The sharpening of the imperialist competition in the region of the Southeastern Mediterranean and the Balkans. The position of the KKE regarding the possibility of Greece’s involvement in an imperialist war

  • 11/6/14 7:30 PM

“War is no chance happening, no “sin” as is thought by Christian priests (who are no whit behind the opportunists in preaching patriotism, humanity and peace), but an inevitable stage of capitalism, just as legitimate a form of the   capitalist way of life as peace is. Present-day war is a people’s war. What follows from this truth is not that we must swim with the “popular” current of chauvinism, but that the class contradictions dividing the nations continue to exist in wartime and manifest themselves in conditions of war” V.I.Leninó

 

 

 

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) also deals with issue of war through the prism of Marxism-Leninism and proletarian internationalism, which it remains faithful to. The possibility of war and the involvement of Greece particularly concerned the recent 19th Congress of the KKE (11-14 April 2013). Important guidelines are provided in the Political Resolution regarding the preparation of the party in the case of such a possibility, as the developments completely vindicate Lenin, who underlined that war constitutes “an inevitable phase of capitalism, a form of capitalist life equally natural as peace”. The imperialist “peace” prepares the new imperialist wars. The KKE does not merely repeat the Leninist truths, but uses them as a basis, analyzing the specific socio-economic, political developments of our wider region, which are explosive and are creating a very dangerous situation for the lives of the workers. The specific article will refer to this approach of the KKE.

 

1.The region is a magnet for inter-imperialist contradictions

 

The region of the Balkans (there are today 11 states and the protectorate of Kosovo) was characterized in the 19th century as the “powder-keg” of Europe, due to the fierce contradictions and military conflicts, behind which the major powers of the era were to be found, which sought to benefit from the crisis of the feudal Ottoman Empire, and the emergence of national bourgeois states in its place, whose borders were continually disputed. Of course, a similar situation was formed on the territory of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East after the 1st World War, where capitalist relations of production were introduced and reinforced and borders were drawn. After the 2nd World War new “national” bourgeois states were created (around 20) and the contradictions among the strong powers were intensified.

 

Only in recent years, after the counterrevolutionary events and the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe, this region of the Southeastern Mediterranean (Middle East) and the Balkans saw imperialist interventions in Yugoslavia[1], Iraq[2], Libya[3]. While since 2011 and up until today the imperialist intervention of the USA, France and Britain against Syria has been underway (which with the primary assistance of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar etc seeks the overthrow of the Assad regime with the pretext again of “promoting democracy”). The workers, above all the communists, can not in any instance accept that the USA and NATO, which are responsible for so many dictatorships and massacres, are seeking to safeguard the democratic rights and freedoms of the Syrian people. Nor, of course, can we believe that the monarchs and princes of the gulf emirates are interested about “democracy” in Syria.

 

But what is it that draws the imperialist intervention and war to our region like a “magnet”?

 

The geographical position of this specific region, which is the point of “contact” for three continents (Europe, Asia, Africa), objectively creates important communication channels, both for economic activities and for political-military reasons. Such “channels” are the Suez Canal, the Bosphorus, the Persian Gulf, the oil and natural gas pipelines, which are like a “net” that is constantly expanding, including the large ports, the rail infrastructure and highways, the networks for the transport of electricity etc. These include the islands, which are used by the imperialists as “unsinkable aircraft carriers”, like Crete and Cyprus, as well as dozens of military bases possessed in the region by the USA and NATO and to a lesser extent Russia.

 

The control of the economic infrastructure, the political-military influence of each imperialist power in the region, constitutes an additional “precondition” for the approach to other regions, which have or might acquire strategic importance for them, like the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus, Africa etc. Even when they can not directly acquire this “precondition”, they are interested in their competition losing it. As Lenin noted: “an essential feature of imperialism is the rivalry between several great powers in the striving for hegemony, i.e., for the conquest of territory, not so much directly for themselves as to weaken the adversary and undermine his hegemony.”[4]

 

There are significant hydrocarbon deposits in the region, with a new element being the deposits that have been discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean, which are now an “apple of discord” for the energy monopolies, due to the development of the technology for mining deposits at great depths, the significant increase in the prices of the hydrocarbons, which make their exploitation profitable. The control of the energy deposits in the region, capable of increasing the profits of the monopolies, constitutes another important factor in sharpening this region’s contradictions.[5]

 

The historic setback for the development of the class struggle, with the overthrow of socialism in the USSR and the other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the capitalist crisis and the aggressiveness of capital, the liberalization of the markets and the privatizations as features of the capitalist restructurings, are creating a new situation, which is causing the exacerbation of the competition and realignments. The bourgeois classes in the former socialist countries (Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former USSR), as well as in those, where there was significant backwardness in the development of capitalism (North Africa, the Middle East) are seeking bourgeois modernization and restructurings which correspond to their current economic base, with the aim of increasing their profitability of capital, the assimilation into the imperialist system and its unions (NATO, EU etc). Nevertheless, this aim provokes both the internal contradictions and discord amongst the various sections of the bourgeois class of every country, as well as among the strongest imperialist powers, as there is an increasing effort in this region for, above all, the economic penetration by other powers, such as China and Russia.  And so the monopolies, also utilising the state mechanisms, are coming into fierce conflict over the division and the control of the market shares. Of course, these intra-capitalist conflicts may be concealed under other “mantles”, such as e.g. the “Arab Spring”, utilizing internal intra-bourgeois contradictions as well as the struggles and desires of the working class and popular masses for political, trade union and democratic rights.

 

2. New issues in the region, against the backdrop of the old ones

 

There are serious long-term issues in the region, which influence the developments, such as the occupation of Palestine by Israel, the continuing occupation of 40% of Cyprus by Turkey, the “independence” of Kosovo, the occupation of Iraq by the USA, the occupation of Syrian And Lebanese territories by Israel, as well as the developments in Iran, which coexist with the search for a compromise concerning the nuclear weapons with pressure and threats from the USA and Israel.

