Articles on Greece 2011 - 2012

Perspectives on the Greek Revolution

Greek tragedy is lack of revolutionary leadership of workers movement!

For Workers’ Councils, Workers’ Militias and a Workers’ Government!


Resolution of the Revolutionary Communist Organization for Liberation (RKOB), 10.11.2011



1. Greece is currently the mirror image of the future of many countries in Europe and beyond in two senses. First, Greece has shown with what brutality and what devastating consequences monopoly capital in the stage of decaying capitalism tries to shift its economic and debt crisis onto the backs of the masses of the working class and peasantry. Second, we see that the existing reformist bureaucracies that control the labor movement lead our class to disaster. Either they execute the orders of the capitalist class as stooges, or they help these stooges indirectly by leading the workers with a strategy that cannot possibly win. Centrism in Greece demonstrates again its adaptation to bourgeois ideology and to the reformist bureaucracy. One must say outright: Greece proves again that without a revolutionary workers party based on a Bolshevik program the proletariat is helpless to defeat the blows of the ruling class.


Capitalist crisis and Politics of plunder


2. The crisis of capitalism pushes Greece to ruin. Already in 2010 the Greek gross domestic product shrank by 4.5% and by the end of the second third of 2011 a further 7.5%. In 2011 it is expected that there will be not enough tax revenue to service the current debt repayment. By March 2011 the debt of the country was over 340 billion Euros. This is against this background of a dramatic rise in unemployment and poverty. At the end of 2009 there were approximately 9.6% unemployed; today the official figure is 16.3%. According to the trade unions there are one million unemployed, i.e. 22% of the workforce! Among 15 - to 29-year-olds, nearly one third are without a job. Moreover, up to 30,000 wage earners in the state sector are threatened with dismissal till the end of the year. Public sector workers wages shall be cut on an average of 30-40%, and pensioners face a reduction of their pension by a fifth. The employers can now legally take advantage of high unemployment to undermine the industry collective agreements: the absolute lower limit of about € 740 gross wage for a full time job no longer applies for newly hired young adults under 25 years. You have to make do with just under €600 gross per month. At the same time the rich get their money out safety: according to the German news magazine Spiegel Greek millionaires in Switzerland alone, have deposited € 600 billion.


3. The attacks on the Greek working class are justified by the bourgeois governments, the EU bodies (including the Social-Democratic parties) and the media, by blaming allegedly high wages and government spending in Greece. This is of course one of the many lies the bourgeois ideological apparatuses uses to justify their austerity attacks. According to the French bank Natixis, the annual working time in Germany is on average 1390 hours yet in Greece it is 2119 hours. The gross wages in Greece are 30% less than in Germany. The share of government employment to total employment is in Greece (8%) below that of Germany (just under 10%) and is just over half the average of industrialized countries (15%). Similarly, the share of social spending of GDP is 36% and well below that of Germany (45%). The argument that Greece has taken too much debt and lives "beyond its means" is nonsense. It is in fact a prisoner of imperialist finance capital: in just the last 20 years the country has paid more than €600 billion in interest to the banks - twice as much as its national debt.


4. The actual cause of the devastating economic crisis and the massive austerity attack is not that of wrong neo-liberal policies as the leaders the left Social Democrats and Stalinists insist. For about 40 years global capitalism has been in a period of weak economic growth and crises, the result of the inevitable over-accumulation of capital and the tendency of the falling rate of profit. The neo-liberal policies were not the cause of this crisis because they arrived a long time after it began. There are and have been in the capitalist countries all imaginable forms of government – from a bourgeois government with the participation of radical right-wing forces (e.g., Italy with the National Alliance, in Austria, the FPÖ / BZÖ); Social Democratic governments ruling alone; governments with the participation of "communist" parties (the Jospin government in France, the PCF or twice the Prodi government in Italy with the Rifondazione Comunista); and the dictatorship by a Stalinist party (China, under the leadership of the CPC, where in the early 1990s there was a transition first from a degenerate workers' state to a capitalist state, and in the late 2000s to an imperialist power). But despite the differences in these forms of regime, they all reacted in the same way to the crisis of capitalism with the intensified exploitation of the working class and a massive redistribution of wealth in favor of the bourgeoisie.


Greece put on starvation rations


5. The crisis of the capitalist world system that erupted in 2008 with the worst recession for a long time has gone to a new level. The system has passed the stage of a crisis on its death bed and now approaches its grave where the only alternative is socialism or barbarism. During this period characterised by monopoly capital – the survival of the banks and corporations that dominate the state and economy depends on drastically cutting the value of labor power, screwing up the interest rate and looting the raw material reserves etc. to increase their profits. Weaker capitalist countries – like Greece – are the first victims of the relentless politics of this imperialist plunder. But ultimately it makes the working class and oppressed peoples of all countries pay for its crisis.


6. The aim of the imperialist EU in Greece is to put the workers and oppressed on starvation rations and to privatize the remaining state assets (and sell them mainly to large foreign corporations). So the Greek State offers for sale 39 airports, 850 ports, railways, highways, two energy companies, banks, thousands of hectares of land which the state lottery, etc. with a total value of US$71 billion. Furthermore, a significantly higher proportion of the Greek economy is transferred into the ownership of imperialist capital (so far around 90% of bank capital is still in local hands) and the rights and organizations of the working class are weakened to create a much cheaper labor force for the capitalists to exploit – not only by Western European capitalists but also Greek employers. Therefore, the Greek capitalists essentially support the EU's brutal austerity policies even if they ask for, of course, better terms for them from Brussels.


7. The political crisis in Greece and the events in the EU underline once more the thesis of Marxists that bourgeois democracy is not democracy for the workers class and the broad masses, but in reality a disguised dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The "socialist" government in Athens can be commanded by the stock exchanges and the Greek capitalists in parliament to adopt the austerity package of the EU Commission, when it is obvious that the people are against it. Nor will the peoples of Europe have the slightest say in the austerity measures. So the government in Athens has just ruled against the so-called democratic or sovereign will of the people. The leaders of PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) and ND (New Democracy – the conservative party) vote to change the government, set the date for new elections, and decide the future of the people. How hypocritical were the "democrats" of Western governments (including the Social Democrats) and the monopoly capitalists, when in early November the then Greek President Papandreou dared to announce a referendum on the austerity package. An outcry over the "irresponsibility" of the government arose in the EU and the stock market tumbled down. Democracy for the capitalists is only viable as long as long as it does not affect their profits. Petty-bourgeois democrats a la ATTAC or the ideologues in the "Democracy Now" movement think that within capitalism a true democracy is possible. This is a childish illusion. In a society in which classes exist and one class exploits the other, there can be no true democracy. The state apparatus, the parliament, the government - they are all in a ‘bourgeois democracy’ controlled by the numerically small class of capitalists. Lenin's statement that "even the most democratic [of] democratic republic[s] is nothing but a machine for the oppression of the working class by the bourgeoisie, the masses of working people by a handful of capitalists" (‘Theses on Bourgeois Democracy and Dictatorship of the Proletariat’, 1919), is valid today than ever .


The class character of Greece


8. All this shows the hopelessness of bourgeois nationalism. It is a reactionary dead end, and chains the working class politically to the bourgeoisie. Bolshevik-Communists therefore reject the "patriotic" orientation of the Stalinists of the KKE (Communist Party of Greece) and many other left-wing reformists, towards the formation of an anti-EU "national bloc" in common with bourgeois forces, as completely reactionary and utopian.


9. In the Greek population there is a widespread mood that sees the EU as dictating a foreign austerity policy (not least Berlin-controlled) onto the country. This is reflected in numerous patriotic expressions at demonstrations and also at the celebrations marking the anniversary of the famous "NO" against Mussolini's dictatorship on 28 October 1940. Without doubt an element of national oppression exists in the current crisis, insofar as there are not equal relations between states, as the major powers in the EU – especially Germany and France, but also smaller imperialist powers such as Austria or the Netherlands – treat Greece unashamedly as a developed semi-colony whose government policy it can dictate.


10. At the same time the patriotic Stalinists of the KKE and other leftists, "forget" that Greek capitalism has also striven to take its place as an internationally active exploiter class. The Greek capitalists have traditionally been among the largest owners of ships (with a share of almost 16% of world shipping tonnage in 2010). Also since the early 1990s, Greek capital has established itself as a leading foreign investor in South Eastern European and Balkan countries and in Serbia, Albania, Macedonia and Bulgaria it even takes the first place among foreign investors. Greece's leading four banks –National Bank of Greece, EFG Euro Bank, Alpha Bank and Piraeus – now control about 20% of the financial sector in Southeast Europe. In short, Greek capital is exploiting the proletariat not only domestically, but also through the super-exploitation of workers in poorer semi-colonial countries. It is however noted that part of the officially recognized "foreign investment" (referred to as capital exports) is in reality more capital flight in the face of severe economic crisis in Greece and represents less a sign of strength but of weakness of Greek capital. This shows incidentally, that the patriotism of the ruling class serves only as an ideological veil to fool the oppressed classes, but if it is conducive to their profits, they will – without batting an eyelid – readily submit to foreign masters.


11. Greek capitalism therefore has a contradictory character. While it has historically been oppressed by European and U.S. imperialism it has also made efforts to make parts of the Balkans its own semi-colonial hinterland. An overall picture of Greek capitalism is that – given the relatively low importance of the role of capital exports and repatriation of super-profits in proportion to the overall economy and the overall relatively underdeveloped nature of capitalist development in the country –Greece has no imperialist character. We reject the use of categories such as "sub-imperialism" (as used by the centrist IS/SWP tradition of Tony Cliff) as un-Marxist, because in the modern era of imperialism they blur and render indecisive the characteristic contradiction between oppressor and oppressed countries. Rather, Greece is an advanced semi-colony in subordination to the imperialist powers – especially the EU and the USA, and increasingly China. The current crisis in Greece and its open submission to the dictates of the big powers show that the efforts of the Greek capital in the past 20 years to become a small regional imperialist power were not crowned with success. The last years have confirmed the semi-colonial status of Greece.


12. The example of Greece also confirms the thesis of Bolshevik-Communists that China has now become a new imperialist superpower. The dramatic increase in its capital exports – China is now the world's fifth-largest foreign investor – shows that the country is neither a semi-colony nor a degenerated workers' state, and certainly not a socialist state. In the recent past, China has won through massive investments an influential role in Greece and thus gained a springboard into the EU. The state capitalist Chinese company Cosco controls with a US$5 billion investment the largest port in the country. China plans a number of other major investments in Greece and has already signed contracts for projects totaling more than US$5 billion for the purchase of larger sectors of the major trading fleet, telecommunications, railways, etc. For the Greek working class Chinese investment brings heavy attacks. For example, Cosco prohibits in “its” Piraeus harbor any union activity or even collective bargaining agreements. What a bizarre nonsense that many Stalinists and Chavez supporters admire China as a socialist, or at least still a progressive country!


13. The reactionary character of Greek chauvinism is also reflected in its history of oppression and partial expulsion of national minorities (Turks, Albanians, Macedonians, etc.). Founded in 1991, even the independent Republic of Macedonia was not recognized by Greece for many years. At the same time Greek chauvinism is also used to justify the exploitation of the many migrants and thus to deepen the split in the working class. This is even more serious given the fact that the migrants number officially a million (2 / 3 are Albanians) and amount to 20% of the total labor force.


