With the speech of Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the of the CC of KKE, the events of the 45th KNE Festival and the “Odigitis” magazine culminated on Saturday 21/9. Below is listed the full speech by D. Koutsoumbas.
“Friends and Comrades,
For yet another year, the KNE-Odigitis Festival completes its journey across Greece tonight!
It was in early summer of 1975, when the idea of organizing something important was born.
The KNE Festival, even though it is 45 years old now, remains always fresh, it evolves year by year, gaining in multiformity, taking into consideration the contemporary worries and concerns of the young generation.
This is neither a small thing, nor an easy one. After all, we have been spared nothing by the opponent, the bourgeois state. It has set obstacles to the communication of the KKE and KNE with the youth, even in the organization of the Festival itself, whenever it could do so.
On the contrary, others who attempted in these 45 years to copy the Festival, having in fact all means and facilitation to do so, they quickly abandoned the effort. Some still try without success.
Because the Festival of KNE and Odigitis is something different. It has solid foundations. It stands solidly on the revolutionary ideology of the KKE, on our groundbreaking political proposal, οn the militant appeal of KNE about everything that the young generation deserves and that is being stolen from it.
Every new generation feels closer to the Festival than the previous one. Young children who experienced their first Festival on the shoulders of their parents are now hosts.
Many others are here with us this year for the first time. During this weekend they received their first militant and revolutionary stimulus.
The Festival has a unique advantage. The preparation of its events, the designing of the stages, the setting up and its operation are a matter of thousands of young people. The Festival stands for organization, persistence to overcome difficulties, willingness to offer.
In these 45 years, the best representatives of all kinds of art of our country have performed on the stage and have given life to the nights of our Festivals, such as a very good friend of the Festival that recently passed away, the singer Lavrentis Macheritsas.
The Festival is a pole of attraction for young people because when everyone tells them that “things do not change”, the Festival presents a different point of view: with the struggles, the dreams and our strength “we will build a free, open, hopeful world”, Socialism!.
It is also a great opportunity, for those who believe that they have undeniable answers within the framework of this system, to reconsider their overall stance.
Because much more is in the power of the young generation than what the defenders of the system are trying to convince it of!
Every young person who feels aversion to today’s barbarity has their own place in our struggle, looking towards change, towards the new society that we need.
Because, after all, as the vanguard poet of the revolution, Vl. Mayakovsky, wrote “We— each of us — hold in our grip the transmission belts of the world”.
Friends and Comrades,
Two months after the elections, it is no exaggeration to say that ND has passionately taken over, determined to complete the anti-popular loose ends that SYRIZA left behind.
Proving that the anti-popular measures are endless, continuing to load new burdens onto the people, because this is required by the “sacred profits” of the big entrepreneurs, the intensification of exploitation, the opening of new fields for “investment”.
From the so-called “executive state”, namely a state that serves the exploitative capitalist growth, to the new “law for development” that abolishes sectoral collective agreements, strikes another blow to trade union rights and gives new provocative privileges to the business groups, ND delivers class policy lessons.
The new plans of repression of the labour and popular movement that ND is working on, with the announcements about the blatant intervention of the state and employers in the trade unions prove that the hostile policy for the people goes hand in hand with repression and employer terrorism, in order to establish “dead silence” in workplaces and places of education.
ND is a capital’s born and bred party, what we call a typical bourgeois party. And if today ND can easily promote this more authoritarian, reactionary type of governance, it is because it followed the four-year governance of SYRIZA.
In a nutshell, ND walks on the red carpet that SYRIZA rolled out for them.
Who defamed left values and ideals?
Who undermined any expression of radicalism?
Who legalized the memoranda, the EU and whitewashed NATO and the US imperialism?
Who eventually canceled the people‘s positive reflexes out and allowed ND to emerge with the banner of iron fist on the implementation of the strategy that the capital needs?
There is no area where SYRIZA has not paved the way for the ND government to unfold its reactionary policy.
The facts are numerous and “stubborn”:
The facilitations of Mitsotakis to the capital are added to the respective ones of Tsipras, such as the tax reduction on dividends.