 

There is a plethora of nationalities and religions, national, religious minorities, pre-capitalist forms of social organization in the existing states in the region of the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean. Of course all these contradictions which have not been absorbed by the capitalist development are also reflected in the superstructure, in the relative delay concerning the creation of a more representative bourgeois political system. All these things facilitate the policy of “divide and rule”, the policy of stirring up minority and border issues, which is followed by the imperialists in order to promote their plans. Of course, this situation is also utilised by the bourgeois classes in order to trap the workers into the framework of nationalism and expansionism[6]. Of course, these border changes, the fragmentation of states does not occur without bloodshed, without the involvement of conflicting imperialist interests. The slogan which the demonstrators shout at the anti-imperialist rallies in Greece “The imperialists re-divide the world, they draw the borders with the blood of the peoples” expresses the reality [7].

 

The theses and analyses of the KKE on these issues are well-known. For this reason we will focus on the most recent issues.

 

 One of these is the so-called “Arab Spring”, as the developments in Egypt and Tunisia were characterized, there is a combination of internal and external factors, with the internal ones being predominant. This process is related to the activity of sections of the bourgeois class, the intermediate strata, which have the larger participation of the youth as well, which seek the modernization of the economic base and the bourgeois-parliamentary adaptation of the political system to the developed capitalist economy. Working class forces are also mobilized for this aim.

 

Often new or old sections of the bourgeois class are intertwined with new or old foreign allies. So these developments – the mobility, the conflicts- are connected to the intervention of strong imperialist states for the more effective control of the region. The plans of the USA, in any case, for the control of the so-called “Greater Middle East” are not unknown.

 

We saw that in the last three years, under the impact of the sharpening problems of the people, initially major working class and popular mobilizations, uprisings were organized in Tunisia and later in Egypt, which have as basic demands the combating of poverty, unemployment, corruption, the expansion of democratic rights and freedoms, the removal of the authoritarian regimes of Ben Ali and Mubarak, whose parties were members of the Socialist International. As a result in the beginning forces of so-called “political Islam” were promoted to the leadership, while in Egypt these forces (“The Muslim Brotherhood”, the Morsi presidency) were violently removed from the country’s governance, after the military coup, utilising the conditions formed through mobilizations organized by bourgeois and petty bourgeois forces, liberal and social-democratic, which temporarily coalesced under the “umbrella’ of “secularism”. These changes at the summit of the political superstructure were arbitrarily labelled “a revolution” both in the 1st and 2nd case, something, of course, which has nothing to do with the reality, and this has been demonstrated even to the most suspicious by the developments in the recent period.

 

It has been demonstrated that the struggles of the popular forces against unemployment, poverty, destitution, state repression, corruption, the plundering of the natural resources of their countries by the local and foreign monopolies, when they are limited merely to changing the anti-people governments, to bourgeois democratic rights, do not have the hoped for pro-people results. The expectations of the people are quickly dispelled by the political forces that prevailed through the so-called “Arab Spring”. The people’s interests can not be satisfied either by the Morsi government or  the Muslim Brotherhood, which imposed anti-worker political support for the monopolies, or by the section of the bourgeois class that supported the military coup and elevated general Sisi to the presidency of the republic.

 

The crisis in the bourgeois political system of Egypt is also connected to the competition of the imperialist centres concerning the safeguarding of the natural resources of the wider region and the energy routes.

 

The bourgeois class of Egypt possesses alternative solutions in order to safeguard its interests and the role of the army and the so-called religious movements are some of these. The working class and popular strata must not limit themselves to whether the one or the other government should leave, should not be trapped in alleged transitional solutions which prepare the next anti-people government.

 

The developments demonstrate that when the working class does not possess a CP with a strategic independence from the bourgeois class, then the people’s indignation and protest becomes part of the plans for the reformation of the political system.

 

 The imperialist intervention in Syria has been underway for over three years, and which is clearly linked to the other developments in the region, such as e.g. the NATO intervention and developments that are continuing in Libya, as well as the developments in Iraq.  Of course, the events which are taking place in Syria have their roots inside the country itself, as Syria is marching along the capitalist development path, and this is responsible for the economic, social and political problems which the working class and the other popular strata are experiencing. These are problems that have been sharpening in recent years before the imperialist intervention, due to the policies of privatization, the reduction of the rights and income of the working class and popular strata, which are being promoted in the interests of the domestic bourgeois class.

 

However simultaneously with the people’s reactions to the anti-people measures there was the open imperialist intervention of the USA, the EU, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc. It was obvious that certain imperialist powers are interested in the destabilization and weakening of the dominant bourgeois political forces of the bourgeois Syrian regime, which maintains close relations with Russia and for its own reasons came into conflict with the most “loyal” ally of the USA in the region, Israel, and constitutes an ally of other forces in Palestine, Lebanon that are fighting against various imperialist plans.

The weakening of these forces led by President Assad, or even his overthrow facilitated the imperialist plans to attack Iran, under the pretext of its nuclear programme. It may even lead to the new dismemberment of states in the region, and a domino-effect of destabilization and bloodshed, something which will bring new imperialist wars and interventions.

We can make a brief reference to history and assess that after the 2nd World War, thanks to the influence of the USSR, due to its contribution to the Anti-fascist victory, the superiority of socialism in the reconstruction of the country, the formation of the socialist regimes in Eastern Europe, and the collapse of colonialism, there were positive developments in the global correlation of forces. Of course, these developments were overestimated by the communist movement, because the international imperialist system remained powerful, despite the undoubted strengthening of the forces of socialism. Immediately, after the end of the war, imperialism under the hegemony of the USA, began the “Cold War” and elaborated a strategy to undermine the socialist system and to regroup its forces.

In the same period, in a series of countries, like Syria, the question of national independence and the rallying around this goal were the central issues, as a first precondition for the overcoming of the retarded development which was predominant in every sector of social life. The USSR and the other socialist states formed a policy of economic and other forms of cooperation and support for the new regimes, amongst them Syria, with the aim that they not be assimilated into the international capitalist market, the imperialist unions, and also to strengthen forces within the governing fronts which were in favour of a socialist orientation.

