Category Archives: Greece

ICMLPO (Unity and Struggle): Meeting of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations of Europe

The crisis of the capitalist system on the world level is getting still worse, and in Europe it is taking the form of a recession. At the same time, the rejection of the austerity policy is stronger and more massive than ever before; tens of millions of workers, men and women, are taking to the streets in all the capitals of Europe.

The austerity policy imposed everywhere, instead of “solving the crisis,” as the neo-liberal and social liberal governments would have us believe, is deepening it. This policy is increasing the recession in the countries hardest hit by the crisis and is beginning to have consequences in which some have taken advantage of the crisis of others, as is the case of German imperialism. This policy is increasing the public debt and economic inequality, promoting unequal development as well as competition among the countries of the European Union (EU).

It is a vicious circle that the workers and peoples must break if they do not wish to be sucked into a spiral that will return them to conditions of the 19th century. The fiscal pact signed by Merkel and Sarkozy has been accepted as is by almost all the EU governments. It is a pact that combines the austerity policy and increases “competitiveness,” which clearly means greater flexibility, easier layoffs and brutal and massive falls in wages, which are presented as “costs”: we say that labour is not a “cost”, it is capital that is increasingly intolerable for the workers and peoples. The leaders of the major European imperialist powers, particularly Merkel and Hollande, are trying to impose a “European government,” a real General Staff of the financial oligarchy. In this way they are trying to strengthen the economic and political power of the oligarchy and to transform the elected institutions in the states – specifically parliaments as well as regional and local institutions – into simple transmission belts for their policies.

Taking advantage of the crisis that hit Cyprus, the European leaders have opened a new stage of trying to appraise the small savers and make them pay. It is a message, a threat to the peoples: tomorrow your savings will be confiscated by capital.

All this makes clear their true goal: super-exploit the working class, eliminate the mechanisms of social protection, weaken the fighting ability of the workers, transfer an ever greater share of the wealth created to the oligarchy, to the holders of capital who live at the expense of the workers and peoples. When poverty reaches unimaginable proportions, when hunger is a scourge that plagues millions of men, women and children, the oligarchy displays its wealth and luxury and its insulting lifestyle.

Austerity Goes Hand in Hand with Authoritarianism

Capital is carrying out its violent offensive with tremendous brutality and is trampling on democratic rights. The austerity goes hand in hand with the authoritarianism of the Troika imposed on States and supervised governments, as in Greece, which are required to submit their accounts regularly to committees of “experts” led by the Troika.

The workers and trade union movement is the main target of the attacks of capital. In several countries social protest is criminalized and limits are imposed on the exercise of trade union rights. The fighting sectors of the workers and the militants who are fighting against class collaboration are excluded from the unions by the leaders who practice such collaboration.

At the same time the governments and employers are carrying out an intensive campaign to discredit the unions. The government and employers are using the crisis, the large number of unemployed, etc., to pressure workers so that they do not join the unions, although this is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution of all EU states. The migrant workers are particularly suffering from these repressive policies; they are being harassed and attacked by fascist and racist groups. They leave their countries fleeing war and poverty, for all of which the imperialist powers are responsible, particularly in Africa, and they suffer super-exploitation and racism.

In various countries the progressive, political and trade union movements are mobilizing and fighting so that these immigrant men and women have the same rights as their class brothers and sisters.

Also in many EU countries racist and fascist groups and parties are spreading their ideas which are repeated by the large media in order to influence broad sections of the popular masses. To the traditional discourse of the xenophobic and racist extreme right there is now added a dangerous populist discourse that mixes “social” formulations with rabid nationalism. They use the discontent of the masses and the rejection of the parties applying austerity policies, both those of the right and the left.

The Crisis Is Sharpening the Contradictions between the Imperialist Powers and Imperialist Blocs

The problem of control of energy resources, raw materials, strategic areas and markets is the main cause of wars of aggression and military intervention by the imperialist powers. After Libya, its oil and its riches, now it is Mali that is suffering the policy of war. French and British imperialism were the most involved in the war in Libya, French imperialism is the one that launched the war in Mali, but both have turned to their European and EU allies for help in these reactionary actions. At the same time they are maintaining troops in Afghanistan, and other countries are in the crosshairs of the imperialist powers, particularly Syria.

U.S. imperialism and its military arm, NATO, is pressing its European allies to take charge, particularly the “European” component of NATO, and they are committed even more financially and militarily. The fight within each country to leave NATO, as well as for its outright dissolution, is completely relevant today.

The peoples of Europe have nothing to gain from the war­mongering policy that only serves the interests of the oligarchy. The people are interested in increasing their ties of solidarity with those who are suffering from plunder and domination by the European imperialist powers, particularly the peoples of Africa, in order to fight united against the system of oppression and exploitation.

Our Camp Is That of the Workers and Peoples

The aspiration for united struggles against austerity, against the dictates of the Troika, is growing. Currently, more than ever, the problem is put forward of making these struggles converge and developing solidarity across borders.

In various countries the rejection of the austerity policy coincides with opposition to the Troika, the euro and the EU. The supporters of this Europe of reaction and capital are worried by this rejection and are trying to avoid it with the reactionary positions raised by the fascist and nationalist parties and organizations, which do not question the capitalist system but divide the peoples and pit them against each other.

The reformist forces are responding to these protests with a pathetic and deceptive call for a “social Europe” that in no way corresponds to reality.

We proclaim that the people have the right to decide to leave the euro and also the EU. We also know that not all the European countries belong to the Euro zone.

Along with the progressive forces who defend this position, we state that this is a problem linked to the issue of the defence of sovereignty; we support this fight as part of the struggle against the austerity policy imposed by the EU.

We state that if a people decides and brings about its withdrawal from the Euro, we stand in solidarity with the fight that will be waged against the offensive of the oligarchy, which will do everything possible to make them pay for that decision.

In any case, we defend the slogan of refusing to pay the debt, whether in euros or in any other currency.

The breadth of the workers and popular resistance, which must be developed, puts forward the problem of the political solution that we must give to this increase in the class struggle. The working class is in the vanguard of these battles and broad sections of the working masses of the cities and countryside are joining it on the streets and in demonstrations. The problem of the unity of the working class and the unity of all sections of the people are the basis for carrying out a policy of the united front, which has already taken concrete forms in different countries.

Our parties and organizations are calling for developing this policy everywhere, with the perspective of the revolutionary transformation of society and the development of international solidarity.

Germany,
25 June 2013

Communist Party of the Workers of DENMARK (APK)
Communist Party of the Workers of FRANCE (PCOF)
Organization for the Reconstruction of a Communist Party of GERMANY (Arbeit Zukunft)
Movement for the Reorganization of the KKE (1918-1955) GREECE
Communist Platform of ITALY
Communist Party of SPAIN (M-L)
Revolutionary Communist Party of TURKEY

Source

Anasintaxi: On the European Elections

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The European elections in Greece were held under conditions of austerity , mass unemployment , people’s misery and enhanced national dependence on the imperialist centers and multinationals. In this election , abstention remained stable at a high percentage (over 42 %) .

The accumulated resentment , social protest and anger against government policies and government parties (ND : 22.7 % , PASOK : 8% , etc) expressed in electoral victory of SYRIZA (26.5 %). But this victory was neither a corresponding mass social protest or sweeping.

SYRIZA supported and supports the policy of theory of “a better EU nations ” and thus initiated and election .

The party of “K” KE got low percentages (6.1 %) confirming the deadlocks of it general disruptive and decadent presence.

Particularly worrying is the stabilization of the nazi-fascist Gold Dawn, which got a significant proportion (9.4 % ) and became the third party of these elections.

It should be noted and appreciated that politically; due to the line of compromise and sectarianism of the ” left ” parties essentially not entered strongly in the election process the central problem of Greece: the enhanced dependence on the imperialist centers : the EU, the Eurozone and the euro .

The Movement for the Reorganization of the Communist Party (1918-1955) called for a boycott of the elections simultaneously displaying the slogan of DIRECT WITHDRAWAL of Greece from Euro – EMU -EU emphasizing the struggle against imperialist dependence, fascism , racism and nationalism.

Source

ICMLPO (Unity and Struggle): Final Resolution of the 19th Plenary of the ICMLPO

In the Middle of the World, in an atmosphere of internationalist comradeship and solidarity, the members of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO) met to share and discuss analysis and experiences. We arrived at resolutions that will contribute to the fulfillment of the historical role of the Marxist-Leninists, the revolutionaries, anti-imperialist and anti-fascist fighters, working class, oppressed peoples and youth.

On the International Situation

The Fundamental Contradictions of the Epoch Are Sharpening.

The international economic crisis that exists in some countries, particularly in Western Europe, and the economic decline of others are the clearest demonstration that the fundamental contradictions are sharpening: between capital and labor, between imperialism and the oppressed peoples and nations, between the imperialist powers and monopolies. It is a cyclic crisis that is developing on top of the worsening of the general crisis of capitalism that began a century ago.

The ideological and political struggle between the proletarian revolutionaries who are fighting for socialism, and reaction, liberalism and opportunism that are defending capitalism and imperialism is also deepening.

The imperialist countries are heading the economic decline, in the first place the United States, which has a zero industrial growth. In Japan there are further declines in the economy. Several countries of the European Union are facing a recession that is striking particularly Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland and is threatening France, Belgium and others.

The bourgeois economists themselves are saying that these countries will take many years to return to pre-2008 levels and start the recovery process.

The economies called engines of growth of capitalism, China, India and Russia are in a process of economic slowdown; this situation is accentuated in Brazil, which is declining steadily.

The dependent countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia are suffering the impact of the crisis on a smaller scale, due to the high prices of raw materials, natural resources and agricultural products; they are showing an uneven growth.

The monopoly groups, the imperialist countries, the local bourgeoisies and their governments are shifting the burden of the crisis onto the working masses, the peoples and the youth.

In all countries of the world, we see the increased exploitation of the working class under the pretext of increased competitiveness; in Europe there are massive layoffs of workers, reduced wages through blackmail, etc., an increase in job precariousness and labor flexibility under different names for the sake of maximum monopoly profit.

The migrants around the world are victims of this policy, and moreover they face discrimination, xenophobia and racism; they are placed as enemies of native-born workers who blame them for rising unemployment; they are a cheap labor force used by the capitalists for their greater accumulation.

In the countryside the conditions of life and work are worsening as a result of the pricing policy, of the free trade agreements that benefit the agribusiness monopolies. The agricultural businesses are developing hand in hand with the growing monopolization of the land, of the agricultural production and of the commercialization based on the super-exploitation of the workers in the countryside and the imperialist dependency imposed on the majority of the countries.

The youth is affected by the restriction of public education, converting schools into producers of cheap labor power in the service of capital; huge masses of young people, including university graduates, are joining the millions of unemployed.

While the large financial and industrial monopolies are still being fed by public funds, the social budgets, the money intended for public health, education, housing, social security, etc. are being diminished and cut back drastically; the years needed for retirement have been increased and in some countries the decision has been made to lower wages and increase the working day.

The crisis is of such a magnitude that imperialism and the governments are implementing increasingly brutal, aggressive, exploitative and repressive policies against the working and popular masses.

The Policies of Capital Are Becoming More Authoritarian and Repressive

Along with the economic crisis there is the political crisis of the bourgeoisie, expressed in the discrediting of the institutions, of politics in general, of bourgeois democracy and the political parties in particular.

One example of this reality is the high rate of abstention in elections in many countries, the loss of confidence in the traditional political parties of the bourgeoisie, including the reformist and social-democratic parties. In several countries this situation is leading to disenchantment, to the dissatisfaction of the masses, to the search for alternatives of change that are being covered by bourgeois options using the terms left, “democratic socialism” and “21st century socialism.” This also makes way for new reactionary forces, in some cases fascists, fundamentalists and populists that are demagogically presented as an alternative of change for the peoples.

Besides the loss of credibility of the national bourgeois institutions should be added the loss of prestige of the international agencies of capitalism and globalization such as the IMF, WTO, NATO, EU, UN, etc.

The masses have not advanced to the point where they can fully distinguish the parties that represent their interests. This is mainly due to the influence of reactionary ideas, to the ideological offensive of imperialism and the bourgeoisies so that they lose interest in the struggle for power and take up non-partyism, by which the ruling groups can continue to manipulate the masses and the power. It is also due to the presence and activity of different forms of opportunism and revisionism, and, of course, to the weakness and limitations of the revolutionary left.

Another manifestation of this trend is the involution of the so-called progressive governments, particularly in Latin America, which have shown their ideological and political limitations and in their capacity as administrators of the crisis they take measures that affect the people and criminalize social protest. In some cases they use the name of the left, of the revolution and of socialism to push forward their project of capitalist modernization.

In general, we are experiencing a process of growing authoritarianism, of the development of state terrorism in the exercise of bourgeois power, the denial of national sovereignty and the right to self-determination of the peoples, the restriction of civil and democratic liberties, the criminalization of social and popular struggle and the gradual abolition of the rights and freedoms of the people won through years of struggle.

The Struggle for a New Redivision of the World Is Sharpening

The inability of imperialism to resolve its crisis, the huge sacrifices of the peoples, of the working masses, forces it to seek other forms of solution. One of these is the preparation of new imperialist wars, the significant increase in the budgets for military spending, the occupation troops in the countries rich in natural resources and located in geostrategic areas such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Congo, Mali, etc. These are pushing forward new military aggressions.

This situation is particularly evident in Africa, a continent with vast natural and agricultural resources that imperialism is using to refine the technology and in order to try to get out of its crisis, and in the Middle East for the control and exploitation of the energy resources.

In these regions of the world the contradictions and rivalries between the imperialist powers and monopolies are evident. They show the tendency to a greater polarization between the United States and the European Union on the one hand and China on the other; Russia is joining the fight for its own interests, while the BRICS is projected as a new bloc for world domination.

In Syria a political and military conflict has been developing that involves the entire population, it has led to a reactionary civil war that is the pretext for imperialist and Zionist intervention. The weight of international public opinion, the particular interests of the various imperialist countries, the denunciation by democratic sectors and even by several governments and individuals, among others, has momentarily halted this intervention. The U.S. was only able to get France, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to join in this war of aggression. We emphasize that in this conflict British imperialism does not support the U.S. after several years of being its unconditional ally.

At the same time this showed a more active role for Russia on the diplomatic and military level, which in fact turned it, together with the U.S., into the arbiters of the conflict in Syria, ignoring the peoples and workers who will have to subordinate themselves to the plans of the foreign forces. The principle of self-determination of the peoples is once again being mocked and trampled upon by the imperialist countries.

The economic crisis, the super-exploitation of the working masses, as well as the politics of imperialist war and plunder is greatly increasing the forced and massive migration of millions of human beings who leave their country fleeing war, violence and misery and are looking for a better future. In this effort they are finding the borders closed, hundreds die in the crossing and, if they succeed in reaching their destination they are the object of the most cruel oppression and exploitation; they are abused and mistreated by the very imperialist powers who have caused the ruin of their countries.

The events in Syria, other events in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, the expansion of the Chinese economy are sharpening the inter-imperialist contradictions. China is gaining ground by an aggressive export policy, by important investments in the dependent countries, by holding U.S. Treasury bonds (it has become the largest creditor of the U.S.); moreover it is working to enhance its military apparatus.

It is no accident that the United States has made a priority of the Asian region as a strategic area in which it is concentrating its military force to maintain its position of supremacy.

The Response of the Workers, Peoples and Youth Is Growing Significantly

Imperialism and the bourgeoisie are placing the burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the workers, peoples and youths in all countries, both imperialist and dependent.

But these people are not remaining passive; they are developing their struggle and organization. In this regard there stand out the continuing and important battles of the working class and youth in Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Tunisia, Portugal, China, Bangladesh, Colombia, Chile, Greece and Spain, among others.

The anti-system actions of broad sections of the youth and the middle strata in various regions are joining the struggle of the workers, struggles that have gone beyond economic demands.

In recent months there have been gigantic waves of the masses who have accelerated and protested against the establishment; although they do not have a revolutionary direction they open the perspective of a new situation, they encourage the progressive and revolutionary forces.

In short, in all countries, the peoples are showing their discontent, they are protesting and looking for a way that leads to the solution of their serious problems.

An important struggle of the workers, peoples and youth against dictatorships and tyranny has taken shape in North Africa and the Middle East; in Tunisia and Egypt the struggle of resistance against imperialism and reaction is growing despite all the resources used to try to placate the struggles and divert them from their revolutionary path. Forms of this reactionary process are the utilization of Islamic fundamentalists, as well as coups and direct military interventions.

The ICMLPO is part of the workers and peoples who are fighting for their rights, for their social and national liberation. We are taking up our obligation to be where the battles are waged; we support them so that they may head towards their final objective. In particular we support the struggle waged by the people of Tunisia, by our fraternal party and the Popular Front to achieve the objectives of the revolution and people’s power.

The Tasks of the Communists in the Present Situation

In these stormy waters of the class struggle, it is up to us to develop policies and tasks that respond to the following questions: What is the social force that is able to defeat imperialism, the bourgeoisie and reaction? Who should lead the large and small waves of struggle? What kind of society do the workers need to replace this dying system?

To provide an answer to these questions it is necessary to consolidate, develop and build the Communist Party as the vanguard party of the working class, which is deeply and permanently engaged in the crucible of the struggle of the masses, in all cases, whether organized or spontaneous; we must work to unify these struggles and direct them towards the social revolution.

We intend to strengthen the mobilization and organization of the exploited and oppressed masses in all areas, using all forms of struggle and organization that correspond to the concrete situations.

It is of fundamental importance to foster the unity of the working class and the peasantry, as well as of all sectors oppressed by capitalism and other pre-capitalist forms of exploitation, under the leadership of the working class and its Party. We emphasize the need to highlight the best efforts to clarify the question of the popular front as well as to push forward the work of building it in concrete conditions.

We must pay special attention to work with the youth, who are bursting out vigorously in the social and political fight, to work to give them a revolutionary direction, and to work among the working women and women from the popular strata who constitute more than half of humankind, who suffer the effects of layoffs, job insecurity, etc. and have a great revolutionary potential.

In the discussion on the work with working women and women from the popular strata there we emphasize the need to build a broad movement of democratic, anti-imperialist and revolutionary women with its own objectives.

At this time our efforts are directed to organizing and strengthening popular fronts as a necessary tool to link and mobilize the broad masses against the plans of imperialism and reaction. Fronts and coalitions that will form around a programmatic unity that defends the interests of the working class, the working masses and the peoples.

The lessons of Marxism-Leninism and the practice of our parties teach us that we must fight to the end against all manifestations of sectarianism, of deviations from the right or left, maintaining firmness in principles and flexibility in tactics.

To fulfill the tasks it is necessary to fight ideologically and politically against imperialism and the bourgeoisie, as well as against the positions and practices of the collaborators and conciliators, which affect the workers and people by revisionism, opportunism, reformism and other forms that confuse and divert them from the goal of the social revolution as well as of the popular democratic revolutions.

We must organize a major offensive on what the left, the social revolution, socialism and communism mean. We must widely disseminate the proposals that we communists have in different realities, confronting what capitalism and its representatives have done to the workers, especially today, when they are trying to eliminate a century of social and democratic gains.

In 2014 it will be 20 years since the ICMLPO launched its proclamation to the world, its commitment to forge the unity of the international communist movement, to contribute decisively to making Marxism-Leninism into a material force of the workers and peoples to defeat imperialism and capitalism and establish socialism and communism as a society of full freedom and prosperity for the peoples.

The ICMLPO is fulfilling its role with determination, with important results that are still insufficient. Today we reaffirm our revolutionary commitment to consolidating and broadening it to ensure an internationalist, revolutionary leadership for the struggles of the working class, the popular masses and the oppressed peoples of the world.

Ecuador, October 2013

The Carve-Up of Cyprus

Cyprus

By the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain; Special Issue of “Class Against Class”; No.7, 1974. Reprinted by Alliance Marxist-Leninist, 2003.

BEHIND THE EVENTS IN CYPRUS OF JULY 1974 — THE COUPS AND COUNTER-COUPS, THE MASS GRAVES AND THE INVASION — ARE TO BE FOUND THE BLOODY HANDS OF THE UNITED STATES IMPERIALISTS, STRIVING DESPERATELY TO RECOVER SOME OF THE INFLUENCE THEY HAVE LOST DURING THE PAST DECADE.

THE AIM OF THE US MANOEUVRES IS TO BRING THE STRATEGIC MEDITERRANEAN ISLAND OF CYPRUS MORE FIRMLY INTO THE GRIP OF THE UNITED STATES’ CLIENT STATES, GREECE AND TURKEY, AND SO WITHIN THE ORBIT OF THE US-DOMINATED NATO MILITARY BLOC OF WHICH BOTH THESE STATES ARE MEMBERS.

The “Independence” of Cyprus

The island of Cyprus (about half the size of Wales) is situated in the eastern Mediterranean, 40 miles south of Turkey and 60 miles west of Syria. Of its population of some 600,000, 82% are of Greek origin (the Greek Cypriots) and 18% are of Turkish origin (the Turkish Cypriots).

From the 16th century until 1878, Cyprus formed part of the Turkish Empire, but in the latter year it came under the effective control of Britain. In November 1914, on the outbreak of World War I, Britain annexed the island, and it became a British colony in 1925.

The movement for liberation began under Turkish rule among the Greek Cypriots, who suffered particular oppression, and its main demand was for “Hellenic unity”, for “enosis” (that is, union with Greece). The movement continued to develop under British rule, and with the development of a weak Cypriot national bourgeoisie this class came to lead the liberation struggle. The effective leader of the movement was the Ethnarch of the Greek Orthodox Church, Mihail Mouskos — Archbishop Makarios — and embraced two organisations:

1) the National Organisation for Cypriot Struggle (EOKA), a right-wing body sponsored by the Greek government and led for many years by Greek General Georgios Grivas; and by

2) the Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus (AKEL) a body representing more directly the interests of the Cypriot national bourgeoisie, and presenting a left-wing image to appeal to the workers, peasants and urban petty bourgeoisie; it is now led by Ezekias Papaioannou.

As the liberation movement developed after World War II to the point where direct British colonial rule became no longer practicable, agreement was reached at conferences in Zurich and London in February 1959 (the latter attended by representatives of the British, Turkish and Greek governments and of the Cypriot liberation movement) for the transformation of the colony into a nominally “independent”, but in reality neo-colonial, “Republic of Cyprus”. This change was brought about by an Act of the British Parliament, and the Republic of Cyprus came into existence on August 16th, 1960.

In December 1959, prior to the granting of “independence”, elections were held for a Provisional President of Cyprus, Makarios stood on a platform of acceptance, with reservations, of the British imperialists’ plan and was elected by a large majority.

Despite the fact that Makarios represented the interests of the Cypriot national bourgeoisie, the British imperialists felt it safe to hand over “power” to a government headed by him by reason of the antagonisms artificially built up between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island, believing that these antagonisms and other “safeguards” could be effective in preventing the Makarios government from taking any steps to end the neo-colonial status of the island.

In the first place, the “Basic Structure of the Republic of Cyprus” imposed on the people of the island obliged the Cyprus government:

“not to participate, in whole or in part, in any political or economic union with any state whatsoever”,

while the Treaty of Guarantee by which the British, Greek and Turkish governments undertook to recognise and maintain:

“the independence, territorial integrity and security”,

of the Republic of Cyprus provided that:

“In the event of any breach of the provisions of the treaty of Greece, the United Kingdom and Turkey undertake to consult together with a view to making representations or taking the necessary steps to ensure observance of these provisions.

In so far as common or concerted action may prove impossible, each of the three guaranteeing Powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs established by the Treaty”.

In the second places the Basic Structure gave representatives of the Turkish Cypriot minority (in fact, of the Turkish Cypriot comprador bourgeoisie, i.e., that section of the Turkish Cypriot capitalist class linked with and dependent upon imperialism) the right of veto over all important acts of the government, and was designed to intensify to the maximum the artificially created antagonisms between the two communities. The Turkish Cypriot minority was given separate electoral registers, separate municipal councils in towns where there were significant numbers of Turkish Cypriots, the right to appoint 3 of the 10 members of the Council of Ministers (government), and the right to elect the Vice-President, with powers of veto corresponding to those of the President. 30% of the police and 40% of the proposed 2,000-strong army had to be composed of Turkish Cypriots, and each of the communities had to elect a Communal Chamber with powers to levy taxation on its community and to regulate matters of education, culture and religion.

In the third place, Greece was permitted to keep a contingent of 950 troops on the island, Turkey a contingent of 650, and Britain an unlimited number of troops in two bases 99 sq. miles in area over which Britain retained sovereignty.

Cyprus was to remain within the sterling monetary bloc controlled by the British imperialists and to accord most-favoured-nation status to Britain, Greece and Turkey. In March 1961 it was admitted to the Commonwealth.

The “independent” Republic of Cyprus which came into being on August l6th, 1960 was, in reality a neo-colony of British imperialism.

The Manoeuvres of the Makarios Government

Unwilling to mobilise the masses of the Cypriot people for an armed struggle for genuine national liberation, the Makarios government — possessing no state apparatus of force of its own and surrounded by powerful enemies armed to the teeth — sought to advance Cyprus towards genuine unification and national liberation by manoeuvres, by seeking to take advantage of the contradictions between the various powers.

Five months after “independence”, in January 1961, the Cyprus House of Representatives approved a government Bill to proceed with the setting up of an army. On October 20th. the Bill was vetoed by the Turkish Cypriot Vice-President, Fazil Kutchuk.

In December 1962 Makarios attempted by Presidential decree to set up single, unified municipal councils in the towns. The mass of the Turkish Cypriots were persuaded by their comprador bourgeois leaders that this measure represented a “threat” to their community, and proceeded to organise armed bands to resist the operation of the decree in the areas where separate Turkish Cypriot municipal councils functioned. The Greek Cypriots were in turn persuaded by their comprador bourgeois politicians to form similar armed bands, and during 1963 armed clashes between the unofficial forces of the two communities increased, reaching a peak of violence in December 1963.

By this time the economic and military strength of British imperialism had greatly declined relative to that of United States imperialism, and in January 1964, on the pretext that the Cyprus government was unable to maintain order, Washington put forward a plan to send a NATO “Peace-keeping force” to the island. In the face of the firm objections of the Cyprus government, this plan was changed to a “United Nations Peace-keeping Force” (UNFICYP), which was formally established in March 1964. As a manoeuvre to press the Cypriot people into acceptance of this foreign armed forces the Turkish government in collaboration with its Washington overlords, had ordered its troops on the island to set up road blocks and was threatening, to invade the island “to protect the Turkish-Cypriot community”.

