Month: October, 2017
US Role in 1960s Indonesia Anti-Communist Massacre Revealed
Indonesia elite troops parade in Bandung, June 1966. The red caps are paratroopers in red berets.

US Role in 1960s Indonesia Anti-Communist Massacre Revealed

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Thirty thousand pages of files have been released on US activities in Indonesia during the archipelago’s gory transition from a socialist dictatorship to a pro-West military dictatorship in the mid-60s. The documents confirm that Washington was aware of, and supported, the military takeover of the government and purge of communist opponents.

The anti-communist purges in 1965 and 1966 were horrific, described by the CIA as “one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century.” Between 400,000 and 1 million accused leftists were killed, with some estimates going as far as to place the figure at 3 million.

It has long been known that the US and allied governments supported the 1965 military takeover. The US embassy, as well as the CIA, have been accused of providing weapons, economic assistance, and training to Suharto’s forces as well as lists of names of 5,000 communists. The embassy asserted in 1990 that the list in question was compiled by a single official acting on his own direction, and scholars debated whether or not the US helped facilitate the mass killings.

One of the newly released cables came from the embassy’s first secretary, Mary Vance Trent, who told Washington about a “fantastic switch which has occurred over 10 short weeks” that saw an estimated 100,000 people slaughtered.

A particularly shocking 1966 cable from CIA officer Edward Masters discussed the “problem” of captured communist prisoners. “Many provinces appear to be successfully meeting this problem by executing their [communist] prisoners, or killing them before they are captured, a task in which Muslim youth groups are providing assistance,” Masters reportedly said.

The documents were compiled in 2001 by the US State Department and subsequently classified, only to be released today. “We frankly do not know whether the real figure is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000,” read an April 1966 cable attached to the 2001 report.

US Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), who introduced a bill in 2015 calling for the declassification of all US documents related to the matter as well as Indonesia to create a truth and reconciliation committee on the massacre, praised the release of documents. “These documents will provide greater transparency about the United States’ support for the Indonesian government during the same period that these horrible crimes were committed,” Udall said in a statement.

“Today represents real progress. But in Indonesia, many of the individuals behind these murders continue to live with impunity, and the victims and their descendants continue to be marginalized and unrecognized. These injustices are holding back Indonesia from achieving reconciliation and realizing its democratic potential. Here in the United States, we must encourage the continued democratic progress of a vital ally, and we must confront our own role in these terrible acts. Only by acknowledging the truth about our own history will the United States be able to speak out forcibly and credibly to defend human rights in the future.”

Indonesia, which had been a loose colony of the Netherlands for centuries, declared their independence in August 1945 and created the modern state of Indonesia, with the socialist and anti-imperialist Sukarno as the new nation’s first president. Sukarno attempted to balance the military, political Islam and communism in a policy called “Nasakom” and was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement with other formerly colonized countries like Egypt and India.

But over time, Sukarno favored his communist allies more, especially those abroad in China and the Soviet Union. Poverty and hunger besieged the world’s third largest communist country, and Indonesia accrued huge debts to Beijing and Moscow. Sukarno also cracked down on Islamists and attempted to weaken the society’s military elements through measures like the creation of a communist-aligned peasant militia.

After a failed coup against Sukarno in September 1965 that the military blamed on the Indonesian communist party and Chinese actors, the nation quickly dissolved into a brief but extremely bloody purge. The military and Islamists allied to annihilate Sukarno’s regime, slaughtering the communist party’s leadership. The documents also suggested that the US embassy had credible evidence that the coup was not orchestrated by the communists — later analysis would question the Indonesian military’s claim, and the culprits and motivation behind the coup attempt remain under dispute.

The rebellion’s leader, Major General Suharto, seized control of the presidency and placed Sukarno under house arrest, where he died in 1970 of kidney failure. Suharto would remain the nation’s US-friendly military dictator until he was forced to resign in 1998.

The legacy of the massacre remains complicated in Indonesia. School textbooks briefly discuss a “patriotic campaign,” a national uprising where 80,000 communist oppressors were killed. A 2016 symposium meant to discuss the tragedy was met with severe backlash, and in September 2017 an anti-communist mob disrupted a meeting of activists to discuss the massacre.

Indonesia massacres: Declassified US files shed new light

Indonesia massacres: Declassified US files shed new light
Relatives visit the site that is believed to be the burial ground for victims of a 1965 massacreImage copyright EPA
Image caption Relatives visit a site believed to be the burial ground for victims

The US knew people were being “delivered for slaughter” during a political purge in Indonesia during the 1960s, declassified documents reveal.

At least 500,000 people were killed between 1965 and 1966, after the army and local Muslim militia went on a rampage following an attempted coup.

It was one of the worst massacres of the 20th Century, but, at the time, Washington remained silent.

But these newly released memos reveal they had detailed knowledge of events.

The documents show US staff describing them in telegrams as “slaughter” and at times “indiscriminate killings”, exposing an intimate knowledge of the Indonesian army’s operations to “completely clean up” the Communist Party and leftist groups.

It is thought as many as three million could have lost their lives within a year.

Young people stood outside an hotel in Indonesia with a military armoured vehicle on stand byImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The events of 1965-66 have been taboo for over 50 years in Indonesia

The violence – which was a taboo topic in Indonesia for almost 50 years and remains extremely sensitive even today – was unleashed after communists were accused of killing six generals at the end of September 1965.

It was the peak of the Cold War, and the struggle for power between the Communists, the military and Islamist groups was in full swing.

‘Delivered for slaughter’

Five decades later, the contents of the US telegrams are chilling.