This effort of the Soviet Union to develop economic relations, and even alliances, with some capitalist states, against the stronger imperialist powers, was legitimate and understandable, as it weakened the united front of the imperialists, detached forces from them, even if only temporarily, and utilised contradictions in the imperialist camp. The problem was that this contingent (state) policy of the USSR, which was expressed at an economic, diplomatic or other level towards certain countries, was elevated into a principle, it was turned into a theory and there was talk of the so-called “non-capitalist path of development” in these countries, which was linked to the view about a “peaceful transition”. This led communist forces, and consequently the labour movement into tailing bourgeois forces. 

 

Indeed up until today the Leninist saying “state-monopoly capitalism is a complete material preparation for socialism, a rung on the ladder of history between which and the rung called socialism there are no intermediate rungs”[8] is misunderstood by some  to justify the active support and participation of communists in the bourgeois management. Even more so when these specific people understand state monopoly capitalism merely as the existence of a strong state sector in the economy, and not as imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, as Lenin described it, and we must highlight something else as well: Lenin never called on the communists to contribute from government positions or other positions to the management and strengthening of state monopoly capitalism. Those who invoke the specific quote of Lenin to excuse their participation in bourgeois governments, “left”, “patriotic” etc are mistaken. Lenin wrote just above this specific phrase that “Imperialist war is the eve of socialist revolution”[9], but this does not mean that the communists should welcome the imperialist war and participate at the side of the bourgeois class in it.  As we know from history, Lenin was the one who raised the banner of proletarian internationalism, against the participation in the imperialist 1st World War, a banner that was abandoned by the 2nd International.

 

So the mistaken separation of the bourgeois class into a “patriotic” section and a section “subservient to foreigners”, the participation in bourgeois governments, can lead the CP and the workers to fight under a “false flag”, Lenin warned of this danger[10]. Even more so, when it has been demonstrated in practice that a ‘third road to socialism” does not exist. Likewise, intermediate stages between capitalism and socialism do not exist, something that is also apparent in the case of Syria.

 

We note the above, because we consider it useful for us to clarify that the stance of the KKE against the imperialist intervention in Syria does not mean identifying with the Assad regime, nor of course does our opposition to the imperialist attack against Iran mean giving up on the opposition which our party maintains in relation to the bourgeois regime of that country.

 

The communists determine their stance from the position of opposing the choices and plans of the country’s bourgeois class, like Greece’s participation in the imperialist war. Our opposition to the imperialist war, the organization of the struggle of the people against the involvement of the country in it, against the use of territory, sea and airspace of the country as a “launching pad” for the attack on another people is a crucial issue today, which provides us with the potential of placing the question of power on the agenda, calling on the Greek people and other peoples of our region to organize and overthrow the capitalist barbarity that gives rise to war.

 

We also understand that the revolutionary labour movement in Syria can not be indifferent to the foreign imperialist intervention which is being witnessed in its country now, or regarding the plans to occupy and dismember it. It can not be uninvolved in the resistance to the imperialist intervention. From this standpoint, we express our solidarity with the resistance of the Syrian people against the foreign imperialist intervention and at the same time we consider that this can only have a substantial outcome if it is linked to the struggle for a homeland free from the capitalists, outside all the imperialist coalitions, a homeland where the working class will be the owner of the wealth it produces, where it will be in power.

 

The recent events in Iraq, with the activity of the so-called ‘Islamic State” (ISIS), which was supported in various ways by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and of the course the USA and others in order to promote their interests in the region, can operate as a catalyst for the developments. Not only because they can provide the pretext for a new larger scale military intervention of the imperialists in the region, but also because for the first time in decades the “terrain’ is being shaped for a possible change, temporary or permanent, in the “alliances” of the region and another “management” on the part of the USA-EU, the bourgeois class of Iran and maybe also the bourgeois class of Syria. The stance of the labour-people’s movement in this case as well can not be one of supporting the imperialists against the obscurantist “puppets” that they themselves created. What is also needed here is the disentanglement of the labour movement from the bourgeois-imperialist plans in the region, the formation and charting of its own strategy, something which, however, is made difficult by the lack of a strong CP with a revolutionary strategy in Iraq.

 

This conclusion is clearly also true and valid for the dangerous developments in our wider region, such as in Ukraine. The bloody conflict, which broke out on the terrain of the capitalist development path, is continuing in this country, with the intervention of the EU and the USA in the Ukrainian developments, in the fierce competition of these powers against Russia over the control of the markets, the raw materials and the country’s transport networks.

 

The overthrow of the Yanukovych government is not a “democratic” development, as with the support of the EU and USA reactionary and even fascist forces emerged. These forces are being used by the EU-USA to promote their geopolitical goals in the region of Eurasia.

 

The KKE assessed that the attachment of Ukraine to the chariot of today’s capitalist Russia is not the solution for the Ukrainian people. The attempt to divide the Ukrainian people on an ethnic, language basis and to lead them to a new slaughter, with immeasurably tragic consequences for them and their country, to make them choose one or the other inter-state capitalist union is completely alien to the interests of the workers. We express the conviction that they must organize their independent struggle with their interests as the criterion and not with the criterion of which imperialist is chosen by the one or the other section of the Ukrainian plutocracy. They must chart the path for socialism, which is the only alternative solution to the impasses of the capitalist development path. In any case the people of Ukraine have experienced what socialism means! To a great extent, they fondly recall the enormous social gains which it achieved for the working class and poor popular strata. The KKE demanded that our country must have no participation, no involvement in the imperialist plans of NATO, the USA and EU in Ukraine. It underlined that the capitalist crisis and imperialist wars go hand in hand and Greece’s participation in these plans is not in our people’s interests.