On April 19th., 1964 the Turkish Foreign Minister, Federidun Erkkin, declared that Turkey would insist on “a federal solution” to the “problem of Cyprus”, and successive Turkish governments since that date have reaffirmed that aim.

By the spring of 1964 the UN forces were manning barricades between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities all over Cyprus. The representatives of the Turkish Cypriot comprador bourgeoisie then withdrew from the government and the House of Representatives and behind the barricades, proceeded to set up their own “semi state”. This was formally inaugurated on December 29th,, 1967 as a “Transitional Administration“, with its own “President” (Fazil Kutchuk), Vice-President” (Rauf Denktash), Executive Council (government), House of Representatives, courts and police — a rebellion against the Cyprus government carried out under the protection of the UN force and its own unofficial army, 10,000 strong.

The government replied in kind. On June lst,, 1964 the House of Representatives, in the absence of the Turkish Cypriot representatives, passed a Bill setting up a National Guard on the basis of conscription of the Greek Cypriot population. The measure was allowed to go into effect on one important condition: that it was officered by 650 officers from the Greek army. The Cypriot people were enjoined to have confidence in the “good faith” of the new “progressive” government of Georgios Papandreou elected on February l6th., 1964.

Then seeking to take advantage of the contradictions between the US imperialists and the Soviet neo-imperialists, in August 1964 Makarios appealed for military aid to the Soviet Union and Egypt; on October 1st. the Soviet government agreed to sell Soviet arms to Cyprus. Later in the month, at the Conference of Non-Aligned States in Cairo, Makarios pledged that the Cyprus government would pursue “a foreign policy of non-alignment”. On his return to Cyprus, an officially-sponsored campaign began demanding the elimination of British bases from the island.

The Soviet arms failed to arrive. On March 30th., 1965 the ships carrying them to Cyprus under the agreement of October 1964 were diverted, as the result of a secret ultimatum from Washington.

Meanwhile, the Makarios government proceeded with its attempts to bring some degree of unification to the island. On November 28th., 1964 the House of Representatives approved a Bill establishing unified municipal councils in the principal towns. And in July 1965 it passed two further Bills: one abolished separate electoral registers; the other set up a Ministry of Education to take over one of the main functions of the Communal Chambers.

On October 11 th., 1965, in an effort to win over the Turkish Cypriot workers, peasants and urban petty bourgeoisie from their comprador bourgeois politicians, the Makarios government issued a “Declaration of,Minority Rights“, promising autonomy for minorities in matters of education, culture and religion, together with reserved seats in the House of Representatives and local councils in proportion to population. The government of Turkey, claiming to speak for the Turkish Cypriot community, immediately denounced the declaration as – “unconstitutional” on the grounds that the Turkish Cypriot community constituted not a “minority” but a “national community with special rights”.

By 1966 Greece had become a semi-colony of US imperialism, and this position of dependence was reinforced by the military coup of 1967 which established a military dictatorship in Greece subservient to US imperialism. From now on the demand of the Cypriot national bourgeoisie (represented by the Makarios government) for national independence had the overwhelming support of the mass of the Greek Cypriots, while enosis became the demand only of the pro-imperialist Greek Cypriot comprador bourgeoisie. At the Presidential election of February 1968 Makarios received of the votes, while his pro-enosis opponent, Takis Evdokas, received only 450′. In February 1973 Makarios was returned unopposed.

The Plot is Hatched

By 1971 Makarios had become

“…the ‘Castro of the Mediterranean’ in the eyes of Athens and the Pentagon”.

(“The Observer”. July- 2list., 1974; p. 7).

It was in June of that year that Makarios paid an official visit to the Soviet Union.

AND IT WAS IN THAT YEAR THAT THE PLAN TO OVERTHROW THE MAKARIOS GOVERNMENT BY FORCE AND TO CARVE UP THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS WAS AGREED UPON.

In its issue of May/June 1972 the then organ of the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain summed up the plot of the US imperialists in relation to Cyprus:

“In September 1971 a campaign was launched by the Greek fascist regime, in collaboration with the US imperialists, for the overthrow of the Cyprus government of the Patriotic Front headed by Archbishop Makarios and representing the Cypriot national bourgeoisie.

In this month Greek General George Grivas was landed secretly on the island and given sanctuary in the Greek military headquarters from where he proceeded to issue communiques denouncing Makarios as a “traitor” for opposing Enosis (the union of Cyprus with Greece).

Faced with the opposition of Turkey to full Greek control of Cyprus, at the end of 1971 a secret meeting of representatives of Greece and Turkey took place in Lisbon under the auspices of NATO, at which plans for partitioning the island between the two NATO states were agreed upon.

In an effort to defend itself, the Cyprus government — which has no armed forces of its own apart from a small Presidential bodyguard — imported arms from Czechoslovakia. The Greek government then sent an ultimatum to the Cyprus government demanding the surrender of the arms and the formation of a “government of national unity” which would include pro-Enosis politicians. It was planned that, if this ultimatum was rejected, the Greek-officered National Guard would overthrow the government.

However, when the Soviet imperialists, anxious to prevent the passing of this strategically important island into the control of the bloc dominated by US imperialism, intervened and declared their full backing for the Makarios government, the US government anxious to avoid for the time being a direct confrontation with their Soviet rivals in the Mediterranean — forced the Greek fascist regime to hold up its planned coup”.

(RED FRONT, May/June 1972; p. 6).

The Plot is Put into Effect

By the summer of 1974, the reasons for postponement of the planned coup mentioned above were no longer operative. In the EEC, West German imperialism had, following the removal of Willy Brandt as Chancellor, swung towards US imperialism, while Britain had a Labour government representing that section of British monopoly capital dependent upon US imperialism. Furthermore, the position of the Soviet neo-imperialists had been greatly weakened as a result of events in the Middle East.

In July therefore, the plot was put into effect.

The pretext for action was a note from Makarios to Greek President Phaedon Gizikis on July 2nd., demanding the recall of the Greek officers of the National Guard on the grounds that they had been collaborating with EOKA-B (the terrorist Organisation formed by Grivas following his return to Cyprus in 1979 and continuing in existence after Grivas’s death in January 1974) in attempts to assassinate him and overthrow the government. The note set the deadline of July 20th. for compliance with the demand.

So, on July 16th, on the orders of their Greek officers, units of the (Greek Cypriot)–National Guard, in full collaboration with EOKA-B and with the Greek troops stationed on the island, staged a military coup and established a military dictatorship over the part of the island outside the enclaves under the control of the Turkish Cypriot comprador bourgeoisie’s “Transitional Administration”. A new puppet “President” was installed, one Nicos Sampson, a curfew imposed and thousands of supporters of the Makarios government arrested.

The Greek government recognised its puppet regime almost immediately. while the Turkish government threatened that unless the situation in Cyprus were reversed it would order its troops to invade Cyprus under the Treaty of Guarantee.

For four days the US imperialists and their allies in London, not only took no action, they deliberately obstructed the calling of the Security Council of the United Nations which could have taken some action. As Lord Caradon put it bluntly in a letter to the press:

“Due to the deliberate delay of the United States and the United Kingdom, it was not until after the invasion (i.e. of Cyprus by Turkish troops — Ed.) that the Security Council passed any resolution at all”.

(Lord Caradon: Letter to “The Guardian” 11 July 31st, 1974; p. 12).

Meanwhile, Makarios had managed to escape from Cyprus. He was received by the British government with formal, but non-committal, protocol, but the United States government talked with him only in his ecclesiastical capacity”:

“The President (i.e., Makarios — Ed.) had been given the chilly US reception of — in Dr. Kissinger’s terms — ‘a loser’, without hope of a comeback”.

(“The Observer”, July 28th.9 1974; p. 9).

On July 20th., therefore, some thousands of Turkish troops invaded northern Cyprus according to plan, occupying the principal area inhabited by Turkish Cypriots from the port of Kyrenia to the outskirts of the capital, Nicosia.

Later the same day, the US and British imperialists brought the Security Council into action, and it passed a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire on Cyprus. And Greece and Turkey — despite being, according to the world press “on the verge of war” – dutifully obeyed.

As for the Soviet neo-imperialists, the calculations of Washington that they would do no more than issue a verbal protest proved accurate:

“The Soviet Union has been careful to avoid direct criticism of the United States. . . . . Moscow has been signalling to the United States that it wants in effect no repetition of last autumn’s nuclear alert over the Middle East.

Yesterday the official news agency Tass put out an angry denial of Western agency reports that Soviet ships in the Eastern Mediterranean . . . . had been put on alert. The reports were a provocation and utterly false”.

(“The Guardian” July 22nd; 1974; p.13)

THE FIRST, MILITARY STAGE OF THE PLOT AGAINST CYPRUS HAD NOW BEEN COMPLETED. THE SECOND STAGE WAS TO ERECT A “DEMOCRATIC” FACADE OVER THE RESULTS OF THE FIRST STAGE.

The Colonels Take Off Their Uniforms

On July 23rd. the military junta that had exercised a military dictatorship suddenly stepped into the background over the people of Greece since 1967, and announced that they had invited civilian politician Konstantinos Karamanlis to form a civilian Cabinet.

Karamanlis is mainly remembered for his role as Prime Minister in arranging the murder (and its subsequent cover-up) of rival politician Gregori Lambrakis (portrayed in the film “X”). While in exile in Paris, he was in June 1965 committed for trial by an investigating committee of the Greek Parliament for “bribery, dereliction of duty and maladministration”.

Due to an unfortunate error, the “democratic revolution” in Athens was announced by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger the day before it actually happened. Even the capitalist press was compelled to treat the “revolution” with some cynicism:

“Dr. Kissinger and his emissary Mr. Joseph Sisco have played a key role in promoting governmental change in Gioecell.”

(“The Guardian”, July 24th., 1974; p. 2).

And in fact, little fundamental in Athens seemed to be changed. True, a considerable number of political prisoners were released (a necessary step in order to obtain enough politicians to form a government). But Brigadier-General Dimtrios Ioannides remained in office as head of the hated military police, martial law continued and in his Message to the Nation Karamanlis was careful not to mention the word “democratisation”.

By a curious coincidence, another “democratic revolution” took place in Cyprus. The appalling Sampson stepped down and was replaced by the more respectable figure of Glafkos Clerides, President of the House of Representatives as “President” of Cyprus. Again the capitalist press treated the change cynically:

“From the start, the planners of the coup had earmarked Mr. Clerides as the man to fill Makarios’s place”.

(“The Guardian”, July 24th., 1974; p. 2).

Now all the leading personnel (with the exception of President Makarios who was told pointedly by Clerides not to return “at present”) professed themselves happy with the way things had gone. Rauf Denktash (who had succeeded Kutchuk as Turkish Cypriot Vice-President in February 1973) was happy with the new “President”, of Cyprus and with the new Greek government. The Turkish government was happy with Clerides as well as with the new regime in Athens.

THE “DEMOCRATIC” FACADE HAD BEEN ERECTED OVER MILITARY COUP AND MILITARY INVASION WITHIN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. NOW EVERYTHING WAS READY FOR THE “PEACE CONFERENCE”.

The “Peace Conference”

On July 30th., 1974 the Tripartite Conference on Cyprus between representatives of the British, Greek and Turkish governments opened in Geneva. Its first act was to agree that Turkish troops could stay in Cyprus “for the time being” and to create a buffer zone between the Turkish-occupied area and the rest of the island.

According to the present time-table the Tripartite Conference will convene on August 8th. to draw up a revised “Constitution” for Cyprus to fulfill the requirements of the now situation in the country”. Then the representatives of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot comprador bourgeoisies Clerides and Denktash will be brought in and informed what has been decided.

But behind the three governments participating in the Tripartite Conference stands the directing hand of Washington:

“The supervising influence of Dr. Kissinger has never been far from the action (of the conference — Ed.)”.

(“The Guardian”. July 31st., 1974; p,l).

What, then are the aims of the United States imperialists with regard to Cyprus?

THESE AIMS ARE TO BRING ABOUT THE EFFECTIVE PARTITION OF CYPRUS INTO AREAS DOMINATED RESPECTIVELY BY GREECE AND TURKEY, SO BRINGING THIS STRATEGIC ISLAND WITHIN THE ORBIT OF THE US-DOMINATED NATO BLOC, OF WHICH BOTH GREECE AND TURKEY ARE MEMBERS:

“Support for partition has come chiefly from Washington and Athens, where there was dismay at the course an independent Cyprus steered under Archbishop Makarios. Partition would eliminate a neutralist regime, noted, for its openness to the Soviet Union, and bring two NATO powers directly on to the island”.

(“The Guardian”, July 23rd., 1974; p. 3).

But the actual legal partition of the island between two foreign powers “Double Enosis” — would be a little too much at variance with repeated United Nations resolutions calling for the maintenance of the independence of Cyprus. It is, therefore, planned to disguise this partition under the euphemism of “federalism“‘.

THE EFFECTIVE PARTITION OF CYPRUS — SO IT IS PLANNED IN WASHINGTON — WILL BE BROUGHT ABOUT BY GIVING LEGAL SUBSTANCE TO THE PRESENT DIVISION OF CYPRUS INTO TWO SEPARATE SEMI-STATES;

CONTROLLED RESPECTIVELY: BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PRO-IMPERIALIST GREEK CYPRIOT AND TURKISH CYPRIOT COMPRADOR BOURGEOISIES.

A massive transfer of population will then be encouraged between the two semi-states.

OVER THESE TWO SEMI-STATES WILL — ACCORDING TO THE PLAN — BE SET UP AN “INDEPENDENT” FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, A GOVERNMENT WITHOUT EVEN THE POWERS OF THE MAKARIOS GOVERNMENT – A GOVERNMENT EXISTING ONLY TO CONCEAL THE REALITY OF PARTITION WITH THE MASK OF “FEDERALISM”.

The overall aim of the US imperialists was clearly exposed to a correspondent of “The Guardian” by Barbara Lyssarides the wife of Vassos Lyssarides, leader of another political parry representing the interests of the Cypriot national bourgeoisie, the Democratic Centre Union Party (EDEK):

“The events of the past week are the result of a plan to which Turkey, Greece and the EOKA-B are all party. Its aim is the partition of Cyprus and the formation of two strong local governments, one Turkish, the other Greek, with a weak, token, central government”.

(“The Guardian”, July 23rd., 1974; p. 3)

And by July 20th. the capitalist press was presenting “federation” as the “common sense” solution to “the problem of Cyprus”:

“We may in the end arrive at a modest federal structure for Cyprus with Turkish police and Turkish local government officials superintending specifically Turkish areas. Now, given a Turkish outlet to the sea it is no more than common sense”.

(Editorial, “The Guardian”, July 29th., 1974; p. 10).

And the whole sordid plot was summed up in a succinct paragraph in the “Morning Star”:

“The NATO Council in Brussels yesterday welcomed the Cyprus agreement and in Cyprus Acting President Mr. Glafkos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Rauf Denktash both said they would accept, a federal system”.

(“Morning Star”, August lst., 1974; p.3).

Of course, if the plan for the carve-up of Cyprus is carried through successfuly, it will not end, but rather stimulate, the struggle of the Cypriot people for their national liberation — a struggle with which progressives in all countries must act in solidarity.

But even genuine national liberation will not solve the social problems of the Cypriot working people.

AN URGENT NEED OF THE CYPRIOT WORKERS AND PEASANTS IS A MARXIST- LENINIST PARTY OF THE WORKING CLASS, A REVOLUTIONARY PARTY UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF WHICH THE WORKING CLASS MAY TAKE THE LEADING ROLE IN THE NATIONAL-DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION AND TRANSFORM IT INTO A SOCIALIST REVOLUTION.

A publication of THE MARXIST-LENINIST ORGANISATION OF BRITAIN.

Originally listed as ” Printed and published by: M.Baker, Camberwell, London”.

Source

Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey: The Kurdish Movement’s Direction of Development

pkkturkeykurdmar2012

September 1999

The Turkish bourgeoisie’s war threat to Syria with the support of US imperialism, the driving of the PKK leaders out of Syria, and the bringing of A. Ocalan to Turkey through an international operation – all these events have inflamed discussions about the Kurdish question both in Turkey and in the international arena. Although it is not the first time it appeared on the agenda, the question which arises now is: ‘What will happen next?’ Besides their declarations about the ‘importance of co-operation against terrorism’, the leaders of the US, the EU countries, Russia, the Arab and Balkan states expressed their views that ‘Turkey should utilise this opportunity to recognise the cultural rights of the Kurds’. It was obvious that all were concerned about their own bourgeois imperialist interests and objectives, and that they were making plans as to how and to what extent they could benefit from this question.

The ruling classes of Turkey have chosen to use the ‘Apo operation’ (Apo is the nickname for Abdullah Ocalan) as an instrument to conceal the Kurdish question and the country’s social problems. The authorities, including the Military General Council, the President and government officials, claimed that there is no such thing as a Kurdish question, and intensified propaganda about the ‘elimination of terror’. Military and police attacks have been intensified and the state of emergency has been spread over the whole of Turkey.

Following Ocalan’s flight from Syria with the intervention of US imperialism and his arrival in Rome, the Turkish authorities sought to create a ‘national mobilisation’ with the propaganda that Italy and Germany as well as Syria and Greece ‘support separatist terrorism’. Chauvinist and reactionary propaganda was designed to promote reactionary prejudices amongst the most backward sections of the working people and to cover up the attacks and repression on the Kurds. The collaborator bourgeoisie and the top officials of the dictatorship too knew well that the ‘Apo operation’ would in no way keep the Kurdish question out of the agenda.

Nevertheless, this operation was a military and political success. Thus, it could be used as an efficient instrument of propaganda about the power and the greatness of the state both within the country and internationally. They tried to use this fully for their objectives such as the consolidation of the bourgeois influence and control over the masses, the postponing or denial of the demands of the working people through repressive means, and the implementation of economic policies in favour of international capital and the collaborating monopolist bourgeoisie. The collaborating ruling classes have mobilised all reactionary forces. They also mobilised every means with the aim of strengthening the policy of denial of the existence of the Kurdish nation and their rights under the new conditions and on the basis of their supposed success.

The Military General Council have bullied neighbouring countries; repeated once again the demagogy of a ‘single state, single nation, single language under a single flag’; and declared its determination ‘not to allow’ any development opposed to this. All the institutions of the system and its political and military forces have been brought to bear in this aggressive campaign.

One of the objectives of the collaborating reactionary forces has been the hindrance of the development of the Kurdish movement, which is one of the reasons of the economic and political dilemma and instability, into an advantage in favour of the reactionary forces. This was in line with the plans of US imperialism for the Middle East and the Caucasus and the role it has given to Turkey as its imperialist subcontractor. The line followed by the Kurdish bourgeois reformist movement and the line of struggle which considered the Kurdish popular masses as logistic support has led to a setback and tiredness in the Kurdish movement since 1992. This has facilitated the implementation of the policies of the ruling classes.

The PKK has deliberately identified itself with the Kurdish people and movement, and on behalf of them it called Western imperialist states to ‘intervene to solve the question’. While the propaganda about ‘Turkey’s gates could only be opened by Washington’ and the obligation of the intervention of ‘civilised Europe’ raised the Kurdish people’s expectations from the imperialists, it has orientated towards a line which is increasingly tied to policies of big Western states in the name of diplomacy.

Ocalan’s arrival at Rome and his application for political asylum was presented by the PKK and the Kurdish liberal reformist circles as the Kurds ‘entrance into the EU from Rome before Turkey’. Imperialist reactionary forces were esteemed as civilised democrats. With all this they revealed their trust in and expectations from the imperialists who are the most dangerous and the main enemy of the oppressed peoples. In this sense ‘diplomacy’ was everything now. The phrase ‘let’s become diplomats’ has been turned into a slogan by these circles. Ocalan was going to lead these diplomatic activities; relations with the US and the EU countries were going to be improved; Turkey was going to be forced through their influence; and a ‘political solution’ was going to be ensured. This is one of the most important tendencies in the Kurdish movement.

The Kurdish question was no longer ‘an internal question’ of Turkey. Although the collaborating bourgeoisie and state officials claimed ‘not to let anybody intervene in our internal affairs’, it was inevitable that slavery or struggle for liberation of a nation in a region where there is intense imperialist rivalry and in capitalist imperialist conditions was going to turn into an international question. The reasons for this is not only the fact that the conciliatory rulers of Turkey deny the existence of the Kurdish nation, their rights and the Kurdish question; and that the governments of the western imperialist countries’ recognition of the question and the possibility of its solution within the system. Also the existence of the Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria as well as Turkey is one of the objective factors for the expansion of this question to a regional and international dimension. Among other factors are the ‘migrant status’ of the Kurds in Europe; and the fact that the Kurdish question could have a role in the imperialist fight for hegemony over the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

The question which direction will the development of the Kurdish movement take is directly linked with the Kurdish social reality. The level that capitalist development has reached in Turkey and Turkey-Kurdistan, and the synchronous development of capital accumulation and poverty in opposite directions make the struggle inevitable between the bourgeoisie and reactionary forces and the proletariat and the working people as opposite forces. Objective developments and the sharpening contradictions give rise to this struggle in the form of antagonistic contradictions between the two opposite classes. An opposition line to the reformist, conciliatory and collaborating line within the Kurdish movement is becoming more and more clear. Amongst the Kurdish working people, mainly the most advanced sections of the workers, the tendency to take up the question of national liberation together with political and economic demands, and to establish a firmer unity with the Turkish workers and working people against the attacks of capital.

This tendency has to be strengthened further for a democratic and popular solution of the Kurdish question. This is possible. The most advanced sections of Kurdish workers and working people have begun to organise in and around a revolutionary working class party. Tiredness, hopelessness and setbacks caused by a certain understanding of the struggle of the parties and organisations in the Kurdish movement, like the PKK and HADEP, which do not pay attention to the daily economic and political demands of the working masses and which do not bother to develop the mass movement, is being replaced by the tendency to struggle and the determination of advancing the movement of the Kurdish working people who understand through their political experience that the problem can be solved through unity of all working people from all nationalities of Turkey and on the basis of a struggle against the dictatorship and imperialism. It is possible that reformism and ‘terrorism’ whose aims and targets have become blurred and whose implementers do not count who they are serving with it could continue to co-exist by feeding each other. Nevertheless, what we are going through is a process where the differentiation of what is revolutionary from the conciliatory and reformist will accelerate.

The fact that the Kurdish bourgeois reformist and liberal circles opening the door to the imperialist bourgeoisie in the name of ‘diplomacy’, and that the imperialist states use this unsolved question as an instrument of pressure on their servants in the region poses a serious threat to the present and the future of the Kurdish movement.

Fortunately, Kurdish workers and working people have learnt much from the developments of the last 15-20 years and from the experiences of the struggle. Apart from the long past, they also take into account the experiences of Kurdish uprisings since the foundation of the Turkish Republic. They have seen in practice the inevitability of the peoples’ united struggle against the provocations, attacks and colonial oppression of the collaborating bourgeoisie and of the imperialists. The advanced sections of Kurdish working people have become mature enough to understand that national, political and economic rights can only be obtained through a line of struggle independent from the bourgeoisie and the reactionary forces.

This is the basis and the guarantee for the development of the movement in a revolutionary direction. The Kurdish question is not a new question; it has not come on to the international agenda for the first time; and it is not directly related to the PKK’s existence or non-existence. For almost a century the Kurdish people have been demanding their national rights through a struggle with ebbs and flows and interruptions. The fact that the Kurdish people is increasingly getting rid of being a divided and closed society strengthens the mass basis of their demand for national liberation and ensures the growth of the forces of the struggle. Also, the conditions have become ripe for the Kurdish working people to draw a thick demarcation line from the bourgeoisie and the reactionary forces. This is the main direction of the development. The Kurds can obtain their national liberation with the success of the struggle of the Kurdish workers and working people – hand in hand with the Turkish workers. This is the direction of the development in the movement of the Kurdish working people.

From: ‘The Voice of Revolution’, International Bulletin of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey, TDKP.

Source

Anasintaxi (1918-1955): The Struggle of the Greek Communists against Revisionism

zachariadis nikos

Published by the Organisation for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-1955

a) The Tashkent events

At the end of August 1949, after a three-and-a-half-year armed struggle against the Greek monarchist-fascist reaction and the Anglo-American imperialism, following a decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), the partisans of the Democratic Army of Greece (DA) left behind their homeland and retreated to Albania. It was a mass exodus. In 1949-50, an overall number of 55,381 people (of which 67.6% were adults 18-55 years old, 1.7% were very old and 17,352 were children up to 17 years) abandoned Greece and settled in the various People’s Republics and the Soviet Union. Almost 18,000 communist refugees went to Tashkent, the capital of the SSR of Uzbekistan where they were organised in separate residential quarters called Politeies.

After adjusting to the new life conditions, the Greek communists proceeded to reorganise their party. From the 10th to the 14th of October 1950, the 3rd Conference of the KKE took place. This body purged almost all the opportunists from the party. For the first time since 1940, a heavy blow was dealt to the right opportunism and to all opportunists who had betrayed the popular movement during the time of the Nazi occupation by signing the agreements in Lebanon (20.5.1944), Gazerta (26.9.1944) and Varkiza (12.2.1945) and who, moreover, had sabotaged the development and enlargement of the DA during the Civil War.

Shortly after the death of Stalin in 1953, the revisionist faction of Khrushchev-Mikoyan-Brezhnev that prevailed in CPSU started making approaches to the secretaries of the Communist Parties in order to assess their readiness to adopt its counter-revolutionary line. They found out that the KKE leadership headed by Nikos Zachariades was not willing to abandon the revolutionary Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist course and follow the anti-Stalinist revisionist course. In particular, they requested that he revise his attitude in three fundamental questions of the world communist movement: 1) to regard the capitalist Yugoslavia as a ‘socialist’ country, 2) to turn against Stalin by writing articles in Pravda on the ‘cult of personality’ – this infamous, Khrushchevian myth of idealist origin, and 3) to assent to the liquidation of Cominform. The reply given by the great and unwavering communist leader on all the above requests was negative.

When the members of the Khrushchevian revisionist clique became sure that this kind of pressure will not have any effect, they tried to form a right opportunist faction in the Tashkent Party Organisation (KOT) – the largest KKE Party Organisation in the socialist countries – and to push it right up to the Organisation’s leadership. Unfortunately for them there was a lack of support for it save for a few opportunists. The revolutionary KKE leadership headed by Nikos Zachariades acted immediately; the faction leaders were unmasked and removed from the leadership of KOT.