Patriotism - the dead end of reformism


14. Shamefully, a large part of the reformist Left (left wing of PASOK, KKE, Synaspismos, etc.) subscribes to Greek patriotism. The KKE, for example, refers to itself in its program as a "patriotic party" and is committed to "defending the territorial integrity of the country against the new imperialist world order." The only "dangers" of the "territorial integrity" of Greece in the past few decades were the conflict with Turkey and some demands by the Macedonian minority in Greece to secede. In fact, the KKE on the Macedonian question supports "the safeguard of inviolability of borders; the avoidance of every irredentist propaganda and of actions that hinder the approach and cooperation of the two countries." (KKE Resolution 19.2.2008). In general, the KKE denies the existence of any national minority in Greece (Interview with the longtime KKE Secretary General Aleka Papariga, 02/26/2011). The commitment of the KKE to patriotism and the defense of the capitalist state against other states and against the self-determination of national minorities is nothing more than social-chauvinism and subordination to the capitalist fatherland.


15. Today the KKE calls for the withdrawal of Greece from the EU and the euro currency and the restoration of "independence" for Greece and the drachma currency. But in reality, the solution of the Greek crisis can only be international in character. A capitalist Greece outside the EU will face at least as tough austerity measures as those imposed by the present government. The reformist bureaucracy of the KKE preaches the illusion that Greece could be an independent nation because the country "has conditions to create a self-supporting developing national economy." (Aleka Papariga, 5.7.2010) Such a nation existing in isolation is not possible.


16. The struggle against the imperialist dictates of the EU must be fought internationally. The West European workers' movement must fight on the streets and in parliament against all austerity policies to “rescue” Greece and against anti-Greek chauvinism. Revolutionaries in Greece must reject the bourgeois-nationalist perspective sharply and the demand for withdrawal from the EU7 or the Euro zone and the reintroduction of the drachma. The slogan for Greece’s withdrawal from the EU and euro should be made only in connection with the slogan of a workers' government and as part of the process of socialist revolution.


17. We are opposed to ultra-left positions, which – because of the presence of Greek national flags in demonstrations and site occupations or the organized right – conclude that these mobilisations have a reactionary character. Of course, in a real popular movement, which is directed against the brutal subjugation of the country under the dictates of the imperialist EU, patriotism is understandable, in particular given the fact that the workers vanguard still does not have a revolutionary consciousness and therefore cannot decisively influence these mobilization with an internationalist perspective. Bolsheviks-communists argue against patriotism as such not with abstract teachings about the myth of the homeland and the moral superiority of internationalism. Rather, we point out that Greece can be saved only a) if it is free of rule by Greek and international capital, b) if the fight is on the basis of complete equality with the non-Greek parts of the working class in the country (immigrants, national minorities) and c) if it takes place as part of a common international struggle of the working class in the Balkans, in Europe and the Mediterranean, for a socialist federation.


18. It is particularly important, therefore, to underline the reactionary role of Greek capital in the Balkans and in the over-exploitation and national oppression of the migrants in their own country. To combat Greek chauvinism consistently, we make our program for the national self-determination (including the right of secession) for the minorities in Greece; for the full equality of migrants (full citizenship rights, equal pay, recognition of their language as equal at work and education, abolition of the official State language, etc.); for a socialist perspective for a Balkan Federation and the United Socialist States of Europe, a priority. Equally urgent is the unity of the Greek Revolution and the Arab revolution.


19. The importance of the revolutionary struggle for complete equality and integration of migrants is reflected especially in Greece. They are an important part, especially of the most oppressed sections of the working class. The struggle of the union of cleaners and domestic helpers in Athens (PEKOP) shows that migrants can play an important role in the class struggle. Its most famous representative, the Bulgarian migrant Kostantina Kuneva, was attacked in late 2008 during a labor dispute by paid assassins of the company concerned who threw sulfuric acid all over her face. She survived despite severe injuries and PEKOP – supported by a large wave of solidarity from other parts of the working class and the youth – was able to win the strike. The organization and mobilization of the lower sections of the working class – among which the migrants play a key role –is a crucial precondition for the victory of the Greek revolution.


Widespread pre-revolutionary crisis


20. The central question is: Why has the government been able to stay in power even after a string of very brutal austerity policies forced on the people against their will? Is it the lack of combat readiness of the masses? Certainly not! The massive attacks of the capitalist class were answered by the working class with a series of general strikes, demonstrations and site occupations. The statistical average in 2010 was two demonstrations per day in Athens!


21. Is Greek capitalism in such a strong position? No. Not only are the workers and the oppressed no longer willing to accept the series of savage packages. The ruling class cannot continue its existing politics unchanged. Greece is facing national bankruptcy. The political system is totally discredited in the eyes of the people. Each government crisis is followed by the next. No wonder that there is speculation among the political elite of Greece and the EU already about the need for a civil war, a military coup and a Bonapartist regime.


22. Greece is definitely facing a pre-revolutionary crisis. If we disregard the rebellion in Albania in 1997, we find in Greece the most advanced revolutionary development in Europe since Portugal 1974-75. Lenin's classic definition of a revolutionary situation clearly applies to Greece: (1) when it is impossible for the ruling classes to maintain their rule without any change; when there is a crisis, in one form or another, among the “upper classes”, a crisis in the policy of the ruling class, leading to a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes burst forth. For a revolution to take place, it is usually insufficient for “the lower classes not to want” to live in the old way; it is also necessary that “the upper classes should be unable” to live in the old way; (2) when the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual; (3) when, as a consequence of the above causes, there is a considerable increase in the activity of the masses, who uncomplainingly allow themselves to be robbed in “peace time”, but, in turbulent times, are drawn both by all the circumstances of the crisis and by the “upper classes” themselves into independent historical action." (VI Lenin, ‘The Collapse of the Second International’, 1915). From the Greek revolution to the Arab revolution since January 2011, the August uprising of the poor in Britain a few months ago, and the world-wide Occupation movement, there is further evidence for the Bolshevik-Communists assessment that the historical crisis of capitalism has opened a revolutionary period.


23. So the ruling class holds on to power not because of their strength and not because of the lack of combat readiness of the working class. The cause lies rather in the fact that the proletariat and the oppressed have no revolutionary leadership. Instead, at the head of the labor movement stand the reformist bureaucracies, with their policies to betray and sell out the struggle of the masses. Either they execute the orders of the capitalist class as direct agents (PASOK), or they help these lackeys indirectly by misleading the proletariat with a reformist strategy which must inevitably end in defeat (KKE, Synapismos). Centrism (which vacillates between reformism and revolution) is incapable of a raising a truly revolutionary program as a political alternative to the bureaucracy, such as the pseudo-Trotskyist forces (Marxistiki Foni / IMT, DEA) and Maoist organizations (such as KOE), with Synapismos/SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical reform left) or Antarsya (a coalition of SEK/IST, OKDE-Spartakos/Fourth International) and others. (Xekinima / CWI belonged to SYRIZA until a few months ago).


24. The pre-revolutionary crisis threatens to degenerate. A pre-revolutionary or revolutionary situation cannot last forever. The masses are weakened by loss of momentum and lose faith in the possibility of victory. At the same time, the ruling class can prepare for a decisive counterattack and for the establishment of a Bonapartist regime with wide-ranging executive powers. Against the backdrop of a deep economic and social crisis, the continued inability of the labor movement to take the initiative inevitably leaves space for the growth of a rabid nationalism and fascism. (e.g. LAOS and Chrysi Avyi). Only the timely construction of a revolutionary workers party based on a Bolshevik program can ensure that the resolute struggle of the masses leads to the proletarian seizure of power and not to a heavy defeat.


The Crisis of Leadership – treachery of PASOK, KKE and SYRIZA


25. The working class in Greece is bound on several sides. The ruling party PASOK in this crisis proves once more to be the direct agent of domestic and foreign monopoly capital. It plays a leading role within the big trade union federations - the Federation GSEE and the public sector union ADEDY. At the last congress of the Greek General Confederation of Labor (GSEE) in March 2010, PASKE – the trade union group close to PASOK – 48.2% of the delegates voted to unite behind PASOK’s social-democratic program to weaken and limit the struggle against austerity. The PASOK government does not shy away from using military repression to discipline the workers. It used the civilian mobilization orders to break the 17-day strike of the garbage workers by force out of fear of a solidarity strike by millions of workers against their policy. This law dates from the Second World War and allows the forced provision of government services. The striking workers were effectively subjected to military discipline. If they refuse, they can be thrown in jail for up to five years.


26. However, at the same time the internal contradictions intensify in the face of growing anger among the masses. A number of leading trade union officials now sees itself forced to break with PASOK. In different unions (teachers, municipal employees, railway workers) PASKE even splits from PASOK.


27. It is significant that PASOK is part of the Socialist International. It is a counterrevolutionary instrument like the other European social democratic parties that support the imperialist policy of robbing Greece through its various EU "aid packages".


28. The Communist Party (KKE) is a classic Stalinist party i.e. it is a bourgeois workers party, which is ruled by a bureaucracy that serves the maintenance of capitalism by promising reforms to its working class social base. Its union faction PAME won 20.9% of the delegates’ votes at the last congress of the GSEE. It has important bastions of support in the traditional core layers of the proletariat like the port and construction workers - and exerts an important influence on the class-conscious workers. However, PAME is does not have the strength of the GSEE and the ADEDY (Civil Servants Unions) to organize general strikes. The KKE played a central role in the anti-fascist struggle for liberation during the Second World War. In 1944 it formed a coalition government with the bourgeois and monarchist forces to disarm the partisans and install a capitalist regime during the revolutionary crisis of 1944-45. Also in 1990-91, the KKE participated in a coalition government with PASOK and ND. It now pursues the Stalinist strategy of establishing a "social popular front" - also called the "anti-imperialist, anti-monopolistic, democratic front of the people". To this end the KKE organizes not only workers and peasants, but also the petty bourgeoisie (it has created the PASEVE –the Anti-monopolist Protest Movement of All Greeks to organise “the Self-employed and the small Tradesman”).


29. The KKE bourgeois role was also evident during the uprising of the youth in December 2008 (a weeks-long mass revolt - not unlike the August uprising of the poor in Britain - after the murder of 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos by two police officers). While tens of thousands of youths were fighting in the streets against the police, the KKE Secretary General Papariga slandered the militants as "hooligans" and "hoodies" led by “foreign intelligence." (Interview 17.12.2008)


30. The reformist policy of the KKE is based primarily on strengthening its position in Parliament. The class struggle in the streets and in the factories is subordinated to its parliamentary position. Papariga said in the 2010 "Proposal for Resolving the Crisis" that the party only puts its emphasis on the extra-parliamentary struggle if it sees no possibilities for parliamentary coalitions and maneuver; "...if the political balance of power allows us no effective intervention in favor of the people, then we focus on the extra-parliamentary movement." The KKE is often radical and likes to talk of socialism and the power of the working class. But instead of taking advantage of the present revolutionary crisis to orient the wave of strikes and general strikes and occupation movements to organize an uprising and the revolutionary seizure of power, it demands – along with the other reformist and centrist forces (e.g. SYRIZA) – the formation of a "transitional government" and new elections.


31. Bolshevik-Communists reject the slogan for new elections as it means in the present phase of the heightened class struggle and mass mobilizations nothing but a diversion from the revolutionary struggle on the streets and in the factories back onto the parliamentary road. It reflects an orientation of the reformist bureaucracy that solve the political crisis and the mass mobilizations of popular protests by electing a new civil government to parliament, rather than by an uprising and the overthrow of the ruling class.


