Friday, April 11, 2008

On the opportunist platform of Markos Vafiadis

Decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece

On the opportunist platform of Markos Vafiadis

I. For eight years now the people of Greece have waged a difficult armed struggle for their very existence. The Hitlerite conqueror was succeeded by Anglo-American imperialism which, with Monarcho-Fascism as its domestic instrument, wishes to turn Greece into a colony and a military base against socialism and People's Democracy in Europe.

With [the] Varkiza [agreement] and its aftermath, the leadership of the KKE, almost without exception, saw clearly that Anglo-Monarcho-Fascist policy was leading the country to a new armed confrontation, although it could not assure a broad and deep mass basis. The problem for the KKE was (a) to persuade the masses, from their own experience, that English and Monarcho-Fascist policy aimed exclusively and solely at their subjugation through civil war and (b) coolly to confront a situation that existed in the leadership of the KKE so as to avoid serious damage from the activity of the class enemy within the Party, and to negate every attempt to split the Party. Here it must be emphasised that the Party underwent a serious crisis and ordeal with the failure of December 1944, a failure that was the result of basic mistakes in the policy of the KKE in the tirue of the Hitlerite-Fascist occupation. The Party even confronted serious difficulties within EAM and had to handle matters carefully so as to be able, without making concessions in matters of principle, to assure the approval and support of its policy on the part of EAM. All this, under the conditions of the English occupation and of the civil war, which English policy and Monarcho-Fascism had organ­ised and put into effect, showed that a struggle leading to a new armed con­frontation would be very hard, difficult and long, and that it would put the KKE to its greatest test to date. On this matter there was basically no other opinion in the leadership of the KKE. it was clear to all that this new test would demand from everyone the highest degree of party discipline, firm­ness and decisiveness.

* Italicised matter within square brackets represents paraphrased text.

11. The fundamental political difficulty at the new stage of the struggle was the fact that the unlimited help that Monarcho-Fascism received from the Anglo-Americans and the regime of the English military occupation nourished many waverings and doubts, particularly among petty bourgeois elements, as to whether we could succeed. This situation was reinforced by the climate of barbarous terror that covered the country. These hesitations and doubts were reflected within the Party and within the membership of the Politburo of the Central Committee in Athens and in the leadership of the Communist Organisation of Athens. This opportunism at which the Party struck repeat­edly and openly, took the form of a passive waiting upon, and subservience to, Monarcho-Fascism which expressed itself: (a) in the view that the Demo­cratic Army of Greece would succeed itself without the active struggle of those who thought in this way, (b) in the view that only with decisive and energetic help from without could our people succeed. To the extent that this opportunism demonstrated a lack of faith in the strength and the just cause of the People it led to capitulation to the forces of reaction.

Ill. When the battle of Grammos began, the People and the Democratic Army of Greece had already been fighting for two years. During this time, the Democratic Army of Greece had nullified all attempts by the enemy to crush it. Monarcho-Fascism had experienced repeated failures and its manifest crisis progressively deepened. English policy in Greece was bankrupt and this obliged American imperialism to intervene openly in our country. During these two years the Democratic Army of Greece, overcoming unimaginable deprivations and difficulties, came to manhood, acquired experience, matured politically, militarily, and from an organisational point of view, took the form of a regular army. The leadership of the KKE thus readied the Democratic Army of Greece, because it saw that after the open American intervention the struggle in 1948 would be harsher and more difficult. For this confrontation the Democratic Army of Greece readied itself in Northern Pindos, an area which it chose itself, to engage in the greatest battle of 1948 against the monarcho-fascist army and its leadership.

IV. When the battle on Grammos began the balance of power was as follows: in men, 1 to 10, and in material, 1 to SO, in favour of monarcho-fascism. Moreover, monarcho-fascism prevailed absolutely in the air and had mechanical and armoured vehicles, of which the Democratic Army of Greece had none. The balance was very much against us, because, on account of our inadequacies and weaknesses, we did not implement the plan of conscription and we did not make sure of the strategic reserves of the General Staff that we had called for. [ ... ]

V. [ ... ] Exactly at this time of trial and crisis Markos Vafiadis, member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece and of the Secretariat of the Politburo, commander of the Democratic Army of Greece and Prime minister of the Provisional Democratic Government, did not hold steady, broke down and underwent a nervous crisis that rendered

him incapable of being worthy of his position and of rising to the serious­ness of the occasion. The question of Markos Vafiadis then arose for the Party. [He was relieved o( his dl/ties and sent (or treatment.]