Nikos Zachariades, speaking in a meeting of Party cadres in the theatre Mu Ki Mi in Tashkent, said the following among other things: ‘comrades, several speakers attacked Demetriou and more or less consider him the leader of the revisionists. Demetriou, comrades, is just the end of the tail of a clumsily camouflaged elephant. The serious and historic task allotted to all of us is to pull this tail so that the whole world will see the elephant: Khrushchev’ (K. Karanikola, ‘Mia lefki selida tou KKE’, p. 59).

The confrontation between the members of the faction and the rest of the Greek communists was escalating and the situation in Tashkent was very tense during the period of August-September 1955. In such an atmosphere, three assassination attempts were made against Nikos Zachariades. In the first one, the Armenian KGB Colonel Saakov tried to give him a poisoned ice cream but Zachariades refused being always careful what and where he ate. In the second one, somebody threw a heavy brick at him while he was delivering a speech in a party meeting; Zachariades dodged it at the last moment (Ahillea Papaioannou, ‘H apagoreumeni eikona – Dioktes kai ieroktonoi tou Nikou Zachariades’, Athens 2004). In the third one, the best organised of the three, three individuals ambushed the car that was to carry him to airport. The plan failed only because Niyazov, the Stalinist general secretary of the CP of Uzbekistan, found out about it and notified Zachariades.

`There was good reason why the revisionists wanted to exterminate Zachariades, already in 1955. They knew very well that if Zachariades had been present in the 20th Congress he would have upset his plans at least in relation to the ‘criticism of the cult of personality’. This is because Zachariades was courageous and bold enough to express his opinion openly in contrast to the leaders of the other communist parties. D. Vlantas (member of the KKE Politburo) writes in his book, ‘Nikos Zachariades and 22 associates’, the following: ‘When I arrived in Tashkent on July of 1955, a representative from the Soviet leadership proposed to me to help him complete the conspiracy that started in 1949 and they, in return, would help me become General Secretary of KKE. I rejected this proposal. Zachariades came to Tashkent in the mid-August 1955. I reported him about an extremely critical situation. I stressed to him that it was not any more just the Tashkent Organisation that is at stake but the whole party. I suggested to him that we should return to Bucharest, the seat of the CC, convene a session where we will demonstrate the existence of conspiracy and then send a delegation to Moscow asking for full explanation. Zachariades turned down my suggestion.’

When even the formation of a sizeable faction failed, on the 9th of September 1955 the Khrushchevian revisionist group, organised a bloody pogrom in Tashkent employing a group of Greek opportunists. This was ‘an open provocation against the delegation of the CC of KKE: the violent and gangster assault on the offices where the delegation was based and injury of three of its members’ (from 5th Plenum, December 1955). About 200 opportunists headed by the faction leaders Ipsilantis, Demetriou, Barbalias and others – who were under the direct guidance of the Soviet revisionists – carried out a bloody assault on the offices of the Tashkent Party Organisation, but they failed to capture them: ‘at 4 pm, on the 9th of September, around 200 people gathered in the courtyard of 7th Politeia together with the faction leaders who were bracing their followers with vodka, beer and wine’ (K.D. Karanikola: ‘Mia lefki selida tou KKE’, p. 53).

The assault on the KOT offices was preceded by the faction’s provocations in various Politeies: ‘In those Politeies where the factionists had some support, like in the 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 9th and 11th, they started looting the local libraries and burning books, especially those written by Zachariades, Bartziotas and those about the struggle of the DA’ (ibid, p. 46).

This provocative act raised an outcry among the thousands of party members who rushed immediately to defend the KOT offices. Clashes and beatings followed with the factionists until police and cadet detachments came to their rescue. Many were injured and had to be transported to the hospital while hundreds of Greek communists were arrested, mainly high-ranking DA officers, thrown in jail and tried later for ‘hooliganism’.

All the political refugees in Tashkent knew that the instigators of the provocative ‘Tashkent events’ were the Khrushchevian revisionists who aimed at the liquidation of the KKE. Everybody knew that the handful of Greek opportunists were in permanent contact with and under the direct guidance of the treacherous Khrushchevian revisionist group. One of the noted opportunists, Kostas Gritzonas, confesses: ‘One evening, during the time when the Tashkent events reached their climax, as I was on my way from the 7th to the 9th Politeia together with the secretary of KOT, Aristotelis Hatouras, he confided to me that the anti-Zachariadist movement enjoyed the support from the Soviets. He left me with the understanding that they were having talks in private with the Khrushchevians from the CC of the CP of Uzbekistan’ (K. Gritzonas: ‘Meta to Grammo’, pp. 18-19).

The overwhelming majority of the Greek communists, more than 95% of the KOT members, condemned the Khrushchevian revisionists’ intervention in KKE and they rallied around their Party headed by Nikos Zachariades. Their violent and bloody confrontation with the factionists was the first act of resistance in the communist movement against revisionism before the 20th Congress. This anti-revisionist attitude was clearly expressed in the historic 5th Plenum of the CC of KKE convened at the end of December 1955 (26-28.12 1955). It was historic because: 1) it openly condemned the anti-communist Khrushchevian revisionist intervention in KKE and 2) it was meant to be the last convened body of our heroic party before its final liquidation. In the Plenum’s decision, in relation to the situation in KOT, it is mentioned that: ‘the faction would have achieved nothing at all had it not received the support by certain Soviet comrades, who were convinced that the faction is the strongest and the most pro-Soviet part of KOT which they must support and help. This fact encouraged the factionists even more to act and to openly declare that ‘whatever we say and do are approved by the Soviets’ (Demetriou) and that ‘I am not afraid of anything because 200 million Soviets stand behind me’ (Hatouras) etc. etc’.

The 5th Plenum was a real triumph for the Marxist-Leninist side in KKE and Nikos Zachariades personally. This is actually admitted by the main factionist leader in KOT, Demetriou (‘Eleutherotypia’, 2004). However, the revisionist faction was not yet totally defeated and the outcome of internal struggle in KKE would be decisively determined by the corresponding struggle in CPSU between the supporters of Stalin and the supporters of Khrushchev.

The overwhelming and militant opposition of the Greek communist political refugees, headed by Nikos Zachariades against the Khrushchevian clique in September 1955 in Tashkent, was chronologically the first in the history of the international communist movement’s struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism, and, also, a culmination of the revolutionary KKE (1918-1955) heroic struggle. If one takes into account the unheard-of disaster that inevitably followed the enforcement of Khrushchevian revisionism to the communist parties (destruction of socialism and restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union, breaking-up of the capitalist Soviet Union, liquidation of the communist parties), it can be said that it was not just a culmination of the long struggle of the Stalinist-Zachariadist KKE, but was at the same time a great and unique moment in the struggle of the international communist movement (Comintern-Cominform) against the new counter-revolutionary treacherous trend of Khrushchevian revisionism which emerged in its lines in the mid-1950s: it was precisely this moment that marked the beginning of the most fierce ideological-political struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism in international level, a struggle that has been going on for half a century now, is still going on and it will be going on in the future until its final victory.

In this context, the ‘Tashkent events’ acquire a triple historical importance: First, they constituted the first open and brutal intervention of the Khrushchevian revisionists in the internal affairs of a communist party aiming at its liquidation. Second, they marked the beginning of the resistance and struggle of the Greek communists against Khrushchevian revisionism even before its emergence as a complete ideological-political trend in the 20th Congress of CPSU (February 1956). Third, they raised the banner of struggle of the communists in all countries against this counter-revolutionary trend. The rising and battle of the Greek communists in Tashkent, in September of 1955, ushers in the period of struggle against Khrushchevian revisionism on international level.

b) The ‘6th Plenum’

In February of 1956, during the counter-revolutionary 20th Congress of CPSU, the show trials of the Greek communists, political refugees, started in Tashkent. In this travesty of justice, battle-hardened DA veterans, like Giorgos Kalianesis (general), Dimitris Vyssios (lieutenant-colonel) and others, were tried for hooliganism and vagrancy. Following their convictions, they were exiled to Siberia and, in fact, into concentration camps ‘that were intentionally adjacent to concentration camps of German war criminals sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment, the maximum period according to the Soviet criminal law. The Germans didn’t work because of their ‘prisoner of war’ status, and, apart from having the meals of a Soviet soldier, they received parcels of medicine and foodstuffs from the West German Red Cross every ten days. The sentenced refugees were fed with rotten potatoes and mouldy crushed grain. This “diet” was followed under conditions of heavy and exhausting labour’ (D. Vyssios: ‘Open letter to M. N. Ponomariov’, former Head of the Department of International Relations of the CC of CPSU, January 1991).

The opposition of the Greek communists to Khrushchevian revisionism was expressed en masse. The overwhelming majority (95%) of the members of the Tashkent Party Organisation came out against the Khrushchevian intervention in KKE and defended the revolutionary party line and the CC headed by Nikos Zachariades showing a stunning decisiveness and unparallel courage. The attitude of the captive communists in jails and concentration camps in Greece was similar.

It was exactly this overwhelming opposition by the Greek communists (ranging from 85% to 95% in Tashkent and in the People’s Republics) that prevented KKE from being transformed into a bourgeois party of social democratic type. The revolutionary KKE is the only communist party of a capitalist country that was never transformed into a counter-revolutionary, bourgeois, social democratic party. This fact compelled the Khrushchevian revisionists to create a completely new party in place of the old one.

At the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU, the Khrushchevians formed the infamous ‘International Committee’ whose alleged purpose was to examine the situation in KKE. It comprised of cadres from six communist parties: 1) Yugov, from the Communist Party of Bulgaria; 2) Kovac, from the Hungarian Workers Party; 3) Mazur, from the Unified Workers Party of Poland; 4) Dej, from the Workers Party of Romania; 5) Kuusinen, from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union; 6) Barak, from the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The president of the International Committee was, formally, Georgiu Dej – Khrushchev’s puppet – but essentially Otto V. Kuusinen member of the Politburo of the CPSU. Nikos Zachariades, addressing Dej, during one of the committee’s sessions said the following regarding his interference in KKE internal affairs: ‘who granted the right to examine the problems of heroic KKE to you, who slept in August of 1944 under fascism and woke up one day under a People’s Republic, established by the Red tankists all the way from Stalingrad when they crashed the fascist Romanian Division and offered it to you as a present. What experience do you have to criticise the struggles of Greek communists who, to their credit, through their struggle, did not allow not even a single Greek citizen to fight in the Eastern Front against the USSR (K. Karanikola, pp. 70-71).

The International Committee openly and without pretexts intervened in the KKE by arbitrarily summoning the infamous ‘6th Plenum’ on March 1956. In this illicit meeting the report was read not by a Greek, but by the president of the ‘International Committee’, Dej. Former cadres and expelled members participated, but not the lawfully elected General Secretary of the Party Nikos Zachariades. The brutal intervention of the Khrushchevian revisionists through the ‘6th Plenum’ resulted in the actual liquidation of KKE (1918-1955). This was done by: a) the illegal and forcible removal of the elected revolutionary leadership of KKE, including the Party’s General Secretary Nikos Zachariades, who was arrested and isolated, and appointed a right opportunistic puppet leadership. b) the mass expulsions of thousands of communists and c) the liquidation of the remaining party organisations in 1958.

The new party that was established in 1956, the ‘K’KE did not and does not bear any relation whatsoever – ideological, political, organisational – with the old revolutionary KKE (1918-1955). It was a monstrous creation of the Khrushchevian revisionists that adopted the counter-revolutionary social-democratic line promulgated in the 20th Congress of CPSU, namely the peaceful transition to socialism. For this reason, the new party has been, from the very beginning, a bourgeois social democratic party guided not any more by the Marxism-Leninism-Stalinism, but by the counter-revolutionary trend of Khrushchevian revisionism, a variant of bourgeois ideology.

One year later, in 1957, the revisionists of ‘K’KE summoned the ‘7th Plenum’, a meeting as illicit as the 6th Plenum. According to the decisions of this ‘Plenum’, Zachariades was stripped even of his party membership and sentenced to exile. In addition, he was shamelessly accused of spying for the Germans when he was a prisoner in Dachau. A special committee set up to investigate the matter didn’t find any evidence whatsoever that supports this monstrous charge.

c) The persecutions of the Greek communists

The great majority of the Greek communists under the leadership of Nikos Zachariades not only rejected but they were the first ones in the communist movement to put up a strong resistance against the decisions of the 20th Congress and the 6th Plenum already in 1956 – the rejection of revisionism by Mao Zedong and Enver Hoxha was expressed four years later, in the summit of Communist parties in 1960. More importantly, in the difficult period that followed the 20th Congress the struggle of the Greek communists against Greek and Soviet revisionism continued taking various forms. In 1958, 6,000 communists of Tashkent wrote a letter to the CC of the Communist Parties of the Soviet Union, of China, Italy, France, Bulgaria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Vietnam, Cuba, Korea and Albania concerning the situation in KKE. In the first page of this letter the following is mentioned: ‘Today’s CC of KKE is not the leadership that led the revolutionary struggles of our people. This is because: 1) the rise of this leadership is the result of a political provocation against KKE on 9.9.1955 in one of its largest organisations, the Party Organisation of Tashkent and, subsequently, of the arbitrary convention and decision of the 6th Plenum in 1956; 2) this leadership’s policy is the revision of the revolutionary line KKE had before the 6th Plenum, it is the revision of the Marxist-Leninist theory; 3) it follows an opportunist line which deviates from the Marxist Leninist principles; 4) by pursuing its opportunist policy, it weakens struggle of our people and aims at subordinating our movement to the interests of the Greek bourgeois class.’

The historical and political importance of this document can be hardly overestimated. Apart from being an example of resistance against revisionism in KKE, it contains a comprehensive historical outline of the party’s internal affairs covering the whole period before the 20th Congress. It most clearly demonstrates the counter-revolutionary and treacherous role of all those opportunists, like Vafiades and Partsalidis, who were in the leading ranks of KKE during the armed struggle against the German occupation forces, the Anglo-American imperialism and the Greek fascist reaction. They were the same people who accused the Zachariades leadership of ‘leftist mistakes’ and ‘adventurism’ in relation to the party’s strategy and tactics during the civil war, in the 3rd Conference of KKE in 1950. Finally, they were the same people appointed later in the KKE leadership by the Khrushchevian revisionists.

Because of their continuous and active struggle against revisionism thousands of Greek communists in the following years, were expelled by the appointed right opportunist leadership. Others chose to break away from the new opportunist bourgeois party. Moreover, they were subjected to a whole series of fascist persecutions that took various forms: surveillance, spying, arrests, imprisonments, exiles to Siberia, etc. Many party cadres were exiled to Siberia and among them the Party’s General Secretary, Nikos Zachariades, who, after 17 years of exile, died in Sorgut. The events that took place in Tashkent in 1962 are quite indicative of the atmosphere of terror and oppression against the Greek communists.

The secretaries of all the party organisations of Tashkent and the committee for the support of the imprisoned and exiled communists in Greece decided to organise a mass meeting on the 27th May 1962 to mark the 21st anniversary of the lowering of the swastika from the Acropolis. Evidently, this event was going to be very successful and attract a lot of Greeks of Tashkent. The idea of such an event appealed also to many supporters of the revisionists who declared that they approve it and that they were going to take part. In this way, the meeting would serve to bridge the gap between the supporters of the revisionists and the great majority of Greek communists of who opposed their line. At the same time it would allow each side to gauge its real strength; it would become obvious that the revisionists snatched the leadership of KKE only thanks to violence, terror, persecutions, blackmails and the liquidating intervention of CPSU.

As it was expected, the preparations for the meeting made the Greek and the Soviet revisionists extremely anxious and therefore they did everything they could to cancel it. The revisionists of ‘K’KE threatened with expulsion anybody from their supporters who joined the meeting. The CC of the CP of Uzbekistan held a special session to discuss this event. As a first step, the head of militia General Sloenensky summoned cadres from the Tashkent party organisations and threatened them with hard measures if they dared to take part in the event. Factory administrators threatened with sacking from work, a punishment already inflicted to many Greek communists after the 6th Plenum. The whole state and party apparatus were actively engaged in cancelling the meeting.

Nevertheless, the Greek communists full of fighting spirit ignored the threats and the psychological pressure and continued with their preparations. As a result, the Soviet authorities resorted to brute force in order to stop the event that scared them so much. On the 18th of May, the first secretary of the party organisation of the 9th Politeia was arrested and sentenced to 15 days of imprisonment for vagrancy. When his arrest became known next day, delegates from all Politeies of Tashkent went to the head of militia in order to protest about it. Although he promised them to set Sidiropulos free, they soon faced an organised and barbarous attack. Policemen went at them furiously, started beating them with clubs and belts and dragged them on the pavement covered in blood. Sixty people were arrested and many of them were convicted for vagrancy and hooliganism. On the 21st May the first secretaries of the Tashkent party organisation presented themselves at the offices of the town committee of the CP of Uzbekistan to protest about the brutal attack and the illegal arrests that took place on the 19th. Not only did they receive no reply whatsoever but also the secretary of the party organisation of the 13th Politeia, Petros Touloudis, was arrested on the spot.

During the week from the 21st to the 27th May, the Soviet authorities unleashed an unseen orgy of terror in all Politeies of Tashkent. Many men and women were dismissed from work. Under the guidance of the revisionists, the police forcibly entered in people’s houses at night confiscating money and personal belongings. The portraits of Nikos Belogiannis and the heroes from the Greek Revolution of 1821 that would decorate the meeting venue were confiscated and destroyed. On the 19th and 22nd of May, the secretary of the party organisation of the 5th Politeia, Mitsos Eleutheriou, and the member of the committee of the party organisation of the 4th Politeia were arrested and being held for a long time in solitary confinement they were charged with ‘anti-Sovietism’ and received three and four years sentences respectively. On the 25th of May, the secretaries of the party organisations of the 7th and the 12th Politeia Achileas Papaioannou and Spiros Stamatakos were sent to exile in Kazakhstan. Many others followed them.

The persecutions continued after May. On the 14th of September, four leading Greek communists of Tashkent were summoned and told that they had 12 hours to prepare to leave for Petropavlovsk, their place of exile. On the 20th of October, Slonenski summoned another 24 cadres of the KKE and DA and announced them the following: ‘You don’t recognise the decision of the 6th Plenum of the CC of KKE and the 8th Congress of KKE and, moreover, you have embarked on an active struggle against the leadership of the KKE and its political line recognised and supported by the CC of CPSU. This is considered a hostile action against the Soviet Union and this is why Soviet Union is depriving you of the status of a political refugee and is sending you to exile in Kazakhstan’. Thousands of men, women and children bade a warm farewell to the last large group of refugees leaving for their place of exile. They declared that the generation of DA fighters refuses to be subdued and continues the struggle against the new fascism.

Savvas Palles, a volunteer in the Spanish civil war, in one of his letters from his exile in north Kazakstan in October 1962 wrote the following: ‘In a time when Karamanlis closed the concentration camp in Ai Stratis and released communists, the “communist” leader Koligiannis was setting up another concentration camp in the vast steppes of north Kazakhstan. Why? For what reason? What crime we committed in order to have such a cruel and inhuman punishment imposed on us? Let our opponents, the opportunists, answer; let them publicly state why they imprisoned and sent us to exile? Of course they will not answer because they don’t dare to do so. Because they are cowards and they want pass for tough ones having the support of others. Because they don’t have the courage to tell the truth and they try to conceal their crime.

But we know why they threw us to prison and sent us to exile. Our crime is political. We refused to become servants, lackeys. We refused to bow to the bowed ones. We refused to bury the truth, to deny our revolutionary principles, to step on the revolutionary traditions of our people and our Party; we refused to deny our revolutionary honour! This was our sin, our crime. This is why they scattered us in the vastness of north Kazakhstan.’

What is the reason for the resolute opposition of the Greek communist political refugees (95% in Tashkent and 85-90% in the other People’s Republics) against Khrushchevian revisionism, of people who had been brought up in a spirit of deep trust and devotion to the Socialist Soviet Union?

First of all, it is the guiding and decisive role played, in this extremely difficult struggle, by the courageous, unyielding and uncompromising revolutionary Nikos Zachariades, in order KKE not to abandon its revolutionary line. Besides his opposition to the Khrushchevian group, in the beginning of 1956, he replied thus to some Greek revisionists, members of the CC of KKE, when they asked him to resign: ‘I won’t grant you this favour now, I won’t allow you to convert KKE into a bourgeois party’ (Dimitri Votsika, ‘Portraita koryfeon stelehon tou KKE’, Athens, 1999, p. 21).

Secondly, it is the fact that the members of KKE were battle-hardened partisans who had given everything to the armed revolutionary struggle against the indigenous monarchist-fascist reactionary forces and the imperialism, having almost a decade (1940-1950) of armed struggle to their credit. This long revolutionary experience helped them to show the necessary political-ideological maturity, firmness, consistency and decisiveness in this critical moment.

Nikos Zachariades had foreseen the disaster that would come in case Khrushchevian revisionism dominated, and it is this prediction that allows for his historical eminence as a great communist revolutionary leader to be assessed: ‘watch out comrades, these are international provocateurs, they are going to cause a great damage to the world’s communist movement and their Greek collaborators will cause great damage to our country’ (Tashkent, September 1955). Not only did he foresee the disaster, but also he was the first leader in the world’s communist movement who stood up and fought against the counter-revolutionary trend of Khrushchevian revisionism right up until the end of his life.

Later, in 1962, Zachariades, from his place of exile, wrote: ‘The factionist-opportunist group pursuing a policy of appeasement towards the bourgeois reaction, bastardised and hided the revolutionary legacy of the popular movement in Greece. It is not accidental that in the programme of the so-called 6th Plenum, the socialist character of KKE was completely buried and, instead, the peaceful transition and a democratic change were presented as a panacea; an anti-Leninist, and revisionist transition’

d) Splits in the KKE after 1956

The 6th Plenum marked the first major split in KKE. As mentioned above, many thousands of party members and cadres who were devoted to the revolutionary leadership headed by N. Zachariades were expelled from KKE. The exiles, the imprisonments and all kinds of fascist persecutions after 1955-56 were not enough to yield the majority of the Greek communists into submission, to make them abandon the revolutionary Stalinist course and break their monolithic ideological-political-organisational unity. For many years after 1956, they were ‘illegal’ Stalinist-Zachariadist party organisations working in Tashkent and elsewhere. The Soviet revisionists, realising their failure and the isolation of their planted treacherous clique of Kolligiannis-Partsalidis and Co, decided to change tactics. In addition to the fascist oppression and persecutions, they tried to cause a split in the camp of Stalinist-Zachariadist communists from inside by employing agents who would maintain an ‘anti-Khrushchevian’ and a ‘Stalinist-Zachariadist’ façade. There is no doubt that the Khrushchevian revisionism was the one which caused the greatest and the most disastrous split in the international communist movement including our own party, KKE. However, the later splits, for whatever excuses and pretexts, had also disastrous consequences. A major split was caused by the new opportunistic trend that appeared in the political refugee community of Romania at the end of the 1960s and led by Gavrilos Papadopoulos. Polydoros Daniilidis, Vaskos Pasxalis and others.

The common goal of the Khrushchevian revisionists, the treacherous cliques of Kolligiannis-Partsalidis and the new right opportunistic group was the ousting of Nikos Zachariades from our party; their slogan was: ‘Zachariades should leave the leadership of KKE’. As far as the first two is concerned there is no doubt that this was precisely their goal. In relation to the right opportunistic group, here is what P. Daniilidis openly confesses: ‘I was always saying that Zachariades should be dismissed from the party regardless that this was not properly done’. (P. Daniilidis, ‘O Polydoros thymatai’, p. 288, Istorikes ekdoseis, Athens, 1990). The anti-KKE attitude of this group caused very serious damage to the Greek communist movement because: first it disorientated from the ideological, political and organisational point of view and second it brought its fragmentation driving thousands of communists to isolation. They went so far to claim that Zachariades became a defector, a traitor and that he allegedly joined the Khrushchevian revisionists. As a matter of fact, they instructed all the Stalinist-Zachariadist organisations in Tashkent and People’s Republics to discontinue all the protests towards the Soviet government for the release of Zachariades because he was allegedly ‘free and strolling in Moscow’ while in fact he was in complete isolation in Sorgut.

e) The death of Nikos Zachariades

In the beginning of August 1973, when the Soviet authorities and the Khrushchevian Florakis leadership announced that Nikos Zachariadis died, two different versions of his death were immediately formulated. The first and the official version was presented by the social-democratic Brezhnev-Florakis leadership: ‘On the 1st of August Nikos Zachariades died from heart attack at the age of 70’ (Announcement from the CC of ‘K’

KE). The second version was promulgated by the overwhelming majority of Greek communist who rejected at once the first one according to which Nikos Zachariades died from a ‘heart attack’, and believed that he was actually murdered by the Khrushchevian revisionists in Sorgut, Siberia, his place of exile.

Seventeen years after the initial ‘announcement’ of the Soviet authorities, in 1990, Alexander Petrushin, a KGB Colonel, sent a note to the newspaper ‘Tiumenski Izvestia’ in which he contradicted the original version and presented a third one, that of ‘suicide’.

It is obvious that the two above versions of Nikos Zachariades death, the one of heart attack and the other of suicide, are mutually exclusive and, therefore, most probably false. The treacherous social-democratic cliques of Brezhnev-Florakis obviously contradict themselves. When were they telling the truth, in 1973 or in 1990?

The overwhelming majority of Greek communists correctly reckoned, and continue to do so, that the Soviet revisionists murdered Nikos Zachariades in accordance to an agreement with the revisionist leadership of ‘K’KE. in order to preserve the existence of their social-democratic party whose presence and action served, on one hand, the foreign policy of the revisionist-capitalist Soviet Union and, on the other, the interests of the indigenous reactionary bourgeois class acting as its agency in the ranks of the Greek working class movement.

It would be interesting to point out that Nikos Zachariades death took place on the eve of political ‘change’ in Greece. The Soviet revisionists, due to their collaboration with the American imperialists, were aware that a political ‘change’ was imminent in Greece, namely the replacement of the military-fascist dictatorship by a bourgeois ‘democratic’ government. If the new government wanted to maintain its democratic façade, it had not only to legalise the revisionist ‘K’KE but, also, to allow the repatriation of the communist political refugees, the former DA partisans, from the revisionist countries. However, it was known to both the Greek and Soviet revisionists that the great majority (about 85%-95%) of the Greek communists were staunch supporters of Zachariades and, upon their return to Greece, would immediately raise the issue of his liberation from exile employing all possible means including daily demonstrations in front of the Soviet embassy and an international campaign. Under such pressure, the Soviet revisionists would be compelled to set him free and let him return to his homeland.

