On behalf of the CC of the KKE, I address a warm welcome to the work of the international seminar organized by the KKE delegation of the European Parliament in Athens on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Lenin’s work “On the Slogan for a United States of Europe”.
Lenin’s positions in the conditions of the beginning of the 20th century maintain their significance 100 years on. It is a work that should be studied by communists, radicals, well-meaning people not only in our continent, in Europe, but all over the world.
Of course, in a creative spirit, through the prism of the changes that have taken place in the world; changes, however, that have not altered the essence, the basic laws of the capitalist economy, production with as its incentive surplus value, profit, competition and unevenness, anarchy in production, injustice in distribution.
The inter-state agreements, the imperialist alliances that seek to “impose order” on international trade, capital exports, do not negate the laws of capitalism.
On the contrary, they make their consequences more painful for the peoples, more long-term and make the need for the revolutionary class struggle until the overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism-communism more necessary.
After the outbreak of the international crisis in 2008-2009, it became clear that the EU and Eurozone is not a cohesive, stable, economic-political inter-state alliance. In the years that followed, the correlation of forces altered inside the leading core of the EU in favour of Germany.
The gap widened at the expense of France and Italy.
In the last decade the average annual rate of growth of the GDP in the Eurozone is almost stagnant with Germany in the leading position.
The sharpening of the unevenness in the Eurozone is reflected in the increasing gap between the trade surpluses of Germany and the Netherlands and the deficits of most of the member-states.
At the political level, the exacerbation of the competition inside the EU was expressed by the result of the British referendum and the rise of bourgeois euroscepticism in France, Italy and other EU member-states, i.e. by the reinforcement of centrifugal forces. The impending Presidential elections in France, and the elections in other countries, in Germany itself, may manifest a new sharpening of the situation in the EU.
The result of the Brexit reflects to an extent the more general negative stance of the British bourgeois class as regards the trajectory of deepening the EMU and EU, its stable convergence with the USA in its competition with Germany, the existence of sections of British and US capital that desired Britain's exit from the EU and the entrapment of the people's discontent in the current of bourgeois euroscepticism.
On this terrain the dilemmas for the bourgeois political line in Germany and the rest of the EU member-states are becoming more complicated. The governments of France and Italy are demanding the relaxation of the fiscal policy so that they can reinforce their monopoly groups and the course of deepening the unification of the Eurozone, so that Germany in practice takes on the role of the guarantor for the indebted states and the problematic big banks in the EU.
Member-states that maintain close relations with the USA, such as the Visegrad group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia) as well as Sweden and Denmark seek the maintenance of the intergovernmental character and the reinforcement of the independence of national politics concerning various issues (e.g. immigration-refugees).
The dominant line of the German bourgeois class operates between maintenance of the intergovernmental character of the decisions of the EU and the imposition in practice of a multi-speed EU, with a narrower and more cohesive core of the common currency.
However, German social-democracy converges to a great extent with the proposals of France and Italy for the deepening of the EU. There is also a confrontation concerning Germany's relations with the USA and Russia, while relations are developing between the EU and China.
The USA supports Italy and France concerning the issue of relaxing the fiscal policy as well as the Visegrad group and the Scandinavian countries to stop the course of the deepening of EU unification.
The G-20 also took a position in favour of relaxing the fiscal policy to the benefit of public investments.
The aim to join Ukraine to the EU, against the Russian plans to integrate it into the Eurasian Economic Community, sharpened the relations between the EU and Russia, with the latter supporting political forces inside the EU that are against deepening the capitalist unification in the framework of the EU.
The dominant line of bourgeois politics in Greece considers the country remaining in the Eurozone as a given, while at the same time there continue to be the especially close relations between Greek shipping capital and the USA and Britain, the reinforcement of the economic relations with China.
In any case, the future of the EU and the Eurozone, of the international capitalist economy, is not only determined by the plans of the imperialists, because the contradictions have their own dynamics. None of the bourgeois management options can eradicate the competition and contradictions between the capitalist economies, while they come into conflict with the workers' and people's interests in all the Eurozone member-states.
