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19th Congress of KKE

Speech by Nikos Ambatielos, Secretary of the CC of KNE, at the rally of the 31st Antiimperialist Camp of KNE - Volos, 9 July 2022

At the large rally of the KNE in Volos, the following also addressed the gathering:  Dimitris Koutsoumbas - General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece, Astor Garcia - General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain, Pavel Blanco - First Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party Mexico and Kemal Okuyan - General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Turkey.

Furthermore, the following Communist Youth Organisations from Europe attended the rally:

  1. Youth Front of the Party of Labour of Austria
  2. Front of the Communist Youth, Italy
  3. Communist Youth Movement, Netherlands
  4. Revolutionary Communist Youth League (Bolsheviks), Russia
  5. Young Communist League of Yugoslavia, Serbia
  6. Collectives of Young Communists, Spain
  7. Communist Youth of Sweden
  8. Communist Youth of Turkey


The speech by N. Ambatielos:

Dear comrades and friends,

We are now here, at the 31st Anti-imperialist Camp of KNE, which adds up to all those successful milestone moments throughout the long history of this youth tradition in our country.

We would like to deeply thank all the comrades and friends of KNE and the KKE that have worked for setting up, preparing, and ensuring the proper operation of the camp, despite the harsh weather conditions.

We would like to also thank all the regional bodies and associations for their significant contribution to its success.
This year, we are once again in Thessaly, just like two years ago, in 2020, when, we managed to organize our national summer meeting during the most challenging period of the pandemic, after taking all necessary health and safety measures.

The fact that our camp has been organized at this region so many times is not a coincidence —it has to do with so much more than the beautiful scenery.

It’s because the Greek governments and the NATO and EU imperialists have placed the area, just like Crete and Thrace, at the centre of their dangerous war planning that is attacking the peoples in other countries, but is also turning the people of these specific areas into targets for the opposite imperialist camps.

That is why today, from Volos, thousands of young people are shouting as one the powerful message that we are determined to play the leading role in moving the wheel of history forward, in writing history just like our slogan says “With the joint struggle of the peoples, against the plans of the imperialists”.

We are determined to keep breathing down the necks of the governments and the rest of the parties supporting the Euro-Atlantic forces, which see that there is not as much acceptance as they would like amongst the people and especially the youth regarding Greece’s involvement in the imperialist plans and alliances.

If they are patient enough, their nightmare will come to life.

In fact, this year, our message crosses the borders and goes even further, since we have the great honour and pleasure to host three delegations from Communist Parties headed by their General Secretaries, and also eight Communist Youth Organizations from Europe.

We would like to thank them, welcome them from the bottom of our hearts, and we promise once again to continue the fight together.

Dear comrades and friends,

Exactly thirty years ago, in July 1992, KNE with its scarce forces back then, after the crisis it went through, took the initiative to organize the first anti-imperialist camp in Prespes.

Those were the first years after the overthrow of Socialism, the counterrevolution. Back then when the empty promises of stability, world peace, security and unstoppable economic growth for everyone were made again and again from every single political force that, one way or another, supports capitalism as the only way-out until today.

The human chain of peace formed by young men and women from both sides of the borders with the former Yugoslavia sent a message against nationalism, also raging at that time, due to the intervention of the imperialists aiming to proceed with the plan of the country’s dismemberment.

It was a message against the country's involvement in the carnage by participating in the naval blockade of Yugoslavia prepared by NATO at the time and implemented sometime after.

If we read the “Odigitis” magazine of the time, we will see that the pretexts used in an effort to convince people and the youth to give their consent to these plans have not changed much since then.

“If we do not take part in the naval blockade, we will leave Turkey to rule all alone in the Aegean Sea”, they used to say.

Does this sound familiar?

Such are the arguments used by the government of the conservative New Democracy (ND) to justify the deep involvement of our country in the war in Ukraine. But the arguments of the social-democratic SYRIZA are similar as well; when they brought in the NATO Prespa agreement the main argument presented was that if the Greek F16s do not go monitoring the airspace of N. Macedonia, then the Turkish ones will.

