Nikos Seretakis (Greece) – The counterrevolutionary overthrows do not change the character of the epoch.
On behalf of the CC of KKE Ι would like to thank you for your invitation.
The 18th Congress of KKE, fulfilling the task set forward by the 17th Congress four years ago, dwelled deeper into the causes of the victory of the counterrevolution and of capitalist restoration. This is imperative for the revival of the faith to socialism.
For more than a century now, bourgeois polemics against the communist movement, concentrate their fire on the revolutionary core of the workers’ movement, the Communist Party. This is also the aim of the anti-communist wave nowadays on the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall. They struggle against the necessity of revolution and its political offspring, the dictatorship of the proletariat that is the revolutionary working class power. In particular, they fight against the outcome of the first victorious revolution, of the October Revolution in Russia.
For more than a century now, every current negating, retreating or resigning from the necessity of revolutionary struggle is being promoted as “democratic socialism”, in opposition to the so-called “totalitarian”, “dictatorial”, “putchist” communism. Our party rejects also the notion of the “Socialism of the 21st Century”, that means a negation of the concrete socialist experience of the past century.
Today, international opportunism has regrouped itself through the “Party of the European Left”, which has stepped up the tone of the “democratic socialism” rhetoric, under the conditions of a synchronous manifestation of the capitalist economic crisis. Their attitude is instructive: In some instances they negate the entire 70-year history of the USSR, in others they specifically aim at the period during which its socialist foundation was erected as well as at I.V. Stalin personally. Whatever the case, they always support those political practices that constituted deviations from the socialist course.
We are studying the ruthless course of the class struggle during the transition to the new society, for its foundation and development, for the expansion and deepening of the new relations of production and distribution, of all social relations and for the molding of the new man. In this process we bring forward the contradictions, the mistakes and deviations under the pressure of the international correlation of forces, without resorting to blanket nihilism. We examine things in a critical and self-critical manner so as to make KKE, as part of the international communist movement, stronger in the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism, for the construction of socialism.
The Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, marked a starting point for one of the greatest achievements of civilization in the History of humankind, the abolition of exploitation of man by man. For half a century the Soviet Union and the world socialist system constituted the only real counterweight to imperialist aggression. The role of the Soviet Union in the Anti-fascist People’s victory, during World War II, was decisive.
The socialist state provided unprecedented examples of internationalist solidarity to peoples who were fighting against exploitation, foreign occupation and imperialist intervention. The achievements of workers in the socialist states were a point of reference for many decades and contributed to the gains won by the working class and the popular movement in capitalist societies. The dictatorship of the proletariat, the revolutionary workers’ power, as a state that expressed the interests of the social majority of exploited people, and not of the minority of exploiters, proved itself a superior form of democracy.
However, socialism itself is the first stage of the communist socio-economic formation; it is not an independent socio-economic formation. It is an immature, undeveloped communism. The complete establishment of communist relations requires the overcoming of the elements of immaturity that characterize its lower stage, socialism.
Immature communism signifies that communist relations in production and distribution have not yet fully prevailed. The basic law of the communist mode of production is valid: “Proportional production for the extended satisfaction of social needs.”
The concentrated means of production are socialized, but in the beginning there still remain forms of individual and group ownership that constitute the base for the existence of commodity-money relations. Forms of production cooperatives are set up, in those sectors where the level of the productive forces does not yet allow the socialization of the means of production. The forms of group property constitute a transitional form of ownership between private and social ownership, and not an immature form of communist relations.
A big part of social needs is covered comprehensively and free of charge. However, a still significant part of the social product for individual consumption is distributed based on the principle, “to each according to his labour, while each one works according to his abilities.” Under conditions of developed communism the distribution of the social product is based on the principle: “to each according to his needs”.
Under socialism, on the basis of its economic immaturity, there still continue to exist social inequalities, social stratification, significant differences or even contradictions..
The approach arguing for the existence of “transitional societies”, with distinct characteristics both in relation to capitalism, as well as in relation to socialism, is an incorrect one. Starting from this viewpoint the development of capitalist relations in China and Vietnam is mistakenly interpreted as representing transitional “multi-sectoral societies”.
However, we do not overlook the special characteristics of the period which in the Marxist bibliography is known as the “transitional period”, during which the socialist revolution is seeking victory. Historical experience has shown that this period cannot last for a long time. In the USSR this period was completed by the middle of the 1930s
We consider that the transitional period is not independent from the process of socialist construction, since it is during its course that the basis is established for the development of a communist society in its first phase.
At the same time we should underline that the dictatorship of the proletariat, as an instrument of class domination and class struggle, is necessary, not only during the “transition period”, for the consolidation of the new power, the realization of the measures for the development of the new economic relations and the abolition of the capitalist relations, but also during the development of socialism until its maturation into the higher, communist stage.
