The struggle of the KKE against Opportunism. The experience from 1949-1968

Makis Mailis is member of the CC of the KKE and responsible for the History Section of the CC

The Second Volume of the Essay on the History of the KKE was published in November 2011 after many months of discussion in all the organizations of the Party and the Communist Youth of Greece. The whole process was concluded with the Nationwide Conference, on the 16th July 2011, which approved the final text of the Essay.

The Second Volume includes the period 1949-1968. It covers the period after the end of the armed struggle waged by the Democratic Army of Greece for three and a half years (12th February 1946-29th August 1949) till the 12th Plenum of the CC of the KKE (5th-15th February 1968) when the KKE split and those who left the party, who had formed a right-wing revisionist (euro-communist) group, founded a new party called the “KKE Interior”.

Although the Essay deals with the period 1949-1968 it also refers to the 1940’s. The reason is that the documents of the party in the period which is examined extensively concern themselves with the 1940’s as the elaboration of the party’s policy under the new conditions required that it  draw conclusions concerning its activity in that period.

The counterrevolutions which climaxed in 1989-1991 forced our party to examine more deeply its activity, its history. Reality forced us to make a more deep historical assessment of the choices and the activities of the KKE, according to the fundamental conclusions from the above mentioned negative developments, which were incorporated into the resolutions of the Congresses over the last twenty years especially of the 18th Congress (2009).

The KKE believes that the study of its history is a necessary element for its development since historical experience makes the activity of the party more incisive and effective in the organization of the class struggle, for the abolition of the exploitation of man by man. In that sense the study of party’s history becomes a process of inspiration for conscious activity.

The most important issue which is assessed by the Essay is the strategy of the KKE. the following axes are the criteria for this assessment:

1. Our era is an era of transition from capitalism to socialism, since capitalism has entered its reactionary stage for over a century. The era of the bourgeois-democratic revolutions, that gave impetus to social progress overthrowing the power of feudal lords abolishing the remnants of the feudal relations of production, has ended once and for all. The overthrow of the socialist construction with the victory of the counterrevolution in 1989-1991 does not negate the necessity, the timeliness and the prospect of this revolutionary social-political activity.

2. The character of the revolution is not defined according to the current correlation of forces but by the maturation of the material conditions for socialism. The minimum required degree of maturation of the material conditions exists even when the working class constitutes a minority as a percentage of the economically active population once it becomes conscious of its historical mission with the foundation of its party.

3. There is no intermediate socio-economic system between capitalism and socialism; therefore there cannot be any intermediate type of power. The character of the power will be either bourgeois or working class (proletarian). The view-position on the possibility and necessity of the establishment of an intermediate power has not been confirmed in any country.

This issue was discussed at the 18th Congress of the KKE that underlined that the character of the power should not be confused with the transitional “moments” of historical time and reiterated the programmatic position of the 15th Congress on the transitional “moments”:

“Under conditions where the class struggle and the popular movement are on the rise, when the revolutionary process has begun, there may be a government, as the instrument of the people’s power, which will have the approval and consent of the struggling people, without general elections or parliamentary procedures. This government will be identical with, or merely formally separate from the power of the working class and its allies.” (…)

It is clear for our party that the character of the power is the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, without being confused with intermediate forms of power. It is a different issue to discover in retrospect, i.e. through historical research, the various forms that might emerge from the process where the bourgeois power has not yet been overthrown but its weakening, its shaking has begun. The forms that the levels of the shaking of the bourgeois power can take on in each historical period are an issue for historical research. e.g., the first governments formed by the anti-fascist fronts in the countries liberated by the Red Army had not been revolutionary workers’ power (Dictatorship of the Proletariat), bourgeois forces participated as well. For that reason the struggle on the question “who rules whom” was soon developed. In most cases it was resolved through the conquest of revolutionary workers’ power (Dictatorship of the Proletariat). This course should not be detached from the existence of the forces of the Red Army. (…)

In the case of the Cuban Revolution there is no intermediate power or intermediate social economic formation. The link for the beginning of the revolutionary process had been the armed struggle for national independence that settled and objectively solved the problem through its transformation to struggle for socialism. [1]

4. The alliance policy of the CPs must be based on the correct evaluation of the interests and the position of the social forces in the capitalist society, to serve the line of winning over popular strata from the influence of the bourgeois class, their rallying together with the working class with the goal of changing the character of power and not the alternation of parties in bourgeois governance. That is to say the need to form a socio-political alliance in conflict with the economic dominance of the monopolies, their political power, and their imperialist unions. This is the basis so that the pressures to cooperate politically with bourgeois and opportunist forces with a fraudulent programme for the “cleansing” of the system can be rejected.

