Q&A on the strange events in the Greek section of the IMT

posted 24 Feb 2010, 10:18 by heiko khoo   [ updated 29 Jan 2011, 11:00 by Admin uk ]

show details 9/21/09

From Doros 
to Comrade Heiko
Sent to the British CC. 
Here is a quick reply to your questions.  Do not hesitate to ask additional questions or raise any issues.

Where did we traditionally work as a Marxist tendency in Greece?

Since the mid 70s when we first had a section in Greece we were working within PASOK, (orientated towards PASOK when we were expelled from it at different periods). We were then called XEKINIMA.
PASOK started out as a centrist party in September 1974. In 1981 they were first elected into the government on a social democratic program. They introduced many important reforms but towards the end of the 80s corruption set in and after a short period out of office they come back with counter reforms. Simitis, the PM, can be compared to Blair and New Labour. In 2004 they lost the elections and changed leader. The present leader, George Papandreou, is the son of the founder of PASOK Andreas Papandreou. Their program is now a mild turn to the left which compares very favourably with Simitis who is not even a candidate (not out of his own choice). PASOK has the largest faction within the Greek TUC which, for good or bad, it controls. It is the mass workers party.

What happened at the time of the split in 1991-2 in our tendency in Greece?

XEKINIMA split 1991-2. The majority stayed with the old International and kept the paper ‘XEKINIMA’. The minority started a new paper called SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI.
I do not remember the exact figures but the minority was sizeable, I would say almost 50% of the cadres and a majority of the worker comrades. The majority had most of the youth but a minority of workers. (To this day XEKINIMA is mainly youth, they do not grow up-they have found the magic portion but they keep the secret for themselves).

When was the new group formed and what happened to the older comrades
who were expelled? How did this split occur?

SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI was expelled from the International in December 2003. The International insisted on a number of policy turns (turn to the youth and the workers should listen to the students/youth!, turn towards KKE (the Greek CP)etc). They rested on the leader of the youth in the section, Stamatis, who took with him most of the youth and 7-8 worker comrades (who, with no exception, left the section 9 months later, September 2004,)and formed the new section called MARXISTIKI FONI with about 30 members.

There were other smaller differences (too much to go into it now) but expulsion was not justified. The comrades of SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI were developing the youth with Stamatis as the person responsible and too much (as far as I was concerned) in control of it. The work in the KKE was going well but it had reached its limits. It was a period during which the most “profitable” work was what the comrades were doing i.e. youth work,20independent work as well as trade union work. It was a similar situation to Britain at the time. New Labour in power, an empty Labour party etc. The section was growing very slowly.  Stamatis was promising “hundreds” of new members and declaring a pre-pre-revolutionary (new term to me) situation.(He was correct in the sense that before the pre-revolutionary situation we have the “normal” capitalist situation, but when he was saying it, it sounded urgent and imposing different tactics on us.)
SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI kept about 35 members mostly workers/trade union activists but only a small number of youths without any committed youth cadres. (This had the effect that in the recent period during the youth uprising they had very few gains). They have now almost doubled their membership with an increased presence in the trade union movement.

What is the nature of the KKE?

The KKE, Greek CP, is the most Stalinist of them all. North Korea. In their last congress,Feb.2009, they reaffirmed their Stalinism in their analysis of the collapsed USSR.(Everything went wrong after Stalin’s death). They expel members for the slightest of disagreements. There is no democracy in the democratic centralism they profess. They are in a “third period” frame of mind. They see no difference between PASOK and New Democracy (the conservatives). During the past 5 years we had a number of genera

l strikes and a lot of other strikes, rallies, demonstrations and marches organised by the Unions and/or the TUC. On the same day and time the KKE organises its own separate events on the other side of town. It has about 8% of the vote but a sectarian attitude. It is strong amongst the building workers union and overall it has about 20% of the trade union voting members.
SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI intervenes in their events but very carefully, on the “outskirts”. It had some success, 3-4 comrades before the expulsion came from KKE. If you are at all “provocative” the builders will send you to the hospital. A tactic they employed against MARXISTIKI FONI, apparently, was to surround them, turn their backs to them and close the circle so that they could not leave until the rally was over!!

Did we do entryist work inside it?

Impossible and it has always been like that. Of course I do not exclude any future changes in the situation and would welcome them, but, as things stand it is not possible.

What is Synaspsismos and what is SYRIZA?

Synaspismos is a “Coalition (the word means coalition) of the Left, the (social) Movements and Ecology”. Its full name. It is a split from a short lived coalition with KKE (late 80s) of Euro-communists and other petit bourgeois elements of the left. It is made up of a number, 3-4, of factions. It operates as a unifi
ed party with publicly recognised differences between the factions. Very little influence amongst the working class.

SYRIZA, its full name is “Coalition of the Radical Left”. It was formed about 2 or 3 general elections ago. It is again a coalition of about 10 groups/parties who work independently but together on a minimum program which is approved unanimously. They participate in elections and are expected to get, in the general elections of the 4th of October, just over 3%. The biggest by far party in SYRIZA is Synaspismos. The others are small sects, like XEKINIMA (see above), KOKINO (4th International), a maoist group, a nationalist left split from PASOK etc.
3% of the vote is the threshold for electing MPs and receiving state funding. If they do not get 3% and loose the state funding, which is shared amongst the participating groups/parties, SYRIZA will dissolve and Synaspismos will split with at least one faction joining PASOK.
Even with a good result, between 3+5%, Syriza will be under a lot of pressure from some of the factions of Synaspismos, to dissolve. Syriza, as an electoral coalition, has a secure future only if it gets over 5%.

Is there any bureaucratic reason why the Greek comrades should pretend
to dissolve in order to conduct entryist work in Synaspsismos or the
electoral coalition of the Left?

No. As explained above, both Synaspismos and Syriza are coalitions. Synaspismos is
a coalition of the left, the movements and ecology with at least 3 publicly recognised factions (you hear on the radio for example that this faction had a meeting and supported the leader’s proposal for an emergency congress).
Syriza is a coalition of groups/parties.

Is there anything about Synaspsismos that compels comrades to cease
publishing their journal and web site and become periodic?


Has the Synaspsismos leadership engaged in witchhunts of Trotskyists?

Not that I know of-highly unlikely.

Is our tendency known inside Synaspismos such that it is important

to maintain secrecy on entry into the party?

Our small group is fairly new on the political scene in Greece. I doubt very much that anyone of the Synaspismos leaders know any of our members with the possible exception of Stamatis who has been active as a member of SOSIALISTIKI EKFRASI for many years. But Synaspismos would welcome them with open arms anyway, especially just before the elections.

Did we conduct such deep entryism inside the KKE and if not why not?

No we did not. The International has never been in favour of deep entryism.
Deep entryism is nonsense. Deep entryism is for spies. We practice entryism to educate the workers in the mass workers parties expressing our opinions at every chance we get and clashing with the bureaucracy when the need arises. Deep entryism requires you to be quiet and pass unno
ticed. What for?