What has to be done? Is it the organiising “the Unity of the left”?
Is it sectarism that the KKE refuses an alliance/united left front with Syriza?
Is it “understandable” that they refuse because of the practices of Syriza?
Is there an evolution to the left against austerity on which there has to be an answer of an “united left front”?
....and what are other “communist parties” saying, .......for example the WPB (PVDA/PTB)
Is the WPB similar to the KKE whith THEIR refusal of a left (electoral !!) front as they seem to do until today?
A “left” FB-friend:
Who today is not making a priority of making coalition or front at the left-side, bears a heavy historical responsability. He let slip away the power and give it as a present to the extreme-right.
Syriza was cooperating in the past with extreme-right to beat KKE in lokale elections, so I understand the reflex of KKE and their point of view that change is not coming by voting-box. But, are 'nt they stalinists?
:...Lets put pressure on those parties bearing a enormous historical responsability to take it and to cooperate round the potential at the left-side which has chosen today syriza to express herself. Because that potential will not exist forever and without conditions. It is really painfull to see that a left party let slip away this historical chance to potential fascist votes. Such a party is not striving honestly for progressive social change, but only for own power... and so coming into the sphere of stalinsim, indeed. I am critical to syrriza and not saying that KKE has to let fall her points of view about Syriza, but I say that they have to overcome their arrogancy as if they were “the only true revolutionaries” and reach out a hand to the base of Syriza, the working people who are pleading for left cooperation by voting massivly on Syriza and not on KKE...
Refusing is the same as trying to find unity, that is again the blind sectarism showed by the KKE. It is even more criminal, knowing that all those who are anti-austeritiy-plans had a chance to unite so the refusal is condemning the people of Greece to find themselves again in the hands of the austerity-imposers. It was to expect but sad....
....and he is comparing it with the refusal of the WPB to form a unity of the left until today in Belgium.
In Syriza's program is said that, Unity is neccesary and urgent to protect society against the crisis and to put a moratorium on the debt servicing.
“The crisis” is evoked by “the debt burden” which “is produced by the tax evasion of the Rich, the looting of public funds and the exorbitant procurement of military weapons and equipment.1”
So the debt has to ba paid by those who are guilty of.
“We are asking immediately for:
Moratorium of debt servicing
Negotiation for debt cancelling, with a provision for social insurance funds and small savers’ protection. This is to be pursued by exploiting any available means such as audit control and suspension of payments. Regulation of the remaining debt with clause provisions for economic development and employment. European regulation for the debt of European States. Radical change of European Central Bank’s role. Prohibition of speculative banking products.
Paneuropean tax on wealth, financial transactions and profits.
3. Income redistribution, taxation of wealth and abolishment of unnecessary expenses
Reorganization and consolidation of tax-collecting mechanisms.
Taxation of the fortunes over 1 million Euros and large-scale revenues.(...)
Quest for new resources via efficient exploitation of European funds, via the claims on the payment of the German occupation loan and of German World War II reparations and finally via the steep reduction of military expenses.2
So NOT a revolution against capitalism but “a democratic control over the “banking system”
and a development of “state-capitalisme”.
“4 Productive, Social and environmental reconstruction
Nationalisation/ socialization of the banks and integration of them in a public banking system under social and worker’s control in order to serve developmental purposes. The scandal of the recapitalization of banks must stop immediately.
Nationalization of all public enterprises, of strategic importance, that have been privatized so far. Administration of public enterprises based on transparency, social control and democratic planning. Support for the provision of Public Goods. (...)Ecological transformation of the developmental model. This includes a transformation in the sectors of energy production, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. (...)
“Workers control” by true parliamentary democracy:
6. Deepening Democracy.(...)
A refoundation of popular sovereignty and an upgrade of parliamentary power within the political system. Instigation of a proportional electoral system. Separation of Powers. (...)Foundation of democratic, political and trade union rights. (...)
Demilitarization and democratization of the Police and the Coastguard. Disbandment of special forces.3
Let those who are guilty of the “debt burden” pay the debt and finance......
“7. Powerful Welfare State (...)
An immediate programme of rescue of the pensions system that will include tripartite financing and gradual return of the pension funds portfolios into one public, universal system of social insurance.
A rise in unemployment benefits until the substitution rate reaches the 80% of the wage. No unemployed person is to be left without unemployment benefit. Introduction of a guaranteed minimum income.
A unified system of comprehensive social protection covering the vulnerable social strata.
8 Health is a Public Good and a social right
Health is to be provided for free and will be financed through a Public Health System. Immediate measures include:(...)
Free and costless access to medical treatment for all the residents in the country.
Free pharmaceutical treatment and medical examinations for the low-pensioners, the unemployed, the students and those suffering of chronic diseases.9. Protection of Public education, research, culture and sports from the Memorandum’s policies. (...)4”
“The incumbent economic and social system has failed and we must overthrow it !
The economic crisis rocking global capitalism has shattered the illusions. All the more people witness that capitalist speculation is an inhuman organizational principle for the modern society. It is also unanimously shared that that private banks function only for the benefit of the bankers harming the rest of the people. Industrialists and bankers absorb billions from Health, Education and Pensions.The exit from the crisis entails bold measures that will obstruct those who create it from continuing their destructive work. We are endorsing a new model of production and distribution of wealth, one that would include society in its totality. In this respect the large capitalist property is to be made public and managed democratically along social and ecologic criteria. Our strategic aim is socialism with democracy, a system in which all will be entitled to participate in the decision-making process.”5
How Syriza thinks to realise this program?