Consequently, under circumstances beyond their control, and aware of the great authority Nikos Zachariades enjoyed among the Greek communists, the Soviet revisionists would have felt extremely uncomfortable had the great communist leader and former member of the EC of the Third International returned to his country. In particular such an outcome would have the following consequences: a) the inevitable downfall of their instruments in the country, that is, of the two social-democratic parties ‘K’KE and ‘K’KE (interior). b) the reorganisation of the communists and the formation of the revolutionary massive KKE, guided by revolutionary Marxism, that is of Leninism-Stalinism, and the concomitant preservation of the antifascist, anti-imperialist EDA party (that was liquidated by the revisionists and replaced by, the harmless to the interests of the bourgeois and the imperialists, PASOK) c) the prospect of a revolutionary KKE in alliance with the socialist Albania would be very dangerous, at that time, to the fate of Khrushchevian revisionism in Europe, to the existence and activity of the Soviet and European revisionists.

Apart from the aforementioned, what suggests that the third version of Nikos Zachariades death, i.e. the one of his murder, is the most probable and convincing are the following:

First, the statement-confession made by Stavros Zorbalas, the director of the Centre of Marxist Studies, in 1980: ‘How could there be a Party (meaning the revisionist ‘K’KE) if Zachariades would come to Greece?’ (D. Vyssios: ‘Open letter to Boris Nikolayevich Panomariov’, former head of the Department of International Relations of the CC of CPSU) but, also, by Panos Demetriou: ‘at any rate, only a KGB report can solve the riddle concerning his death’ (‘Ethnos’, 29/12/1990).

Second, the very important testimony of the journalist Vera Kuznechova in her interview: ‘I brought G. Mauros (Greek journalist) in contact with competent persons like Zachariades guard and the forensic doctor who, under pressure, wrote falsely in his report that Nikos Zachariades died from heart attack. When I talked to him, he admitted that he had diagnosed assassination, not heart attack’.

Third, the statement made by N. Tomilina, the director of the Russian State Archives, in the spring of 2000: ‘Not all evidence pertaining Nikos Zachariades has been published and, especially, the documents related to the circumstances of his death. These documents have been classified as top secret and no access to them is allowed until they are declassified.’

Considering all the above, the following fundamental question arises: if the case of Nikos Zachariades death was drawn to definite close with the establishment of the ‘suicide’ version, why, then, the part of the Archives related to the circumstances of his death is not published? Why the documents about the circumstances of his death are, still, classified as top secret and no access to them is allowed? It is evident that the anti-communist Khrushchevian revisionists and their fascist secret services, even after more than three decades (1973-2006) and despite continuous ‘editing’, cannot render their Archives plausible as to the second false version of Nikos Zachariades death, the one of ‘suicide’.

Without a doubt, Nikos Zachariades, through his revolutionary struggle, rises to eminence as a great revolutionary and communist leader, as ‘one of the most important figures of the world’s communist movement’ (Niyazov, Tashkent 1955); Joseph Stalin during the proceedings of the 19th Congress of the CPSU (1952), had said about him: ‘Do you see him? He is a great leader. He will bring the revolution not only in Greece but also in Europe’ (P. Demetriou, ‘Ek vatheon’, Athens 1997, pp. 202-203). He was by far the most competent General Secretary the KKE ever had and who was suggested by the Third International for this post in 1931. Nikos Zachariades remained until the end of his life an unwavering opponent of revisionism. Towards the end of his life he said: ‘Nobody can take away your honour, you can only lose it yourself’ and also: ‘he, who does not know how to die when it is necessary, does not know how to live and will fail in his life. He, who is afraid of falling, is going to crawl for the rest of his life’.

Quite naturally, the revisionist group of Khrushchev-Brezhnev saw him as a serious, powerful and very dangerous ideological, political opponent whom therefore it had to forcefully remove from the leadership of KKE at all costs, and destroy politically and physically; so dangerous was he considered, that one of Khrushchev’s fervent supporters, the French poet Louis Aragon, saw fit to mention him in his two-volume ‘History of the Soviet Union’: ‘The charge for personality cult resulted in the removal of Nikos Zachariades from his post as General Secretary of KKE’ (L. Aragon, ‘History of the Soviet Union’, v. 2, p. 268, Athens, 1963).

To conclude, we believe that the aforementioned events, covering the period between the pogrom in Tashkent in 1955 and the death of Nikos Zachariades in 1973, leave the contemporary revolutionary movement a most valuable legacy that could serve its task of reorganisation in the 21st century.

Source

Bill Bland: Enver Hoxha As World Statesman

November 1945, preparing to take Tirana; from p.100

November 1945, preparing to take Tirana; from p.100

Hoxha at the Permet Congress 1944; p.64

Hoxha at the Permet Congress 1944; p.64

On Red Square podium, Novmber 1947, with J.V.Stalin & V.Molotov; p.104

On Red Square podium, Novmber 1947, with J.V.Stalin & V.Molotov; p.104

ALL IMAGES FROM “ENVER HOXHA”; Tirana

(Talk by Bill Bland to an Albanian Society meeting in 1985)

Transcribed by Comrade NS

I feel that the title of my address – “Enver Hoxha as World Statesmen” – must have caused some raised eyebrows. Whether they like their policies or not, most people would accept Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachov as world statesmen. But Enver Hoxha was the leader of a small country, the size of Wales with a population of less than three millions. Can the leader of a small country ever really be a statesman, or stateswoman, of world stature?

But it is only a few years ago that tens of thousands of people were marching through the streets of cities all over the world shouting with approval the name of Ho Chi Minh. Ho’s politics were not the same as those of Enver Hoxha, but he was the leader of a small country which inflicted on the powerful United States of America the first military defeat in its history.

Albania too has successfully resisted attempts at absorption, invasion, dismemberment and destabilisation from Greece, from Yugoslavia, from the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, from China, from Britain and from the United States. It has constructed a planned socialist economy which is, at present, unique in the world.

How has it come about that Albania has followed, in the last forty years, such a different course of development from that of other countries of south-eastern Europe?

The cause cannot be found in any geographical or historical peculiarities of Albania. It lies in the specific character of the leadership of the political party which has been the leading force in Albanian society during these forty years. And pre-eminent in that leadership over these four decades was Enver Hoxha, who died in April at the age of 76.

Some people have expressed surprised that Hoxha’s death should have been reported with such virulent hostility by almost all our press, radio and television. But they should not be surprised.

The successful construction of a planned socialist society in Albania – a society without profit, without millionaires, without unemployment, without inflation, without taxes and with constantly rising living standards – is a threat to everything which “The Sunday Times” and the BBC hold up as “Western civilisation”.

Enver Hoxha would not have been surprised at his obituaries in the British media. When the British press praises someone who call himself a “socialist”, it is time to question the genuineness of his “socialism”. And, of course, this hostile propaganda does not have entirely the results it aims at. In the week in which these obituaries were published, the Albanian society received more applications for membership than in any month in the past twenty-five years. One miner from South Wales wrote to me:

    “Having read the newspaper reports on the death of Enver Hoxha, my experience of the press over the twelve months of the miners’ strike leads me to want to know more about Albania”.

On the other hand, some people were naturally misled by this propaganda. I received several letters which said, in effect:

    “I do not understand why, in your letter of protest to the BBC, you denied that Enver Hoxha was a ‘dictator’. Surely, the Albanian Constitution defines the Albanian state as a ‘dictatorship’”.

Indeed, it does.

But it defines the Albanian state as “the dictatorship of the working class”, not that of an individual. This simply means that the political power in Albania is in the hands of the working class, that the working class rules. Albanians do not present “the dictatorship of the working class” as the opposite of democracy. On the contrary, using the term “democracy” with its classical Greek meaning of “the rule of the common people”, they maintain that working class power is the only genuine democracy.

The Party of Labour of Albania regards Britain as a dictatorship – as a state in which political power is in reality in the hands of Big Business. But they do not imply by that term that Margaret Thatcher is a personal dictator. Nevertheless, the leader of the ruling party in Britain has somewhat more constitutional power than the leader of the ruling party in Albania: he or she is automatically Prime Minister and has the right to appoint and dismiss Ministers.

The leadership of the Party of Labour of Albania, which forms the core of the Albanian society, has always been a collective one, although Enver Hoxha was pre-eminent in that leadership. But this position of pre-eminence was the result of Hoxha’s outstanding abilities and devoted service to the working people, and the respect and love which flowed from these qualities.

Let us look more closely at the causes of Albania’s unique course of social development.

Today, the social system in Greece is very different from that in neighboring Albania. Yet in 1944 the situation in the two countries was closely similar. Both were under German occupation; both had national liberation movements led by their respective communist parties; both had right-wing spurious “nationalist” movements, supported by British gold and weapons, which fought the national liberation movements in collaboration with the Nazi forces; in both countries British troops landed, ostensibly to “help” in liberation.

It was the different reaction of the two communist parties which gave rise to the different outcome in the two countries.

The leaders of the so-called “Communist Party of Greece” signed a truce with the right-wing collaborators, placed their forces under the command of the right-wing government-in-exile and of the British Commander-in-Chief, welcomed the British troops.

The leaders of the Communist Party of Albania – today the Party of Labour – destroyed the collaborationist forces; they thanked the British troops for their “offer of help’ but insisted that they withdraw from Albanian soil. They did so.

Let us look at another facet of Albania’s unique course of development.

In 1945 the countries of Eastern Europe (except for Greece) were following the model of the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin in constructing planned socialist societies based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism.

Today only Albania continues to adhere to those principles.

Admittedly, this is not the impression one gets from the pages of “Pravda”. But like our “popular” press, this is now a newspaper which aims not at the truth, but at misleading the masses.

If one studies the specialised Soviet economic journals a very different picture emerges. The so-called “economic reforms” instituted after the death of Stalin have abandoned central economic planning; the profitability of each enterprise has become once more the motive and regulator of production.

True, these profits – as in orthodox “profit-sharing” schemes in the “West” – are shared among the whole staff of the enterprise. But they are distributed according to what is termed “responsibility in profit-making”, which means that the lion’s share goes to management. The latest statistics show that 51% of the profits go to workers (who form 96% of the personnel), while 49% go to management (who form 4% of the personnel).

The restoration of the profit motive in the Soviet Union has meant reliance on market forces, on the laws of “supply and demand”. This means, as elsewhere, that it is often more profitable to produce luxury items for the wealthy than necessities of life for the working people.

Enver Hoxha described contemporary Soviet society as essentially a capitalist society, in which the working people were exploited by a new ruling class, a new capitalist class – the enterprise directors. He noted that all the negative phenomena which are associated with capitalism have began to reappear – crises of “over-production”, inflation, redundancy, etc.

True, the Soviet economic journals do not speak of “unemployment”, only of “surplus labour”. To solve this problem a “youth employment scheme” has been established, and an official campaign that “a woman’s place is in the home”! Letters are published calling – not, of course, for “unemployment benefit”, but for “stipends” for workers who are “between jobs”.

Such development has proceeded – sometimes faster, sometimes slower – in all the formerly socialist countries of eastern Europe, except for Albania.

Whereas the Albanian constitution prohibits foreign aid and credits, the other countries are obliged not only to the Soviet Union, but to Western financial institutions. The hard currency indebtedness of Bulgaria stands at $9 billion, of Hungary at $10 billion, of Yugoslavia at $19 billion and of Poland at $26 billion (on which it cannot pay even the interest due).

Official figures show that in Poland the real wages of the workers fell between 1981 and 1984 by more than 30%.

Inflation in Poland is running at 38% a year, in Yugoslavia at 57%.

Unemployment in Yugoslavia stands at 13% of the work force (30% in the Albanian province of Kosova).

There were, of course, prominent Albanians who sought to lead Albania along this same road of, in Hoxha’s words, “capitalist degeneration”.

It was, above all, Hoxha who led the ideological struggle against the views of these individuals. These struggles are usually portrayed in our press as “personal power struggles”. There were nothing of the sort. There were in each case struggles around principle – with Hoxha standing successfully for the maintenance of independence and socialism for his country.

Whether one is a socialist or not, the question of socialism – how to attain it and how to maintain it – is a question of international importance.

Marxism-Leninism has always held that the state in capitalist countries is always – no matter what its parliamentary trappings – in reality the dictatorship of Big Business. It has always held, therefore, that this state apparatus of force will be used against any attempt to establish a socialist society, so that the working people must be prepared for revolutionary struggle. It has always held that the belief that a fundamental change in society can be attained through the ballot box alone is a dangerous illusion. This does not necessarily mean a bloody and protracted civil war – the number of people who died in the October Revolution in Russia was far less than the number killed on the roads of Manchester on a typical summer Sunday. Hoxha’s famous dictum was:

    “The more the working people are prepared for revolutionary struggle, the greater the possibility of a peaceful transition to socialism”.

Most of the old communist parties, however, have rejected these fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism in favor of the concept of “parliamentary transition to socialism”. In Hoxha’s words, they have become “revisionists”, they have “revised” Marxism-Leninism by repudiating its fundamental core.

The leading role in the struggle against this “modern revisionism” was undoubtedly played by Enver Hoxha, who adhered all his adult life firmly to Marxist-Leninist principles. And, as I said, whether one is a socialist or not, these are questions of world importance. Hoxha’s leading role in these questions makes him, in this respect too, a world figure.

Furthermore, he was the author of a whole series of books, not only upon Albania, but on Yugoslavia, on the Soviet Union, on China, on the Middle East, and so on, which are essential reading for any serious student of world affairs.

But it is as the principal architect of Socialist Albania that Enver Hoxha’s qualities of leadership shine most clearly and obviously.

In forty years Albania has been transformed from the most backward country in Europe to an advanced industrialised state.

Where else in the world can one find no unemployment, with the right to work enshrined in the Constitution?

Where else can one find dwelling rents at 3% of income?

Where else can one find no rates, taxes or social service contributions combined with a free health service?

Where else can one find non-contributory pensions at 70% of pay, payable as young as 55 in certain occupations?

A visitor goes from Britain – with its barren industrial waste lands, with its four million unemployed, with its declining social services – to Albania to find a country which is one huge construction site, to a country whose people have well-founded confidence that each year their living standards will improve as production rises.

Some visiting newspaper reporters claim to find Albania “dull’.

They find no Soho “strip-tease” shows, no Mayfair gambling casinos, no pornographic magazines, no heroin pushers, no “pop” music. Enver Hoxha once said:

    “Our young people have no need of drugs to escape from reality”.

Perhaps these reporters find Albanian sporting events dull because one can go to a football match there and cheer for the away team without the risk of getting a knife in one’s back!

Where but in Albania one could go to the cinema for the equivalent of 15 pence?

What other country in the world with a population of less than three millions has 7 symphony orchestras and produces some 15 feature films a year?

Perhaps those who find Albania “dull” have had their cultural values corrupted!

One has only to look at pictures of Albania prior to 1939 – pictures which show its utter backwardness, its poor and illiterate working people, to understand the respect and affection which the overwhelming majority of the Albanian people held for the principal architect of their social progress – Enver Hoxha, to understand the genuine and spontaneous grief which was exhibited at his funeral.

Several monuments to Enver Hoxha are to be erected in Albania.

But the ordinary Albanian may well say – in the words of the inscription to our own Christopher Wren in St. Paul’s Cathedral –

    “If you seek a monument, look around!”

I want to conclude by reading to you the translation of a poem, written the day after Enver Hoxha’s death . . . It expresses eloquently, I feel, the feelings of most Albanians.

Note From Alliance – Regrettably the text of this poem, or its name or identity of its author, is not known to us. 

Source

Bruce Franklin’s Introduction to “The Essential Stalin”

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Please note the posting of this introduction to the book “The Essential Stalin” does not necessarily imply support of Franklin’s political line.

 — E.S.

I used to think of Joseph Stalin as a tyrant and butcher who jailed and killed millions, betrayed the Russian revolution, sold out liberation struggles around the world, and ended up a solitary madman, hated and feared by the people of the Soviet Union and the world. Even today I have trouble saying the name “Stalin” without feeling a bit sinister.

But, to about a billion people today, Stalin is the opposite of what we in the capitalist world have been programmed to believe. The people of China, Vietnam, Korea, and Albania consider Stalin one of the great heroes of modern history, a man who personally helped win their liberation.

This belief could be dismissed as the product of an equally effective brainwashing from the other side, except that the workers and peasants of the Soviet Union, who knew Stalin best, share this view. For almost two decades the Soviet rulers have systematically attempted to make the Soviet people accept the capitalist world’s view of Stalin, or at least to forget him. They expunged him from the history books, wiped out his memorials, and even removed his body from his tomb.

Yet, according to all accounts, the great majority of the Soviet people still revere the memory of Stalin, and bit by bit they have forced concessions. First it was granted that Stalin had been a great military leader and the main antifascist strategist of World War II. Then it was conceded that he had made important contributions to the material progress of the Soviet people. Now a recent Soviet film shows Stalin, several years before his death, as a calm, rational, wise leader.

But the rulers of the Soviet Union still try to keep the people actually from reading Stalin. When they took over, one of their first acts was to ban his writings. They stopped the publication of his collected works, of which thirteen volumes had already appeared, covering the period only through 1934. This has made it difficult throughout the world to obtain Stalin’s writings in the last two decades of his life. Recently the Hoover Institute of Stanford University, whose purpose, as stated by its founder, Herbert Hoover, is to demonstrate the evils of the doctrines of Karl Marx” completed the final volumes in Russian so that they would be available to Stanford’s team of émigré anti-Communists (In. preparing. this volume, I was able to use the Hoover collection of writings by and about Stalin only by risking jail, directly violating my banishment by court injunction from this Citadel of the Free World.)

The situation in the U.S. is not much different from that in the U.S.S.R. In fact the present volume represents the first time since 1955 that a major publishing house in either country has authorized the publication of Stalin’s works. U.S. capitalist publishers have printed only Stalin’s wartime diplomatic correspondence and occasional essays, usually much abridged, in anthologies. Meanwhile his enemies and critics are widely published. Since the early 1920s there have been basically two opposing lines claiming to represent Marxism-Leninism, one being Stalin’s and the other Trotsky’s. The works of Trotsky are readily available in many inexpensive editions. And hostile memoirs, such as those of Khrushchev and Svetlana Stalin, are actually serialized in popular magazines.

The suppression of Stalin’s writings spreads the notion that he did not write anything worth reading. Yet Stalin is clearly one of the three most important historical figures of our century, his thought and deeds still affecting our daily lives, considered by hundreds of millions today as one of the leading political theorists of any time, his very name a strongly emotional household word throughout the world. Anyone familiar with the development of Marxist-Leninist theory in the past half century knows that Stalin was not merely a man of action. Mao names him “the greatest genius of our time,” calls himself Stalin’s disciple, and argues that Stalin’ s theoretical works are still the core of world Communist revolutionary strategy.

Gaining access to Stalin’s works is not the hardest part of coming to terms with him. First we must recognize that there can be no “objective” or “neutral” appraisal of Stalin, any more than there can be of any major historical figure during the epochs of class struggle. From the point of view of some classes, George Washington was an arrogant scoundrel and traitor to his country, king, and God, a renegade who brought slaughter and chaos to a continent; Abraham Lincoln was responsible for the deaths of millions and the destruction of a civilized, cultured, harmonious society based on the biblically sanctioned relationship with the black descendants of Ham; Sitting Bull was a murderous savage who stood in the way of the progress of a superior civilization; Eldridge Cleaver, George and Jonathan Jackson, Ruchell Magee and Angela Davis are vicious murderers, while Harry Truman, Nelson Rockefeller, Mayor Daley, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon are rational and patriotic men who use force only when necessary to protect the treasured values of the Free World.

Any historical figure must be evaluated from the interests of one class or another. Take J. Edgar Hoover, for example. Anti-Communists may disagree about his performance, but they start from the assumption that the better he did his job of preserving “law and order” as defined by our present rulers the better he was. We Communists, on the other hand, certainly would not think Hoover “better” if he had been more efficient in running the secret police and protecting capitalism. And so the opposite with Stalin, whose job was not to preserve capitalism but to destroy it, not to suppress communism but to advance it. The better he did his job, the worse he is likely to seem to all those who profit from this economic system and the more he will be appreciated by the victims of that system. The Stalin question is quite different for those who share his goals and for those, who oppose them. For the revolutionary people of the world it is literally a life and-death matter to have a scientific estimate of Stalin, because he was, after all, the principal leader of the world revolution for thirty crucial years.

I myself have seen Stalin from both sides. Deeply embedded in my consciousness and feelings was that Vision of Stalin as tyrant and butcher. This was part of my over-all view of communism as a slave system, an idea that I was taught in capitalist society. Communist society was not red but a dull-gray world. It was ruled by a secret clique of powerful men. Everybody else worked for these few and kept their mouths shut. Propaganda poured from all the media. The secret police were everywhere, tapping phones, following people on the street, making midnight raids. Anyone who spoke out would lose his job, get thrown in jail, or even get shot by the police. One of the main aims of the government was international aggression, starting wars to conquer other counties. When I began to discover that this entire vision point by point described my own society a number of questions arose in my mind.

For me, as for millions of others in the United States it was the Vietnamese who forced a change in perception. How could we fail to admire the Vietnamese people and to see Ho Chi Minh as one of the great heroes of our times? What stood out not about Ho was his vast love for the people and his dedication to serving them. (In 1965, before I became a Communist, I spoke at a rally soliciting blood for the Vietnamese victims of U.S. bombing. When I naively said that Ho was a nationalist above being a Communist and a human being above being a nationalist, I was pelted with garbage and, much to my surprise, called a “dirty Commie. But we were supposed to believe that Ho was a “tyrant and butcher.” Later, it dawned on me that Fidel Castro was also supposed to be a “tyrant and butcher” although earlier we had been portrayed as a freedom fighter against the Batista dictatorship. Still later, I began to study the Chinese revolution, and found in Mao’s theory and preaches the guide for my own thinking and action. But, again, we were Supposed to see Mao as a “tyrant and butcher” and also a “madman” the more I looked into it, the more I found that these “tyrants and butchers” – Ho, Fidel, and Mao – were all depicted servants of the people, inspired by a deep and self-sacrificing love for them. At some point, I began to wonder if perhaps even Stalin was not a “tyrant and butcher.”

With this thought came intense feelings that must resemble – what someone in a tribe experiences when violating a taboo. But if we want to understand the world we live in, we must face Stalin.

Joseph Stalin personifies a major aspect of three decades of twentieth-century history. If we seek answers to any of the crucial questions about the course of our century, at some point we find Stalin standing directly in our path. Is it possible for poor and working people to make a revolution and then wield political power? Can an undeveloped, backward nation whose people are illiterate, impoverished, diseased, starving, and lacking in all the skills and tools needed to develop their productive forces possibly achieve both material and cultural well-being? Can this be done under a condition of encirclement by hostile powers, greedy for conquest, far more advanced industrially and, militantly: and fanatical in their opposition to any people s revolutionary government? What price must be paid for the success of revolutionary development? Can national unity be achieved in a vast land inhabited by many peoples of diverse races, religions, culture, language, and levels of economic development?

Is it possible to attain international unity among the exploited and oppressed peoples of many different nations whose governments depend upon intense nationalism and the constant threat of war? Then, later, can the people of any modern highly industrialized society also have a high degree of freedom, or must the state be their enemy? Can any society flourish without some form of ruling elite?

These questions are all peculiarly modern, arising in the epoch of capitalism as it reaches its highest form, modern imperialism, and becoming critical in our own time, the era of global revolution. Each of these questions leads us inevitably to Stalin. In my opinion, it is not going too far to say that Stalin is the key figure of our era.

All the achievements and all the failures, all the strengths and all the weaknesses, of the Soviet revolution and indeed of the world revolution in the period 1922-53 are summed up in Stalin. This is not to say that he is personally responsible for all that was and was not accomplished, or that nobody else could have done what he did. We are not dealing with a “great man” theory of history. In fact, quite the opposite. If we are to understand Stalin at all, and evaluate him from the point of view of either of two major opposing classes, we must see him, like all historical figures, as a being created by his times and containing the contradictions of those times. .

Every idea of Stalin’s, as he would be the first to admit, came to him from his historical existence, which also fixed limits to the ideas available to him. He could study history in order to learn from the experience of the Paris Commune but he could not look into a crystal ball to benefit from the lessons of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. And the decisions he made also had fixed and determined limits on either side, as we shall see.

To appraise Stalin, the best way to begin is to compare the condition of the Soviet Union and the rest of the world at two times: when he came into leadership and when he died. Without such a comparison, it is impossible to measure what he may have contributed or taken away from human progress. If the condition of the Soviet people was much better when he died than when he took power, he cannot have made their lives worse. The worst that can be said is that they would have progressed more without him. The same is true for the world revolution. Was it set back during the decades of his leadership, or did it advance? Once we put the questions this way, the burden of proof falls on those who deny Stalin’s positive role as a revolutionary leader.

As World War I began, the Russian Empire consisted primarily of vast undeveloped lands inhabited by many different peoples speaking a variety of languages with a very low level of literacy, productivity, technology, and health. Feudal Social relations still prevailed throughout many of these lands. Czarist secret police, officially organized bands of military terrorists, and a vast bureaucracy were deployed to keep the hungry masses of workers and peasants in line.

The war brought these problems to a crisis. Millions went to their deaths wearing rags, with empty stomachs, often waiting for those in front of them to fall so they could have a rifle and a few rounds of ammunition. When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, the entire vast empire, including the great cities of Russia itself, was in chaos.

Before the new government could begin to govern, it was Immediately set upon by the landlords, capitalists, and generals of the old regime, with all the forces they could buy and muster, together with combined military forces of Britain, France, Japan, and Poland, and additional military contingents from the U.S. and other capitalist countries. A vicious civil war raged for three years, from Siberia through European Russia, from the White Sea to the Ukraine. At the end of the Civil War, in 1920, agricultural output was less than half that of the prewar poverty-stricken countryside. Even worse was the situation in industry.

Many mines and factories had been destroyed. Transport had been torn up. Stocks of raw materials and semi finished products had been exhausted. The output of large-scale industry was about one seventh of what it had been before the war. And the fighting against foreign military intervention had to go on for two more years. Japanese and U.S. troops still held a portion of Siberia, including the key port city of Vladivostok, which was not recaptured until 1922.