32. Against this background we can assess the clashes during the two-day general strike on 19./20 October. The KKE used their forces to form a barrier of people to protect the Parliament and allow the deputies access so they could vote for the recent brutal austerity package. The radical forces of “The Plirono” (We do not pay) movement, the militant Union of Municipal Employees POE-OTA, the radical Left, and the autonomous/anarchists were trapped in Syntagma Square. In response to the bureaucratic and sometimes violent actions of the KKE security forces there were violent clashes between the KKE-stewards and radical parts of the demonstrators. This was the result of the role that the KKE on 20 October played: that of a middle-class auxiliary police who guarded the Parliament against the masses, while the new austerity package was agreed. (That is why the KKE/PAME security forces are often called "KNAT" –a combination of the terms KKE youth organization KNE and the special police MAT)


33. The KKE denounced the radical forces as "anarcho-fascists." Many centrists condemned both the KKE and the radical forces. Doubtless the autonomous/anarchist forces repeatedly caused a counterproductive escalation with the police. But this should not detract from the overall political context. Against the background of many general strikes and the widespread hatred of the people for parliament and the government, the repeated attacks by protesters against the parliament building in the past, it is absurd to justify the KKE/PAME behavior against the workers' demonstration on the pretext of stopping some ‘crazed anarchists’. No, the Stalinist bureaucracy wanted to prove to the ruling class its loyalty in the face of the government crisis and possible new elections. "We are a reputable, state-supporting force, protecting the Parliament in times of crisis and we can control the movement". The policy of the KKE is clearly reminiscent of the role of the Stalinists in the Spanish Civil war 1936-39, where they defended the bourgeois republic against the radical forces of the time. But if the KKE has played out its role, the reactionary forces will sweep it away as it happened in Spain also.


34. The “Coalition of the Radical Left” – SYRIZA – is dominated by the left-reformist party Synaspismos, a Euro-communist split from the KKE in 1991. The founding leaders of Synaspismos were at the forefront of the government coalition with New Democracy and PASOK of 1990-91. Synaspismos is now part of the European Left Party and follows a left-social democratic politics, which sees neoliberal policies as the cause of the crisis and advocates a reform program and government participation in the management of capitalism. Significantly, in the 1990s Synaspismos supported extremely chauvinistic propaganda towards Macedonia and mobilized with the Conservatives, PASOK and the church, for joint demonstrations under the slogan "Macedonia is Greek".


35. In 2010 there was a separation of the right wing of Synaspismos under the former Minister of Justice Fotis Kouvelis (in the coalition government of 1990-91), which formed the reformist Democratic Left party (DIMAR). DIMAR follows the logic of social democracy more consistently than KKE and SYRIZA. Kouvelis calls for new elections so that "the political crisis does not turn into a crisis of democracy". In early November the DIMAR deputy Grigoris Psarianos along with PASOK and ND called for the formation of a transitional government to restore “normal democracy” and to keep the country "on European course". Here speaks a party appealing to the bourgeoisie as a serious coalition partner to administer the capitalist state business.


36. Even if SYRIZA today is sometimes radical and may resonate with some layers of the militant workers and youth, it is basically a left-reformist force. Significantly SYRIZA in recent months did not demand the resignation of the government, but called for a referendum on the debt and the establishment of a committee to review how much of the debt should be paid and how much should be canceled. Similar to the KKE calls for new elections, it has a reformist-parliamentary strategy in response to the crisis. Its goal is to find a place in a bourgeois government ("a new coalition of power", SYRIZA president Alexis Tsipras 04/11/2011) is. That is why Tsipras appealed to President Karolos Papoulias to hold elections to defend the Constitution. Everyone had an obligation under the Constitution to undertake initiatives to preserve social cohesion and national integrity." One should take initiatives “avoid finding ourselves faced with unpleasant events that some times wrong people, institutions and our democracy.” (31.10.2011) Such statements of the supposedly "radical left" in times of severe crisis of capitalist democracy tells us much more about the thoroughly bourgeois-reformist character of SYRIZA than hundreds of rhetorical speeches about anti-capitalism and socialism. Those who think that SYRIZA is more left-wing than the KKE’ make a big mistake. Equally significant is the fact that for years several centrist organizations like Marxistiki Foni / IMT, DEA and KOE have been part of the left-reformist SYRIZA, afraid to break with the reformist Synaspismos and thus carry responsibility for its betrayal.


37. In Greece, anarchism is traditionally relatively strong. Its strength is a consequence of the bureaucratization of the labor movement and the treachery of its leaders in the past. Given the weakness of the revolutionary forces, it is no surprise that many young people and probably some workers turn to anarchism. What they see as ‘communism’ is nothing but the Stalinism of the KKE "Leninism" and the "working class discipline” of KKE stewards calling the rebellious youth "hooligans" as a pretext for protecting parliament. At the same time we must also see that many young activists are misguided in their involvement in the ranks of anarchism. For without a revolutionary (not Stalinist!) party no revolutionary overthrow of capitalism is possible. Without turning to the working class in the factories, without tactics against the organizations of the labor movement, the working class cannot be won to the revolution. Without a disciplined approach to demonstrations and street fighting the ranks can be mislead into police provocations and other counter-productive actions. In short, we are appealing to the anarchist activists to join the ranks of the working class party in the revolutionary struggle for the abolition of classes and the state.


Return of spontaneous movements


38. The massive upsurge of class struggle in recent months has brought very important and promising developments among the masses. Out of the dissatisfaction with the unsuccessful protests organized by the bureaucracy of the unions and the KKE, there arose the spontaneous mass movement Kinima Aganaktisménon Politón (KAP –Indignant Citizens' Movement) starting with the demonstration on 25 May 2011. The movement reached its climax in the summer when tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands attending their meetings and demonstrations. It calls for the cancellation of debts and the expulsion of the Government, the EU Troika, the IMF, the banks "and all who exploit us." Like so many spontaneous mass movements it is also politically contradictory. On the one hand it embodies a desire for "true democracy", a frontal rejection of government, EU, IMF and "exploiters" and its use of bourgeois legality to square occupations has an enormously progressive potential. On the other hand, it lacks roots in the factories and refuses to allow the formal participation in the meetings of political organizations, which is a petty-bourgeois element in this movement.


39. Because of the radical-democratic nature of the KAP and thus their lack of control by the bureaucracy, the KKE leadership sees this movement as a threat. Shamefully, they condemn it as "apolitical" and reject any involvement in, and support for the movement.


40. The attitude of Bolshevik-Communists to such spontaneous bourgeois-democratic protest movements is characterized by the combination of a) an active participation in, and support for the movement, b) a politically clear and educational criticism of its petty-bourgeois orientation, anti-party sentiment, etc., c) the open advocacy of an orientation to the working class and the establishment of action committees in the factories, neighborhoods and schools, and d) a clear perspective on the necessity of socialist revolution and the building of a revolutionary combat party of the working class.


41. Another very important phenomenon is the spread of rank and file assemblies and the formation of actions in many enterprises and neighborhoods. These committees are spontaneous and are barely linked together. Related actions are also the numerous occupations of public buildings.


Program of the Revolution


42. In the past year and a half Greece has gone through a pre-revolutionary development; numerous ‘general strikes’ (12 until now), occupations and demonstrations have proven beyond doubt the fighting spirit of the masses. But so far these heroic struggles have had no success: the PASOK government has been able to push through the brutal austerity packages in parliament.


43. The reason for this failure lies in the fact that at the head of the mobilization there is no revolutionary combat party of the working class, but rather, reformist bureaucracies with centrist appendages. They pursue a strategy of impotent dead-end mobilisations which are directed at winning lucrative power and privileges via new elections.


44. The key condition to overcome the current crisis is the building of a revolutionary party. Only with such a party at its head can the working class be won to a program for the socialist seizure of power and the road to liberation opened. The first step in this direction is the creation of a revolutionary party-building organization to develop such a program and to unite activists on the basis of this program.


45. The central tragedy of Greece to date lies precisely in the huge gap between the struggle and determination of the working class on the one side and the terrible political backwardness of the leadership of the workers' movement on the other side. There is no revolutionary party capable of leading the proletariat to take power. Today many militant workers and young activists support either reformist or centrist forces (e.g. trade unions close to PASOK, KKE/PAME, SYRIZA, DIMAR, Antarsya), the Autonomists/Anarchists, or they are unorganized. From this fact follows the centrality of the united front tactic. The battle for winning over first the vanguard and then the entire proletariat requires that the revolutionary forces do more than strike together with the workers. They must also direct their demands to the existing organizations and that includes also their leaderships. To direct demands to the leaderships does not imply we have any illusions in their reformist and centrist programs. On the contrary, revolutionaries explain openly to the working class why these leaders are not able to lead the liberation struggle to victory, why they are an obstacle to the revolution and why they must therefore be replaced by a revolutionary party. In a revolutionary crisis the working class can learn ten times as fast as in normal times of relative class peace. But the working class cannot be won over to the revolutionary program solely by means of propaganda - they must go through their own experiences with their leaders’ betrayals. Therefore it is necessary to direct the calls for the establishment of action committees, workers 'militias, etc., up and including the workers' government also to the current leaders of the Greek labor movement such as the pro-PASOK unions, KKE/PAME, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya.


46. A revolutionary program for the crisis in Greece must first of all explain the character of the current crisis and draw the correct conclusions. This crisis cannot be overcome by reforms and governmental coalitions within the framework of capitalism. The working class and the popular masses will experience a social massacre, a social and historical defeat, if the ruling capitalist class – regardless of whether ND, PASOK, KKE or SYRIZA administer their businesses – is not overthrown in time. The most important element of the current situation is therefore the question of power. Which class rules - the working class or the capitalist class?


47. This is understood by the parties and felt by the masses who want to get rid of the politicians and the government. Therefore the reformists and centrists put forward their answer to the question of power. They demand new elections and a "left" or "anti-monopoly popular government". Several centrists (e.g. CWI, IMT) do not share this orientation towards new elections. They propose a prolonged or even indefinite general strike to overthrow the government and the formation of a workers' government. Their rejection of the reformist electoral orientation is correct but their concept of the struggle for a workers' government is wrong and naive. It is a characteristic of centrism that it presents the seizure of power in a (pre-) revolutionary situation as a relatively peaceful transition, without rupture, in other words, in an opportunistic, non-revolutionary way. The indefinite general strike is seen as a weeks-long strike which forces the government to resign and then a workers government based on trade unions, leftist parties, action committee etc. delegates, emerges. In a (pre-) revolutionary situation this is a completely unrealistic view of the proletarian seizure of power. Moreover, it is a dangerous opportunistic illusion which is spread by centrism in the ranks of workers vanguard.


48. Not coincidentally, several centrist groups such as the CWI or the IMT share the revisionist theory of a peaceful transition to socialism. The scenario of civil war and the appropriate political and military preparation is outside of their horizon. But the ruling class will not voluntarily give up their power and a few street fights are not sufficient to win. Already the CIA speaks openly of the possibility of a military coup and the U.S. business magazine Forbes is acknowledging their sympathy for a coup in an article with the headline: "The Real Greek Solution: A Military Coup" (26/10/2011). We warn that the Greek proletariat is threatened by that terrible prospect like that of Chile in 1973. Whoever does not consistently promote the revolution is punished by a counterrevolution. Bolshevik-Communists do not conceal their views of the necessary steps to resolve the question of power. They openly say that power can only won by means of a socialist revolution. Revolution means the armed revolutionary uprising and civil war of the organized working class, led by a revolutionary party. Revolution means the struggle for the dictatorship of the proletariat. Only under such a regime can the masses of the people be freed from the yoke of capitalist domination, can industry be planned according to the interests of society, and can the class enemies of the revolution be suppressed and the revolution spread internationally. To propagate a workers 'government in a (pre) revolutionary situation as a concrete objective, without preparing the working class for the inevitably of civil war and armed rebellion won by a workers' militia, is to spread reformist illusions of a step-by-step, peaceful transition towards socialism. Bolshevik-Communists reject decisively such a policy of centrism.