But how should it be possible to realise? By uniting those organisations and parties who can more or less find themselves in those principals and then say to the people:
These are the things you have to fight for....and for this you can vote for in elections, because no worker can be against it, and because it is the most radical option present (“uniting all tendencies who can maximal but also minimal “agree” with it") This will collect probably a majority and so allow a government who will implement this program.
Giving “leadership” to the class struggle by limiting in advance the objectifs to a certain level is in advance recuperating all possible developments of consciousness in revolutionary direction.
Making of your “radical program” first of all the input of the elections is deceiving the workers as if getting an election-majortity will give a government who will do the job for you, so there has to be no mobilisation of the workers to taker their fate in their own hands.
...and the KKE is refusing any unity-proposal on this program. Sectarism? Or just mistrust?
The KKE refused any alliance to this proposal, which refusal is seen by “leftists” as “sectarism” or which refusal is “explained by their mistrust based on certain anti-KKE experiences with Syriza”. But in fact in what I have read there are fundamental political differences ..... although I agree that they are not always so clear formulated (as if there are some internal diferences or as if there are not made so sharp analyses, perhaps to general analyses or a little dogmatic.....)
Elections and the mechanism of “parliamentary democracy” will not be the dynamic to change. Elections are not more and not less a mesure of level of the consciousness of the working class.
Well, the Belgian WPB(PVDA/PTB) which is accused by other “left” organisations, for a similar “sectarian policy” against initiatives of a “unity of the left” is not so clear about the arguments of the KKE. In fact there seemed to exist for the WPB no real qualitative differences of the KKE with the Syriza, only quantitative differences....
“Left of the social-democratic PASOK, there are two big parties: the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Syriza (radical left). They voted both against the austerity-memorandi and in the polls they have both 11% (....)In the perspective of the struggle for a peoples power, the KKE is pleading for the annulation of the debt. This work in the field and the defence of the interests of the workers are fruitfull. 'I think that the most workers who are struggling in the factories and the workfloors, together with the PAME, will vote for the KKE, because itis the only party choosing their side”, is explaining Giorgo Pontikos, responable of the PAME.6”
The inconsequency of Syriza is seen as the “big difference” with the KKE:
“Syriza want renegociate, within the framework of the European Union, about the Greek debt. The party voted in favor of several treaties of the European Union, with catatrofal consequence for the working population. She was also in favour of a partial privatisiing of the Greek telephony- and electricity-companies.
Syriza was proposing a left “antimemorandum”-alliance and had critic on the KKE because she was refusing this alliance. To understand better this refusal, we have to go back to the communal elections of 2000 in which Syriza made an alliance with PASOK, ND and the extreme-right LAOS to break the power of the KKE.
Steel-worker Yannis of the striking Aspropyrgos, reveals another element. “In Volos, another steelfactory of the group, Syriza voted by her union delegates against the strike as reaction on the patronal costsaving-plan.”7
But then by quoting a militant or the KKE, the WPB is in fact giving the big difference of the WPB itself with the KKE what is concerning the importance of elections in her strategy (allthough no one of the actual membres of the WPB and surely not the editor of the article would notice...):
"The people of the KKE understand that it is not always easy to vote for communists. “The people who have not yet lost everything, are still thinking that perhaps it will go better within a year or two”, says Eleni, a militaint of the KKE, “Voting for communists, means to be convinced that capitalism has not anymore good to bring for the workers, for the people, and that another system has to come, with the power to the people.” 8
In fact has the WPB a serious problem, which could be a source of internal contradictions. The “new” WPB has a SIMILAR program as SYRIZA, (and a similar strategical focus on elections, winning votes and gaining delegates) but is (or was?) always considering the KKE as a lighting example and a “sister-party”.
The real arguments of the KKE against the “unity of the left” (italic-fat by me)
Elections, the participation to them and the final result are NOT an objective on itself, but just a part of the strategy of increasing the consciousness of the people, in order to mobilise them (or by which they are organising themselves) in order to develop the revolutionary taken over the power and the means of production... and this is not the case of Syriza or the “unity of the left”.:
...(T)he KKE not only did not abandon its programme and principles, not only it did not decline in the elections but it also had a small increase both in the percentage and the number of votes.
Specifically, the KKE has achieved the highest percentage of votes approximately in the last 30 years (since 1985) i.e. 8,5% which means 1% increase compared to 2009. Again it exceeded half million of votes (536.072) and had a rise of 19.000 votes gaining 5 more seats in Parliament (26 out of the 300 seats of the Greek Parliament). In many workers’ and people’s neighborhoods the KKE has achieved a high percentage of votes which is twice as its percentage at national level while for the first time it took the first position in an election district (Samos-Ikaria) gathering 24,7% of the votes. (...)
In the elections of 6th May the KKE submitted its political proposal for the struggle for workers’ and people’s power. The political proposal of the KKE regarding the struggle for working class-people’s power will find itself at the epicentre in the next period, as the difference between a government and real people’s power will become even clearer, as well as the overall proposal concerning the immediate issues of the people’s survival and working class popular power. From this standpoint political electoral activity of the KKE in harmony with its strategy, as is proper, constitutes an important legacy for the next political battles.9
There can be no unity between a strategy of “reforms” (how radical they are formulated) while accepting the fundamental rules of capitalism and a strategy which is focused in the first place (and not just formulated as a secundary “intention” -which is in fact populism) on mobilising the working people for revolutionary change of production-relations and production-sytem.
