Intervention of AKEL
(Progressive Party of the Working People - Cyprus)
“The contemporary working class and its alliance.
The tasks of its political vanguard – the Communist and Worker’s Parties – in the struggle against exploitation and imperialist wars, for the rights of the workers and of the peoples, for peace, for socialism”
We salute the 20th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties and address a warm comradely greeting to all. We convey a message of solidarity and joint action on behalf of the communists of Cyprus to the communists throughout the whole world, to all those who are struggling for the rights of the working people, for peace and socialism. In particular, we express our gratitude to the Communist Party of Greece for hosting this year's Meeting. On the occasion of the 100 years of life and heroic struggle of the KKE we address a warm comradely greeting to its members and cadres.
As Communist and Workers’ Parties, we are united by values, ideals and History. We are united by Marxist-Leninist ideology, internationalism and the cause of socialism. Of course, we know that there are different approaches as regards issues of strategy and tactics that we can and should discuss in a spirit of co-operation and mutual respect.
We believe, however, that the annual International Meeting fulfills its mission provided that it becomes a forum for a fruitful exchange of experiences and assessments, but above all, provided that it becomes the tool safeguarding and deepening the unity of action of our Parties around some key axes. Building on what unites us, we respond to our share of duty in the phase and situation of the international communist movement today.
The International Meeting is taking place in the global conditions of the ongoing capitalist crisis. Despite the assurances from various leading circles of the capitalist world and despite the phases of a temporary and anomalous recovery being registered, the crisis has not been overcome. Even with the brutal destruction of a section of capital, even with all the anti-social measures that have been imposed in the years of the crisis all over the world so as to drive labour costs down and abolish social rights, capitalism cannot rid itself of its crises, contradictions and deadlocks. The capital-labour contradiction was and remains at the root of the dramatic problems the overwhelming majority of people on the planet are facing. Class inequalities. The concentration of enormous wealth in increasingly fewer hands. Poverty, hunger, unemployment. The destruction of the environment. Mass migration. The rise of fascism in Europe and the American continent.
More specifically as regards the rise of fascism and the ultra-right we must stress that it is a phenomenon that isn’t just appearing in Europe, but also on the American continent. However, the most dangerous expression of the capitalist crisis is the dramatic and explosive sharpening of competitions/rivalries between the imperialist centres of the planet that are assuming the form of economic wars, huge battles between energy giants, the revival of old and new hotbeds of tensions and conflicts, together with an escalating militarization that is bringing back to the fore even the nightmare of a nuclear disaster.
We believe therefore that in today's conditions the key task of the Communist and Workers’ Parties, is to expose and reveal the class causes that lie behind the competitions, the militarization and the danger of war and themobilization of the masses to defend peace, fight against the nightmare of a regional or generalized war breaking out. We have a duty to rallywithin the ranks of the peace, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements of our countriesthe whole of the working class, every working man and woman, young person, all those who agree with the importance of the struggle for peace, even though they might not agree with us on everything; even though we have not yet managed to convince them that peace does not just mean the abolition of war, but the eradication of the root causes of war.
This outlook guides AKEL in our duty to enlighten and mobilize the people of Cyprus against the longstanding plans to turn our island into a military base and an arena of military exercises by foreign armies. This is an urgent task that has been set before us, given that the Anastasiades government in Cyprus ever since its election in 2013 has demonstrated its determination to actively support imperialism’s plans in the region. It is continuing on this line more intensely since its re-election in 2018.
It is no coincidence that the Anastasiades government characterised our country as the "outpost of the EU and the West in the Eastern Mediterranean" and as a "shield of Israel", while it is now making moves even towards Saudi Arabia. These options are being presented by the government as constituting a protective shield for Cyprus against Turkish aggression. AKEL upholds the position that our people’s and country’s security is ensured through peace, and not our involvement in any imperialist plans and militarization.
The struggle of the Cypriot people against the 44-year-old occupation and colonialization of 37% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus by Turkey and the de facto partition of the island and of both communities of Cyprus, is being waged in the volatile region of the East Mediterranean framework. For AKEL, the struggle for liberation and the reunification of our homeland is its immediate duty as the Party of the Working Class and the Working People of the whole of Cyprus. In our view, the reunification of our people - Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots - is an essential prerequisite so that the goal of the socialist transformation can be set in our country. A solution of the Cyprus problem, which will bring an end to the occupation and the regime of foreign guarantor powers, restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus, result in the demilitarization of the island and reunification of the people will constitute a reversal of the imperialist crimes committed against Cyprus in 1974. It will also make an important contribution to the anti-imperialist struggle of the peoples and the cause of peace in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Today, the complex issue of the Cyprus Problem is interconnected with the economic, geopolitical and energy interests that are underminingthe situation. At the same time, the passage of time creates very serious and potentially irreversible negative fait accompli on the ground, but also with regards the demographic composition of the population due to the systematic policy of cultural-religious, economic and political absorption of the occupied territories of Cyprus and of the Turkish Cypriot community itself which Turkey is implementing.