The attack of ND towards the trade union rights and the collective bargaining agreements follows SYRIZA’s “strike-killing” law.
The three-pillar privatization of social security proclaimed by ND comes to complete the “guillotine law“ of Katrougalos (former Minister of the SYRIZA government).
The dangerous US strategic agreement, which is being enhanced by ND and provides for new military bases to be put under the US control, has already been introduced by SYRIZA.
As for the environment, the SYRIZA government moved the environmental crimes a step further in the areas of Elliniko (Attica) and Skouries (Chalkidiki) as well as the new landfill site in Fili that will smother the whole West Attica in garbage.
What is the conclusion? The “development for all” that one says is as false as the “fair growth” that the other invokes. Both are true defenders of the barbaric capitalist growth, which is based on exploitation, continuous monitoring and creation of the terms of a new crisis.
And if this is the kind of growth that they want in the life and rights of the people on the internal front, the situation on the external front is much worse.
Everyone, the parties and staff of the system, are speaking with one voice on the enhanced role of our country in the region, on Greece that is supposedly the isle of stability and security, so they can hide that basically our country is entangled in a deeper and multitentacled way in the aggressive US-NATO plans.
The SYRIZA government may have been declared as the “champion” in this sector, but today’s government of ND is not doing badly either.
What do they speak about with one voice to the people: That if Greece obeys the imperialists, forms alliances with the murderer-state of Israel, keeps filling up the country with military bases, spends 4 billion euros on NATO expenses, concedes its mineral resources to energy giants, then its people will live in peace and security having the protection and support of the powerful allies.
This is not only unhistorical, but also extremely dangerous.
And it is dangerous because it makes the people complacent in a period in which not only the competitions in the region are sharpened, along with the Turkish provocativeness with the well-known “Blue Homeland” plans, but also a whole bargaining is being conducted, the conclusion of which may have unpredictable consequences.
Besides, the tension in the Aegean Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean is always a weapon in the hands of the USA-NATO-EU for exerting coercion within a given country, so that the peoples will be prepared to accept “solutions” that are harmful for their interests.
Such solutions are for example the joint-management plans of the Aegean and also the partition plans in Cyprus that are being expedited under the guidance of the Americans and NATO, so that the exploitation plans of the energy deposits will proceed smoothly.
Our people is and will be in the front-line of these hardships and dangers, faced with the Turkish provocation, the policy of the Greek governments and interests of the Greek bourgeois class, the NATO plans as well as the drama that live in the region those who were uprooted from their homes because of wars, whose life and future are literally hanging by a thread either in the trips of death, the hellholes of the islands or the bargaining of the powerful ones with Turkey, as it happens again this period.
Friends and Comrades,
While the other parties are in a state of awkwardness and are elaborating as they say their oppositional tactic and profile, actually seeking new ways to entrap the people in the same strategy, the KKE stood against the anti-people’s choices of the new government from the very first moment, at the forefront for the organization of the popular mobilization.
We have on our side the thousands of people who rallied with us in the electoral battles, under conditions of fatalism, retreat and compromise which festered during the period of the SYRIZA governance. Under these circumstances, hundreds of thousands of people supported the KKE in the general, regional and local elections. In addition, broader sections of the people expressed themselves positively on our party, its stability and consistency.
We are well-equipped with the theses and policy of our Party, the vanguard action that the members of KKE and KNE are carrying out at every front. The workers, the popular strata following our action know that:
The KKE is committed to struggle consistently and daily, to fight inside and outside the parliament so that measures of relief are taken, the anti-people’s restructurings are delayed.
This requires participation in strike, in the conflict with the employers, the struggle for a true pro-people’s way out, the struggle so the people come to power.
The communists with a great sense of responsibility are at the forefront of claiming rights, of confronting the employers, the government and their trade-unionists. This is the opposition that the working class needs, an opposition that is judged on a daily basis and changes the correlation of forces in conflict with the capital and its governments.
By walking this path, we demand increases in wages, the restoration of sectoral collective bargaining agreements for all workers, a permanent and stable work for all.
– Increases in pensions, the abolishment of all laws against social security, to put a stop to the new social security system that the ND government is preparing.