 

3. Capitalist crisis and sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions

 

The historical experience demonstrates that both the 1st and 2nd World Wars were the result of a major sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions over the re-division of the world. These contradictions sharpened even further due to the existence of the Soviet Union, in combination with the global capitalist economic crisis (1929-1933). These economic developments in the capitalist world in this period were analysed in the Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the C.P.S.U. (B.), shortly before the outbreak of World War II, on the 10th of March 1939, which noted that: “Naturally, such an unfavourable turn of economic affairs could not but aggravate relations among the powers. The preceding crisis had already mixed the cards and intensified the struggle for markets and sources of raw materials.”[11]

Today the KKE assesses that we are observing “The tendency for important changes in the correlation of forces among the capitalist states became more apparent with the deep crisis of capital over-accumulation in 2008-2009 which in several capitalist economies has in reality not been overcome. This process occurs under the impact of the law of uneven capitalist development. This tendency concerns the higher levels of the imperialist pyramid as well[12]The inter-imperialist contradictions, which in the past led to dozens of local, regional wars and to two World Wars, continue to lead to tough economic, political and military confrontations, irrespective of the composition or recomposition, the changes in the structure and the framework of goals of the international imperialist unions, their so-called new "architecture". In any case, "war is the continuation of politics by other means", especially in the conditions of a deep crisis of capital's over-accumulation and important changes in the correlation of forces of the international imperialist system, in which the re-division of the markets rarely occurs without bloodshed.”[13]

The relationship capitalism-crisis-war leads to the increase in armaments, the creation of new military alliances, the modernization of older ones, like NATO. What is noteworthy in this period is the course of the emerging capitalist powers like China, Russia, India to eradicate the gap in this field and enhance their military strength in correspondence with the level of the influence of their business groups.  All these things further sharpen the contradictions in our region, which are of crucial importance for the division of the loot of the enormous wealth and energy deposits [14]in the region, and the transport routes of the commodities. The conflict may “embrace” to various extents the entire region, (Eastern Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa, the Persian Gulf, the Balkans, the Caspian Sea).

4. The position of Greece in the inter-imperialist competition of the region

Greece, as a capitalist state, is in the imperialist stage of its development, and for many decades it has been integrated in the imperialist unions of NATO (1952) and the EU (1981) - EU (1991), and is actively participating in the inter-imperialist competition which is unfolding in the region. After the counterrevolutionary overthrow in the neighbouring Balkan countries, the Greek bourgeois class benefited and achieved significant capital accumulation and capital exports in the form of direct investments which contributed to the strengthening of Greek businesses and monopoly groups. The capital exports also expanded to Turkey, Egypt, the Ukraine, China as well as to Britain, to the USA and other countries. It actively participated in all the imperialist interventions and wars, such as those against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc.

At the same time, for many decades a competitive as well as cooperative relationship on the part of the country’s bourgeois class has been developing with the bourgeois class of Turkey, which, however, has charted a quite aggressive policy towards Greece and does not recognize the International Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982), and considers many regions of the Aegean Sea to be disputed, also known as the “grey zones”. While it does not accept that the Greek islands have a shelf and an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). At the same time, the Turkish bourgeois class is seeking to use, as well as in other Balkan countries, issues of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace. These issues not only lead to the increase of armaments, but also to friction in the Aegean, “military incidents”, confrontations between fighter planes etc.

In addition, the participation of Greece in NATO, the economic-political and political-military dependencies on the EU and the USA limits the room of the Greek bourgeoisie to manoeuvre independently, as all the alliance relations of capital are governed by competition, unevenness and consequently the advantageous position of the strongest; they are formed as relations of uneven interdependence.

However, there are not only the contradictions with Turkey, but also with Albania, where political forces are strengthening that are stirring up territorial claims at the expense of Greece, while related statements are now also being heard from official mouths, given the priority that the new Albanian government is giving to the strategic cooperation it is developing with Turkey. At the same time the agreement over the maritime borders of the two countries was cancelled by the Albanian Constitutional Court.

The problems with the FYROM also remain (where nationalism in both countries feed into each other), in relation to the name of this country, while the issue of the demarcation of the EEZ in relation to Egypt and Libya remains in abeyance. Problems which have further complications, due to the developments in these countries.

So, in the framework of the furious competition that is developing in the region, there are several “unresolved issues” and nothing can be excluded, including an imperialist war.

In addition, the military bases of Greece and Turkey, as well as those in the Middle East, from the standpoint of “operational planning” are playing an important role in the developments that are being played out in our region. The bases are launching pads to unleash attacks when they are in their active phase, while they are useful for refueling, stationing and the support of the military operations more generally. The US imperialists would think twice or thrice about launching attacks with only the support of their aircraft carriers, their strategic bombers, which can fly for many hours, if there were no bases and infrastructure, like the base at Suda, the military airport of Kalamata, and the other bases in the region of the Balkans and Middle East.[15]

It should be noted at this point that after the outbreak of the crisis, the position of the Greek capitalist economy has deteriorated in the framework of the Eurozone and EU and in the international imperialist pyramid in general. The Greek bourgeois governments, which even before the crisis jointly decided on the anti-people capitalist restructurings in the framework of the EU and scheduled their implementation, agreed to a memorandum with the lenders (EU, IMF, European Central Bank), on the basis of which harsh anti-people measures are being implemented which reduce salaries and pensions, so that the burdens of the crisis are transferred on to the shoulders of the workers and with the aim of capital’s rate of profitability recovering.

Even if it is not unheard of for a capitalist state, which is in a crisis, to receive assistance and support from its international allies, this has given “ammunition” to certain bourgeois and opportunist political forces, like the party of the “Independent Greeks”, the fascist “Golden Dawn”, as well as the emerging force of social-democracy, SYRIZA, to talk about the “occupation of Greece”, about “subjugation”, “disappearance of sovereignty”, “dependency” etc. In this framework the stance of the Greek government in the inter-imperialist competition in the region is described as “subservient to foreigners” or “servile”.

In reality, of course, these assessments ignore the fact that the bourgeois class of Greece through the country’s participation in the imperialist system (on the basis of its economic, military and political strength), has for decades objectively ceded certain sovereign rights, with the aim of strengthening its position and benefiting from its position in them and to claim its share from the imperialist “loot”.

