From Socialist Voice, August 2010

About the workers’ and people’s struggle in Greece

Elisseos Vagenas
Central Committee, Communist Party of Greece

Over the last eight or nine months the workers’ and people’s struggle in Greece has increased, because of the sharpening of the class struggle, the attempt of the bourgeoisie to place the burden of the crisis on the workers, and the strong resistance of the Communist Party of Greece and the class trade unions that rally in the All-Workers Militant Front (PAME).
     Even these summer days, under difficult weather conditions of unbearable heat and the absence of a number of workers who are on holiday, protests will continue. Thus, on 22 July the Federation of Construction Workers of Greece held a great nationwide mobilisation, with demands for the relief of the workers in this industry who face unemployment.
     The agreement of the social-democrat government with the International Monetary Fund and the European Bank on hard and long-lasting anti-people plans, as laid down in the relevant memorandum signed by the government, the European Union and the IMF for Greece, and the reaction of workers, have caused reshufflings and mobility in the political system of our country. Three MPs of PASOK [the governing social-democratic party] were expelled for not voting in favour of the memorandum, while an MP from the liberal ND, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, was expelled for voting in favour of it, and now she is oriented towards the founding of a new party. The opportunist coalition SYRIZA is also facing internal problems. Four MPs abandoned this formation and created a new party, the “Democratic Left.”
     It is obvious that the bourgeois political system is getting reorganised and creates obstacles in order to prevent the political radicalisation of wider popular sectors, who are disappointed by the two principal bourgeois parties, the social-democrat PASOK and the conservative ND.
     KKE [the Communist Party of Greece] is aware of the fact that the present situation raises particular requirements from the party and the labour movement, while there exists the danger of disappointment and demobilisation of popular forces that have joined the struggle during the last months. That’s because, under present conditions, because of the negative correlation of forces and the role of yellow trade unionism, it is highly difficult to achieve victories and concessions from the bourgeoisie. Sectors of the working class with low political consciousness can be affected in a negative way, leading either to depoliticisation or to reactionary and opportunist solutions in the framework of a supposedly better management of capitalism.
     To prevent such a negative development, communists run a large political campaign in order to enlighten the Greek people on the causes of the capitalist crisis and their proposal of a way out: a people’s economy, in which the concentrated means of production will be socialised, with central planning of the economy and workers’ control.
     This proposal requires a different power, a people’s power, that as regards communists is identified with the power of the working class. Thus it is necessary for people to join forces with KKE and to create a front of struggle against the monopolies and against imperialism and its organisations—such as NATO and the European Union—despite the fact that they may not be convinced on the issue of a socialist society. The unifying political umbrella of this proposal is a detailed plan on the essence of the consolidation of people’s power and economy in Greece.
     In this direction, during the next months KKE will take advantage of the major political events that will take place. On 16, 17 and 18 September the Festival of the Communist Youth of Greece (KNE) will be held, a major political and cultural event in which participate hundreds of thousands of people participate. Before the festival in Athens political and cultural events will be held in hundreds of cities and towns throughout Greece.
     The second political event that KKE is preparing to get the best out of is the local elections, which will be held in November. In accordance with the administrative reform, elections will be held in 13 regions and 370 municipalities. KKE is preparing militant lists of candidates under the name People’s Rally. In these elections KKE will ask workers to condemn the anti-people policy of the government as well as of the other political parties that support the European Union.
     Workers, poor farmers and tradesmen can clearly see today that the vision of the European Union, promoted by the opportunist and bourgeois parties, has begun to fade away. They were promised a “huge market” for Greek products, which was actually proved to be disastrous for the country’s productive capacity. They were promised a strong single currency that would shield them against the economic crisis and instability. Nevertheless today the country is experiencing a deep economic crisis. They were “convergence” with the living standards of the developed capitalist countries of the European Union, yet workers today see the gaps grow because of uneven capitalist development. They were promised guaranteed rights by the so-called “acquis communautaire” [accumulation of EU law], and they see that in Greece, as well as the other EU countries, major achievements of the working class earned with blood are now revoked.
     Therefore, it is natural to increase discontent towards the European Union—something that, although it might seem strange, even the bourgeois parties try to take advantage of. Thus they seek to blame the EU for the anti-people measures, while at the same time they present them as a one-way road for workers, as the “bitter medicine” the “doctor” recommended. This way they want to conceal their involvement and complicity in the anti-people policy that they jointly decide in EU bodies.
     During the last months the class forces of PAME, a rally of unions, branch federations, and local trade union centres, have been reinforced. New forces have joined it, and others have been carried along to the strike struggle, where PAME plays a leading role.
     However, our party considers that in order to change the correlation of forces we need to strive for the emancipation of forces from the influence of the dominant ideology and policy, of reformist and opportunist ideas, from the influence of the employers and the state. In this direction communists unfold their action in the labour movement, in the movement of the poor farmers, of tradesmen, of the youth, of women, in the anti-imperialist and peace movement, in the movement for democratic rights and freedoms and various other fronts.
     Our objective is to rally and unite the working class in a class-oriented struggle in a rupture with capital and the imperialist unions (EU and NATO), with the political forces that support the exploitative system and in general the EU “one-way road.”
     The rally and unity of the working class in order to struggle for a different path of development will have as a criterion the needs of workers and people’s families. In this process it is necessary to understand the need to struggle for power: that is, to link more closely and directly the struggle of the labour movement with the question of power, to struggleElisseos Vagenas Central Committee, Communist Party of Greece in order to change the class in power, and not just for the alternation of parties.

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