5. Opportunism has an objective basis. An important source of opportunism is the petty bourgeois strata which are being compressed or destroyed by the process of the concentration and centralization of capital, by the expansion of the monopoly groups.

But the working class is not uniform. It is comprised of sectors with varying income and different political and class experiences since the working class expands through the constant expansion of salaried labour in new and old sectors. 

In particular we should stress the stratum of the labour aristocracy, i.e. the sector of the working class which is bought off by the capitalist system, which forms another main source of the opportunist phenomenon as it constitutes the vehicle of class collaboration in the labour movement.

The opportunist forces are often reinforced during the sharp turning points of the class struggle, either during its rise or during its retreat. Due to the great wave of the counterrevolutions over the past twenty years the pressure of the bourgeois ideology was expressed by means of a general revision of fundamental positions of the communist ideology and the opportunist adaptation to the system.

6. Unrelenting ideological and political struggle against opportunism, regardless of its disguises, its mutations and adaptations in the various phases of the class struggle and the changes in the correlation of forces. The positive and negative experience as to how the stance against the expressions of opportunism developed, at some times with a sharpened ideological-political struggle against them , at other times with the choice of electoral or more long-term cooperation with them, confirms the following conclusions: the cooperation with opportunism, i.e. the section of the communist movement that has renounced and revised fundamental and basic principles of revolutionary struggle and has adapted itself to bourgeois politics, means in practice cooperation with bourgeois politics in the labour movement, it is used with the aim of corroding and mutating the Communist Party, and for this reason in any case it is vigorously supported by the bourgeoisie and its staff.  The opposition to opportunism is related to the confrontation with it in the direction of organizing the masses, in the direction of the people’s struggle, regarding the content of the alliances. This was apparent over all the previous period from the experience of the KKE when it dealt with the opportunist appeals for “left unity”, “unity on the problem”, “for an anti-neo-liberal struggle”, today for “ anti-memorandum unity” etc

The formation of the KKE’s strategy after the end of the Democratic Army of Greece’s struggle

After the end of the armed struggle in the period 1946-1949 the leadership of the KKE, which was already illegal, elaborated the policy and the strategy of the party assessing the new conditions which had been formed in Greece and internationally and defined the struggle for the socialist revolution as the strategic goal of the party. This elaboration, which in fact had started seven months before the end of the armed struggle, meant that the KKE would abandon the strategy of the bourgeois-democratic revolution which it had adopted several years before the Second World War, according to relevant analyses of the Communist International.

At this point, we should mention that the adoption of the bourgeois-democratic stage emanated, amongst others, from the analysis of the KKE concerning the character of the Greek bourgeois class which it deemed as a class subservient to the big imperialist powers chiefly to Great Britain and after the war to the USA. It considered that due to its subservient character it hindered the development of heavy industry in Greece and was responsible for the wretched living conditions of the working class and the poor farmers as well as for the non-resolution of a series of a problems which it called bourgeois-democratic (maintenance of the institution of monarchy etc.). It assessed that these resulted in the significant backwardness of Greece in comparison to the level of the developed capitalist countries in Western Europe. In other words, it considered that the Greek bourgeois class had betrayed its historical mission and therefore the rising class, i.e. the working class, assumed the historical responsibility to complete the bourgeois-democratic transformation of Greek society in alliance with the farmers. In that way it would form the necessary correlation of forces for the transformation of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a socialist one.

The above mentioned strategy not only was not confirmed but constituted the main cause of serious mistakes during the National Resistance (1941-1944). This strategy was the basis for the development of the policy of “national unity” in the period of the Second World War.  The coalitions with bourgeois powers which undermined the people’s struggle during the German-Italian Occupation and later on they sought , in cooperation with British imperialism, to shield bourgeois state-power which had been shaken in the period when the National Liberation Front (EAM) was dominant in Greece.

