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The end of myths and illusions
To face the present and prepare tomorrow
Article by Dimitris Koutsoumbas,
GS of the CC of the KKE.
We are in the midst of the pandemic of the novel coronavirus threatening our people and the peoples of the entire world. Our Party faces this unprecedented adventure for the people with a high sense of responsibility. From the very first moment, we postponed all the events, adapted the operation and action of the Party Organizations in the framework of the measures to prevent and protect public health. At the same time, we demanded that all necessary measures be immediately taken to protect the health of the people and the rights of the workers.
The content of our Party's intervention in these difficult conditions is aptly illustrated by the slogan: "We stay strong, we do not stay silent."
WE STAY STRONG, protecting ourselves, our family, our friends and comrades, our colleagues. We do not stay silent about shortcomings in the public health system. We highlight and demand all that should have already been done to address the pandemic.
We particularly highlight the need to recruit thousands of healthcare professionals, the immediate requisition of the private health sector, to protect our fellow humans who are suffering in the workplaces producing the necessary means for the survival of the people, as well as the protection of our fellow humans who are fighting a self-sacrificing titanic battle in hospitals and all healthcare units, to protect our health and lives.
We stay strong, we do not lower resistance, demand, and solidarity in the workplace and neighborhoods, certainly taking into account the protection measures and the special conditions.
We do not stay silent in the face of employer arbitrariness and government policy, which once again seek to place the burden of this crisis on the workers.
WE BREAK THE SILENCE that the government and the big employers want to impose in the name of the slogan "let's overcome this crisis together", which is a reflection of hypocritical bourgeois ethics. Quite simply, because we cannot "all together" recruit healthcare professionals, requisite the private sector, take preventive and protective measures providing all the necessary tools and means to protect workers. In the framework of this system, all the above must be done by the state and the government that leads it, along with the class that has the real power and ownership. Of course until the working class and the popular strata, "all together" and united sideline them permanently and irrevocably and construct a society where social goods will be given priority, as opposed to the capitalist profit that leads to the death of our fellow humans.
WE DEMAND MEASURES to support the workers and the self-employed who have been hit by the restrictive measures.
We demand the cancellation of about 40,000 redundancies and much more damaging changes that preceded. We will not legitimize measures taken in the pretext of the epidemic, with a view to become permanent, such as those concerning further "flexibility" of work.
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WE DO NOT DENY INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY. But individual responsibility is established when a state assumes its own primary responsibility.
The New Democracy government communication strategy of turning everything into "individual responsibility" is devious, precisely because it hides the truth from the people.
It aims to conceal the enormous shortcomings in the public health system due to the EU's overall policy, which has been accepted and endorsed by all Greek governments, as well as the to date policy of degradation, commercialization, and cuts that all governments, firstly of ND – PASOK and then SYRIZA, have followed over time.
Didn't the SYRIZA government follow the same communication strategy of "individual responsibility" when it attributed the tragedy in Mandra and Mati to individual responsibility?
The hypocrisy of the current government is also proved by the necessary restrictive measures. Because these measures stop outside the "gates" of workplaces, hospitals, supermarkets and other workplaces, where workers are crowded without the necessary precautionary measures.
And all this, while there is the example of neighboring Italy, where, as it is alleged, the spread of the virus is largely due to the fact that, under the responsibility of industrialists and the government, the large industrial zone of the North has not ceased to operate, acting as the main outbreak centre.
For all of the above, we must now deal with both the ND government as well as the unaccountable big employers. We must not postpone it, in the name of the special conditions that today imply the silence of a falsified "unity", as SYRIZA and the other bourgeois parties promote, essentially calling the people to disarmament and submission. And this also concerns thinking, consciousness, pure class-oriented minds, and in practice, the militant attitude of life, so that no one feels alone in these difficult conditions.
Our own unity, the unity of the working class and the suffering people, is the one that is built daily, with patience and perseverance, steadily, against the policies of the EU, the big capital and their governments that put the people's and its children's life at risk.
Especially the opposition of parties, such as SYRIZA, will remain in history as the opposition of "complicity" in every dangerous step that ultimately affects the interests of the Greek people.
From the dangerous relations with the US and NATO, the Greek-Turkish relations and facing imperialist aggression evolving together and alongside Turkish aggression and provocation, the management of refugees'-immigrants' drama, up to the management of the pandemic itself, SYRIZA, because of its strategy of alignment and agreement, complicits in the ND government on all these issues critical to the lives of the people.
After all, the dissolution of the public health system, from the obsolete or non-existent Primary Health Care up to major hospitals that had already reached their limits independently from the pandemic, now has its own seal:
- The previous ND government closed hospitals and SYRIZA let them remain closed.
- ND reduced health funds and SYRIZA reduced them even more.
- None of them hired the necessary medical and healthcare staff.
- Together, they have been telling the people that the private business sector can help to "upgrade" the public health sector.
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THE MYTH WHICH IS UTTERLY REFUTED during the coronavirus pandemic is the one saying that the public and the private sector can coexist harmoniously and thus contribute to address this situation. This myth is refuted by the profiteering of private health centers conducting the coronavirus testing, which is only accessible to those who can afford it, depriving state planning of valuable resources and at the same time increasing the risk of spreading the virus.
