Why do Social Democrats do what they do?

April 13, 2010

The KKE’s experience since the early 1990s, Excerpt from Aleka Papariga's words at the Rosa Luxembourg Conference, Berlin 12 January 2008


"The 90th anniversary of the founding of the KKE: Drawing conclusions from its history"


Aleka Papariga stated:

"The KKE went through its own internal crisis early in the 1990s, during which our country’s bourgeois forces intervened actively. They openly supported that group of party cadres, particularly the members of the CC, whose aim was to dissolve the KKE and to merge it in a leftist form of collaboration that celebrated the defeat of the forces of socialism. Then it appeared possible that, by marginalising or dissolving the KKE, the view that socialism is utopian would prevail, and therefore that the main and basic issue was to humanise capitalism. It is not accidental that ever since then, we in Greece frequently hear about totalitarian capitalism, savage capitalism, extreme capitalism, and capitalism that discredits itself through its own barbarity. There is no greater utopia than going back to the period of the dawn of capitalism, to the period of the French Enlightenment and Romanticism, which became outdated a long time ago owing to the evolution of history. Nor of course can social-democratic prescriptions of a Keynesian or neo-Keynesian type provide solutions to the people’s critical problems, to militarization and the imperialist war. Today the laws and trends inherent in the capitalist mode of production cannot possibly be ignored. The solution can be found by going forward to socialism, which must today be enriched with the experience of building socialism in the 20th century, with the prerequisite of its objective scientific evaluation and critical review, wherever required.

"The schism that appeared in the party was nothing more than a confrontation between right opportunism and the Party forces that, irrespective of international developments, continued to believe in the necessity of the revolutionary struggle for socialism and communism.

"In 1991 the KKE was obliged to take a stand against unbridled anticommunism, against a series of attacks on it that bore some features of political intrigue. It was obliged, under conditions of retreat and the reduction of its forces, to stand on its own, to respond without delay to the need to organise resistance by the labour and popular movement to the first wave of privatisations, to the revocation of gains that had begun with the New Democracy government, and to the war that broke out in the Balkans.
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"After the developments of 1989-91, we were fully aware that the KKE would not be able to continue its action without at the same time answering the great question that naturally arose as to whether “perhaps the victory of the counter-revolution and the return of capitalism placed the capability and realistic prospect of the passage from capitalism to socialism into dispute”. We were obliged to reply as to whether the return of capitalism was necessary, or whether it was part of the process of building socialism, and to verify what were the areas of the adverse change, and how they were hatched.

"We were obliged to rebut theories that grew strong and spread, saying that capitalism could be transformed into socialism without the basic laws of the socialist revolution applying.

"We became aware that replies could not be given by quoting selected excerpts from the works of classical authors, but only by studying the building of socialism in a concrete, objective way. We did not shift responsibilities to others, nor did we wash our hands of it, replying that it wasn’t our fault, because we were not a party in power.

"At the same time we had to study developments in Greek, European and international capitalism more profoundly, in order to work out the Party’s new Programme, without which we could not have dealt with the daily problems.

"Thus we arrived at 1996, when our 15th Congress was held as scheduled, a difficult course of regrouping the Party ideologically, politically and organisationally under the new conditions. We had to combine our action around the sharpened problems of the people in the labour movement and more generally, with beginning theoretical study and organising the ideological counter-attack.

"We did not agree with the views according to which the Party’s strategy is determined and changed by the correlation of forces, or that the policy of alliances is shaped with an eye to the ballot box. An alliance must strengthen the labour and popular movement, must steel it, emancipate it, base it on social conflicts and interests, and serve strategy.


"Irrespective of the deficiencies and hardships we were going through, we regard the period between 1991 and 1996 as somehow decisive in the Party’s further course. We worked out our new Programme, the framework linking the goals of struggle for the movement, the rallying of forces into the basic fronts of struggle, and the alliance. We held a nationwide party conference that drew the first conclusions regarding the reasons for the restoration of capitalism. At this period we laid the foundations for passing from the stage of retreat and defence, to the counterattack, to improving our positions in the movement, and on the political field.

"At this time, the class and political adversary adjusted its tactics towards the Party. It recognised that it had failed to marginalize the KKE, to dissolve it, and to isolate it from the people. It continued to hit the party openly, while combining this with sneakier indirect blows and throwing its weight in support of every inroad, preferably opportunistic, in order to prevent the radicalisation of people’s minds.

"It was proved that, what are annoying about the KKE are not its title or the hammer and sickle, but mainly its strategic orientation, its revolutionary strategy, and its revolutionary optimism.

"We have created a solid foundation that will allow us, in the years to come, to play an even more active and effective role in the labour movement, and in positive processes and realignments.

"Every year we improve our intervention and role in the mass movement. Today, using modern techniques, we have embraced a much wider range of problems in the realms of labour, housing and leisure time, on economic, social, cultural and democratic issues, on problems of the environment, and on issues related to migrants. We fight against racist and xenophobic views, against nationalism and chauvinism. In addition, our local organisations have partially succeeded in developing a more comprehensive programme of intervention across the full spectrum of problems, taking into account regional and local interventions around the axis of the fourth Community Support Framework and the programme of local investments in joint ventures with private individuals. Demands for the scientific study of the issues and a documented counter-proposal for struggle are much greater today. They are implemented by sections of the CC and the Centre of Marxist Studies.

"Under present conditions, there are two main platforms on which we are building and further strengthening the party: our action among the working class and among young people, who today have become the particular target of aggression and ideological disorientation that has been directed especially towards women and economic and political migrants.

"The progress of the KKE is not a matter of making an impression: it is a matter of infrastructure and prospects, far from any petty-bourgeois impatience and any spirit of smugness.

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