XXIV. The Left Facing Great Power Rivalry: Pro-Eastern Social-Imperialists (Stalinists)





Traditionally, Stalinism (like reformism in general) has always strived for a strategic alliance with one sector of the bourgeoisie against another. It has been willing to subordinate and manipulate its influence amongst the workers and oppressed for this goal. This was true both on the national as well as on the international terrain. In contrast, authentic Trotskyism always strived to rally the working class and the oppressed, nationally and internationally, against all sectors of the bourgeoisie and against all Great Powers.


Hence, when the Stalinists were a globally stronger force, i.e. before the collapse of the USSR in 1989-91, they used to look for collaboration with a “democratic”, “antifascist”, “patriotic” faction of the imperialist bourgeoisie against a “reactionary” faction. This was the theoretical justification for joining popular front governments with imperialist parties (e.g. in France in 1936, 1945, 1981 or 1997; in Italy in 1945, 1996, 2004). [1] And it was also the theoretical justification for supporting one camp of imperialist states against the other (e.g. in WWII support for the US and UK against Germany and Italy).


In the case of Maoist and post-Maoist China this reformist theory was even used to justify the ultra-reactionary collaboration with U.S. and European imperialism against the supposed “social-imperialist” USSR. [2] (In fact, all Stalinist states – both in the USSR-led camp as well as in China – were not capitalist or even imperialist states but rather degenerated workers states in which a bureaucratic caste dictatorially ruled over the working class and peasantry on the basis of a post-capitalist planned economy. [3]) As a result, to mention a bizarre anecdote, members of Maoist groups in Western Europe were instructed in the 1970s to join the imperialist army in order to defend their “fatherland” against the “social-imperialist threat from the East”!


In short, the Stalinist parties justified their collaboration with one camp of the bourgeoisie against the other, respectively with one camp of imperialist states against the other, by arguing that this would help defending the “socialist” states (USSR, China, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, North Korea, Cuba, etc.). As a result, they were pro-capitalist and pro-imperialist pseudo-socialists in the service of the ruling Stalinist bureaucracy of degenerated workers states.


However, this is different to the present situation since today no “socialist” state, i.e. degenerated workers state, exists any more. Now, these Stalinists serve directly a faction of the ruling class respectively one camp of the imperialist states – and not indirectly via the conservative bureaucracy of a degenerated workers state. This is why this kind of social-imperialism takes the form of bourgeois geopoliticism. We say bourgeois geopoliticism because it means defining the world situation and the tasks of the struggle not from the point of view of the international class struggle to advance the cause of the working class and the oppressed peoples but rather from the point of view of reordering the world to the disadvantage of the old Great Powers (U.S., EU and Japan) and to the advantage of the new Great Powers (China and Russia). Bourgeois geopoliticism is the bastard child of the classic Stalinist theory of “socialism in one country”. It deletes “socialism” and is satisfied with some kind of “capitalism in one country”.




The Stalinist Alliance around the International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties




Since the collapse of the USSR, the Stalinist parties are split and divided and lack any international centralized organization. In a number of countries there exist several Stalinist formations in parallel. True to their “socialism on one country” dogma, they exist first and foremost as national parties and subordinate any international tactic to their national interests. However, this does not mean that the Stalinist parties do not take positions on issues of world politics. Nor does it mean that they do not strive for international collaboration.


Today many Stalinist parties are loosely affiliated around the so-called International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties (IMCWP). This is an annual conference which has been initiated by the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) in 1998. The parties attending this conference issue joint declarations. A number of them publish a journal – the International Communist Review [4] - and constitute a Working Group. While these structures exist on a very federalist and loose basis, they nevertheless manage sometimes to initiate joint statements on important world political events.


A number of the Stalinist parties mentioned above often take part in the IMCWP conferences. Among them are the ruling Stalinist parties of China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea and Laos; other parties are the two big Communist Parties of India – CPI and CPI(M) - , the Russian KPRF and RKRP, the CP’s of South Africa, Brazil, Venezuela, Syria, Greece, Portugal as well as a number of other, smaller parties.


Several of these parties, as we demonstrated above, consider imperialist China as a “socialist state” which they unconditionally support. Among them are the state parties – the Chinese, the Cubans, etc. as well as others like the CPSA. However, the Stalinist parties do not have a unified view of the class character of Russia and China. The Greek KKE, for example, is more critical and expresses its dissatisfaction about the market reforms. Likewise, there are different views about the class character of Russia – including among the Russian participating parties as we have shown above.


However, they all agree to view the world not as one characterized by rivalry between different imperialist Great Powers (including China and Russia) but rather as one which is dominated by one imperialist camp with the U.S. and its allies at the top. As a result, they also agree to support those forces which are in conflict with the U.S. and to denounce those forces which are in conflict with the Chinese/Russian camp.