“The head of Syriza, A. Tsipras, who received on the 8th of May the exploratory mandate from the President of the Republic to form a government and began contacts with the heads of the parties, is resorting to tactical shenanigans and headline grabbing stunts.
The head of Syriza contacted the GS of the CC of the KKE, Aleka Papariga, by telephone and asked for a meeting in the framework of his contacts with the party leaders regarding the formation of a government. Aleka Papariga answered that there is no subject for discussion for such a meeting.
In his statement, A. Tsipras repeated the proposal for a “left government” with the aim of “redistributing the tax burdens, dealing with the fiscal problems in terms of social justice, the productive reconstruction of the country and the ecological planning of development”.
The minimum conditions SYN/Syriza have set for cooperation are:
“The need for the immediate cancellation of the implementation of the measures of the memorandum and especially those shameful laws which cut wages and pensions even further.”
The cancellation of laws which abolish basic labour rights and in particular the law which determines that after the 15th of May the extension of existing collective bargaining agreements will be abolished and that collective agreements themselves will cease.
The promotion of immediate changes to the political system for the deepening of democracy and social justice, first of all by changing the electoral law, by introducing full proportional representation, as well as the abolition of the law regarding the responsibilities of ministers.
The public control of the banking system, which today, despite having received nearly 200 billion euros in liquidity and guarantees from state funds, remains in the hands of the executives who bankrupted it. We demand that Black Rock’s report be published immediately. The banks must be transformed into instruments for the development of the economy and the reinforcement of small and medium-sized businesses.
The creation of an Auditing Commission to explore the odious section of the state debt, a moratorium on its repayment and the quest for a just and viable European solution.”
In its statement, the Press Office of the CC of the KKE notes the following regarding the statements of Alexis Tsipras:
In his statement today A. Tsipras used the mandate which he received to assist his next election campaign, making partial proposals which have the character of a pre-election campaign statement aimed at the most desperate people in order to mislead them and steal votes.
Despite the basic fact that a government must deal with more than 4 or 5 issues- it must deal with all the issues- A Tsipras bypassed this reality as if it did not exist. The KKE highlights the following:
The memorandum and the loan agreement are not going to be abolished by the proposals of A. Tsipra. Despite this fact, he presented certain proposals, as pro-people way out, which conceal the generalised anti-people offensive of the monopolies and their parties, the commitments which all the EU member-states have undertaken, such as the “Europe 2020 Strategy”, policies which are incorporated in the memorandum and the loan agreement.
The proposals of A. Tsipras clearly state that the workers will be called on to pay again for a large section of the debt for which they are not responsible, while the people needs the cancellation of the debt. At the same time these proposals leave the way open for privatizations and for the implementation of new anti-worker measures by the capitalists (salaries of 400 euros, flexible labour relations etc.). They leave the reactionary changes in education, healthcare and welfare untouched.
The declarations regarding the public control of the banks for the benefit of the small and medium-sized businesses are a conscious effort at deception, as they condemn them to taking out new loans in the conditions of their suffocating encirclement by the monopolies.
The proclamations of A. Tsipras regarding “productive reconstruction with sensitivity to ecological matters” are related to the same development path which has already led to the deep crisis and the bankruptcy of the people, while it ignores the Common Agricultural Policy and its consequences for the poor farmers.
The silence regarding the permanent treaty obligations undertaken by the Greek governments within the framework of NATO and the imperialist plans to intervene in the Eastern Mediterranean, is extremely characteristic of the submission of SYN/Syriza to the ruling class and its international allies. Such a government will complicate and sharpen the people’s problems.
The people must divorce themselves from all those who call on them to continue along the nightmarish “EU one-way-street”, whether they have a pro or anti-memorandum façade.
The battle will be determined first of all within Greece and not only within the EU. In addition, the notorious “ European wind of change” which Hollande is allegedly bringing, is not related to the peoples but the struggle of the monopolies of every country for domination.10
Another formulation of the same principles:
“1. The election result leads to the reinforcement of the tendency for the renovation of the political scene, as it had been formed for three decades with the rotation of ND and PASOK in the government since these parties have suffered a heavy defeat. (...) Despite the spectacular decline of ND and PASOK the election result does not constitute a new era in the correlation of forces between the people and the monopolies, an overthrow or a “peaceful revolution” as has been said.
2. The reforming of the bourgeois political scene, which still finds itself in a transitional phase, serves the attempt to inhibit the tendency of radicalisation, and the liberation from the bourgeois and political influence. (...) This possibility to attempt the renovation of the system is based on the fact that the forces of the “EU one way-street”, the forces that serve the interests of capital, of the capitalist system, were not reduced in terms of their overall vote.
3. The vast majority of the voters of the two bourgeois parties were scattered mainly to political forces with a similar ideology that support the policy of the “EU one way- street”. (...) In addition, the election result is marked by the low participation that also expresses a dead-end indignation as well as the financial difficulties of the voters who had to travel. (...) (I)n conditions of a deep crisis and impoverishment of the people, while the workers’ and people’s movement has not moved into counterattack and the majority of the parties support the capitalist system or refer to the illusion of its humanization, the danger of the influence of nationalist and neo-fascist views increases. Indeed, in conditions when the EU and all member-states have adopted the equation of fascism with communism as a state ideology. Only a strong workers’ and people’s movement and a powerful KKE can deal with these dangerous views and make them marginal and harmless.....(and)...cannot be dealt with by antifascist sermons even more by appeals to national unity and the anti-fascist consensus.
