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Speech of the KKE at the International Theoretical Conference of Communist and Workers parties: "100 years after the Great October Socialist Revolution, the lessons and tasks for the contemporary communists"
An International Conference was held in Leningrad between 11 and 13 August hosted by the Communist Workers’ Party of Russia (CWPR) under the theme: “100 years after the Great October Socialist Revolution. Lessons and tasks for the contemporary communists.”
The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was represented in the Conference by comrades Giorgos Marinos, member of the PB of the CC and Eliseos Vagenas, member of the CC and Responsible for the International Relations Section of the CC of KKE.
Below, we attach KKE’s speech
Speech of the KKE at the the International Theoretical Conference of Communist and Workers parties: "100 years after the Great October Socialist Revolution, the lessons and tasks for the contemporary communists." (Leningrad, 11-13/8/2017)
On behalf of the CC of the KKE, we thank the RWCP for this initiative and for hosting our Conference Today.
The Central Committee of the KKE honours the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution. It honours the climactic world-historic event of the 20th century which demonstrated that capitalism is not invincible, that we can construct a superior organization of society, without the exploitation of man by man.
The October Revolution shed light on the strength of the revolutionary class struggle, the strength of the exploited and oppressed, when they take centre stage and turn the wheel of history forwards in the direction of social liberation. The Russian working class through the October revolution came to incarnate the the vision of the working class-popular masses, of millions of people, for a better life.
The October Revolution demonstrated the correctness of the Leninist analysis that the victory of socialism is possible in one country or a group of countries, as a consequence of the uneven development of capitalism.
At the same time, October highlighted the irreplaceable role of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, as the leading factor not only in the socialist revolution, but also during the entire struggle for the formation, strengthening, and final victory of the new communist society.
The contribution of Lenin and the experience of the Bolsheviks in the struggle against opportunism (as a vehicle of bourgeois ideology and politics in the labour movement) is of great, decisive political and practical importance.
In practice, it has been demonstrated that the well-grounded confrontation against the economists, the Mensheviks and the SRs constituted a basic feature in the formation of the conditions for the formation of the revolutionary party, the party of a new type, built on Leninist principles.
The systematic efforts to cleanse the Bolshevik Party from opportunism strengthened the revolutionary forces and (in two years after the 2nd Congress, 1903) allowed for the preparation of the party and the acquisition of a decisive role in the 1905 revolution and in the years of reaction that followed, continuing and adjusting the revolutionary line in new conditions.
"An insurrectionary outbreak has once more been suppressed. Once more we say: Hail the insurrection!" as Lenin wrote in September 1905 about the Moscow uprising and later in 1906 that ", nothing could be more short-sighted than Plekhanov’s view, seized upon by all the opportunists, that the strike was untimely and should not have been started, and that “they should not have taken to arms (...)On the contrary, we should have taken to arms more resolutely, energetically and aggressively; we should have explained to the masses that it was impossible to confine things to a peaceful strike and that a fearless and relentless armed fight was necessary."
From 1905 until the victorious revolution of October 1917, a qualitative difference emerged in the form of the chasm between the strategy of the revolutionary current and the opportunism of the Mensheviks and SRs, who fostered fatalism and spread Parliamentary illusions, supported the bourgeois provisional government that was formed in February 1917, trapped the Soviets for a crucial period and tried to neuter them.
The Mensheviks and the SRs attempted to impede the October Revolution and to lead it to defeat. They fought against the new workers' power and in a planned way undermined socialist construction, and it was these forces of opportunism that later corroded the CPSU and contributed decisively in the counterrevolution and the restoration of capitalism in the Soviet Union.
Today, when the consequences of the counterrevolution attack the working class all over the world and when it has been demonstrated in practice that capitalism gives rise to imperialist wars, economic crises, unemployment, poverty and refugees, the opportunist forces brazenly talk of "October", attempting to undermine, cancel out the socialist character of the October Revolution and its enormous historical contribution.
The truth is that the forces of opportunism carried out an organized anti-soviet anti-communist campaign over the entire course of socialist construction, under the label of eurocommunism or its variants in many countries.
The communists must remember and learn.
Opportunism may change its name and forms of organization and expression, but at each historical moment it constitutes a great danger remains for the communist movement, a factor for its corrosion and co-option into the capitalist exploitative system.
The flame of October led to and accelerated the establishment of a number of Communist Parties, revolutionary workers' parties of a new type, in opposition to the social-democratic parties of that era, which had betrayed the working class and the revolutionary political line.
The decades-long existence and successes of the socialist society, which was inaugurated by the October Revolution, demonstrated that a society without bosses, without capitalists that own the means of production is possible. This conclusion is not negated by the fact that in this specific phases it was not able to defeat once and for all capitalist ownership and capitalist profit.
The necessity and timeliness of socialism, the potential to abolish private ownership over the concentrated means of production flow from the development of capitalism which leads to the concentration of production. Capitalist ownership puts a brake on the social character of production. Capitalist ownership cancels out the potential for all workers to live in better socially organized conditions that correspond to their increased human needs:they should all have work without the nightmare of unemployment, working fewer hours, enjoying a better standard of living, with a high level of exclusively public and free education and similar services in health and welfare.
