Written by Gabriel Huland
Thursday, 02 April 2015 16:45
The KKE (Communist Party of Greece) is the oldest party in activity in Greece. Founded in 1918, it actively participated in the main events of the XX century in the country. In the January elections, it won 5.47 per cent of the votes and elected 15 MPs, becoming the fifth Greek political force behind Syriza, New Democracy, Golden Dawn and To Potami.
The KKE appears as a frontal opponent to Syriza and to Tsipras’ new government. It has been facing Syriza and its components for a long time. In fact, Syriza’s major trend is the Synaspismós, of which Tsipras is a member (who heads the most reformist sector). The Synaspismós is a party that came up in 1991 from the union of two KKE splits, the Eurocommunist trend of the 1970s and another as a result of a massive expulsion after the USSR and the CPSU disintegration. The current KKE reflects the most rigid and sectarian sector of the Greek Stalinism. Despite this it still continues keeping an important influence in the trade union and student movement (of the 45 members of the GSEE trade union directive board, 10 belong to the KKE and in the elections for the students union the party received 18.5 per cent of the votes).
An extreme sectarianism towards workers
In a recent interview, Elisseos Vagenas, KKE Central Committee member, said: “Syriza is the new pole of social-democracy in Greece and is interested in managing bourgeois power, with a “leftwing visage.” He added: “The KKE assesses that the coalition between Syriza and ANEL will follow the beaten track: the line of retreat and compromise, the commitments to big capital, monopolies, the EU and NATO with all the negative implications for the people and our country.”
However, the problem is not the KKE’s analysis of Syriza and its government in this way, but that behind this radical rhetoric lies a sick sectarianism which repeats the Stalinist policy of the “Third Period”: in addition to the fact that there is no room for any united action with Syriza, this party would also be the main enemy. But one thing is to think that Syriza is the force called to replace PASOK politically (this is what Tsipras is actually searching for) and quite another is to deny, as the KKE does, that Syriza’s election is – with all the contradictions that can be pointed out – the victory of the Greek people, who used the vote in Syriza as a tool to drive out the parties of the troika and to repudiate the plunder and submission of Greece. For the KKE, Syriza’s victory is nothing but a consequence of the political turmoil and the lack of class consciousness, a fault that the working class must carry on their shoulders for not voting on them. The KKE is never wrong; it possess the monopoly on truth.
As Syriza is in office, the KKE refuses to participate in the massive and spontaneous demonstrations against the troika blackmail. The KKE has even made a clear call for people not joining the international actions of solidarity towards the Greek people. When the outraged Greeks demonstrated in 2011 and large sectors of the ruined middle classes and youth occupied the country’s squares, the KKE, which did not control them, said they were encouraged by the Greek ruling class in order to prevent the radicalization of the movement.
The KKE does not approach the working class and the youth about the concrete measures and actions taken by Tsipras’ administration. It doesn’t take into consideration the workers’ current consciousness and refuses to follow them on their mobilization to demand that Tsipras fulfill its “unwaiving” promises to which it has been betraying, in order not to break with the troika and the European Union.
The KKE is satisfied to denounce Syriza as reformist and accuse it of being the new face of the bourgeois power in the country. This sectarian and self-proclamatory attitude towards the most exploited sectors of the population – which voted overwhelmingly for Syriza – actually favors Tsipras and foster a sectarian division rather than advancing the consciousness of the working masses and enable the construction of an alternative leadership, which is willing to break with the euro and the EU and open the way for measures to break with the domination of the financial oligarchy and Greece’s lack of sovereignty.
Is the rupture withthe euro irrelevant?
Regarding the central theme of the presence or not of Greece in the euro zone, the KKE has an ambiguous position, for it argues that this issue is not relevant because what is important is “to break with capitalism.” However breaking with capitalism requires concrete actions and to accomplish the nationalization of banks and strategic economic sectors or even the most elementary measures, such as those approved by the new government can’t be met without suspending the debt payment and therefore breaking with the euro. The KKE, however, prefers to stir propagandistic watchwords which are distant from reality.
On the other hand, in line with its Stalinist character, its socialism for Greece is a Greek version of the old “socialism in one country.” But if history has already shown that it was an absurdity in a country like Russia, it is a much greater absurdity in a small country like Greece, with a weak, dependent and lagging economy. Socialism must come to Greece, but only by the hands of solidarity and unity with the working class and peoples of Europe, in the fight for a socialist Europe.
The KKE is one of the few European Stalinist parties that despite its decadence and crisis still retain a significant political and social weight. Its history is characterized by the submission to Stalin’s will, who at the end of World War II agreed to allow free hands to Churchill acting in Greece. This submission drove it to betray the heroic struggle of the Greek people, whose backbone were its own militants. These same activists also played a central role in the resistance against the Dictatorship of the Colonels, forcing many of them to exile. Nowadays the KKE spreads a sectarian and nationalist discourse and is anxious to keep its electoral and trade union influence.
Antarsya means “rebellion” in Greek and is a Left organization. It is a political coalition formed in 2009 by the integration of KKE-splitting groups and others of Maoist, Trotskyist and environmentalist origins. In the last election, it got less than 1 per cent of the votes, not exceeding the electoral threshold of 3 per cent required to secure a representation in parliament. It has some presence in municipalities in Athens metropolitan area; it is part of the trade union and student movements and its activists have an active participation in the strikes and struggles against austerity. The hegemony within Antarsya belongs to the Maoists.
It positioned categorically against the extension of the Memorandum announced by Tsipras government and calls to continue the protests against EU blackmail. In addition, it advocates that agreements within the EU are not possible and moves towards a breaking alternative. There is an important internal debate on supporting or not Syriza’s government. Currently it holds a position of independence from Tsipras.