy and the democratisation of the legislature, the executive and Judicial Authority, that the establishment of Popular Democracy as a transitional stage to Socialism.
2. The right to vote and be voted to all men and women in all elections. The electoral system of proportional representation.
3. The introduction of the institution of Referendum.
4. Abolition of marshal law and the expressed prohibition of legislative decrees.
5. Decentralisation of administration and democratic organisation province, municipality and community level. Peace policy, communication and sincere co-operation with all countries. Abolition of secret diplomacy, secret treaties and budgets.
6. Peace Policy, communication and sincere co-operation with all countries. Abolition of secret diplomacy, secret treaties and budgets.
7. Transformation of the regular army to home guard militia and its democratisation.
8. Complete freedom to co-operatives, trade unions, organisations etc., without any governmental or judicial approval or permit and abolition of the state right to de-register trade unions.This must apply to the public servants’ organisations as well. 9. Ample freedom of press without censorship of any kind.
10. Complete guarantee of every one’s personal freedom, compensation for anyone illegally detained or approved innocent after being in detention.
11. Freedom of religion with no need for an officially established denomination. Faith is to be considered a private issue and the church a private institution. Clergymen are to be prohibited to teach in schools, establishment of civil marriage.
12. Full women’s civil, political, economic equality to men. Abolition of all laws restricting a woman’s and an illegitimate child’s rights.
13. Justice to be administered by judges elected by people. Free advocacy and procedures.
14. Conversion of prisons to schooling institutions
15. Free medical and pharmaceutical care.
16. Popularised education:Strict application of compulsory education.
17. Construction of new school buildings at increasing numbers.
18. Abolition of indirect taxes and any tax on primary commodities - Proportional taxation on income and capital.
19. The state participating in the profit-sharing of the big monopolies, companies and business.
20. Use of state resources for productive purposes mainly.
21. Nationalisation of big estates and monastery land and their allotment to the farmers’ communities.
Overview of the congresses


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