49. The question of power is the central axis of the Programme of Action at the present stage of Greek politics. From this several consequences follow. The working class can take power only when it is organized accordingly, and learns to fight for power. The revolutionary action program must take up the most urgent questions of the immediate struggle for survival and demonstrate that they can be answered only by the seizure of power.


50. In order to take control of the defensive struggle themselves, the working class and the oppressed must form Action Committees in the factories, neighbourhoods and schools. At regular assemblies of employees, residents, school students, university students, etc., the most important local and national issues shall be discussed. The decisions will then be implemented by elected delegates who are held accountable to these assemblies and can be voted out by them at any time.


51. Such Action Committees are the first step to Councils (or Soviets as they were called in Russia in 1917). Councils/Soviets are the instrument of the working class by means of which they build their counter-power and lead the fight for workers’ control in the enterprises and the education system. Such Action Committees/Councils will then elect delegates and join together locally, regionally and nationally. Demand a national conference of delegates from all the action committees/councils! Demand that the KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR etc mobilise for the establishment of such councils!


52. Especially in the current phase of economic collapse, where many enterprises dismiss workers or close down, the slogan of workers' control is of crucial importance. All companies that want to cut wages, lay workers off, or threaten to close down, must open the books. We advocate immediate nationalization of these enterprises under workers' control. Equally important are the slogans of factory occupations and the continuation of production under workers' management. The already existing initiatives to refuse payment of higher duties, taxes, rents, etc. are a very important step. They must be coordinated through Action Committees/Councils and expanded to an effective mass campaign.


53. Hardly a demonstration passes without the attacks of heavily armed police. We know the ruling class is already publicly talking about the possibility of a military coup. All this underscores the urgent necessity of arming the organized working class and youth. Immediately, of course, the construction of powerful self-defense units is needed to protect demonstrations, strikes, immigrant communities, etc. against police raids, fascists and provocateurs. But in the current situation where the question of power is clearly posed, it is necessary to go beyond the centrist slogan of self-defense committees. State power can only be conquered when the working class creates its own armed forces – i.e. workers' militias. Instead of protecting parliament against militant demonstrators, the KKE/PAME should put their forces in the service of the workers' militia! At the same time revolutionaries must organise subversive activity in the armed forces (army, police), to prevent them being used as a decisive blow against the people.


54. No demand for new elections, but for the overthrow of the government by an indefinite general strike and an armed uprising! For the formation of a workers government based on Workers' Councils and militias! As a first step: demand that the dominant labour organizations today – GSEE, ADEDY, PAME, KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya – form a workers' government based on the mobilization of the masses! Down with the PASOK/ND-conspiracy against the people! The power lies not in parliament, but on the street! A real workers' government is based on the organs of workers’ power (Councils, Militias, etc.), and must expropriate the bourgeoisie and smash the state apparatus. Of course the creation and maintenance of a workers' government that implements such a revolutionary policy will face the determined and violent opposition of the ruling class. Therefore, a workers' government without armed organs is an impotent caricature that would fall immediately to a military coup as it happened in Greece in 1967 or in Chile in 1973. Although the sequence and pace of development cannot be predicted, it is obvious that the questions of the indefinite general strike, the armed struggle for power and the workers' government are inextricably linked.


55. Against the vice of the debt trap we raise the slogan of the cancellation of all debts. No halving of the debt, no moratorium (postponement of repayment), no committee to review the debt - but simply cancel all debt! Not only the public debt, but also the debt of private households, small traders and self-employed should be deleted immediately.


56. The economy must no longer be the victim of a small group of corporate masters and financial jugglers! For the expropriation of the super rich - this elite group of monopoly capitalists! For the nationalization of the domestic and foreign banks, large industrial and service companies as well as the large landowners (including the church property!) under the control of the workers! The labor movement must develop an economic emergency plan to secure the survival of the population and the country against the extortions of monopoly capital.


57. 35% of the workforce in Greece is self-employed. Many of them are non-exploitative peasants or small traders, who can be won as allies for the socialist revolution. This requires, however, that the working class takes the path of socialist seizure of power. A workers' government needs a program for the peasants and the lower middle classes: For the nationalization of the land! No small farmer and small trader will be expropriated against his/her will. For the cancellation of the debts of farmers and small traders - instead interest-free loans! Promotion of voluntary associations with the longer-term goal of voluntary collectivization!


58. International solidarity! The international workers' movement – first of all in Europe and the Balkans - must rush to their brothers and sisters in Greece to help. The unions and workers' parties of Europe and the Balkans have to organize an immediate campaign for total cancellation of all debts of Greece. Fight the governments and the EU Commission which openly tries to blackmail Greece! For a campaign within the labour movement against anti-Greek chauvinism in the media and Social Democracy! The international trade union of bank employees must initiate independent investigations and make public both the flight of capital of the Greek capitalists and the speculation and profit rip-off of international banks at the expense of Greece.


59. No to Greek chauvinism! For the recognition of full equal rights of national minorities and migrants! For the right of self-determination of national minorities up to and including the right to secede! For full citizenship rights for immigrants, equal pay, equal recognition of their language as in offices and schools, for the abolition of the state language! For the massive organization of migrants in the unions! Equal representation of migrants at all levels of management!
60. Fight the oppression of women! Equal pay for equal work! Instead of cuts in public services, we demand a massive expansion of public child care facilities and public and inexpensive restaurants and laundries as a step toward the socialization of housework!


61. A workers' government would immediately break with the imperialist EU and the euro-zone and instead promote the building of socialism in Greece and the international spread of revolution to the Balkans and throughout Europe. For a socialist federation of the Balkans! For the United Socialist States of Europe!


62. Let us repeat: the Greek revolution will end in a serious defeat if a revolutionary combat party of the working class based on a Bolshevik program is not built in time. Time is short! The Bolshevik-Communists of the RKOB seek discussion and unity with all serious revolutionaries in Greece. Forward to the Fifth Workers International, the international revolutionary workers party!



Endorsed by Communist Workers Group (CWG-Aotearoa/New Zealand),


[Note: CWG endorses the RKOB statement on Greece in all its fundamental points. At the same time we acknowledge programmatic disagreements over the question of Stalinism, capitalist restoration and centrism which we are continuing to discuss with a view to resolving]



Greece: For a Workers' Government! Critical electoral support for SYRIZA and KKE! Workers: Organize and prepare yourselves for the struggle for power!



By Michael Pröbsting, 6.6.2012




The capitalist crisis in Greece is at a turning point. The vast majority of the working class, the oppressed, and even the middle class want an immediate end to the brutal austerity. Many hope that the new elections on 17th June will bring a decisive change through the formation of a "leftist" government under the leadership of the party SYRIZA. For which perspective should militant workers fight now?


The answer of our international organization - the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) – is:


* For the elections on 17th June we call for critical electoral support for the reformist parties SYRIZA and KKE. But nobody should have false hopes: The leaderships of these parties will try in every step to betray the interests of the workers. They can not and will not lead the workers out of the current misery. But as long as the mass of workers still have hopes in them, the most progressive activists must fight with them and direct demands to these parties: SYRIZA, KKE and DIMAR: Form or support in parliament a “left” government! Such a government must be forced by mass mobilization to implement demands in the interest of the workers!


* But the decisive changes are not made in parliament, but in the enterprises and on the streets. Everything depends on that the workers organize themselves and fight for their demands with strikes, general strikes and ultimately an armed insurrection. The main goal must be: building of action committees in the enterprises, neighborhoods and schools, and of armed self-defense committees! For a workers' government based on such committees, whose task is to overthrow and expropriate the ruling capitalist class!


* The most urgent task now is to build a revolutionary party that fights for an action program for the seizure of power, that pushes aside the reformist leaderships of KKE and SYRIZA aside and prepare the masses for the tasks ahead.




The current situation




Greece is facing ruin. The workers have lost a quarter of their wages within the last 12 months. At the end of the year it is expected that the production will be a fifth below the level of 2008! The official unemployment rate will then amount to 25%.


The country is being plundered by European banks: Greece owes the banks €340 billion Euro, although it has already paid €600 billion – much more than it ever owned the greedy financial sharks! The unscrupulous small class of super rich shifts its assets abroad, while the masses sink ever deeper into poverty and misery.


In the past two years, the workers have shown with more than a dozen general strikes that they reject the austerity policy. But these protests were fruitless. Why? Because they left the question of power untouched. As long as the capitalists and the banks own their factories and banks, they can do with it whatever they want. As long as the caste of politicians – which is closely linked with the capitalist class – control state power, they can legislate and send the police against the demonstrations as they like.




Masses are hoping for SYRIZA




Given the experience of the last two years, many workers are now hoping for a decisive change through the parliamentary elections. Already in the elections on 6th May, the left-reformist party SYRIZA won a sensational victory. It increased its vote share from 4.5% to 16.6%. The Communist Party KKE, also a reformist party with strong roots in the core layers of the working class, could increase its share from 7.5% to 8.5%. According to a recent survey of 30th May SYRIZA is predicted an electoral victory with 31.5%, while the right-reformist DIMAR is said to have the support of 7.5% and the KKE of 5.5% of the electorate.


This demonstrates the recognition of the masses that a transformation is possible only if political power is changed. But this recognition is still incomplete, subject to many illusions. This is not surprising when one remembers that the reformist policies of the leading parties in the workers' movement told them that policy is better left to the politicians and that the working class itself should not take power.


These illusions can be overcome and replaced by the socialist recognition that real democracy can be introduced by the abolition of capitalism along with its parliament and by its replacement by a democracy rooted in the factories and neighborhoods councils.


Revolutionary, however, can not base their politics on future possibilities, but must take into account in their tactics those illusions that exist in the current phase. Revolutionaries must not themselves fall victim to the illusion that the illusions of the masses disappear by itself, spontaneously through the fight. No, for this the active intervention of revolutionaries, patient agitation, sharp propaganda and the practical participation in the class struggle is necessary.




SYRIZA leads to a dead end




To remove illusions of others, revolutionaries must first of all make sure that they don’t fall victim to their own illusions. They have to say the correct views and openly transmit them into the masses.


It is essential that the revolutionary-minded activists clearly recognize the true nature of the SYRIZA leadership around Alexis Tsipras and explain this in their propaganda. His party calls for a very moderate program of suspension of austerity, but they are not willing to take the necessary steps for this. SYRIZA calls not even for a complete cancellation of the debt of the country. By this, however, the country would remain trapped in imperialist debts. Tsipras spreads the illusion of finding a joint solution with the capitalist governments of the Euro zone and the European Central Bank to solve the debt crisis. Such a "solution" in reality mean a continuation of austerity programs, and therefore can only go at the expense of the already impoverished population. Similarly, SYRIZA advocates remaining inside the Euro-zone which is controlled by banks and corporations. In various political crises in the past Tsipras has declared SYRIZA’s willingness to maintain "order" and the Constitution – which is nothing but the order of the banks, corporations and their politicians caste. He also met with the army leadership and announced SYRIZA’s readiness for the military defense of the capitalist country against its enemies and for "expanding the striking force of the army."