4. The people should not have a position of “wait and see” regarding these processes that start with the attempt to form a government. The hard core of the bourgeois class, the business groups as well as the mechanisms and the leading bodies of the EU and the IMF will play an active role in the renovation of the political system. They seek to provide substitutes to the people as soon as possible before the workers and people’s radicalism, the organisation and the initiative of the people becomes stronger and acquires mass characteristics. Irrespective of the outcome of these attempts the main orientation is the acceleration of the actions in order to head off in a timely fashion the sharpening of the class struggle and the rallying of the social forces, the interests of which are to be in opposition to and rupture with the monopolies and imperialism, with the EU itself and the choices of NATO, to strengthen the anti-capitalist consciousness. SYRIZA, which has a social-democratic programme, bears immense responsibilities in relation to the people for the blatant lies that it told before and during the election period, for the illusions it fostered and fosters that there can be a better situation for the people without a confrontation with the monopolies, the imperialist unions.
5. The renovation of the bourgeois political system must be confronted by the people’s vigilance and readiness along with the mass organisation and struggle in the workplaces , in the sectors, the offices, the people’s neighborhoods, the countryside, in schools , universities and vocational schools with immediate demands to repel the new measures which are on the way. No toleration for the slogans of renegotiation, the gradual disengagement from the memoranda and the loan agreement in the framework of the bodies of the EU and the IMF.
6. (...) IT IS THE IRREPLACEABLE AND DECISIVE FORCE FOR THE PEOPLES MOVEMENT THAT WILL STRUGGLE, COUNTERATTACK AND HAVE THE PROSPECT of the conquest of the workers’ and people’s power and economy, for the disengagement from the EU and the unilateral cancellation of the debt, the socialization of the means of production, the productive cooperatives of the people , the nationwide planning for the utilization of the development potential of the country with workers’ and people’s control from the bottom up.
7. (...) On the one hand there was blind indignation and on the other hand there were illusions that a government of the so-called anti-memorandum forces can provide relief and a solution to the pressing problems. The largest section of the discontented and angry workers and unemployed submitted to impatience and the pressure of the illusion of an immediate positive result, the immediate solution without having acquired the required direct experience from the participation in the organization and waging of the struggles. It submitted to the generalized propaganda that there can be no radical change or that this will occur in the “second coming”, a beloved slogan of Syriza that is dangerous for the people. The KKE assesses the election results and tendencies with the objective conditions as its criterion, it does not determine its stance based on the electoral strength or electoral shrinkage of the other political parties. (...)
The evaluation of the KKE which it stated openly at the outset of the crisis has also been borne out: that in the conditions of the capitalist economic crisis, which increases both the relative and the absolute destitution of the people, there co-exist two elements: that the movement can move forward and also that it can temporarily retreat. That the most destitute sections of the working class, the unemployed and the semi-employed, sections of the petty bourgeois strata which suddenly lost their income, are subject to the influence and tendencies which are developing within discontented petty bourgeois strata which are still enduring from a financial point of view, but do not want to lose everything, and which are still hostile to radical change because they believe in their continuing survival. The KKE considers that the second element, that of retreat, has not yet been determined. There are possibilities in the next period for the class struggle to sharpen and the movement to acquire new strength so that there is hope and a positive perspective. (...)
The political proposal of the KKE regarding the struggle for working class-people’s power will find itself at the core of the people in the next period, as the difference between a government and real people’s power will become even clearer, as well as the overall proposal concerning the immediate issues of the people’s survival and working class popular power. From this standpoint political electoral activity of the KKE in harmony with its strategy, as is proper, constitutes an important legacy for the years to come.
The KKE will not support any government, no matter what its composition, which will emerge from the post-election collaboration of the parties, whatever title it may have. This government will not provide anything positive for the people. On the contrary it will respond to the needs and interests of capital, the choices of the EU and IMF. For the KKE to agree to participate in a government, the party would not have to simply carry out a small retreat, but it would have to turn its programme and political line upside down, and make unacceptable compromises regarding the present and future of the people’s interests. The people do not need such a KKE.(...)11
Against the use of populism in elections (which every party has to use how “left” she is profiling herself whenever she makes of elections and the participation to them, the most important strategical objective):
(...) in the election period the question of unemployment will be used by the other parties as a theatre piece, and they foster illusions that investments which support the profitability of capital will reduce unemployment and raise wages and pensions. The KKE has a unified proposal for struggle. The one axis supports radical measures for the protection of the unemployed in conjunction with the highlighting of the urgent need for mass hiring in sectors which are related to social infrastructure, public works, the filling of recognized gaps in Health and Education. The other axis shows the road of struggle for the complete abolition of unemployment in the conditions of the people’s economy, with the socialization of the monopolies, nationwide planning with workers’ control, out of the EU and with a unilateral cancellation of the debt. In this situation the utilization of all the development potential of the country with planning for full employment will be possible.(...)
With this invitation the Central Committee of the KKE calls the members and friends of the party and KNE, its voters, to wage the struggle all over Greece, above all in the workplaces, so that the electoral list and voice of the party reaches every worker, poor farmer and self-employed person, every young man and woman, every woman from the families of the popular strata. The election battle must be fought with tenacity, optimism, militancy to decisively strengthen the KKE.12
Against the ELP which is a European form of “unity of the left” as is Syriza in Greece:
“The causes of the crisis which is a crisis of the capitalist mode of production itself, a crisis of capital over-accumulation, highlight the boundaries of the capitalist system and the need for its overthrow as well as the timeliness of socialism. (...)