It is characteristic that despite the capitalist crisis, sections of the bourgeois class of the country, like ship-owning capital, are amongst the strongest in the world. So, the participation of Greece in the imperialist competition in the region, sometimes with its active involvement in wars, other times through the effort to create “axes” (e.g. with Israel[16]) and on occasion retreating in the face of the claims of the bourgeois class of Turkey[17] has no relationship with “compliance” and “servility” to the foreigners, but with Greece’s position in the imperialist “pyramid” and its effort to acquire new benefits[18] and each time the governing parties are required to wear the mantle of the “national interest”. Here the reminder of Lenin is very useful, regarding what the “national interest” is in reality, in the instance of Belgium in his era: “The Belgian bourgeoisie’s foreign investments amount to something like three thousand   million francs. Safeguarding the profits from these investments by using every kind of fraud and machinations is the real “national interest” of “gallant Belgium.”[19] The organic connection of the interests of the Greek bourgeois class in our era is similarly and clearly more deeply linked with the imperialist plans of NATO and the EU.

 

5. The workers’ and communist movement in the face of the sharpening of the inter-imperialist contradictions and the possibility of an imperialist war.

 

The communists take a position in the face of the developments which are being formed and can not be opposed to every war in a general way. The truly just war in the modern era is the armed class confrontation for power, which is the duty of the communists. And this is something which distinguishes them from the pacifists. They judge each moment specifically on the basis of the class interests which are in conflict, the causes, the forces that are involved, the goals of each side.

The imperialist wars, the wars for the acquisition of markets, territories, direct political control, are typical of the contemporary era of capitalism, and express the need for a new division of the markets, for new peace “agreements”, based on the course of the uneven capitalist development.

Lenin at the beginning of the 20th century, referring to the 1st World War, described it in the following terms: “The European and world war has the clearly defined character of a bourgeois, imperialist and dynastic war. A struggle for markets and for freedom to loot foreign countries, a striving to suppress the revolutionary movement of the proletariat and democracy in the individual countries, a desire to deceive, disunite, and slaughter the proletarians of all countries by setting the wage slaves of one nation   against those of another so as to benefit the bourgeoisie—these are the only real content and significance of the war.”[20]

Today the bourgeois class also benefiting from the negative international correlation of forces, has passed into the ideological “offensive”, seeking to win not merely the passive toleration, but the active support of the working class and popular masses for its imperialist plans, on issues of imperialist interventions and wars. Here they utilise, apart from the issue of defending the “fatherland”, other new pretexts as well., such as the “promotion of democracy”, or “humanitarian reasons”, or “the war on terrorism”, or “combating piracy”, or the “non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”, etc.

It is necessary for the CPs to strengthen their struggle against all of these arguments and as a whole against the aim of the bourgeois and opportunists to disorient the workers and transform them into the “cannon fodder” of the imperialist wars.

Lets us examine certain of the basic contemporary arguments of our opponents.

5.1   The invocation of the “national obligation”

The bourgeois classes are trying to deceive and convince the working masses that the participation of the country in imperialist interventions, in the preparation and conduct of the imperialist war serve the interests of the “fatherland” and are a “national obligation”. It does this in conditions of peace as well, demanding “social consensus, and “national unanimity” so that the “fatherland” becomes stronger, as well as in conditions of war. In reality, in both these cases-peace and war- the bourgeois class demands that the workers assist so that the bourgeoisie itself improves its position in the imperialist “pyramid” and promotes its own interests.

In addition, the slogans are adapted in line with the phase capitalism is in (capitalist development or crisis). For example, in Brazil today, where capitalist growth is being witnessed (even if recently it has been slowing down), the call of the bourgeois class is for the country to become stronger and for it “to rid itself of the dependency on North American imperialism”, while in Greece, which is going through a capitalist crisis, it is demanding that the workers swallow its poisonous measures one by one, so that the country can “regain” its “sovereignty”. However, particularly in the conditions of the imperialist war, slogans are being cultivated such as a “unified patriotic organization”, “national conciliation”, ‘the benefit of the nation” etc. A characteristic example in relation to Greece today is the large US air-force and naval base in Suda (on the island of Crete), which is playing an important role in various US and NATO military operations in the Mediterranean, like the war that was waged against Libya. There is an attempt to embed the argument by the country’s leading ideological-political circles that the existence of this base operates in favour of the economic interests of island’s residents and there must be unanimous support for the maintenance of this base. At the same time they are silent and conceal from the workers the consequences and dangers which the Suda base entails, as well as the participation of Greece in the imperialist plans as a whole, for the workers themselves and the families from the popular strata. These are dangers and consequences which the KKE exposes.

 

5.2   The EU and NATO are a “guarantee of security”

The bourgeois parties, with their argument that Greece is a “small country”, which “needs international alliances”, propagandize the need for Greece to participate both in the EU and NATO. They present them as “guarantors of security” of the Greek people, mainly against the danger of Turkey. In this way they justify and call on the people to support the country’s participation in the EU-NATO imperialist interventions and plans.

In reality, Greece’s accession to these two imperialist unions was anything but a guarantee for the country’s security. On the contrary, it has complicated matters and is the basis for the retreat from the country’s sovereign rights, something which the bourgeois governments do in order to safeguard their position inside these unions, as well as to “buttress” their position against the labour and people’s movement.

 

5.3   The demand “for NATO to be dissolved”, instead of withdrawal from it

We see that in every case, the forces of opportunism with their stance function as a support for the bourgeois class, both when there is peace and when there is war. For example, the stance maintained by the opportunist forces during the war in Yugoslavia is characteristic, when inside the centre-left governments of France and Italy they participated in the NATO bombing. But also in other instances when they accepted and propagandized the imperialist pretexts among the popular strata, as, for example, forces from the ELP, which participate in the GUE/NGL, did recently in the case of Libya.