The leadership of SYRIZA is thoroughly reformist. It is neither willing nor able to eliminate the misery of the masses, because they dare not to touch the power of the banks and corporations and their political instrument of power, the corrupt state apparatus, including the Parliament. It leads the masses unprepared into the coming sharp confrontations, in which the ruling class will try to crush the working class with the help of police, military, and the entire state apparatus. In recent months some sections of the elite have already openly speculated about the possibility of a military coup, as they did in 1967.




KKE is no alternative




Today the KKE criticizes SYRIZA partially with left-wing arguments for their illusionary perspective. But it combines this criticism with a politically devastating tactics: they refuse to give SYRIZA any support at all in Parliament. This is wrong! The RCIT says: The KKE should rather support in parliament the formation of a SYRIZA–led government and defend it against attempts by the right-wing parties to bring it down. The KKE should vote only for those bills that are in the interests of the workers. (E.g. stop of the memorandum, cancellation of debt, etc.).


Despite their criticism of SYRIZA from the left, the KKE leadership itself is part of the bourgeois order. It has helped the ruling class in the past to overcome political crises (e.g. by forming coalition governments with the conservatives and royalists 1944-45 or with the Conservatives and PASOK in 1990-91). When the youth revolted in December 2008 after of the murder of 15-year-old school student, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, by police forces, the KKE leadership denied their solidarity and denounced the youth as "hooligans." And when a mass demonstration on 20th October 2011 – during a two-day general strike – wanted to disturb the parliamentary session, which decided on another austerity package, the KKE security service defended Parliament against the demonstrators with violent means and with the benevolent toleration of the police!




Workers’ Government




The dilemma of SYRIZA leadership is that it promises to the workers a way out of poverty without creating the conditions for it: the break-up of the power of the Greek and European big business over the economy and state apparatus. But as long as the capitalist robbers hold this power, they will bring any government to its knees or overthrow it with a coup. This is what they did in the 1930s in France and Spain, in 1973 in Chile and 1974/75 in Portugal. It can not be otherwise, since a ruling class can not be pushed to the side peacefully and gradually. It wages a battle to the death to save their profits and privileges. The workers must wage such a struggle too!


Therefore, the central axis around which the future perspective must be built is the question of preparing the working class for the struggle for power. Contrary to the hopes of the reformists and centrists (such as CWI and IMT), the capitalist rule can not be destroyed peaceful, but only by the armed uprising.


The key steps to prepare for the struggle for power are the widespread formations of Action Committee of the masses in the factories, neighborhoods and schools. Equally central is the formation of armed self-defense committees to fight against the fascist thugs and the uniformed thugs (police/army). Out of these committees real militias and workers' councils can emerge in the future. The perspective must be the formation of a workers' government based on such organs of the masses. The task of such a workers government must be the overthrow of the ruling class, the expropriation of the banks and corporations as well as the dismantling of the armed state apparatus.




Revolutionary tactics




What does this mean for today's situation? Today action committees exist only partly and in embryo. The masses still hope for a way out through a "leftist government" with SYRIZA at the top. Revolutionary-minded activists must take into account.


For this first and foremost it is necessary to disseminate among the masses a concrete, revolutionary action program. Such a program must include among other things:


* Immediate termination of the memorandum! Reversal of all wage and benefit cuts in the past few years! Cancellation of all debts!


* For the expropriation of the super rich! For the nationalization of the domestic and foreign banks, industrial and large commercial enterprises as well as the large estates (including the church property!) under the control of the workers! For an emergency plan funded from the assets of the rich to secure the survival of the population and the country which is faced with the extortions of monopoly capital.


* For the nationalization of the land! Cancel the debts of peasants and small traders – instead give them interest-free loans! For promoting voluntary associations with the longer-term goal of voluntary collectivization!


* No to Greek chauvinism! For full equality for national minorities and immigrants (citizenship rights, equal pay, equal recognition of their language in offices and schools, etc.)!


* For a workers' government based on councils and militias! Such workers’ government would immediately break with the imperialist EU and the euro-zone and instead promote the building of socialism in Greece and the international spreading of the revolution in the Balkans and throughout Europe. For a socialist federation of the Balkans! For the United Socialist States of Europe!


Today, when the masses still have illusions in SYRIZA and KKE, the struggle for such an action program must to be combined with a critical electoral support for these parties and the demand that they (and the right-reformist DIMAR) form or support the formation of such a government.


Deputies of the workers' parties, which claim to honestly represent the interests of working people, should grant a SYRIZA-led government no political support. This would be an illusionary, bourgeois workers’ government and no real workers’ government! If SYRIZA forms such a bourgeois workers' government with the support of DIMAR and/or KKE, socialist deputies can support such a government only against attempts of the right-wing parties to bring it down. They can vote only for concrete bills which serve the interests of the working class. However, they may not grant general, political support for such a SYRIZA-led government or they should not vote for the budget, which by its nature serves the maintenance of the capitalist order.


Various opportunists (like the Mandelite Fourth International, the IMT, the LFI and others) criticize revolutionary-minded activists in Greece for not forming a "leftist government" with SYRIZA or even for not withdrawing their candidacy in the elections at 17th June in favor of supporting SYRIZA. This criticism is directed mainly against the radical left alliance ANTARSYA which got in the elections on 6th May 1.2% of the vote.


The RCIT rejects such an opportunistic criticism. Our criticism of ANTARSYA is that it does not put forward a revolutionary action program and carry this into the masses. Whether ANTARSYA competes independently in the elections or limits itself to one, two constituencies and otherwise calls for a critical electoral support for SYRIZA and KKE, is a tactical question. It is quite possible that the second option would be advisable at this election given the mass illusions particularly in SYRIZA. It is important that the organizations in ANTARSYA use the revolutionary tactics of the united front towards the two major parties, direct demands to them, attempt to work together with their rank & file and support critically a "leftist government" against the right-wing forces.




International solidarity!




In case of an electoral victory of SYRIZA, the European monopoly capitalists, their governments and their media will unleash an even worse smear campaign against "the lazy Greeks". The international workers movement must hurry to help their brothers and sisters in Greece. The unions and the social democratic, Stalinist etc. workers' parties of Europe have to organize immediately a campaign for the total cancellation of all debts of Greece. Down with the governments and the EU Commission which try to blackmail the Greece!


Instead, we need a Europe-wide campaign which includes pan-European general strikes against all the austerity packages and for the cancellation of all debt in Europe!




Revolutionary Party




The key to a revolutionary solution of the current crisis is the timely formation of a revolutionary party. Only if such a party exists, can the working class be won for a program of the socialist seizure of power and then the door to liberation can be pushed open. The first step in this direction is the creation of a revolutionary pre-party organization to develop such a program and to unite activists on this basis. The RCIT will do it´s best to support the Greek revolutionaries in achieving this goal.






We refer our readers to our pamphlet "Perspectives on the Greek Revolution" (see also and on our analysis of the elections on May 6, "After SYRIZA’s victory in the Greek elections: The question of a Workers Government and the revolutionary way forward" (see also





After SYRIZA’s victory in the Greek elections: The question of a Workers Government and the revolutionary way forward

By Michael Pröbsting  


The Greek elections ended in a tremendous defeat for those bourgeois parties which ruled the country since more than three decades and which implemented in the last years the draconic austerity packages, which impoverishes the workers and peasants.

The vote for the bourgeois-populist party PASOK (which belongs to the social democratic Second International) collapsed from 44% in 2009 to 13,2%. The conservative Nea Dimokratia (ND) also declined dramatically from 33.5% to 19% of the votes. The extreme right-wing LAOS party, which joined the PASOK-ND coalition last autumn, did not even manage to enter the parliament again.

At the same time the reformist and centrist parties to the left of PASOK won together more than 2,1 million votes or a 1/3 of the total. In particular the left-reformist alliance SYRIZA saw a dramatic rise from 4,5% to 16.6%. While the new reformist DIMAR party got 6.1%, the traditional bourgeois workers party in Greece – the Stalinist KKE – saw only a slight increase of their votes (from 7.5% to 8.5%). Antarsya – an alliance of several centrist organizations – was able to triple its vote from 25.000 to 75.000 which represents about 1.2%.

Finally right-wing forces which pretend to oppose the Euro-dictate for austerity were also successful at the elections. The “Independent Greeks” – a split from ND – received 10.6% of the votes and fascist Golden Dawn party got nearly 7% of the votes and entered the parliament for the first time.


Pre-revolutionary dynamic


The vote reflects first and foremost the deep pre-revolutionary dynamic of the political situation in Greece which we in the RCIT have analysed in our extended thesis on the Greek Revolution (Perspectives in the Greek Revolution. The Greek tragedy is the tragedy of the lack of a revolutionary leadership of the workers movement For Workers’ Councils, Workers’ Militias and a Workers’ Government!, 10.11.2011; in: Revolutionary Communism No. 2 (English-language journal of the RCIT), p. 8-15, The ruling class – under pressure of the imperialist Euro-governments – has imposed one austerity package after the other against the open opposition of the popular masses. As a result the two traditional main bourgeois parties who received 70-90% of the votes for decades couldn’t manage to get even 1/3 of the votes today.

Despite all distortions the elections have shown very clearly that bourgeois democracy is a dictatorship of the capitalist class. According to opinion polls 80% of the population oppose the Euro-zone loan agreements and the austerity packages. The working class has fought against these austerity packages with a number of general strikes, enterprise occupations, mass demonstrations etc. Nevertheless the government executed the will of the small elite of foreign and Greek monopoly capitalists.

The general dynamic of the pre-revolutionary dynamic in Greece is the following. The economic and political crisis of the capitalist system is advancing rapidly. The masses are moving to the left and look for radical solutions. They are desperate and they want a radical change now. Some backward sectors are looking to the fascists for a solution. The class contradictions are sharpening enormously and it is doubtful if bourgeois-democratic parliamentarism can contain them for much longer. Sooner or later the bourgeoisie might look for bonapartist solutions (a strong, authoritarian regime, possibly by a military coup) or even for strengthening the fascists. If the official leadership of the workers movement fails and no alternative revolutionary party is formed to remove the reformist obstacles, the working class might become demoralized, the fascists will grow and a sharp political strike against the working class will become very likely.


Why did SYRIZA win and the KKE stagnate?


The most important factor in the rise of the reformist parties on the left of PASOK is the massive increase of SYRIZA while at the same time the Stalinist KKE more or less stagnated. This is particularly clear when one looks at the votes in the traditional working class centres of the country Athens, Piraeus and Thessaloniki. In all of the six electoral districts of these three areas the KKE even lost votes and in five of them even got a lower share of the votes than it did at the elections in 2009. ({%22cls%22:%22party%22,%22params%22:{%22id%22:3}})

SYRIZA on the other hand became the strongest party in five of these six districts. In Athens and Piraeus it got between 19% and nearly 24% of the votes.

How can this difference in working class support between SYRIZA and KKE be explained? The main reason can certainly not be found in the organizational strength of SYRIZA. It was a small party until now with less than 5% at elections before and which hardly control any significant trade unions. It even suffered a split in 2010 when DIMAR left it. KKE on the other hand possess a huge apparatus and a long tradition of leading popular struggles. It heads important and militant trade unions like the dockers or the building workers. Its trade union federation PAME had more than 1/5 of the delegates at the last congress of the union federation GSEE in March 2010.