Lenin suffered his first stroke in 1922. From this point on, Stalin, who was the General Secretary of the Central Committee, began to emerge as the principal leader of the Party. Stalin’s policies were being implemented at least as early as 1924, the year of Lenin’s death, and by 1927 the various opposing factions had been defeated and expelled from the Party. It is the period of the early and mid-1920s that we must compare to 1953.

The Soviet Union of the early 1920s was a land of deprivation. Hunger was everywhere, and actual mass famines swept across much of the countryside. Industrial production was extremely low, and the technological Level of industry was so backward that there seemed little possibility of mechanizing agriculture. Serious rebellions in the armed forces were breaking out, most notably at the Kronstadt garrison in 1921.

By 1924 large-scale peasant revolts were erupting, particularly in Georgia. There was virtually no electricity outside the large cities. Agriculture was based on the peasant holdings and medium-sized farms seized by rural capitalists (the kulaks) who forced the peasants back into wage Labor and tenant fanning. Health care was almost non-existent in much of the country. The technical knowledge and skills needed to develop modern industry, agriculture, health, and education were concentrated in the hands of a few, mostly opposed to socialism while the vast majority of the population were illiterate and could hardly think about education while barely managing to subsist. The Soviet Union was isolated in a world controlled by powerful capitalist countries physically surrounding it, setting up economic blockades, and officially refusing to recognize its existence while outdoing each other in their pledges to wipe out this Red menace.

The counterrevolution was riding high throughout Europe Great Britain, and even in the U.S.A., where the Red threat was used as an excuse to smash labor unions. Fascism was emerging in several parts of the capitalist world, particularly in Japan and in Italy, where Mussolini took dictatorial power in 1924. Most of the world consisted of colonies and neo-colonies of the European powers.

When Stalin died in 1953, the Soviet Union was the second greatest industrial, scientific, and military power in the world and showed clear signs of moving to overtake the U.S. in all these areas. This was despite the devastating losses it suffered while defeating the fascist powers of Germany, Romania, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The various peoples of the U.S.S.R. were unified. Starvation and illiteracy were unknown throughout the country. Agriculture was completely collectivized and extremely productive. Preventive health care was the finest in the world, and medical treatment of exceptionally high quality was available free to all citizens. Education at all levels was free. More books were published in the U.S.S.R. than in any other country. There was no unemployment.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, not only had the main fascist powers of 1922-45 been defeated, but the forces of revolution were on the rise everywhere. The Chinese Communist Party had just led one-fourth of the world’s population to victory over foreign imperialism and domestic feudalism and capitalism. Half of Korea was socialist, and the U.S.-British imperialist army, having rushed to intervene in the civil war under the banner of the United Nations  was on the defensive and hopelessly demoralized. In Vietnam, strong socialist power, which had already defeated Japanese Imperialism, was administering the final blows to the beaten army of the French empire. The monarchies and fascist military dictatorships of Eastern Europe had been destroyed by a combination of partisan forces, led by local Communists, and the Soviet Army; everywhere except for Greece there were now governments that supported the world revolution and at least claimed to be governments of the workers and peasants. The largest political party in both France and Italy was the Communist Party. The national liberation movement among the European colonies and neo-colonies was surging forward. Between 1946 and 1949 alone, at least nominal national independence was achieved by Burma, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Laos, Libya, Ceylon, Jordan, and the Philippines, countries comprising about one-third of the world’s population. The entire continent of Africa was stirring.

Everybody but the Trotskyites, and even some of them would have to admit that the situation for the Communist world revolution was incomparably advanced in 1953 over what it had been in the early or mid 1920s. Of course, that does not settle the Stalin question. We still have to ask whether Stalin contributed to this tremendous advance, or slowed it down or had negligible influence on it. And we must not duck the question as to whether Stalin’s theory and practice built such serious faults into revolutionary communism that its later failures, particularly in the Soviet Union, can be pinned on him.

So let us look through Stalin’s career focusing particularly on its most controversial aspects.

“Stalin” which means “steel-man,” was the code name for a Young Georgian revolutionary born as Joseph Visvarionovich Djugashvili in 1879 in the town of Gori. His class origins combine the main forces of the Russian revolution.

His father formerly a village cobbler of peasant background, became a’ worker in a shoe factory. His mother was the daughter of peasant serfs. So Stalin was no stranger to either workers or peasants, and being from Georgia, he had firsthand knowledge of how Czarist Russia oppressed the non-Russian peoples of its empire. .

While studying at the seminary for a career as a priest, he made his first contact with the Marxist underground at the age of fifteen, and at eighteen he formally joined the Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party, which was to evolve into the Communist Party. Shortly after joining the party in 1898, he became convinced that Lenin was the main theoretical leader of the revolution, particularly when Lenin’s newspaper Iskra began to appear in 1900. After being thrown out of his seminary, Stalin concentrated on organizing workers in the area of Tiflis, capital of Georgia, and the Georgian industrial City of Batumi. After one of his many arrests by the Czarist secret police, he began to correspond with Lenin from exile.

Escaping from Siberian exile in 1904, Stalin returned to organizing workers in the cities of Georgia, where mass strikes were beginning to assume a decidedly political and revolutionary character. Here he began to become one of the main spokesmen for Lenin’s theory, as we see in the first two selections in this volume. In December 1904 he led a huge strike of the Baku workers, which helped precipitate the abortive Russian revolution of 1905. During the revolution and after it was suppressed, Stalin was one of the main Bolshevik underground and military organizers, and was frequently arrested by the secret police. At the Prague Conference of 1912, in which the Bolsheviks completed the split with the Mensheviks and established themselves as a separate party, Stalin was elected in absentia to the Central Committee, a position he was to maintain for over four decades. Then, on the eve of World War I, he published what may properly be considered his first major contribution to Marxist-Leninist theory, Marxism and the National Question.

Prior to World War I, the various social-democratic parties of Europe were loosely united in the Second International.

All pledged themselves to international proletarian solidarity. But when the war broke out, the theory Stalin had developed in Marxism and the National Question proved to be crucial and correct. As Stalin had foreseen, every party that had compromised with bourgeois nationalism ended up leading the workers of its nation to support their “own” bourgeois rulers by going out to kill and be killed by the workers of the other nations. Lenin, Stalin, and the other Bolsheviks took a quite different position. They put forward the slogan “Turn the imperialist war into a civil war.” Alone of all the parties of the Second International, they came out for actual armed revolution.

In February 1917 the workers, peasants and soldiers of Russia, in alliance with the liberal bourgeoisie, overthrew the czarist autocracy, which had bled the country dry and brought it to ruin in a war fought to extend the empire. The liberal bourgeoisie established a new government. The next few months led to a key moment in history. Most of the parties that claimed to be revolutionary now took the position that the Russian proletariat was too weak and backward to assume political power. They advocated that the proletariat should support the new bourgeois government and enter a long period of capitalist development until someday in the future when they could begin to think about socialism. This view even penetrated the Bolsheviks. So when Stalin was released from his prison exile in March and the Central Committee brought him back to help lead the work in St. Petersburg, he found a heavy internal struggle. He took Lenin’s position, and, being placed in charge of the Bolshevik newspaper Pravda, was able to put it forward vigorously to the masses. When the Central Committee finally decided, in October, to lead the workers and soldiers of St. Petersburg to seize the Winter Palace and establish a proletarian government, it was over the violent objections of many of the aristocratic intellectuals who, much to their own surprise and discomfort had found themselves in an actual revolutionary situation. Two of them, Zinoviev and Kamenev, even went so far as to inform the bourgeois newspapers that the Bolsheviks had a secret plan to seize power. After the virtually bloodless seizure by the workers and soldiers took place, a third member of the Central Committee, Rykov, joined Zinoviev and Kamenev in a secret deal made with the bourgeois parties whereby the Bolsheviks would resign from power, the press would be returned to the bourgeoisie, and Lenin would be permanently barred from holding public office. (All this is described in John Reed’s Ten Days That Shook the World, which was first published in 1919. I mention this because Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Rykov were three of the central figures of the purge trials of the 1930s, and it is they who have been portrayed as stanch Bolsheviks in such works as Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon.)

During the Civil War, which followed the seizure of power, Stalin began to emerge as an important military leader.

Trotsky was nominally the head of the Red Army. Behaving, as he always did, in the primacy of technique, Trotsky took as one of his main tasks winning over the high officers of the former czarist army and turning them into the general command of the revolutionary army. The result was defeat after defeat for the Red forces, either through outright betrayal by their aristocratic officers or because these officers tried to apply military theories appropriate to a conscript or mercenary army to the leadership of a people’s army made up of workers and peasants. Stalin, on the other hand, understood the military situation from the point of view of the workers and peasants, and with a knowledge of their capabilities and limitations.

In 1919 Stalin was sent as a special plenipotentiary to the key Volga city of Tsaritsyn. His mission was simply to assure the delivery of food supplies from this entire region. What he found was a disastrous military situation, with the city not only surrounded by the White Army but heavily infiltrated by counterrevolutionary forces. He saw that the food supply could not be safeguarded unless the military and political situations were dealt with. He instituted an uncompromising purge of counterrevolutionary elements within both the officer corps and the political infrastructure, took personal command of the military forces over the heads of both the local authorities and Trotsky, and then proceeded to save the city, the region, and the food supply. Trotsky, furious, demanded his recall. As for the citizens of Tsaritsyn, their opinion became known six years later, when they renamed their city Stalingrad.

After this episode, rather than being recalled, Stalin was dispatched far and wide to every major front in the Civil War. In each and every place, he was able to win the immediate respect of the revolutionary people and to lead the way to military victory, even in the most desperate circumstances.

Certain qualities emerged more and more clearly, acknowledged by both friends and enemies. These were his enormous practicality and efficiency, his worker peasant outlook, and the unswerving way he proceeded to the heart of every problem. By the end of the war, Stalin was widely recognized as a man who knew how to run things, a quality sorely lacking among most of the aristocratic intellectuals who then saw themselves as great proletarian leaders. In April 1922 he was made General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party. It was in this position that Stalin was quickly to become the de facto leader of the Party and the nation.

Stalin’s career up to this point is relatively uncontroversial in comparison with everything that follows. But nothing at all about Stalin is beyond controversy. Most of his biographers in the capitalist world minimize his revolutionary activities prior to 1922. At least two influential biographies, Boris Souvarine’s Stalin (1939) and Edward Ellis Smith’s The Young Stalin (1967), even argue that during most of this period Stalin was actually an agent for the czarist secret police. Trotsky’s mammoth biography Stalin (1940) not only belittles Stalin’s revolutionary activities but actually sees his life and “moral stature” predetermined by his racially defined genetic composition; after discussing whether or not Stalin had “an admixture of Mongolian blood,” Trotsky decides that in any case he was one perfect type of the national character of southern countries such as Georgia, where, “in addition to the so-called Southern type, which is characterized by a combination of lazy shiftlessness and explosive irascibility, one meets cold natures, in whom phlegm is combined with stubbornness and slyness.” The most influential biographer of all, Trotsky’s disciple Isaac Deutscher, is a bit more subtle, blaming Stalin’s crude and vicious character not on his race but on his low social class:

The revolutionaries from the upper classes (such as Trotsky, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, Rakovsky, Radek, Lunacharsky, and Chicherin) came into the Socialist movement with inherited cultural traditions. They brought into the milieu of the revolution some of the values and qualities of their own milieu-not only knowledge, but also refinement of thought, speech, and manners. Indeed, their Socialist rebellion was itself the product of moral sensitiveness and intellectual refinement. These were precisely the qualities that life had not been kind enough to cultivate in Djugashvili [Stalin]. On the contrary, it had heaped enough physical and moral squalor in his path to blunt his sensitiveness and his taste. (Stalin, Political Biography, p. 26)

Although there are vastly different views of Stalin’s career up to this point, his activities are relatively less controversial, because they are relatively less important. Whatever Stalin’s contribution, there is still a good chance that even without him Lenin could have led the revolution and the Red forces would have won the Civil War. But, from this point on, there are at least two widely divergent, in fact wildly contradictory, versions of Stalin’s activities and their significance. Most readers of this book have heard only one side of this debate, the side of Trotsky and the capitalist world. I shall not pretend to make a “balanced presentation,” but instead give a summary of the unfamiliar other side of the argument.

Everyone, friend and foe alike, would agree that at the heart of the question of Stalin lies the theory and practice of “socialism in one country.” All of Stalin’s major ideological opponents in one way or another took issue with this theory.

Actually, the theory did not originate with Stalin but with Lenin. In 1915, in his article “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe,” Lenin argued that “the victory of socialism is possible first in several or even in one capitalist country alone.” He foresaw “a more or less prolonged and stubborn struggle” internationally that could begin like this in one country: “After expropriating the capitalists and organizing their own socialist production, the victorious proletariat of that country will arise against the rest of the world-the capitalist world-attracting to its cause the oppressed classes of other countries, stirring uprisings in those countries against the capitalists, and in case of need using even armed force against the exploiting classes and their states.”

Of course, at the end of World War I most Bolsheviks (and many capitalists) expected revolution to break out in many of the European capitalist countries. In fact, many of the returning soldiers did turn their guns around. A revolutionary government was established in Hungary and Slovakia.

Germany and Bulgaria for a while were covered by soviets of workers, peasants, and soldiers. But counterrevolution swept all these away.

Trotsky and his supporters continued to believe that the proletariat of Europe was ready to make socialist revolution.

They also believed that unless this happened, the proletariat would be unable to maintain power in the Soviet Union.

They belittled the role of the peasantry as an ally of the Russian proletariat and saw very little potential in the national liberation movements of the predominantly peasant countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Their so-called “Left opposition” put forward the theory, of “permanent revolution,” which pinned its hopes on an imminent uprising of the industrial proletariat of Europe. They saw the world revolution then spreading outward from these “civilized” countries to the “backward” regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Meanwhile there also developed what was later to be called the “Right opposition,” spearheaded by Bukharin, Zinoviev, and Kamenev. They were realistic enough to recognize that the revolutionary tide was definitely ebbing in Europe, but they concluded from this that the Soviet Union would have to be content to remain for a long time a basically agricultural country without pretending to be a proletarian socialist state.

Stalin was not about to give up on socialism in the Soviet Union simply because history was not turning out exactly the way theorists had wanted, with revolution winning out quickly in the most advanced capitalist countries. He saw that the Soviet revolution had indeed been able to maintain itself against very powerful enemies at home and abroad. Besides, the Soviet Union was a vast country whose rich natural resources gave it an enormous potential for industrial and social development. He stood for building socialism in this one country and turning it into an inspiration and base area for the oppressed classes and nations throughout the world. He believed that, helped by both the example and material support of a socialist Soviet Union, the tide of revolution would eventually begin rising again, and that, in turn, proletarian revolution in Europe and national liberation struggles in the rest of the world would eventually break the Soviet isolation.

There are two parts to the concept of socialism in one country. Emphasis is usually placed only on the part that says “one country.” Equally important is the idea that only socialism, and not communism, can be achieved prior to the time when the victory of the world revolution has been won. A communist society would have no classes, no money, no scarcity, and no state that is, no army, police force, prisons, and courts. There is no such society in the world, and no society claims to be Communist. A socialist society, according to Marxism-Leninism, is the transitional form on the road to communism. Classes and class struggle still exist, all the material needs of the people have not as yet been met, and there is indeed a state, a government of the working class known as the dictatorship of the proletariat (as opposed to the government of capitalist nations, the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie).

Neither Lenin nor Stalin ever had any illusion that any single country, even one as vast and potentially rich as the Soviet Union, would ever be able to establish a stateless, classless society while capitalism still had power in the rest of the world. But Stalin, like Lenin, did believe that the Soviet Union could eliminate capitalism, industrialize, extend the power of the working class, and wipe out real material privation all during the period of capitalist encirclement.

To do this, Stalin held, the proletariat would have to rely on the peasantry. He rejected Trotsky’s scorn for the Russian peasants and saw them, rather than the European proletariat, as the only ally that could come to the immediate aid of the Russian workers.

When the Civil War ended, in 1921, with most of the Soviet Union in chaotic ruin, Lenin won a struggle against Trotsky within the Party to institute what was called the New Economic Policy (NEP), under which a limited amount of private enterprise based on trade was allowed to develop in both the cities and the countryside. NEP was successful in averting an immediate total catastrophe, but by 1925 it was becoming clear that this policy was also creating problems for the development of socialism. This brings us to the first great crux of the Stalin question.

We have been led to believe that in order to industrialize at any price; Stalin pursued a ruthless policy of forced collectivization, deliberately murdering several million peasants known as kulaks during the process. The truth is quite different.

When the Bolsheviks seized power, one of their first acts was to allow the poor peasants to seize the huge landed estates. The slogan was “Land to the tiller.” This, however, left most land in the form of tiny holdings, unsuited for large-scale agriculture, particularly the production of the vital grain crops. Under NEP, capitalism and a new form of landlordism began to flourish in the countryside. The class known as kulaks (literally “tight-fists”), consisting of usurers and other small capitalists including village merchants and rich peasants, were cornering the market in the available grain, grabbing more and more small holdings of land, and, through their debt holdings, forcing peasants back into tenant farming and wage labor. Somehow, the small peasant holdings had to be consolidated so that modern agriculture could begin. There were basically two ways this could take place: either through capitalist accumulation, as the kulaks were then doing, or through the development of large-scale socialist farms. If the latter, there was then a further choice: a rapid forced collectivization, or a more gradual process in which co-operative farms would emerge first, followed by collectives, and both would be on a voluntary basis, winning out by example and persuasion. What did Stalin choose?

Here, in his own words, is the policy he advocated and that was adopted at the Fifteenth Party Congress, in 1927:

What is the way out? The way out is to turn the small and scattered peasant farms into large united farms based on cultivation of the land in common, to go over to collective cultivation of the land on the basis of a new and higher technique.

The way out is to unite the small and dwarf peasant farms gradually but surely, not by pressure, but by example and persuasion, into large farms based on common, cooperative, collective cultivation of the land with the use of agricultural machines and tractors and scientific methods of intensive agriculture.

There is no other way out.

To implement this policy, the capitalist privileges allowed under NEP were revoked. This was known as the restriction of the kulaks. The kulaks, whose very existence as a class was thus menaced, struck back. They organized terrorist bands who attacked the co-operatives and collectives, burning down barns when they were filled with grain, devastating the fields, and even murdering Communist peasant leaders.

Even more serious than these raids, the kulaks held back their own large supplies of grain from the market in an effort to create hunger and chaos in the cities. The poor and middle peasants struck back. Virtual open civil war began to rage throughout the countryside. As the collective farm movement spread rapidly, pressure mounted among the poor and middle peasants to put an end to landlordism and usury in the countryside for good. In 1929 Stalin agreed that the time had come to eliminate the kulaks as a class. He led the fight to repeal the laws that allowed the renting of land and the hiring of labor, thus depriving the kulaks both of land and of hired workers. The ban on expropriation of the large private holdings was lifted, and the peasants promptly expropriated the kulak class. The expropriation of the rural capitalists in the late 1920s was just as decisive as the expropriation of the urban capitalists a decade earlier. Landlords and village usurers were eliminated as completely as private factory owners. It is undoubtedly true that in many areas there was needless violence and suffering. But this did not originate with Stalin. It was the hour of Russia’s peasant masses, who had been degraded and brutalized for centuries and who had countless blood debts to settle with their oppressors. Stalin may have unleashed their fury, but he was not the one who had caused it to build up for centuries. In fact it was Stalin who checked the excesses generated by the enthusiasm of the collective movement. In early 1930 he published in Pravda “Dizzy with Success,” reiterating that “the voluntary principle” of the collective farm movement must under no circumstances be violated and that anybody who engages in forced collectivization objectively aids the enemies of socialism. Furthermore, he argues, the correct form for the present time is the co-operative (known as the artel) , in which “the household plots (small vegetable gardens, small orchards), the dwelling houses, a part of the dairy cattle, small livestock, poultry, etc., are not socialized.”

Again, overzealous attempts to push beyond this objectively aid the enemy. The movement must be based on the needs and desires of the masses of peasants.

Stalin’s decision about the kulaks perfectly exemplifies the limits under which he operated. He could decide, as he did, to end the kulaks as a class by allowing the poor and middle peasants’ to expropriate their land. Or he could decide to let the kulaks continue withholding their grain from the starving peasants and workers, with whatever result. He might have continued bribing the kulaks. But it is highly doubtful, to say the least, that he had the option of persuading the kulaks into becoming good socialists.

There can be no question that, whatever may be said about its cost, Stalin’s policy in the countryside resulted in a vast, modern agricultural system, capable, for the first time in history, of feeding all the peoples of the Soviet lands. Gone were the famines that seemed as inevitable and were as vicious as those of China before the revolution or of India today.

Meanwhile, Stalin’s policy of massive industrialization was going full speed ahead. His great plan for a modern, highly industrialized Soviet Union has been so overwhelmingly successful that we forget that it was adopted only over the bitter opposition of most of the Party leaders, who thought it a utopian and therefore suicidal dream. Having overcome this opposition on both the right and “left,” Stalin in 1929 instituted the first five-year plan in the history of the world.

It was quickly over fulfilled. By the early 1930s the Soviet Union had clearly become both the inspiration and the main material base area for the world revolution. And it was soon will prove much more than a match for the next military onslaught from the capitalist powers, which Stalin had predicted and armed against.

This brings us to the second great crux of the Stalin question, the “left” criticism, originating with Trotsky and then widely disseminated by the theorists of what used to be called “the New Left.” This criticism holds that Stalin was just a nationalist who sold out revolution throughout the rest of the world. The debate ranges over all the key events of twentieth-century history and can be only touched on in an essay.

Stalin’s difference with Trotsky on the peasantry was not confined to the role of the peasantry within the Soviet Union.

Trotsky saw very little potential in the national liberation movements in those parts of the world that were still basically peasant societies. He argued that revolution would come first to the advanced capitalist countries of Europe and North America and would then spread to the “uncivilized” areas of the world. Stalin, on the other hand saw that the national liberation movements of Asia, Africa, and Latin America were key to the development of the world revolution because objectively they were leading the fight against imperialism.

We see this argument developed clearly as early as 1924, In “The Foundations of Leninism,” where he argues that “the struggle that the Egyptian merchants and bourgeois intellectuals are waging for the independence of Egypt is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the bourgeois origin and bourgeois title of the leaders of the Egyptian national movement, despite the fact that they are opposed to socialism; whereas the struggle that the British ‘Labor’ movement is waging to preserve Egypt’s dependent position is for the same reasons a reactionary struggle, despite the proletarian origins and the proletarian title of the members of hat government, despite the fact that they are ‘for’ socialism. To most European Marxists, this was some kind of barbarian heresy. But Ho Chi Minh expressed the view of many Communists from the colonies in that same year, 1924, when he recognized that Stalin was the leader of the only Party that stood with the national liberation struggles and when he agreed with Stalin that the viewpoint of most other so-called Marxists on the national question was nothing short of “counterrevolutionary” (Ho Chi Minh Report on the National and Colonial Questions at the Fifth Congress of the Communist International).

The difference between Stalin’s line and Trotsky’s line and the falsification of what Stalin’s line was, can be seen most clearly on the question of the Chinese revolution. The typical “left” view prevalent today is represented in David Horowitz’s The Free World Colossus (1965), which asserts “Stalin’s continued blindness to the character and potential of the Chinese Revolution.” Using as his main source a Yugoslav biography of Tito, Horowitz blandly declares: “Even after the war, when it was clear to most observers that Chiang was finished, Stalin did not think much of the prospects of Chinese Communism” (p. Ill).

Mao’s opinion of Stalin is a little different:

Rallied around him, we constantly received advice from him, constantly drew ideological strength from his works…. It is common knowledge that Comrade Stalin ardently loved the Chinese people and considered that the forces of the Chinese revolution were immeasurable.

He displayed the greatest wisdom in matters pertaining to the Chinese revolution. . . . Sacredly preserving the memory of our great teacher Stalin, the Communist Party of China and the Chinese people . . . will even more perseveringly study Stalin’s teaching …. (“A Great Friendship,” 1953)

It is possible that this statement can be viewed as a formal tribute made shortly after Stalin’s death and before it was safe to criticize Stalin within the international Communist movement. But years later, after the Russian attack on Stalin and after it was unsafe not to spit on Stalin’s memory, the Chinese still consistently maintained their position. In 1961, after listening to Khrushchev’s rabid denunciations of Stalin at the Twenty-second Party Congress, Chou En-lai ostentatiously laid a wreath on Stalin’s tomb. Khrushchev and his supporters then disinterred Stalin’s body, but the Chinese responded to this in 1963 by saying that Khrushchev “can never succeed in removing the great image of Stalin from the minds of the Soviet people and of the people throughout the world.” (“On the Question of Stalin”)

In fact, as his 1927 essay on China included in this collection shows, Stalin very early outlined the basic theory of the Chinese revolution. Trotsky attacks this theory, which he sneers at as “guerrilla adventure,” because it is not based on the cities as the revolutionary centers, because it relies on class allies of the proletariat, particularly the peasantry, and because it is primarily anti-feudal and anti-imperialist rather than focused primarily against Chinese capitalism.

After 1927, when the first liberated base areas were established in the countryside, Trotsky claimed that this revolution could no longer be seen as proletarian but as a mere peasant rebellion, and soon he began to refer to its guiding theory as the Stalin-Mao line. To this day, Trotskyites around the world deride the Chinese revolution as a mere “Stalinist bureaucracy.” The Chinese themselves do acknowledge that at certain points Stalin gave some incorrect tactical advice, but they are quick to add that he always recognized and corrected these errors and was self-critical about them. They are very firm in their belief that they could not have made their revolution without his general theory, his over-all leadership of the world revolutionary movement, and the firm rear area and base of material support he provided. Thus the only really valid major criticism comes from anti-Communists, because without Stalin, at least according to the Chinese, the Communists would not have won.

Stalin’s role in the Spanish Civil War likewise comes under fire from the “left.” Again taking their cue from Trotsky and such professional anti-Communist ideologues as George Orwell, many “socialists” claim that Stalin sold out the Loyalists. A similar criticism is made about Stalin’s policies in relation to the Greek partisans in the late 1940s, which we will discuss later. According to these “left” criticisms, Stalin didn’t “care” about either of these struggles, because of his preoccupation with internal development and “Great Russian power.” The simple fact of the matter is that in both cases Stalin was the only national leader anyplace in the world to support the popular forces, and he did this in the face of stubborn opposition within his own camp and the dangers of military attack from the leading aggressive powers in the world (Germany and Italy in the late 1930s, the U.S. ten years later).