VI. Today Vafiadis puts forwards his own political platform, which shows that his crisis at Grammos was not merely a temporary confusion and loss of balance, but a political crisis with deeper roots. This obliges the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece, as well as unearthing his political platform, to examine the entire previous party life and development of M. Vafiadis to uncover the roots of his present anti­party stance. In the Communist Youth and in his Party life M. Vafiadis man­ifested a series of crises of which the most important were those which he underwent in prison, in Aigina and in Akronafplia. At their heart there always lay a clear anti-Party disposition and an unsatisfied egotistical ambition which led him always to complain about persons and things and brought him into conflict with the Party. In a sick fashion, M. Vafiadis harboured the feeling that the Party always failed to appreciate him and persecuted him. [Despite this the Party helped him to develop his abilities and to matl/re politically.]

Vll. Now M. Vafiadis emerges with his own platform which politically constitutes denial, a revision of the line of the KKE. The overriding element in his platform is a fractionist, anti-communist distortion of reality [It is characteristic that between the time that the Party sent Markos to the mOl/ntains as head of the Democratic Anny of Greece and his breakdown on Grammos he never indicated disagreement with the Party line, although he now seeks to indicate that he was opposed to Party policy since 1947.J In the thirty years of its existence the KKE has waged a fierce struggle against Archeiomarxism and liquid­ationist Trotskyism. (Trotsky once said that the strongest bastion of Trotskyism in the capitalist countries was in Greece.) This struggle lasted for over ten years before the KKE was able comprehensively to neutralise this rabid enemy of the working class. The KKE matured in the struggle against mur­derous Trotskyism. The stance and behaviour of M. Vafiadis at the meeting of the Politburo showed that it is a question of an anti-Party, fractionist, Trotskyist onslaught on the KKE and its political line.

Vlll. M. Vafiadis opens his platform with the assertion that within the KKE there is not 'by tradition, internal party democracy. Every alternative effort that takes place is drowned in an anti-Party fashion. The directives of the Party, instead of opening up before you the road for bold thought, kills off your thought'. [ ... ] The bankrupt Trotskyist spews out these slanders against our Party. [Vafiadis fails to understand that in present circumstances the inner party democracy o(the 'legal' parties cannot prevail. There is a need to preserve the ideological pl/rity and theory o( KKE. Responsibility (or ideological (ailings belongs 'to a series of higher and lower party cadres who do not share the life of the base of the Party'. What is needed is 'granite-like party discipline and modest party ethos, revolutionary discipline and multi-faceted theoretical­political education'.]

IX [ ... ] M. Vafiadis, he who at absolutely no time recognised any mistake on his part, speaks of the absence of self-criticism and inner-party democracy. As kapetanios of the group of Divisions of ELAS in Macedonia he followed a chauvinist policy towards Slav-Macedonian fighters. He never spoke of his stance in December 1944, when as kapetanios of the group of Divisions of ELAS in Macedonia, when a war was going on in Athens, he in effect made peace with the English and let them go to Athens to crush the popular uprising The Party made a serious mistake when at that time it did not pay attention to certain responsible accusations that were made against M. Vafiadis for contacts with English officers, agents of the [British] Intelligence Service, and that two days after Markos' flight for the mountains (end of August 1946), at the house of his relative Karamaouna, an agent of the Intelligence Service, it was mentioned that he (Markos) had gone to the mountains to organise guerrilla warfare [ ... ] In the Democratic Army of Greece, M. Vafiadis downplayed and struck at higher Party cadres and gathered round himself mainly his personal friends and officers from the bourgeois army. He trans­planted to the army, and from the army to the Party, the bourgeois and partisan-militaristic methods of warfare, organisation and leadership against which the Party had continually and repeatedly struck [ ... J M. Vafiadis is characterised by a pathological and anti-Party tendency to distance and alienate himself from the masses and from the cadres of the Party. M. Vafiadis is an irreconcilable enemy of the collective work of the leadership [ ... ]

