Comment by the International Relations Department of KOE
August 6, 2012
In certain circles of the Left, on European and international level, are often and easily reproduced some erroneous opinions about the situation in our country, and more specifically about the impressive success of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) in the last two national elections. Those opinions originate, mostly, in statements and documents produced by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). We are of the opinion that these positions of KKE are suffering by extreme subjectivism, while they lack any essential self-criticism about the political line of KKE – which, by the way, was the main reason of its crushing electoral defeat on 17 June 2012, when it lost half of its electoral base. Thus, we would like to bring to the attention of certain circles that reproduce these positions (and feel free to even add on top their own insults and imaginative lies against SYRIZA) some basic truths about the Greek political reality…
1. “SYRIZA is a social democratic and/or opportunistic and/or pro-capitalist force”
SYRIZA is characterized by some of those circles as a “coalition of social democratic forces”, by others as an “alliance of opportunistic forces with PASOK”, or even as “the best alternative for the manipulation of the masses and the salvation of the capitalist system” (!) etc. One can hardly find more inaccurate definitions for SYRIZA than these. Such definitions of SYRIZA, if expressed inside Greece, would only make everyone laugh – no matter if he/she is a rightist or a leftist, or even a supporter of KKE. We understand, of course, that outside Greece it is easier to say whatever one likes to say…
In reality, SYRIZA is a political alliance composed of leftist parties and organizations, as well as of many non-party affiliated members (now under deep transformation, as thousands of new militants are “invading” SYRIZA, changing profoundly its social composition and pushing towards a further radicalization of its line – but maybe that’s… advanced mathematics for the critics of SYRIZA, so let’s forget it for now). The biggest component of SYRIZA is the party of Synaspismos, itself regrouping various tendencies: from the (minority) left social democrats, up to the “neo-bolsheviks” of the Left Current, as they often call themselves. Another component with national presence, but considerably smaller than Synaspismos in organizational terms, is KOE. Other components include AKOA (of left eurocommunist origins), DIKKI-Socialist Left (which came out of PASOK in 1995, and had formed a coalition with KKE before joining SYRIZA in 2007), DEA (trotskyite organization), etc.
During the months before the May 6 elections, SYRIZA formed an even broader coalition, namely SYRIZA-EKM (SYRIZA-United Social Front), along with various personalities and regroupings from a broad spectrum – starting in left social democrats who had already broken away from PASOK, and reaching the extra-parliamentarian anti-capitalist left. In the present Parliament the left social democrats (former PASOK members) make some 7 out of the 71 MPs of SYRIZA. We hope that this does not necessarily make SYRIZA a “coalition of social democratic forces”…
On the other side, KKE has on several occasions repeated that “KKE is not a party of the Left, but a communist party”, stating that “We have nothing to do with the Left” etc. Based on this strange, and rather unique on international level sectarian logic, which completely separates the communists from the broader Left, KKE calls everyone who does not belong to it not even a leftist or whatever similar, but a social democrat, a savior of capitalism (!) etc.
2. “SYRIZA is part of a bourgeois-led plan to save the system”
Some circles have the audacity to claim that what happened in Greece during the last two elections was mainly the implementation of a bourgeois plan for the “renovation of the bourgeois political scene”, with SYRIZA in the core of the plan for the “recomposition of social democracy”. Consequently, they claim that no “new correlation of forces between the people and the monopolies” has appeared. Of course, all this wishful thinking of KKE’s leadership has nothing to do with reality; but then again, who are we to expect that KKE must “always try to be as radical as reality itself”?