However, exactly because it is a powerful reformist party, many workers had big hopes in it. But the KKE leadership completely failed in the mass struggles of the last years. When the youth rose up at the end of 2008 – after the murder of 15-year-old student Alexandros Grigoropoulos by two police officers – the KKE leadership denounced them. While tens of thousands of youths were fighting in the streets against the police, the KKE General Secretary Papariga slandered the militants as "hooligans" and "hoodies" led by “foreign intelligence". (This is similar to the reaction of many British centrist organisations which denounced the August Uprising of the poor, youth and migrants in summer 2011.) When the workers occupied enterprises or took part in one or two day general strikes, it was incapable to offer a perspective. When the spontaneous mass movement Kinima Aganaktisménon Politón (KAP –Indignant Citizens' Movement) with hundreds of thousands people occupied central squares in Athens and Thessaloniki for weeks in summer 2011, it refused any support and denounced the movements as “apolitical”. When the parliament adopted a brutal austerity package and the masses marched to the parliament in protest on 20th October 2011, the KKE stewards acted as a police force, guarded the parliament against militant sectors who tried to interrupt the parliament session and beat up a number of the militants.

It is no surprise that a significant sector of the militant working class is looking for a political alternative to the KKE. It hopes to find them in SYRIZA.

Unfortunately these hopes are completely unfounded. Like the KKE and DIMAR, SYRIZA is a reformist, bourgeois workers party. This means that they are parties dominated by a petty-bourgeois labour bureaucracy which is tied via various posts and privileges with the capitalist state and hence is incapable to fight consistently for the working class interests. At the same time it has organic links with sectors of the working class which are their main social class base. In the case of SYRIZA the core of the party’s bureaucracy comes from Synaspismos – a split from the KKE in 1991. This reformist party supported for many years extremely chauvinistic propaganda towards Macedonia and mobilized together with the Conservatives, PASOK and the church for joint demonstrations under the slogan “Macedonia is Greek”.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras wants to keep Greece in the Euro-Zone which reflects the party’s desire to keep relations with European imperialism. He does not call for the complete cancellation of the debts but rather demands the establishment of a committee to review how much of the debt should be paid and how much should be canceled. During the political crisis in autumn 2011 Tsipras called for the defense of the constitution and to “preserve social cohesion and national integrity”.

Tsipras raises now the idea of a “government of the left”. According to the English edition of the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini, he laid out the five points that he will negotiate with other party leaders:

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.

* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers' rights, such as the abolition of collective labor agreements.

* The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.

* An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.

* The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece's public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.“ (Tsipras lays out five points of coalition talks,

These proposals reflect the deep hatred amongst the working masses but they leave the decisive questions unanswered. Will the draconic social cuts and mass sackings of the last two years be reversed or not? What does the “general overhaul of the political system” mean concretely since every bourgeois populist demands the same? “Investigation into Greek banks” is fine but how is it possible to stop them to continue the transfer of their capital abroad if one does not immediately nationalize them under workers control? “Setting up of an international auditing committee” – who will set it up? The European governments?

Unfortunately this illusionary left-reformist program is also supported by left-wing intellectuals like the editor of the Greek journal Marxist Thought, Christos Kefalis: “This means that while the European left is still on the defensive, the attempt to implement the “compromising” program of SYRIZA and reach an agreement with the EU should be made.(Christos Kefalis: The Greek Elections and Political Prospects in Greece, 10.5.2012,

SYRIZA has no intention and certainly doesn’t offer any proposal to break the control of the country by the foreign and Greek banks and corporations. Neither does it propose anything to break up the police and army which ranks are the home of many fascists and where a coup d’état is already discussed in bourgeois circles as an option.

Unfortunately, a number of centrist organisations share or semi-share the illusions in a “government of the left”, which the SYRIZA-leadership is spreading. The comrades from DEA (Internationalist Workers Left, a split from SEK/IST in 2001) who helped to found SYRIZA in 2004) praise the policy of the SYRIZA leadership instead of characterizing it as reformist: “SYRIZA was rewarded for its radical left-wing politics.” (Internationalist Workers Left (DEA): A political earthquake in Greece, May 9, 2012,

But in reality the kind of “left government” which Tsipras is calling for would be either a popular front government (if it includes PASOK or any other open bourgeois forces) or a bourgeois workers government. Such a government would be a coalition of bourgeois workers parties (like SYRIZA, KKE or DIMAR) which are dependent and connected with the capitalist state. In any case it would be a government not serving the workers and peasants but betraying it in the interest of the bourgeoisie.

In that sense the KKE leadership is certainly correct if it denounces SYRIZA as “a new social democracy” (KKE: On the results of the elections of the 6th of May 2012, However the KKE leadership “forgets” that it itself is a Stalinist version of the “old social democracy”. This is like two thieves denouncing each other as “criminal”

To the workers and youth militants of SYRIZA we from the RCIT say: The defense of the working class against the draconic attacks by the capitalists and the liberation of the country from the debt trap can not be achieved by negotiations with the EU-bosses. What is a necessary is a workers government which is under the control of the workers and popular masses and which overthrows the ruling class!


The question of a Workers Government


We in the RCIT have pointed out in our Thesis on Greece that the main question in the present phase is the question of power:

A revolutionary program for the crisis in Greece must first of all explain the character of the current crisis and draw the correct conclusions. This crisis cannot be overcome by reforms and governmental coalitions within the framework of capitalism. The working class and the popular masses will experience a social massacre, a social and historical defeat, if the ruling capitalist class – regardless of whether ND, PASOK, KKE or SYRIZA administer their businesses – is not overthrown in time. The most important element of the current situation is therefore the question of power. Which class rules - the working class or the capitalist class?

Building a socialist society cannot be achieved peacefully or by parliamentary majority vote. This is a daydream entertained by the SYRIZA, KKE or the centrist CWI and IMT leaderships. History has shown that building socialism requires a socialist revolution, the smashing of the power of the capitalist class and the creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Since the ruling class will defend its power by any means, a revolution is impossible without a civil war. For this the working class must be prepared.

However the central problem at the moment is that the tempo of capitalist crisis and working class radicalization is much faster than the tempo of the formation of a revolutionary working class party which is fit for the tasks of the day.

Such a revolutionary workers party can not be build by propaganda and education alone nor by practical participation in the class struggle only. Both of this is indispensable. But what is necessary too – particularly in a situation like the present one – is the bold and patient propaganda and agitation for a revolutionary programme and its application in the form of concrete tactics.

One of the important tactics is the united front tactic. Revolutionaries must take into account that the progressive sectors of the masses have illusions in the bourgeois workers parties SYRIZA, KKE and DIMAR. Hence a strategy for class struggle with the formation of action councils, mass demonstrations, occupations, strikes and indefinite general strikes must be directed not only to the broad masses of the workers but also to the mass organizations of the class (including their leaderships). The reformist and centrist parties must be actively addressed for joint actions respectively given the extreme minority status of the revolutionary forces they must seek to participate in mass struggles led by reformists and intervene in these struggles with practical initiatives, a sharp and independent propaganda profile including explaining and warning of the treacherous role of the reformist leaderships and putting demands on these leaderships. In doing this the revolutionaries must not give the impression that they themselves believe in the good intentions of the reformist leaders but that they want to help the masses to make their own experience. The goal of such a united front tactic, as the Communist International under Lenin and Trotsky did develop, is to break the influence of reformism amongst the masses and to rally them under the leadership of a Bolshevik party.

This is also true for the governmental question. The masses have hopes that these parties can bring an important change. This is not surprising since they hardly have ever been in power before. Revolutionaries must not ignore the issue who is in government since it is of huge importance for the working class. They should propose tactics which relate to the existing illusion but at the same don’t create confusion amongst the workers.

As Bolshevik-Communists we emphasize the need of a workers government. A “genuine workers’ government” – as the Communist International called it in its thesis in 1922 – must be completely independent of the bourgeoisie and its state apparatus. This is only possible if it arms the proletariat in workers militias, puts the core industry under workers’ control, base itself on workers councils (Soviets as they were called in Russia) and aims for the complete overthrow and expropriation of the bourgeoisie. The “Thesis on the Tactics of the Comintern” of the Forth Congress in 1922 described the attitude of Bolsheviks as follows:

Instead of a bourgeois-Social-Democratic coalition, whether open or disguised, Communists propose the united front of all workers and a coalition of all workers’ parties, in both the economic and political arena, to struggle against the power of the bourgeoisie and ultimately to overthrow it. Through united struggle of all workers against the bourgeoisie, the entire state apparatus can pass over into the hands of the workers’ government, thus strengthening the power of the working class.

The most basic tasks of a workers’ government must consist of arming the proletariat, disarming the bourgeois counter-revolutionary organisations, introducing [workers’] control of production, shifting the main burden of taxation to the shoulders of the rich, and breaking the resistance of the counter-revolutionary bourgeoisie.

Such a workers’ government is possible only if it is born from the struggles of the masses themselves and is supported by militant workers’ organisations created by the most oppressed layers of the working masses. Even a workers’ government that arises from a purely parliamentary combination, that is, one that is purely parliamentary in origin, can provide the occasion for a revival of the revolutionary workers’ movement.

Obviously, the birth and continued existence of a genuine workers’ government, one that pursues revolutionary policies, must result in a bitter struggle with the bourgeoisie, and possibly a civil war. Even an attempt by the proletariat to form such a workers’ government will encounter from the outset most determined resistance from the bourgeoisie. The slogan of the workers’ government thus has the potential of uniting the proletariat and unleashing revolutionary struggle. (in German: Protokoll des IV. Weltkongresses der Kommunistischen Internationale, Band II, Hamburg 1923 (Reprint Erlangen 1972, p. 1015f.; in English: John Riddell: The Comintern’s unknown decision on workers’ governments, August 14, 2011,

Based on this method of the Comintern, the RCIT believes that revolutionaries in Greece should advocate a workers government based on workers councils and militias. This call is also directed to all workers organisations, i.e. also to the bourgeois workers parties and the trade unions GSEE, ADEDY, PAME, KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya.


Peaceful creation of a workers government?


Such a workers government would not be a step towards a gradual transformation. Albeit the exact tempo can't be determined in advance, such a workers government would be a mortal danger for the ruling class and hence it would be related with the most bitter struggle and civil war. We think that it is a mistake if organizations which understand themselves as Marxists present the creation of such a workers government as the outcome of a general strike. Kokkino/CWI or Marxistiki Foni/IMT are examples for this. Unfortunately the League for the Fifth International has also adopted this idea recently:

To implement such measures, however, would need a workers' government. This could only be brought about by a mass general strike to bring down the government and would need to be based on the councils and self-defence organs.” (Martin Suchanek: Greece: The General Election and the Greek Revolution: For a Government of the Workers' Parties!, LFI, 25.4.2012

We argued in our thesis on Greece about against such an idea:

They propose a prolonged or even indefinite general strike to overthrow the government and the formation of a workers' government. Their rejection of the reformist electoral orientation is correct but their concept of the struggle for a workers' government is wrong and naive. It is a characteristic of centrism that it presents the seizure of power in a (pre-) revolutionary situation as a relatively peaceful transition, without rupture, in other words, in an opportunistic, non-revolutionary way. The indefinite general strike is seen as a weeks-long strike which forces the government to resign and then a workers government based on trade unions, leftist parties, action committee etc. delegates, emerges. In a (pre-) revolutionary situation this is a completely unrealistic view of the proletarian seizure of power. Moreover, it is a dangerous opportunistic illusion which is spread by centrism in the ranks of workers vanguard.

Given the talk of a military coup and the rise of the fascists we think it is necessary for a vanguard organization to warn the proletariat of the unavoidable clashes with the class enemy and to propagate the necessary conclusions, i.e. to call the workers organizations to build armed militias. Suggesting that the working class can create its government by a general strike only is highly problematic.


