The below is a speech recently delivered by Alika Papariga, Chair of the Communist Party of Greece, to working class militants and members of the Greek Communist Party (KKE). So why publish Alika Papariga's speech here, in America? After all Greece is a small country thousands of miles away, right?Yet I must say I was struck as I read the speech. The social/political/economics gestalt which Greek workers are rebelling against, the assault on and impoverishment of the working class as describes by Alika Papariga extends far beyond Greece and is indeed an accurate descriptor of the problems facing working class people throughout Europe and North America. As such, the below speech is an international document relevant far beyond the borders of Greece.
Mass and militant counterattack till the victory
We would like to welcome all of you, as well as the comrades from the fraternal communist and workers’ parties to this common, class, patriotic internationalist struggle.
Every day we face the big dramatic questions of millions of workers and employees in public and private sectors, of the owners of small businesses, poor farmers, youth and women who struggle to cover the family expenses.
What should we do to save ourselves from poverty and the insecurity of tomorrow? How long will the agreement and the supervision of the troika last? What can we do against unemployment? What will happen with the owners of small businesses who cannot afford their contribution to their insurance fund? How can the poor farmers tackle the merchants and the industrialists who demand to buy their produce for nothing? What about the banks that mortgaged our land? What is going to happen with the thousands of university and TEI (Technical Education Institutes) graduates as well as with the graduates of other public and private schools who see that their degree cannot guarantee a stable job or an income that will enable them to be independent from their families and start their own family? What are we going to do with the increasing social criminality, with the spread of drugs? Until when will we work hard, will the productivity increase and despite that the people will still live on the verge of misery? Are there any threats against the territorial integrity of our country; is there any danger for our country to be involved in wars in the region?
Do not trust, do not believe, and do not pay any attention to the allegations and the promises of the government.
Do not believe and do not trust those who alternate in government with PASOK, those who told you that the European capitalist integration was a “one-way road”; those who cover up their compromise and retreat with a mantle of “renewal” and modernisation.
The government lies shamelessly when it claims that the measures for the working class and the self-employed in the city and the countryside will last for three, maximum four years and that afterwards economy will recover; they lie when they claim that the people’s sacrifices will yield fruits.
They elaborate barbaric measures that will last for a lifetime, they are ready to take additional, even worse measures that will apply for the children of our grandchildren.
This system, which is rotten to the core, is not eternal. The people’s sacrifices will yield fruits only for the capitalists, the monopolies. And even if we assume that the Greek economy will soon exit the cycle of the crisis and recover, things will be equally worse for the people. Unemployment will be stabilised and exacerbated, flexible working relations will be extended, salaries and wages will be decreased further; workers will be forced to work 40 and 50 years to receive a poverty level pension, the living cost will be intolerable and likewise the cost of healthcare, education and all social services.
Being part of the capitalist barbarity of the EU, interwoven with the IMF, involved in the imperialist rivalries among the EU, the US, China and Russia, involved in the race for a share in the markets, the Greek economy will always be considered less productive and competitive.
Greece lies among the imperialist hard core of Northern and Western Europe and their rival centres in Eastern Europe and Eurasia in general. Due to its geopolitical position, Greece will always be affected by contradictions and military conflicts.
They prepare a new assault on the people’s movement
In order to exonerate the capitalist system and the reactionary character of the EU, the government attributes the causes of the crisis to issues of corruption, lack of transparency, favouritism and immorality. Thus, it paves the way for the most reactionary barbaric, conservative actions.
But who are those who talk about the eradication of corruption and transparency? It is those who rejected the proposals of KKE on the abolition of the business secrecy, the registration of shares, the abolition of MPs’ pensions and allowances for their participation in the committees of the parliament. It is not a coincidence that they use the rotten, reactionary provocative action of LAOS for this dirty work.
The leadership of PASOK returns us to the past by posing to KKE the misleading, intimidating question “do you respect and obey the constitution or not?” It prepares new “national loyalty” certificates. It pursues to penalise communist ideology, even the mere declaration and defense of socialism-communism. But this time it does not reckon an important factor, namely, the possibility of working class’s counterattack.
Anyway, who are those who talk about respecting the constitution?
It is those who export their capital abroad in order to further increase their profits leading the workers to the dole.
It is all those, who many times since the establishment of the Greek State violated the constitution paving the way for the abolition of their own product, namely the bourgeois parliament.
It is the successors of the politicians who invited the British army to slaughter the Greek people in order to defeat the national resistance that defeated the German-Italian fascism.
It is those who invited the US to step into the shoes of the British imperialism in order to confront the so-called danger of communism even with napalm bombs.
It is the very bourgeoisie and its politicians, its very parties that bargained with the Greek junta so as to restore the bourgeois parliamentary democracy in Greece, after the junta had fulfilled the goals it served.