The opportunist forces of SYRIZA in Greece, which are more “careful” due to the existence, activity and influence of positions of the KKE, have found their own way to answer the demand for the disengagement of our country from the imperialist unions like NATO. So, they promote the demand for the “dissolution of NATO”. How can this imperialist organization be dissolved if it is not weakened by the withdrawal from it of each country? Withdrawal, which in our era, for it to mean a real disentanglement from every imperialist union, can only be guaranteed by working class power. In reality, the stance of the opportunists is generally pacifist and only in words “anti-NATO”, but in practice it does not in the least affect the existence and activity of the imperialist NATO organization and the participation of each country in the imperialist plans. In addition, compromise and defeatism are also fostered by the view adopted by SYRIZA that its opposition to NATO is not for the present time because the correlation of forces does not allow it, deliberately postponing it to a vague future, as in any case the opportunists also do regarding the issue of socialism, which it also postpones to the “Greek calends”. This assessment of ours has been vindicated by the statements made by the head of SYRIZA: “I say from the depths of my soul, Greece belongs to the EU and NATO, this is not under dispute.”[21]

5.4   The EU must be “democratized” and its role strengthened, through the reinforcement of the common foreign and defence policy of the EU

As is well-known in 2013 the award of the “Nobel Peace Prize” was given to the EU. Thousands of workers all over the world felt disgust at this decision. Our party noted that “this prize constitutes horror and decay for those who had been awarded it and those who will be awarded it in the future”, reminding people of the EU’s role in the wars in Yugoslavia, and also in the more recent ones.

 

At the same time the opportunist forces of SYRIZA argued that if the EU “was democratized”, if it “changed” through the elevation of “left” governments and further strengthened its role, if it “weaned itself off” NATO, as they say, and acquired “its own: foreign and defense policy”, then it would be an “agent for peace”, “it would become a “global power” and will prove that it deserves this prize”!

 

The opportunists seek to disorient the workers, fostering the non-class approach to the capitalist inter-state unions. And this when it is very well-known that the EU was constructed from the beginning as “European Coal and Steel community” (in 1951) and as the European Economic Community (EEC) (in 1957) in order to serve the interests of big capital! In order to make the exploitation of the working people in the EU member-states more effective and for the European monopolies to be able to compete with the monopolies of other imperialist centres. The KKE assesses that the EU is a reactionary construction, a predator, which can not be reformed from within and to become an “agent for peace”, because it has the capitalist profit in its DNA, the basic cause of the imperialist wars in our era. The call of SYRIZA is a complete distraction, which is asking the “wolf” to put on sheep’s clothing…

5.5   The solution of the “multi-polar world”

Certain forces see imperialism merely as the “empire” of the USA and on this basis they salute the promotion of new emerging capitalist powers in global affairs, such as the emergence of new inter-state unions (BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization, ALBA etc), which are formed by capitalist states, with an economic-political and military content. These developments are saluted as the beginning of the emergence of a new “multi-polar world”, which will “reform” and will give “new life” to the UN and the other international organizations, which will escape the US “hegemony”. These hypotheses conclude that peace will be ensured in this way.

In reality, the political forces of different ideological hues recognise the new inter-imperialist contradictions and the apparent realignment in the global system and characterise the tendency for the correlation of forces to change as the “democratization” of international relations, as a “multi-polar world”. This correlation of forces was formed after the overthrows in the socialist countries, as well as through the expansion and intensification of NATO’s and the EU’s activity over the last 20 years. The new correlation of forces includes the strengthening of Germany, Russia, China, Brazil and other states.

Their various proposals, like, for example, the expansion of the UN Security Council with the addition of other countries or the increase of the EU’s global role or even of Russia and China’s role in international affairs, are not capable of placing other “controls” on the developments. And this is because they can not stop the inter-imperialist contradictions, which manifest themselves over the raw materials, energy and its transport routes, in the battle over the shares of the market. It is the monopoly competition that leads to local and generalized military interventions and wars. This competition is conducted using every means possessed by the monopolies and the capitalist states which express the interests of the monopolies. It is reflected in the inter-state agreements, which are constantly being disputed due to uneven development. This is imperialism, the source of military attacks on both a large and small scale.

The talk about a “new democratic global governance”, with “transparency”, “participation” and “social solidarity”, which is  disseminated by social-democratic and opportunist forces aims at ideologically prettifying the new correlation of forces in the capitalist, imperialist barbarity, with the goal of misleading the workers.

The workers have no interest in believing that capitalism and international relations can be “democratized” and that they should choose an imperialist which will allegedly implement something like this.

It is worth referring to Lenin’s position of the issue, including a very specific example:

“The former country, let us say, possesses three-fourths of Africa, whereas the latter possesses one-fourth. A repartition of Africa is the objective content of their war. To which side should we wish success? It would be absurd to state the problem in its previous form, since we do not possess the old criteria of appraisal: there is neither a bourgeois liberation movement running into decades, nor a long process of the decay of feudalism. It is not the business of present-day democracy either to help the former country to assert its “right” to three-fourths of Africa, or to help the latter country (even if it is developing economically more rapidly than the former) to take over those three-fourths.”[22]

Present-day democracy will remain true to itself only if it joins neither one nor the other imperialist bourgeoisie, only if it says that the two sides are equally bad, and if it wishes the defeat of the imperialist bourgeoisie in every country. Any other decision will, in reality, be national-liberal and have nothing in common with genuine internationalism.”

And he concluded in relation to this: “In reality, there can now be no talk of present-day democracy following in the wake of the reactionary imperialist bourgeoisie, no matter of what “shade” the latter may be(…).”

5.6   The stance of the KKE in relation to the contradictions and in the instance of war

The KKE, also with the decisions of the 19th Congress is preparing and orienting the working class and popular masses regarding the possible instance of our country being involved in an imperialist war. In the Programme of the KKE, which was approved by the 19th Congress it is noted that:

“The dangers in the wider region are increasing, from the Balkans to the Middle East, for a generalized imperialist war and the involvement of Greece in it.

The struggle for the defence of the borders, the sovereign rights of Greece, from the standpoint of the working class and the popular strata is integral to the struggle for the overthrow of the power of capital. It does not have any relation with the defence of the plans of one or the other imperialist pole and the profitability of one or the other monopoly group.”[23]

On this basis, we see that the KKE deals with the issue of the country’s defence (borders, more general sovereign rights) with class criteria, i.e. from the standpoint of the working class and the popular strata, it connects it with the struggle for the disentanglement from the plans of the imperialist unions, for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of the socialist society.