Of course, a few months before our first camp, together the ND, the social-democratic PASOK and Synaspismos —as SYRIZA was then called— and also various other “Macedonian fighters”, participated all together in the nationalist demonstration in Thessaloniki, while a few days after the camp —again all three together— voted for the Maastricht Treaty, the EU’s super– memorandum that makes every aspect of our lives miserable to this day.

There is, as you see, a long history of what we call “alignment” between these forces regarding the important, the basic issues, even though they are trying to highlight their existing differences and are picking fights over the minor issues.

It’s important remembering these now that everyone is turning to the young generation trying to influence their criteria and attitude.

It’s worth remembering, however, that the bourgeois parties have always made a special address to the youth, giving each time their own, different content to the sense of progress.

If we make some comparisons with the past, we will see that the support of a significant section of the youth for these parties, not only did not bring any progress but, on the contrary, held us back.

It’s true that the bourgeois parties often fostered hopes that were ultimately shattered. In 2015, SYRIZA was elected to abolish the memoranda and, in the end, brought in another one. In 2019, the ND was elected to bring “numerous good jobs for young people” and, today, the salary for those working is not even enough for rent and electric power.
Now, however, they don't even bother to foster hope, if only to deny it later. They only say “vote for us in order for them to leave” or “vote for us so they don’t come back again”.

Even the hypocritical “socialism or barbarity” proclaimed by Tsipras at the SYRIZA conference was transformed within two months into the opposite, since now he says that “we will not bring socialism, but we will expel barbarity”.
They have no shame to discuss all various scenarios, who will go with whom, if they will agree with each other after the first, second or third elections, etc.

The president of SYRIZA, in fact, in almost every intervention he has made recently, does not fail to say that “in case of national emergency” he will proceed to a coalition government with the New Democracy, without Mitsotakis.

The New Democracy has even created a platform with all the various “passes” —for electric power, fuel, or for a few days of vacation— in which the poor enter to race each other over who is the poorest and who will finally get this pocket money.

SYRIZA, on the other hand, since they agree with the policy of “Green transition”, the opening—up of national energy markets and the sanctions imposed against Russia that has resulted in the current situation of energy poverty, the only thing that’s left for them is to calculate that the power prices have increased on average 40% in the EU, while in Greece 60%. Hence, this spike in prices is due to the Mitsotakis government, from which we are going to be exempted once they are in government, and we are going to have only a 40% increase.

And if all these seem miserable and sad, just wait and see the true electoral catwalk taking place in the General Assembly of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), in the Congress of the Association of Greek Tourism Enterprises (SETE), etc.

There, Mitsotakis is showing off his ability to advance quickly and resolutely the anti–labour reforms, and Tsipras his ability to ensure social peace, namely, to advance the anti-labour policy without any resistance.

Thankfully, though, in this country we have the KKE and KNE, which have not stopped defending, not even for a second, the true meaning of progress.

There are thousands of young men and women who do not oblige them by “taking comfort in less sky”, but wage their own individual and collective struggle for a better life.

These struggles have left behind seeds that can sprout; it could be said that the utter bankruptcy and failure of all bourgeois narratives over the last years, and the systemic forces’ current inability even to promise them a better future create more opportunities for these seeds to sprout.

Whenever the people and the youth have won something, whenever they have managed to prevent negative developments —especially during the last three years under the ND government— they have done so based on their own strength, organization and struggle, with the KKE and KNE being always at the forefront.

What would the workers of COSCO, LARCO, e-food or the construction workers have won if they had folded their arms and done nothing, hoping that perhaps another government would be less bad than the previous one?

They would have won nothing at all; they’d only have wasted time, and they would have ended up losing. Whatever they have won, they’ve won it through their struggle, with the KKE at the forefront, while all governments were passing laws against them.

It was through their struggle that the school-students managed to stall measures like the Exam Topics Repository and application of two preference forms for universities and public vocational training, to force the government to take some measures —rudimentary though they may have been— for health and safety measures against the pandemic, or to make it recognize the Coordinating Struggle Committees of School-Students as the students’ representatives.

It was through their struggle that the university-students managed to become students again, derail the government and the administrations’ attempts to kick them out of the dormitories, and prevent, so far, the installation of University Police in the faculties

The forces of KNE were at the forefront of those struggles as well, giving them strength and endurance through the apt demands they put forth, demands that were adopted by the majority of students.

