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THESES OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE (KKE) AT THE 12TH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE “V.I. LENIN AND THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD”
The danger of the imperialist war and the stance of the Communists
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 composition or recomposition, the changes in the structure and the framework of goals of the international imperialist unions, their so-called new "architecture". 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 of the international imperialist system, in which the re-division of the markets rarely occurs without bloodshed.
The very sharp inter-imperialist antagonisms and the major contradictions of powerful capitalist states and interests are today leading to continuous upheavals in the alliances, to the constant phenomena of the creation of axes and anti-axes internationally.
The intensity of the inter-imperialist antagonisms has led not only to an increase in military spending, but also to changes in position amongst the capitalist states in terms of military strength. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), global military spending in 2015 reached 1.7 trillion dollars, with an increase of 1% in relation to 2014.
The USA remains the strongest military power on the planet, spending more than 600 billion dollars a year, i.e. what the next ten strongest military powers spend combined.
Russia is the second strongest military power. With the modernization and reinforcement of its military strength, it seeks to safeguard the economic interests of its monopolies. So, in 2015 it spent 66.4 billion dollars, a 7.5% increase in relation to 2014 and a 91% increase in relation to 2006.
The "race" in this period of China and India (the 3rd and 4th military powers in the world) to cover deficiencies and upgrade their military power in order to correspond to the economic strength and reach of their business groups is also noteworthy.
Other states that are allies of the USA have also concentrated significant military strength, either in the framework of NATO, such as France (5th), G. Britain (6th), Turkey (8th), Germany (9th), Italy (10th) or outside NATO, like Japan (7th), S. Korea (11th) and Israel (16th).
Of course, military strength is not determined just by calculating military spending, the arms potential and control of the global production of weapons and arms trade, but also by a more complex issue that is related to the overall ability of each bourgeois class to defend its interests, both inside the country and also at an international level, using military means, when economic and political-diplomatic means are not sufficient.
So, apart from annual military spending, military power is also related to the size of military forces acquired over time, technological superiority, the existence of bases outside borders in combination with the control of territories of strategic importance, the superiority in collecting information, the ability to conduct unorthodox warfare. Military power depends on economic power, although a strong economic presence of a state does not necessarily mean it is militarily strong. The latter presupposes a strong military industry, the ability to train and retrain forces in the art of war and the relevant new technologies, the continuous modernization of the military means and a high level of expertise that as regards some types of weapons, such as nuclear weapons, requires many years of research and a great deal of spending.
Nuclear weapons are of great importance in today's era. The states that possess nuclear weapons are the USA, Russia, China, India, Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan and N. Korea.
Nevertheless, there are also enormous differences amongst these nuclear powers, as the USA and Russia stand out amongst them in terms of their nuclear potential. Apart from these two countries, which have thousands of nuclear warheads ready for launch, only Britain and France possess nuclear weapons ready for use, and possibly Israel.
Russia is potentially the only military power that can respond to the USA, if it is on the receiving end a nuclear strike, causing enormous destruction. It is thought that this danger acts in a way to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. However, it has been demonstrated historically that in the instance of a sharpening of the inter-imperialist competition and its escalation into a military conflict, the capitalist states do not hesitate even to utilize such weapons.
Based on the above, it is understood the reason why one of the crucial issues related to the current confrontation between the USA and Russia is the installation of the US anti-missile "shield" in Europe and the Pacific region. These moves serve the aim of impeding a possible Russian response, if the USA and the NATO alliance attempt a "first nuclear strike".
The potential for military rapid response is also of great importance. NATO pays a great deal of attention to forming military rapid response units, which of course need modern infrastructure, like aircraft carriers or strategic bomber aircraft in order to be able to carry out their tasks, as well as new territories as a form of geopolitical support, something that is served by political-military alliances and bases in foreign countries.
In the next period, the military correlation of forces will be decisively influenced by the utilization of new technology, 5th and 6th generation aircraft, laser weapons etc.
