Interview with Giorgos Marinos:The danger of the generalisation of the war demands the strengthening of the people’s action against imperialist plans

On 17 January, comrade George Marinos, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and MP, gave an interview to "Odigitis", the organ of the CC of KNE, which was released on the online version.

"Odigitis": A few years ago, many people couldn’t even imagine that we would see so many wars and conflicts in our neighbourhood. Has the number of authoritarian rulers increased, as we often hear, or is something else going on?

Giorgos Marinos: Our knowledge of history and the laws of movement of capitalism are an indispensable tool for the preparation of the working class, the peoples and the youth so that they will not be taken by surprise by developments; so that, with the vanguard contribution of the revolutionary party, they will be able to examine the essence of events with a class-oriented criterion and choose the right side of history in conflict with the bourgeois classes, their parties and their imperialist alliances, avoiding the traps they set up each time to muddy the waters and imbue people’s minds with their own position about imperialist wars.
In our era, the era of imperialism, the era of monopoly capitalism, the system has exceeded its historical limits. Behind the trade and economic disputes, conflicts, and military confrontations lie the conflicting interests of big monopoly groups, capitalist states and imperialist alliances for the division of markets, control over natural resources, energy deposits and transport routes, as well as for increasing capitalist profitability and gaining strategic advantages in the international competition. Moreover, new fields are added to this competition, as is the case today with new technologies and the raw materials needed to produce them, the rare earth elements, etc.
The creation of the conditions for the outbreak of a war goes through various stages. In the meantime, there are compromises, settlements, periods of temporary calm (times of imperialist peace with a gun held to the peoples’ head). However, the powder keg keeps filling up till everything explodes. These are inherent to the exploitative system and the distinction – which is made on purpose – between ‘democratic’ bourgeois leaders and ‘authoritarian ones’ is used as an alibi to hide the decisive role played by capitalist competition, and to conceal the fact that imperialist wars are also waged by states and governments with liberal, social-democratic, far-right and fascist leaders; they are the managers of the system, expressing the changing interests of the monopoly groups.
The task of the independent struggle of the working class and the peoples is to eradicate the root causes of imperialist wars by overthrowing capitalism, the source of the problem, and by building the new socialist society to ensure true peace and the mutual cooperation of peoples and states. It’s this goal that the ΚΚΕ and ΚΝΕ strive to achieve, being at the forefront of anti-imperialist and anti-war struggles for the disentanglement of our country from the imperialist plans.

"Odigitis": What is your assessment of the imperialist conflict in Ukraine, which has been raging for nearly two years now, and what can you say about certain voices from the USA, ΝΑΤΟ and the EU, which claim that they won’t support Zelenskiy indefinitely? Is there no longer a need to defend western values, as they used to say, or have they suddenly become advocates of peace?

G.M.: The two-year-long murderous war in Ukraine between the USA, NATO, the EU and the Ukrainian bourgeois state and capitalist Russia has been consolidated and threatens to escalate and expand. The central issue that has determined these tragic developments is the overthrow of socialism and the capitalist restoration in the Soviet Union and the other states of socialist construction in Eastern Europe and the Baltic countries, where the peoples used to live in peace.
The counterrevolution opened a can of worms. The new capitalist states gradually joined NATO and aligned themselves with the Euro-Atlantic plans in the competition with the bourgeois class of Russia. Ukraine has turned into a bone of contention. In 2014, the USA, NATO and the EU carried out a blatant intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine, contributing to the overthrow of the elected government and supporting fascist and pro-fascist forces that took over the government of the country. They imposed harsh anti-people measures and skyrocketed anticommunism, banning communist activity and intensifying the people’s oppression in the Russian-speaking areas of Donbas.
At the same time, the Russian bourgeoisie, having consolidated its power, put into action their own plan for the unification of the states of the former Soviet Union, claimed Ukraine’s wealth and launched the despicable military invasion on the 24th of February 2022.
Each side uses its own chosen pretexts to justify its stance. The NATO forces speak of a war to defend ‘democracy’ against ‘authoritarianism’ in order to protect the so-called ‘free world’, the world of capitalist exploitation, unemployment, and poverty, which drags the peoples into the slaughterhouse of war for the interests of the monopolies.
After many years of flirting with NATO and maintaining close political and economic relations with the various Ukrainian governments for many years, and having its own share in the strengthening of the Ukrainian fascist forces, the Russian leadership, which played a leading role in the counterrevolution, now speaks of an anti-fascist struggle, in an attempt to deceive the Russian and the other peoples. Nevertheless, it is well known that fascism is a creation of capitalism, and the bourgeoisie, which uses it as a reserve force, cannot become an anti-fascist force.
The gist of the matter is that this is a war waged by the bourgeois classes; the nature of the war is imperialist on both sides, and is part of the wider global competition between the Euro-Atlantic camp and the emerging Eurasian one, the key element of which is the multifaceted confrontation between the USA and China for supremacy in the imperialist system.
Today, the correlation of forces favours the Russian state, which has occupied a significant part of Ukrainian territory and has a military advantage. Despite military support from the US and the EU, Ukraine is inferior. The counterattack announced in the spring has not yielded the results expected by Zelenskiy’s reactionary government, so both the US Congress and the EU are expressing concern about the course of the war and the feasibility of continuing to support the Ukrainian government financially. At the same time, they have raised the possibility of a compromise, with Russia keeping the Ukrainian territory it has occupied. In any case, the stance of the US, NATO, and the EU is determined by their interests and geopolitical goals, especially in terms of the competition with China, and not by a desire to promote peace.

