The tactic of the opportunists is to reintroduce the superseded and mistaken strategy of stages, indeed positing as a first stage the exit from the crisis in the path of capitalist development and the incorporation into the EU and NATO. The program that is promoted by them defends a capitalism that will not be too unjust, a capitalism without decay and parasitism, a "more humane" capitalism that will resolve international conflicts, that is to say intra-imperialist competition, through political negotiation and peaceful means!
The detachment of politics from the economy is a provocative aspect of the positions of opportunists. They argue that the bourgeois state can become a social state for all the people. What is also provocative is their interpretation of imperialism. To them, imperialism in Europe is simply Germany, in Latin America the USA. They reject the economic essence of imperialism, which is the export of capital, the concentration of capital in the form of capitalist stock property, and monopolies. And of course they don't see imperialism as monopoly capitalism, as the highest stage of capitalism. They mechanically transfer to contemporary circumstances the period of colonialism, arguing that Greece and all the countries in a middle and lower position in the imperialist system have turned into colonies [all these were "Left Platform" positions, primarily]. They accuse the bourgeoisie for not being patriotic enough, arguing that it is its cowardice that makes it surrender jurisdiction to decision centers like the EU Commission. They divide the bourgeoisie into a productive and a parasitic section, into healthy and immoral capitalists. Their criticism of capitalism is primarily moralistic, they don't make the slightest reference to capitalist relations of production.
They attack the KKE using fragments and phrases from Marx and Lenin, which they decontextualize from specific conditions, in order to justify the policy of stages, the minimum program, the support for reform against revolution.
They pretend not to understand that in the era of bourgeois revolutions, the first duty posited by Marx and Engels, while the working class still did not have its own party, was the distinction of the working class from the revolutionary mass of the bourgeois, the petty bourgeois and the farmers. Even in the conditions of the realization of bourgeois revolution, Marx and Engels argued that the working class must come forth to the foreground and obtain consciousness of itself.
The opportunists obscure the great Leninist legacy which posits that working-class victory, the victory of the exploited people, and even the intensification of class struggle are unthinkable without a relentless and uncompromising struggle against opportunism. They obscure the fact that the content of struggle in conditions of development for the bourgeois revolution was different than it is today, at an age of transition from capitalism to socialism under the highest stage of capitalism.
They arbitrarily use Lenin's estimation, in his well-known work Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, that only a handful, a very small number of states rob the great majority of the nations of the earth. According to this view imperialism is identified with a very small number of countries, to be counted on the fingers of one hand, while all the other countries are subject, oppressed, colonies, conquered territory.
Today too, the countries at the top, in the top ranks of the imperialist pyramid, are only a few, one might even say they are still a handful of nations. But this doesn't mean that other capitalist states are their victims, that they are subject, it doesn't mean that the line of struggle for the peoples needs to have an anti-German direction in Europe or exclusively an anti-US direction in the American continent. It's not accidental that the opportunists foreground as positive examples for coping with the crisis Brazil and Argentina, while also praising Obama's policy.
Today we have a lot more indications that government within the framework of the capitalist system, formed on the basis of the general voting right, cannot be the launching pad for a revolutionary situation, since the latter has an objective character; but neither can it force capitalists to accept losses in their profit-making for the sake of workers, at a time indeed when the capitalist system is at a phase where it is having difficulty attaining expanded capitalist reproduction in the way it had done in the past. The hope that a parliament-based government can push toward the opening up of the revolutionary process has been proven groundless and utopian, much more so at a time when we have the examples of Chile and Portugal but also the contemporary examples of Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, countries advertised by the opportunists as Socialism for the 21st Century.
It is unquestionable that Venezuela has opened a window toward the improvement of the people's lives --particularly of the most immiserated section -- through Chavez's decision to move to a nationalisation of major sectors of the petrol industry, as petrol forms a major advantage of the country. Partial nationalisation has funded some programs for health care and food to the extremely poor, with Cuba's help. The issue of course is not to satisfy the immediate demands of extreme poverty but to open the path for the people to live on the basis of the country's potential and its contemporary needs. These positive measures did not reduce the great concentration of wealth and of income to the bourgeoisie and the higher middle strata. Agrarian reform did not manage to change the life of land workers, of poor farmers against big landowners.
It is also a fact that in Bolivia, the Morales government has increased the minimal wage, daily wages and pensions. Yet the largest part of the native American population lives below the poverty line. It is in fact this social stratum that has given Morales the victory. Data shows that there is plenty of foreign investment from multinationals in Bolivia, while the government supports capital export. The increase of small and mid-size mine owners, with particularly exploited wage labor has grown, and these companies are turning into allies of the multinationals.
We have similar developments in Ecuador, where the critical factor is that multinationals have increased their ownership in sectors of strategic importance, like mining and energy sources. The strategy of the Corea government involves the development and exploitation of mineral wealth by foreign capital.
Anti-poverty programs do not eliminate poverty but sustain it, through the blunting of its very extreme aspects; the improvement of the position of the middle strata is the dimension of capitalist development that contains the seeds of inevitable crisis, of the concentration of capital and the intensification of social injustices.
Opportunists in our country, those accusing us because we don't want to support a government of bourgeois management, argue that this is the path to socialism, that this is socialism for the 21st century. This line doesn't even presuppose an anti-imperialist and anti-monopoly policy, it has nothing to do even with the policy of stages, which of course has been superseded long ago, even before the period of 1917.