This becomes evident from various joint declarations of the annual IMCWP. In their latest declaration, adopted at a conference in Athens in November 2018, the Stalinist parties use the category “imperialist” only when talking about the U.S. and their allies. Russia and China are not mentioned nor any conflict of oppressed people against these Great Powers.


The Communist and Workers' Parties welcome the struggles of the workers and the peoples around the world against the offensive of imperialism, against occupation, against any threats to sovereign rights and national independence, for peace, for the defense and the widening of social and democratic rights. The experience gained in many countries from the struggles against the imperialist plans and political line of the USA, NATO, the EU and their allies is valuable.


The sharpening of the contradictions involves the risk of new imperialist wars, for the control of wealth-producing resources, markets and energy pipelines; this risk sets serious tasks for the workers' movement and the communists for the strengthening of a broad anti-imperialist struggle for peace and disarmament, the intensification of the struggle against the political line of bourgeois governments that serves the profitability of big capital and imperialist aggression and war. (...)


They reaffirmed their internationalist solidarity with the Syrian, Palestinian, Cypriot peoples; with the peoples of Lebanon, of Sudan, of Socialist Cuba, of Venezuela, of Brazil, of Iran, with all the peoples which face imperialist attacks and threats. (...)


When it comes to activities for which these Stalinist parties call, again it is solely directed against the U.S. and its allies (in addition, they also call for activities around May Day, various anniversaries etc.).


The Communist and Workers' parties call for the development of common and convergent actions in the next period along these main axes:


Against imperialist war, interventions and militarization.


Actions against NATO - whose 70th anniversary is on April 4, 2019 - and the EU, which is being further militarized with PESCO and other mechanisms. (...)


To strengthen Internationalist Solidarity with the struggling peoples, which face occupation, imperialist threats and interventions


To strengthen internationalist solidarity and struggle demanding the end of the US blockade against Cuba and the interventions and threats against Bolivarian Venezuela. To support the struggle of Palestinian people for the end of the occupation and self-determination, establishing a national, independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the UN resolutions, supporting the resistance of the Palestinian people and condemning the criminal policy of Israel. To denounce imperialist interventions in the Korean Peninsula and express solidarity with the Korean people for independent and peaceful reunification. To express solidarity with refugees and with all peoples facing occupation, intervention and blockades by imperialism.[5]


We see, while the Stalinist parties condemn U.S. imperialism and its allies, they “ignore” the other states in the Great Power rivalry – China and Russia. They side with the Assad regime which has been saved temporarily by the massive military intervention of Russia. They defend the Palestinian people but don’t lose a word about the Egyptian people brutally oppressed by the military dictatorship of General Sisi (who has good relations with Moscow and who’s coup in July 2013 was supported by Egypt’s Communist Party). They don’t lose a word about the Chechen people oppressed by Russia or the Uighur people suffering in Chinese concentration camps. Characteristically, these Stalinist parties even go so far and uncritically praise the Stalinist-Capitalist cult regime of Kim Jong-Un in North Korea! [6]




Stalinism and Counterrevolution in Syria




An actual example for the reactionary, anti-liberationist and pro-Russian/Chinese character of these Stalinist parties is the civil war in Syria. When the Trump Administration ordered its navy to fire some missiles on empty houses in Syria in April 2018 (in “retaliation” for another Chemical Weapons massacre committed by the Assadist forces against the Syrian people), the Stalinist parties rallied in defense of Moscow’s puppet regime in Damascus. [7]


As we have analyzed somewhere else, the Stalinists’ reaction to this event was characteristic. [8] In two statements, signed by dozens of Stalinist parties (most of them from Europe but also from other countries), they limited their condemnation exclusively to the actions of U.S. imperialism. They do so irrespective of the fact that, according to its own account, Moscow has sent 63,000 Troops since the beginning of its intervention in September 2015 and has killed 85,000 “terrorists”. [9]


The signatory Parties express their vehement condemnation of the imperialist military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic carried out by the USA, United Kingdom and France[10]


The communist and workers’ parties of Europe condemn the escalation of the imperialist aggressiveness and the sharpening of the situation in Syria and the broader region after the statement of D. Trump, President of the USA, on April 11th about bombarding Syria under the pretext of the use of chemical weapons, something that the USA have repeatedly done in the past.[11]


Likewise they express, in more or less explicit terms, their support for the Assad regime against the popular uprising:


The signatory Parties call for solidarity with the Syrian people who have, for seven years, been confronting the aggression by US imperialism and its allies – whether directly or by the proxy action of terrorist groups –, resisting and fighting to defend the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of their country, and their right to decide about their destiny, free from any interference.


The communist and workers’ parties express their internationalist solidarity to the people of Syria and the other peoples of the region, they call upon the working class, the people’s forces to reinforce the struggle against the imperialist interventions and wars, of the NATO, the USA and the EU.