"Odigitis": While the massacre in Palestine continues, a new situation is being created, with the reactionary Netanyahu government being under pressure from its allies to bring peace in the region. The ΚΚΕ estimates that there is a great danger of a more general conflagration in the region. What exactly is the case?

G.M.: KNE can be proud of itself, because it’s at the forefront of the solidarity movement and the multifaceted mobilisations, together with the KKE, standing by the side of the suffering people of Palestine, condemning the atrocities committed by the murderous state of Israel, with the support of the USA, NATO and the EU, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and fighting for a viable independent Palestinian state, on the borders of June 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The government of New Democracy (ND), SYRIZA and PASOK, together with the far-right and fascist forces, have been completely exposed for supporting the occupying state by shamelessly talking about the occupier’s right to ‘self-defence’ and by participating in the plan to slander the Palestinian resistance as terrorism, using the Hamas’ attack and loads of fake news as a pretext.
The Palestinian people have been suffering under the Israeli occupation for decades and are waging a just struggle; they have the right to use all forms of struggle to put an end to this occupation. And it is the responsibility of the working class, the people and the revolutionary party to use this important element and to link the liberation struggle with the struggle to overthrow capitalist exploitation, the struggle for social liberation and socialism.

The Israeli state is committing heinous crimes, and the call for ‘Freedom for Palestine’ must be heard even louder. The massacre is escalating, and the aim of the bourgeoisie is to eliminate the Palestinian resistance, displace the population, and conquer the Gaza Strip in order to seize the energy reserves. This is part of establishing an economic-energy corridor from Egypt to Lebanon in order to enhance Israel’s role as a ‘transit hub’ connecting it to the Indian trade route –promoted by the USA to the Middle East and Europe – in competition with the Chinese One Belt One Road.
The United States, which uses Israel as a henchman in the Middle East and the wider region, protects it in every way, even blocking UN resolutions for temporary ceasefires. This has been its main direction so far and its pressure on the Israeli government has nothing to do with the rights of the Palestinian people but with saving the Abraham Accords between Israel and the Arab states in order to create the so-called ‘New Middle East’ and promote the US and Israeli interests, the interests of the bourgeois classes.
The region is a time bomb where the interests of the US, the EU, China, Russia, Iran, and Türkiye overlap and each capitalist state has its own objectives. Lebanon and Syria are already involved in the war. Furthermore, the situation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden indicates a further escalation of the imperialist conflicts. An illustrative example is the formation of the multinational naval force ‘Prosperity Guardian’ led by the USA, supposedly to counter the Houthi rebels in Yemen and to protect freedom of navigation, by provocatively hiding that the explosive situation in the region is fuelled by the Israeli occupation, the attacks on the Palestinian territories, and the war declared by Saudi Arabia on Yemen.
In the midst of this war, the government of New Democracy (ND), taking advantage of the stance of SYRIZA and PASOK, has decided to send a frigate of the navy to this multinational force, thus sending the Greek armed forces into the lion’s den, thousands of miles away from the borders, for the interests of the shipowners, to support Israel and Saudi Arabia. We’re sitting on a powder keg; the risk of war escalation is real, and the people must remain vigilant. The struggle to prevent the deployment of the frigate in the Red Sea and to withdraw all Greek armed forces from Euro-Atlantic missions is of great importance.

"Οdigitis": We constantly hear about the ‘positive climate’ that now exists in Greek- Turkish relations. Wouldn’t it be in everyone’s interest to finally reach an agreement that would resolve the conflicts between the two countries?