In 1944 the KKE and the alliance formation EAM took part in the government of the so called “National Unity” which was formed in the Middle East, where a section of the leaderships of the bourgeois parties resided. The participation in such a government proved to be disastrous for the course of the people’s movement, given that in the days of the liberation from the Germans a revolutionary situation had been formed in Greece. Our party found itself unready to elaborate a programme combining the struggle for national liberation with the struggle for the conquest of workers’ power. This led it to make mistakes which were extremely significant for the outcome of the struggle. These included the agreement to assign the command of the people’s army to the English general Scobie.

Shortly afterwards (early December 1944) the KKE and the EAM resigned from the government because both the latter and the British demanded the dissolution of the People’s Army while they maintained bourgeois armed forces. 

This government, initially with the English military assistance, shed the blood of the people of Athens and Piraeus who struggled heroically for 33 days. A unified bourgeois front was created which included in its ranks the “Security Battalions”, armed corps established during the Occupation which operating as organs of the Germans and the quisling government that murdered the people. Their establishment had the secret support of the British and the domestic bourgeois political and economic powers which had taken sides with Great Britain against the Germans and the Italians.

Thestrategyofthestagescontinuedafterthewar. The heroic armed struggle of the Democratic Army of Greece was waged on the basis of this strategy.

The change of the strategy of the KKE after the civil war was a correct choice. It was more comprehensively elaborated in 1953 at the 4th Extended Plenum of the Central Committee of the KKE, which elaborated the Draft Programme of the KKE and put it forward for public discussion.

The Draft Programme which defined the character of the revolution as socialist, constituted a significant step in the collective thinking of the party. Nevertheless it based this change of strategy on the change in the correlation of forces. The following extract mentions amongst other things:

“8.(…) along with the equally decisive factor of the change in  the correlation of forces in favour of democracy and socialism at a local, Balkan, European and global scale, after the defeat of Hitler’s fascism and Japanese militarism in the Second World War  (...) resulted in  the fact that the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution in Greece has been basically overcome. (...)

The correct explanation for the apparent contradiction that while there is a regression in the structure of the country (…) in the character of the revolution we bypass the bourgeois-democratic stage and define the impending social revolutionary change in our country as people’s  democratic-socialist is to be found in this very change of the correlation of forces at a local, Balkan, European and global level.”

“9. (…) the power which will be established will be the People’s Democracy which will perform the functions of the dictatorship of the proletariat, it will be the people’s democratic- workers and farmers’ power, a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.” [2]

The above analysis was based on the fact that the position and the experience of several countries were mechanistically applied to the conditions of Greece. Several countries, such as former colonies of the Tsarist Russia, based on the victory of the socialist revolution in Russia, were able to be integrated into the USSR or bypass the bourgeois power and the capitalist development, despite the fact that they had expanded pre-capitalist relations of production. For example this was the case in the instance of Mongolia. But Greece was a fully formed capitalist society , with the corresponding  economic basis and superstructure from the beginning of the 20th century onwards.

The Draft Programme which assessed that Greece is a colonised country did not manage to analyse objectively the course of its capitalist reconstruction and of course the consolidation of the bourgeois power.  It interpreted all the consequences of the deep crisis in Greece –economic, political- as consequences of the subservience to the USA, of the abolition of national independence and the betrayal of the nation. It did not recognise the conscious choice of the bourgeois class in Greece to support itself on the repressive forces of its foreign allies in order to consolidate the domestic correlation of forces to its own advantage. This analysis ignored the historical factors in the uneven development of capitalism between different countries. It inversely attributed the influence of the relative backwardness to the extent and the depth of the economic, political and military dependence of Greece on the leading imperialist powers. The Draft Programme ignored that the law of unevenness in the capitalist development had an impact on the correlation of forces between the capitalist states, on the political settlement of issues related to foreign policy amongst them. Capitalist unevenness was attributed to the so called “betrayal of the nation” by the bourgeois class and to the inhibiting role of the foreign powers.