Because the U.S.S.R., following Stalin’s policies, had become a modem industrial nation by the mid-1930s, it was able to ship to the Spanish Loyalists Soviet tanks and planes that were every bit as advanced as the Nazi models. Because the U.S.S.R. was the leader of the world revolutionary forces, Communists from many nations were able to organize the International Brigades, which went to resist Mussolini’s fascist divisions and the crack Nazi forces, such as the Condor Legion, that were invading the Spanish Republic. The capitalist powers, alarmed by this international support for the Loyalists, planned joint action to stop it. In March 1937, warships of Germany, Italy, France, and Great Britain began jointly policing the Spanish coast. Acting on a British initiative, these same countries formed a bloc in late 1937 to isolate the Soviet Union by implementing a policy they called “non-intervention,” which Lloyd George, as leader of the British Opposition, labeled a clear policy of support for the fascists. Mussolini supported the British plan and called for a’ campaign “to drive Bolshevism from Europe.” Stalin’s own foreign ministry, which was still dominated by aristocrats masquerading as proletarian revolutionaries, sided with the capitalist powers. The New York Times of October 29, 1937, describes how the “unyielding” Stalin, representing “Russian stubbornness,” refused to go along: “A struggle has been going on all this week between Joseph Stalin and Foreign Commissar Maxim Litvinoff,” who wished to accept the British plan. Stalin stuck to his guns, and the Soviet Union refused to grant Franco international status as a combatant, insisting that it had every right in the world to continue aiding the duly elected government of Spain, which it did until the bitter end.

The Spanish Civil War was just one part of the world-wide imperialist aims of the Axis powers. Japan was pushing ahead in its conquest of Asia. Japanese forces overran Manchuria in 1931; only nine years after the Red Army had driven them out of Siberia, and then invaded China on a full-scale.

Ethiopia fell to Italy in 1936. A few months later, Germany and Japan signed an anti-Comintern pact, which was joined by Italy in 1937. In 1938, Germany invaded Austria. Hitler, who had come to power on a promise to rid Germany and the world of the Red menace, was now almost prepared to launch his decisive strike against the Soviet Union.

The other major capitalist powers surveyed the scene with mixed feelings. On one hand, they would have liked nothing better than to see the Communist threat ended once and for all, particularly with the dirty work being done by the fascist nations. On the other hand, they had to recognize that fascism was then the ideology of the have-not imperialists, upstarts whose global aims included a challenge to the hegemony of France, Britain, and the United States. Should they move now to check these expansionists’ aims or should they let them develop unchecked, hoping that they would move against the Soviet Union rather than Western Europe and the European colonies in Asia and Africa?

In 1938 they found the answer, a better course than either of these two alternatives. They would appease Hitler by giving him the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia. This would not only dissuade the Nazis from attacking their fellow capitalists to the west, but it would also remove the last physical barriers to the east, the mountains of the Czech Sudetenland. All logic indicated to them that they had thus gently but firmly turned the Nazis eastward, and even given them a little shove in that direction. Now all they had to do was to wait, and, after the fascist powers and the Soviet Union had devastated each other, they might even be able to pick up the pieces. So they hailed the Munich agreement of September 30, 1938, as the guarantee of “Peace in our time”-for them.

Stalin had offered to defend Czechoslovakia militarily against the Nazis if anyone of the European capitalist countries would unite with the Soviet Union in this effort. The British and the French had evaded what they considered this trap, refusing to allow the Soviet Union even to participate at Munich. They now stepped back and waited, self-satisfied, to watch the Reds destroyed. It seemed they didn’t have long to wait. Within a few months, Germany seized all of Czechoslovakia, giving some pieces of the fallen republic to its allies Poland and Hungary.

By mid-March 1939 the Nazis had occupied Bohemia and Moravia, the Hungarians had seized Carpatho-Ukraine, and Germany had formally annexed Memel. At the end of that month, Madrid fell and all of Spain surrendered to the fascists. On May 7, Germany and Italy announced a formal military and political alliance. The stage was set for the destruction of the Soviet Union.

Four days later, on May 11, 1939, the first attack came.

The crack Japanese army that had invaded Manchuria struck Into the Soviet Union. The Soviet-Japanese war of 1939 is conveniently omitted from our history books, but this war, together with the Anglo-French collaboration with the Nazis and fascists in the west, form the context for another of Stalin’s great “crimes,” the Soviet-German non-aggression pact of August 1939. Stalin recognized that the main aim of the Axis was to destroy the Soviet Union, and that the other capitalist nations were conniving with this scheme. He also knew that sooner or later the main Axis attack would come on the U.S.S.R.’s western front. Meanwhile, Soviet forces were being diverted to the east, to fend off the Japanese invaders. The non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany, which horrified and disillusioned Communist sympathizers, particularly intellectuals, in the capitalist nations, was actually one of the most brilliant strategic moves of Stalin’s life, and perhaps of diplomatic  history. From the Soviet point of view it accomplished five things:

(1) it brought needed time to prepare for the Nazi attack, which was thus delayed two years;


(2) it allowed the Red Army to concentrate on smashing the Japanese invasion, without having to fight on two fronts; they decisively defeated the Japanese within three months;


(3) it allowed the Soviet Union to retake the sections of White Russia and the Ukraine that had been invaded by Poland during the Russian Civil War and were presently occupied by the Polish military dictatorship; this meant that the forthcoming Nazi invasion would have to pass through a much larger area defended by the Red Army;


(4) it also allowed Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which also had been part of Russia before the Civil War, to become part of the U.S.S.R. as Soviet Republics; this meant that the forthcoming Nazi attack could not immediately outflank Leningrad;


(5) most important of all, it destroyed the Anglo-French strategy of encouraging a war between the Axis powers and the Soviet Union while they enjoyed neutrality; World War II was to begin as a war between the Axis powers and the other capitalist nations, and the Soviet Union, if forced into it, was not going to have to fight alone against the combined fascist powers. The worldwide defeat of the fascist Axis was in part a product of Stalin’s diplomatic strategy, as well as his later military strategy.

But before we get to that, we have to go back in time to the events for which Stalin has been most damned-the purge, trials. Most readers of this book have been taught that the major defendants in these trials were innocent, and that here we see most clearly Stalin’s vicious cruelty and paranoia.

This is certainly not the place to sift through all the evidence and retry the major defendants, but we must recognize that there is a directly contradictory view of the trials and that there is plenty of evidence to support that view.

It is almost undeniable that many of the best-known defendants had indeed organized clandestine groups whose aim was to overthrow the existing government. It is also a fact that Kirov, one of the leaders of that government, was murdered by a secret group on December 1, 1934. And it is almost beyond dispute that there were systematic, very widespread, and partly successful attempts, involving party officials, to sabotage the development of Soviet industry. Anyone who doubts this should read an article entitled “Red Wreckers in Russia” in the Saturday Evening Post, January 1, 1938, in which John Littlepage, an anti-Communist American engineer, describes in detail what he saw of this sabotage while he was working in the Soviet Union. In fact, Littlepage gives this judgment:

For ten years I have worked alongside some of the many recently shot, imprisoned or exiled in Russia as wreckers. Some of my friends have asked me whether or not I believe these men and women are guilty as charged. I have not hesitated a moment in replying that I believe most of them are guilty.

To those who hold the orthodox U.S. view of the purge trials, perhaps the most startling account is the book Mission to Moscow, by Joseph E. Davies, U. S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938. Davies is a vigorous defender of capitalism and a former head of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. An experienced trial lawyer, he points out that, “I had myself prosecuted and defended men charged with crime in many cases.” He personally attended the purge trials on a regular basis. Most of his accounts and judgments are contained in official secret correspondence to the State Department; the sole purpose of these dispatches was to provide realistic an assessment as possible of what was actually going on. His summary judgment in his confidential report to the Secretary of State on March 17, 1938, is:

….. it is my opinion so far as the political defendants are concerned sufficient crimes under Soviet law, among those charged in the indictment, were established by the proof and beyond a reasonable doubt to justify the verdict of guilty of treason and the adjudication of the punishment provided by Soviet criminal statutes. The opinion of those diplomats who attended the trial most regularly was general that the case had established the fact that there was a formidable political opposition and an exceedingly serious plot, which explained to the diplomats man! of the hitherto unexplained developments of the last six months in the Soviet Union. The only difference of opinion that seemed to exist was the degree to which the plot had been implemented by different defendants and the degree to which the conspiracy had become centralized. (po 272 )

Davies himself admits to being puzzled and confused at the time because of the vast scope of the conspiracy and its concentration high into the Soviet government. It is only later, after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, in the summer of 1941, that Davies feels he understands what he actually occurred.

Thinking over these things, there came a flash in my mind of a possible new significance to some of the things that happened in Russia when I was there.

None of us in Russia in 1937 and 1938 were thinking in terms of “Fifth Column” activities. The phrase was not current. It is comparatively recent that we have found in our language phrases descriptive of Nazi technique such as “Fifth Column” and “internal aggression.”…

As I ruminated over this situation, I suddenly saw the picture as I should have seen it at the time. The story had been told in the so-called treason or purge trials of 1937 and 1938 which I had attended and listened to. In reexamining the record of these cases and also what I had written at the time from this new angle, I found that practically every device of German Fifth Columnist activity, as we now know it, was disclosed and laid bare by the confessions and testimony elicited at these trials of self-confessed “Quislings” in Russia.

It was clear that the Soviet government believed that these activities existed, was thoroughly alarmed, and had proceeded to crush them vigorously. By 1941, when the German invasion came, they had wiped out any Fifth Column which had been organized.

All of these trials, purges, and liquidations, which seemed so violent at the time and shocked the world, are now quite clearly a part of a vigorous and determined effort of the Stalin government to protect itself from not only revolution from within but from attack from without. They went to work thoroughly to clean up and clean out all treasonable elements within the country. All doubts were resolved in favor of the government. (p. 280)

In 1956, at the Twentieth Party Congress, when Khrushchev launched his famous attack on Stalin, he dredged up all the denunciations of the purge trials circulated for two decades by the Trotskyite and capitalist press. He called Stalin a “murderer,” a “criminal,” a “bandit,” a “despot,” etc.

He asserted the innocence of many who had been imprisoned, exiled, or shot during the purge trials. But in doing so, he conveniently forgot two things: what he had said at the time about those trials, and what Stalin had said. On June 6, 1937, to the Fifth Party Conference of Moscow Province, Khrushchev had declared:

Our Party will mercilessly crush the band of traitors and betrayers, and wipe out all the Trotskyist-Right dregs. . . .We shall totally annihilate the enemies-to the last man and scatter their ashes to the winds.

On June 8, 1938, at the Fourth Party Conference of Kiev province, Khrushchev avowed:

We have annihilated a considerable number of enemies, but still not all. Therefore, it is necessary to keep our eyes open. We should bear firmly in mind the words of Comrade Stalin, that as long as capitalist encirclement exists, spies and saboteurs will be smuggled into our country.

Earlier, at a mass rally in Moscow, in January 1937, Khrushchev had condemned all those who had attacked Stalin in these words: “In lifting their hand against Comrade Stalin, They lifted it against all of us, against the working class and the working people”

As for Stalin himself, on the other hand, he had publicly admitted, not in 1956, but at least as early as 1939, that innocent people had been convicted and punished in the purge:

It cannot be said that the purge was not accompanied by grave mistakes. There were unfortunately more mistakes than might have been expected.” (Report to the Eighteenth Congress.)

That is one reason why many of those tried and convicted in the last trials were high officials from the secret police, the very people guilty of forcing false confessions.

There are certainly good grounds for criticizing both the conduct and the extent of the purge. But that criticism must begin by facing the facts that an anti-Soviet conspiracy did exist within the Party, that it had some ties with the Nazis, who were indeed preparing to invade the country, and that one result of the purge was that the ‘Soviet Union was the only country in all of Europe that, when invaded by the Nazis, did not have an active Fifth Column. It must also recognize that capitalism has since been restored in the Soviet Union, on the initiative of leading members of the Party bureaucracy, and so it is hardly fantastical or merely paranoid to think that such a thing was possible. The key question about the purges is whether there was a better way to prevent either a Nazi victory or the restoration of capitalism. And the answer to that question probably lies in the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966-67. Instead of relying on courts and police exiles and executions, the Chinese mobilized hundreds of ‘millions of people to exposé and defeat the emerging Party bureaucracy that was quietly restoring capitalism and actively collaborating with the great imperialist power to the north. But while doing this, they carefully studied Stalin, both for his achievements and for what he was unable to do. For Stalin himself had seen as early as 1928 the need to mobilize mass criticism from below to overcome the rapidly developing Soviet bureaucracy. It is also possible that the two goals the purges tuned to meet were mutually exclusive. That is, the emergency measures necessary to secure the country against foreign invasion may actually have helped the bureaucracy to consolidate its power.

In any event, when the Nazis and their allies did invade they met the most united and fierce resistance encountered by the fascist forces anyplace in the world. Everywhere the people were dedicated to socialism. Even in the Ukraine where the Nazis tried to foment old grievances and anti-Russian nationalism, they never dared meddle with the collective farms. In fact, Stalin’s military strategy in World War II like his strategy during the Russian Civil War was based firmly on the loyalty of the masses of workers, peasants, and soldiers.

Everybody, except for Khrushchev and his friends, who in 1956 tried to paint Stalin as a military incompetent and meddler, recognizes him as a great strategist. ‘

Nazi military strategy was based on the blitzkrieg (lightning war). Spearheaded by highly mobile armor, their way paved by massive air assaults, the Nazi army would break through any static line at a single point, and then spread out rapidly behind that line, cutting off its supplies and then encircling the troops at the front. On April 9, 1940, the Nazis, vastly outnumbered, opened their assault on the combined forces of Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Great Britain. By June 4, virtually the last of these fighting forces had been evacuated in panic from Dunkirk and each of the continental countries lay under a fascist power, the victim of blitzkrieg combined with internal betrayal. Having secured his entire western front, and then with air power alone having put the great maritime power Britain into a purely defensive position, Hitler could now move his crack armies and his entire air force into position to annihilate the Soviet Union.

The first step was to consolidate Axis control in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania were already fascist allies. Italy had overrun Albania. By early April 1941 Greece and Yugoslavia were occupied. Crete was seized in May. On June 22, the greatest invasion of all time was hurled at the Soviet heartland.

One hundred seventy-nine German divisions, twenty-two Romanian divisions, fourteen Finnish divisions, thirteen Hungarian divisions, ten Italian divisions, one Slovak division, and one Spanish division, a total of well over three million troops, the best armed and most experienced in the world, attacked along a 2,000-mile front, aiming their spearheads directly at Leningrad, Moscow, and Stalingrad. Instead of holding a line, the Red Army beat an orderly retreat, giving up space for time. Behind them they left nothing but scorched earth and bands of guerrilla fighters, constantly harassing the lengthening fascist supply lines. Before the invaders reached industrial centers such as Kharkov and Smolensk, the workers of these cities disassembled their machines and carried them beyond the Ural Mountains, where production of advanced Soviet tanks, planes, and artillery was to continue throughout the war.

The main blow was aimed directly at the capital, Moscow, whose outskirts were reached by late fall. Almost all the government offices had been evacuated to the east. But Stalin remained in the capital, where he assumed personal command of the war. On December 2, 1941, the Nazis were stopped in the suburbs of Moscow. On December 6, Stalin ordered the first major counterattack to occur in World War II. The following day, Japan, which had wisely decided against renewing their invasion of the Soviet Union, attacked Pearl Harbor.

From December until May the Red Army moved forward, using a strategy devised by Stalin. Instead of confronting the elite Nazi corps head on, the Red forces would divide into smaller units and then move to cut off the fascist supply lines, thus encircling and capturing the spearheads of the blitzkrieg.

This was the ideal counterstrategy, but it depended on a high level of political loyalty, consciousness, and independence on the part of these small units. No capitalist army could implement this strategy. By the end of May 1942 Moscow was safe and the fascist forces had given ground in the Ukraine.

In the early summer, the Nazi forces, heavily reinforced, moved to seize Stalingrad and the Caucasus, thus cutting the Soviet Union in two. The greatest and perhaps the most decisive battle in history was now to take place. The siege of Stalingrad lasted from August 1942 until February 1943. As early as September, the Nazi forces, which were almost as large as the entire U.S. force at its peak in Vietnam, penetrated the city and were stopped only by house-to-house fighting.

But unknown to the Germans, because Soviet security was perfect, they were actually in a vast trap, personally designed by Stalin: A gigantic pincers movement had begun as soon as the fascist forces reached the city. In late November the two Soviet forces met and the trap snapped shut. From this trap 330,000 elite Nazi troops were never to emerge. In February 1943 the remnants, about 100,000 troops, surrendered.

The back of Nazi military power had been broken. The Red Army now moved onto a vast offensive which was not to stop before it had liberated all of Eastern and Central Europe and seized Berlin, the capital of the Nazi empire, in the spring of 1945.

It was the Soviet Union that had beaten the fascist army. The second front, which Great Britain and the U.S. had promised as early as 1942, was not to materialize until June 14, after it was clear that the Nazis had already been decisively defeated. In fact, the Anglo-American invasion was aimed more at stopping communism than defeating fascism. (This invasion took place during the same period that the British Army “liberated” Greece, which had already been liberated by the Communist-led Resistance.) For under Communist leadership, underground resistance movements, based primarily on the working class, had developed throughout Europe. Because the Communists, both from the Soviet Union and within the other European nations, were the leaders of the entire anti-fascist struggle, by the end of the war they had by far the largest parties in all the nations of Eastern and Central Europe, as well as Italy and France, where the fascists’ power had been broken more by internal resistance than by the much-heralded Allied invasion. In fact, it is likely that if the Anglo-American forces had not invaded and occupied Italy and France, within a relatively short time the Communists would have been in power in both countries.

As soon as victory in Germany was assured, in May 1945, much of the Soviet Army began to make the 5,000-mile journey to face the Japanese Army. At Potsdam, July 17 to August 2, Stalin formally agreed to begin combat operations against Japan by August 8. On August 6, the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan, in what is now widely considered the opening shot of the so-called “Cold War” against the U.S.S.R. On August 8, the Red Army engaged the main Japanese force, which was occupying Manchuria. The Soviet Army swept forward, capturing Manchuria, the southern half of Sakhalin Island, and the Kuriles, and liberating, by agreement, the northern half of Korea. Except for the Chinese Communist battles with the Japanese, these Soviet victories were probably the largest land engagements in the entire war against Japan.

The Soviet Union had also suffered tremendously while taking the brunt of the fascist onslaught. Between twenty and twenty-five million Soviet citizens gave their lives in defense of their country and socialism. The industrial heartland lay in ruins. The richest agricultural regions had been devastated.

In addition to the seizure of many cities and the destruction of much of Moscow and Stalingrad, there was the desperate condition of Leningrad, which had withstood a massive, two-year Nazi siege.

Once again, the Soviet Union was to perform economic miracles. Between 1945 and 1950 they were to rebuild not only everything destroyed in the war, but vast new industries and agricultural resources. And all this was conducted under the threat of a new attack by the capitalist powers, led by the nuclear blackmail of the U.S., which opened up a worldwide “Cold War” against communism.

Spearheaded by British and rearmed Japanese troops, the French restored their empire in Indochina. U.S. troops occupied the southern half of Korea and established military bases throughout the Pacific. Europe itself became a vast base area for the rapidly expanding U.S. empire, which, despite its very minimal role in the war (or perhaps because of it), was to gain the greatest profit from it. One European showdown against the popular forces occurred in Greece.

Here we meet another “left” criticism of Stalin, similar to that made about his role in Spain but even further removed from the facts of the matter. As in the rest of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, the Communists had led and armed the heroic Greek underground and partisan fighters. In 1944 the British sent an expeditionary force commanded by General Scobie to land in Greece, ostensibly to aid in the disarming of the defeated Nazi and Italian troops. As unsuspecting as the comrades in Vietnam and Korea who were to be likewise ‘assisted’, the Greek partisans were slaughtered by their British allies who used tanks and planes in an all-out offensive, which ended in February 1945 with the establishment of a right-wing dictatorship under a restored monarchy. The British even rearmed and used the defeated Nazi “Security Battalions.” After partially recovering from this treachery, the partisan forces rebuilt then guerrilla apparatus and prepared to resist the combined forces of Greek fascism and Anglo-American imperialism. By late 1948 full-scale civil war raged, with the right-wing forces backed up by the intervention of U.S. planes, artillery, and troops. The Greek resistance had its back broken by another betrayal not at all by Stalin but by Tito, who closed the Yugoslav borders to the Soviet military supplies that were already hard put to reach the landlocked popular forces. This was one of the two main reasons why Stalin, together with the Chinese, led the successful fight to have the Yugoslav “Communist” Party officially thrown out of the international Communist movement.

Stalin understood very early the danger to the world revolution posed by Tito’s ideology, which served as a Trojan horse for U.S. Imperialism. He also saw that Tito’s revisionist ideas, including the development of a new bureaucratic ruling elite, were making serious headway inside the Soviet Union. In 1950, the miraculous postwar reconstruction was virtually complete, and the victorious Chinese revolution had decisively broken through the global anti-Communist encirclement and suppression campaign. At this point Stalin began to turn his attention to the most serious threat to the world revolution, the bureaucratic-technocratic class that had not only emerged inside the Soviet Union but had begun to pose a serious challenge to the leadership of the working class. In the last few years of his life, Joseph Stalin, whom the present rulers of the U.S.S.R. would like to paint as a mad recluse, began to open up a vigorous cultural offensive against the power of this new elite. “Marxism and Linguistics” and “Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.” are milestones in this offensive, major theoretical works aimed at the new bourgeois authorities beginning to dominate various areas of Soviet thought.

In “Economic Problems of Socialism in the U.S.S.R.,” published a few months before his death and intended to serve as a basis for discussion in the Nineteenth Party Congress of 1952, Stalin seeks to measure scientifically how far the Soviet Union had come in the development of socialism and how far it had to go to achieve communism. He criticizes two extreme tendencies in Soviet political economy: mechanical determinism and voluntarism. He sets this criticism within an international context where, he explains, the sharpening of contradictions among the capitalist nations is inevitable.

Stalin points out that those who think that objective laws, whether of socialist or capitalist political economy, can be abolished by will are dreamers. But he reserves his real scorn for those who make the opposite error, the technocrats who assert that socialism is merely a mechanical achievement of a certain level of technology and productivity, forgetting both the needs and the power of the people. He shows that when these technocrats cause “the disappearance of man as the aim of socialist production,” they arrive at the triumph of bourgeois ideology. These proved to be prophetic words.

In his final public speech, made to that Nineteenth Party Congress in 1952, Stalin explains a correct revolutionary line for the parties that have not yet led their revolutions. The victories of the world revolution have constricted the capitalist world, causing the decay of the imperialist powers. Therefore the bourgeoisie of the Western democracies inherit the banners of the defeated fascist powers, with whom they establish a world-wide alliance while turning to fascism at home and the would-be bourgeoisie of the neocolonial nations become merely their puppets. Communists then become the main defenders of the freedoms and progressive principles established by the bourgeoisie when they were a revolutionary class and defended by them until the era of their decay. Communists will lead the majority of people in their respective nations only when they raise and defend the very banners thrown overboard by the bourgeoisie-national independence and democratic freedoms. It is no Surprise that these final words of Stalin have been known only to the Cold War “experts” and have been expunged throughout the Soviet Union and the nations of Eastern Europe.

A few months after this speech, Stalin died. Very abruptly, the tide of revolution was temporarily reversed. Stalin’s death came in early March 1953. By that July, the new leaders of the Soviet Union forced the Korean people to accept a division of their nation and a permanent occupation of the southern half by US forces. A year later, they forced the victorious Viet Minh liberation army, which had thoroughly defeated the French despite massive U.S. aid, to withdraw from the entire southern half of that country, while the U.S. proclaimed that its faithful puppet, Ngo Dinh Diem, was now president of the fictitious nation of South Vietnam. When the Chinese resisted their global sellouts of the revolution, these new Soviet leaders first tried to destroy the Chinese economy, then tried to overthrow the government from within and when that failed, actually began aimed incursions by Russian troops under a policy of nuclear blackmail copied from the U.S. In Indonesia, the Soviet Union poured ammunition and spare parts into the right-wing military forces while they were massacring half a million Communists, workers, and peasants.

And so on, around the world. Meanwhile, internally, they restored capitalism as rapidly as they could. By the mid-1960s, unemployment had appeared in the Soviet Union for the first time since the first Five Year Plan. By the end of the 1960s, deals had been made with German, Italian, and Japanese capitalism for the exploitation of Soviet labor and vast Soviet resources.

From an anti-Communist point of view, Stalin was certainly one of the great villains of history. While he lived, the Red forces consolidated their power in one country and then led what seemed to be an irresistible world-wide revolutionary upsurge. By the time he died, near hysteria reigned in the citadels of capitalism. In Washington, frenzied witch hunts tried to ferret out the Red menace that was supposedly about to seize control of the last great bastion of capitalism. All this changed, for the time being, after Stalin’s death, when the counterrevolutionary forces were able to seize control even within the Soviet Union.

From a Communist point of view, Stalin was certainly one of the greatest of revolutionary leaders. But still we must ask why it was that the Soviet Union could fall so quickly to a new capitalist class. For Communists, it is as vital to understand Stalin’s weaknesses and errors as it is to understand his historic achievements.

Stalin’s main theoretical and practical error lay in underestimating the bourgeois forces within the superstructure of Soviet society. It is ridiculous to pose the problem the way we customarily hear it posed: that the seeds of capitalist restoration were sown under Stalin. This assumes that the Soviet garden was a Communist paradise, totally free of weeds, which then somehow dropped in from the skies. Socialism, as Stalin saw more keenly than anybody before, is merely a transitional stage on the way to communism. It begins with the conquest of political power by the working class, but that is only a bare beginning. Next comes the much more difficult task of establishing socialist economic forms, including a high level of productivity based on collective labor. Most difficult of all is the cultural revolution, in which socialist ideas and attitudes, based on collective labor and the political power of the working people, overthrow the bourgeois world view, based on competition, ambition, and the quest for personal profit and power and portraying “human nature” as corrupt, vicious, and selfish, that is, as the mirror image of bourgeois man.

Stalin succeeded brilliantly in carrying through the political and economic revolutions. That he failed in consolidating the Cultural Revolution under the existing internal and external conditions can hardly be blamed entirely on him. He certainly saw the need for it, particularly when the time seemed most ripe to make it a primary goal, in the 1950s. But it must be admitted that he underestimated the threat posed by the new intelligentsia, as we see most strikingly in the “Report to the Eighteenth Party Congress,” where he unstintingly praises them and denies that they could constitute a new social class.