– For the immediate relief of the workers’ – people’s families from the tax heist.
– We are in the first line to raise a protective barrier for the people’s houses, against the auctions that is expected to be increased in the following period.
– We are in the first line to increase the spots of resistance and counterattack, rooted in every workplace and every education area.
For the expansion of the Party’s and KNE’s force with new militants.
For the development of the social alliance of waged employees, self-employed peasants and self-employed, scientists, artists, people working in the sectors of education, healthcare, culture and sports, so that it could also embrace the women and the youth.
We call upon the young men and women of the working class. We know well that today we have to face a really negative correlation of forces.
We know well that in the current situation today, the developments are advancing slowly and painfully, labour and a lot of effort is required in order to ripple the stagnant water, all the more so to attain even the slightest relief through the struggle and the mobilization.
We can see it through the KKE’s as well as KNE’s activity that the present generation has to move mountains so that it could see that indeed there can be something outside the limits of the current, corrupted capitalist system.
Even that today the present generation has to go through the mill. Today lurks the demonization of socialism known to mankind, of the top moments of class struggle in Greece and internationally, the compromise with the current atrocious conditions, the pretended conflicts that do affect not in the slightest the holy of the holies of the exploitative system, the prejudices against the KKE and KNE, against the organized struggle and even against the participation in the collective procedures of the trade-unions, the university and technical institutes student’s unions, the school student community.
The system itslef, the EU, NATO, their governments and their parties know very well that their policy brings close even greater dangers for the people and the youth.
The life of the majority is constantly worsening. New reasons for the mobilization and the participation in the organized struggle are being formed. For that reason they take precautions; with the intensification of state repression and employers’ terrorism.
Such measures are the measures concerning the restriction of the right to strike, the abolition of the asylum in the Universities, the law that was voted by all the parties – except from the KKE – concerning the generalized profiling of the people.
Along with the above mentioned, the principles of the ruling class are presented as self-evident and natural, the system is presented as eternal, invincible, still as the best system in which humanity can live.
However the present young generation, especially the more vanguard militants have an advantage; which is the contemporary strategy of the KKE, its Programme and its daily intervention, that steadily have their ground on the capabilities of the present level of human development, of his scientific and technological ability, the means of production that he has at his disposal.
The revolutionary strategy of the KKE can educate, enlighten and prepare forces, it can safeguard from illusions, delusions and hasty conclusions.
It is the ground on which it can be explained why and how the only way out in favour of the people today is the struggle for the overthrow of the exploitative system and the construction of the new, the socialist society.
The KKE’s Programme has integrated the teaching from the revolutions and the uprisings of the past. Its certainty that the 21st century will be the century of new socialist revolutions is based on the conclusions of the history of class struggle.
The KKE, against the negative correlation of forces, the reduced level of demands, it promotes that in our era, it is contemporary to demand and to achieve to correspond the present capabilities of production and science to a higher level of life and rights.
Because we cannot accept that the cost for the education of the children of the employees will be constantly increasing, while excluding even more people from knowledge, from the right to stable job, from free time, from a truly civilized life.
Because we cannot accept the fact that while innovations and scientific accomplishments are constantly integrated in the production, which are able to alleviate the human labour, however this is not happening because everything is submitted to the pursuit of the capitalist profit.
These dead-ends are not merely created by the mistakes of some politicians, of some bad-tempered leaders and governments. They are directly connected to the way that the current system is working, which is governed by its iron laws, such as the law of the profit and the relentless competition that concerns which business group will prevail while gathering greater profits and shares from the market.
We are aware that everything seems to be against us, even though the same the course of capitalism provides today even more proof that socialism is necessary and timeless. History has shown the importance of the correction of past mistakes that not only concern the strategy of our Party but also in international level.
We are aware that the assessment of strategy demands unity of theory and practice; that it is not an easy task to make
it a case of the communist vanguard, a guideline of action and development of struggle of broader workers’ – people’s masses.
However comrades, we note again:
The fact that we were able to overcome the Scylla of bourgeois politics and the Charabdis of reformism, opportunism, that we were able to keep the party upright with constant activity, a daily presence in the struggle and political developments, does not make us complacent.
