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What do we mean by "a revolutionary party that is obliged to operate in non-revolutionary conditions"?

In Thesis 64, we have the following reference: "There is an objective contradiction that runs through every communist party, every revolutionary workers movement that is active in non-revolutionary conditions. And this contradiction is based on the fact that while the CP is a party for the revolutionary overthrow, it does not operate in conditions that favour this."What do we mean here?

In non-revolutionary conditions, the bourgeois class in general maintains a political and ideological dominance over the working class and the other popular strata. This is true not only due to the fact that it controls the state apparatus, the mechanisms for ideological manipulation (mass media, educational system, church etc.), the capacity to bribe, to extort etc., but also due to the fact the dominance of capitalist relations of production in these conditions also feeds into the dominance of views compatible with it. In other words, in non-revolutionary conditions the workers themselves tend spontaneously to interpret the general developments and those that affect them more directly through a bourgeois prism. Of course, other factors also intervene-the Communist Party, the development of the class struggle-which contribute either to reinforcing or weakening this influence.

So, what does it mean for a CP to have a political line that serves its revolutionary goals in such conditions characterized by the negative correlation of forces? In contrast with the revolutionary situation, when the basic task is to orient the struggle towards overthrowing bourgeois power, in non-revolutionary conditions the basic task is the comprehensive ideological-political and organizational strengthening of the Communist Party, as well as the quantitative and qualitative  reinforcement of the leading working class and popular forces that are militantly rallied in an anticapitalist-antimonopoly direction, due to the impact of the intervention of the communists. This general task is related to a number of other more specific tasks, such as the struggle for the regroupment of the labour and trade union movement, the struggle for the development of the social alliance, the struggle to improve the political correlation of forces, the struggle against opportunism and the illusions concerning a pro-people utilization of the bourgeois state, the struggle to maintain the political independence of the labour movement from all the wings of bourgeois politics.

This is activity which is objectively very complex, as it "swims against the tide". Indeed, the fact that many CPs were co-opted-regardless of whether they kept their title or not-by capitalism over the course of history demonstrates the difficulty of consistently orienting towards revolutionary activity under all conditions. The capacity of the KKE to operate in all conditions as a revolutionary party is condensed in the slogan for an "All-weather Party".

The pressure on the CP to limit its activity inside the constraints of the capitalist economy and the bourgeois institutions can take on many forms (political, ideological, economic etc.).This pressure increases in the conditions of the reformation of the bourgeois political scene, of the intensification of intra-bourgeois contradictions etc. It has been historically demonstrated that this pressure remains, irrespective of whether the CP operates in clandestine conditions or in conditions of relative legality. This pressure increases when it affects a section of the supporters of the party or even some of its members.

The consolidation and reinforcement of the revolutionary characteristics of the CP are prerequisites in order to deal with these dangers. It presupposes the acquisition of the ability to draw conclusions from the course of the class struggle, the improvement of the social and age composition of the party, the improvement of its ability to work with broad popular strata in a way that will not be subordinated to their low level of political consciousness, but on the contrary will contribute to raising it.

The acquisition of revolutionary characteristics and the adaptation of all the aspects of the party's functioning to its revolutionary goals-as they are expressed in its Programme-is a task that must be fulfilled chiefly in non-revolutionary conditions.



[1]In the framework of the pre-congress procedures of the 20th Congress of the party, a series of articles are being published in “Rizospastis” in a special column “Question-Answer” around ideological-political issues contained in the Theses of the CC.

This article was published on 16/2/2017