It is the Greek bourgeoisie and its parties that signed the participation and integration of Greece to the EU and the NATO by conceding sovereignty rights and competences.
It is all of them, who in the 1990s permitted the NATO troops to pass through the Greek territory so as to shed the Yugoslavian people’s blood, in order to dissolve and divide Balkans, without taking into consideration the bourgeois constitutional legitimacy.
It is them who privatised the ports e.g. the port of Astakos, giving the green light to the US weapon systems to pass without being controlled, so as to send military support to Israel and aid the crimes against the Palestinian people.
It is them who are ready to sign an agreement with Turkey handing over the defense of the Greek islands to NATO. In other words, it is those who constantly concede sovereignty rights and competences to imperialist centres at their own will. It is them who thanked the USA during the crisis in Imia which has been a turning point as it led to the establishment of the grey zones.
It is those who establish a professional, in fact a mercenary army under the pretext of the reduction of military service.
It is those who buy weapon systems, complementary to the Turkish ones that serve the interests of the NATO; it is those who say “yes” to the weapon dealers of the various allies in the imperialist world order.
People’s sovereignty is incompatible with capitalism
ND agrees with PASOK as regards the exit from the crisis. It keeps its distance regarding issues of tactics in order to feed the conflict between the two parties and promote the bipartisan alternation. Have you heard ND saying it will abolish the agreement with the EU and the IMF in case it comes to power, or that it will abolish the laws of PASOK that demolish the last gains achieved literally with blood? NO.
It criticises several measures, for being anti-social; however, its main goal is to manipulate the justified indignation of the people and exonerate itself from its responsibilities, while at the same time it says that it will respect the agreements of PASOK because government needs continuity.
This is exactly what we are saying: that each party continues the policy of the other; that their differences, even if they appear as a verbal war, are in fact an internal war between two parties that serve the capitalist system.
The recent statement of the secretary of the parliamentary group of ND at the Parliament is revealing. He criticised the bourgeois parties in Greece and PASOK for having been tolerant towards KKE from 1974 till nowadays. He called from the parliament podium on all parties to act jointly against KKE. Namely, he called to prevent the rise of the people’s movement.
Sirs, we tell you clearly: the bourgeois system has never been tolerant towards KKE, neither in the post-dictatorship period. You use either the carrot or the stick according to the possibilities that you have each time, according to whether you have the ability to draw people to anti-communism which is a totally undemocratic and negative development.
We declare once again, clearly, our firm and self-evident orientation since 1918: to struggle at any cost, not merely for a solution to the daily people’s problems, but also to convince the people that their future is socialism communism.
The constitution is the product of the balance of forces at each period. When the situation tends to be reactionary, then the constitution changes to the worst. When there is a tendency for the balance of forces to be in favour of the people, then it can improve and when the people win they will make their own constitution.
The term “democracy” is adjusted in order to aid the propaganda of the covert dictatorship of the monopolies, in order to conceal the inconceivable blackmails of the capitalists.
There has never been, neither will be in the future, a bourgeois government, neither a one-party government or a coalition government, which has not violated specific fundamental articles of its own constitution. People’s sovereignty is incompatible with capitalism.
When you defend constitution, you defend the right of the capitalists to exploit the wealth that the people produce, to possess the most important commodity, namely the labour force, the ability of man to work. You defend the supreme law, the law of surplus value.
LAOS plays a key role in contributing to this vile political game against the people. It is a two-faced party which drips poison when it sees the seed of the movement’s emancipation. It does not hesitate to change its slogans and propaganda in order to divert people’s consciousness. It plays a leading role in the propaganda against KKE, in the provocations against the people, in the spread of racism and nationalism.
Social political alliance from the bottom.
Which is the way out of the crisis?
The other parties, the government, the European and global capitalism also seek a way out of the crisis. The question is to find a way out that will serve the interests of the people, the people to overcome the incurable disease of the capitalist periodical crises.
All imperialist institutions as well as the EU the IMF and the OECD predict that the recovery of the capitalist economies and capitalism in general will be weak compared to the past. They also predict reshufflings in the imperialist pyramid. Therefore, the rivalries between the capitalist states and centres will intensify even more. All these entail military interventions and conflicts where the peoples will be the victims.
As regards Greece, everything indicates that the crisis will continue and that the recovery will be too weak in the best case; that public debt will increase and bring a new wave of anti-people measures, while a new cycle of economic crisis will break out more quickly than ever.
Due to this very prediction, namely that all social contradictions, above all the main contradiction between capital and labour, will intensify, there is an attempt to reform and disguise the political landscape. They even try to create new parties in place of the old ones, though with the same role and mission as the old ones. Furthermore, they choose a new, allegedly incorruptible, political staff that will do the same dirty and even dirtier work. They will not hesitate to sacrifice their own “children” in order to give the impression that the system has changed. All scenarios are possible. People must thwart their plans as soon as possible.