Despite the fact that the Draft programme bypassed the bourgeois-democratic stage it still included the rationale of stages because it defined as the tactic of the KKE the goal to create a “nationwide patriotic front” that would unite “the patriotic forces of the country (…) so as to create a patriotic coalition government”. [3]

Finally, the albeit inadequate and contradictory attempt of the KKE’s leadership to draw conclusions from the struggles of the 1940’s was halted immediately after the 20th Congress of the CPSU, when our party carried out its right opportunist turn, which had as its chief characteristic the rejection of the armed struggle of 1946-1949 and the adoption of the “parliamentary road to socialism”. The 6th Plenum of the CC (1956), which was convened by 6 CPs (Soviet Union, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria), purged the leadership of the KKE, beginning with the GS of the CC Nikos Zachariades.

After that the dominant forces in the KKE proceeded to the dissolution of the illegal party organizations in Greece and the incorporation of all the communists into the United Democratic Left (EDA), an alliance formation which included social-democratic forces that had not joined the bourgeois Liberal Party. With its party organizations dissolved the leadership of the KKE which was located in the People’s Democracies organized the 8th Congress of the party (1961).

The 8th Congress ratified the political line of the KKE from 1956 onwards and in addition again formed the strategy of stages, which included amongst its motor forces the so-called “national bourgeoisie”. Indeed it underlined that the revolutionary change would take place despite the fact that in the “regime of National Democratic Change” the character of the relations of production would not alter.

In essence the 8th Congress repeated older analyses of the party regarding the existence of a section of the bourgeoisie that had patriotic characteristics while the other was described as being subservient to foreign capital. We can make a case that the root of this separation of the bourgeois class into “patriotic” and “subservient to foreign capital” is to be found in the political analyses of the international communist movement from the period of the 2nd World War.

This alliance was related to cooperation with one of the two poles of the bourgeois political system against the so-called right. In reality it led to the transformation of EDA and the KKE into the tail of the bourgeois liberal party, to which EDA constantly made proposals regarding the formation of a “democratic government”. Naturally these proposals were rejected. This particular party (the Centre Union) was only interested in detaching sections of EDA’s voters utilising the dilemma “the right or democratic forces?”

The political line of EDA fed into this dilemma. A characteristic example was the EDA’s decision not to stand candidates in 24 electoral regions in the 1964 parliamentary elections in order to facilitate the election of Centre Union candidates there. When the latter formed the government, it continued to maintain the KKE’s illegal status, it did not recognise EAM, nor did it allow the repatriation of political refugees, it did not free communist political prisoners who had been convicted as spies several years earlier!

We should note that elections had been held only a few months previously and the liberal party did not achieve a governable majority, and it was for this reason that it sought new elections. Then EDA after voting in favour of the programmatic statements of the temporary government stated in parliament that:

“EDA has practically demonstrated that there exists in the present Parliament a sufficient majority for the implementation of the government’s work.” [4]

Of course the parliamentary support of EDA was not accepted, according to the proclamations of the leadership of the liberal party.

On the other hand, the so-called anti-right dilemma was strengthened by the corresponding alliance policy in the labour and trade union movement, as well as in the movements of the farmers and urban intermediate strata. In practice it led to the strengthening of trade union groups which represented bourgeois interests in the trade union movement in a more flexible way than the classic thuggish tactics of the trade union bureaucrats. Overall a labour movement was formed which, despite the tough and often heroic struggles of the communists and other allies, did not contribute to the formation of a higher level of working class political consciousness.

The orientation in the labour and trade union movement must take into account that the ideological, political and economic struggle are unified, include economic and other demands, but finds its full expression in the labour movement through the attempt to develop activity against capitalist exploitation as a whole and its political and trade union representatives and consequently contributes to the concentration and preparation of forces for working class power.

From the study of the period 1949-1968 it has been confirmed that the working class together with its allies the semi-proletarians, the poor farmers and urban self-employed, must struggle until the question of power is finally resolved, with the establishment of working class power with the overthrow of bourgeois power.