It is true that, after SYRIZA managed to take 17% in the first elections (May 6), the president of the industrialists proposed that SYRIZA should take part in a “national unity” government. The leadership of KKE used this piece of information alone, concealing all other relative information (for example saying nothing about SYRIZA‘s reaction to this “proposal“). The aim of KKE was to spread the rumor outside Greece (inside Greece it would sound very comical) that the ruling class wanted a renovation of the political scene with SYRIZA as its main tool. So –this is the clue– “SYRIZA is an alternative for the ruling class”. But… let’s talk about this major “argument” of KKE:
The truth is that, especially after the political earthquake of May 6 and up to the most critical elections of June 17, SYRIZA was directly and indirectly subjected to an unforeseen and generalized attack by: A) all political forces (including KKE, which openly declared SYRIZA as the main enemy…); B) all the mainstream Media (both national and international); C) the representatives of the EU institutions and of imperialist forces, including Merkel herself.
As far as the bourgeois forces are concerned, the common motto of their attack was that, should SYRIZA take up the government and implement what it promised (abrogation of the memoranda with the IMF-EU-ECB Troika etc.), this would be an immediate and total catastrophe for the Greek people. In the context of this violent attack against SYRIZA, should someone that knew nothing about Greece and its political reality watch the political debates in the Greek TV after May 6, he/she would form the opinion that SYRIZA is responsible for every evil thing that has happened the last decades in Greece, resulting to the actual crisis, the danger of getting back to an inflationary drachma, the misery of the people, and so on. Even the German Financial Times published an article in both German and Greek languages (!) a few days before the June 17 elections under the title “Resist against the demagogue Alexis Tsipras”, which was reproduced all over Greece and was calling the Greeks not to vote for SYRIZA, otherwise they shall face the destruction!
On the other hand, at the same time the bourgeois parties and even representatives of the EU kept pressing SYRIZA to participate in a “national unity” bourgeois government that would just continue the same policy, thus attempting to discredit SYRIZA and its radical program. So it was not just the president of the industrialists that wished this, but all bourgeois parties throughout the period from May 6 up to June 17. PASOK and Democratic Left, two of the three parties of the actual tripartite coalition government, still continue to openly “challenge” SYRIZA to take part in their catastrophic course…
What is the clue? The clue is that not only wasn’t SYRIZA the core of a bourgeois plan for the “renovation of the political scene” but, on the contrary, the ruling class and also ruling circles in the EU were panicked by the perspective of a “Greek Mutiny” inside EU. They were panicked by the perspective of a leftist, progressive, popular (and of course NOT “social democratic”) government that would say a historical for Europe “NO” to the destructive neoliberal policies. That’s exactly why they attacked all together and quite fiercely against SYRIZA. The leadership of KKE knows that very well, although it pretends not to notice this internationally orchestrated and unprecedented attack against SYRIZA.
Instead of explaining why the “social democratic” SYRIZA became the main enemy for the system and was the exclusive target of all its attacks, instead of explaining why SYRIZA was shamefully at the same time labeled by KKE as “the main enemy”, KKE only keeps spreading false claims.
3. What is the immediate goal of the radicalized popular movement?
Is the immediate overthrowing of capitalism what is at stake in Greece behind all the events of the last two years? That is what KKE claims – in words. But it is not what the Greek people think and say, and not what the reality and the dynamics of the situation show. Besides, even if overthrowing capitalism was the imminent thing to be done, KKE would be the last one who would contribute to this – if we judge by its inertia in deeds and its absolute separation from the new popular movement during these years of mass struggles and mobilizations of the Greek people.
In fact, we could say that there is almost agreement among KOE, SYRIZA and KKE on the issue of which class forces are on this and the other side of the main contradiction. But disagreements appear when the issue comes to the question “what has to be done?”. Because of the shock “therapy” that was imposed upon Greece, because of the imminent catastrophe that threats the country and the people, because of the “occupation” of the country by the Troika, an immediate big political-economic-social change is needed in order to be able first of all to survive. Such a change is asked by the millions of the people that were mobilized the previous two years. It was this popular current demanding such a change that boosted SYRIZA to 27% in the June 17 elections.