It is therefore only logical that one of the two statements was co-signed by the Syrian Communist Party which is part of the official ruling bloc in Assad’s pseudo-parliament in Damascus.


We find the same position in a statement issued at the same time by the Stalinist-dominated World Federation of Trade Unions. They sharply condemn “[t]he governments of the USA, France and Great Britain and their allies [which] are performing war preparations and threatening Syria and the Syrian people with missile attacks.”. They claimed that the accusations about the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime are “false” and decry “the dirty role of the majority of the NGOs like the ones that are denounced to have set up the provocation with the chemical weapons.” Likewise the Stalinists denounce “the dirty role of yellow trade union leaderships who supported the imperialist interventions in Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and now they are once more justifying the strategies of NATO and of the European Union.[12]


Again, not a single word about Russia’s military intervention in Syria which has been much bigger and much more deadly than the one of the West. And not a single word against the tyrannical Assad regime which is slaughtering the Syrian people.


In another, earlier, statement the Greek KKE also stated explicitly its condemnation for the Arab Revolution and the Syrian uprising in particular: “It should be noted that the KKE from the very first moment, in 2011, denounced the intervention that has very serious consequences for the people of Syria and also for the people of the wider region. When bourgeois and opportunist parties celebrated the so-called “Arab Spring”, our party exposed the organized efforts to fund and arm the so-called Syrian opposition by the imperialist powers.[13]


As we noted at an earlier occasion, the Stalinists hypocritical approach to the Great Powers’ intervention in Syria reminds us to the policy of its precursor in 1939-41 when the “Communist” International denounced one-sidedly British and French imperialism for its colonial policy and for its aggressive foreign policy but sparred Nazi Germany.


Let us now deal with some key Stalinist parties. We will not deal with the official state parties since their policy is identical with that of the Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese etc. state apparatus. In fact, these parties are not so much parties in the real sense but rather a key component of the respective state apparatus – initially of a degenerated workers state, meanwhile of a capitalist state.




Russian Social-Imperialism: The KPRF, the RKRP and the OKP




As we already mentioned above, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) led by Gennady Zyuganov is the largest Stalinist party in Russia. It does not consider Russia as an imperialist Great Power and is a committed defender of the “fatherland”. In fact, it is a Great Russian social-imperialist party.


The KPRF views Russia as a country which is threatened by Western imperialists (as well as by “homosexuals” and “migrants”). Against such foreign threats, it calls for a “national liberation struggle” – as if Russia would not be an imperialist but an oppressed semi-colonial country!


Such, the party states in its program: “In the present conditions, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation sees its task in uniting the social class and national liberation movements into a united popular front. (...) The party is fighting for the unity, integrity and independence of the Fatherland, for the restoration of the fraternal Union of Soviet Peoples, for the well-being and security, the moral and physical health of citizens. (…)


[It also fights for] ensuring the territorial integrity of Russia and the protection of compatriots abroad; (...) The fires of international conflicts do not subside. The Russian question acquired extreme urgency after the years of capitalist restoration. Today, the Russians have become the largest divided people on the planet. There is a frank genocide of a great nation. The number of Russians is decreasing. Historically established culture and language are destroyed. The tasks of solving the Russian question and the struggle for socialism are in essence the same.[14]


Frankly, this is a program of Great Russian chauvinism. Fighting for “the unity and integrity” of the fatherland means nothing else than denying national minorities, like e.g. the Chechens, the right of separation. Calling for “the protection of Russian compatriots abroad” is the program of expansionism.


And indeed, the KPRF openly calls for expansionism in order to create a Greater Russian Empire. Its leader Zyuganov recently called for the annexation of the Donbass in the Ukraine. “If I would be President (of the Russian Federation, Ed.) I would make the Donbass immediately make part of Russia. First, we recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk Republic, just as it once was with South Ossetia and Abkhazia.[15]


Likewise, the KPRF sided with the Putin regime when it started the second war against Chechnya in 1999 as well as in the case of Russia’s military intervention in the Ukraine in 2014. [16] In other words, Zyuganov is such a committed “patriot” that he might soon wear a cap with the slogan “Make Russia Great Again”!


Animated by the same Great Russian spirit, the KPRF also support the efforts of the Putin regime to promote the Russian language among the national minorities in Russia. Artem Prokofiev, a KPRF Deputy of the State Council of Tatarstan, expressed the party’s opinion that “that the Russian language in Tatarstan is taught in a much smaller volume than the average in Russia. But we must remember that according to the results of the Unified State Exam in Russian, Tatarstan held a very good position. If the volume of Russian language teaching increases, the results will be even better.[17]


In an article with the self-explaining title “How to protect the Russian language?” (really? the Russian language is endangered in Putin’s Russia?!), an author close to the KPRF calls for increased efforts for the “defense of the state language.[18]