The experience from the creation of EDA

The KKE has acquired significant experience from the creation of EDA. The illegal status of the KKE did not justify this choice. Of course our party should have sought to utilize whatever legal possibilities existed and find forms of political expression in the specific conditions, without however placing its independence in jeopardy.

The creation of EDA reflected two serious problems which existed in the political line of the KKE. The mistaken view that separated the programme of the party into “minimum” and maximum”, was the source of the mistaken alliance policy. Secondly the negative impact of the problems of strategy in the combining of illegal and legal work, in a way so that the independent organization and character of the KKE can be expressed under all conditions, both at the political level and in the movement.

The rallying in EDA of social-democratic forces fed the opportunism in the ranks of the KKE even further.

On the other hand, the opportunist forces in the KKE and EDA attempted over time to transform it into a vehicle for the dissolution of the KKE, exactly as was attempted several years later in 1989-1991, when similar forces tried to transform the “Coalition of the Left” into a single party, which would have meant the diffusion of the KKE into it. Basically these are the same cadres who are today in SYRIZA’s leadership.

It should be noted that the cadres of the KKE who attempted to dissolve the party into EDA, were the same people who claimed that the KKE did not fully adopt the spirit of the decisions of the CPSU’s 20th Congress. Over time they opposed the strategy of stages, but they did it from a reformist standpoint, because at the same time they rejected the laws of the socialist revolution.

The impact of the strategy of the International Communist Movement on the formation of the KKE’s political line

In the Essay on the History of the Party there is an assessment that these problems were not only related to the KKE, but to a series of communist parties in other capitalist countries. It has been underlined that their strategy gradually moved away from the laws of socialist revolution, restricting and subordinating their activity to the defence of bourgeois democratic freedoms and their country within the framework of the imperialist system.

The communist movement in the capitalist countries made its mark as a factor which contributed to the development of labour struggles, but it was not able to play the role of a true working class vanguard, to organize the struggle for working class power. The inability to elaborate a revolutionary strategy had already manifested itself during the 2nd World War and continued after it. For example, basic positions of what was later called “Euro-communism” were already contained in the programme of the CP of Great Britain in 1950-1951. A series of communist parties- and indeed in countries which were leading imperialist powers- formed a political line of anti-fascist fronts after the war, combined with the defence of the national independence of their countries, which as they claimed had been abolished by American imperialism, due to the subservience of sections of the domestic bourgeois classes.

Despite the fact that the communist parties of the capitalist countries in general terms proclaimed the necessity of socialism, they posed governmental objectives in the formation of their political line which did not serve the strategy of concentrating forces with the aim of coming into full rupture and conflict with bourgeois power in conditions of a generalized political and economic crisis in their countries. Strong communist parties in Western Europe even reached the point of social-democratization, in the form of “Euro-communism”. They were incapable of dealing with the flexibility of the bourgeois class which formed alliances to defend its power and to re-organize its international alliances in good time. They posed as their political goal the formation of “anti-monopoly democratic governments”, in the form of either a clearly parliamentary reform route or in the form of an intermediate stage in the revolutionary process. The anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly element of the CP’s struggle, detached from the struggle for working class power, objectively acquired a utopian character. And even the goal of the socialization of the means of production in sectors described as being of strategic importance was not linked to the goal of overthrowing the power of capital. The CPs forged alliances which strengthened the position of social-democracy inside the working class, with the result that labour movement was assimilated into strategic choices of the bourgeoisie and lost its mass characteristics.

The historical experience has shown how utopian the view was which saw the passage to socialism through the so-called expansion of bourgeois democracy. The impressive election results of certain parties, especially in France and Italy, did not vindicate the hopes for a parliamentary transition to socialism. On the contrary, they fed opportunist deviations which in the end corrupted the communist movement. Over time many CPs followed the path of class collaboration within the framework of the trade union movement as well.

We are of the opinion that the participation of communist forces in the Prodi, D’Alema, Jospin and other governments was the logical outcome of the development in the communist parties which preceded this. They were demonstrated to be governments for the management of capitalism. The Jospin and D’Alema governments took part in the bombing of Yugoslavia, accepting the imperialist pretexts of alleged ethnic cleansing in this country. They all lent assistance so that anti-worker measures were passed and they broke the labour and trade union movements in their countries.