According to one from US embassy staff in East Java, dated 28 December 1965, “victims are taken out of populous areas before being killed and bodies are buried rather than thrown in river” as they had been previously.

The telegram says prisoners suspected of being communists are also “being delivered to civilians for slaughter”.

Another document compiled by the US embassy’s first secretary, dated 17 December 1965, was a detailed list of the communist leaders across the country and whether they had been arrested or killed.

But the documents also make for uncomfortable reading for Indonesia’s biggest and most powerful Muslim organisations.

Young people holding flags with Arabic inscriptionsImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Muslim students in Jakarta demanding a ban of communist groups in 1965

A December 1965 cable from the US consulate in Medan in Sumatra said that Muhammadiyah preachers were telling people it was a religious obligation to “kill suspected communists”. They were the lowest order of infidel, “the shedding of whose blood is comparable to killing chicken”, the report said.

The US cable said this was being interpreted as a “wide licence for killing”.

Another telegram notes that people with no connection to the Communist Party were being killed by the youth arm of Nahdlatul Ulama because of “personal feuds”.

Breaking the silence

Brad Simpson, founder and director of the Indonesia and East Timor documentation project, pushed for the files’ release

“These documents show in great detail just how aware US officials were of how many people were being killed,” said Mr Simpson, noting “the US stance at the time was silence”.

Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono also says his extensive research has found no public comments from the US government at the time about the killings.

Mr Simpson said there was growing public interest in Indonesia to know the truth after years of state anti-communism propaganda.

Oscar-nominated film The Act of KillingImage copyright Kevin Winter
Image caption Oscar-nominated film The Act of Killing re-enacted the mass executions

“Indonesians can now read for themselves and learn about these important events in Indonesian history as part of a larger struggle for justice and accountability,” he said.

The 39 formerly classified documents come from a collection of files, daily records and memos from the US embassy in Jakarta during the period 1964-1968.

They have been released by the National Declassification Centre, a division of the US government’s National Archives and Records Administration. More documents, including CIA files, are set to be released later this year.

Revisiting the violence

Lieutenant General Agus Widjojo’s father was one of the Indonesian generals killed in the alleged communist coup.

When the BBC showed Gen Widjojo the documents released on Tuesday, he said: “I cannot say anything to justify or reject what is explained in these documents, but basically the tragedy of 1965 was a struggle for power between the Communist Party and the army.”

He denied knowledge of reports in the US memos about ethnic Chinese being killed in the violence and their businesses being burnt down.

“I have no knowledge that the violence went as far as that, the intensity of the violence and the atrocities I have no first-hand witness or information,” he said.

But he believes the country needs to go through a truth-telling process.

After 50 years, the Indonesian government is going to investigate one of the worst massacres of the 20th Century.

“We should bring all parties concerned together to share their experiences but there must be one condition – the victims, they have to be at peace, they have to move on and see in reflection the tragedy of 1965 from the point of view of Indonesia in 2017.”

He says Indonesian society, including his own institution, the military, is not ready to openly discuss the killings. Attempts at holding seminars to mark the anniversary of the killings last month were shut down by violent demonstrations from right-wing groups.

A 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary, The Act of Killing, is among a list of films about the killings banned in Indonesia.

“We are not looking for a situation to reopen the wounds, we are looking for a situation to heal the wounds and to move on,” he said., “We would like to focus on what went wrong as a society that we were able to conduct such violence and such killings in such large numbers in such a short time.”

Reporting by the BBC’s Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta.

 

Condemn Spain’s Repression of Catalonia – Defend the National Right to Self-Determination

Condemn Spain’s Repression of Catalonia – Defend the National Right to Self-Determination

Oct. 6, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada condemns the savage violence of the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy exercised against the Catalan population, in order to prevent voting in a referendum on October 1, 2017 to decide on their future as a nation.

According to the Catalan authorities, more than 800 people were wounded by police forces, including nearly 100 more severely.

While Rajoy rejoiced that the Spanish state had succeeded in preventing the referendum “with all its strength”, the Catalan regional government announced that more than 90% of the 2.2 million ballots that could be counted supported the independence option. The police did manage to close 319 polling stations and seize the ballot boxes, so that approximately 770,000 ballots could not be counted. In total about 56% of the 5.3 million registered voters cast a ballot, or were prevented from voting by the repression.

This situation follows the Catalan regional parliament’s decision on September 6 to hold the Oct. 1 referendum on self-determination. After the referendum was declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court, the Spanish government announced three days later that it would not recognise the result. About a million Catalan people went into the streets of Barcelona to demand the right of self-determination, that is, the right to decide for themselves.

On September 20, the Spanish police stormed the Catalan government, conducting searches and arresting a dozen senior officials, including the Minister of Finance, under the pretext of “disobedience”, “prevarication” and “misappropriation of funds” in connection with the organisation of the referendum. Again, thousands went into the streets of Barcelona to protest the arrests.

When the central government announced its intention to use force to prevent voting, thousands of people occupied the voting places. Although opinion polls initially did not give the majority of votes to the independence option, ironically, the authoritarian acts of the central government eventually seem to have rallied more and more people.

Following the vote, the Catalan authorities considered that a majority had clearly expressed themselves in favour of secession. They met behind closed doors to discuss the next steps in their plan to declare independence and separation from Spain, defying the Rajoy government. Forty-four Catalan organisations, including the main Catalan trade unions and two pro-independence associations, called for a one-day general strike and mobilisation on Tuesday October 3.

