Workers Vanguard No. 1009
28 September 2012
On Critical Support to KKE
11 July 2012
Refreshing to read real Trotskyists take on the parliamentary idiots of SYRIZA and the fake-Trotskyist “Euro-communists” of Greece! [See WV No. 1005, 6 July.] Puts the ICL way out ahead of the competition. Good work, Vanguard!
Forward to the Socialist United States of Europe!
Bill in Atlanta
13 July 2012
I read your Greek comrades’ statement and it seemed reasonable, except saying vote for the “candidates” of the KKE in the Greek election leaves open the possibility of voting for the candidates running for executive offices of the Greek capitalist state, which seems in violation of your expressed opposition to doing that.
Furthermore, this was pointed out to me by an Australian supporter of yours who first saw it before I did, and I suggested earlier today he might wish to write you on this issue as I’d missed his point.
Were your Greek comrades by leaving which KKE candidates they were suggesting voting for open suggesting voting for candidates running for exec. offices part of that or not?
WV replies: As our article “Marxist Principles and Electoral Tactics” (Spartacist [English-language edition] No. 61, Spring 2009) noted: “In arguing against running for executive office, the ICL does not preclude giving critical support to other workers organizations in appropriate instances where they draw a crude class line.” When we give critical support to another workers organization, it does not mean that we agree with its political program, including its intention to administer the capitalist state. Much the opposite. The purpose of this tactic is to demonstrate that despite the claims of such parties to represent the interests of the workers, in practice they betray them.
As Marxists, we seek to instill in the working class the understanding that the existing state apparatus cannot be administered in the interests of the workers but rather must be smashed through the proletarian conquest of power. We refuse to run for executive office, even if we declare in advance that we don’t intend to assume such office, because doing so would deepen prevailing illusions that the capitalist state can be reformed. But as the Spartacist article argues, if we were to hold others to the same standards, we “could never extend critical support to a mass reformist party, because on winning an election it will inevitably seek to form the government, i.e., administer capitalism. Indeed, this argument is an essential polemical aspect of our critical support.”
When applicable, the tactic of critical support is a tool for forging a workers party of the Bolshevik type, allowing even a small revolutionary nucleus to gain a hearing among the most advanced elements who presently look to one or another reformist party. The call by the Trotskyist Group of Greece for a vote to the Stalinist Greek Communist Party (KKE) in the June election is a case in point. The central issue posed in the election was the devastating austerity dictated by the European Union (EU) and International Monetary Fund and imposed by the Greek bourgeoisie. The KKE stood out on the left for its opposition to the EU and its refusal to enter any coalition with bourgeois parties, despite enormous pressure to join a “unity of the left” coalition with Syriza.
A massive vote for the KKE would have delivered a slap in the face to the imperialists and their Greek lackeys and given a boost to the defensive struggles of workers across Europe. At the same time, we pointed out that the KKE panders to Greek nationalism, which is the chief ideological obstacle to building a revolutionary workers party in Greece, and that its populism, expressed as “the people” against “the monopolies,” disappears the unique social power of the working class to wage the necessary fight against capital.