M. Vafiadis did not believe and does not believe in the victory of the people [ ... ]

XI. A further Indication that Vafiadis did not believe in the power of the People, is that he saw the liberation of Greece as coming principally in the form of aid from outside, going as far as armed military aid [ ... ]

XIII. From the moment Vafiadis went to the mountains he believed that vic­tory would be easy and the result of unco-ordinated partisan activity [ ... ] Vafiadis does not understand that there is a basic difference between the armed struggle that we waged during the first occupation against the Hitler­ite conqueror and that which we are now waging against Anglo-American imperialism and monarcho-fascism. Then our struggle was only a small con­tribution to the colossal effort made by the Soviet Union to crush fascism. For a struggle of the kind we made then a partisan army and war was enough. Now the liberation of Greece will basically be brought to fruition by the Democratic Army of Greece. For this today a mature regular army is required, capable of overcoming the tremendous effort being made by monarcho-fascism with the help of Anglo-American imperialism [ ... ]

XV. In its totality the platform of Vafiadis is an opportunistic ragbag, full of inaccuracies, lies and slanders [ ... ]

XVIII. So much for the question of M. Vafiadis. His Trotskyist, opportunist, fractionist statement together with his unprincipled attack on the leadership

of our Party comes to strike the KKE at one of the most critical moments for the people's liberation movement, at a time when the KKE is celebrating, with self-control and critically, but also with honour and pride, the thirtieth anniversary of its founding. [ ... ] Vafiadis confused the sword which the Party gave him to wield on behalf of the People with the sword which he himself raised up against the Party. The Party helped him to develop his abilities and to correct his great faults and failings. However, petty bourgeois egotism and his sick ambition overcame him and when he broke down at Grammos he did not have the Bolshevik courage to appear sincerely before the Party. The Politburo of the Central Committee of the KKE denounces him as an arriviste, an adventurer, a panic-stricken and capitulationist fractionist and Trotskyist. It has decided to bring his case to the first meeting of the Central Committee of the KKE. The KKE has experienced many trials and jolts in the thirty years of its life, which it has reached at precisely this time. It has always remained monolithic and indestructible, faithful to Marxism-Leninism. With the same monolithic quality it will overcome the present crisis which the panic-stricken, opportunist and unprincipled frac­tionist Vafiadis has created. Of this there can be no doubt.

5.11 The Communist Party of Greece and the Macedonian Question: a denial issued by the Central Committee of the KKE, March 1949

To Kommounistiko Komma tis Elladas, Episima Keimena, VI 1945-1947 (Athens 1987) 356

In recent days from different quarters, but particularly from monarcho­fascist Athens and from London, the false and slanderous news that the KKE has made different agreements, etc. for the creation of a Balkan Communist Federation and a Macedonian state that would unite all parts of Macedonia under Yugoslav, Bulgarian and Greek sovereignty is being repeated in different tones and in different ways. This infonnation is entirely false and slanderous. It is aimed at helping the monarch a-fascist and imperialist undermining of our struggle, at breaking the unity of struggle between the Greek and Macedonian peoples and at spreading dissension among the Balkan peoples.

The Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee (30-31 January 1949) declared that 'as a result of the victory of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE) and of the people's revolution, the Macedonian people will find its full national restoration as they themselves wish, now offering up their blood so as to achieve it'. This is the position of the KKE on the Macedonian question. The two peoples, Greek and Macedonian, struggle together for their freedom.

As a result of victory each people will freely and in a sovereign manner decide its future course. As a consequence of victory the Macedonian people will itself decide how it wants to live and be governed.

No slanderous campaign and polemics on the part the enemies of our struggle can distort or falsify this popular and democratic position of the KKE.

Free Greece

15 November 1948

The Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece

Announcement of the Central Committee of the KKE

[ ... ] The Fifth Plenum of the Central Committee of the KKE, taking into account the fact that for many months Comrade Khrysa Khatzivasileiou and Markos Vafiadis have been gravely ill and unable to fulfil the important duties entrusted to them, the Central Committee of the KKE decided unani­mously to release them from all Party work.

Free Greece-Grammos 31 January 1949.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Greece Free Greece, 7 March 1949

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