G.M.: Greek-Turkish relations have historically been characterised by elements of competition and cooperation between the bourgeois classes, with periods of tension and calm alternating over time. Many times, the so-called ‘positive climate’ has been followed by a deterioration in relations, which contradicts the rhetoric of ‘calm waters’. The crucial point today is that the so-called ‘Roadmap’ adopted at the NATO Summit in July, has set in motion a course for the settlement of Greek-Turkish disputes under Euro-Atlantic supervision. The goals include strengthening the NATO’s south-eastern wing, weaning Türkiye off Russian influence and co-management in the Aegean and eastern Mediterranean. The ongoing ‘bargaining’ serves precisely these objectives.
The 15 agreements recently signed at the High-Level Cooperation Council in Athens primarily serve business interests and have nothing to do with the interests of the two peoples.
The Greek government argues that the ‘only dispute’, the delimitation of the continental shelf and of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), will be examined in the next period, with a view to referral to the International Court of Justice.
However, the Turkish state is putting on the negotiating table an overall set of claims, including the  demilitarisation of Greek islands and questioning their rights in maritime zones, labelling the Muslim minority in Thrace as Turkish in violation of the Treaty of Lausanne, while the casus belli (cause for war) remains in force in the case of the extension of territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 nautical miles, as stipulated by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In practice, the discussion is now open, and the risk to national rights and sovereignty looms, with or without a referral to The Hague Court, which operates on the basis of geopolitical games and balances.
Regarding the Cyprus issue, the government resorts to the general assumption that the improvement of Greek-Turkish relations will have a positive effect on the search for a solution, avoiding to condemn specifically the Turkish leadership’s decision to promote the policy of two states and the upgrading of the pseudo-state, thus legitimising the results of the 50-year occupation.

In any case, the settlements, bearing the stamp of the interests of the bourgeois classes and the Euro-Atlantic intervention, carry within them rivalries that will sooner or later manifest themselves within the framework of intra-bourgeois contradictions and the distribution of the region’s wealth.
For this reason, the KKE emphasises that a just solution to the problems of Greek-Turkish relations cannot be achieved through the bargains of the bourgeois classes and predatory alliances and relations. Instead, it can be achieved through the joint struggle of the people, by seizing power and the wealth they produce. Only then, can the people live peacefully according to their own needs.

"Odigitis": What is the role of the EU in these developments, what should be he stance of the people in the European elections, and why is the srenghtening of the KKE necessary?

G.M.: The European Union and the parties that defend it are guided by the interests of big economic groups, turning against the working class, the toiling farmers and the self-employed, undermining the rights and the future of the youth. This is shown by the grave consequences of the strategy of the Super-Memorandum, the Recovery Fund and the Green Transition, which gives billions to the big capital, the devaluation of Collective Bargaining Agreements, the wage and pension cuts, the soaring high prices, the abolition of fundamental labour rights, the expansion of flexible forms of employment, the tax burden, the commodification and degradation of health, welfare and education, as well as the establishment of private universities promoted by the government, and much more.
The strategy that serves the monopolies and their geopolitical upgrading also determines the foreign policy of the EU, which, alongside the USA and NATO, plays a leading role in numerous imperialist wars and interventions under various pretexts. Currently, the EU is involved, alongside NATO, in the imperialist war in Ukraine where peoples are losing their lives. It supports Israel, which is massacring the Palestinian people, intervenes in Greek-Turkish relations according to its strategic interests with the bourgeoisie in Türkiye, and bears a heavy responsibility for the continuation of the occupation and division of Cyprus. The responsibility of ND, SYRIZA, PASOK, and the far-right parties is significant. They praise and support the predatory alliance of the EU and its anti-popular strategy in every sector. They are accomplices of the country’s involvement in the dangerous Euro-Atlantic plans, the policy of profiling and repression, the persecution of migrants and refugees, of all those who are uprooted because of the imperialist wars.
The only political force that opposes the EU and consistently fights against its policies is the KKE. It informs and prepares the workers, is at the forefront of the struggles for workers’ and people’s rights, paves the way for the people to be masters in their own land, outside of any imperialist alliance, for a Greece and Europe of socialism, peace, and prosperity.
These are the criteria for the people’s stance in the European elections, with the aim of further strengthening the current that questions the anti-popular policies and the power of capital, with a firm KKE and MEPs who relentlessly defend the workers’ and people’s interests both on the road of struggle and in the European Parliament.