The authoritarian drift of the Spanish government, according to the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, is a qualitative leap in the process of liquidating freedoms during recent years. Today, this attack by the Rajoy government is launched against the right of the people of Catalonia, and imposes the de facto liquidation of the Generalitat (the political organization of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia). Tomorrow, it will be the rights of assembly and protest, and thus step by step, to the right to collective bargaining, the right to strike, etc., always justified by “defence of the law”.

The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) also supported the mobilizations to defend democratic freedoms and the right of national self-determination, calling for steps to restore normal democratic life, and for “an agreement between the [Spanish and Catalan] administrations that gives the Catalan people the right to vote peacefully with the full guarantee of being able to decide on the different ways of organizing themselves as a nation”, and to guarantee the social and labour rights that the two governments have undermined since 2010. Following the repression of Oct. 1, the PCE called for the resignation of President Rajoy, and for mobilization of the social and democratic forces of the whole country to find a way out of the crisis and avoid any unilateral action that would deepen it.

Silence of foreign governments

The European Commission considers the referendum illegal, and therefore supports the Spanish Government, declaring that this is an internal matter which must be settled in accordance with the constitutional order of Spain. The Commission says that “in today’s times we need unity and stability, not division and fragmentation.”

Most countries in Europe have also avoided pronouncing on this crisis. The French and U.S. presidents openly supported the Rajoy government, urging a united Spain.

Amnesty International has been content to deplore the use of excessive force employed by some police officers in the performance of their duties. According to AI, “the tensions are very strong, it is essential that Spanish legislation such as international human rights law be respected.”

The Canadian government said that “the question of [Catalonia] is a matter for the internal affairs of Spain.” Canada wants “a solution to the country’s internal debates to be found in harmony and respect for its constitutional framework,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Strangely, that is not what the Canadian government has said in the case of Venezuela. Minister Freeland has happily interfered in the internal affairs of that country, especially when she openly attacked the Constituent Assembly election, which is provided for in the the Venezuelan Constitution, and by adopting economic sanctions against its political leaders.

On the other hand, in the Quebec National Assembly, the Couillard government first observed the same silence and invoked non-interference in the affairs of Spain. Premier Couillard has even maliciously tried to oppose the right to self-determination of Aboriginal nations to that of Quebec. But on October 4, fearing the public opinion very sensitive to the violence committed by the Spanish government at one year of the next election in Quebec, a motion was unanimously adopted denouncing that violence and calling for a recovery of the political dialogue between Catalonia and Spain with international mediation if both parties consented.

The real reason for this silence is that the Canadian state does not recognize the right of self-determination for the nations that make up this country, up to and including the right to secede. By not criticising the force used by Spain against Catalonia, it actually reserves the possibility of doing the same thing here.

While the Canadian state tolerated the holding of referendums in Quebec in 1980 and 1995, it subsequently passed the “Clarity Act”, which gives the federal government authority over the question, and the interpretation of the voting result. This is a complete denial of the right to self-determination, and it is imperative that the Canadian working class reject this form of national oppression.

Among the various components of the working class in this country, the Communist Party of Canada defends the idea of mutual recognition of the right to national self-determination, up to and including secession. Our aim is to promote unity and solidarity of the multinational working class in its struggle for socialism, and to reduce distrust and barriers which can divide workers along national lines, under the leadership of their respective bourgeoisies.

Central Executive Committee, CPC

Georgi Dimitrov: An Antidote to False Prophets and Naysayers

A new posting –

Georgi Dimitrov: An Antidote to False Prophets and Naysayers

– from Greg Godels is available at:
http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/

By Zoltan Zigedy (Greg Godels)October 16, 2017

Marxists have been prolific correspondents, engaging others in polemics and collective ideas. The Marx and Engels correspondences, for example, number 1,386 letters! Marxism is, or should be, a collaborative effort.

Thus, I read the recent Sam Webb/Max Elbaum correspondence with some interest. Webb was the National Chairperson of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) for fourteen years until 2014. Elbaum was a sympathetic chronicler and active leader of the so-called “New Communist Movement” (NCM) in the 1970s. It is important to note that the CPUSA and the NCM were bitter rivals at that time.

So, it is strange that they exchange warm emails today, sharing the pleasantries of senior life–swimming, camping, time with grandkids, and marathon running– while adding their voices to the chorus calling for an all-out effort on behalf of the Democratic Party in the 2018 elections.

Or is it strange?

Webb holds the dubious distinction of leading the CPUSA down the rabbit hole of irrelevance. After the death of long-time CPUSA leader, Gus Hall, Webb and his cohorts transformed the CPUSA into a social democratic organization, eschewing both the legacy of the Communist Party and much of its organizational structure. Webb further entrenched the “lesser-of-two-evil” electoral strategy that began with the panic over the Reagan victory in 1980. The final years of Hall’s chairmanship and the Webb era snuffed out the last measures of the CPUSA’s political independence, turning it into a servile handmaiden to the Democratic Party.

Webb resigned from the eviscerated CPUSA the year after he gave up the national chair.

Elbaum’s career emerged very differently, but landed in nearly the same place as Webb’s. Elbaum, like many other veterans from the 1960s student movement, moved away from the radical democratic reformism of that era in the direction of a more anti-capitalist ideology, Marxism-Leninism. Unable to overcome their infection with the anti-Communist virus of the Cold War, many were drawn to the militant rhetoric of the Communist Party of China (CPC) that was simultaneously befriending Nixon’s administration and roundly condemning the Soviet Communists and most of the World Communist Movement. With amazing chutzpah, Elbaum and the New Communist Movement found no contradiction in the two positions. But by the end of the 1970s, the opportunism of the CPC was more than even the most faithful could hold their noses and swallow. China’s Communists had sided with the US against every legitimate liberation movement in Africa, including the ANC. The Red Guard anarchy and the Gang of Four excesses tested the conviction of the devoted, leading to defection for all but the most cultish.