Likewise, as a truly “patriotic” party, Zyuganov’s KPRF supports the anti-migrant policy of the Putin regime, opposes “homosexual propaganda” and praises the role of the Orthodox Church. [19]


It is therefore only logical that the KPRF also supports Putin’s war in Syria since the beginning. For example, it expresses its admiration for the Assad tyranny in an article with the self-explanatory title “Syrian President Bashar Assad praised the help of the Communist Party and its leader, GA. Zyuganov.[20] In another article, the KPRF applaudsthe legitimate government of Syria [that it] is doing everything for Christians and Muslims to live in peace.” (by killing half a million of them!) [21]


The KPRF is certainly one of the most outspoken, undisguised Stalinist, social-chauvinist parties serving an imperialist Great Power. It is such a chauvinist, social-imperialist party that even a number of Stalinists feel embarrassed about it. Nevertheless, it has participated in all 20 IMCWP meetings and is a central force of this loose Stalinist “International”.


As we said already above, the Russian Communist Workers' Party – Revolutionary Party of Communists (RKRP-RPK) led by Viktor Tyulkin has a more differentiated position. It recognizes the imperialist character of Russia. Unfortunately, as unashamed admires of Stalin, the party’s leadership sticks to the classic theory of differentiating between “democratic”, “anti-fascist” imperialist states which should be supported against the “reactionary”, “fascist” imperialist rivals. One can not fail to recognize the irony in the wrong application of a wrong theory. If it would be legitimate to differentiate between “democratic” and “reactionary” imperialist states, the RKRP – following consistently its erroneous logic – would be obligated to rather side with the West against Russia and China. They can hardly deny that there exists more bourgeois democracy in North America, Western Europe and Japan than in the two Eastern Great Powers!


But the RKRP leadership does not consider Marxist theory as a scientific guideline but rather as a pragmatic servant for its support of Great Russian imperialism. Hence, it bends into shape the Stalinist differentiation between “good” and “bad” imperialism in order to legitimize its support for Moscow’s reactionary foreign policy. Such, for example, the RKRP leadership supports Russia’s military interventions abroad, like those in the Ukraine or in Syria. “The Russian authorities today, expressing the interests of Russian capital, support the just struggle of Syria and the Donbass[22]


The party’s criticism of the Putin regime is not that it is implementing imperialist interventions but that it is not intervening energetically enough! Such wrote Viktor Tyulkin, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the RKRP: “For instance, we see this struggle at the Donbass and Syria. The position of the Russian Federation objectively contributes to the fight of Donbas militias against the fascist regime of Poroshenko in this struggle. The RKRP not only approves of the assistance of the Russian authorities to Donbas, but requires more, requires a principled assessment of the Poroshenko regime as a fascist, requires more consistency. (...) Russia and China as imperialist countries form some kind of union (including the BRICS) and oppose the more aggressive and impudent US imperialism. This is quite understandable and provides opportunities at certain stages and specific situations to use this struggle in the interests of the working class and the world.[23]


In this context it is crucial to recognize that “criticism” of the Putin regime is not per se progressive. To give an analogy: the German government led by the conservative party of Angela Merkel has faced various criticisms about their refugee policy in the last years. Progressive, internationalist forces have denounced it for being restrictive and discriminating. Right-wing and semi-fascist forces (including the AfD) violently attacked Merkel for being too liberal towards refugees. Hence, criticism of Merkel’s refugee policy is not progressive per se. one has to judge concretely if such criticism comes from a reactionary, nationalist point of view or from a progressive, internationalist point of view.


It is similar with criticism of Putin’s foreign policy. One can attack it for being too chauvinistic and for lending support for reactionary forces like Assad. Or one can attack it for being not supportive enough for such imperialist goals. The first criticism is progressive, the second ultra-reactionary. Unfortunately, the Stalinists choose the latter option.


One aspect of the RKRP’s support for Russia’s reactionary foreign policy has been their uncritical appraisal of Aleksey Mozgovoy, a late military commander of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic in Donbass. In a necrology, the RKRP praised him as a “spontaneous communist”: “He was very close to toilers, he was the most «red» among commanders. He has the most communists division and has red banners with slogans «Death to fascists invaders!» He has accepted the international anti-fascist forum, which was refused by the administration of the LPR. (...) He was a spontaneous communist by his intentions and spirit. Such persons are usually called non-party communist.[24]


However, as a matter of fact, Mozgovoy combined communist phraseology with Great Russian chauvinism and Anti-Semitism (or Judeophobia). As his published diaries demonstrate, he accused the “Jewish Nazis” of the most absurd things, subscribing to classic Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories: “They [Jewish Nazis] are not only destroying the countryside and cities of Donbass. They are also destroying the Ukrainian army grinding it in kettle pots and pointless advances. Their doctors and their sanitary brigades dismember the soldiers of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the civilians of Donbass, gathering rich by looting from the human organs that are flowing to Israel, Europe and the USA. They have already openly stated that they are building a new Israel in Ukraine. They are doing this together with the Russian oligarchy. (…) The killing of writers, priests, and deputies is not about the "agony of the Kiev junta" nor about the "anger of the Ukrainian nationalists," as it is presented in the media. It is Jewish terror after the Jewish revolution that has won in Ukraine. It is the same as in 1917. It has unfolded now in our Donbas.[25]


How absurd for the RKRP to praise Mozgovoy as communist hero when he was in fact an Anti-Semite lunatic! We note in passing that this is also true for many Western “anti-fascist” supporters of the Donbass Republics who publically admired Mozgovoy.