Every bourgeois class seeks to increase its strength through political-military alliances. NATO continues to constitute the strongest political-military alliance, despite the sharpening of the contradictions inside it and the apparent trend for the formation of an independent EU military apparatus. The decisions taken by NATO in Warsaw "set the tone" regarding the determination of the US and European imperialists to defend their interests against the bourgeois class of Russia, utilizing the military means they possess along the entire perimeter of the Russia-NATO borders.
NATO and the USA are developing similar plans to strengthen their presence in the Pacific region (with the "pivot to Asia" strategy), as well as in other regions.
As regards the arenas of existing or potential military confrontations, the SE Mediterranean, SE Asia, N. Africa and the Arctic Circle stand out, without ruling out other possible flashpoints or volatile regions, like the Caucasus, the Persian Gulf, the Aden region and the Balkans.
In addition, the military confrontations in Europe (SE Ukraine, Crimea) as well as the reinforcement of NATO in the Baltic, Black Sea and also in the Balkans and Aegean, are factors that militate in favour of a possible outbreak of military conflicts on European soil.
Besides NATO, however, other political-military alliances have now emerged (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Collective Security Treaty Organization etc.), which despite the fact that they are still "looser" and less developed than NATO have the same class character, i.e. they are alliances of capitalist states.
At the same time, in a number of regions, like Latin America and Africa, political-economic alliances are being formed that are connected, amongst other things, to specific political choices and collaborations, for example, with the EU. In addition, separate states in Latin America (such as Colombia, Peru, Chile, Mexico) and also elsewhere (such as Australia) are integrated into the more general promotion of NATO's "partnership" relations.
In recent years, there has been a significant growth of mercenary armies, i.e. private military businesses which under various pretexts (e.g. piracy, the drugs trade, military training, "terrorism") undertake missions in dozens of war zones as the envoys of capitalist states. These armies are integrated into the imperialist plans, the so-called unorthodox warfare, provide the bourgeois governments with the potential to better manage the human losses that they undergo in the interventions in which they participate.
The military confrontations are being conducted over the following issues:
- The control of the energy deposits and the transport routes of the energy resources (e.g. oil, natural gas, pipelines etc.)
- The control of land and maritime transport routes for commodities (e.g. the Silk Road, the sea passages in the Mediterranean, the Bosporus, the Horn of Africa etc.)
- Control of the subterranean wealth in the Arctic region, the mineral wealth, rare earth elements, as well as water reserves.
- The utilization of space for military goals.
- The struggle over the market shares, over the course of which military means are used not only to acquire new market shares, but also to reduce the share of their competitors.
In these conditions, the activity of the so-called "Islamic terrorist" groups is a substantial feature of imperialist war in the 21st century. And this is true, regardless of the extent to which the activity of such organizations is formed with the support or toleration of imperialist centres or manifests itself as an element asserting the independence of these forces from those powerful centres that reinforced them in the past.
The activity of these organizations is being objectively utilized either as an element of the "unorthodox warfare" of a state or certain sections of it against the interests of another capitalist state or as a pretext for imperialist intervention. Of course, in parallel with these goals, the activity of these organizations is also utilized to reinforce the repressive mechanisms of a number of bourgeois states, as well as for the ideological preparation of the workers in the face of the possible involvement of their countries in new imperialist interventions, in the name of combating "terrorism".
Of course, along with the fierce competition for the profits of the monopolies, efforts are under way for compromises, agreements, the temporary suspension of any generalization of the confrontation, even the rearrangement of alliances, as the developments inside the Euro-Atlantic "camp" itself demonstrate.
The developments in Turkey and Syria are characterized by fluidity and mobility in terms of the formation of alliances between different capitalist states and by the possible realignment of alliances. However, neither the trend towards maintaining old alliances nor the trend towards differentiations in the alliances should be treated as absolutes. It is important to continuously monitor such processes because they are related to upheavals in the correlation of forces in alliances and imperialist centres as regards Europe as well, and can trigger more general developments.