Elbaum’s political journey continued, but swung sharply away from Leninism. The hyper-sectarian model embraced by NCM generated a sharp reaction, an extreme swing away from the classic Leninist notion of a vanguard party with a centralized, but democratic structure. Having little or no experience with Leninism apart from the brief heyday of the NCM, Elbaum began a steady retreat towards social democracy, a trend expressed in the US by investing in the perceived positive, progressive potential of the Democratic Party. Where Webb argues for unquestioned conformity to the Democratic Party leadership, Elbaum opts for a more critical attitude with the hope of steering the Democrats leftward.

Judging by the odyssey of Sam Webb and Max Elbaum, many roads lead disillusioned radicals, Marxist short-timers, and weak-kneed Communists back to the Democratic Party. Of course, many of the privileged (and violence-prone), elite-school New Lefties have been welcomed back to the Democratic Party as well.

In retrospect, two notions have provided excuses for disillusioned Marxists to retreat to the social democratic camp: first, the perceived threat of fascism as present or around the corner and, secondly, the firmly held conviction that resistance to fascism necessitates some kind of broad, anti-fascist front. Both notions, though widely cited, belong to the theoretical legacy of the Marxist-Leninist left. And both were elaborated most clearly and authoritatively by the Communist theoretician of fascism, Georgi Dimitrov.

Dimitrov on Fascism and Anti-fascism
Hardly a day goes by without someone on the left raising the shrill alarm of fascism. As Diana Johnstone reminds us in her brilliant essay on Antifa, “…historical fascism no longer exists.” What does exist, however are movements, formations, and personalities that bear various common features with historical fascism. Of course, we should not diminish the active role of these movements, formations, and personalities in their vicious attacks on the democratic and economic gains won by working people.

But these elements have always been a part of the political landscape of the US, both before, during and after the era of historical fascism– the Know Nothing Party, the Ku Klux Klan, the Liberty League, Father Coughlin, Joseph McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, the John Birch Society, George Wallace, the Tea Party, Trumpets and Trumpettes, etc. It is far harder to identify a time in US history when the fascist-like elements did not exist as a significant force. For that reason, vigilance and militant resistance is always important. But that is a far cry from urging that something identical with historical fascism is now imminent. If the wolf is always lurking in the shadows, is it helpful to cry “wolf”?

This should in no way be construed as a dismissal or underestimation of many of the forces arrayed around and unleashed by President Trump. They, like their predecessors, are present as a reserve army for the ruling class should political matters get out of hand. They should be met with the same resolute resistance as the left has mounted in the past against rabid hate-mongers and right-wing terrorists.

Historical fascism arose as a response to the success of revolutionary socialism, in Dimitrov’s words: “Fascism comes to power as a party of attack on the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, on the mass of the people who are in a state of unrest…” Clearly, there are, with perhaps a few exceptions, no serious threats to capitalist rule today, certainly not in the United States; there are few revolutionary movements contesting state power. There can be no counter-revolutionary “open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, most chauvinistic and most imperialist elements of finance capital” when there is no revolution to counter.

While Dimitrov warns of the dangers of fascistic tendencies and urges their resistance, he reminds us that: “The accession to power of fascism is not an ordinary succession of one bourgeois government by another, but a substitution of one state form of class domination of the bourgeoisie — bourgeois democracy — by another form — open terrorist dictatorship.” Few of the harbingers of fascism today acknowledge this point. Since the right in the US manages its agenda well within the confines of a corporate dominated two-party system, why would it need to move to an open terrorist dictatorship?

In a real sense, the premature cry of “fascism!” disarms the revolutionary left, the advocates of socialism. Instead of building an alternative to the failed two-party system, a system that demonstrates a constant rightward shift, Webb, Elbaum, and far too many on the left argue for compromise with those who have been fully compliant with this rightward drift. They misunderstand or distort much of what we have learned about historical fascism.

Contrary to the vulgar distortion of Dimitrov’s views, fascism did not come to power in Germany because sectarian Communists refused to work with Social Democrats. Dimitrov is clear on this: “Fascism was able to come to power primarily because the working class, owing to the policy of class collaboration with the bourgeoisie pursued by Social Democratic leaders, proved to be split, politically and organizationally disarmed, in face of the onslaught of the bourgeoisie…” and owing to “…their campaign against the Communists and [failure] to accept the repeated proposals of the Communist Party for united action against fascism.”

Webb and Elbaum neither understand the historical basis of fascism nor grasp the Marxist theory of united front designed to meet the fascist danger when it arises. Rather than viewing the united front as a specific historical response to a specific historical development, they generalize the united front tactic to a universal response to the ascendency of the right.

If fascism is on the horizon, they argue, then we need to adopt a united front policy that brings together any and all forces willing to stand in its way. But that is not the lesson that Georgi Dimitrov– the Communist who stood against and defied the Nazi judiciary when charged with the Reichstag fire– drew from the experience of historical fascism:

Whether the victory of fascism can be prevented depends first and foremost on the militant activity of the working class itself, on whether its forces are welded into a single militant army combating the offensive of capitalism and fascism. By establishing its fighting unity, the proletariat would paralyze the influence of fascism over the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, the youth and the intelligentsia, and would be able to neutralize one section of them and win over the other section.

Second, it depends on the existence of a strong revolutionary party, correctly leading the struggle of the working people against fascism. A party which systematically calls on the workers to retreat in the face of fascism and permits the fascist bourgeoisie to strengthen its positions is doomed to lead the workers to defeat… [my italics]

Both Webb and Elbaum have long given up on building “a strong revolutionary party,” either for its own sake or for a battle against fascism. Instead, they take their lead from the Democratic Party, a pathetic answer to the rightward shift of the last four decades.