In short, the RKRP claims that supporting Russian and Chinese imperialism against the Western rivals as well as siding with reactionary, anti-popular dictatorships like Assad or the Donbass puppet regimes would aid the class struggle and the interests of the international working class. As we explained above, such an approach is bourgeois or social-imperialist geopoliticism. The Bolshevik leaders argued against such nonsense already long time ago:


From the standpoint of bourgeois justice and national freedom (or the right of nations to existence), Germany might be considered absolutely in the right as against Britain and France, for she has been “done out” of colonies, her enemies are oppressing an immeasurably far larger number of nations than she is, and the Slavs that are being oppressed by her ally, Austria, undoubtedly enjoy far more freedom than those of tsarist Russia, that veritable “prison of nations”. Germany, however, is fighting, not for the liberation of nations, but for their oppression. It is not the business of socialists to help the younger and stronger robber (Germany) to plunder the older and overgorged robbers. Socialists must take advantage of the struggle between the robbers to overthrow all of them. To be able to do this, socialists must first of all tell the people the truth, namely, that this war is, in three respects, a war between slave-holders with the aim of consolidating slavery. This is a war, firstly, to increase the enslavement of the colonies by means of a “more equitable” distribution and subsequent more concerted exploitation of them; secondly, to increase the oppression of other nations within the “Great” Powers, since both Austria and Russia (Russia in greater degree and with results far worse than Austria) maintain their rule only by such oppression, intensifying it by means of war; and thirdly, to increase and prolong wage slavery, since the proletariat is split up and suppressed, while the capitalists are the gainers, making fortunes out of the war, fanning national prejudices and intensifying reaction, which has raised its head in all countries, even in the freest and most republican.[26]


As we mentioned above, the United Communist Party (OKP), an ally of the pseudo-Trotskyist Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International (CRFI) around the Argentinean Partido Obrero, considers Russia not as an imperialist state but as a “peripheral capitalist country”. This of course fits quiet well to implement a “patriotic” policy of defending the “fatherland” against the Western imperialist. We mentioned above the “patriotic” Japanese Communist Party which demands the return of the Kurile Islands to Japan. The OKP, driven by the same social-imperialist chauvinism, strongly rejects any concessions to Japan. It is certainly no less “patriotic” than the Japanese “comrades”! In a statement titled “We reject territorial concessions made against the will of the working people”, the leadership of the UCP denounces that Japan wants to “cancel Russia's sovereignty over part of the South Kurils. (...) We reject any territorial concessions made against the will of the working people of Russia and serving as a countertrade with the imperialists.[27]


Likewise, the OKP leaders also support various military interventions of Russia abroad. Darya Mitina, a central leader of the OKP, served for some time as the head of the Moscow branch of the Foreign Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic. [28] Likewise the OKP leaders “critically” support the tyrannical Assad regime as well as the pro-imperialist PKK/YPG: “Yes, today PKK and Assad are far from ideals of socialism and Marxism. However, they are probably the only ones who bring real internationalism to the conflict in the Middle East.“ [29] Darya Mitina even got her picture taken with a huge portrait of Assad, posing admiringly in front of it!


It is characteristic for the social-imperialist position of the OKP that Darya Mitina stated in a commentary that she sides with the imperialist puppet regime in Afghanistan against the petty-bourgeois Islamist Talbian which are at the top of a popular insurgency. She commented in reaction to Moscow’s initiative to host negotiations between the warring parties in Afghanistan:


I didn’t think what I will live up to such disgrace. (...) Terrorists, murderers and cannibals shake their hands, ask about their opinion, make pictures with them on the background of state symbols of Moscow at a high level. «The Taliban are not ready for direct negotiations with the government of Afghanistan and will conduct a dialogue with the United States,» Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, the head of the Taliban’s department in Moscow, will hold talks on Friday. “First of all, we will not negotiate with them,” he noted. In my opinion, the official Kabul is absolutely right. No one should drink tea at the President hotels with terrorists, they must be destroyed.[30]


No doubt, this is the disgusting voice of an advisor for the imperialist masters, not of a socialist standing on the side of anti-imperialist popular insurrections!