In the face of this goal the inter-imperialist competition is sharpening and deepening, demonstrating that the EU is not a union of the peoples but was and is a union of the imperialists which cannot become pro-people. The anxiety which the ELP and other opportunist forces are exhibiting regarding the salvation of the EU, their propaganda to prettify it highlight that they faithfully serve the perpetuation of capitalism and class exploitation.
The EU serves the strategy of capital for cheaper labour power in the competition with the other imperialist states and unions. This strategy explains why there is a general tendency, not only in Greece and Spain but in the whole of Europe, for savage measures to be taken which attack the people and increase the profits of the monopolies. The ELP submits to this strategy with its Statutes and the acceptance of “the EU’s principles” which are in the service of capital. The EU is not a counterweight to the USA nor should the peoples choose imperialist, as the opportunists and the ELP do. Objectively the capitalist crisis, the realignment of the imperialist powers and their intensified competition stoke new flashpoints of war and the massacre of the peoples. The peoples must decisively refuse to shed their blood for the interests of the bourgeois class.(....)
The need today is for class-oriented rallying, the regroupment of the labour movement, the popular alliance of the workers and the poor popular strata to fight for working class power. The formation of a class pole in the labour movement is a pre-condition for the correct orientation of the struggles.(...)
We salute the great struggles of the workers in Greece, Spain and many other countries with the communists and class-oriented forces in the front line. Such struggles will multiply. We particularly salute the magnificent strike of the steelworkers in Greece. This struggle, like the general strikes, demonstrates in practice that the crucial battle will not be waged in the squares with the “indignant citizens”, or at the social dialogues of the compromised representatives of the ITUC/ETUC. The anger and indignation in order to have a prospect must be expressed in the workplaces, where the class struggle is judged, in opposition to the so-called “social cohesion” and the social dialogues which are promoted and supported by the social-democrats, the ELP and the compromised confederations of trade unions, the ITUC and ETUC.(...)
The KKE and the PCPE will strengthen their joint initiatives both in their countries and in the International Communist Movement in order to invigorate the perspective in the working class and the popular strata which is forged by the revolutionary strategy for an implacable class struggle for working class power. The International Communist Review plays a particular role and has a special contribution to this cause. This is an initiative of the theoretical journals of communist parties which aims at reinforcing the Marxist-Leninist direction in the international communist movement as a pre-condition for its necessary regroupment. (...)
The bourgeois and opportunists who saluted the overthrow of socialism, who spoke of the “period of freedom, prosperity and peace”, have been completely refuted. Today the ELP bears a particular responsibility for the anti-communist hysteria because it accepted the core of the offensive of the bourgeois class by denying and slandering the socialism we knew, promoting the “21st century socialism” which is nothing other than capitalism with a “human face”, something that cannot exist. The nostalgia for socialism in the countries where it had been constructed is increasing today. The peoples who experienced socialism do not forget it. The CPs can today draw conclusions regarding the laws of socialist construction which were violated and the mistakes which were made. The new socialist revolutions will have a legacy before them, the socialism we knew, the superiority of the socialised and centrally planned economy, without capitalists and exploitation, without crises and unemployment, with disengagement from NATO and the EU, without insecurity about the future, where the working class will be in charge and in control, the class which will take the reins of power into its hands.13
...and it is not “just a Greek problem”.... it is a problem of capitalism (in its imperialist stage). So the strategy has to focused on overcoming capitalism(imperialism:
“1. The unprecedented escalation of the offensive against their income and rights which the people are experiencing is not due to the real inflation of the public debt. The political line of the “continuous memorandum” is being implemented in all the EU member-states. This leads the people to both relative and absolute destitution and ensures cheaper labour power, accelerates the concentration and centralisation of capital.
The deeper goal of the escalation of the anti-people offensive is the reinforcement of the competitiveness of the European monopoly groups in the international capitalist market, where the inter-imperialist competition is apparent. All the member-states of the EU enrich the National Reform Programme and the Stability Pact with harsh new anti-people commitments, which directly specialise the directions of the Euro-Pact.
In France, ιn Britain, in Austria the retirement age and social-security contributions of the workers are on the increase. In Italy, in Spain, in Ireland unfair indirect taxes have increased dramatically. In Austria, in Poland, in Romania, in the Czech Republic, in Ireland, the salaries of the workers are being significantly reduced as well as the number of public sector employees.
2. The workers are not responsible and must not pay for the public debt. The propaganda of the capitalist power attempts to obscure the real causes of the inflation of the public debt such as:
a. The fiscal management of the governments of ND and PASOK to the benefit of the monopoly groups in the post-dictatorship period. Basic common characteristics are the legal tax cuts for the profitability of big capital, extensive tax evasion and the goldmine of state support for the business groups (development laws, national participation in the 2nd and 3rd CPS and more generally in EU funding etc). That is to say, during all the previous years, the state borrowed in order to serve the needs of the profitability of capital and now it is calling on the workers to pay.