They fail to grasp the application of the united front strategy to US conditions. Rather than tail the Democrats, Dimitrov, writing specifically in 1935 about the US, called for the creation of a third party and for a decisive break with the bourgeois parties (the Democrats and the Republicans):
It is perfectly obvious that the interests of the American proletariat demand that all its forces dissociate themselves from the capitalist parties without delay. It must find in good time ways and suitable forms to prevent fascism from winning over the wide mass of discontented working people. And here it must be said that under American conditions the creation of a mass party of the working people, a Workers’ and Farmers’ Party, might serve as such a suitable form. Such a party would be a specific form of the mass People’s Front in America and should be put in opposition to the parties of the trusts and the banks, and likewise to growing fascism. Such a party, of course, will be neither Socialist nor Communist. But it must be an anti-fascist party and must not be an anti-Communist party.

Of course, this was written at a moment when historical fascism was at its zenith internationally. Today, without the imminent threat of fascism, the prescription for a break with the Democrats is even more urgent.

It is not simply a question of stopping fascism, but a question of winning people away from it with a peoples’ program.
Those who confuse the anti-fascist united front with capitulation to the leadership of liberals or social democrats often see the problem of united action as left-sectarianism. Certainly, sectarianism, characterized by Dimitrov as finding “…expression particularly in overestimating the revolutionization of the masses, in overestimating the speed at which they are abandoning the positions of reformism, and in attempting to leap over difficult stages and the complicated tasks of the movement…” was then and remains a significant obstacle to building a Communist Party or a third party.

But Dimitrov gave equal attention to the dangers of right opportunism:
…we must increase in every way our vigilance toward Right opportunism and the struggle against it and against every one of its concrete manifestations, bearing in mind that the danger of Right opportunism will increase in proportion as the broad united front develops. Already there are tendencies to reduce the role of the Communist Party in the ranks of the united front and to effect a reconciliation with Social-Democratic ideology.

Nor must we lose sight of the fact that the tactics of the united front are a method of clearly convincing the Social-Democratic workers of the correctness of the Communist policy and the incorrectness of the reformist policy, and that they are not a reconciliation with Social-Democratic ideology and practice. A successful struggle to establish the united front imperatively demands constant struggle in our ranks against tendencies to depreciate the role of the Party, against legalist illusions, against reliance on spontaneity and automatism, both in liquidating fascism and in implementing the united front against the slightest vacillation at the moment of decisive action.

Thus, it is a mistake to surrender the revolutionary program to appease tactical alliances or coalitions. Joint action is possible, maybe essential at times, but without sacrificing the integrity and revolutionary ideology to tactical partners. This is a nuance lost on those rushing to uncritically embrace the electoral slates of the Democratic Party and to hide the goal of socialism under a basket.

Those abandoning the struggle against capitalism, for socialism, should be honest about their change of heart. They should not hide behind an inflated threat or a misrepresented tactic.

Historical fascism was a mortal, worldwide threat in the 1930s and 1940s. Communists devised special tactics to broaden and deepen the fight against it. They did so without illusions about the commitment of other forces or without corrupting or compromising their principles. They led and won that fight, except, unfortunately, in Spain.

A similar threat may arise again when revolutionary forces present an existential challenge to the conventional rule of the capitalist class.
Or it may not. That will depend, as Dimitrov points out, on the balance of forces between revolutionaries and their adversaries.

But those who imagine a world without capitalism should not be misled by false prophets who pretend to find a road to socialism through the Democratic Party. Those who aspire to socialism should not be seduced by naysayers who insist that the struggle for socialism should be postponed until all of the specters and ghouls of the right are exorcised.

100th anniversary of the October Revolution: Speech by the GS of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas
| October 17, 2017 | 9:19 pm | Communist Party Greece (KKE), USSR | No comments

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

100th anniversary of the October Revolution: Speech by the GS of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/100th-anniversary-of-october-revolution.html
Speech by the Secretary General of the CC of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas at the internationalist event hosted by the KKE in Athens, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution / Source: inter.kke.gr.
Dear comrades,
We honour here at the headquarters of the CC of the KKE the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution, a great epic of struggles and sacrifices for the construction of a new society, without the exploitation of man by man, which the peoples experienced and continue to experience under capitalism and also under the previous exploitative social systems.
This epic, which began victoriously in the country of the Soviets inspired the working class and the peoples all over the world.

“It was born” in the blood of the imperialist 1st World War.