It is reasonable for someone to make the assessment that the current negative state of the labour movement in the EU countries, in a phase of the serious sharpening of inter-imperialist contradictions and the capitalist economic crisis is a result of this course.

The participation of the CPs in bourgeois governments confirmed the correctness of the KKE’ position in the May 6 and June 17 elections to oppose its participation in the so-called “left government”.  Anything else would have meant the KKE abandoning its strategy for socialism and adhering to another strategic view for the management of the system and the capitalist economic crisis at the expense of the working class and the poor popular strata. Tactics must serve strategy and not undermine it.

The separation of social-democracy into a left-wing and a right-wing was a serious mistake, and the distinction of the base from the leadership of social-democracy, the counterrevolutionary role of which was very apparent both in the 1st World War and in its stance in relation to the proletarian revolutions in Germany and elsewhere was a serious mistake. The historical developments demonstrated that the largest section of the popular base of the other parties is won over through the sharpening of the class struggle and with a strong ideological front against the bourgeois political line and opportunism.

A crucial issue is the correct study of capitalist development in each country

The KKE never became a section of so-called “Euro-communism”, It found the strength to separate itself from this and to struggle against it for many years, on the basis of defending the general principles of Marxism-Leninism. In addition the KKE took a position against the connection of Greece to the European Economic Community (EEC), a position it maintained regarding the accession of Greece to the EEC and later to the EU. We note that EDA had also expressed its opposition to Greece’s connection with the EEC, which it characterized as a “pit of lions”. The EU is an alliance of capital it cannot be reformed in a pro-people direction, nor can it be transformed into a “Europe of the peoples”. This has been borne out by the contemporary developments in the EU.

The KKE persists in this line, assessing that there can be no pro-people political line within the EU. What is required is disengagement from it, at the same time with the struggle in every country for the overthrow of the power of the monopolies, their socialization and the unilateral cancellation of the debt by worker’s-people’s power.  There are two paths particularly in the conditions of a capitalist economic crisis: Either the working class and the poor popular strata will pay for the crisis or the big business groups. The second path is directly connected to the formation of a large socio-political alliance which will overthrow the bourgeois power. There is no third path. The crisis in the eurozone is not a debt crisis, nor is it a product of so-called neo-liberal management. It is a crisis of capital over-accumulation. The conservative, social-democratic and left parties are working for a way out of the crisis in capital’s favour.

The analyses of the KKE regarding Greek capitalism in the 1950s and 1960s did not keep step with the course of the capitalist economy, which saw significant development.

The 8th Congress of the KKE (1961) characterized Greece as  “ an agricultural appendage of the large imperialist countries of the West (…) an under-developed capitalist country, basically agricultural, with a relative level of industrial development,  with certain semi-feudal remnants (…) The future revolution in Greece will consequently be anti-imperialist-democratic.” [5]

It determined the tactics of the party in this direction as the cooperation with “democratic forces” in order to create pre-conditions for the achievement of this goal.

Capitalist development in Greece itself refuted the view that the foreign powers were an obstacle to it, as well as the view that the bourgeoisie was not interested in developing the relations of production. Capitalist development in Greece was supported mainly by the internal accumulation of capital. It was supported by the new state orientation and the corresponding formation of a state infrastructure to support industry. The influx of foreign capital did not particularly increase, except in the late 1940s and early 1950s (Marshall plan, Truman Dogma). But most of these funds were directed towards the strengthening of the state repression against the Democratic Army of Greece and generally the safeguarding of the bourgeois state.

A result of capitalist development was the relative improvement of the workers’ income and living standards, which the people’s struggles undeniably made a contribution to. Of course, it was the phase of capitalist development during which capital was capable of providing benefits in order to assimilate the people, a reality that was expressed by the creation of the so-called “welfare state”, in contrast with the current phase when such margins do not exist, and this is not only due to the capitalist economic crisis.

At the same time in this period the layer of public sector workers was expanded. Significant sections of the rural population moved to the urban centres, while others immigrated to more developed capitalist countries. New petty bourgeois strata were formed. It was on this material base that reformism, as well as opportunism, were strengthened in the party.