The working class creates these possibilities through its work inside capitalism, which are expanded by the development of science and technology. However, in a society where everything produced is determined on the basis of private, capitalist profit, the needs of the working class and the popular strata are crushed. The essence of the problem is that those who produce are not those who decide on the goals and organization of production. The cyclical economic crises are in the DNA of capitalism and are becoming increasingly deep and synchronized, resulting in the sharp increase of unemployment, the further expansion of badly paid work without social security cover, life with smashed rights, with imperialist wars for the division of markets and territories.
The deterioration of working and living conditions, despite the rise of labour productivity, concerns the entire capitalist world and indeed the most developed capitalist states. The capitalist states themselves, their research centres, admit that the workers’ income is shrinking, while the wealth of the capitalists is increasing.
The fact that the preconditions have been formed for the construction of the socialist-communist society does not automatically entail its realization. An important reason for this is the fact that, in contrast with the laws of nature, social progress requires the relevant activity of humans, in this case the class struggle for the abolition of the old society and the construction of one.
The outbreak of the socialist revolution (just as every social revolution in human history) presupposes the emergence of a situation where the ability of the ruling class to co-opt, repress and subdue the people is weakened.
Lenin formulated the definition of the revolutionary situation and identified the main objective and subjective characteristics, which are are accumulated in society on the eve of the revolution. However, as Lenin aptly stressed, this does not means that every revolutionary situation is converted into a revolution. Neither the reaction of those below, nor the crisis of those above will trigger the overthrow, if there is not a planned revolutionary uprising of the working class, led by its conscious vanguard.
In other words, for a workers’ revolution to break out there must be the presence of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, equipped with the theoretical elaborations and ability to predict the developments, based on the Marxist-Leninist world-view and capable of leading the revolutionary uprising of the working class.
Unfortunately, later on the positive experience of the October Revolution was not taken on board and did not prevail over the duration of the Communist International. In contrast, over a contradictory trajectory, the strategic view that, in general, posed the goal of an intermediate form of power or government between bourgeois and workers' power, as a transitional phase to socialist power, prevailed to a significant extent.
Today, we can better examine the complex efforts of the USSR's foreign policy to delay as far as possible the imperialist offensive and to utilize contradictions between the imperialist centres in this direction were related to significant alternations and changes in the line of the Communist International that played a negative role later in terms of the course of the international communist movement in the following decades. The changes were related to issues of how to confront the fascist current, the stance towards social-democracy, as well as towards bourgeois democracy itself. The policy of separating the imperialist alliances into aggressive ones, which included the fascist forces, and defensive ones, which included the bourgeois-democratic forces, emerged in this period.
More particularly, the assessment concerning the existence of a left and right wing in the social-democratic parties in the 1930s, which was the justification for an alliance with them, something that underestimated their complete transformation into parties of the bourgeois class by this point. This mistaken distinction was also maintained after the 2nd World War.
These changes, objectively, trapped the struggle of the labour movement under the banner of bourgeois democracy. Similarly, the separation of the imperialist centres into pro-peace and pro-war ones concealed the real cause of imperialist wars and the rise of fascism, i.e. monopoly capitalism. In other words, it did not shine a light on the urgent strategic tasks of the communist parties to combine the concentration of forces for the national liberation or anti-fascist struggle with the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power, utilizing the conditions of the revolutionary situation that were formed in a number of countries.
In general, the character of the era was underestimated in the strategic elaborations of the Communist International and the prevalent definition of the character of the revolution was based on the criterion of the position of a capitalist country in the international imperialist system. That is to say, the lower level of the development of a country in relation to the higher levels achieved by the leading powers in the international imperialist system, as well as the negative correlation of forces at the expense of the revolutionary labour movement were mistakenly adopted as criteria to define the character of the revolution.
However, the uneven development of the capitalist economies and unequal relations between states cannot be eradicated in the framework of capitalism. In the final analysis, the character of the revolution in each capitalist country is objectively determined by the basic contradiction it is called on to resolve, regardless of the relative changes of the position of each country in the international imperialist system. The socialist character and tasks of the revolution arise from the sharpening of the basic contradiction between capital and labour in each capitalist country in the era of monopoly capitalism.
In a lot of the elaborations of the Communist Parties, the approach towards the goal of workers power was based on the criterion of the correlation of forces and not the objective definition of the historical era we find ourselves in, which is determined by which class is at the head of social development, i.e. the motion towards social liberation.
However, these mistakes in the strategy of the international communist movement, as well as the mistakes made by the CPSU in terms of charting its domestic policy, together with the expected undermining work of imperialism and the counterrevolution, influenced the developments.
The October Revolution brought to the fore a superior organization of society, which was radically different from all the systems that historically had preceded it and which had as their common feature the exploitation of man by man.