Defending the Sovereign Rights of Greece”: The Stalinist KKE as an Example of Bourgeois Social-Chauvinism




As we said already above, the Greek Communist Party KKE plays a key role in the European and worldwide Stalinist milieu. [31] It is a classic example of traditional Stalinism, i.e. national-centered reformism. [32] It condemns imperialism and monopoly capital … in general declarations. However, when it comes to its own bourgeois state and the chauvinism of its “own” bourgeoisie, the KKE swaps its internationalism with social-chauvinism. Internationalism is excellent … when it is directed against foreign enemies. However, it is rather an obstacle when the KKE has to deal with the holy “sovereign rights of Greece”.


It doesn’t matter for this issue that Greece is an advanced semi-colonial country which, in the 1990s, failed to become an imperialist state. [33] It is not relevant in this context because the KKE leadership itself denies the semi-colonial nature of Greece and (wrongly) emphasizes that is has become an imperialist state. [34]


Furthermore, it is also not relevant because the “enemies” against which the social-chauvinist KKE defends the “sovereign rights of Greece” are not imperialist powers attacking the country but rather its long-standing “enemies” and neighboring countries – in particular Turkey and Macedonia. These two latter countries are themselves semi-colonial states and Macedonia has experienced bullying and exploitative relations with Greece since it declared its independence in 1991. [35]


In fact, the bourgeois state of Greece has a long and disgraceful history of oppression and ethnic cleansing of national minorities on its territory. In fact, Athens has expelled hundreds of thousands of Turkish, Macedonian and other citizens from its territory since the 1920s. Marxists have always categorically opposed any form of Greek chauvinism against these minorities and defended their right of national self-determination. [36]




The KKE promises to “annihilate any foreign intruder who dares to attack Greece”


However, the Stalinist KKE is far away from such a communist anti-chauvinist position. In its program, adopted at a congress in 2013, it declared categorically that its program for “socialism” in Greece is inextricably linked with the defense of its present borders and the “sovereign rights of Greece”. “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.[37]


This means nothing else than the defense of the capitalist state against any “enemy” as well as the defense of this state against the national rights of any oppressed minorities since this would endanger the chauvinist “sovereign rights of Greece”! In other words, the KKE’s “anti-imperialist” shell conceals a bourgeois social-chauvinist core.


This becomes evident at any occasion when the alleged “sovereign rights of Greece” are at risk – at least when such risk exists according to the hysterical bourgeois media. We will demonstrate this with two recent examples. During a period of tensions between Greece and Turkey in 2018, the Greek fascists accused the KKE that they would, in case of a war with Turkey, not defend their country. In response, the KKE voiced its indignation. Its General Secretary, Dimitris Koutsoumbas, literally said at a public rally in Thessaloniki: “We communists will, as we have always done in our century-long history, stand in the front row defending our territorial integrity and our sovereign rights. We are doing this so that any foreign intruder who dares to attack Greece will be annihilated.[38]


We see that the KKE has no problems in praising Marxism-Leninism and the principles of anti-imperialist internationalism. However, when the “territorial integrity and sovereign rights” of its homeland are (supposedly) endangered by Turkey, the KKE leadership transforms in a split second into ferocious chauvinists who are ready to annihilate its neighbors.


The speech of the KKE leader was not a rhetorical gaffe since the party reprinted it approvingly in its press as the quote above demonstrates. This is also confirmed by the fact that the party repeated this social-chauvinist line in programmatic theses which it published for an international conference in April 2018.


Particularly in our region, the sharpening of the situation between Greece and Turkey with the involvement of other countries as well is possible. The questioning of the borders and sovereign rights of Greece on the part of the Turkish bourgeois class is integrated in the framework of its competitive relations with the Greek bourgeois class in the region. The Greek bourgeois class actively participates in the imperialist plans, interventions, competition and wars, guided by its aim to strategically enhance its position in the wider region. It bears responsibilities for the possible entanglement of the country in a war. The Programme of the Party has determined our position concerning the imperialist war and the line of our activity, where it is notes that: “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. In the instance of Greece's involvement in an imperialist war, either in a defensive or aggressive war, the Party must lead the independent organization of the workers'-people's struggle in all its forms, so as to lead to the complete defeat of the bourgeois class, both the domestic one and the foreign invader, and link it in practice with the conquest of power.[39]


All the KKE’s talk about opposition “against imperialist wars” and for “the conquest of power” is empty rhetoric in order to conceal its social-patriotic capitulation to Greek chauvinism. As a matter of fact, this party is far away from conquering power. This has been proven once more by it utter failure to increase its influence – not to speak about taking power – during the pre-revolutionary crisis in Greece in the last decade. In fact, after 35 general strikes and numerous ferocious class struggles, the KKE receives less votes at elections than it did before!


While conquering power is an uncertain possibility in the distant future, the tensions with Turkey or with Macedonia, and the chauvinist propaganda of Greece’s public opinion, take place today. And today, in such conflicts, the KKE promises to defend the “territorial integrity and sovereign rights” of the Greek capitalist state against any “foreign invader”!