The policy of robbery, of annexation, of the turning of nations into protectorates, the policy of dismantling countries, is not a result of political immorality, nor is it an issue of dependency and cowardice on the part of the bourgeoisie of a country with stronger and unequal dependencies. It is an issue of economic and political position that derives from capitalist uneven development, from the place of the country in the international capitalist market. The bourgeoisie that feels that its partners don't treat it equally knows that it can't do otherwise, because, beside everything else, its alliance with a stronger partner guarantees strong political protection in the country's interior; protection from the threat of the intensification of class struggle.
The bourgeoisie cannot defend its sovereign rights in the people's own interests, but only and exclusively for its own interests. And if it needs to ignore particular interests of its own as the price it must pay to maintain its power, to hold on to it as much as it can, it will do so.
The answer to capitalism is not the groundless return to pre-monopoly capital, to scattered capitalist businesses, but the necessity and contemporaneity of socialism, the attainment of revolutionary readiness, through daily struggle and through experience, within conditions of a revolutionary situation.
The KKE prioritizes the development of unity in the action of the working class and the formation of an alliance between it and poor, self-employed petty owners and the poor farmers. The objective interest of the working class is the abolition of all forms of ownership, of big and concentrated ownership and of middle and small ownership, since ownership means exploited wage labor, alienation of the worker from the wealth s/he produces. Because of their middle position, the self-employed have an interest in anti-monopoly struggle, but do not find it easy to commit themselves to the abolition of the exploitation of Man by Man, to the abolition of every form of individual ownership. They hope that from petty and poor business men they can become middle-rank, satellites of the monopolies, though their labor and social rights can only be guaranteed in socialist conditions. The compromise the KKE offers them is the meeting between anti-capitalist forces and anti-monopoly ones, their common action, which of course does not abolish their differences, an action in the direction of popular power and the abolition of the power of monopolies. This alliance is a social one as regards the question of which forces have to coalesce in the struggle, and a political one, in the sense that it has to have popular power as a direction of struggle -- a direction that is not identical to the KKE program, and cannot be identical to it. It is only affected by certain of its basic elements, such as the socialization of monopolies, the formation of agricultural production cooperatives, the disengagement from NATO and the EU. But these elementary aspects objectively constitute a set of compulsory choices if the country is to hope to exit the crisis in the interests of the popular majority, to allow the people to live on the basis of contemporary needs, to stop having the country used as bridge and as an ally of various imperialist centers, to stop its involvement in imperialist war and to put an end to dependencies and commitments that turn against the working people.
The seeds of this alliance are being shaped in contemporary Greece; of course, they will be developed into new forms, particularly in the grassroots, and of course we will have a reshuffling of positions that it is impossible to determine today.
Popular power is a political and a governmental solution; hence the KKE and the Movement are not restricted by a struggle of opposition, a struggle to cause damage to bourgeois governments without having an alternative proposition for power.
To the extent that the development of class struggle leads to the formation of petty bourgeois political forces that adopt a struggle in the direction of popular power, the KKE will develop both a dialogue and collaboration with them, but it will not sacrifice its autonomy by integrating itself into a unified political formation. The common action of the KKE with other political forces will express itself in the lines and the instruments of the Popular Alliance, whose ground is the workplace and the popular neighborhood, and whose forms of organization are the Union, the general meeting, the struggle committees. This is to say that the basis of alliance is in the people, in the lines of the social movement, and is addressed to everyone, independently of what they voted for politically, on the basis of their class and social stratum position. But at the level of power, there is no place for compromises, tacticisms and adventurist maneuvering. It's one thing to choose the right slogans and forms of struggle to attract and unite the working popular masses, to attain the unity of the action of the working class, and quite another thing to foreground reform as a strategic choice, marginalizing and effacing revolution in the name of a negative correlation of social forces.
Lenin, in his talk in the 7th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic and Labor Party (Bolsheviks), in April 1917, asked for and obtained the abandonment of the slogan of a "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the farmers" as a superseded slogan; there was agreement that the coming revolution would be socialist. Lenin in fact showed that the basic aspect of the "two tactics of Social Democracy" was not the institution of the power of the "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and farmers", but the shaping of the social alliance of farmers and workers.
It's obvious that in the contemporary era, the alliance policy of a CP cannot be identical to that which prevailed in a period when the revolutionary workers' movement was formed (a period to which Marx and Engels refer even before the completion of bourgeois revolutions and the formation of the Political Party of the New Type). It cannot be the same with the politics of the Bolshevik party before World War I, when feudal power had not completely been abolished in Russia. Today, we don't have a single example of an intermediate form of political power between capitalism and socialism. Power will either be in the hands of the bourgeoisie, in which case it cannot function in the interests of the people, or it will be socialist. It's one thing to consider "moments" in the development of power under revolutionary conditions, or moments in the evolution of power when a socialist revolution has not yet won, and another to speak of an intermediate stage of political power.
As in any other country, the capitalist system in Greece will not collapse on its own, because of its contradictions. The great intensification of social contradictions will lead to conditions of a revolutionary situation, to conditions where capitalist policy cannot impose itself, to conditions of a great intensification of the class struggle while, through daily struggles, a strong workers' movement, in a alliance with exploited popular strata, will mature and grow. In conditions of a revolutionary situation it will be time to determine, through the right choice of slogans and of forms of struggle, the will, the determination of the people to break and abolish the chains of class exploitation, of oppression, of involvement in imperialist war. This presupposes a workers' movement that is not trapped by diversionary alternatives, which the bourgeois political system uses to organize the crushing of the movement, the attack against radicalism, against revolutionary mood and will, in order to pre-empt and cancel, for as long as it can, its overthrow.