When the ND government said, under the pretext of the pandemic, that the demands should stop for now and SYRIZA responded with the unforgettable “we will deal with you later” —without anyone knowing when this “later” would be— and asked for ministers by common accord, the KKE was there breaking the bans, breaking the blackness.

On May Day 2020, it created moments of struggle that will go down in history. Then, on 17 November 2020, it took to the streets and went into conflict forcing the orchestrators of the crackdown to lose their minds.

Hence, the flag of struggle and demands kept fluttering high and the ground was laid for all the subsequent struggles to develop and be victorious.

The forces of the KKE and KNE and those who have followed the path of struggle over the past period have greatly contributed to the fact that laws have been canceled in practice, such as the one restricting demonstrations that passed in the summer of 2020, or the provisions of the Hatzidakis law which make it almost impossible to call a strike.

It was shown that only thus is possible to abolish anti-people laws, in stark contrast to the negative experience left by the SYRIZA government, which would supposedly abolish the memorandum laws at once, with a single law or article.

Without the KKE, no one would have heard about the recent massacre of refugees at Melilla, since both the ND and SYRIZA hushed up outright the event to avoid offending the EU’s anti-immigration policy, but also the Spanish “progressive” government that committed the crime.

Without the KKE, everything would be covered by the suffocating unanimity among the parties of the system on the big issues and their tiresome fake fights on the small ones.

This unanimity is reflected in the fact that SYRIZA voted for 50% of the ND bills and PASOK for 80%, with the most recent —and typical— example being the bill on the provocative privileges and tax-free oil for shipowners.

Every time we have fought and won over the past years, the KKE has always been there. Every time we have been moved, every time we have been thrilled, every time we have felt exaltation, the KKE has always been there.

Just like in last year's successful Festival of KNE—Odigitis, in the farewell to our great composers, Mikis Theodorakis and Thanos Mikroutsikos. Just like in the stream of the “wretched ones who labor”, the migrant land-workers of Manolada, in the region of Ilia, fighting to live decently.

A stronger KKE means more such powerful moments.

On the contrary, every time the young men and women have believed in government saviours they were losing out and disappointment prevailed. Every time they have been fighting for their demands, the response they got was “this is your doing, with your vote”. And, ultimately, the ones that they wanted to oust returned under a different guise.

In the even more difficult times ahead of us, in the perfect storm and the difficult winter to come —no matter what they call it— only the KKE will be our shield, and it must be as strong as possible.

Dear comrades and friends,

Young men and women, particularly those who belong to this generation that feels like they’re living in a vicious circle, have yet another very important reason for joining forces with the KKE.

And this is that the KKE has a proposal and plan so we can get out of this difficult situation. Because only thus can we finally live based on the full potential that our era can offer, and not worse than our parents.

As a matter of fact, the KKE is the only party that has such a plan, since all the other parties are proposing just some different types of managing today’s impasse, which the ND is lately ascribing persistently to the “negative international situation”, while SYRIZA to the “Mitsotakis’ policies”, thus both acquitting the one truly at fault —the decaying capitalist system.

The political plan of the KKE is the only that can ensure a general reduction of working time, without cutting but greatly increasing all kinds of social benefits for the individual, since it provides for the utilization of the modern achievements of science and technology in a planned way and for the benefit of all.

It provides for the abolition of the greatest waste of today's society, capitalist profit.

Only a society as such can ensure that the people are free to follow their skills and interests.

The schools and universities will free themselves from the shackles of capitalist market that today is determining the disciplines to be developed, the classes to be taught based on the priorities of the big business groups’ profits and not on what society truly needs.

These shackles are reinforced by the new framework bill brought by the ND government midsummer in order to avoid —so they think— the reaction of students, professors and workers, since they all disagree with this bill.

They even got to the point of rejecting the KKE’s proposal for representatives from student unions to participate in the Standing Committee on Cultural and Educational Affairs of the Greek Parliament. We are talking about representatives from the Athens Medical School, the National Technical University of Athens - School of Architecture, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the University of Ioannina, et. al.