From it emerged its own heroic figures:
– The heroic red guards, who protected Soviet Power in revolutionary Russia, during the imperialist intervention of 14 capitalist states.
– Millions of communists and leading workers, who defied the decisions of the courts, and even the guns of the bourgeois armies and waged tough battles.
The millions who crushed fascism, which emerged from the bowels of capitalisms and is the “flesh of its flesh”.
We salute the presence, here at the headquarters of the CC of the KKE, at today’s event, of the Communist and Workers’ parties that participate in the efforts of the “International Communist Review”.
Our party particularly appreciates the effort of the ICR, the joint effort of a number of parties that base themselves on Marxism-Leninism, defend the revolutionary principles and at the same time study and form a modern revolutionary strategy at a national and international level.
After the restoration of capitalism in the USSR and other socialist countries, it is very difficult even impossible to inspire, to play a leading role in the workers’-people’s movement, which is rising up, to have some results against the most reactionary offensive of capital since World War II, against the new cycle of imperialist interventions and wars, if we do not assimilate and use the assessments, experience and lessons from socialist construction in our strategy
There are new features in the general developments that must increase the level of demands in the international communist movement, in the international labour movement.
We live in a period when the old is dying and the new is struggling to be born.
Despite the global domination of capitalism and its apparently undeniable victory over the last 30 years after the counterrevolution, capitalism is permeated with very sharp contradictions and implacable antagonisms between various capitalist states, their military-political and economic-political alliances, antagonisms that have led to wars and realignments.
These contradictions are intrinsic to capitalism, especially in its monopoly stage, namely imperialism.
The phenomena of decay, parasitism, the varied destruction of forces of production are intensifying in this period.
These are consequences related mainly to the expansion of the gap between the productive potential of our era and the level of satisfaction of the contemporary social needs.
A new, more synchronized economic crisis is gestating, as well as the sharpening of the struggle for the control of markets, energy resources and the transport routes of oil and natural gas.
The basic contradiction between capital and labour is intensifying.
The trend of the absolute and relative destitution of the working class is being reinforced.
The percentage of the long-term, permanently unemployed is increasing.
The rate of exploitation of the working class is also increasing in the most developed capitalist economies.
All the social contradictions are intensifying.
The communist and workers’ parties that base themselves on scientific socialism must take initiatives, not just to coordinate the struggle, to promote some just worker’s demands all over the capitalist world, but also to form a unified revolutionary strategy against the strategy of capital.
Such efforts cannot be made by parties that have given up on the goal of the socialist revolution and worker’s power and have chosen the path of managing capitalism.
These efforts can only be made by communist parties that believe in the overthrow of the barbaric capitalist system and the construction of the new socialist-communist society.
Dear comrades,
Proletarian Internationalism was and remains a strong weapon in the hands of the communists and the working class, against the attempts of the bourgeois and opportunists to spread division amongst the workers.
No isolated specific feature, no existing or fabricated secondary contradiction, such as “North-South”, “Centre-Periphery”, “developed-under-developed countries”, “Golden Billion-rest of the world”and other such things, can eliminate the basic contradiction between capital and labour or the necessity for the working class to emancipate itself and achieve workers’ power.
Of course the communists, in forming our tactics, take into account the situation in each country, the course of the class struggle, various contradictions, but this cannot be at the expense of our strategy and the general laws for the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of the socialist-communist society.
In any case, tactics are integral component of strategy. They are the flexible element of strategy.
An issue that was borne out by the October Revolution is that 100 years ago, in a relatively backward country in relation to other advanced western countries, with many vestiges of previous social systems, capitalism had created the material preconditions for the construction of the new socialist society.
This socialist society provided enormous impetus to the development of the productive forces, overcoming backwardness and centuries old prejudices.
As today, the necessity and timeliness of socialism in even more intense, we cannot speak in a general and abstract way about some vision of socialism, without answering some fair questions in an objective way.
Why was socialist construction interrupted?
Was this development inevitable? Or was it due to specific factors and what were they?
At the same time, there needs to be an evaluation of the strategy of the International Communist Movement in the implacable international confrontation between the socialist and capitalist systems.
The counterrevolution and the current negative correlation of forces does not alter this fact, that a socialist revolution was carried out and socialism was constructed.
They do not change the character of our era, as an era of the transition from capitalism to socialism, as this emerges from the impasses of the capitalist mode of production itself, such as the crises, wars, unemployment, poverty and other torments for the peoples.
The October Revolution confirmed that for the working class to be able to fight for power it must establish its own social alliance with the poor farmers, oppressed urban strata.
It must conquer political power,create its own institutions of workers’ power, which based on the superiority of central scientific planning, on the solid terrain safeguarded by social ownership of the means production, the factories, the domestic energy resources, mineral wealth, land, infrastructure will develop the productive forces for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the people, rejecting once and for all economic categories such as capitalist profit.
At the same time, October highlighted the irreplaceable role of the revolutionary political vanguard, the communist party, which must demonstrate persistence, stability in terms of its revolutionary line and goal and at the same time adapt to the ups and downs of the class struggle so that the necessary measures are taken for the more decisive and effective confrontation against the forces of capital.
The necessity of proper preparation was apparent so that the working class and its party, the vanguard, can struggle in all conditions, in all forms of struggle, with endurance and self-sacrifice and to acquire a high level of ability so that they can make their mark on the developments in the revolutionary situation.
However, the role of the CP is distinguished not only as the leading force of the socialist revolution, but during the entire course of the class struggle in various forms in order for the new communist society to be shaped, strengthened and finally be victorious.
In all the historical phases, both in the period of preparation, as well as during the revolution itself, even more so during socialist construction, the need for the CP to maintain a strong front against opportunism was apparent.
Opportunism is a vehicle of bourgeois ideology and politics in the labour movement, and as we saw from the experience of the USSR after the 20th Congress of the CPSU and more openly during the period of Perestroika, it is transformed into a counterrevolutionary political force.
Dear comrades,
The 70-year existence of the USSR demonstrated that, despite the weaknesses and criticisms, socialism is a superior socio-economic system.
A system that can safeguard the right to work for all and solve major problems, such as free health-care, education, housing, transport, leisure and many other things that capitalism cannot and does not seek to solve, as they are spheres for the profitability and speculation of capital.
The historical contribution of the USSR to humanity was enormous.
Not only was it an inspiration for all the labour-people’s-revolutionary movements, but its work in every field of daily life, science, culture, sports, created a great legacy.
Demonstrating that the construction of a new society is possible.
That the barbarity of capitalism is not the end of history.
We well know that no previous socio-economic system (not even capitalism) was established in a single moment.
That the socialist society is the lowest phase of the communism and not an independent stage between capitalism and socialism.
It does not mean because we are active in the era of the transition from capitalism to socialism that there cannot be a capitalist restoration in one or more countries as a consequence, e.g., of the negative correlation of forces.