We regard socialist construction as an uninterrupted process, which starts with the conquest of power by the working class
Socialization under socialism, as well as the entire organization of the economy and the society, is effected through the state of the working class, under the guidance of the Communist Party, which depends on the mobilization of the working masses, on workers’ control. The complete supremacy of communist relations, the transition to the higher phase of the new socio-economic formation presupposes the complete abolition of classes.
The development of the communist mode of production in its first stage, socialism, is a process through which the distribution of the social product in monetary form becomes abolished. Communist production – even in its immature stage – is directly social production. Among the problems of Central Planning is included the complex issue of the determination of ‘social needs’, especially under international conditions, where capitalism shapes a rather distorted conception of what social needs really are. Social needs are determined on the basis of development of the productive forces that have been achieved in the given historical period.
In our view it is incorrect to argue theoretically that the law of value is a law of motion of the communist mode of production in its first (socialist) stage. This approach became dominant since the decade of the 1950s in the USSR and in the majority of C.Ps.
We recall that this had been subject of an intense debate in the USSR, where, I.V. Stalin, as General Secretary of the C.C of the Party, led the organized intra-party discussion and supported the anti-market direction. He confronted the current that pushed for the strengthening of commodity-money relations.
In the course of socialist construction erroneous theoretical and political approaches held sway and led to the dramatic developments in 1989-1991, to the victory of the counter-revolution. KKE rejects the theories that claim that these societies were some sort of “a new exploitative system” or a form of “state capitalism”, as various opportunist currents claim.
The counter-revolution in the USSR did not result from an imperialist military intervention, but rather from within and from the top, as a result of the opportunist mutation of the C.P and the corresponding political direction of Soviet power. We assign priority to the internal factors, to the socio-economic conditions that may reproduce opportunism on the basis of socialist construction, without of course underestimating the long-term effect and the multi-faceted interference of imperialism in the development of opportunism and its evolution into a counterrevolutionary force.
KKE based its a study along the following lines:
The economy during the socialist construction
The operation of the dictatorship of the proletariat and the role of the CP under socialism, the lower stage of communism.
The strategy of and the developments in the international communist movement.
The 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) stands out as a turning point, since at that congress a series of opportunist positions were adopted on matters relating to the economy, the strategy of the communist movement and international relations. its thesis for a “variety of forms of transition to socialism, under certain conditions”, the line of “peaceful co-existence” was also linked to the possibility of a parliamentary transition to socialism in Europe, a strategy that already existed in a number of Communist Parties and ended up gaining the upper hand in most of them. This thesis constituted in essence a revision of the lessons of the Soviet revolutionary experience and a reformist social democratic strategy.
The assessment that there was a relationship of “subordination and dependency” of all and every capitalist country from the USA prevailed; a strategy of the “anti-monopoly government”, as a sort of stage between socialism and capitalism, that would solve problems of “dependency” from the USA, was adopted.
The attitude of several C.P’s towards social democracy was part of this strategy. The view that social democracy could be distinguished into a “left” and a “right” wing became dominant, seriously weakening the ideological struggle against it.
At the 22nd Congress of the CPSU (1961) further mistaken assessments and approaches concerning “developed socialism” , the “end of class struggle” and “state of the whole people” were adopted. In Western Europe, in the ranks of many CPs, under the pretext of the national peculiarities of each country, the opportunist current known as “Euro-communism” held sway, a current which denied the scientific laws of the socialist revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and revolutionary struggle in general.
The correlation of forces in the struggle being waged during the entire preceding period was altered, with a turn in favor of the revisionist-opportunist positions, with the result that the Party gradually began to lose its revolutionary characteristics. In the decade of the 1980s, with perestroika, opportunism fully developed into a traitorous, counter-revolutionary force.We are continuing the investigation of all the factors which contributed to counterrevolution.
The developments do not vindicate the overall stance of the “Maoist” current vis-a-vis the construction of socialism in the USSR, the characterization of the USSR as social-imperialist, the support to counter-revolutionary and openly reactionary forces, the rapprochement of China with the USA, as well as the inconsistencies in matters of socialist construction in China (e.g. the recognition of the national bourgeoisie as an ally in socialist construction, etc.).Our own critical assessment considers as given the defence of the construction of socialism in the USSR and in the other countries and their contribution.
We also study the impact of the problems of ideological and strategic unity expressed during the entire course of the Communist International (CI), regarding the character of the revolution, the nature of the coming war following the rise of fascism in Germany and the attitude vis-a-vis Social democracy. Irrespective of the reasons which led to the dissolution of the CI, there is an objective need for the international communist movement to formulate a unified revolutionary strategy, to plan and coordinate its activity.
KKE along with other communist parties and Marxists scientists, particularly from the countries that were engaging in socialist construction in the past, will continue researching further the specific subjects being pinpointed by the 18th Congress, in cooperation with other communist forces.
The only way out and the inevitable perspective remains socialism, despite the defeat at the end of the 20th century and despite the imperialist distortion and anticommunist attack.
The counterrevolutionary overthrows do not change the character of the epoch. The 21st century will be the century of a new upsurge of the world revolutionary movement and of a new series of social revolutions.