In this phase, despite the fact that NATO is developing and expanding even further, always maintaining the Euro-Atlantic states at its hard core, we cannot say that it has totally safeguarded a permanent, stable and undisturbed trajectory, as the alliances are formed in the context of sharpening contradictions.
THE TASKS OF THE PARTY IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST IMPERIALIST WAR
The 20th Congress of the KKE assessed that the local and regional conflicts will continue as an expression and result of the sharpening of inter-imperialist antagonisms and contradictions, with possible military flash-points in the Middle East, Aegean, the Balkans, North Africa, the Black Sea, Ukraine, the Baltic, the Arctic and the South and East China Sea.
Particularly in our region, the sharpening of the situation between Greece and Turkey with the involvement of other countries as well is possible. The questioning of the borders and sovereign rights of Greece on the part of the Turkish bourgeois class is integrated in the framework of its competitive relations with the Greek bourgeois class in the region.
The Greek bourgeois class actively participates in the imperialist plans, interventions, competition and wars, guided by its aim to strategically enhance its position in the wider region. It bears responsibilities for the possible entanglement of the country in a war.
The Programme of the Party has determined our position concerning the imperialist war and the line of our activity, where it is notes that: “The struggle for the defence of the borders, the sovereign rights of Greece, from the standpoint of the working class and the popular strata is integral to the struggle for the overthrow of the power of capital. It does not have any relation with the defence of the plans of one or the other imperialist pole and the profitability of one or the other monopoly group. In the instance of Greece's involvement in an imperialist war, either in a defensive or aggressive war, the Party must lead the independent organization of the workers'-people's struggle in all its forms, so as to lead to the complete defeat of the bourgeois class, both the domestic one and the foreign invader, and link it in practice with the conquest of power. A workers' and people's front, using all forms of struggle, must be formed on the basis of the initiative and the guidance of the party. This front will have the following slogan: the people will bring the liberation and the way-out from the capitalist system, which as long as it prevails brings war and "peace" with the gun to the people's head.”
It is the task of the vanguard of the working class, the KKE, to constantly adjust, specialize, escalate its struggle slogans, without losing sight of the basic aspect which is the character of the war that is imperialist on both sides, regardless of who attacked first. We are projecting this position in the working class and popular strata and on this basis we are struggling today in the following directions:
- The education of the people about the imperialist character of the war, about the dangers, about who is responsible, about the need for their political denunciation and the struggle to overturn any attempt to change the borders.
- Highlighting that the political line of the bourgeois government in the case of its involvement in a war is a continuation of its more general policies against the working class and popular strata whether in conditions of capitalist recovery or in conditions of the outbreak of an economic crisis. Highlighting the necessity for the people have no trust in the bourgeois government, that there cannot be-and never could be- "national unity" between the bourgeois class and the working class in any state.
- The need to oppose every imperialist alliance, to struggle for the closure of all the foreign bases of death in Greece, for disengagement from NATO and the EU, for all the NATO military forces to be removed from the Aegean.
- Highlighting the need to organize the struggle, the resistance and counterattack of the other popular strata, their Social Alliance, in order to put an end to the changes of borders, against the possible invasion-occupation and also against the participation in wars outside our borders. To intensify the struggle against the governments of the bourgeois class, which prepared the terrain with the bourgeois classes of other states in the framework of NATO and led the children of the people to the slaughter. To coordinate the struggle with the labour-people's movements of other countries, linked with the goal of overthrowing capitalist power in Greece and neighbouring countries, so that their peoples can live peacefully with workers' power.
The developments require the intensification of activity against the imperialist wars and interventions, with broad political work of the party and KNE organizations, as well as of the trade unions, the labour-people's movement more generally, the development of the activity of EEDYE (Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace), especially in areas with military bases and command centres in the service of NATO and the "Common Security and Defense Policy" of the EU.