On the Sectarianism of the KKE and its bourgeois-patriotic Popular-Frontism behind it


The KKE is well known amongst sectors of the working class for a sectarian attitude. They refuse to have joint demonstrations and often they refuse to organize joint strike actions with other trade unions. As mentioned above they also failed to solidarise with the youth mass uprising in December 2008 or the square occupation movement KPA in 2011.

Many progressive organizations correctly criticize the KKE for this. However there is a strong tendency amongst centrist forces to focus their criticism of the KKE on this sectarian attitude. This is related with a failure to see the reason for this sectarianism. The sectarian policy of the KKE leadership is not caused in their unwillingness to collaborate with others. Their history is full of episodes of collaboration even with openly bourgeois forces. In 1944 it formed a coalition government with the bourgeois and monarchist forces to disarm the partisans and install a capitalist regime during the revolutionary crisis of 1944-45. Also in 1990-91, the KKE participated in a coalition government with PASOK and ND. Neither is their sectarianism rooted in a failure to understand the need for a united front. Bureaucrats are not directed by ideas and understanding but by a pragmatic policy which serves its interests.

As we have said the KKE is a bourgeois workers party. It has repeatedly acted respectively offered to act as a savior of Greek capitalism. However to understand the specific variation of the KKE reformism it is necessary to put in mind the specific character of Greek capitalism. In opposite to most Western European countries Greece is not an imperialist but a semi-colonial capitalism. We will not go into more detail here since we have dealt with this question in the chapter “The class character of Greece” in our thesis on the Greek Revolution. We just want to remark here that this fact is not understood by a number of centrists who either ignore largely the question of Greece’s class character or – like the SWP/IST of Alex Callinicos – who wrongly consider Greece as a “sub-imperialist” country.

However from this semi-colonial character of Greece derives the fact which often can be observed in semi-colonial countries that a sector of the reformist labour bureaucracy attempts to form a strategic alliance with the petty-bourgeoisie and with sectors of the “national” bourgeoisie in order to create an “independent” national capitalism. This is the true meaning of the “anti-monopoly anti-imperialist orientation of struggle” which plays a central role in the KKE policy. True, the KKE leadership sometimes speaks in resolutions about the need to combine the “anti-monopolist, anti-imperialist struggle with the struggle for socialism”. But its focus on the patriotic slogans unmasks the true, bourgeois-nationalist character of their perspective. The KKE leadership hopes to win over the petty-bourgeoisie, middle classes and sectors of the “national” bourgeoisie for the project of an “independent” capitalist Greece (with a strong state-capitalist sector in finance and industry). This is why we charactersie the KKE programme of bourgeois-patriotic Popular-Frontism.

To justify this orientation they spread the illusion that Greece could be an independent nation because the country "has conditions to create a self-supporting developing national economy." (Aleka Papariga, 5.7.2010) As we wrote in our Thesis “such a nation existing in isolation is not possible”.

This is why the KKE leadership focuses its agitation on the withdrawal of Greece from the EU and the euro currency and the restoration of "independence" for Greece and the drachma currency: “Consequently, there is one solution: Disengagement from the EU and unilateral cancellation of the debt, This is the solution, anything else will constitute a tragedy for the workers.” (KKE: 1st Day of the 48hr Strike: Strike struggle with the occupation of the Ministry of Labour. Down with the government and the plutocracy, disengagement from the EU with people’s power, 10.2.2012,

But in reality, the solution of the Greek crisis can only be international in character. A capitalist Greece outside the EU will face at least as tough austerity measures as those imposed by the present government. The only solution is the expropriation of the bourgeoisie, the smashing of the capitalist state and the creation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the spreading of such a socialist revolution in Europe and beyond.

Of course this patriotic orientation is added by specific historic and ideological reasons. The KKE central role in the antifascist national liberation struggle during the Second World War and the enormous patriotism with which it covered this struggle still has an enormous influence on the party and its public profile.

For these reasons the KKE’s bourgeois-patriotic Popular-Frontism is driven by their perspective not to build a reformist government in a Greece as part of the European Union and the Euro-Zone. Therefore they reject any participation in a bourgeois government under the present circumstances. They hope that a collapse of EU debt-regime might force the Greek bourgeoisie and/or the European monopolies to a withdrawal of Greece from the EU/Euro and a return to the Drachma. Under such circumstances the KKE will be very willing to collaborate with whomever – including various bourgeois nationalist forces. In this context one just should remember the collaboration of the KKE with the monarchists in World War II and the reactionary alliances of Stalinist and right-wing chauvinists in Russia and other Eastern European countries in the 1990s.

For these reasons the KKE leadership has an interest in the failure of any SYRIZA-led government which want to keep Greece in the Euro-Zone.

Workers and youth activists in the KKE: Break with the poisoning combination of sectarian refusal of joint struggle with other workers organisations! Break with the nationalism and orientation towards a popular front!


Some comments on ANTARSYA’s programme


Certainly one of the most interesting phenomena is ANTARSYA – the “Anticapitalist Left Cooperation for the Overthrow”. It is an alliance of a number of centrist organizations including OKDE Spartakos (affiliated to the Mandelite Fourth International), the New Left Current (NAR, split from the KKE youth organisation, SEK (affiliated to the SWP/IST) and the EKKE. In its pre-election statement it raised a number of important demands which undoubtedly are part of revolutionary transitional programme in Greece today:

Whatever the parrots of the troika may tell us, the “haircut” (debt cut), carried out by the “black front” means the rescue of the bankers and social disaster for the population. The measures of the Memorandum No. 2 amount to a war of extermination against the majority of the working class. The EU is imposing a devastating austerity program throughout Europe. The bankers are compensated with 50 billion while social security funds and other public bodies are being robbed!

Despite all the propaganda we say that there certainly is a different way!

- Immediate termination of the loan agreement, of any memoranda and the related measures.

- Non-recognition of the debt, debt cancellation and suspension of payments.

- Break with the system and decoupling from the euro and the EU.

- Nationalization of the banks and corporations without compensation under workers’ control.

- Immediate increase in wages and pensions! Cancellation of the poll tax and increased taxation of capital.

- Prohibition of dismissals and full protection of the unemployed. Shortening of working hours and reduction of the retirement age.

- Expropriation of hundreds of closed factories and re-commissioning by the employees themselves – Cheap and good quality food by the employees of agricultural cooperatives, the poor and middle farmers without middlemen and large producers.

Rise of the entire working population -Anti-capitalist revolution! Power and wealth belong in the hands of the workers! That is the only way we can avoid the bankruptcy of society. Our way leads to a break with capitalism – by the overthrow of the current authoritarian political system and its replacement by a democracy and the power of the workers, by the widest control to be exercised by the workers and the people. If the united front of workers, intellectuals and creative people take over leadership, we can live in dignity, use the social productive forces collectively and break with the logic of profit, the market, the “competitiveness” and environmental degradation.

We are strong enough to overthrow them! We have demonstrated our strength during the great general strikes, the occupation of the ministries, the unique lessons in democracy and struggles during the square occupancies. We can see it every day in the small and large conflicts, in the heroic struggles of Chalivourgia (steel industry), in the movements of civil disobedience “I do not pay.” This is shown by the many forms of organization and coordination of struggles at the rank and file, outside of and against the institutionalized trade unionism of GSEE and ADEDY, by developing new forms of solidarity, self-organization and self-determination. The popular uprising, the continued popular and labor war that is increasing its strength will lead to victory! (…) What is needed is the mobilization and organization of goals and demands, put today on the agenda by reality itself (cancellation of debt, leaving the euro zone and the EU, nationalization and workers’ control). This can be achieved by a united front of the break with the system and the revolution, the escalation of the workers’ and popular uprising with strikes, occupations, demonstrations and by the organization and coordination of struggles at the rank and file on the basis of an anti-capitalist program.” (ANTARSYA: Statement on the parliamentary elections to be held on May 6 in Greece,

As excellent as these demands and the call for revolution are, there are several major problems with it which makes it a centrist and not a revolutionary programme. First it lacks the centrality of the formation of workers and popular council. More concretely workers and popular councils as a united front of all who want to resists without any programmatic preconditions. The formulation “on the basis of an anti-capitalist programme” is highly misleading and opens the road to a sectarian mini-united front of the radical left with itself but not of the masses including those with a reformist consciousness. Let us not forget that the soviets in Russia were initially formed by workers and soldiers in 1917 who supported the defense of the imperialist fatherland in the World War I and in which the anti-revolutionary parties had a huge majority.

Secondly the uprising is presented as a rather spontaneous process. One struggle leads to a bigger struggle leads to a general strike leads to an uprising. But the revolution will never win in this way. It can only win as the organized armed insurrection led by a strong revolutionary working class party with an organized mass support in soviets or organs similar to soviets.

Thirdly and related to the first two points it lacks any call for a workers and popular militia. How should the rising fascists be beaten, how should the brutal police be fought against and how should a military coup opposed without such a workers militia? By this we do not mean the security groups which a number of left-wing groups have already. We rather mean a mass workers militia as a united front. Only such a mass militia is strong enough to smash the enemy.

And fourthly it lacks any serious orientation towards a united front. Calling for a “united front of the break with the system and the revolution, (…) the organization and coordination of struggles at the rank and file on the basis of an anti-capitalist program” is nothing but a united front with itself. In other words it is no united front. But the masses which rally today behind SYRIZA, KKE or DIMAR will not spontaneously break away and join ANTARSYA. But this is the decisive question since ANTARSYA – despite tripling its votes – is still a small formation. In other words the comrades should systematically call the reformist parties for joint actions or seek to participate in mass struggles led by them. They should direct demands on their leaderships and combine this with a sharp propaganda against the treacherous character of the reformist leaderships.

To the comrades from ANTARSYA we in the RCIT say: break with the inadequate, centrist programme and build a revolutionary party! Focus your energy and devotion to the formation of a working class liberation party whose programme and tactic are adequate for the present challenges!


Is it sectarian not to join a bourgeois workers government?


As we have explained before it is vital for revolutionaries in Greece to make propaganda for a workers government based on workers councils and armed militias. But what does this mean for today in May 2012? Today neither workers councils nor militias exist. What does this mean for the question of government? Should communists not care about this and wait for the masses to erect their organs? No, we in the RCIT are of the opinion that the class struggle today goes on, the illusions of the masses exist, and hence communists must apply their tactics to this situation. They must be applied in order to enhance the mass struggle and the self-organisation of the masses and by this to prepare the conditions for the creation of workers councils and armed militias.

Concerning the governmental question one has to say this: The bourgeois workers parties are prepared to become governmental parties in the capitalist system. SYRIZA has already expressed this many times. The KKE has already done this in the past. In fact its project – approved by its last congress – of the creation of a “people’s government” is a camouflage for this. (KKE: Political Resolution of the 18th Congress of KKE, February 2009,

However the KKE uses radical rhetoric to cover its bourgeois-patriotic popular frontism. In a recent press conference Aleka Papariga, General Secretary of the KKE, emphasized that the real power is not in parliament and hence one should not have illusion about elections.

I am telling you that even the most pro-workers and pro-people government cannot do anything if it is not based on the uprising and the organization of the people. Because the enemy is not only within the Parliament, the enemy is mainly the business groups, the bourgeois class etc. And you know that the business groups do not ask for the vote of the people, they do not run in the elections no matter if some participate in the parties. Of course it is the parties, ND and PASOK in particular, which ask for the vote of the people on behalf of them. However voting against ND and PASOK does mean voting against the class they represent.” (Aleka Papariga: The “left” government is dangerous for the people,

Of course this did not stop them to campaign since a long time for the slogan “Election Now!” Rhetoric is good but parliamentary seats are better.

