IBNA/ Interview with Dimitris Koutsoumbas – Secretary General of KKE  

IBNA/ Interview with Dimitris Koutsoumbas – Secretary General of KKE  

Athens, January 21, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

Mr. Koutsoumbas, does the KKE ballot signal changes to the way of approaching society or is the mere result of renewing the list of candidates?

Every layman, worker and young person knows that the KKE ballot consists of fighters of life and popular struggles, fighters of working life, science, the arts and education. The selection and actions of the KKE candidates has nothing to do with government chairs and personal ambitions. You will not find political “peddlers” and “careerists” here but colleagues, acquaintances, neighbors, young people who lead the struggles and efforts to convey the hopeful and subversive new message that is the crystal clear and consistent proposal of the KKE.

What is at stake in the elections of January 25 for the Communist Party? What will be your slogan that mobilizes voters to choose you and not another party of the broader left?

In these elections, the people must chose if they will give yet another “blank cheque” to an administration that will govern against them; or if their vote will place obstacles to the continuation of unpopular policies while strengthening the fight to win back everything lost and trusting their power to pave the way towards prosperity under their own power.

This can be done by the people themselves with the organization of the struggle, with the aid of popular alliance. All who feel radicals, leftists, know that their vote for the Communist Party strengthens the struggle of the people and gives them a breather so that tomorrow they can pave the way for popular-worker rule and a different society.

Over the years, the breakup into smaller parts has been a constant problem for the Left. Do you feel the responsibility to lead the Left towards union? Will you take steps in this direction and which will they be?

That depends on what you mean with the term “Left”. If you mean SYRIZA, PASOK, The River, the Papandreou party and all those peddlers who are now in the ballots of all the other parties except the KKE and identify themselves as “leftists”, they don’t have differences and as you could see they can cooperate in one way or another. For example, they all agree Greece should not collide with the EU and the eurozone.

They accept the longterm memoranda the EU has created for all the people and all the countries. The agree the debt that wasn’t created by the people should be paid back by the working people. Some just say an extension should be given; other say a haircut is needed in order for business groups to reclaim the rest. Nobody speaks of restoring the rights that were lost in recent years.

Everyone certainly understands that these forces have nothing to do with the historical traditions and values of the Left. The left, for example, was always against NATO, the EU, the old EEC (EDA used to call the EEC a pit of lions). They fought for a large labor and popular movement with radical characteristic; for a new society, not masquerading the old one. How is this related to showing credentials to capital, SEV, the City and Mr. Tsipras’s position that “Greece is part of the EU and NATO and this is non negotiable”? This is why anyone that feels a radical, leftist, progressive, has knowledge and memory has every interest in supporting the KKE regardless of whether he agrees with it on all issues.

The Communist Party feels great responsibility and therefore leads the effort to unite the workers, the unemployed, self-employed, the poor farmers, women, youths, a large Democratic Alliance that will prevent unpopular measures and claim relief measures and solutions, while colliding with the current path of development, monopolies the EU and its power. This will open the way towards real hope, the socialization of monopolies, release from the EU, unilateral debt write off, and working people’s – popular power.

The polarization observed in these elections – according to polls – has led to shrinking numbers for smaller parties with some falling below the 3 pct threshold. Are you concerned the KKE could be kept out of parliament because of SYRIZA? Is the decision to rule out any cooperation with SYRIZA leading traditional voters of the Left – which want to see the Left come to power – to SYRIZA?

Polarization – as we have witnessed it between New Democracy and PASOK in previous years; the two parties that now govern in coalition – as we now see it between ND and SYRIZA is primarily harmful for the people because its aim is to trap them into a pointless debate over secondary issues and shift focus away from the important issue which is the “one-way” path the two are taking us down. More importantly, [polarization] prevents people from hearing the political program of the KKE which includes proposals for the rights of the people and the young. The people need to respond to this degeneration, the bipartisan polarization comprising of false dilemmas that spread terror and illusions or foolish findings. And the most resounding answer would be to strengthen the KKE.

Do you believe an exit from the EU could lead Greece and its people to a brighter future?

Of course, because what we have lived in 30 years of being in the EU were crises, wars, unemployment, the wiping out of farmers, closing down of strategic sectors of the economy and shrinking of others as well as dramatic changes to the worse in public services, health, education, social insurance and welfare. This is why we fight against the EU that imposes long-lasting, unpopular memoranda and crushes the rights of workers and the productive capacity of the country.

Our proposal for release from the clutches of the Union is connected to socializing monopolies, working people’s power, a program for growth taking advantage all of Greece’s capabilities and developing mutually beneficial relations with other countries. The KKE is against the logic other forces have of going to Europe without a plan and accepting the EU framework having a “wait and see” attitude. That will eventually lead to the EU throwing us out, something that is already being debated by governments and sections of the bourgeoisie that are now talking of a two-tier European Union. This is the logic of some within SYRIZA but also of ANTARSYA, the “Plan-B” party etc. Having a complete proposal to clash [with the EU] is different to swimming in the mud of the EU and the interests of monopolies. Because you know, then, you are more likely to achieve nothing but making a whole in the water with painful consequences for the people and the country.

If SYRIZA decided to clash with the EU will you support them?

This is science fiction. SYRIZA has long vowed to stay in the Union. It speaks of staying in the EU and the eurozone “at all costs” and calls anyone talking of leaving the monopolies and unfriendly partnership “paranoid”. It openly provides assurances to various imperialistic centers from the City of London to Italy’s Como and tells newspapers belonging to German industrialists that they have nothing to fear from SYRIZA. All this before it even comes to the helm of this barbaric system. SYRIZA’s program, actions and manifesto has long clashed with popular interests and not with the EU which it defends. This is why we say it is provocative – to say the least – for them to ask for our support of this strategy and the support of the people. They know too that the KKE has nothing in common with their strategy and positions despite their calls for friendship so that they can blackmail and cheat people into voting for them.

What does Jaunary 26 mark for the KKE?

On January 26, the day after the election, those that have made the lives of the working and young people a slaughterhouse will still be here. The EU and commitments stemming from the country’s participation in the EU will be here. The debt that both ND and SYRIZA acknowledge the people must pay despite not creating it, one way or another, will be here. The demands of capitalists for even cheaper labor within the framework of international competition will be here along with their governments – whatever they are called – which stand against the popular interests.

Against all of them, a strong KKE on January 26 will mark the strengthening of the people’s struggle to prevent new unpopular measures and win back conquests and rights mainly for the development of prospects for a better future for us and our children, where we will not tolerate living on crumbs. For a government that is both necessary and timely and will unilaterally cancel the debt that was not created by the people, freeing the people of the chains of the EU and other imperialistic organizations. Placing the focus of growth on the needs of the people and socializing wealth produced by our people and exploiting the rich wealth-producing capacity of our country.