The crisis highlighted even more intensely the historical limits of the capitalist system, more generally the difficulty in passing into a new cycle of expanded reproduction of social capital. The prolonged economic crisis in Greece is the expression of all the above factors, in a country of course which is not at the top of global capitalism or the EU. Even if the bourgeois class of Greece benefited from the accession to the EU, at the same time, the fiscal management of the crisis was demonstrated to be more difficult in conditions of the Monetary Union and the inter-state fiscal control.
The Greek bourgeois class initially benefited from the counterrevolutionary overthrow in the neighbouring Balkan countries and EU accession and achieved significant capital accumulation and capital exports in the form of direct investments which contributed to the strengthening of Greek businesses and monopoly groups. Capital exports expanded to other countries as well. It actively participated in all the imperialist interventions and wars, such as those against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc, functioned as an active member of NATO.
After the outbreak of the crisis, the position of the Greek capitalist economy deteriorated in the framework of the Eurozone, the EU and the international capitalist system more generally, a fact that does not negate that the accession of Greece into the EEC-EU served the most dynamic sections of domestic monopoly capital and contributed to the buttressing of its political power.
The proposal of the KKE is addressed to the people and has nothing to do with the change of currency or the linking of the Drachma with the Dollar, Sterling, the Yen or any other currency. We do not choose between Scylla and Charybdis.
A bourgeois party can adopt the position of withdrawing from the Eurozone, if it comes to assess that basic sections of the bourgeois class can be served by a national currency, that the recovery could be facilitated by a devaluation. Such trends were expressed in Britain's referendum and by parties that were created in Germany, as well as by the anti-EE positions of Le Pen's party and other far-right populist parties in Europe. The political current of protectionism is being reinforced, in the EU as a whole and in the USA now with the election of Trump, as a weapon against the dynamism of the Chinese economy and against the dynamism of the German economy in Europe.
At the same time it coexists with the current of bourgeois cosmopolitanism, decorated with leftwing rhetoric. The elevation of the "Greek problem" by bourgeois and opportunist forces in Greece as a "Paneuropean problem" is accompanied by the position that there can be no change at a national level in favour of the people, beyond the alternation of some governments and figures, without affecting the ownership relations over the means of production, the core of economic-political relations. They want to impede the people from struggling for another society, the socialist society. They misleadingly claim that either things will change simultaneously in Europe or globally, or nowhere at all. The truth is that changes begin in each country and their results then impact at a regional, continental and global level.
The bourgeois nation state remains the basic organ that secures the economic dominance of capital, the monopolies, the concentration and centralization of capital in competition with the corresponding processes in other states, remains an important arena for the implacable class struggle between labour and capital and for this reason the basic arena for the development of the class struggle. This does not at all negate the need for the coordinated class struggle at a regional, European, global level.
Finally, I would like to once again stress that the inter-imperialist contradictions, which in the past led to dozens of local, regional wars and to two World Wars, continue to lead to tough economic, political and military confrontations, irrespective of the changes in the structure and the framework of goals of the imperialist unions, both old and new.
In any case, "war is the continuation of politics by other means", especially in the conditions of a deep crisis of capital's over-accumulation and important changes in the correlation of forces in the international imperialist system, in which the re-division of the markets rarely occurs without bloodshed.
From this standpoint, our parties must be in a state of readiness. The people and youth must not shed their blood for the interests of the capitalists.
Today, when the dangers of a more generalized imperialist war and conflicts are increasing in our wider region from the Balkans to the Middle East, the KKE is calling on the people to struggle so that there are no border changes, for the defense of the country's sovereign rights, from the standpoint of the interests of the working class and popular strata, something that cannot be detached from the struggle to overthrow capital's power and has nothing to do with the defense of the plans of the one or the other imperialist pole, the profitability of the one or the other monopoly group.
For this reason, the cooperation and joint struggle of our peoples, the close cooperation of our parties, the charting of a unified revolutionary strategy in Europe and all over the world must be strengthened, for the final overthrow of capitalist barbarity, for peace and popular prosperity, socialism-communism.