Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Response to Dialogos Media on allegations against the KKE concerning mining in Halkidiki

In a dialogue with Dialogos media, a site associated, among other things, with truth-out.org (and, it unfortunately appears, with Dimitris Kazakis' chauvinist-nationalist and intensely anti-communist groupuscule EPAM), I pointed out that, mysteriously, Michael Nevradakis's otherwise commendable piece on SYRIZA seemed to suffer from the same amnesiac symptoms as The Guardian and Foreign Policy regarding the very existence, for the past 97 years, of a left party in Greece called KKE. Mr. Nevradakis had somewhat surrealistically limited alternatives to SYRIZA that are not Golden Dawn to EPAM, which did not even participate in the 2015 elections, ANTARSYA, which received 0.64% of the vote,  and "Den Plirono" (I won't pay), which also did not participate in the elections, and which is a single-cause movement rather than a party.

The reader can judge on their own the civilities I received as a response to my query on the motivations of such oblivion (I was subsequently blocked as a nuisance), but this piece concerns a particular such civility, which different "left" groupuscules in Greece have been trying to circulate abroad, namely, that in Dialogos' words, the KKE "supports destructive mining activities", and is in fact an ally of Eldorado Gold and its Greek affiliate, Hellenic Gold. I promised a response, which will restrict itself purely to the cataloguing of a number of facts -- as always, substantiated by the relevant documentation. Any more serious engagement has been unfortunately preempted by the very obvious anti-communist animus of the website, though this is an animus whose barely rational character those of us familiar with EPAM's chief, Kazakis, are quite familiar with.

On March 2, 2007, KKE party organ, Rizospastis, reported that the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki concluded that gold mining investment in Halkidiki would "kill the environment."

On March 12 2011, Rizospastis published an Aristotle University research-related article entitled "Mineral wealth at the service of profit."

On March 3, 2013, Rizospastis published an article entitled "The wealth of the people as plunder for the multinationals", in which it notes:
The KKE has warned in timely fashion that the investment of "Hellenic Gold" will not lead to development in the interests of the people. It will only bring destruction and will downgrade the quality of peoples' lives for the profit of Greek and foreign monopoly groups. It has warned that the technology for gold mining cannot function as a safeguard for the region, particularly as long as research and mines continue to be in the hands of monopoly groups. And it made clear that industrial installations in Skouries and Olympiada must not go on.
Mine workers must understand that in no case are their interests identical to those of employers. Nor are they identical to corporate antagonisms under way in the region and not simply related to gold mining. For instance, in Halkidiki, apart from investment in gold, there is a segment interested in major investment in tourism. And it is obvious that such corporate interests may well come into conflict. 
Mine workers are a part of the working class, who live through (and will continue to in the future) the inferno of the anti-people and anti-labor Juggernaut. Their place is on the same side with the other workers of Halkidiki, with the self-employed and the poor farmers. They must struggle so that mineral wealth, nature, the basic and concentrated means of production become the property of the people themselves.
The criterion for all productive activity must be social needs and not profit. This is the only way in which people can benefit from the wealth they themselves produce, the only way their lives will not be damaged by the consequences of their hard labor. 
Through activities, announcements, public positions, the KKE had stated in every manner all these years that the mineral wealth of the country belongs to the people and must not be given over to big corporate groups under any circumstances. The utilization of mineral wealth should be in the interests of the people within the framework of central planning, with worker and social control, not for the increase of capitalist profit. 
On March 9, 2013, news reports quoted then KKE GS Aleka Papariga as making the following statements regarding mining during a tour in Evros and Rodopi:

"We are radically opposed to the investment, because globally, the method of using cyanium to extract gold has immediate and long term consequences on the health of the inhabitants, causes problems in the water supply, destroys agricultural wealth and negatively affects fishing and tourism."

The report also stated:

"The KKE GS also commented on a statement by government representative Simos Kedikoglou, that the government is examining new data on gold investment in Perama, arguing that the government is trying to win time in order to crush the Halkidiki movement and create illusions in Evros; she called on the people of Halkidiki and of Evros to coordinate action into a mass movement, with the logic that the government is trying to disorient, while the people are persistent in their position."

