Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Coming Split in the Greek KKE: April* Conference Disarray and Dissolution


The KKE, having received 4.5% in the last elections and having lost around half its electoral base to Syriza, is on the verge of meltdown with a split looming between the ruling cliques who run one of the last ‘hardline’ Stalinist parties in Europe. The main reason is that if the KKE falls below 3% of the national vote they will lose the state subsidy which became vital for the organisation’s survival after the Soviet Union collapsed, as well as the fact that its current subsidy has halved due to the fall in votes.

The main factions are centred around the journalist Bogiopoulos (author of ‘It’s Capitalism, Stupid’ Livanis Publications) and the rest of the ruling clique around Mailis. Bogiopoulos made a critique in Rizospastis that their policy no longer holds sway, that they convince nobody but themselves. When protests emerged around the Can’t Pay Movement or the Indignants in the squares, the KKE either didn’t go or left when other people arrived. He criticises the essentially sectarian nature of their policy without stating whether they should agree to a government of the Left. A main point of conflict is of course the way the KKE presided over the sackings at its TV station 902 and why PAME refused to support the fired workers. They therefore ended up demonstrating against the Party of the Proletariat!
No to the Unjust and Revengeful Sackings
No to the Climate of the Ghetto in 902
Sacked Workers of 902
Video Report of the Sacking at the KKE's headquarters tv station and newspaper Rizospastis

The reality is that the KKE abandoned the labour movement more than two decades ago. They assume their electoral fallout arose solely because they have wrong policies, when in reality they have suffered a catastrophic collapse equal to the drop in percentage terms with the other main parties (ND and PASOK) as they are seen in many people’s eyes as being part of the system, having governed with both ND and PASOK when the Soviet Union collapsed. Bogiopoulos assumes a different political line will bring them some new members (they need a Tsipras) to stave off what Synaspismos was facing in the mid 2000 when it was contemplating its electoral wipeout. But that’s the irony: Greeks didn’t vote for Syriza because they believed it had anything to offer nor did they flock to join its organisation even though it received 27% of the vote. They voted according to pollsters for the ‘extremes’, those under 50 years of age, (Golden Dawn, Syriza) and the overwhelming majority didn’t vote at all (40%) against the mainstream parties of the Troika (ND, PASOK)

Bogiopoulos, like the rest of the KKE leadership believes the economic measures will bring about a new boom and all they need to do is talk a bit left gather a few supporters, bump up the percentages to around 10% and all will be fine again. They can then re-employ some people, sell a few more copies of Rizospastis and all can be the same again. The nature of the era was never truly understood or it was only understood to the extent that they needed to adapt to it and cover for it.

The mass influx of illegal immigrants who were used by the bosses to crush the labour movement (building workers in the 90’s, sailors in the 70’s) destroyed the Greek labour movement. Globalisation, deindustrialisation, off-shoring and in-shoring of corporations, the massive Olympics corporate games (where hardly any Greeks got a look in for jobs and the KKE declared an Olympics strike truce) as well as membership of the EU and the EZ destroyed what was left of Greek industry.

When some of the largest factories of the 70’s (Piraiki Patraiki in Patras) became illegal immigrant squatter camps or squares in Central Athens (Ag Panteleomonas), the KKE looked the other way. They did the same when Greeks were the victims of crime, antisocial violence and deaths by the hordes of illegal immigrants who had nowhere to sleep, eat or survive. Like the rest of the globalist left they allowed a bunch of unknown clowns going by the name of Golden Dawn to enter the vacuum of leadership created by the Left. No longer interested in the bread and butter issues of jobs and rights they turned their back on the decaying and demoralised Greek working class. It repaid them in kind turning their backs on the KKE and going over to GD, Syriza or refusing to vote.
Citizens Protests in Ag Panteleomonas 'All Together One Fist' Greece Belongs to the Greeks

When the IMF arrived and hundreds of thousands were on demos in central Athens, the KKE ranks tried to storm Parliament. The KKE went mad in defending this holy brothel. How dare they? They were labelled as ‘fascists’ ‘infiltrators’ ‘provocateurs’ like in the good old days of the Polytechnic uprising when their student newspaper declared the students agents of the Junta.
KKE members defending IMF occupied Parliament in a 2nd line of Defence as they do with the American Embassy annually.

Over 25 ‘General Strikes’ (essentially the public sector) have occurred in which the KKE has consistently and persistently marched on its own and left in time, never receiving sustained gas attacks from the riot police. Whilst condemning the ‘yellow unions’ around the Greek TUC, it hasn’t resigned from any position in the Trade Councils or the Executive positions of the Greek TUC. Why should it? They get paid. That is what politics has been reduced to. Let Greece burn, thousands commit suicide, kids faint of hunger in the schools, hospital patients are turfed out to drop dead for lack of medicines and the KKE remains committed to the IMF occupied Parliament till the end.

Bogiopoulos makes reference to a quote from Marx ‘people need to be able to live in order to make history’, hinting at the catastrophic crisis wiping out the chance of survival of large swathes of the population. Where are the demands of ‘Less Work but Work for All’, right to work marches, organising the unemployed (Greek unions can’t even have them as members), shutting down subcontracted job sites and enforcing unionisation with baton in hand (like the building workers used to?)

Whatever happened to the United Front on the streets: ‘march separately but strike together’? Why did they control and contain the Steelworkers strike and ensure they were defeated without a real fight? They didn’t allow workers to fight to close down the other plants in Volos so as to not be labelled ‘racists’ as they employed illegal immigrants?

Bogiopoulos hasn’t been an MP and needs a career and if he senses more cuts are coming into Rizospastis he will seek  pastures anew. The only show on the road for careerists with something to offer the system is Syriza and its dalliances with the Greek version of UKIP (Ind Greeks-Kammenos). A new split will be good for Greece. The sooner the KKE goes into the dustbin of history the better. It serves no purpose in the current period. New political forces need to be created, hopefully some good comrades who want to remain in Greece and fight to end the Fourth Reich of banksters, spivs and political chameleons will emerge. If it doesn’t a new barbarism will dawn upon us. That is what is at stake.
VN Gelis

*11th-14th April 2013

Update 7th April
Bogiopoulos has recanted on paper with a new statement criticising those who want to go against the Party from outside, but the fact remains many rank and file KKE members are pissed off with what happened in Cyprus (under their political associate Christofias) and are looking for a different policy. If Bogiopoulos doesn't want to lead a conflict at the Conference that is understandable, but conflict will be unnavoidable as the Party is bankrupt (they have taken the state subisdy till 2016) their papers dont sell and they cant justify the fulltimers anymore. Bogiopoulos earned his spurs against in the movement against the NATO led anti-Yugoslav wars in the 1980's and is definitely the most able KKE member.
Whether a split occurs at Conference or immediately thereafter we will have to wait and see...

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