This myth is also refuted by the fact that the state depends on the world market "war" conducted by the big companies, which found the opportunity to run a very lucrative business, for the supply of basic material and drugs.
The necessity for an exclusively public and free Health system with the abolition of any business activity has been dramatically demonstrated.
Even now that all eyes are on the public health system, the recruitment of healthcare personnel announced by the government is not enough to meet even basic needs under normal conditions, let alone under pandemic conditions.
The current conditions require:
- Immediate requisition of private health units and their integration into central state planning.
- Immediate supply of hospitals with all the necessary means that the healthcare professionals require, as they know better than anyone what is needed.
- The opening of all ICUs.
- The recruitment of all necessary healthcare personnel.
What the opposition leader stated about the "requisition" of private hospitals, in fact concerns the extension of the EOPYY (National Organization for Healthcare Services Provision) contract. Obviously, SYRIZA does not even dare to propose the real and immediate requisition of the private health sector.
* * *
THE SECOND MYTH WHICH IS REFUTED is the one about "returning to normality" and high growth rates. All of this now give their place to the acceptance that the Greek economy as well is in deep recession.
The slowdown of the economy in the EU and other major capitalist economies has, of course, preceded, increasing the risk of a new capitalist crisis.
Of course, the current pandemic is not its main cause but only serves as a catalyst. It is certain that the Greek economy will also be affected by the "monoculture" of tourism, exposing all those who fully endorsed the extroversion of the Greek economy.
The measures taken by the EU and the governments of its member states, proceeding to protectionist measures, closing borders, and financing their own monopoly groups with funding packages, will not stop this course.
We must know that this Keynesian-type state intervention, as well as the promoted fiscal relaxation, to support the capitalist economy, will be paid once again by the workers who will be called to fill the new fiscal gaps and the new lending.
As for the famous "European solidarity", it sounds like a joke, even among the bourgeois circles of the country. Especially when, in the European Union of "freedom of movement of goods", Germany and France even banned the export of the necessary sanitary material to other countries!
It is therefore proved also in this way, and even in tragic times for the peoples of Europe, that the EU is not a union of peoples, but a "predatory alliance" and a "lion's den", an imperialist union of states, demonstrating the necessity of not just a more tough stance against it, as various bourgeois parties promote when they are in opposition, but of a political and strategic choice that will lead to disentanglement from it, with the working class and the people of each country having power and ownership.
* * *
Above all, however, the pandemic highlights, more so with every day that passes, the limits of the capitalist system.
It turns out that contemporary needs and social goods, such as health, cannot be left to the mercy of markets and profit.
This decay cannot be concealed by the adjectives that some people use to describe capitalism, such as "neoliberal capitalism", "extreme capitalism" and so on, ultimately only to conceal that they fully support the capitalist system itself.
Because, now it can no longer be said that "it may be a wrong approach", a "simple political strategy mistake" that may perhaps be "corrected by individual improvements" or by "changing some managers of the bourgeois power by alternating from liberals to social democrats" and vice versa ...
It is the same old story ...
But the people in this case are permanently intubated, trapped in conditions of a coronavirus pandemic which may not be that difficult, but in any case under capitalist conditions.
These outrageous situations, with doctors being forced to choose who will live and who will die, exist both in countries with "neoliberal" governments, such as Italy, but also in countries where fake "progressive alliances" govern, such as Spain.
Today capitalism itself is bankrupt, the market economy itself in all its versions is bankrupt, which nullifies every opportunity for the working class and the people to enjoy high-quality health services in line with the evolution of science and technology, precisely because its main criterion is capitalist profit.
Even in pandemic conditions, everything is subject to the profitability of the capital. This is why workers in the industries of Northern Italy have been working despite the prohibitions, without protective measures, with the known tragic results.
This is why the competition between transnational monopolies over who will patent the new vaccine is sharpening, at a time when there should be cooperation and joint efforts by the world's best scientists and research centers.
This is why even now the big employers trample over any remaining labor rights, try new forms of exploitation, such as teleworking, and proceed to mass layoffs.
Against the decay of bankrupt capitalism, we can clearly see the superiority of socialism that ensured health and healthcare for all, let alone in the previous century and in countries that began its construction under conditions of great delay at all levels.
The figures in Soviet Russia 30 years ago, which cannot even be compared to the situation prevailing in our country and EU countries, are relentless: over 1.1 million doctors, exclusively free healthcare for the entire population, 1,387 hospital beds per 10,000 inhabitants.
Even today, the mission of the Cuban doctors to Italy, the Health infrastructure in countries such as Germany, existing thanks to the socialist system of half of Germany back then, the German Democratic Republic, and even the management of the pandemic in capitalist China, which reveals its socialist residues, show that socialism has left its powerful social imprint even three decades after its overthrow.
* * *
So in these unprecedented conditions, we stay strong, we struggle for protection measures of workers' lives and rights, we put forward the only perspective for the working class, the majority of our people, which is the new society, i.e. socialism.
The tangible superiority of socialism, social ownership, and central scientific planning is the great legacy for the next day.
Let this prevail in our thoughts and political action during these days of "quarantine". We deny any political "quarantine", we oppose the "quarantine" in thought. We think, study and act, facing today, adapting our action, but also looking to the future, preparing tomorrow.