However, these general and correct assessments cannot lead us into concealing or excusing specific mistakes, mishaps, deficiencies and serious weaknesses that are related to the subjective factor, to the party above all, during the course of socialist construction, as well as in the international communist movement (ICM) in its confrontation against imperialism.
We are referring to specific political choices that altered, initially at a gradual rate, and later rapidly the class character and scientific basis of the political line of the CPs, and ended up as an opportunist deviation.
Unfortunately, they were not effectively resisted, even if there were such forces willing to do so. However, in the end, the course to capitalist restoration and the opportunist corrosion of the ICM became irreversible in this specific period.
We recognize that, especially after the 2nd World War and in the USSR in particular, new needs and unprecedented issues arose in terms of the course of socialist construction, as of course there was no previous experience or detailed and elaborated plan for construction.
This, however, does not excuse the responsibility of the subjective factor, of the CP, whose leading role is dialectically related to the guidance of workers power and the active mobilization of the masses.
And in these conditions of capitalism and in the conditions of socialism, the party must be more advanced than the consciousness of masses.
In socialism, however, there is the potential and therefore the responsibility to strengthen the socialist elements, practically reinforcing the value of communist relations of production, with socialist construction aiming to approach socialism, in the sense of consciously overcoming features of immaturity which socialism has as the lower imperfect phase of communism.
The womb that gave birth to mistaken views and choices that transformed into the socio-political and ideological force of the counterrevolution is to be found in the fact that while after the 2nd World War and the impressive reconstruction of the Soviet economy from the destruction from the war, while the development of the productive forces received new impetus, political decisions for the expansion of communist relations in agricultural production, decisions, in addition, which would have led to measures to develop and orient industry to resolve issues of mechanization and infrastructure, to form the suitable central planning.
During the period of the preparation and realization of the 19th Congress there was a significant and positive confrontation between various viewpoints. Some on the one side supported the role of commodity-money relations and the market in socialism and on the other side there were generally correct views that the law of value and commodity-money relations must not regulate socialist production and distribution, something that led to the realization of the fact that the Kolkoz and the circulation of products for private consumption in form of commodities had bean to become an obstacle to the development of the productive forces.
Unfortunately the above-initially correctly based-positions did not become the object of complete scientific theoretical work, consequently they could not effectively oppose the pro-market views that flourished not only in the ideological field but influenced the social base in the Kolkoz, amongst management cadres in agricultural production and industry.
Despite all this, the developments had not been determined once and for all. A turning point for the prevalence of the opportunist deviation in socialist construction was the 20th Congress of 1956, which in the name of dealing with existing problems, strengthened views about commodity-money relations, “market socialism”, which in turn led to the weakening of central planning, to the policy of the self-management of enterprises, to the forming of commodity-money relations horizontally between enterprises, which meant the dissolution of central planning.
Problems also emerged in the strategy of the ICM, which of course were rooted not only in the CPs that led worker’s power in the socialist countries, but also in the CPs of the capitalist countries, especially of Western Europe, which exerted in turn a general pressure in the ranks of the ICM.
The underestimation of capitalist reconstruction after the 2nd World War, in combination with the mistaken assessment that due to the creation of postwar socialist system there was the possibility of peaceful coexistence of the two systems played and important role as fertile ground for deviations.
In the assessment about the favourable change at the expense of imperialism, they calculated the role of the so-called non-aligned countries, i.e. of bourgeois states that had not entered imperialist alliances and unions, while in some cases, bourgeois movements that sought to upgrade their position in the global capitalist market or abolish vestiges of the colonial system in favour of the local bourgeoisie were considered to be anti-monopoly-antiimperialist movements.
The opportunist line of peaceful coexistence that existed with the view about a variety of forms of transition to socialism prevailed at the 20th Congress and were linked to the alleged possibilities for a parliamentary road to socialism under some some conditions, with the expansion of bourgeois democratic freedoms as the vehicle.
Pre-existing positions regarding the participation or support of CPs for governments on the terrain of capitalism, with the criterion of utilizing contradictions with the USA, with bourgeois forces that were separated into “national patriotic forces” and “anti-patriotic subservient forces”, an issue that demonstrated that the relations of dependence and inequality were not assessed as an element intrinsic to the capitalist system, but were identified with subordinate policies.
A serious factor that led to the reinforcement of deviations in opposition to the need for a revolutionary strategy was the fear of a nuclear war.
Of course, some of the above ideological and political views and choices did not arise only in the postwar period, but emerged in essence in the inter-war period in decisions and and congresses of the Communist International.
After the war, the character of the elaborated and flexible strategy of capitalism towards socialism was underestimated, which was based after a point on the understanding that a foreign military intervention was no longer realistic, but the encirclement in other ways, as well as the utilization of difficulties in socialist construction and the deviations in the ranks of the CPs and ICM.
Serious warnings, not just signs, were underestimated about the relationship between internal deviations and the tactic of imperialist encirclement, which began with a systematic psychological warfare, also networks aimed at undermining socialism, triggering counterrevolutionary developments, and even the role of the IMF, of economic and trade relations of various socialist states that bordered the USSR.
Phenomena related to inciting and supporting counterrevolutionary activity existed in the 1950s. Especially later in the 1970s and 1980s, while the victory and overthrow of Allende’s Popular Unity in Chile, the Carnations Revolution in Portugal, and the assessment of the capitalist economic crisis of 1973 were not thoroughly studied and taken on board.
Only the restoration of the revolutionary strategy of the ICM could deal with the imperialist interventionist policies and the opportunist deviations.
Through the decisive struggle against opportunism and reformism.
Through the restoration of the laws of socialist construction and the abolition of the strategy of stages and intermediate forms of power.
As the KKE, we fully understand that we have a long way in front of us in order to deepen our analysis of he factors that the led to the counterrevolution even further.
At the same time, we must constantly study the developments in the capitalist world, without shying away from sacrifices in the daily struggles to improve the position of the workers and deal with new attacks.
However, in this struggle we must acquire the maturity and readiness to respond in revolutionary conditions which cannot be predicted, when they will break out and in what form, in one or more countries.
We must help the preparation of the peoples so that they do not follow the banners of their bourgeois classes in the conditions of imperialist war, regardless of whether the one or the other state was the first to carry out the military attack or is on the defensive.
They must struggle to exit the war, if it cannot be prevented, fighting not only against the bourgeois class that is leading the war but also against the bourgeois class of their own country, because the bourgeoisie does not wish to and cannot guarantee peace and the protection of the homeland of the worker, the employee, the poor popular strata.
The revolutionary enthusiasm, the appetite for sacrifice, the communist selflessness and internationalist solidarity, are not just big talk and slogans for us.
They are based on the indivisible unity of theory and practice.
On the historical experience of the ICM and our party.
On the contribution of socialist construction.
On the position at the end of our Party programme:
The KKE has traveled a long way and has a long way to go because “the cause of the proletariat, communism, is the most universally human, the deepest, the broadest
LONG LIVE THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE OCTOBER SOCIALIST REVOLUTION
LONG LIVE MARXISM-LENINISM AND PROLETARIAN INTERNATIONALISM
PCPE: The right of self-determination is unviable within the Spanish capitalist framework