The working class must not expect solutions from above, that will emerge without its action and will be against its interests.
The way out is a new political choice that should be prepared distinctively through the processes of the movement and the social political alliance from the bottom up. The streams of resistance grow; they must merge into a big precipitous river.
We support an alliance which by means of its consistent planned action manages to win smaller or bigger battles and at the same time heads for the only solution that serves the interests of the people, the people’s economy and power proposed by KKE. The people should not expect anything from the alternation of the bourgeois parties in the government, or from their coalition with conservative or pseudo-left wings. Monopolies’ violence must be defeated by a mass, unitary social-political current that will sweep them.
Of course there is another solution which is a deliberately ambiguous and verbalistic proposal, the so-called “unity of the left”. It is the proposal of SYN/SYRIZA which is a strange though not at all unusual formation; an ambiguous proposal that seems to appeal to everyone and is adapted to the audience. It constitutes an obstacle to the emancipation of the people’s movement against the ruling policy. Actually, all versions of “the unity of left” have the same core, the bankrupted line of social democracy. In other words, the recipe that led us to this point appears as an allegedly modern innovative solution.
Of course, one cannot expect a radical alternative from a political formation that betrayed the class struggle, the anti-imperialist anti-capitalist struggle, that supported the slander of the communist movement and the socialist construction as a left alibi, that judges the socialist construction and the mistakes that were made based on the criteria of the bourgeois ideology and propaganda.
We cannot follow a tactic that might have been suitable in the past. Nowadays, it is not enough the people to project a list of demands, appeals and requests. The demands, the goals of struggle, the concrete proposals should demonstrate the possibility to solve people’s problems. However, they can acquire dynamics and be effective only if they are part of the strategy, of the struggle for the overthrow of monopolies, of the struggle for people’s power and economy. The creation of an alliance with KKE to conduct a joint struggle, does not presuppose the agreement with KKE’s perception on socialism, communism.
Nowadays, there are objective conditions that enable a different organisation of the society characterised by the decision of the people to transform the ownership of monopolies to social ownership. However, the subjective social-political factor, which will initiate these developments, when the bourgeois political system has suffered so many blows and is incapable of ruling, lacks in strength and organisation.
Development in favour of the people
What does people’s economy mean?
The sector of natural resources processing, manufacturing, production of mechanisation, energy, transport, telecommunications, concentrated trade come under the ownership of the people aiming at an independent economy, reducing its dependence from foreign trade and the relations with the capitalist economies and the interstate monopoly groups in such crucial sectors.
The land will be socialised, as will the large capitalist agricultural businesses. State productive units for the production and processing of agricultural products as raw materials or as articles of consumption will be set up.
Complementing the socialised means of production, productive cooperatives for small commodity production in the cities, and productive cooperatives for small and medium sized farmers will be set up. The small and medium sized farmers participate initially taking into account, the amount of land and the number of animals by which each of them was integrated into the cooperative.
The new achievements in technology and science will be used, with the aim of reducing labour time, the increase of free time, which can be used for upgrading the educational-cultural level, for the acquisition of the ability to fully participate in the control of management, and in the institutions of state-power.
Every form of private-business activity in the sectors of health, welfare, social security, education, culture and sports will be immediately abolished.
The socialisation of the means of production creates the possibility to form a central planning for the utilisation and the distribution of the man power, for the eradication of unemployment.
This planning and this distribution cannot be not ensured by monopoly capitalism since each monopoly makes a short term or at most a medium term individual planning based on profit and under the conditions of general capitalist anarchy.
The central planning of the economy is based on the utilisation of all development possibilities of the country for the human needs, without any unevenness and without any restriction resulting from the interweaving of the Greek economy with the imperialist EU and the various mechanisms e.g. the troika. It is specialised in each sector and branch, in each region and category.
Scientific research will be organised through state institutions - higher education bodies, institutes, etc- and will serve Central Planning, the administration of social production and social services, in order to develop social prosperity.
Emergence of new people’s institutions
All workers should have access in an equal fashion and according to need, to public and free services- healthcare, education, social security, leisure, protection of children and the aged, cheap (and in some cases free) transport, telecommunications services, energy and water supply for popular consumption, etc.
A state social infrastructure will be created which will provide high quality social services in order to meet needs which are tackled today by the individual or family households (e.g. restaurants in the workplace, in schools).