Authentic communists must not lend support either to Greece or to Turkey. Both are capitalist semi-colonial states dominated by a reactionary bourgeoisie which are collaborating with imperialist powers like the U.S., the EU and Russia. None of them is “the lesser evil”. The Leninist program of revolutionary defeatism is fully applicable in such a case, as our comrades in Occupied Palestine stated already some time ago:


To reiterate, in a case of war just between Turkey and Greece the RCIT calls for revolutionary defeatism on both sides. This means socialists must not support the war efforts in each country and stand for the defeat of “their” state. Naturally, the involvement of imperialist powers on each side (not excluded given the close relationships both countries have with Great Powers) could alter the character of the war. As a general principle we state that the RCIT opposes both US, EU as well as Russian imperialism.[40]




The KKE denies the national rights of Macedonia


The KKE displayed the same disgusting chauvinism when Macedonia held its referendum about the change of its official name. We do not discuss the issue of this referendum at this point and refer readers to the statement of the Trotskyist comrades of the Greek OKDE which we republished (with a brief preface) on our website. [41] What is of interest here is the position and the arguments of the KKE.


In a recently published official statement, the KKE criticizes the agreement between the Greek and Macedonian governments not only because of its pro-NATO content (which revolutionaries naturally also reject) but also because it supposedly opens the door for “Macedonian irredentism“!


The agreement between the governments of Greece and FYROM was achieved by the overt intervention of the USA, of NATO and the EU, bears their seal and has been signed on the premises of the deadlines and agendas that these organizations have determined, in order for the euroatlantic integration to advance in the Western Balkans. This objective derives clearly from the text of the agreement. It is not by chance that the first to greet this agreement were the State Department, NATO and the EU. That is why the whole process focused on the issue of the name of the neighboring country, while a series of critical issues, such as countering irredentism, making necessary changes in the Constitution of the neighboring country, not only are postponed to an uncertain future, but also the situation becomes more complicated with the acceptance by the Greek government of positions regarding “Macedonian citizens” and “Macedonian language”, positions that constitute the essence of irredentism. Consequently, it is an agreement that cannot guarantee a solution in favor of the Greek people, of the people of the neighboring country nor of the peoples of the region.[42]


Nothing could be more absurd! The Greek state has a long history of brutal oppression of the Macedonian people which resulted in the expulsion of nearly all of them. Today, only a small minority of Macedonians continue to live in northern Greece. Macedonia is a small and poor country, exploited by foreign capitalist monopolies (among them not a few from Greece). Greece has a long and disgraceful tradition of anti-Macedonian chauvinism. (For example, the biggest demonstrations in the country’s history took place in 1992 and 1994 in protest against the fact that the independent republic Macedonia dared to choose the name “Macedonia” in its official designation!)


Irrespective of this chauvinist tradition, or rather because of it, the KKE joins the Greek nationalist mainstream and accuses Macedonia of “irredentism” (instead of accusing the Greek state for its unbearable chauvinism)! It even accuses the reformist SYRIZA government of making concessions to “Macedonian irredentism” because it accepts talking about “Macedonian citizens” and a “Macedonian language”!


This statement reflects, once more, that the KKE fully supports the most reactionary lies which Greek chauvinism has disseminated throughout its whole history and which simply deny the existence (not to speak about the rights) of the Macedonian nation!


This is also confirmed by a recently published article in its theoretical journal which states: “A real solution means guarantees of the elimination of irredentism, nationalism, [territorial] claims, ensuring the inviolability of the borders, which means changes now, not in the near future, to the Constitution of the FYROM.” The KKE insists that any name adopted by the Republic “must have a strictly geographical definition.


Furthermore, the KKE repeats, with no shame, the classic Greek chauvinist myth denying the national existence of other Balkan peoples: “A historically formed ‘Macedonian’ nation, ‘Macedonian’ ethnicity, ‘Macedonian’ language, which form the basis of irredentism and raise questions of the existence of a minority, claims and defense of its rights etc., do not exist. [43]






Lenin used to say about Russian communists who failed to consistently oppose chauvinism: “Scratch some Communists and you will find Great Russian chauvinists.[44] It is obvious that it is not necessary to scratch at all in order to see the unrestrained reactionary Greek chauvinism of the KKE leadership!


In summary, the Greek KKE is an excellent example for our analysis of Stalinism as a bourgeois reformist trend. When it comes to imperialism and war, the Stalinist might refer to the Marxist classics and recite one or another quote of Lenin on imperialism. But in essence, they follow a reactionary social-chauvinist line and defend the capitalist state of Greece and its present borders against any “foreign invader”. They are not defeatist against their own bourgeoisie. They are only defeatist against the international working class and the oppressed peoples!