This error in theory led to an error in practice in which, despite his earlier calls for organizing mass criticism from below, he tended to rely on one section of the bureaucracy to check or defeat another. He was unwilling to unleash a real mass movement like the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and, as a result, the masses were made increasingly less capable of carrying out such a gigantic task. All this is easy to say in hindsight, now that we have the advantage of having witnessed the Chinese success, which may prove to be the most important single event in human history. But who would have had the audacity to recommend such a course in the face of the Nazi threat of the late 1930s or the U.S. threat after World War II, when the Soviet Union lay in ruins? In 1967, when the Chinese Cultural Revolution was at its height and the country was apparently in chaos, many revolutionaries around the world were dismayed. Certainly, they acknowledged, China had to have a cultural revolution. But not at that moment, when the Vietnamese absolutely needed that firm rear base area and when U.S. imperialism was apparently looking for any opening to smash China. And so it must have looked to Stalin, who postponed the Soviet Cultural Revolution until it was too late.

It is true that socialism in the Soviet Union has been reversed. But Stalin must be held primarily responsible not for its failure to achieve communism but rather for its getting as far along the road as it did. It went much further than the “left” and the right Opposition, the capitalists, and almost everybody in the world thought possible. It went far enough to pass the baton to a fresher runner, the workers and peasants of China, who, studying and emulating Stalin, have already gone even further, as we are beginning to see.

Communiqué of the Meeting of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations of Europe

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June 25, 2013 by PCE (m-l)
Published in: Comunicados

The crisis of the capitalist system on the world level is getting still worse, and in Europe it is taking the form of a recession. At the same time, the rejection of the austerity policy is stronger and more massive than ever before; tens of millions of workers, men and women, are taking to the streets in all the capitals of Europe.

The austerity policy imposed everywhere, instead of “solving the crisis,” as the neoliberal and social liberal governments would have us believe, is deepening it. This policy is increasing the recession in the countries hardest hit by the crisis and is beginning to have consequences in which some have taken advantage of the crisis of others, as is the case of German imperialism. This policy is increasing the public debt and economic inequality, promoting unequal development as well as competition among the countries of the European Union (EU).

It is a vicious circle that the workers and peoples must break if they do not wish to be sucked into a spiral that will return them to conditions of the 19th century. The fiscal pact signed by Merkel and Sarkozy has been accepted as is by almost all the EU governments. It is a pact that combines the austerity policy and increases “competitiveness,” which clearly means greater flexibility, easier layoffs and brutal and massive falls in wages, which are presented as “costs”: we say that labor is not a “cost”, it is capital that is increasingly intolerable for the workers and peoples. The leaders of the major European imperialist powers, particularly Merkel and Hollande, are trying to impose a “European government,” a real General Staff of the financial oligarchy. In this way they are trying to strengthen the economic and political power of the oligarchy and to transform the elected institutions in the states – specifically parliaments as well as regional and local institutions – into simple transmission belts for their policies.

Taking advantage of the crisis that hit Cyprus, the European leaders have opened a new stage of trying to appraise the small savers and make them pay. It is a message, a threat to the peoples: tomorrow your savings will be confiscated by capital.

All this makes clear their true goal: super-exploit the working class, eliminate the mechanisms of social protection, weaken the fighting ability of the workers, transfer an ever greater share of the wealth created to the oligarchy, to the holders of capital who live at the expense of the workers and peoples. When poverty reaches unimaginable proportions, when hunger is a scourge that plagues millions of men, women and children, the oligarchy displays its wealth and luxury and its insulting lifestyle.

Austerity Goes Hand in Hand with Authoritarianism

Capital is carrying out its violent offensive with tremendous brutality and is trampling on democratic rights. The austerity goes hand in hand with the authoritarianism of the Troika  imposed on States and supervised governments, as in Greece, which are required to submit their accounts regularly to committees of “experts” led by the Troika.

 The workers and trade union movement is the main target of the attacks of capital. In several countries social protest is criminalized and limits are imposed on the exercise of trade union rights. The fighting sectors of the workers and the militants who are fighting against class collaboration are excluded from the unions by the leaders who practice such collaboration.

At the same time the governments and employers are carrying out an intensive campaign to discredit the unions. The government and employers are using the crisis, the large number of unemployed, etc., to pressure workers so that they do not join the unions, although this is a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution of all EU states. The migrant workers are particularly suffering from these repressive policies; they are being harassed and attacked by fascist and racist groups. They leave their countries fleeing war and poverty, for all of which the imperialist powers are responsible, particularly in Africa, and they suffer super-exploitation and racism.

In various countries the progressive, political and trade union movements are mobilizing and fighting so that these immigrant men and women have the same rights as their class brothers and sisters.

Also in many EU countries racist and fascist groups and parties are spreading their ideas which are repeated by the large media in order to influence broad sections of the popular masses. To the traditional discourse of the xenophobic and racist extreme right there is now added a dangerous populist discourse that mixes “social” formulations with rabid nationalism. They use the discontent of the masses and the rejection of the parties applying austerity policies, both those of the right and the left.

The Crisis Is Sharpening the Contradictions between the Imperialist Powers and Imperialist Blocs

The problem of control of energy resources, raw materials, strategic areas and markets is the main cause of wars of aggression and military intervention by the imperialist powers. After Libya, its oil and its riches, now it is Mali that is suffering the policy of war. French and British imperialism were the most involved in the war in Libya, French imperialism is the one that launched the war in Mali, but both have turned to their European and EU allies for help in these reactionary actions. At the same time they are maintaining troops in Afghanistan, and other countries are in the crosshairs of the imperialist powers, particularly Syria.

U.S. imperialism and its military arm, NATO, is pressing its European allies to take charge, particularly the “European” component of NATO, and they are committed even more financially and militarily. The fight within each country to leave NATO, as well as for its outright dissolution, is completely relevant today.

The peoples of Europe have nothing to gain from the war-mongering policy that only serves the interests of the oligarchy. The people are interested in increasing their ties of solidarity with those who are suffering from plunder and domination by the European imperialist powers, particularly the peoples of Africa, in order to fight united against the system of oppression and exploitation.

Our Camp Is That of the Workers and Peoples

The aspiration for united struggles against austerity, against the dictates of the Troika, is growing. Currently, more than ever, the problem is put forward of making these struggles converge and developing solidarity across borders.

In various countries the rejection of the austerity policy coincides with opposition to the Troika, the euro and the EU. The supporters of this Europe of reaction and capital are worried by this rejection and are trying to avoid it with the reactionary positions raised by the fascist and nationalist parties and organizations, which do not question the capitalist system but divide the peoples and pit them against each other.

The reformist forces are responding to these protests with a pathetic and deceptive call for a “social Europe” that in no way corresponds to reality.

We proclaim that the people have the right to decide to leave the euro and also the EU. We also know that not all the European countries belong to the Euro zone.

Along with the progressive forces who defend this position, we state that this is a problem linked to the issue of the defense of sovereignty; we support this fight as part of the struggle against the austerity policy imposed by the EU.

We state that if a people decides and brings about its withdrawal from the Euro, we stand in solidarity with the fight that will be waged against the offensive of the oligarchy, which will do everything possible to make them pay for that decision.

In any case, we defend the slogan of refusing to pay the debt, whether in euros or in any other currency.

The breadth of the workers and popular resistance, which must be developed, puts forward the problem of the political solution that we must give to this increase in the class struggle. The working class is in the vanguard of these battles and broad sections of the working masses of the cities and countryside are joining it on the streets and in demonstrations. The problem of the unity of the working class and the unity of all sections of the people are the basis for carrying out a policy of the united front, which has already taken concrete forms in different countries.

Our parties and organizations are calling for developing this policy everywhere, with the perspective of the revolutionary transformation of society and the development of international solidarity.

Germany, June 2013

Communist Party of the Workers of DENMARK (APK)
Communist Party of the Workers of FRANCE (PCOF)
Organization for the Reconstruction of a Communist Party of GERMANY (Arbeit zukunft)
Movement for the Reorganization of the KKE (1918-1955) GREECE
Communist Platform of ITALY
Communist Party of SPAIN (M-L)
Revolutionary Communist Party of TURKEY

Source

Anasintaxi KKE (1918-55): Crisis and the bankruptcy of Greek economy

 

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In the last five years, a steep deterioration in the condition of the Greek economy has been observed – a destructive course that has eventually led to bankruptcy, contrary to the completely unsubstantiated claims of both the big bourgeois and the Khruschevite parties.

Side by side with the objective economic laws, the implementation of the most extreme neoliberal financial policy by the reactionary government of Karamanlis intensified even further the already existing problems of the Greek economy, aggravating basic economic indicators.

In 2009, the condition of the Greek economy became aggravated to the very extreme point that the government of Karamanlis was not able to work out the state budget – an economic situation characterized by very high inflation and successive waves of high prices, rise in mass unemployment to around 15% and rising rapidly, a drop in industrial and agricultural production, a tremendous deficit increase to over 14% of GDP (more than 30 billion Euros), an increase of the external debt to an overwhelming level, around 120% of GDP (more than 300 billion Euros).

The problems of the Greek economy have deepened even more with the outbreak of the global financial crisis. However, it has to be noted that the crisis of the Greek economy preceded the global financial crisis, since it had already hit, first and foremost, the construction sector, which, as it is known, is linked to a series of industrial branches.

The overwhelming external debt and the very large deficit led the Greek economy to bankruptcy, resulting in the country becoming the “weak link” of the imperialist European Union (EU) and the object of concerted attacks of international speculative and usurious capital – attacks related not only to the Greek economy, but also to the Euro, in the context of the Euro-Dollar antagonism.

In 2009, the terrible financial condition and bankruptcy of the Greek economy led to the “changing of the guard,” initially the removal of Karamanlis’s government and subsequently the defeat of his party in the elections as well as the entry of the country into supervision, initially by the organs of the imperialist EU, and subsequently by the triple austerity plan of the Commission-European Central Bank (ECB)-International Monetary Fund (IMF), that is, it led the country to a new occupation, without military presence.

The new measures consisted in unprecedented decrease in wages and pensions, increase in indirect taxes, etc. and attack on social security rights (an increase in retirement age limits, low pensions, etc.) by the “troika” of the Commission-ECB-IMF, in agreement with the new social-liberal Papandreou government, which deepened the proletariat’s absolute degradation to the extreme and annihilated in one night all the gains of the working class. In response, the working people participated in strikes and massive demonstrations, even though the reformist leaders of GSEE-ADEDY (General Confederation of Greek Workers-Civil Servants’ Confederation) declared the first general strike very belatedly, the first on May 5, and the second one on May 20.

Yet, despite the massive participation of working people in the strikes, there has not been UNITY on the level of gatherings and demonstrations during strikes, resulting in the obstruction of their MASSIVENESS and the undermining beforehand of the working people’s struggle against these unprecedented measures. The UNITY of strike rallies is a presupposition of MASSIVENESS. MASSIVENESS cannot be achieved without UNITY, an issue directly connected to the strikebreaking role of the reformist leaders of PAME (the trade union controlled by the “Communist” Party of Greece-“K”KE).

The strike-breakers-reformist leaders of PAME – through the permanent fragmentation of strike rallies with their separate gatherings – in the past helped the government of the monarcho-fascist party of Nea Dimokratia, with C. Karamanlis as prime minister, to promote and implement all the anti-popular and anti-worker measures; today, by continuing the same disruptive tactic in strike rallies, they are in the service of the government of the big bourgeois PASOK, and they are helping-enabling it to pass the present annihilating measures. For it is not possible for the reformist leaders of PAME to not understand that with their disruptive tactic they immediately break the UNITY of strike rallies, obstruct their MASSIVENESS and thus render the strike rallies INEFFICIENT beforehand.

The new, even more annihilating measures, that were taken and “sucked dry” the poor, that it are being planned to be passed for the social security slaughter of workers’ rights with the further looting of THEIR OWN MONEY, with the elimination of provisions in health and pensions (the class callousness of cutting two pensions per year had already preceded this), those that the extortions of the imperialists will continually demand, cannot be repelled by the working people if there is no MASSIVE UNITY, which are the qualities that can make strike rallies EFFICIENT, that is, capable of defeating or holding back the attacks of capital. This was evident in the case of the great strike rally of the reformist GSEE-ADEDY, which was the only efficient one, forcing Simitis’s government to withdraw the draft of the bill for Social Security in 2001. Now, the messages of the spontaneous worker and popular response are the same. The great strike of May 5, with a gathering of 250.000 people in Athens alone, smashed in practice the rationale of isolationism, disruption of unity and strike-breaking. The participation en masse of working people within the union blocs, the gathering was UNIFIED and showed the way for the working class to win demands: the way of militant unity. The militant voice and action of the working people, the unemployed, the youth, the pensioners, was overshadowed by the throwing of a Molotov cocktail into a Marfin Bank branch office, which, regardless of the intentions of those who threw it, caused the death of three young working people: this is a reactionary criminal act, completely alien and hostile to the workers’ movement. The responsibilities of the banker Vgenopoulos and Marfin Bank, who must be brought to court, are also tremendous (since they blackmailed the workers to go to work, they “locked” the door of the bank while the workers were inside, etc.).

The working people showed once more the way to confront the crisis:

  • Capitalist industrialists and bankers must pay from their fabulous profits, along with all tax evaders
  • Business taxation must be increased from 20-25% to 35-40%, with a further increase in taxation when businesses fire workers and do not invest productively
  • The fabulous landed and other property of the Church, which does not belong to it, must be taxed in its entirety
  • Indirect taxes hitting exclusively the broad lower masses must be decreased
  • Direct taxation must place the burden on the capitalists, also natural persons, without affecting the tax exemption of the poor
  • Military expenses must be decreased drastically

We demand unilateral suspension of usurious debt payments – Withdrawal from the EMU-EURO with an immediate prospect of withdrawing from the EU

In contrast to the fabrications of the government and bourgeois politicians that “the country has not gone bankrupt, along with the Khruschevite social-democrats “K”KE (Khruschevite-Brezhnevites) and SYN (Coalition of the Left of Movements and Ecology – Euro“communists”), who are also disputing the existence of bankruptcy (Papariga – “K”KE: “they are bringing back the scarecrow of bankruptcy,” “R” April 23, 2010, p. 6, Tsipras – SYN: “the tale about the dragon of bankruptcy is nice,” “Eleftherotypia” March 14, 2010), bankruptcy is a concrete and painful fact.

An analysis of the relevant economic data can only reach the conclusion that the figures show indisputably the bankruptcy of Greek economy:

  1. an overwhelming external debt of more than 300 billion Euros, or about 120% of GDP (with a minimal to nonexistent industrial production, while even the “production” of waiters decreased with the fall in tourism since last year),
  2. a huge deficit of more than 30 billion Euros or 14% of GDP,
  3. a usurious 7-10% interest rate with spread of 500-700 bps (an interest rate that only bankrupt countries borrow at),
  4. inability to service the external debt,
  5. the triple austerity program by the Commission-ECB-IMF and designation of financial politics not by the elected government but by the delegations of the imperialist organizations, and
  6. recourse to the so-called EU-IMF “support mechanism” for a further loan of 5%.

The ND was the party that had been leading and led the country’s economy to bankruptcy with mathematical precision, by doubling the external debt (more than 300 billion Euros) and multiplying the deficit by five (more than 30 billion Euros), leading to the country’s triple supervision by the Commission-ECB-IMF, and has the first and major responsibility for this reason. But the then-opposition parties, the big bourgeois PASOK, and “K”KE and SYN (the Nazi-fascist LAOS had identified with the politics of ND), are tremendously responsible as well for not revealing to the Greek people this destructive financial course, which, for at least the final two years of ND’s governing, was completely clear to the naked eye.

The condition of the bankrupt Greek economy of today is bleak, and its prospect within the framework of EMU-EURO is at an impasse. The current bleak condition of the Greek economy has obviously led to the exposure of a series of bourgeois and revisionist myths (old and new) about the relationship between Greece and the EU, regarding 1) “equal participation in the EU,” 2) “permanent growth within the EU,” 3) “convergence of the EU member states’ economies,” 4) “permanent prosperity,” 5) “decrease in interest rates,” 6) “safeguard from bankruptcy,” etc.

With these negative developments in the Greece-EU relationship, the current complete deadlock of the bankrupt Greek economy, along with the fact that the big bourgeois PASOK government will not only multiply the annihilating anti-popular and anti-worker measures, but with the “gospel” of neoliberal financial politics in its hands, it intends to satisfy even more the lust of the speculators and loan-sharks and the IMF for the total looting of any remaining profitable sectors and savage looting of the country’s overall wealth with the proportional destructive consequences, known to tens of other countries that fell into their clutches. The working class and the people must fight for the country’s withdrawal from the EMU-EURO and the declaration of unilateral suspension of external debt payments(an issue discussed in “ANASYNTAXI” No. 313, January 1-15, 2010), in combination with the general struggle for Greece’s withdrawal from the imperialist EU, a withdrawal that for the social-democrat Papariga (general secretary of “K”KE), at this moment “is not a solution in itself” (“R” March 5, 2010, p. 10) (it is the first “unwary”(?), but delightful and characteristic strip-tease by Papariga in favor of Greece staying in the EU, since the leadership of “K”KE claimed until now, of course for reasons of demagoguery, that they were in favor of the country withdrawing from it).

The working class, the youth, the city and village poor, must fight everywhere, in each workplace, each space of education, residential area, and gathering place against the awkward Khruschevite social-democrats “K”KE-SYN, who deny the existence of bankruptcy and say not even one word about the tasks that derive from it, for the creation of a broad antifascist and anti-imperialist front, which will unite in the aforementioned goals of confronting the anti-worker whirlwind and in the struggle against suppression, the curtailment of democratic gains, the fascistization of public life, which are the necessary “tools” of capitalists and their political representatives in order to pass the measures of sordidness.

June 2010

Movement for the Reorganization of the Communist Party of Greece 1918-55

Declaration of the International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations

logo_mundo-copia

With African hospitality, together with the workers and people of Tunisia, we Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organisations of the ICMLPO have taken up the debate on the international situation, the policies of imperialism, reaction and the employers; the development of the struggle of the workers and peoples; as well as the problems and perspectives of the struggle of our parties.

We confirm the existence of a deep crisis of the capitalist-imperialist system, which is developing in an unequal manner in different countries, affecting particularly, in a negative way, the working class, youth and peoples.

In spite of the neoliberal measures to ‘get out of the crisis,’ pushed by the monopolies and the ruling classes, that are trying to make us think that in this way we will definitively overcome it, reality is stubborn, the effects of the crisis continue.

U.S. imperialism is intensifying its wars of aggression, maintaining its imperialist troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are continuing their ferocious attack against the Libyan people, the threats against Iran and other peoples in order to take control of their wealth and occupy strategic positions. They openly support the military occupation by the Zionists in Palestine. The imperialists of the European Union, despite their own specific interests, fundamentally act as allies of the United States in their confrontation with Russia and China.

The attempts of U.S. imperialism and the European Union to control Syria threaten to lead to a direct military aggression in the name of NATO. Such a situation could fan the flames of a regional war, which could even lead to a new general conflagration.

We Marxist-Leninists decisively reject the imperialist intervention, we uphold the defence of the principles of self-determination of the peoples. The problems of Syria must be resolved by the workers and peoples of that country.

As all the contradictions sharpen, inevitably the interests of the imperialist powers clash, some to preserve their zones of influence, others that look for their place in a new redivision of the world; the Western imperialist powers try to maintain their rule unharmed and their areas of control, while on the other hand the emerging imperialist powers try a to occupy a place of greater leadership and territorial control in the world. This confrontation among the imperialist countries progressively leads to clashes, sometimes diplomatic ones, other times violent ones, but they always take the form of aggression and plunder of the dependent countries and greater exploitation of the working class.

China is becoming the greatest exporter of capital to the dependent countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America in search of raw materials and the extension of its markets, as well as an aggressive competitor in the market and investments in the U.S. itself and in the imperialist countries of Europe. Russia is strengthening its economy, its capacity and energy resources, as well as its military power, playing an aggressive role in the new redivision of the world. The positions of Russia and China in the Security Council opposing the military intervention in Syria have nothing to do with the national sovereignty and the rights of the Syrian people; they correspond to their own interests in contending for hegemony with the Western imperialist countries.

The working class and people show themselves in mobilisations, work stoppages and the general strike, mainly in Spain, Greece and Portugal among others, in defence of their rights and in opposition to the measures of capital that seek to place the weight of the crisis on their backs.

In North Africa and the Middle East the revolts of the peoples against tyranny, in defence of freedom and democracy, are continuing. The revolutionary processes opened up by the workers and peoples in Egypt and particularly in Tunisia continue to raise the perspective of a change from the regime of oppression and for their definitive liberation.

In Latin America the struggle of the peoples and the workers in opposition to the looting by the international mining monopolies and in defence of national sovereignty and the environment and nature are mobilising hundreds of thousands of people.

The fights of the workers, youth and peoples against the effects of the crisis, condemning capitalist imperialist rule, take place at different levels, in all the countries and regions. These struggles affirm the confidence of the working class on the path of struggle, they clarify the nature of capital and reaction, they unmask the positions of social democracy and opportunism, and, at the same time they show their limitations and weaknesses to stop the offensive of imperialism and reaction, of the employers and the governments at their service. It is up to us proletarian revolutionaries to give an ideological, political and organisational response. We take up our responsibility to involve ourselves in the organisation and fight of the working class, youth and peoples, to find the communist initiative and courage to lead those mobilisations consistently and above all, to show them the certain course of the revolution and socialism.

The strengthening of our parties, the affirmation of their links with the masses, the task of placing our programme in the street, within the reach of the fighting masses, putting ourselves at the head of the struggles, promoting and strengthening the Popular Front are the general orientations that arise from this Conference. The contribution of each party has been enriching and shows that Marxism-Leninism is being strengthened in the world, all of which places an extraordinary responsibility in our hands, to which we will know how to respond decisively.

The sharpening of the general crisis of capitalism, the imperialist aggression and the danger of a new general war, the accelerated development of the productive forces created by the scientific technical revolution, the development of the struggles of the workers, youth and peoples, raise new challenges for our parties and organisations; we must find in the course of the class combats new forms of organisation and struggle.

The liberation of the workers and peoples must be the work of the workers and peoples themselves and the unwavering responsibility of our parties and organizations.

YES it is possible to change this world

Marxism-Leninism is our guide

ICMLPO

Communist Party of Benin 
Revolutionary Communist Party – Brazil
Communist Party of the Workers of Denmark
Communist Party of Labour of the Dominican Republic
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
Communist Party of the Workers of France
Organisation for the Construction of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Platform of Italy
Revolutionary Communist Party of the Ivory Coast
Communist Party of Mexico (Marxist-Leninist)
Annahji Dimocrati (Democratic Road of Morocco)
Organization Revolution of Norway
Communist Party of Spain (Marxist-Leninist)
Party of the Workers of Tunisia
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey
Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Venezuela
Revolutionary Communist Party of Volta

From En Marcha
Central Organ of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party of Ecuador
#1601, November 23 to 29, 2012

Photoshopping away police torture in Greece

Post image for Photoshopping away police torture in Greece

By Leonidas Oikonomakis

Greek police may vainly try to photoshop away the torture of four alleged bank robbers, but they cannot gloss over the radicalization of Greek youth.

The story is as follows.

On February 1st 2013, an attempted robbery of two banks takes place in a small village of the Western Macedonia region, called Velvento. The bounty was around 180.000 euros and the police managed to arrest the robbers after a short chase. The news would have passed unnoticed, if the heavily armed robbers were not very young middle and upper-middle class boys, whom the police associates with the armed urban-guerilla group ‘Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire’.

Twenty four hours later, the police make public the photos of the bank-robbers, and the whole country is appalled by what it sees: the faces of four badly beaten 20-25 year olds, which have also been — badly — photoshopped in a vain attempt to hide the cuts and bruises, and the hands (?) that are holding the youngsters’ heads in order for them to be photographed.

The police rush through an announcement to justify themselves, claiming that only the minimum amount of violence necessary was used due to resistance during the arrest, while the Minister of Public Order Mr Dendias (the man who threatened to sue The Guardian for having published a report on the torture of 15 anti-fascist activists by the Greek police, the same man who launched a war against Greece’s squats) said that the pictures were photoshopped in order for the faces of the arrested to be more recognisable (!), claiming that no torture had taken place.

The youngsters themselves — through their families and lawyers — claim that they did not resist their arrest and that they were badly beaten up/tortured while in detention; while there is evidence (videos and pictures from the moment of the arrest) that proves that they were not beaten during the arrest, but whatever happened, it did so afterwards. Some alternative Greek media, together with some international ones, as well as Amnesty International, strongly questioned the official explanations, while the latter also commented that “the Greek authorities cannot just photoshop their problems away”.

Under heavy public criticism, the Minister had to promise that a torture investigation would take place and the results are still expected. The bank robbers are now in detention, yet they describe their actions as political, and consider themselves anarchist ‘prisoners of war’, shouting during their transfer to the Prosecutor’s office “zito i anarhia koufales!” — “long live anarchy assholes!”. What is also worth noticing is that one of the four arrested anarchists is the friend of Alexandros Grigoropoulos — the 15-year-old boy who was assassinated by police in Exarchia in 2008 — and happened to be by his side on that very moment, which surely played a big role in shaping his view of state power and police brutality.

The story is indicative of the radicalization of a young generation of Greeks, and of Greek society as a whole, under the structural conditions imposed by austerity. But it is also indicative of the way the state has chosen to deal with the voices of opposition in the country, be they legal or illegal: with repression, human rights abuses, and public humiliation.

Let’s not forget that a few months ago, the same government, the same Minister of Public Order, and the same police force, tortured — as it was proven — 15 antifascist activists for having organized an AntiFa moto-parade. And it is the same state officials who launched an attack against the country’s squats, for no obvious reason other than silencing any oppositional voices around.

It is by now obvious that the Greek state, in order to defend the extremely unpopular and unsuccessful austerity measures it has been imposing for a couple of years now, has chosen the road of repression. It is not something new: we have seen such practices in the past too — in Chile, in Argentina, and elsewhere. The difference is that in those cases we were talking about military dictatorships, while in the Greek case we are talking about a democratically-elected government, which is even more scary and unacceptable. At the same time, it is also obvious that this strategy of the state is resulting in the further radicalization of the Greek youth.

And you can’t photoshop that, koufales!

