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.”
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”.
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.”
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.