Stalinists Cheer Serbian Chauvinism against Kosovo Albanians




It would be entirely wrong to imagine that such chauvinist outbursts are a kind of peculiar issue of the Greek KKE alone. No, adaption to chauvinism of oppressor nations is in the political DNA of Stalinism. When it serves the interests of a ruling bureaucracy or allied states, the Stalinists have always been willing to support the oppression of national minorities and to preach chauvinism. Stalin’s policy of making Great Russian chauvinism the official policy of the USSR and the horrific deportations of Caucasian people in 1944 are well known. [45]


The Stalinists continue to adapt to chauvinism also many years after they lost the citadel of their bureaucratic power by the collapse of the bureaucratic regimes in Eastern European and the USSR in 1989-91. We have already given the example of the Greek KKE. Here is another actual example.


Many Stalinist parties support until today the Serbian expansionist claim to Kosovo (Kosova in Albanian language). 36 Stalinist parties, attending the 20th annual IMCWP congress in November 2018, have published a joint statement which we reproduce here in its entirety:


Support for Kosova [sic] as an Integral Part of the Republic of Serbia


The Party “Communists of Serbia” is asking for support from Communist and Workers’ Parties of the world to support Kosovo as an integral part of the Republic of Serbia, which has been under occupation of NATO since 1999 and a subordinate regime of Albanian separatists.[46]


Likewise, the Austrian Stalinists, the Party of Labour (Partei der Arbeit) which also participated in this congress, published a report about their activities in which they referred to Kosova in the same Serbian chauvinist spirit (“the Serbian province of Kosovo”). [47]


This is a shameful scandal given the fact that Kosovo is populated by a 90% Albanian majority! They had been nationally oppressed by Serbia since the beginning of its colonial occupation in 1913 and had always desired independence from Belgrade. Throughout the entire history of the occupation the Kosovo Albanians resisted and attempted popular uprisings which were brutally smashed by the Serbian occupation forces. Finally, an armed insurrection, which began in 1997, succeeded and the Kosovo Albanians got rid of the Serbian tyranny.


However, the Kosovars’ legitimate liberation struggle, which was led by the petty-bourgeois nationalist UÇK, got hijacked by NATO imperialism in 1999 and exploited in order to occupy the new republic.


The RCIT respective our precursor stood for the victory of the uprising and called for a Kosova workers republic. We gave no political support to the UÇK leadership and defended Serbia against the NATO bombardment. Our Austrian section participated in solidarity activities with the Albanian community during the uprising in 1997/98. Today the RCIT unconditionally support the Kosova people’s desire to get rid of the NATO/EU occupation and to have a fully independent state which, in our opinion, should be a workers republic. While supporting minority rights for the Serbian population in Kosova, we sharply denounce any attempts of the Serbian state to reoccupy the country. [48]


Some decades ago, the Stalinists justified their support for Serbian chauvinism by referring to the “socialist” character of the Tito regime in former Yugoslavia. Naturally, this was no legitimate reason to suppress the Albanian desire for independence. However, such support for Serbian claims under today’s conditions lacks even such pseudo-justification. There are no Tito and no Yugoslavia anymore and Serbia has become a capitalist state. Even more, Serbia is ruled by the government of Aleksandar Vučić and his SNS, a split from the semi-fascist Chetnik party SRS led by the notorious war criminal Vojislav Šešelj. These arch-reactionaries justify their historic claims by referring to the so-called Battle of Kosovo Field, an event in the year 1389 shrouded in myth.


However, all these facts are no obstacle for the Stalinists to adopt a joint statement in which they call “to support Kosovo as an integral part of the Republic of Serbia” and to denounce the “Albanian separatists”. This is nothing but unashamed support for reactionary Serbian expansionism against the will of nearly the whole people of Kosovo!


Of course, the logic of the Stalinists is as transparent as reactionary. In their view, only the U.S., the EU and Japan are imperialist while Russia and China represent allegedly “socialist” (or at least “progressive”, “anti-imperialist”) forces. In consequence, the Stalinists support all regimes and forces – including e.g. the monarchists, fascists and semi-fascists in the Donbass – which are allied with Russia and China.


It is symbolic that this statement has been signed by the Assad-bootlicking Syrian Communist Party, various Russian Stalinist parties (e.g. Zyuganov’s KPRF and Tyulkin’s RKRP-RPK), the Greek KKE, the German DKP, the Communist Party (Italy) and others.


Finally, we also have to point out that by supporting Serbian chauvinism the Stalinists share the company of various ultra-reactionary forces. All Great Russian chauvinists, including the White Russian monarchists, support Serbia’s claim to Kosovo. The same is true for various radical right-wing parties in Western Europe. For example, the Austrian FPÖ has always declared that Kosovo is part of Serbia. Its leader, HC Strache, proudly wears the so-called Brojanica – a Serbian-orthodox rosary – on his wrist.