The public debt dramatically increased during the period of the first PASOK government from 26.9% of GDP in 1981 to 64.2% of GDP in 1989. In the period 1981-85 the government followed a social-democratic form of management with the aim of assimilating a section of the workers through clientelist hiring to the public sector, the nationalisation of problematic private businesses etc
Later on there were measures of a restricted fiscal policy for the workers, while there was a continuation of the scandalous state support of the business groups through state subsidies, the allocation of public works, outsourcing, public-private partnerships, with the most glaring example being the counterproductive state funding of the Olympic Games in 2004. The public debt from 97.4% of GDP in 2003 reached 106.8% in 2006.
b. The massive spending on armament programmes and missions (e.g. Bosnia, Afghanistan), which do no serve the nation’s defense but the plans of NATO. A characteristic example is that in 2009 Greece’s military spending was 4% of GDP, in comparison to France’s 2.4% and Germany’s 1.4%.
c. The consequences of the Greek economy’s assimilation into the EU and the EMU. An example of this is that significant sectors of manufacturing have been on a course of shrinking which have been on the receiving end of strong competitive pressure and have been reduced (e.g. textiles, clothing, metal, shipbuilding industry and the manufacture of other means of transport). The expansion of the trade deficit and the rapid increase of imports from the EU had a corresponding impact on the inflation of public debt. The trade deficit has been transformed from 4% of the GDP from 1975-80, to 5% in 1980-85, to 6% in 1985-1990, to 7% in 1990-95, to 8.5% in 1995-2000, and it exploded to 11% of the GDP in the decade 2000-2010, with the accession of the country to the Eurozone. The Common Agricultural Policy led to the agricultural balance of payments, from a surplus of 9 billion Drachmas in 1980, to a deficit of 3 billion Euros in 2010, transforming the country into an importer of food products. The deterioration of the trade deficit was followed by the “external” balance of payments (balance of current accounts), that is to say the overall “annual fund” of the country with other countries, which from a surplus of 1.5% in 1975-80, was transformed into a 0.9% deficit in 1980-1990, the deficit increased to 3% of GDP in 1990-2000,. This deficit exploded with the accession of the country to the Eurozone to an annual average which exceeds 13% of the GDP in the decade 2000-2010, leading to an increase of state borrowing to service the external balance of payments. The profitable activity of ship-owning capital did not reverse this situation.
The reduction of interest rates on loans after the accession to the EMU also had an impact by facilitating the increase of public borrowing of the Greek government to the benefit of big capital.
The high rate of development, on average 2.8% during the decade 2000-10, was the mortgage of the working class and popular income which we are paying today. Of course this process is not exclusively Greek. The increase in the trade deficit of the USA in the decade 1997-2007 is also connected to the increase of the annual public deficit and of course to the public debt.
d. The lending terms (interest rates, duration, conditions of repayment) led to the increase of the interest from 9 billion Euros annually at the beginning of the decade, to 15 billion Euros in 2011, while certain studies place the overall spending (interest and amortization) which serve the public debt at 21.3% of the GDP in 2000 to 40% of the GDP in 2010.
e. The impact of the capitalist crisis on the Greek economy.
The outbreak of the crisis contributed to the increase of the annual public deficit and the inflation of the public debt. On the one hand through the reduction of tax income due to the reduction of economic activity ( e.g. reduction of turn-over, closure of businesses, increase of unemployment etc) and on the other hand due to the new state support packages for the banks and other monopoly groups. The impact of the crisis on the inflation of the public debt can be seen throughout the whole of the EU, as in the last four years the overall debt increased by 34%.
3. It has been demonstrated that the anti-people political line of bourgeois power in Greece, in coordination with the strategy of the EU, amongst other things has increased the debt burden of the country. It has also been demonstrated that no variation of bourgeois management can cancel the manifestation of the crisis of over-accumulated capital, nor can it create a pro-people way out from it. The fraudulent promises of PASOK are being shattered by the reality of the economic crisis which is deepening.
a. In the first quarter of 2011, the reduction of the GDP reached 5.5% in comparison with the same period in 2010. The Greek economy will not even return to its pre-crisis levels next year in 2012.
b. After the implementation of Memorandum 1, the public debt has already increased from 127.1% of GDP in 2009 to 142.8% of GDP in 2010.
The problem of the public debt does not only concern its level, but the increased spending for its servicing, which in the final analysis determines the inability of a state to pay, i.e. bankruptcy. The government policies as expressed by Memorandum 1 and the Medium-term Programme increase spending on interest and amortization for the immediate future. According to the assessments of the European Commission itself, spending on interest will reach 9.6% of the GDP in 2015, compared to 6.8% of the GDP today. In 2009 spending on interest and amortization was 12 billion and 29 billion Euros correspondingly, in 2010 13 billion and 20 billion Euros, while dramatic increases have been predicted for the coming period, 16 billion and 36 billion Euros in 2011, 17 billion and 33 billion Euros in 2012, in 2013 20 billion and 37 billion Euros, in 2014 22 billion and 48 billion Euros, and in 2015 23.4 billion Euros and 33 billion Euros.
Even bourgeois economists admit (e.g. the head of the Macroeconomic Institute IMK in Germany) that the plan to reduce the debt through the Memorandum and the suffocating austerity measures lead to a vicious circle of increasing public debt and recession.
As was admitted officially by the President of the European Council Van Rompuy, the anxiety over the management of the public debt of the indebted EU states concerns the reinforcement of the Euro as an international reserve currency and the future of the Eurozone as a whole, due the high level of interdependency of the economies. The safeguarding of the Eurozone and the major lending groups is the reason, despite the significant intra-bourgeois contradictions, there was to begin with agreement on the European Stability Mechanism and the payment of the installments of the loans to the indebted countries.
What worries the imperialist centres is not so much the size of the Greek debt, but the difficulty of managing the chain reaction in countries such as Spain and Italy, always with the goal of salvaging the financial system, which is a fundamental mechanism for capitalist accumulation.