In any case it a lesson of history that even in conditions of occupation, abolition of the nation-state formation, the working class can not wage the struggle against the occupation from the same side as the bourgeois class, it can not ally with any section of it.  War and occupation are an extension of capitalist exploitation for the working class and poor popular strata, as they are a creation of the economic and political rule of capital. The working class struggles against destitution, the oppression and violence of the occupier, the intensity of the exploitation, against the international imperialist agreements. Its “fatherland” is a fatherland freed from the capitalists, outside the imperialist coalitions, a fatherland where it will be the owner of the wealth it produces, where it will be in power. The war of the bourgeois class for its own “fatherland”-regardless of whether it allies with the foreign occupation or resists it- again is carried out for the interests of the monopoly groups, for the restoration of an agreement concerning the division of the markets which is in the interests of the national monopolies and not the working class and popular interests.

The KKE has drawn the necessary conclusions from the armed struggle it waged in the period of the 2nd World War, against the fascist triple foreign occupation (German, Italian, Bulgarian) of the country. Then, despite the superiority of the armed sections of EAM-ELAS guided by the KKE, our party unfortunately was not able to connect the anti-fascist struggle, the struggle against the foreign occupation with the struggle for the overthrow of the power of capital in the country, because it had not formed a corresponding strategy in its ranks. Today, drawing valuable conclusions from the historical course of our party, we are charting such a strategy, in the face of the dangers of our country being involved in new local, regional and more generalized imperialist wars.

It is noted in the Political Resolution of the 19th Congress: “In any case, whatever form the participation of Greece in the imperialist war takes, the KKE must be ready to lead the independent organization of the workers'-people's resistance and link it with the struggle for the defeat of the bourgeois class, both of the domestic one and the foreign one as an invader.[24]

In the conditions of a new imperialist war, the political vanguard of the working class, its party has the task of highlighting the need for the class unity of the workers, the alliance with popular forces, the internationalist dimension of the working class and the tasks that flow from this. The stance towards the war is the stance towards the class struggle and the socialist revolution, a struggle for the transformation of this war into an armed class struggle, the “only war of liberation”, as Lenin characterized it. The analysis of Lenin is valuable which, developing the theory of the weakest link, i.e. seeing the possibility of a major sharpening of the contradictions happening previously, the creation of a revolution situation in a country or group of countries, scientifically grounded the possibility of the revolution initially prevailing in one country of a group of countries. Consequently the consultation, the common slogans and common activity with the revolutionary movement of other countries in such a war constitutes an important precondition for the prospect of the outbreak and victory of the socialist revolution in more countries, the possibility of another kind of cooperation or union of states, on the basis of social ownership, central planning with proletarian internationalism.

At the same time the KKE strengthens its struggle against opportunism, because as Lenin noted the “Struggle against imperialism that is not closely linked with the struggle against opportunism is either an empty phrase or a fraud.”[25]

We communists, who base our analyses on the theory of scientific socialism, know very well that war is continuation of politics by other specifically violent means. War arises on the terrain of the conflict of different economic interests, which permeate the entire system of capitalism. This is the reason why, even if war in the conditions of capitalism is inevitable (like economic crises, unemployment, poverty etc); it is not a natural phenomenon. It is a social phenomenon, as it is connected to the nature of the society we live in. This is the society which has the profitability of those who possess the means of production as its “corner-stone”. The monopolies and their power give rise to the imperialist war. In conclusion, our struggle for a society where the means of production will be the property of the people (and not the property of the very few), where the economy will operate  planned centrally and controlled by the workers themselves, with the aim of satisfying the needs of the people (and not the increase of the capitalists’ profits) is integrally connected to the struggle against the imperialist war and  the "peace" imposed by the imperialists with the gun to the people's head, which prepares the new imperialist wars.

Nevertheless, this formulation of ours, that as long as capitalism exists, the conditions will exist which give rise to war, does not mean fatalism and defeatism! Quite the opposite. We address ourselves to the working class of the country, to the peoples of our region and we stress that their interests are identified with the common anti-capitalist-anti-monopoly struggle, for the disengagement from the imperialist organizations, the removal of the foreign military bases and nuclear weapons, the return home of the military forces from the imperialist missions, the expression of solidarity with every people which is struggling and seeks to chart its own development path. So that our country is disentangled from the imperialist plans and wars. So that the following slogan becomes a reality: “No land, no water for the murderers of the peoples.” This is a daily struggle. A struggle with specific goals, which the communists wage in a way which is united with the struggle for power and not detached from it.

Because Lenin’s theses continue to be relevant which note that “In such conditions, the slogans of pacifism, of international disarmament under capitalism, of arbitration, etc., are not only a reactionary utopia but the downright deception of the toilers, intended to disarm the proletariat and to divert it from the task of disarming the exploiters.

Only a proletarian communist revolution can lead humanity out of the deadlock created by imperialism and imperialist wars. No matter what difficulties the revolution may have to encounter and in spite of temporary failure of waves of counter-revolution the final victory of the proletariat is inevitable.”[26]

 

ó  The Position and Tasks of the Socialist International. Lenin, Collected Works. V 21

[1] The NATO intervention took place under the pretext of the “genocide” of the Kosovar Albanians by Milosevic in 1999 and led to the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

[2] The intervention of the USA and its “allies” took place in 2003 under the pretext of “weapons of mass destruction” which the Saddam Hussein regime allegedly possessed. An intervention which today has placed Iraq in a situation of a peculiar division into three parts that is underway (into Shiite, Sunni, and Kurdish areas).

[3] In 2011, NATO, under the pretext of “promoting democracy”, in the framework of the so-called “Arab Spring”, carried out the imperialist intervention with tragic consequences for the Libyan people.

[4] V.I. Lenin. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Collected Works, V. 22

[5] According to reports from the USA, the Prime Minister of Greece, A. Samaras, during his meeting with the US President, B. Obama, which took place on 9/8/2013 in Washington, informed him that the natural gas in Greece’s subsoil (Ionian Sea-South of Crete) is estimated at 4.7 billion cubic meters. These quantities, together with the 4.5 billion cubic meters, which are found in Cyprus’ and Israel’s EEZ, can meet 50% of the EU’s demand for 30 years.

