The Guardian 25 May, 2005

The Necessity of Socialism

The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia hosted a meeting in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, on April 23-24 marking the 60th anniversary of the Anti-Fascist Victory of the Peoples. The following is an abridged text of the contribution made by Thanassis Pafilis, Central Committee member of the Communist Party of Greece (CPG) and Member of the European Parliament.

This meeting has symbolic significance as it is taking place 60 years after the anti-Fascist victory, in a country that suffered cruelly from the vindictive policy of Nazi Germany and the so-called policy of appeasement by the governments of Britain and France that led to the Munich Pact in September of 1938, and to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Given the weight of such historic events in this country, it is a difficult task to talk about what happened during those years, what conclusions can be drawn for the peoples, and what should be the necessary response and way out of the present-day new barbarity that has been imposed by the imperialist world order, as a consequence of the victory of the counter-revolution and the capitalist restoration in the former socialist countries, on all people.

During World War II, the Communist parties distinguished themselves as the most militant vanguard of the popular masses and of movements resisting the imperialist Fascist ruling and occupation of their countries.

The communist movement was a powerful force to be reckoned with, and had a decisive influence in every country and in international developments.

Socialist system

If one of the results of World War I was to create the conditions necessary to break the imperialist chain at the link of Russia and at the appearance of the first socialist state in the world, the links that broke it at the end of World War II were 11 countries of Europe and Asia: the global socialist system was created.

The foundations began to be laid on those issues that the leader of the Communist International Georgi Dimitrov had predicted in 1939 were related to the nature and results of war: if the imperialists launch a war to serve their interests in domination and hegemony, the working class "is called on to put an end to this war in their own way, in their own interest, in the interests of humanity as a whole, thus creating the conditions required to eliminate the main causes that generate imperialist wars" (Communist International, 1939, No.8-9, p. 36).

The Great Patriotic war of the Soviet people against the Fascist invaders was essentially the clash between two opposing political, ideological and social systems: On the one hand was the ideology and policy of the superior race, of misanthropism and genocide, and of the theory of "living space" to accommodate world domination by German imperialism and the German monopolies; on the other was a profound faith in man, in the working class, in the popular masses, in abolishing the exploitation of man by man, in the free future of the peoples, and in socialism and communism.

It can be seen from events that the main military, political and economic force that defeated Hitler’s armies and the forces of the Fascist Axis was the Soviet Union, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the USSR, that had been created by the Great October Socialist Revolution in 1917.

Even though the USSR does not exist today, all humanity owes a great deal to it, the first and greatest land of socialism.

Contribution of the USSR

The contribution of the USSR and the other socialist countries of Europe, of the international communist movement and the anti-imperialist people’s struggles is incalculable and constitutes the bright beacon that lights the future destiny of humankind as a whole.

The counter-revolutionary events of 1989-91 are of concern or interest not only to communists and to the international communist movement.

Their repercussions have marked and hit all humanity.

The peoples have been deprived of their great support, their unselfish allies in the cause of peace, social rights, freedom, independence and socialism.

In the capitalist countries, bourgeois neo-liberal, social democratic and socialist governments feel that their hands have been freed.

So they launch open aggression against labour and popular gains; they impose new fetters and crueller exploitation of the working people.

There are millions of victims: dead, disabled, refugees, people persecuted in many corners of the earth, victims of the new imperialist world order.

Defending the contribution of the socialist system with objectivity is a dire need today.

For the peoples, it constitutes a powerful weapon in the fight against imperialism, which is trying to nullify and distort the gains of socialism with the obvious intention of undermining and weakening any effort to rally the people together, to resist its policy and its aggressive plans.

Today, in the frame of the strategic conflict with the power of monopolies, the revitalisation of the socialist vision and the development of the theoretical elaborations of the communists for the future socialist society become all the more necessary.

In the Program of our Party it is noted that: "The CPG’s concept of the building of socialism is based on Marxist-Leninist theory, and on enriching it with the conclusions and discussions of our Party and of the building of socialism in the 20th century.