All children of pre-school age will be provided with free, public and compulsory pre-school education. The exclusively public, free, general (basic) 12-year school education will be ensured for all through a school with a unified structure, programme, administration and functioning, technical infrastructure, trained specialised staff. Exclusively public and free professional education will be ensured after the completion of the compulsory basic education. Guaranteed work on the basis of each one’s studies will be ensured for all students before the completion of their studies. An exclusively public and free healthcare system will be set up.
People’s economy is not compatible with participation of the country in imperialist unions such as the EU and NATO. People’s state-power, depending on the international and regional situation, will seek to develop inter-state relations, with mutual benefit, between Greece and other countries.
The Greece of people’s power will seek to utilise every available rupture, rivalry and contradiction among imperialist powers in order to safeguard and strengthen people’s power and economy, the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the country.
People’s power will be based on the institutions that will be borne by the struggle and the initiatives of the workers’ and people’s movement. As a consequence, new institutions will emerge.
The basis of working class state-power will be the units of production, workplaces, through which working class and social control of the administration will be exercised. The workers’ representatives to the organs of state-power will be elected (and when necessary recalled) from these “communities of production”.
The small commodity producers and farmers are established as allies of the working class and elect their representatives through respective bodies from bottom up.
Young people who are not engaged in production (e.g. students in higher education) will take part in the election of representatives through the educational units. The participation of non-working people and retirees will take place in a special fashion, through mass organization and units providing special services.
People’s state power will create institutions and take practical measures so as to ensure the exercise of workers’ and social control and the unhindered criticism of decisions and practices which obstruct socialist construction. The unhindered denunciation of every kind of arbitrariness and bureaucratic behaviour of officials, and other negative phenomena constitute a vital need.
The highest organ of state power is elected from the bottom up. The representatives are not permanent, they can be recalled, and they are not cut off from production. Furthermore, they can be on leave from their work for the duration of their term, according to the requirements. The representatives, “the members of the parliament as they say nowadays” have no special economic privileges from their participation in the organs of state-power. The government, the heads of the various executive authorities (ministries, administrations, committees etc.) are chosen by the highest body.
A corresponding Constitution, Labour law, Family law that establishes the new relations are to be formed. The judicial corps will be made up of elected and recallable people’s lay judges, as well as of permanent staff, accountable to the institutions of working class state power.
Joint action and alliance with KKE
This is the political proposal of KKE for the state power the joint action and cooperation. It appeals to the working class, the self-employed, to the poor farmers, to the movements of the youth, the women, to each movement and form of struggle that is willing to resist monopolies and imperialism.
We want to initiate a debate with all those who seek a realistic and just solution for the people, who want to be emancipated from PASOK and ND. Today their number increases.
We do not claim that our political proposal can be easily realised. Either way you are asked to make sacrifices; but if you accept to make these sacrifices they will be at the benefit of the plutocracy, of businessmen and of the rotten political system that cannot be repaired. It is worth making sacrifices only for a new society without class exploitation and oppression.
Do not expect that the system of the monopolies’ power will decay; that it will corrode and collapse. It will stand firm, no matter how rotten it is as long as the people do not play a leading role in the developments.
Which is the starting point for the struggle for a new life in a new, human society, for the workers’ and people’s state power?
The starting point lies in the joint struggle and alliance with KKE, with KNE, in the joint action with mass popular class oriented organisations that struggle consistently against the monopolies.
Above all this struggle must be reflected in unitary, radical anti-monopoly activity in each workplace, enterprise, office, in public and private sectors, in the neighbourhoods, in municipality, in prefectures; in an action that leads to the change of the correlation of forces in the workers’ trade union movement, in the movement of the small sized self-employed, tradesmen, craftsmen, in the farmers’ movement in the students’ and school students’ movement.
In all electoral battles people’s vote must lead to the isolation of the yellow forces, who have compromised with the employers and the governmental policy.
Before us are the local and regional elections and the reform “Kallikratis”. The merging of the municipalities increases even more the general political character of the elections.
It offers the chance to the people to change their vote, to express through their vote their discontent and indignation, the developments that take place in the consciousness of the people and the youth.
We should not allow the government and the political system in general to utilise people’s vote as a consensus or defeatism towards this barbarous policy.
The lists of KKE can express the rising people’s discontent; the dynamics of the developments, the cooperation with KKE. The support of its electoral lists will make the difference. It will be a strong response; it will show in practice that people defy intimidation, extortion and manipulation.
Everybody join the coming struggles! Our weapons are our just demands and our untapped peoples’ forces!
They will not defeat us! Sooner or later, we shall win! They will not deceive us, they will not make fools of us again. They will not turn us into cowards, fatalists or weak-minded. Massive and militant struggle for the counterattack till the victory! We owe it, first of all, to the youth, to whom we will be definitely accountable if we fall behind.
It takes a lot of hard work to make the sun rise up again.
Are we all determined?
Yes, we are and nothing can stop us!