[6] The dangerous positions expressed by government figures from Albania are characteristic. They are promoting territorial claims at the expense of many neighbouring countries, the annexation of territories, sometimes in the name of “self-determination” and other times in the name of the “Greater Albania”. Similar demands are being advanced by Romania at the expense of Moldova and the Ukraine. Similarly the bourgeois class of Turkey, with the Erdogan government and the “vehicle” of “Neo-Ottomanism” is trying to utilize religion, traditions and minorities in the region, in order to trap the workers in a plan to reinforce its role not only in regional affairs but in global ones as well, already playing a very dirty role in the developments in Syria, as well as advancing claims at the expense of Greece in the Aegean Sea.

[7] Opening a parenthesis here, we note that the communists do not treat the issue of self-determination outside of the Leninist position that “The several demands of democracy, including self-determination, are not an absolute, but only a small part of the general-democratic (now: general-socialist) world movement.”(V.I. Lenin. The Discussion on Self-determination Summed Up. Collected Works. V. 22). Particularly regarding  the Kurdish question, which is being immediately highlighted (due to the triple division of Iraq, the independent armed activity of the Kurdish element in Syria, as well as the talks between the imprisoned Kurdish leader in Turkey, A. Ocalan, and the Turkish leadership) the assessment expressed in the joint statement of the KKE and the CP of Turkey is very timely: “The two CPs are of the estimation that the Kurdish issue is a serious issue for the region, which is involved with various imperialistic designs in the Middle East, Balkans and Eurasia.   Although for the working class the Kurdish issue is a matter of equality, justice and freedom, for the imperialists is a matter of promoting various economic interests, geopolitical balances, competitions and equilibriums, control of energy resources and their transportation routes. For us it is obvious that the Kurdish issue cannot be solved in favour of the peoples of the region the contributions of USA, NATO and EU, based on their goals. The Kurdish issue cannot be solved through the allegedly “democratic opening” of AKP, which is promoted with view to establish in reality the bourgeois power itself, to facilitate capital’s profitability through religious feelings. The Kurdish issue will be solved in the interest of the peoples of the region, only in connection with consistent anti-imperialist activity, the struggle for the victory and the establishment of workers’ power, the struggle for socialism. The Kurdish issue will be solved within revolutionary processes, with revolutionary ideals, and not through the imperialists’ plans and “guarantees”.”

[8] V. I. Lenin. The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat it. Collected Works, V. 25

[9] V. I. Lenin. The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat it. Collected Works, V. 25

[10] V.I. Lenin.  Under a False Flag. Collected Works, V. 21

[11] J.V. Stalin. Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the 18th Congress of the CPSU (B). Collected Works, V. 14.

[12] The USA remains the first economic power, but with a significant reduction of its share in the Gross World Product. Until 2008, the Eurozone as a whole maintained the second position in the international capitalist market, a position which it lost after the crisis. China has already emerged as the second economic power, the BRICS alliance (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) has been strengthened in the international capitalist unions, such as the IMF and the G20. The change in the correlation of forces among the capitalist states brings about changes in their alliances, as the inter-imperialist contradictions over the control and re-division of the territories and markets, zones of economic influence are sharpening, chiefly of the energy and natural resources, the transport routes of the commodities.

[13] The Programme of the KKE, approved at the 19th Congress (11-14/4/2013)

[14] In conditions of the dominance of capital’s power, natural wealth is the “apple of discord” amongst the monopolies and the capitalist states, which compete for the control and exploitation of the natural resources, without hesitating to safeguard their profits by butchering the peoples, by destroying the environment, at the same time when the people are in any case paying a very high price for oil and natural gas, energy. The need arises from the developments for the natural resources to be utilized for the benefit of the workers and through the mutual cooperation of the peoples.  A precondition for this perspective is for the power to pass into the hands of the workers in every country, in order to pave the way for the socialization of the natural resources, as well as the concentrated means of production, which must become the property of the people, and the economy must develop with central planning and people’s control.

 

 

[15] It is no accident that Iran, which in this specific phase is supporting Syria, stated that an attack against Syria will also be an attack against Iran and that if this happens, Iran will strike against US bases in the region. So, the “fire” which is being started by the imperialists may take on large dimensions and the dangers for the people of Greece are more than visible. Crete, and specifically Suda, is 2000 kilometers from Iran (2,500 from Tehran). The range of the Iranian “Sajjil” missiles is about 2,500 kilometers.

[16] In recent years, especially after the tension in the relations between Israel and Turkey, the closer cooperation with Israel is being promoted by the bourgeois class of Greece. This cooperation provides both for the promotion of economic interests (e.g. an axis to utilize natural gas, the installation of electric cables that will connect Greece-Cyprus-Israel), as well as the cooperation with military aims, as Israel’s military airplanes participate, despite the protests of the KKE, in military exercises in Greece. Exercises, which are often close to Crete, where the anti-aircraft systems of the Russian built C 300 are installed, with the aim of preparing the Israeli pilots for a possible attack against Iran.

 

[17] The Greek governments, both of the right-wing ND, and the social-democratic PASOK, in the framework of the NATO and EU summits, have signed from time to time over the last 30 years various agreements, which constitute a retreat from the sovereign rights of Greece in the Aegean Sea.

[18] The bourgeois class of Greece seeks to reinforce its international alliances, so that it can find foreign capital to cooperate with in the exploitation of the natural resources, to make the country a “hub” for the energy and commercial interests of the EU, as well as benefiting from the division of the “loot” after the imperialist interventions, e.g. with more favourable conditions for the export of capital by domestic construction companies, telecommunications companies, banking sector etc.

[19] V.I. Lenin. The Question of Peace. Collected Works, V. 21.

[20] V.I. Lenin. The Tasks of Revolutionary Social-Democracy in the European War. Collected Works, V. 21

[21] Interview on the TV station ANT1, 24/5/2014

[22] V.I. Lenin. Under a False Flag. Collected Works, V. 21

[23] Programme of the KKE

[24] Political Resolution of the 19th Congress

[25]  V.I. Lenin. Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. Collected Works, V. 22

[26] «Programme of the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik)”. 1919

 

 

 

 

 

 

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