"The building of socialism is governed by general laws that apply to all countries.

"The starting point for the transition of Greek society to socialism, the lowest level of communism, is: The revolutionary gaining of power by the working class in collaboration with its allies.

"The nationalisation of the main means of production.

"The socialist planning of the economy."

Historical necessity

The reversals that have taken place did not change the objective, inevitable trend of social revolution.

The Marxist-Leninist theory of socialist revolution is more timely and vital today than ever before.

The major adverse developments of recent years have not in the least changed our unwavering conviction and faith in the socialist and communist prospect as a historical necessary and possibility.

Enormous wealth is being concentrated in ever fewer hands, while the broad masses of the people are falling into a state of poverty; billions of people are miserable.

Vast material progress is accompanied by the elimination of social gains that the working people had won through struggles and sacrifices.

Eliminating the confrontation between capital and labour is the objective base, the source and moving force of change.

The study of the experience of socialism that was built during the 20th century, as well as contemporary events, make it necessary to develop and enrich Marxist-Leninist theory, which preserves the scientific value of Lenin’s position that the age of the social socialist revolution has begun, that this path is incredibly complex, and that it will never be a straight easy path, particularly under conditions where imperialism is strong.

The main thing is that it has started.

Communist identity

We would however point out the following: The adverse developments of 1989-91 did not slacken the offensives by the political and ideological representatives of imperialism.

On the contrary, these offensives became even sharper, the main target being either to dissolve the communist parties or to turn them in a direction that would be completely harmless to the system of exploitation.

For this reason, the struggle has become sharper in the ranks of the communist movement as regards the necessity of promoting our communist identity and the timeliness of our revolutionary theory.

At the centre of the struggle are: the defence of the socialism we have known; the contemporary relevance of Marxism-Leninism; the development of our theory in the period of transition to socialism under conditions of the temporary victory of counter-revolution; the character of the Communist Party; the character of imperialism; the relation of the struggle on a national and international level; the policy of alliances; the attitude towards social democracy; the stance of communists in the mass movements; their stance in relation to the capitalist crisis, the inter-imperialist contradictions and the imperialist wars; the policy towards intra-state imperialist regional and international unions; the historic role of the working class; the laws of socialist revolution and the building of socialism; the proletarian internationalism.

In our view, defending our communist identity and fighting opportunism are necessary and essential conditions for advancing the cause of socialism today.

In Greece, our Party has worked out a political proposal for an Anti-imperialist Anti-monopoly Democratic Front [AADF] as the socio-political alliance of the working class with the middle popular strata, an alliance aiming against monopolies and imperialism which under [certain] conditions may lead to the taking of the power and the building of socialism.

The AADF will be an alliance of political forces, social forces, movements and fighters that is based on a social alliance of the working class with the middle classes in the city and the countryside.

Within its ranks will be disparate forces in terms of social position, ideological and political stance, with different viewpoints about social developments, without any prior requirement to agree about socialism.

For the formation of the Front, there must be some minimum level of agreement over the general direction that will be expressed in its programme regarding the people’s economy and power.

The pillars of the people’s economy will be:

  • Public state ownership of the main concentrated means of production

  • The cooperative sector

  • Exclusively public free systems of education, health and welfare

  • The building of a central national mechanism to direct the economy.

    Our profound faith in the power of the working class, and of the working people more generally to address the capitalist offensive they are facing and the deep contradictions that are shaking the exploitive capitalist society have led us to the conclusion that no power can stop, and even less can it turn back, the development of human society.

    Neither popes, caesars, tsars, people like Metternich and Guizot, nor the various presidents who dream of crusades to subjugate humanity, as they search for a "holy grail" and an "elixir of life" for the capitalist system. All efforts made in the past have failed as have the present ones.

    Because events are relentless. They are at the core of the exploitive capitalist system and cannot be pushed aside, however many efforts are made.

    They are dictated by the increase of dissatisfaction, by the peoples’ awareness, and by the objective course of history that make socialism inevitable.

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