April 3, 2013

Defending The Progressive Party For The Working People (AKEL) And In Solidarity With Working People Of Cyprus

In a post published on this blog on the situation in Cyprus Socialist Action attacks the Progressive Party for the Working People (AKEL) of Cyprus. The backhanded criticism seems wrong to me.

First, here is today's bulletin on the situation in Cyprus from AKEL:

We express our regret because instead of the Government being conscious of the plight and dire straits in which the country has fallen after its agreement with the Eurogroup, it is celebrating that supposedly it has achieved improvements in the Memorandum. It is deliberately hiding all the agreements that have been made and not just the text that was concluded yesterday. 

We reiterate that unfortunately we do not have yesterday’s agreed text in our hands so that we can analyze it and make our own assessments. Furthermore, we point out that not enough time was given to us so that we could spell out our own views about the issues under discussion.

However, we are already aware of certain provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding, such as the haircut on bank deposits, the increase in corporate tax and privatizations. In short, given that the government has accepted provisions that will result in the destruction of the Cyprus economy and society, it is celebrating that the Memorandum it has drawn up with the Troika will be our salvation. Equally absurd is the fact that Mr. Anastasiades was stating on Sunday that there won’t be any reductions in salaries and pensions for us to discover, regardless of the pretext that was used, that in fact there will be. His inconsistency and unreliability have once again been demonstrated.

We reiterate that our evaluation is that the comprehensive agreement of the Government with the Eurogroup will be disastrous for our country and people. It loads the shoulders of the working people with unbearable burdens, increases unemployment and poverty, destroys Cyprus as a financial centre and strangles growth, small and middle businesses, even large enterprises too.

This is why we insist that a collective reflection must begin for another course outside the suffocating embrace of the Troika which endangers the perspective of Cyprus becoming a regional energy centre, but also the prospect for a solution of the Cyprus problem.
We will run news items from AKEL on this blog regularly in solidarity with the Cypriot people and because AKEL is the only credible mass left force in Cyprus.

The 2010 platform of AKEL can be found here in English. The AKEL program and the Party's statements and actions in confronting the crisis in Cyprus speak for themselves and refute the ultra-left criticism made by Socialist Action. I have only a few points to add.

AKEL may well have departed from Leninist norms at some point, but that is a contradiction for AKEL, the people of Cyprus and the fraternal communist and workers' parties to resolve. Since the crisis in Cyprus has international implications---if you have a 401K and are watching it you know this---we have to support the peoples' and workers' movement there. That means fundamental support for AKEL and a position which favors unity in the face of austerity.

It must also be said that any socialist party in power under current conditions will have to make certain compromises. This is unfortunate, but it is the direct result of the disappearance of the international socialist community of nations and the relative strength of international capital. We recall that the ultra-left opposed the socialist community of nations when it existed; here now is what they helped to create. We can count it as a victory that even with the compromises forced on it, AKEL and the Cypriot people have not been broken. And we must remember that Cyprus has the particular problem of being artificially divided. From that we can ask why Socialist Action and the ultra-left do not even mention this division and the special problems it creates for the Cypriot people.

Even in the best of times socialist and workers' parties have had to compromise when in power. Think of the Bolsheviks signing the Brest-Litovsk Treaty or adopting the NEP or the problems faced by the Allende government and the compromises made then. A number of antagonistic contradictions rise to the surface when a workers' or communist party takes power; the party and the people are tested in those times. Only those who remain in their armchairs have the time to criticize.
I believe that if elections were held today in Cyprus AKEL would win. My hope is that Russia and the BRICS bloc will become true friends of Cyprus and offer an AKEL-led government the aid that it needs. BRICS is not a replacement or alternative for the socialist community, but it potentially offers help with development and potentially serves as a counterweight to European and American imperialist interests.

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