Today the conditions for activity and demands are more complex.
The elaboration of the Programme and particularly our political stance provoked the systematic offensive against the party by the class enemy and also by opportunism.
An underhand and well-worked out offensive, as its proponents could not use the open, provocative arguments used in the 1990-91 period, when they believed that the victory of the counterevolution was the golden opportunity to “expunge” Marxism-Leninism from the communist movement or to maintain some Marxist ideas, emptied of their revolutionary socialist character.
Mainly from 2012 and afterwards, opportunism chose to confront us with as its main weapon the sadness and concern over the negative election result in 2012 and the sudden rise of SYRIZA which led it to government in 2015.
With the line of a false hope, that SYRIZA could put a brake on the anti-people offensive, they tried to drag the KKE into a political line of governmental cooperation, harmless reforms to assist and revive the rotten system, of the alleged positive exit from the euro, with a government of alleged “left” political forces.
Opportunism blamed the programmatic line of the party and its statutes for the lack of a rallying of forces in a period when the party had indeed suffered losses, which of course had and have an ideological-political character.
They argued that such a choice was necessary due to the negative correlation of forces, that it would be a launching pad to change this correlation, accusing the KKE of lacking tactics.
At that time, of course, the close relations of SYRIZA with the imperialist centres and deep bourgeois state of a corrupt and rotten capitalist power had not yet been fully revealed.
In Greece, we have the negative experience from the brief participation of our party in various bourgeois governments in 1944 and 1989.
The experience in capitalist Europe, in Latin America has shown that when a communist party decides to take part in a government to manage the system in the name of transition, it has already tied its hands, even when it is committed through n official agreement or has declared its autonomy.
Written or informal commitments provide no guarantee. The laws of capitalist market do not depend on political agreements.
We know that the progress of the class struggle, the motor force of positive developments, does not depend on tricks, maneuvers, nor on the alleged realism of fatalism, nor on the anxiety around electoral results or the substitution of the movement by alleged revolutionary “actions”.
It depends on the organized, oriented intervention for the organization of the leading working class-popular forces.
The goal is the development of the ranks of the party with leading workers, its renewal in terms of age, the increase of the number of women members. The integration into the party of the leading militants from the popular strata, farmers, self-employed, salaried scientists and artists.
This requires systematic, special work, regardless of whether we are in a period of struggles or stagnation.
Of course, nor does the swelling of the party’s ranks bring automatically more intense struggles. There is an interconnection, but this is advanced in a systematic coordinated way, with combined tasks, criteria and methods and not spontaneously and mechanistically.
A real change in the balance of forces between the two rival classes will obviously be expressed by the mass rallying around the party of the working class in confrontation against the weakening of the functioning of the bourgeois apparatuses, institutions and governments.
The negative international correlation of forces will start to alter to the extent that at a national level the class struggle develops, acquires an anticapitalist-antimonopoly direction, comes into clear conflict with the political impasse caused by the crisis and the strategic choices of the EU and NATO.
It is our responsibility to limit-as far as it depends on us- the reserve forces of capitalism, to restrict its opportunities, so that we can damage it, in order to gather forces for the counterattack and overthrow.
The higher political consciousness is, the more hopeful the struggles around the immediate problems will be.
The increase of the strength of the party is determined by a combination of criteria, some with more weight than others, related to the need for the regoupment of the labour movement, the advancement of the antimonopoly-anticapitalist social alliance, the struggle for socialism-communism.
The working class bears the main responsibility for the level of the common direction and activity with its allies. The level and extent of the alliance will be judged in each phase by the ability of the labour movement to withstand the pressure exerted by petty bourgeois strata and their wavering.
Endurance in conditions of employer and state intimidation, violence, capitalist economic crisis, imperialist war is also a criterion.
The constant militancy of the daily struggle, which is determined by the strategy of the party, can be fertile seed that will bear fruit sooner or later.
Today we can say with certainty: the mood for resistance and counterattack has not been completely defeated. This mood exists, it was not smashed despite the systematic efforts.
It was not erased thanks to the KKE and radical forces that exist and cooperate in the movement.
