Interview of Dimitris Koutsoumbas, GS of the KKE, with Tassos Pappas of "Newspaper of the Editors" (Efimerida ton Syntakton):
Q: - You say that whether on the drachma or on the euro and with Memoranda, the people will suffer under present conditions. Is it possible that this line demobilizes citizens since the prospect you offer does not seem to have contemporary relevance?
A:- You are grossly mistaken. The political proposal of the KKE is and remains contemporary. The other proposals, those of the current and the former governments, are the ones pointing to a "Neverland" of exit from the crisis in the interests of the people. Those are proposals that satisfy only big capital and its sectors. The proposals of the other parties refer either to new agreements of the Memorandum type or simply to a change of currency through Grexit. Both proposals, adopted for different reasons by the present government and other parties on the one hand, and by Golden Dawn and various extraparliamentary formations on the other, are mathematically calibrated to lead the people to total bankruptcy. The KKE proposal, conversely, is the only realistic and authentically pro-people proposal, since it links disengagement from the Eurozone and the EU to a comprehensive plan and program for the economy and society, including the socialization of the concentrated means of production, national central planning, abolition of the debt, with the people organized and determined, in the framework of an authentic worker-popular power. The people can move in this direction actively, utilizing the experience of what the KKE has been saying yesterday and says today, in plain language.
Q: - Obviously, you are watching developments within SYRIZA. Could the KKE, under certain preconditions, begin discussion with a sector of SYRIZA, meaning that sector that argues for a return to the national currency and a different organization of Greek society?
A: - If you are referring to leading SYRIZA cadre, who bear very heavy responsibility for why we got here; cadre that supported SYRIZA's political strategy, that sold and continue to sell false hopes and delusions, arresting the radicalization of the movement; cadre and groups that are selling the capitalist path to the drachma and the integration into a different imperialist alliance as an allegedly pro-people solution, and indeed as a path that leads to the overturning of social relations and to popular prosperity through "ruptures" like those we saw in the last six months, I answer unequivocally that no such prospect of a common path exists. Of course the worker-popular forces that supported SYRIZA, as well as other parties, are a different issue. To them, the KKE is addressing a call for discussion and the adoption of a common path.
Q: - Are you perhaps afraid that a party to the left of SYRIZA, coming from within SYRIZA, will create problems for the KKE?
A:- The Lafazanis-style parties you have in mind always play the role of bulwarks against worker-popular awakening, radicalization, against the anti-monopoly and anticapitalist orientation of the popular movement and its social alliance. In previous decades, they became known as "KKE of the interior", as EAR, as Synaspismos and as SYRIZA. They are political adventurists, with contradictory and impossible policies, whose only contribution is to make the people and the country, as well as the movement, waste valuable time.
Q: - Voices against German hegemony are getting thicker in Europe. Do you believe this will go on? Is it possible for the strategy of austerity, as expressed by Germany and its satellite countries, to get defeated?
A: - The strategy of austerity is advocated by Germany and its satellites, as you say, but it is also advocated by France, by Italy, by the "friends" of Mr. Tsipras. Hollande advanced a maelstrom of anti-people measures in France and continues to do so, while Lagarde of the IMF, where the USA is dominant, is taking a leading role in the demolition of whatever insurance rights have been left standing. We can't simply speak about Schauble in Greece while forgetting Hollande, Renci, Cameron, Le Pen, Lew, all of whom are asking for the advancement of economic slaughter against our people, and against other peoples.
All these years, it has been proven that competition between imperialist centers, the struggle of Germany against the USA, of Germany against France, etc., have nothing to do with the protection of popular rights, but with who will guarantee more profits for their own corporate groups, who will hegemonize Europe and the world. The debate about "austerity" is embedded in this context.
Q: - Why is it that in a Europe in crisis, where workers are cruelly attacked by dominant policies, we don't have strong forces of questioning the capitalist model? Why is socialism, as you conceive it, unpopular? People's consciousness is still burdened by 1989 and the failure of "actually existing socialism".
A: -There is no doubt that the socialist-communist ideal suffered a world-historical defeat in 1989-1991, through the subversion of the USSR and of other socialist countries. It was a defeat and a setback still paid for by the peoples, by the international labour and communist movement. And that continues to be a burden on mass awakening and the social emancipation of the people and their movements.
But we believe that historical setbacks, errors, weaknesses, ought to teach all of us. The movement, the working class, the people, ought to be able to extract valuable conclusions for the present and future. This is the only way in which they will be able to build a new society, without the mistakes of the past. And to reinforce the tendency toward radicalization, toward the comprehensive questioning of the capitalist path, that is now rotten and that can only give birth to crises, wars, poverty and exploitation.
The KKE works consistently in this direction. And we are optimistic, despite the great difficulties we have to deal with.
Q: - Some polls show that the stance of the KKE "sent" some of your voters to support "No" in the Referendum. Did you make the wrong choice?
A: - Given the fact that the SYRIZA-ANEL government refused to even submit the KKE proposal for a real Referendum question to the vote in Parliament, it was clear to us that our goal was not to collect votes but to launch a five-day campaign for a No to the ECB-EU-IMF proposal and a No to the government proposal, that was leading to a new Memorandum. This was very quickly proven, since the 62% that voted No was seized by Mr. Tsipras and the other parties, except for KKE, and converted into a big Yes to the new Memorandum.
The call of the CC of the KKE is already resounding with the people: with those who voted for No thinking it meant a rupture with Memoranda, the EU, the monopolies and their power; with those who cast an invalid ballot, a blank ballot, or abstained from the vote, authentically challenging the path followed in a radical fashion, rejecting the government's deceptions; and even with those who voted Yes, caving under the big blackmail-type dilemmas. To all of them, the KKE extends its hand for a common struggle.