During that period, new institutions of workers participation were developed, the core of which was the workplace; this political relation was subsequently violated, retreating in the face of existing objective difficulties and also subjective pressures. Under the pressure of the preparation for the active contribution of all the people in the upcoming war, the 1936 Soviet Constitution generalized the electoral right through a universal secret ballot, based on the place of residence. The assemblies of each productive unit as the core of the organization of workers' power were downgraded. In practice, the difficulty of recalling representatives from the higher state institutions increased
They were interpreted as inevitable weaknesses existing in the nature of central planning and not as a result of the contradictions of the survival of the old, as a result of the mistakes of the non-scientifically elaborated plan. Thus, instead of seeking a solution towards the invigoration and expansion of the communist relations of production and distribution, it was sought backwards, i.e. in the exploitation of tools and production relations of capitalism. The solution was sought in the expansion of the market, in “market socialism”.
The 20th CPSU Congress (1956) stands out as a turning point because in that, under the pretext of the so-called “personality cult”, a series of opportunist positions were adopted on the issues of the communist movement strategy, of international relations and partly of the economy. In general, the central administration of the plan weakened. Instead of designing the conversion of kolkhozes into sovkhozes and, above all, of beginning the passage of all cooperative-kolkhoznik production to state control, in 1958 the tractors and other machinery became the property of the kolkhozes, a position which had previously been rejected.
A few years later, beginning with the so-called “Kosygin reforms” (1965), the bourgeois category of “business profit” of each individual production unit was adopted and the wages of managers and workers were linked to it. The assessment of the productivity of the socialist productive units on the basis of production volume was replaced by the value estimation of their products. The process of accumulation of each socialist unit was disconnected from central planning, resulting in the weakening of the social character of the means of production and product stocks. At the same time, by 1975, all state farms, the sovkhozes, were under full self-management. All these measures led to the creation of the conditions for private embezzlement and ownership, relations which were legally prohibited.
In about the same period, the Marxist-Leninist perception about the workers' state was also revised. The 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) described the USSR state as an “all-people's” state and the CPSU as an “all-people's party”.These positions caused a rapid blunting- and consequently mutation- of the revolutionary characteristics and social composition of the party. The transformation of the CPSU's opportunist degeneration into an open counter-revolutionary force was manifested in 1987, with the passage of a law which institutionally established capitalist relations, under the pretext of the diversity of property relations, the notorious policy of “Perestroika” and “Glasnost”. This fact also marks the formal beginning of the counter-revolutionary period.
The KKE seeks to draw the necessary conclusions for today, both from the victories and also from the bitter defeats and the retreat of the communist movement. Through a long and painstaking collective process, the KKE has charted a modern revolutionary strategy nad has increased its ability to organize leading sites of resistance and counter-attack in every sector of the economy, every large workplace, in every region of the country.
The strengthening of the KKE at all levels, which was an important issue at the recent 20th Congress of the Party, constitutes a prerequisite for the promotion of its revolutionary policy.
At the same time, the KKE struggles for the regroupment of the international communist movement, according to the principles of proletarian internationalism, the internationalist solidarity of the people against capitalism and imperialist war, which is expressed in the slogan “Workers of all countries unite!”Already, we can see some small steps towards the effort of the creation of a distinct pole based on the principles of Marxism-Leninism , through the “International Communist Review” and the European Communist Initiative.
An integral part of the KKE's contemporary strategy is its programmatic perception of socialism. Socialist construction begins with the revolutionary conquest of power by the working class. The workers' state, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is an instrument of the working class in the class struggle which continues in socialism with other forms and means. It is utilized for the planned development of the new social relations, which presupposes the suppression of the counter-revolutionary efforts, but also the development of the communist consciousness of the working class. The workers' state, as a mechanism of political domination, is necessary until the transformation of all social relations into communist ones, until the formation of communist consciousness in the overwhelming majority of the workers, but also until the victory of the revolution in the most powerful capitalist countries.
100 years ago, in this city, the 6th Congress of the Bolshevik Party took a "milestone" decision, setting out their line for the armed insurrection. The implementation of the decision led a few months later to the roar of the "Aurora's" cannons. Today, 100 years afterwards, the communists from all over the world are called on to study this history, to draw the necessary conclusions, to chart a modern revolutionary strategy in their countries and at an international level.
This is the necessary response in order to deal with the corrosive work of opportunism, to overcome the ideological-political and organizational retreat of the communist movement, its revolutionary regroupment.
The adjustment of the strategy of the communist parties to correspond to the character of our era, the era of the passage from the monopoly capitalism-imperialism to socialism, which was inaugurated by the October Socialist Revolution and consequently overcoming the strategy of intermediate stages, which exists in the programmes of the communist parties, and defining the character of the revolution as socialist, is objectively necessary and imposed by reality.
This direction can contribute decisively to the liberation from political options that operate in the framework of capitalism, such as the so-called "left governments" and the alliance with social-democracy, to lend impetus to the anti-monopoly anti-capitalist struggle, to elaborations based on the requirements of the class struggle and that can contribute to the preparation of the subjective factor, to the concentration of working class-popular forces in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism-communism.