Elisseos Vagenas - Member of the CC and Responsible of the International Section of the CC of KKE
Interview with the Turkish newspaper “Evrensel”
1. The results of the elections demonstrate that the two-party system has finished. What developments led to this and what do the political balances show us today?
Answer: The result demonstrates that they are seeking to make an effort to give the two-party system a face-lift. They placed old blackmailing dilemmas before the workers in a new “package”. The bourgeois class, in order to maintain its power seeks to get rid of or give secondary roles to the most worn-out parties and political figures. It is preparing a restructuring of the political scene, due to the political damage the basic bourgeois parties have suffered, the social-democratic PASOK and the conservative ND. There is an attempt to form a centre-right pole around ND and a centre-left pole around the social-democratic SYRIZA. The attempt to reduce the electoral strength of the KKE is a part of this plan.
2. What did the KKE argue for and propose in the elections? What was its general line and what does it say today?
Answer: The KKE, in the May 6th elections, promoted in a comprehensive way its political proposal which highlights the need for working class-people’s power and economy, with disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, with the socialization of the concentrated means of production, the people’s producer cooperatives, nationwide planning for the full utilization of the production potential of the country, with working class and people’s control which will operate from the bottom up.
3. The parties of power lost many votes. The indignation was expressed through parties that did not take a frontal stance against the Troika, EU, IMF, while the KKE every day is in the midst of the struggle, at the side of the workers, unemployed, self-employed, farmers etc. Why did the KKE not receive a corresponding result?
Answer: The KKE had a small increase in this election. Specifically it received 536,072 votes or 8.5%, that is to say +18,823 votes or +1%. The KKE elected 26 MPs (of the 300 in Parliament), 5 more than it had previously. In working class neighbourhoods the KKE received almost double its average percentage. Indeed in one of the 56 electoral regions (Samos-Ikaria) the KKE came first with 24.7%. It should be noted that 8.5% is party’s the highest percentage in parliamentary elections of the last 27 years, since 1985.
The KKE has no parliamentary illusions in the sense that it does not expect to gradually increase its vote until one day it will have a majority in parliament and form a “communist” government. We are struggling for socialism-communism and if this could occur via bourgeois elections then the bourgeois class would have abolished elections.
From this standpoint it is incorrect to compare the electoral results of the KKE with those of a social-democratic formation, such as SYRIZA.
We should remember that 2,5 years ago PASOK, the other social-democratic party, received 44% while this time it received just 13%. This decline, which took place in conditions of political fluidity boosted SYRIZA, its closest ideological relation.
4. The KKE argues that without people’s power and socialization of the means of production, a government which is in favour of the workers cannot be formed. Today, when the conditions for this direction do not exist, i.e. for people’s power, what does the KKE propose? What demands does it promote in today’s situation?
Answer: From the moment when our country remains tied to the imperialist unions, NATO and the EU, and the power belongs to the capitalists, there can be no pro-people government. The position of the KKE is for the organization of the struggle of the workers, the poor farmers, the lower-middle popular strata against the anti-people measures which will be taken by the government (whether centre-right or centre-left). We believe that through this struggle forces will be liberated from bourgeois ideology and a social alliance will be formed that will pose the question of power.
5. What is the minimum programme of the KKE, which answers the demands and struggles of the workers?
The KKE insists and is firmly oriented to the necessity and timeliness of socialism. It considers that the material preconditions for the creation of the socialist-communist society exist. In addition, having studied the historical experience of the Greek and international communist movement, the KKE has arrived at the conclusion that the views concerning an “intermediate stage” between capitalism and socialism were mistaken. In our opinion, this assessment has not been vindicated anywhere!
Power will be either a bourgeois power or workers’ –people’s power; there cannot be any power which has an intermediate character. On this basis, the KKE does not fight today for any intermediate stage and therefore it has no minimum programme. Of course this does not mean that it has only a strategy and no tactics. The tactics of the KKE promote the need to rally the working people around goals of struggle, both for the defense of the workers’, people’s and democratic rights as well as for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people. We have well-elaborated positions and goals of struggle for all the problems of the people, however, we openly declare that under the conditions of capitalism any achievements that the working people may gain will be temporary without the acquisition of the workers’-people’s power.
6. How will the popular discontent and indignation be organized by the party?
Answer: The communists are in the vanguard of the struggle regarding every problem the people face. We seek to rally the workers and the poor popular strata on the path of struggle through the trade unions, the All-workers Militant Front (PAME) which is the class-oriented pole in the trade unions, as well as through other forms of organization, like the People’s Committees in the neighbourhoods.
7. What are the dilemmas which they are placing before the people and what does the party say about this?
Answer: The bourgeois class and its parties pose false dilemmas before the elections in order to trap popular forces and to prevent them from approaching the KKE. But we cannot explain this in an analytical way due to the lack of space. We can briefly mention one of these dilemmas: “euro or drachma?” We consider this to be a false dilemma. To begin with, whether Greece stays in the euro or not depends on the development of the capitalist crisis in the country and in Europe. In addition, the question of the currency alone without the overthrow of the power of the bourgeois class, without the socialization of the basic means of production, the central planning of the economy and workers’ control, cannot guarantee a better life for the workers.
8. What is the political line of the party regarding alliances?
Answer: The KKE has an alliance policy which has a social basis. It believes in an alliance of the working class, the popular strata in the city and the countryside that will come into conflict with the monopolies and imperialism. This alliance is being formed today through the respective people’s rallies with the perspective of calling into question the power of the monopolies.
9. Why has the KKE rejected the invitation of SYRIZA for a left government? What is the class character of SYNASPISMOS and what classes does it represent?
Answer: We believe that a “left government” is incapable of solving the people’s problems and on the contrary it will worsen them. Of course this cannot be understood by all the working people and other strata such as the small businessmen who are being destroyed by the crisis. SYRIZA has been chosen by a part of the bourgeoisie which sees it as the basic force in a government that will do the “dirty work” of the capitalist crisis, that will manage a possible bankruptcy.
10. What do you predict for after the 17th of June?
Answer: Any government in the conditions of the capitalist crisis, in the framework of the capitalist system, with the country trapped in the EU and NATO, will take anti-people measures.
The KKE is a party for all seasons and it has proved that in its 93-year history. Nevertheless it is important to thwart the plans for its weakening in the June elections so that it can to play a leading role in the workers’ and people’s counterattack with as much strength as possible.