4. While the workers are already on the road to bankruptcy, relative and absolute destitution, the member-states of the EU and the strong groups from the financial sector are negotiating for a course of controlled bankruptcy for the Greek economy. The struggle concerns the distribution of the losses, the distribution of the necessary depreciation of capital, while they all agree on the escalation of the anti-people offensive.
The plan to restructure the debt which is being proposed by the Union of French Banks (FBF) provides for the transformation of 50% of the current bond debt to new 30 year bonds, with an extortionate interest rate ranging from 5.5 % in period of crisis to 8% in a phase of high capitalist development.
Different variations of state plans (e.g. Germany’s) propose that the owners of state bonds (banks, institutional investors etc) accept a time extension for the repayment of a part of the Greek state bonds, with in exchange a high interest rate and as motivation the avoidance of the losses which they would have had if the Greek state had immediately gone bankrupt. The German and French governments seek to minimize their state participation in the support mechanism of the indebted states and to transfer a part of the burden of the restructuring onto creditors-banking groups.
The ECB and the European banking groups are pressing so that the partial cancellation of the debt does not occur at their expense. They are not satisfied with the offer of a high interest rate, because they consider the repaying of the debt unlikely; they question the likelihood of whether the proposed plans will succeed.
The restructuring of the debt is being promoted by American circles, which intervene in the Euro-Dollar competition, as international reserve currencies. Now a race is going on between the French and German banks to get rid off Greek state bonds and load them on to the European Central Bank to begin with. Germany is utilizing the negotiations to pose the dilemma “stricter harmonization of economic policy in the whole of the Eurozone or a narrower and more compact Eurozone.”
5. In any case, the workers can expect nothing positive from the outcome of this particular struggle. Whatever the result of this struggle between various sections of capital and imperialist states, the offensive of the ruling class will continue and escalate in order to ensure cheaper labour power, the acceleration of the restructurings and privatizations, the selling off of public property to the monopoly groups.
Especially in relation to the repaying of the public debt the various bourgeois proposals only differ as to when and how the workers will foot the bill. E.g. With the extension of the period for the repaying of the bonds, the workers will pay more over a longer period of time (if the interest rate remains stable and even more so if the interest rate increases).
But even if an immediate reduction of the high level of debt of the Greek state is achieved, this will simply lead to new tax exemptions and state backing for big capital and not measures to satisfy the needs of the people. It will pose yet again the process of increasing the debt. The dilemma of the process is not a real one for the peoples’ forces. Moreover, the state revenues are sufficient to pay the salaries and pensions. They are not sufficient for the creditors. The gross revenues of the regular budget were 48.5 billion Euros in 2009 and 51.1 billion Euros in 2010, while spending on salaries-pensions- subsidies to the social- security funds was 42.3 billion Euros in 2009 and 37.9 billion Euros in 2010. The payments on the interest alone were 12.3 billion in 2009 and 13.2 billion in 2010.
Today, at the same time when the government is invoking the danger of bankruptcy, it continues to provide support packages to the banks, its exorbitant military spending for NATO, it reduces taxation on undistributed profits etc. The guarantees of the Greek public sector to the banks during the crisis have reached 108 billion Euros. In 2010, Greece bought six frigates from France (2.5 billion Euros) and six submarines from Germany (5 billion Euros).
The workers must not expect any pro-people way out from the processes which are related to the formation of a new more effective management formula and the achievement of a new temporary compromise between sections of the bourgeois class and within the imperialist alliances. All have endorsed the Pact for the Euro (the Covenant of Competitiveness) and the strategic directions of “Europe 2020” which aim at securing cheaper labour power in the EU, to reinforce the monopolies in the competition in the international market.
All promote the “liberalization” of strategically important sectors (energy, telecommunications etc), restructurings, so that they find a suitable outlet for the satisfactory profitability of the over-accumulated capital, which are today stagnating in the EU.
For this reason, “New Democracy”(ND) has voted for 38 governmental bills and LAOS voted for Memorandum I. For this reason, ND and PASOK can hold discussion about joint governments, as they have the programmatic basis for it, the “continuous memorandum” which will apply to all the EU member-states. For this reason their sister parties jointly support the anti-people offensive against Portugal and Ireland.
For this reason, ND demands the acceleration of the implementation of the basic goals of the Medium-term Programme and voted for the majority of the clauses concerning privatizations, the sale of public assets, the lifting the restrictions on private investments which protect the environment, the reduction of salaries in the public sector which will contribute to their further decrease in the private sector.
The “renegotiation” which ND demands is related to new measures to strengthen big capital, such as the new reduction in the rate of taxation on undistributed profits, at a time when PASOK has already lowered it 20% and in Germany the level is 30%. It is related to the new state support packages which will lead to a new bleeding of the people’s income and the exemption of businesses from the employer contributions to the social security funds.
The positions of Synaspismos/European Left Party concerning the separation of the public debt into legal and illegal–onerous sections as well as concerning the possibility of a transformation of the EU in favour of the people are deeply mistaken. These positions leave the door open for the people to pay for the crisis and the biggest part of the “legal” public debt for which it has no responsibility. The positions concerning a pro-people transformation of the EU and a European federation conceal the class content that the imperialist interstate alliance of the EU objectively has. Irrespective of the form that the EU will take, its reactionary strategy against the working people and its involvement in imperialist interventions and wars cannot change.