We are aware that this change is not the overthrowing of capitalism. It paves the way, it is a precondition, but it is not the overthrowing of capitalism. This change means ruptures in an anticapitalist as well as anti-imperialist direction, but it is not yet the overthrowing of capitalism. This change is not even resulting to an immediate getting-out of the EU in the first place, but it is pushing on the direction of breaches with EU’s and Eurozone’s policies that dominate and deepen the crisis in a catastrophic way.
The political goal that can unite at the present time a big majority of the people in Greece, much more than the 27%, the target that can start and bring the first big change that is needed, can be described as: A) the rejection of the memoranda and of Troika’s asphyxiating domination over Greece; B) the beginning of the Greek economy’s productive reconstruction in the interest of the working people; C) the building of a genuinely democratic state that would put an end to the present corrupt anti-people political system. A transitional government imposed and controlled by a popular movement pushing forward these targets could create the conditions that would allow further, much more deep and radical changes in anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist perspective.
4. Big words are harmless
In fact, KKE in past party congresses, not many years ago, has recognized the probability of the necessity for such a transitional, broad, anti-monopolistic, anti-imperialist government to be formed. Now that this moment has come close, KKE discovers the necessity for the immediate overthrowing of capitalism right now – nothing else is worth fighting for! Thus, by supposedly pursuing the establishment of “people’s power”, KKE results to… nothing: This revolutionary verbalism is in reality only a pretext in order not to participate, not to contribute in the mass popular struggle for the ousting of Troika and its acolytes.
Instead, the leadership of KKE remains a passive observer of these “disorienting struggles” and organizes its separate, sterilized and harmless for the system parades. And once punished for this attitude, it prefers to give lessons to the Greek people “who do not understand KKE’s line and must rectify their stand”! Perhaps the leadership of KKE would prefer “to dissolve the people, and to appoint another one”? This pretentious underestimation of the Greek people comes after more than two years of popular struggles that have often surpassed the defensive tactics of the Left, targeting the whole corrupt bourgeois political system and the core of Troika’s policies, and accelerating their decay…
Whatever the strategic and tactical disagreements with SYRIZA are (KOE might also have disagreements with this or the other aspect of SYRIZA’s policy, as it happens in every coalition), the stand of KKE against SYRIZA is not owed to these disagreements. In fact, KKE consciously sabotages the political process that begun spontaneously two years ago by the people and its mobilizations, without the help of most of the parties of the Left, and now continues mainly through SYRIZA. It was so obvious for the broad masses of the people that KKE should in some way help and participate in this process, that it should answer affirmatively to SYRIZA’s proposal for a transitional progressive government (even with a critical stand), that the absolutely negative answer of KKE was completely incomprehensible. It was completely incomprehensible even among its supporters and thousands of members. And that’s exactly why KKE lost half of its voters and came down to its lowest point since it was legalized in 1974.
The leadership of KKE has, not once, shown that all it wants for KKE is to be a party in the corner of the political system, just a “protest” party, not to trouble and not to be troubled by the political system. It excels, however, in big harmless declarations. For example, when the uprising of the French suburbs took place in 2005, KKE strongly supported it, openly condemning the “systemic” attitude of the French Left. Three years later, in December 2008, when the Greek youth stood up all over Greece (and that was an uprising more political and with a leftist anti-government orientation – especially if compared to the “blind” uprising in France), KKE denounced it, hand in hand with all the bourgeois parties and media. More than that, in December 2008 as well, KKE joined the most reactionary voices condemning the “irresponsible line of SYRIZA, which caresses the young rioters”. The system has rewarded KKE, praising its “responsible” attitude, more than once since December 2008. The last episode so far is that the system keeps focused all its attacks against the... “opportunistic” SYRIZA, sparing the “revolutionary” KKE. That’s a fact that the leadership of KKE (and those outside Greece who shamelessly reproduce its lies) should try to explain. Because, indeed, all this unfounded accusations against SYRIZA would be comical – if they weren’t a bit tragical as well. #