Even if the correlation of forces remains negative, the dynamism of the KKE remains which is connected to its deep experience, with the lessons it has learnt, and also with its endurance in the face of the traps that lead to assimilation and mutation.
This is its oath to our people, to the peoples of the whole world, to the international working class, which in every country, in every continent, wages the same battles in order to finally bring about, finally and decisively in our century, the possibility of a truly superior socialist-communist society.
The KKE feels particular pride, because the day after the red flag fell from the Kremlin, it had the courage via “Rizospastis” to declare “Comrades, raise the flag high! Hope is to be found in the struggles of the peoples”.
Not for one moment was our faith shaken that in our era, the working class with its movement, if it decides, can lead the cause of social progress, of the transition from the old mode of production and organization of society, capitalism, to the new socialist-communist one.
Today there is all the potential to cover the expanding popular needs with a radically different organization of the economy and society. The socialization of the concentrated means of production will liberate the major unutilized productive potential that exists today in Greece. Our country is a rich country and can reduce its dependency on the international monopolies in crucial strategic sectors of the economy. This requires the utilization of our productive potential by the nationwide scientific planning of the production and the economy. The eradication of the anarchy of economy, the jungle of the capitalist competition for the aiming at the maximization of profit. In this direction the country’s manpower can be utilized and distributed eradicating unemployment.
The working class power will save significant resources which are wasted today and create debts in the framework of the one or the other capitalist management. With the abolition of military spending for the plans of NATO. With unilateral cancelation of the public debt which is a product of the multifaceted support of the monopoly business groups by the state. All working people will have access, according to their needs, to free contemporary public services for healthcare, welfare, leisure, protection of children and the elderly.
Universities in cooperation with sectoral state bodies will promote research for the scientific protection of the expanding social needs.
The increase of free time will contribute to the essential participation of the working people in the control of the administration and management bodies as well as to their essential participation in the bodies of the working class power. Workers’ and people’s control is based on the productive unit, with elected representatives, with the right to recall them, and expands to all sectors and regions. Representatives of the workers in the productive units will participate in the highest elected bodies of state power. At the same time the participation of farmers from cooperatives, students and pensioners will be safeguarded.
Even the representatives to the highest nationwide organ of state power will not permanent and the right to recall them will be safeguarded. The liberation of the country from the bonds of EU and NATO will create favorable conditions for mutually beneficial international cooperation. The significant geostrategic position of Greece, especially in terms of the transportation of energy and commodities between Europe, Asia and Africa create a favorable bargaining ground for the people’s power especially in a period when the contradictions are being sharpened and the imperialist alliances are being shaked.
This is what we suggest to the people and the working class today, Our proposal is realistic because it is in the interest of the people’s majority.
We call on the people who are not convinced by the enemy and react to the obsessions against the KKE, to struggle together eith our party, on the who despite their disagreements, appreciate our activity and our effort in difficult and adverse conditions, our persistence to defend the honour, the 100-year history and the ideals of the movement.
We appeal particularly to the young people. All young people who detest this system and are exploited by it should join the struggle for socialism-communism.
We struggle with optimism, we deal with the difficulties created by the unfavourable correlation of forces and the aftermath of counterrevolution and the overthrow of socialism.
We know that despite the anticommunist pogrom, despite the distortion, of history, as the latest despicable anticommunist resolution of the European Parliament, despite the distortion of the socialist ideals, they still cannot manage it.
The anger against the current system is growing even if it is not expressed with the decision to participate in the organized struggle for a new society,
We also know that the formation and the maturation of the system is a gradual process. For that reason socialism-communism is again on the agenda of humanity, developing its characteristics and advantages.
We struggle and follow a difficult and arduous path, hand in hand with the working class and the youth.
Because with our struggles, our dreams, our power, “we will build a free, open and hopeful world”, socialism.
Long live the 45 years of KNE Festival!
WE LOOK FORWARD- WE MARCH FORWARD
WITH OUR VOLUNTARY DECISION AND OUR UNWAVERING WILL TO MAKE OUR DREAM COME TRUE.
WE CONTINUE TO FIGHT AND SING”