KKE standing strong

MANY left-wingers have recently been very critical of the position of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) because of its refusal to join an electoral alliance with Syriza, before, during and after the recent general election there. They accuse the KKE of standing aloof while Syriza, with its right-wing coalition allies, struggle with the bureaucrats of the European Union to win a better deal for Greece.

These are the people who welcomed Syriza’s electoral victory with great acclaim, expecting an overnight reversal of the dreadful austerity policies imposed by the European Union and International Monetary Fund on the Greek people, a repudiation of the debt and a springtime of sunshine and joy.

How quickly that illusion is crumbling. It never was a real possibility and the KKE was wise to steer well clear of it. The KKE is a Marxist-Leninist Party that is well aware there is no solution for the Greek people under the heel of the EU — or under capitalism at all.

Syriza claims it is trying to wrest a better deal from the EU but that is like dealing with a pay-day loan company. You can get your debt rescheduled and stave off imminent bankruptcy but only at the cost of increasing your regular payments — and scrimp and scrape as you might you cannot even keep up with the existing repayments, never mind raising them.

The EU does not exist to make life easy for the working people of Europe any more than pay day loan companies exist to help low income workers sort out their debt problems. Whatever they claim both exist to make as much profit as they can for the bankers and that is the sole priority. Everything else is window dressing.

For the working class of Greece — who were in no way responsible for creating their government’s debts — the only way out is to repudiate the debts. That will mean repudiating their country’s EU membership. Effectively it cannot be achieved without the overthrow of Greece’s capitalist state machine.

The KKE has in the recent past lost some support for acknowledging that hard fact. But the last election result showed it regaining ground. The people of Greece are losing their illusions.

Capitalism has many weapons in its arsenal and perhaps the most effective is that of confusion and mystification of the working class, fostering illusions that a socialist paradise can be won without the need to change the basic capitalist state machinery. No one wants violent upheavals and they rely on workers’ fears of this. That is the root cause of revisionism. It is no crime to dream of an easy peaceful path to socialism but it is dangerous madness to confuse a dream with reality.

When the Soviet Union fell and along with it the socialist states of Eastern Europe the easy revisionist path to socialism was shown up as a cruel illusion. The surviving communist and workers parties who gathered at the Pyongyang Conference in 1992, called by Kim Il Sung to restore and rebuild world communism, were those that had rejected revisionism.

History has shown again and again that the working class cannot attain state power through a bourgeois state parliament because these parliaments are not masters of the state.

From the Paris Commune, through the experience of Ghana in the 1960s onwards this has been repeated. In Italy in 1969 the Communist Party was poised to win a general election but it withdrew under the threat of a bloody right-wing coup if it went ahead.

In Chile in 1973 a left social democrat government in Chile was making real pro-working class reforms and was swept away and drowned in blood by such a coup.

In South Africa, after the broad alliance that was the African National Congress came to power in the early 1990s leading members of the Communist Party of South Africa were given posts in the new bourgeois government. They found themselves directly involved in anti-working class measures and to their shame they went along with it, leading to their involvement in trying to put down the miners’ strikes a few years ago.

The KKE is refusing to do that. It is standing strong and warning that the new wave of “left” reformist parties growing up in Europe are nothing new but the same old opportunists and careerists who want their place in the sun in front of cheering crowds only to sell out at the first opportunity.

But there is a limit to the number of times workers of Europe or anywhere else will fall for this. As austerity becomes more and more cruel the prospects of a really big upheaval and a real change of state become more appealing.