Various components of the opportunist current seek to deceive the people arguing that there allegedly exist painless solutions which are in its interests without a direction of conflict and rupture with the power of monopolies. Various components of SYRIZA and ANTARSYA (opportunists’ coalitions) promote the exit from the Eurozone and the cancellation of the debt without touching the power of capital as a pro-people solution and a link for an anti-capitalist rallying of forces. In addition, certain “national-patriotic” forces talk about leaving the Eurozone and remaining in the EU. Thus, the inflated public debt and the accession to the Eurozone are misleadingly presented as the main causes of the offensive against the people. Thus, the demolition of workers’ rights both in the states outside the Eurozone, such as Sweden and Britain as well as in Germany which is not heavily indebted proves that the main culprit is the capitalist path of development as a whole. The line of struggle that the opportunist current promotes is in fact an alternative form of management within the framework of the system which –in the best case- can contribute to a temporary recovery of capitalist profitability. Nevertheless, even if the restoration of a higher rate of capitalist development is achieved this does not go hand in hand with the people’s prosperity but runs contrary to it. The examples of Argentina and Ecuador prove that the cessation of payments and the currency devaluation were followed by new sacrifices of the working people in order to reinforce the competitiveness of the economy and boost exports.
The solution for the workers is not to return to the past, to the protectionism of the capitalist economy at a national level but to move forward to people’s power, to socialism.
The opportunist proposals are embellished with the misleading appeal to the people calling it on to overthrow the occupation of the IMF and troika. Thus, they hide the active role of the Greek ruling class in the offensive against the rights and the income of the people. They conceal the interweaving of national and international capital. They present the concession of certain sovereign rights by the ruling class, which serves the reinforcement of its power and the safeguarding of its profitability, as a new phenomenon.
The workers must struggle against the economic dominance of the monopolies, the capitalist state and the imperialist alliances, such as the EU. They should not be trapped into the impasses and the dilemmas of capitalist power.
The people must organize its counterattack in order to repel the worst. Its coordinated activity should spread everywhere rejecting every form of bourgeois management. It should demand that big capital pays for the social security funds and not the people’s families. It should come into conflict with the political line that demolishes labour and social security rights, reduces salaries and enables the direct utilization of public property by the monopoly groups.
The people must act so as to change the correlation of forces everywhere, it should struggle along with the KKE in the unions, in the trade union movement, it should be organized against the capitalist institutions which oppress and exploit it. Only in this way can the weakening of every capitalist government begin, of every parliamentary majority as well as the conflict with the laws and the violence of exploitation.
The time has come for the capitalist class and its political staff that use the bogey of bankruptcy to feel true fear. If the government actually resorted to borrowing because it cannot pay salaries and pensions then the overthrow of the monopolies power must be accelerated. The development path of the people’s economy, socialism can pay salaries and pensions utilizing the rich domestic natural resources, ancelling the debt and establishing international agreements of mutual benefit through the disengagement from the EU and NATO.
So there is a solution: “disengagement from the EU and cancellation of the debt with people’s power”.
It is time for the labour movement to come together with the radical movement of the self-employed and the farmers with a line of struggle that will have as its final outcome the sweeping away of the rotten and bankrupted system of exploitation.14
So it is not a “contradiction” of sectarism towards a initiative of unity, but a fundamental difference in strategy: A (very “left” formulated) REFORMIST strategy, at one side which can have only the objective to recuperate al anger against capitalism while objectively PROTECTING its continous existence, against at the other side a fundamental revolutionary strategy of mobilising the working people to overcome capitalism by revolution. It is true that I have personnally, formulated critic on the (as I see it) to generalising formulation of that revolutionary strategy of the KKE, which could be regarded as a form of dogmatism. Examples of my critic to the KKE you can read here.....
But I am pretty sure that internal discussion and evaluation/selfcritic is going on in the KKE, so that someday my critics will be outdated....At the other hand it is possible that I have myself to review my former points of view about the KKE.
But I am pretty sure that internal discussion and evaluation/selfcritic is going on in the KKE, so that someday my critics will be outdated....At the other hand it is possible that I have myself to review my former points of view about the KKE.
6http://www.pvda.be/nieuws/artikel/welke-krachten-links-van-pasok.html, 24 april 2012, “Welke krachten links van PASOK?”, Cécile Chams
7http://www.pvda.be/nieuws/artikel/welke-krachten-links-van-pasok.html, 24 april 2012, “Welke krachten links van PASOK?”, Cécile Chams
8http://www.pvda.be/nieuws/artikel/welke-krachten-links-van-pasok.html, 24 april 2012, “Welke krachten links van PASOK?”, Cécile Chams
9http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-05-010-info/, Comment of the International Relations - Section of the CC of the KKE, The KKE is “a thorn in the side” of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists
10http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-05-09-aristeri-kyvernisi, A “Left government” is a “leaking lifeboat” for the people who are suffering.9/5/2012
11http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-05-08-cc-statement, Statement of the CC of the KKE on the election result of the 6th May 2012. ATHENS 7/5/2012 The CC of the KKE
12http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-04-19-psifodeltia/, With tenacity, optimism, militancy to decisively strengthen the KKE, 19/4/2012
13http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2012/2012-03-16-joint-statement/, Joint Statement KKE- PCPE, March 16, 2012
14http://inter.kke.gr/News/news2011/2011-09-06-pb-crisis, Statement of the Political Bureau of the CC on the capitalist economic crisis and the debt; Athens 15/7/2011 - Political Bureau of the CC of the KKE - Published in Rizospastis, organ of the CC of the KKE on 17th July 2011.