Source

International Conference of Marxist-Leninist Parties and Organizations (ICMLPO): On the International Situation

The most significant development in the world capitalist economy, since the last meeting of our Conference is undoubtedly the intensification of the symptoms that prove the trend toward a new recession in all fields, after a certain rise in the second quarter of 2009, followed by a period of stagnation. Despite the trend towards a rise in the second quarter, world industrial production shrank 6.6% in 2009 and rose 10% in 2010. The industrial production of June 2010 exceeded its previous level before the crisis of 2008. But starting from the first quarter of 2011, the growth lost momentum and fell to 0.4% in the last quarter of that year. In 2011, world industrial production declined by half (5.4%) compared to the previous year. In the first quarter of 2012, after a weak rise, the growth declined. The growth was 1.8% in the first quarter, 0% in the second and 4% in the last quarter of 20l2. All the data show that, despite fluctuations, a decline persists that began in the first quarter of 2011, which led to zero level in the middle of this year [2012] and is heading for a new period of decline.

Industrial production in the European Union, which is a larger economic power than the U.S.; in Japan, which is third largest world economic power; in India, one of the largest economies in Asia, have had consecutive declines in the third quarter of 2011 and in the first two quarters of 2012 compared to the same period last year. Industrial production in Brazil, the largest economy in Latin America, has also entered into decline in the last two quarters. North African countries like Tunisia and Egypt, and other countries such as Argentina, Colombia and Peru, are in similar situations.

The rate of growth of industrial production in China, in the first and second quarters of 2012, was 11.6% and 9.5%, while it was 14.4% in 2010 and 13.8% in 2011. The downward trend continued in July, 9.2% and in August, 8.9%. China, which grew by 12.9% and 12.3% in the crisis years (2008 and 2009), was, along with India, one of the factors that prevented a further sharpening of the crisis and that allowed the world economy to enter into a new period of growth. The situation in that country has changed considerably. Now it is a country that is accumulating stockpiles in the steel industry, which is facing a slowdown in the construction sector, which has important holes in the financial sector. Those countries that saw lower growth rates despite the stimulus measures to revive the domestic market, are now unable to play the same role as before. The industrial production of Mexico and the Confederation of Independent States (CIS), including Russia, continues to grow. However, while the industrial production in the major countries and the volume of international trade are falling, for these countries also, a decrease is expected.

Unlike simple commodity production, a more rapid growth in the production of the means of production, compared to consumer goods, is a condition for expanded reproduction. But with the capitalist mode of production producing for an unknown market, with the sole purpose of obtaining profits, a consistent development of the two sectors is impossible and this is one of the factors that makes crises inevitable. In the last three years, as well as before, these two sectors have not developed consistently. In the first sector, demand has fallen, the volume of growth has fallen, stockpiles are accumulating and capacity utilization has fallen. In 2010 and 2011 the steel industry, an important component of the production of means of production, grew faster than the consumer goods sector. According to data from the World Steel Union, the growth rate in production was 15% in 2010 compared to the previous year, but in 2011 the figure fell to 6.2%. In January raw steel production saw a sharp drop to 8%, and it has stayed at 0.8% in the period from January to May of 2012. In August of 2012 raw steel production fell 1% in relation to 2011. In the same period, raw steel production rose 3.3% in Japan (a significant increase if one takes into account the major fall due to the tsunami) and 2.6% in India. It has fallen by 1.7% in China, 3.8% in the U.S., 4.4% in the EU, 7.1% in Germany, 15.5% in Italy and 3.8% in the Confederation of Independent States (CIS). The iron stockpiles in Chinese ports reached 98.15 million tons (an increase of 2.9%) belonging to the steel complexes. And stockpiles of Chinese coal are at their highest level in the last three years.

In manufacturing, a very important element of the production of the means of production, production and demand have declined in many countries. This decline has been one of the reasons for the cooling of industrial production in Germany, for example. In the capitalist mode of production, the agricultural sector, by its level of development and its technical basis, is always behind industry. Agricultural production is largely affected by the natural conditions, climate changes, droughts, storms and other natural catastrophes. Agricultural production is increasingly under the control of the monopolies and the speculative maneuvers of finance capital. In 2010 world agricultural production, including the production of cereals, has shrunk due to various factors such as bad weather or the expansion of plots reserved for bio-fuel production. On the other hand, in 2011, agricultural production has progressed thanks to better weather conditions, and also to increased demand and higher prices due to speculation. For example, wheat production increased by about 6%.

In 2009 the volume of world trade has declined 12.7%. According to data from the World Trade Organization (WTO), that volume registered a growth of 13.8% in 2010, and only 5% in 2011 (according to figures from the CPL, the growth was 15.2% in 2010, and 5.8% in 2011). The volume of world trade has grown by 0.5% in the final quarter of last year, and by 0.9% and 0.5% in the first and second quarter of 2012 respectively. During the first two months of the third quarter (June and July), the volume of world trade recorded a negative growth of -1.5% and -0.2% compared to the previous months.

World industrial production reached and surpassed the pre-crisis level of 2008, in June 2010, while the volume of international trade did not surpass this until November 2011. If we compare the data of July 2012 with the level reached before the crisis of 2008 (that is, April 2008), we see an increase of 9.5% in world industrial production and an increase of 5% in the total volume of growth in world trade.

The data on the increase of the volume of world trade is one of the most important that shows an evolutionary trend, although it does not exactly reflect the volume of growth of world trade. These data show that for the last three years, the world capitalist production has increased rapidly and that the capitalist world is once again facing the problem of overproduction, which is the source of all its crises. Decreased production, closing or reduction in work capacity of enterprises, rising unemployment and poverty; needs in abundance and the restriction of markets are the inevitable consequences of overproduction. The sharp slowdown in world industrial production has been shown above. The events in North Africa and the austerity measures taken in countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc., are factors that are aggravating this process and its consequences.

Towards a New Financial Crisis

The crisis of 2008 broke out as a financial crisis, at the same time as the crisis deepened in other sectors, such as industry and trade, it developed with contacts in the finance sector with serious consequences for the following period. The most destructive consequences for the monopolies and the eventual collapse of the financial sector were avoided by transferring of billions of dollars into the coffers of the monopolies by the capitalist States. This rescue operation was only possible by accepting a debt to financial markets with very high interest rates, and the issuance of money into the markets. The end result is an extreme State debt, an increase in the debt and interest burden, a rise in the price of gold and the loss of value (devaluation) of almost all currencies.

Countries at different levels have entered a vicious circle that has elements of new currency and financial crises, in which they can finance their budget deficit, their debts and interests, having to borrow again. The capitalist world began a period of growth starting in the second quarter of 2009, with the weight inherited from the 2008 crisis. However, this period of growth has enabled recipient countries to breathe a little, turn the wheel that was on the verge of suffocating them. The growth of the world economy stopped and even lowered the price of gold for a moment. In some countries, such as China that had a significant growth rate, the ratio of the public debt to GDP decreased. But in other countries, such as Japan and the U.S., a substantial debt has continued, even during the period of growth of the capitalist world economy. The U.S. public debt represents the sum of $16 billion (the debt of Germany, which grew until the second half of this year, is 8 billion). Other capitalist countries are in a similar situation. The increasing debt is almost the condition of financial sustainability and economic growth. And this is the path that is leading directly to a new financial crisis that may profoundly affect all sectors of the economy.

The highly indebted countries have not been able to achieve a period of growth after the financial crisis and the fall in world industrial production that took place between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009; this period has led to a financial crisis that has affected the other sectors of the economy that has led them to bankruptcy. The first example of this process was in Greece, where the weakness was such that the industry, very weak, was largely liquidated when it joined the EU. After the 2008 crisis, in 2009, the economy of this country did not grow, and by the end of the year it was on the verge of bankruptcy. This country, followed by others such as Portugal, Spain, Hungary, etc., has not been able to get out of the crisis and stagnation. However, important differences should be noted in its debt in relation to the GDP.

Austerity measures never seen before, except in times of war or crisis as deep as 1929, have been imposed on the indebted countries. The result of these measures has been to impoverish the people, destroy the economy and reduce the internal market and foreign trade. These austerity plans have been applied (despite the opposition and struggle of the working class and peoples) under the control of the creditor imperialist powers, the international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and European Union, and above all with the support of the collaborator monopoly bourgeoisie and its representatives, these enemies of the people. They have transferred billions of dollars to foreign banks, completely betraying the national interests. The national pride of the people, their right to sovereignty and independence have been trampled upon. A country like Britain that had a strong financial sector, but since mid-2011 has seen its industrial production and its economy reduced, has been forced to march along with the countries implementing austerity measures.

The significant decrease in the volume of growth of world industrial production, which began in the second quarter of 2011, is developing the elements of a new international financial crisis and is contributing to the degradation of the situation of the highly indebted countries. They failed to enter a period of growth parallel to the process of growth of the world capitalist economy following the crisis of 2008-2009. While the debate over the future of the Euro and the European Union is sharpening, the communiqués on the economic trends of the advanced capitalist countries and the indebted countries have sown confusion in the stock markets, barometers of the capitalist economy. Although world industrial and agricultural production and the volume of international -trade have exceeded the highest level before the crisis of 2008, the indices of the most influential stock markets remain below that level.

Although we are not yet experiencing the outbreak of a financial crisis of major proportions, everything makes it appear that the process is advancing towards such an eventuality. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank (FED) has announced that it will not raise interest rates and that it will start a process of purchasing bonds for an amount of $2,000 billion dollars, at the rate of $40 billion per month. Japan has announced a similar measure and has begun a program of buying bonds to the tune of $695 billion.

Germany has had to relax its rigid policy towards the indebted countries and the European fund for the intervention in countries facing difficulties has increased. China, along with measures of revival that it has already applied, announced a new investment package to renovate its infrastructure. The price of gold is rising again. In 2008, the intense intervention of the capitalist States began after the outbreak of the crisis. Now, however, the capitalist States have gone into action before the shocks and bankruptcies at the same level as in 2008 start in the major capitalist countries and worldwide. However, these interventions, which can have some influence on the process of development, cannot change the orientation and the inevitable outcome.

The Sharpening of the Inter-Imperialist Contradictions and the Growing Danger of Conflicts

Uneven, unbalanced development is the absolute law of capitalist development. This process after the crisis of 2008 was not balanced, it deepened the antagonistic contradictions in the evolution and development of the relations between sectors, countries, regions, production and markets, etc. The industrial production of the advanced capitalist countries, including the U.S. and Japan, except Germany (ignoring the high level of 2008), did not reach the level of 2005. Germany, which has exceeded the pre-crisis level and has had a growth in industrial production of 11.5% in 2010 and 9% in 2011, has consolidated its position within the European Union and the Euro zone. Without separating itself from the bloc led by the United States, it has penetrated into new markets, new fields of investment, sources of raw materials, basing itself on its economic and financial strength, and above all, on its technical superiority in the industry of machine construction.

As in previous years, China, both because of its industrial production and its economy in general, was the country that had the most significant growth among major economies. It has modernized and increased the technical basis of its industry, and it continues to reduce the difference in its level of development with the other imperialist powers. Russia is going through a similar process. For the United States and its allies, these two countries, one considered as a vast market and production area with a trained and cheap work force, and the other a solid country, appear today as their main rivals to fight against.

The inevitable result of the change in the balance of power is the great demand for a piece of the pie by the emerging forces, using all means to get it and a new redivision of the world according the new balance of power. The recent development of the world economy is another factor that exacerbates the contradictions and the struggles among the major imperialist powers. Last year in the Middle East, in Africa and the whole world, the rivalry and struggle to expand their sphere of influence has accelerated. The production of weapons, the arms race is intensifying. China and Russia have renewed the technical basis of their arms industry. According to a report by the Congress of the United States, arms sales by these countries have tripled in 2011.

China, which increasingly needs more raw materials, energy and fields of investment for its growing economy, and Russia, which is slowly recovering, are intensifying their expansionist desires and their efforts to get their piece of the pie. Therefore, it is a top priority for the U.S. and its allies to prevent China, a young imperialist power in full development, and Russia, from achieving new markets in the field of energy and raw materials. When the Obama administration states that beginning next year the priority strategic objective for the United States will be Asia, and that the deployment of the U.S. military will be renewed according to the new situation, this is merely affirming that reality. The crisis of the archipelagos shows the level of tension between Japan and China; Japan has declared its intention to improve its military capability. The military maneuvers in the region have intensified.

The consequences of the change in the balance of power in the world have been clearly visible since last year. Russia and China were forced to accept Western imperialist intervention in Libya, even though that intervention was contrary to their interests. The intervention ended with the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime, the near collapse of the country, the destruction of its economy, the degradation of working and living conditions, the transfer of the country’s wealth into the hands of the Western imperialist States, etc. Russia and China lost a good part of their positions, including their oil agreements. After the fall of the Gaddafi regime, Mali has been dragged into war and divided. But the main objective is Syria. The attempts by the Western imperialist powers to topple the Syrian regime and put in a puppet government to fully control the country are intensifying. The United States and its allies have mobilized all their forces within Syria and outside of it in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They are stirring up the religious contradictions, they use and manipulate the popular discontent towards the regime and they try to prepare the ground for a military intervention as in Libya. Meanwhile Russia is arming Syria, strengthening its military base located in that country and sending more warships to the Mediterranean.

To bring down the Syrian regime, put in place a puppet government, dominate the oil-rich Middle East, control the eastern Mediterranean, block the expansion of China and Russia in the region and expel them as they did in Libya, to encircle Iran, weaken its influence and liquidate its closest allies, are very important objectives. Syria is the only country in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean where Russia has a military base. This small country has become a place of intense struggle between Russia and China on the one hand, and the United States and its allies on the other. The Middle East is a powder keg on the verge of religious conflicts.

Contrary to what they did in Libya, Russia and China are opposing a military intervention that would alter the balance in the Middle East and result in the domination of the United States and its allies over Syria. But they have left the door open for a possible compromise that would guarantee their interests and renew the Syrian regime which is having more and more difficulties to survive.

As the case of Afghanistan, former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Ivory Coast and Libya show, the imperialist interventions that have had the support of the liberal “defenders” of freedom and democracy, of the pseudo-socialist parties that emerged from the former revisionist parties, have resulted in increased military budgets at the expense of the workers, in the destruction of the productive forces of those countries, in many disasters, the impoverishment and decline in all social aspects. The aspiration of the peoples for the right to sovereignty and national independence, democracy and freedom has never been the concern of the occupiers. Their objective was to further prolong their system maintained by the defeat inflicted on the working class in the middle of the last century, a defeat that guaranteed their super-profits, the expansion of their spheres of influence and the weakening of their rivals. The imperialist powers, which are using all means to achieve this goal, do not lack in demagoguery and low maneuvers to disorient the people’s anger.

Now a period of sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions is beginning, which economic-financial and political-military interventions will multiply. It is increasingly important to fight against such intervention, to develop the united fight of the workers and peoples, in both the advanced and backward countries,.

Organize the Resistance of the Workers in the New Stormy Period

The army of unemployed is growing on the world level, especially in countries in total-debt crisis, in the countries in which the economy is declining, stagnating or is in crisis. In Greece and Spain, unemployment has reached 25%. In these countries, unemployment among the youths, including college graduates, reached 50%. In the Euro zone in the second quarter of 2012, the level of unemployment reached 11.2%, according to official figures. In countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, where manufacturing has fallen from 9.6% to 7.5% in the first quarter of this year (2012), the number of unemployed continues to grow. In South Africa, the most developed country on the continent, the unemployment rate exceeds 25%.

In the current period, in almost all fields, from education to health care, drastic measures have been taken, the retirement age has been delayed and pensions have fallen. The gains of the working class worldwide are targeted for cuts or elimination. While direct taxes on the workers are increasing, no measures are taken to disturb the local and international monopolies, when even within the framework of this system one could increase taxes on the banks and the local and foreign monopolies. Wages continue to fall, etc. Many countries are suffering from a process of absolute impoverishment.

In recent years practices have been imposed worldwide such as sub-contracting labor, precarious and part-time work, an increase in the age for retirement, etc. In Germany, for example, one of the most developed countries in the world that has had significant growth rates in industrial production, according to the Federal Administration of Statistics, 15.6% of the population lives below the poverty line, a figure that rises to 26% among the immigrant population.

Last year, on a world scale and in each country, the workers and peoples movement has developed with various demands, in different forms and also at different levels. The struggles carried out in those countries with a “debt crisis” have been outstanding for their broad social base, for their responses and the experiences gained. The miners’ strike in South Africa, the youth movement and the strikes in Chile, the popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, etc. are powerful examples of the workers and peoples struggles.

Starting with Greece, Spain and Italy, in various countries with a “debt crisis,” strikes, general strikes and huge demonstrations have taken place. In Greece and Spain, hundreds of thousands of people have expressed their anger in front of the parliaments on the days when these were voting for austerity measures. But the workers and peoples movement, despite some more advanced attempts, has remained within the framework of peaceful demonstrations, general strikes of one or two days and limited resistance. The strikes of long duration, the resistance or occupation of factories, have been limited to one enterprise or one sector.

The austerity measures have affected not only the proletariat and semi-proletarian masses of the cities and countryside; they have also affected the petty bourgeoisie and non-monopoly bourgeois strata. Even the less dynamic strata, the traditional base of the bourgeois parties, have been mobilized given the current situation. The social base of the struggle against the bourgeoisie in Power and against imperialism has expanded, to the point where in some dependent countries the mobilization has taken the character of a movement of the whole nation, except for a handful of monopolists. The conditions are maturing for the working class and its revolutionary parties, as representatives and the vanguard of the nation, to decide to organize and advance the movement and the united front of the people.

But despite the great movement, the groups of international finance capital and the local monopoly bourgeoisies have not given in (except in the recent delay of the austerity measures in Portugal). They have decided to implement these measures even at the cost of demeaning the image of the parliaments and weakening their social base. However, the masses are realizing through their own experience the impossibility of repelling the attacks with one or two day strikes or through peaceful demonstrations. Sharper forms of struggle and unlimited general strike are beginning to be considered by the more advanced strata.

It is clear that the bourgeoisie in Power, with their hostile character towards the people, is assuming a position of national betrayal. The traditional parties of the bourgeoisie and parliaments have lost credibility and the mass support for those parties is weakening (especially toward those in government that are implementing austerity measures). The social basis of monopoly capital is weakening. Among the masses who have felt their national pride hurt by the imperialists, the discontent, anger and will to struggle against the major imperialist powers, beginning with the United States and Germany, against institutions like the IMF or the EU, and against the local monopoly bourgeoisie that is collaborating with them, is developing.

The trade union bureaucracy and reformist parties and social trends are following a backward line of “least resistance,” not only in their forms of organization and struggle, but also at the level of political demands and platform. Clearly, this attitude is contributing to weakening their influence among the workers. The attacks and harshness of the social conditions are also affecting the lower strata of the labor bureaucracy and aristocracy and are sharpening the contradictions within their ranks.

The struggles in the countries with “debt crisis” are being developed on a program of protest against the bourgeois governments and parties, against institutions such as the IMF and the EU that are imposing draconian measures and they are demanding their withdrawal. At first this was natural and understandable in the context of a spontaneous movement. But the inability to go beyond those narrow limits is one of the major weaknesses of the movement. This weakness can be overcome with the work of agitation that shows the masses the way out of this difficult situation in which the people and the country find themselves, denouncing the social forces that are an obstacle to that way out. This work of agitation is reinforced by putting forward appropriate demands, slogans and forms of struggle among the masses.

Especially in Greece, certain small groups (that also have weaknesses) have proposed relatively advanced demands and platforms. But the forces capable of influencing the movement are not even concerned with organizing the work necessary to promote the fight on all fronts. The absence or great weakness of a revolutionary class party, has been felt strongly, as it cannot influence the movement.

Linked to the evolution of the world economy, the period that is beginning will be one of further degradation of the living and working conditions for the workers and peoples, a period of intense economic and political attacks, of discontent, anger and militancy among workers, as well as sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions and conflicts. We must draw lessons and conclusions from the recent developments and the historical experience of the working class and peoples; we must advance, renewing our work and reorganizing our parties.

Tunisia, November 2012

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Nikos Zachariadis: But for our internal misery do not blame only the foreigners…

But for our internal misery do not blame only the foreigners.The British find in our country obedient and loyal minions, who worked the same, so obedient and loyal, as to Germans and Italians. It is the traitor plutocracy which has not a patriotic and national belief and the sold to foreigners and bankrupted Greek politicians who do not currently offered to our country other than selling out, humiliations, debasements and destruction.

 — Rizospastis, 15.1.1946, From Speach of N. Zachariadis in Volos on 14-01-1946

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On the Day of American Independence

Today is the 4th of July, a holiday celebrated all over the nation as the date of American Independence from the British crown. I was considering burning an American flag to protest US foreign policy, imperial aggression, indigenous holocaust, sponsorship of terrorism, slavery and discrimination of minorities, etc., and promptly began wondering if flag-burning on public property is considered to be a fire hazard. Today is a holiday that is spent trying to spread patriotic feelings among our people, and thus in effect to try and goad them into flag-waving, chauvinism, jingoism and xenophobia. Patriotism, the way the imperialists see it, means love for their government and love for their class of oppressors. It means love for the police, the prison complex, the courts, the army and the ruling class dictatorship. It means love for the exploitive system of capitalism and the settler-fascists that have run it from the start.

On this celebrated day of the creation of the American state, it is time to take a look back at our long, star-crossed history, and it is time to present a challenge to ourselves—what has American really been about all this time? As Frederick Douglass famously said about this particular holiday in 1852:

“What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

He continues,

“Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the old world, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.”

There are those who might say that Douglass’s words no longer ring true because of the Obama presidency, and then there are those who know that a change in the ruler’s skin color does not abolish racism and oppression overnight. In addition, Major General Smedley Butler from the US Marines speaks about what real role the US military has been playing over the years:

“I spent 33 years and 4 months in active service as a member of our country’s most agile military force – the Marine Corps… And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect money in. I helped in the raping of a half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street… I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped get Honduras “right” for American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate in three city districts. We Marines operated on three continents.”

These revelations are by no means new, since they have been given by many anti-imperialist and anti-colonialists since the beginning of the domination of American imperialism, which started after World War II and strengthened itself through the selling-out of the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the collapse of socialist Albania.

To give a more detailed or complete account of American foreign policy, which has always been driven by nothing more and nothing less than the capitalist system’s desire for global hegemony under American leadership, would take many pages and several lifetimes of research into the history of the modern-day Roman Empire. But this 4th of July, and keeping with our challenge to ourselves, a few examples taken from the recent history of the United States alone should serve to give an idea of what this class dictatorship has really been about since the beginnings of its foundation.


A History Lesson

In 1945, the US invades the Korean peninsula and declares a “temporary” partition of Korea. America installs an illegitimate American-friendly regime in the South, backed by a force of 50,000 troops. After 2,617 troop incursions in the Northern Pro-Soviet half, sometimes with as many as a few thousand troops, a war ensues when North Korea finally invades South Korea in response. A three-year war takes place and millions are killed. Thousands of American troops remain in South Korea to this day.

In 1966, a US-backed coup ousted President Sukarno of Indonesia and replaced him with the fascist butcher Suharto. Over a million people were hunted down and killed, including thousands of popular leftist leaders, whose names were given to the military by the American Embassy. Suharto would go on to rule Indonesia with an iron fist for decades. Newly-liberated East Timor was then invaded by Suharto’s Indonesia the day after President Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (both butchers of the Vietnam War) gave them permission. By 1989, over one-third of East Timor’s 700,000 people had been killed. Indonesia had US backing, including armaments, throughout its 24-year occupation.

In 1967, a US-backed military coup took place to prevent Greek politician George Papandreou being elected Prime Minister. The colonels declared martial law, implemented torture, beatings, arrests, leaving 8,000 dead in the first month. The coup leaders were fiercely anti-communist and pro-American, working closely with the CIA. The colonels held power until 1974.

In 1970, Marxist reformist Salvador Allende was elected as President of Chile. He nationalized the giant US companies. Soon, the right-wing, backed by the CIA and US foreign policy, engineered a 1973 coup lead by the infamous General Augusto Pinochet. Allende was overthrown and replaced by a fascist military dictatorship that used mass executions and torture. Thousands were murdered and disappeared. Chile became an economic experiment that led to economic growth for the richest while leaving many homeless and greatly decreasing economic equality.

In 1978 in Nicaragua, the popular and progressive Sandinista movement overthrows the US-backed dictator Anastasio Samoza. The US then launches a military occupation in order to prevent “another Cuba.” A program of terrorism and economic sabotage is begun, which leads to the US support of the infamous Contra death squads. The Contras prove to be one of the most brutal fighting forces Latin America has ever seen, infamous for burning down schools, churches and hospitals as well as using mass murder, rape and torture. The Contras massacre whole villages though to be sympathetic to the Sandinistas. Over 60,000 die. President Reagan labels them as “freedom fighters.”

Summation

From these examples alone—Korea, Indonesia, East Timor, Greece, Chile and Nicaragua, which are merely the most prominent of many dozens more ready-made examples including the Vietnam War—we can see that United States foreign policy has never been driven by a devotion to any kind of morality, nor by any kind of longing for freedom or democracy. From the start, the United States has been driven by the necessity to make the world safe for investment by capitalism, to enrich US armaments who contribute generously to Congress members, to prevent the development of any society which becomes an example of an independent alternative to the capitalist model and to extend its political and economic control over as much of the globe as possible.

Everyone alive today remembers the media immediately after the events of 9/11. “Why Do They Hate Us So Much?” the newspapers asked. Gee, I don’t know. Perhaps dropping bombs really pisses some “less civilized” people off. This is a simple list of the nations bombed since World War II:

China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Congo 1964, Peru 1965, Laos 1965-73, Vietnam 1961-73. Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Grenada 1983, Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s, Nicaragua 1980s, Panama 1989, Iraq 1991-2002, Sudan 1998, Afghanistan 1998, Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001 and Iraq 2003 (1).

It is worth noting that violence and exploitation are also not limited to outside the US borders, either. Of all western nations, the US has the greatest income inequality. 40% of the wealth is controlled by 1% of the population. The US has the greatest discrepancy in the world between the wealthy and the poor when it comes to health care, and also when it comes to life expectancy.

Finally, the Land of the Free has the highest number of its population in prison than any other state in the world (2). And all this is without mentioning the minute details of the oppressive structure of the class society as it exists for us every day. These sorts of atrocities will continue until this capitalist system is done away with through struggle and revolution in the US.

On the day of American Independence, among all other days, this is a fact for all of us to remember.

Sources

(1) Taken from Australian Options Quarterly No. 31, Summer 2002.

(2) From Scientific American, Dec. 2005

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