In the final decision of the Committee’s presidium on the organizations and associations to be invited, all student unions were removed from the list, while first and foremost was the SEV!

It is further proof for whom the government makes laws!

And from here, we clearly state: They will fall flat on their face once more!

With the KKE's proposal, every young couple will be free to start a family whenever they decide to do so, without financial constraints or the anxiety of how to make ends meet in today's jungle, and, of course, without medieval-like restrictions on women's rights that are taken for granted in the 21st century, such as abortion.

The housing issue will be solved for all thanks to the socialization of land and the construction industry, to central planning that can anticipate the ever-expanding needs and move towards meeting them.

Only thus will it be possible to fulfill objectives that, under capitalism, are conflicting, such as the protection of natural environment, the provision of green spaces and recreational areas for the needs of the people, and the balanced development of the sectors of the economy.

Racism, fascism, sexism and all the repulsive phenomena that the rotten system gives rise to and exploits in many ways will be radically combated, and, in time, will become just a subject of study for the historians and sociologists of the future.

We call upon you to play the leading role in the struggle for the new society, socialism-communism, in the same way that you have seen the thousands of KNE members and friends be at the forefront in schools, universities, and workplaces over the past period.

They are at the forefront precisely because they believe that the working class, along with its social alliance, can be at the forefront of the developments and not on the sidelines of social life.

The KKE and KNE are a guarantee for this struggle, because we have revolutionary principles of formation and operation, we have a revolutionary scientific ideology.

We are guided by an ideology that teaches us that nothing ever stays the same; everything changes and that’s a law.
We reveal all sides of a deeply decaying world; we come into conflict with the notions of lower expectations and the realism of submission, while having a specific proposal of what is new and contemporary.

We were able to step forward, despite our weaknesses, on whatever issue concerned young people, precisely because it is our duty to be worthy fighters for the interests of the many, not to compromise in the face of negative correlation of forces.

We have taken multifaceted initiatives and prevented plans to slander and suppress the student movement, because we have the experience of our Party and our Organization as a legacy over a decades-long course, because we are not mouthpieces, or props in staged scenes.

We seek to cultivate militant optimism by choosing forms of struggle that will serve the endurance, duration and strengthening of the struggle.

Because we are not digital followers of leaders that are corralled to defend implemented policies without ever being consulted, or groups created, split and disbanded according to the stance they choose to take against a bourgeois government.

Through the ranks of KNE, active young militants are developing and growing, with duties and rights that we discuss collectively, and acting fiercely.

All our Party’s history encloses the mass, youthful activity, the vanguard stance of young women as well who have managed to break all kinds of shackles through the organized struggle.

It proves that the material our Party is made of creates an endurance that might seem inexplicable to others.

The marks of our history are imprinted all over Greece. A few days ago we were in Anafi island; yesterday we were in Trikeri island.

On the tiny island of Trikeri in the Pagasitic Gulf, the bourgeois state corralled and tried to morally and physically exhaust 5,000 women; communist women, militant women or women who were relatives of militants.

An illustrative story is the one of a 13-year-old school girl when she was arrested along with her mother, on 25 March 1948, when a Greek Commando unit invaded Sourpi village, in Magnesia region, in Thessaly.

She was arrested because of her brother being a fighter of the heroic Democratic Army of Greece (DSE).

At only 13 years of age, they wanted her to sign a declaration of repentance and to renounce the KKE and her brother.

The answer she gave them was: “I’m not going to renounce my brother. I haven’t heard about the KKE, but now that you’ve brought me here, I’m going to be the best communist I can be”. And so she did, and she is still on our side.

This is our legacy! And we’re certain that our generation will also write glorious pages of history, experience great moments, and fight all the great, victorious battles to put an end to this rotten capitalist system that keeps on pulling us back; we’ll move forward towards the society of true freedom, socialism-communism.

The time is now for thousands of young people to join KNE. To forge into action the slogan of the 48th Festival of KNE—Odigitis that now begins its journey to culminate in Athens, on 22-24 September.

“The young generation together with the KKE. For what is great, beautiful, and overwhelming! Socialism is the answer in the 21st century!”

I wish you all strength in your struggles!

KNE 2011