However today the KKE refuses any support for a SYRIZA-led government. By this make it makes it easy for Tsipras to put the responsibility for the failure of a “left government” on the shoulders of the KKE and reliefs the SYRIZA leadership from the burden to prove in practices if they could lead Greece out of the crisis. (i.e. to unmask themselves as left-reformist traitors)

Similarly ANTARSYA does not call the reformist parties to form any kind of workers government.

This has caused a number of left-wing people to criticize them. Indeed as we have explained above for different reasons both KKE and ANTARSYA lack a correct understanding of the Marxist united front tactic. However the understanding of this tactic by their critic is often not much better. Why? Because for them the united front tactic is basically fighting together for this or that demand or forming a joint government. The limitation of the united front for specific demands, the focus on the rank and file organizations, the need to denounce the reformist leaderships and the goal to break the workers away from them to win them for the revolutionary party – all this is a book of seven seals for most of the centrists.

Revolutionaries must apply the united front tactic on the governmental question under the present circumstances as they are. This means today a situation where the reformist left rallies masses of workers behind them, where workers councils and militias don’t exist at the moment and where the masses are looking desperately for a way out.

Last year when the reformists where all in opposition, criticized sharply the PASOK/ND coalition government, called for a “left” or “popular” government and the masses wanted to bring down the government – under these conditions it was important to call them to transform their words into deeds. In our Theses on Greece we therefor wrote:

No demand for new elections, but for the overthrow of the government by an indefinite general strike and an armed uprising! For the formation of a workers government based on Workers' Councils and militias! As a first step: demand that the dominant labour organizations today – GSEE, ADEDY, PAME, KKE, SYRIZA, DIMAR and Antarsya – form a workers' government based on the mobilization of the masses! Down with the PASOK/ND-conspiracy against the people! The power lies not in parliament, but on the street! A real workers' government is based on the organs of workers’ power (Councils, Militias, etc.), and must expropriate the bourgeoisie and smash the state apparatus.

Today, after the electoral victory of SYRIZA and the refusal of KKE to join a government one has to adapt the revolutionary united front tactic. Under the present conditions revolutionaries should demand from SYRIZA and DIMAR who are willing to form a government to do so. Revolutionaries should call the rank and file to organize to force such a government to implement the demands like cancellation of the debt, reversal of all past social cuts etc. To counter the pressure of the bourgeoisie revolutionaries should call the government to base itself on mass mobilization. Of course revolutionaries should warn the masses that the reformists can not and will not implement the demands of the masses and that they will be frightened to seriously confront the bourgeoisie. They should explain the need to break with these parties to create a revolutionary mass party.

Such a “left government” would be a bourgeois workers government or – as the Communist International called it in 1922 – an “illusory workers’ governments”. As the Comintern explained, “communists are also ready, under certain conditions and with certain guarantees, to support a workers’ government that is not purely Communist, indeed, even a merely illusory workers’ government – of course, only to the degree that it defends the workers’ interests.” (in German: Protokoll des IV. Weltkongresses der Kommunistischen Internationale, Band II, Hamburg 1923 (Reprint Erlangen 1972, p. 1017.; in English: John Riddell: The Comintern’s unknown decision on workers’ governments, August 14, 2011, As the Bolshevik party showed in 1917 such a government can and should be defended against the open bourgeois forces. Why? Because it still has the support of the majority of the class-conscious workers. But at the same time revolutionaries must sharply criticise such a bourgeois workers government and they must not join it. They must rather prepare its future overthrow.

Revolutionaries should demand from the KKE who refuses to join a SYRIZA-led government not to join but to give critical support to it. This means that it deputies should vote in parliament for bills which are reforms in the interest of the masses and they should defend the SYRIZA-led government against attempts of the open bourgeois forces to overthrow it.

A number of centrists adapted to the illusions what a “government of the left” could achieve. DEA, which is part of SYRIZA since its beginning in 2004, for example paints a rosy picture what a government of the left could achieve:

Only through a government of the left can the Memorandum can be overthrown in a manner that is in the interests of workers. Such a government would cancel the Memorandum and the loan deals as the first step toward a program with completely different priorities. The central concerns of such a program must be wages, pensions, public education, public health and support for the unemployed. To find the financial means for such policies, this government would stop paying off the loan sharks, whether Greek or international; it would nationalize the banking system; and it would impose heavy taxation on corporate profits and the rich.” (Internationalist Workers Left (DEA): A political earthquake in Greece, May 9, 2012,

The comrades don’t say a single word about the left-reformist character of SYRIZA, about the inevitable clash with the bourgeoisie in such a scenario, about the incapability of a SYRIZA-led government as a bourgeois workers government to break with the bourgeoisie, about the need for a genuine workers government based on workers councils and militias as an instrument to really break the control of the bourgeoisie over the society etc.

Unfortunately the chorus of the opportunists who apply the united front tactic in an opportunist way has been recently joined by the former revolutionary League for the Fifth International. (for a more detailed critique of this organisation look at our website In recent articles on Greece they added to a number of correct observations and programmatic demands a thoroughly opportunist position on the governmental question. They criticize the KKE and ANTARSYA for their unwillingness to join a SYRIZA-led government.

Before the election the LFI leadership wrote: “Being afraid of the danger of opportunism, not only the KKE, but also Antarsya (including the SWP-sister organisation and OKDE-Spartacos) have ruled out any participation in government and have not developed any tactics towards the left parties – even if they had a majority in government. It warns against illusions in a “left government”. (…) It is absolutely correct of Antarsya, despite its many other weaknesses and faults, to call on the workers' organisations to join in struggle, to campaign for a united front against the current and coming attacks. However, it is wrong and, indeed, self-defeating, not to address the very real possibility of the left gaining a majority in parliament or being able to form a minority government. If the united front with reformists, with opportunists, is permissible in the struggle against cuts and against the government, why should it be impermissible with regard to the governmental question?” (Martin Suchanek:Greece: The General Election and the Greek Revolution: For a Government of the Workers' Parties!, LFI, 25.4.2012

This idea was repeated also after the election: “In such conditions, the KKE’s policy, refusing to form a coalition with the other left parties on the grounds that it would be a bourgeois government, is a massive obstacle to keeping out the pro-austerity right and centre right parties. This is like a crude copy of the German Communist Party’s “third period” policy in Germany in 1929-33, obstructing a united front against the Nazis with the reformist SPD and its huge trade unions because they were reformist and pro-capitalist.” (Dave Stockton: Greek elections: A rout for the parties of austerity; an opportunity for the Left, LFI, 8.5.2012,

This is by all standards an opportunist application of the united front tactic. While Trotsky criticized the Stalinists in 1929-33 for not applying the united front tactic including critical support in an election for a parliamentary post, he did NOT criticize them for not forming a joint government with the social democrats! Discussing the question of a social democratic government he wrote in 1932:

The Communist Party must say to the working class: Schleicher is not to be overthrown by any parliamentary game. If the Social Democracy wants to set to work to overthrow the Bonapartist government with other means, the Communist Party is ready to aid the Social Democracy with all its strength. At the same time, the Communists obligate themselves in advance to use no violent methods against a Social Democratic government insofar as the latter bases itself upon the majority of the working class and insofar as it guarantees the Communist Party the freedom of agitation and organization. Such a way of putting the question will be comprehensible to every Social Democratic and nonparty worker. (Leo Trotzki: Der einzige Weg (1932), in: Leo Trotzki: Schriften über Deutschland, Frankfurt a.M. 1971, S. 403; in English: Leon Trotsky: Germany: The Only Road,

Joining a bourgeois workers government is impermissible for revolutionaries. If a reformist workers party like the KKE or centrist forces like ANTARSYA criticize a SYRIZA-led government with left-wing arguments they also reflect a, albeit confused but to a certain degree correct, mistrust of the class-conscious workers in a capitalist government. Revolutionaries should not criticise these parties as “sectarian” for not joining a bourgeois workers government. They should criticise it for not giving it critical support against the open bourgeois forces.


Trotsky’s approach to the bourgeois workers government


Trotsky expressed the revolutionary approach on the question of a bourgeois workers government very well in the Transitional Program of the Fourth International:

From April to September 1917, the Bolsheviks demanded that the S.R.s and Mensheviks break with the liberal bourgeoisie and take power into their own hands. Under this provision the Bolshevik Party promised the Mensheviks an the S.R.s, as the petty bourgeois representatives of the worker and peasants, its revolutionary aid against the bourgeoisie categorically refusing, however, either to enter into the government of the Mensheviks and S.R.s or to carry political responsibility for it. (in German: Leo Trotzki: Der Todeskampf des Kapitalismus und die Aufgaben der IV. Internationale (1938), S. 26; in English: Leon Trotsky: The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International: The Mobilization of the Masses around Transitional Demands to Prepare the Conquest of Power,

The LFI’s leadership criticism of KKE and ANTARSYA is unfortunately a criticism from the right, not from the left. Its call for a “left government” is an opportunist application of the opportunist tactic of “left unity” which has become recently a major feature in the LFI’s policy. It sees “the inability of the revolutionary left organisations to transcend their fragmentation” as the major factor for the crisis of leadership. (Workers Power: Draft Proposal for Political Basis for the Anticapitalist Initiative, 21.4.2012, In the same spirit it sees the failure of “the left” to form a joint government as a major obstacle in the class struggle.

In fact the most important obstacle for the class struggle is the failure of the left to break with its method, programme and strategy. Hence it follows a non-revolutionary policy and can’t apply the necessary tactics.

Indeed the formation of an authentic revolutionary party and a Fifth Workers International based on a communist programme is the major task ahead of all true revolutionaries. In Greece and around the world. The RCIT will do its utmost to contribute to this task.


After the elections on 17th June: A new phase of the Greek Revolution is beginning!


By Michael Pröbsting, 19.6.2012




The latest election in Greece on 17th June has opened a new phase of the Greek Revolution. The RCIT believes that the most important tasks of the revolutionary workers and youth in Greece are now:


* The struggle against the coming ND-led austerity government must be continued on the streets, in the enterprises and in the neighborhoods! Build actions committees and self-defense units all over the country to organize the mass of workers and youth! These mass committees should elect delegates and coordinate nation-wide the resistance! For a mass united front of struggle of SYRIZA, KKE, GSEE, ADEDEY and all progressive activists and organizations!


* For strikes and occupations to fight back! Prepare for an indefinite General Strike! Prepare for a revolutionary insurrection to bring down the government and form a workers government, i.e. a government based on mass action councils and armed militias of the working class!


* For a militant mass campaign to drive the XA fascists from the streets!


* Employ a systematic united front campaign to fight together with the rank and file supporters of SYRIZA and KKE to force their leadership to initiate and support with all their resources mass struggles against the coming ND-led austerity government! Force the leadership of SYRIZA and KKE to throw their weight behind the building of actions committees and self-defense units!


* The leaderships both of SYRIZA and the KKE do not want to lead a serious mass struggle to bring down the austerity government. They want to wait for the next elections or for a governmental crisis where they can step in as a new government to save capitalism from complete collapse. Therefore the most important task is to build a new revolutionary party of the working class!




What do the election results show in the camp of the bourgeoisie?




The main result of the election is a consolidation of leading forces both in the camp of the ruling class and of the working class. The right-wing conservative Nea Dimokratia(ND) while still weakened compared to “the good old times