Particularly in conditions of capitalist economic crisis, like the current one, the petty bourgeois strata which have risen up to maintain their economic position, while they are enraged and oppose the government’s political line, in a utopian quest to return to a past which allowed them to survive to a greater extent. Politically they support the establishment of a monopoly capitalism “controlled” by a government, which will greater express the interests of the small owners of the means of production and limited accumulation in relation to the interests of the large-scale owners, the monopolies.  In this way they become vehicles of an ideology and political practice which in a utopian way seek either to blunt monopoly competition, or to turn back the tide to its pre-monopoly stage.  These strata, approaching the working class and/or being integrated into it after their destruction, become vehicles which pressure the labour movement into adjusting itself to positions for the “humanization” of capitalism.

General useful conclusions for today

The opportunist pressure is not a phenomenon which is only related to the specific stance of individuals who do not endure the intensity of the class struggle. It is an ideological political current, a product of the historical era of contemporary capitalism, imperialism. Its material basis is found in the potential for sections of the working class to be bought off by the monopolies through various mechanisms of assimilation and bribery, and in the widening of the working class with sections that come from the petty bourgeoisie. For this reason the struggle against opportunism, as Lenin posed it, is an integral feature of the struggle against capitalism, in the imperialist stage of its development, because – regardless of the intentions of its various expressions- it operates as a barrier to the political emancipation of the working class from bourgeois politics and opposes the ideological-political independence of the labour movement.

The struggle against opportunism is not dependent on whether it is formed into a specific political organization or not, or on its parliamentary or trade union influence.  It is not a secondary, partial duty or separate from the task of struggling against the bourgeois political line in all its variations and versions. Particularly in periods like this, with increasing popular discontent and protest, there is the danger of the people being trapped in one of the alternative scenarios of bourgeois management. The effort for the radicalization and liberation of working class and popular masses from bourgeois politics has as a precondition the open struggle against opportunism.

Historical experience of course has demonstrated that the genesis and development of opportunism inside the CPs is not something that happens overnight. Factors for the prospective strengthening of opportunism are theoretical weaknesses, mistakes in strategic elaborations which were not detected and corrected, as well as contradictory positions on the part of leaderships which were proven not to be driven by a desire to adapt to, compromise with and submit to the bourgeoisie, but on the contrary even led the armed confrontation against the class enemy.

History has demonstrated that if the confrontation with opportunism is delayed it leads the party to degeneration, to its social-democratic mutation, to the loss of its historical continuity. This happened to CPs in Western Europe, e.g. in France, Italy etc. In contrast, the conflict with opportunism safeguarded the continuation of the communist character of the party. For example, the conflict which manifested itself at the 12th Plenum of the CC of the KKE, in 1968, led to the withdrawal of the revisionist group which had sought in essence to transform the party into a “eurocommunist” formation. It safeguarded the organizational regroupment of the party and it led to the establishment of KNE.  Nevertheless it could not deal with or start to deal with the basic problem, which was the issue of the Party’s strategy, a fact which impacted on the subsequent development of opportunism in its ranks.

On the other hand, the crisis in the party in 1990-1991, which took place in conditions of the serious defeat of the communist movement and the course of its regroupment after the split, made the party examine its course more self-critically, to study issues, like for example, the position of Greek capitalism in the international imperialist system and its relationship with the character of the revolution and power, the causes which led to the counterrevolutions 1989-1991 in the USSR and the other socialist states of Europe, to draw deeper conclusions which are expressed in its programmatic view.

[1] Essay on the History of the KKE, 1949-1968, Volume 2, second ed. p 21-22. Sychroni Epohi, Athens 2011.

[2] Essay on the History of the KKE,, 1949-1968, Volume 2, second ed. p 316-317. Sychroni Epohi, Athens 2011.

[3] Essay on the History of the KKE,, 1949-1968, Volume 2, second ed. p 318. Sychroni Epohi. Athens, 2011.

[4] Essay on the History of the KKE,, 1949-1968, Volume 2, second ed. p 470. Sychroni Epohi, Athens, 2011.

[5] Essay on the History of the KKE,, 1949-1968, Volume 2. p 446. second ed. Sychroni Epohi. Athens 2011.