On March 12, 2013, Rizospastis published a brief exposé on Eldorado Gold and its activities.

On March 22, 2013, Rizospastis published a further attack against Eldorado Gold's profiteering, entitled "The criterion must be popular needs."

On April 6, 2013, and in a speech in Ierissos, Halkidiki, then KKE GS Aleka Papariga made the following remarks:

"This struggle [against mining] must become broad, coalitional, unified. You must be able to tell who is deceiving you, I will not tell you who [she is referring to SYRIZA's alleged support for putting an end to mining in the area]; draw your own conclusions: those who seek to receive the laurels of the opposition and who promise you that everything will be resolved. Here, there must be specific commitments, not simply parliamentary ones; because, you know, all parties promise. And then, when they become the government, they forget. So commitments must be substantial. And above all, it must be a struggle that is as much as possible unified among the workers. I wish, in your own manner, the popular manner, which you know --and we will try too-- that you are able to convince those seeking to get a job with Eldoraro that their real interest lies here. [...] We, as you know, our party rules state it too, are a party of the working class. [...] If we need to make some workers upset, we will. Because we are looking at the working class as a whole, not only at a segment. [...] Things must change at the root; not from above, but from below. And only the people can change them from below: workers, farmers, small store owners, those are the ones who can change things."

In the same visit, Aleka Papariga met with activists against gold mining in Halkidiki; the (non-KKE) media report states the following:
The KKE opposes the handing over of mineral wealth to monopoly groups and of gold mining to the Hellenic Gold Corporation in Halkidiki, the GS of the party, Aleka Papariga, noted during her tour in Halkidiki. 
Ms. Papariga met with activist groups of Halkidiki inhabitants, who are opposed to the investment and noted that this investment will create permanent damage to other productive activities, such as tourism, agricultural production, fishing and bee-keeping. 
The representatives of the Struggle Committees expressed their satisfaction with the support of the KKE to their struggle and asked for this support to continue. They also asked for the intervention of the KKE so that the persecution against the inhabitants opposing the investment and the climate of intimidation against them stops.  
The GS of the KKE noted that the party will continue to support their struggles. She noted that mineral wealth, and gold, more particularly, constitute an important reserve wealth. She called on the people to react but also called on the workers in the mines to fight united against the looting of the area, against the attack on worker and social rights and intimidation. If gold mining is not prevented, workers will be the first to experience the consequences.
On October 11 2013, the KKE Central Macedonia Party Organization issued an announcement entitled "Hellenic Gold Investment in Halkidiki is dangerous", in relation to an accident with toxic byproducts of mining in the Thessaloniki port.

KKE-controlled media supported the struggle of the inhabitants of Halkidiki against mining by publishing protests against the former government's repression (April 25, 2013), while highlighting national (February 24, 2013, April 5, 2013July 15, 2013,) and international protests (July 19, 2013). KKE-coordinated organizations hosted discussions against mining (April 30, 2013).

The party submitted a parliamentary question on toxic consequences for the environment deriving from the activities of Hellenic Gold (September 23, 2013) and a second parliamentary question on consequences for building safety, as regards the homes of inhabitants (August 3, 2014).

KKE MPs and PAME participated in mobilizations on February 24 2013March 24 2013, March 25 2013, and most recently, March 28, 2015.


  1. The amesia of the international Left regarding the very existence of the KKE is all too powerful. You needn't look further than the Jacobin Magazine which publishes extensive interviews with members of ANTARSYA but has never given tribune to a KKE repersentative. Seems like the high-held principles of political plurality, the lack of which the modern-day left blames on Marxists-Leninists, all but disappear in their own journals.
    James Petras has also written a great article about the betrayals of the contemporary "left" but again the KKE is absent from his analysis of Greece:

    1. Indeed, Petras has given a great interview to the very site (Dialogos/Truth Out) which is under discussion here. But you saw their reaction when I raised the question of why they pretend the KKE does not exist.

      On Jacobin's political ethics, see here: http://indefenseofgreekworkers.blogspot.com/2015/03/insult-to-injury-jacobin-magazines.html

      I think it suffices as a comment...