Monday, October 16, 2017

PCPE: The right of self-determination is unviable within the Spanish capitalist framework

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/pcpe-right-of-self-determination-is.html

The Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE) issued a statement on the last events in Catalonia.
The statment of the Political Secretariat of the PCPE discussed the last events in Catalonia and decisions of the Council of Ministers. It  reminded that since the beginning of these events the Party had been “warning for months about the invalidity of the independentist process in Catalonia“. The Party underlined the reasons “why the exercise of the right of self-determination is unviable within the Spanish capitalist framework”.
The statement said “Capitalism has nothing to do with democracy, but with the monopoly of violence, which is today exclusively in the hands of the Spanish Government. The statement made yesterday (October 10, 2017) by the President of the Generalitat proves that the direction of the independentist process does not count, nor can count, on the strength to impose indenpendence. Large sectors of the Catalan people have been lead to a dead-end road which will generate a huge feeling of frustration.
It was observed that the contribution of some sectors of the Catalan nationalist left was “remarkable“. The Party assessed that this is due to the wrong strategy to struggle under the flag of those who “brutally repressed the workers’ struggle and approved ruthless capitalist policies together with the Socialist Party and the Popular Party in the past.” It stated that the independentist process which has suffered a harsh political defeat is represented by the Catalan bourgeoisie as part of the “Spanish dominant class clear since October 1“.
The PCPE criticized the supporters of the independence movement of not understanding “the class structure in current Spain” and warned that “the division among workers has alarmingly grown, the reaction has increased and fascist hate demonstrations have multiplied“. The statement underlined that “The Spanish bourgeoisie has been given the perfect excuse to keep going on the reorganisation of the State, currently in process, under a deeply reactionary sense.” The Spanish State is forcing the Government of Catalonia to submit, rejecting any mediation or negotiation which means that bourgeois politics on both sides “dwells on the popular feelings and the lives of millions of workers.”
The Communist Party called all workers and the popular strata, especially women workers and the youth “to defend their common interests beyond any nationalist division”. The call included to stop the advance of reaction and fascism, to stop the repression on the Catalan people, to defend the popular and workers unity beyond any national difference and to join together under the common goal of defeating the Spanish Capitalism, “in order to open the path to the proclamation of the Socialist Republic“.
The call added that in the Socialist Republic of Spain the power would be in the hands of the working class, finding its “territorial basis in the union of free peoples, democraticly exerting their right to self-determination.” The statement concluded with the slogan, “For the independence and unity of the popular and working class!
The 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution was honored in Athens (+Video)

Monday, October 16, 2017

The 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution was honored in Athens (+Video)

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/10/the-100th-anniversary-of-great-october.html

“Long live the October Socialist Revolution! Long live Marxism-Leninism and Proletarian Internationalism! Our future isn’t capitalism; it is the new world, socialism!”.

 
Under these slogans and with the presense of representatives of Communist Parties from various countries, the Central Committee of the KKE honored the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution. The event, which took place at the KKE’s headquarters in Perissos, Athens, consists part of the celebrations organised by the CC of the KKE for the centennial of the 1917 October Revolution. 
 
The major speech was delivered by the Secretary General of the CC of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas, while greeting messages were delivered by representatives from other Communist Parties, incuding the Communist Party of Turkey, the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (PCPE), the Communist Party, Italy; the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia, the South African Communist Party, the Hungarian Workers Party, the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, the Socialist Party of Latvia and the Russian Communist Workers Party. 
 
The event included an exhibition of Soviet banners, as well as Vladimir Lenin’s post-mortem mask made by the prominent Soviet sculptor-monumentalist Sergey Merkurov
 
Below, you can see the whole video of the internationalist event, as it was published by 902 portal.