AKEL's longstanding policy on the Cyprus problem is summarised in the position that one the one hand we are ready for an honorable compromise between the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots, but on the other hand we will not accept any compromise with the occupation, partition and NATO. This is the reason why AKEL in the current period is struggling and mobilizing the people and taking initiatives, both inside and outside Cyprus, in the direction of fulfilling the goal of resuming the talks on the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Framework of the Secretary General of the United Nations, which resolves correctly the issues related to the substance of the Cyprus problem, namely the termination of the Turkish occupation and the abolition of the system of guarantees, as well as the abolition of the intervention rights of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom over Cyprus.
At the same time, as AKEL, we firmly reject the scenarios for Cyprus' accession to NATO or NATO guarantees for the solution of the Cyprus problem, something that the President of Cyprus has brought back to fore lately.
The partition of the island represented a long-standing goal of Turkey through the promotion of confederation or a “two-state” solution. The fact that such views – that is the search for solutions outside the framework of the United Nations which provides for the solution of federation – are now being expressed in the Greek Cypriot community as well reveal foreign interests and lead to dangerous paths.
AKEL was and is the force that expresses with consistency the position “Cyprus – One country – One people” and warns that the potential abandonment of the goals for a federal solution is tantamount to the beginning of the end for the Cyprus problem, but also ultimately for Cyprus itself, given that it would finalize its partition.
AKEL considers its historic duty for the future and unity of our homeland the defence of the framework of the solution of the Cyprus problem, which provides for the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty, a single nationality and a single international personality and the political equality of the two communities. This solution represents the honorable compromise for the solution of the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem on which the progressive forces of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities agree on.
The international solidarity of the Communist and Workers Parties and of international progressive movement towards the struggle being waged by the Cypriot peopleis therefore rendered invaluable.
For the Party to fulfill its immediate and long-term tasks as a political vanguard of the working class, it must first and foremost gain the trust of the working class and working people through the struggles for immediate popular and social assertions; for the promotion and solution of day-to-day problems and demands of the people of labour and the young generation; for the resolute defence of labour and social gains from the attacks unleashed by capital and governments serving it. It is precisely through this outlook that we also evaluate and assess our own actions and our own weaknesses.
In recent years, Cyprus has been experiencing an unprecedented concentration of wealth in the hands of a privileged few coupled with a dramatic worsening of social inequalities and a major setback in labour relations. The Anastasiades government’s policy, in combination with the support provided from time to time by the other opposition parties, serves in a provocative and ruthless way the interests of banking capital and big business. AKEL is the only force that exercises opposition from the point of view of popular interests and it is the driving force and the principal mass force of the popular and social mobilizations that have taken place in recent years.
Nonetheless, the fact that most of the anti-social and anti-worker measures of the Anastasiades government - despite the social outcry - were ultimately imposed (such as the legislation on foreclosures, the privatization of the ports and the sale of Co-operative Bank, a pioneering gain of the Cypriot people) has entrenched among a large section of working people the denigration and undermining of the value of organized struggle and trade union action, but also disappointment with the Party and the Movement. Our own experience - but also history itself - hasproved that the effectiveness of the struggles waged is a decisive factor in how working people view - especially that of the strata most affected by the crisis - is shaped about the Party and the workers movement. Consequently, it is therefore not enough to be declaring that we are the vanguard of the working class. We must conquer and gain this role through decisive,but also effective struggles that will improve the position of working people.
It is the path of struggle through which the Party gains the trust of the people of labour, is recognized by the people itself as its vanguard and paves the way for achieving great social changes and reversals. The ultimate destination of this path of struggle cannot be anything other than socialism, namely the society which radically solves working people’s immediate problems and needs, a society which resolutely addresses the causes that give rise to wars, fascism and ecological destruction; a society which liberates the enormous dynamics of humanity and science. Because socialism is not some hopeful wish or a romantic utopia. Above all, socialism is necessary, timely and feasible. Setbacks and History’s dark periods are temporary. The wheel of history will always march on and humanity will ultimately march forward.
Socialism is the future of the peoples.