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Greek communists with a new Secretary General

14 April 2013 / 13:04:57  GRReporter
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Economist Dimitris Koutsoumpas was elected new secretary general of the Greek Communist Party. He will inherit the post of Aleka Papariga, who has been the party’s leader for 22 years. So far, Koutsoumpas has been director of the party newspaper Rizospastis, as well as head of the International Relations Department of the party. He was elected member of the Political Bureau of the Party for the first time in 1991. He took part in parliamentary elections in 2000 and 2007 in the region of Viotia without, however, being elected.

The 19th Congress of the Communist Party also voted unanimously the new programme of the party, statutes and political decision of the Congress. In his speech, Koutsoumpas was adamant on a possible cooperation with other left forces: "There is no basis for cooperation with parties that were formed by the opportunistic fragmentation of our party, such as today’s New Left Current (NAR), Front of the Greek Anticapitalist Left ANTARSIA, Synaspismos –the whole party or one of its currents – the Left Current and the Alavanos Front, nor with new parties that can be created by those who have been expelled from the party in recent years."

"It is not necessary to calm down and say that we have helped get ourselves out of trouble, if SYRIZA becomes a fully social democratic party or becomes part of the government. In this case, people will understand it and automatically leave them and come to us. New obstacles are planned today; therefore we are prepared and confident. Opportunism, just like the Lernaean Hydra, constantly changes its heads, precisely because there are social reasons for its appearance and existence. The battle against them is continuous. It is not enough to follow the correct line; one must be constantly alert and combat it," said the new general secretary of the party.

On Saturday, responding to an appeal of SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras to the Communist Party, the party said that the "proposal for the governance of SYRIZA has only one purpose - to secure the release of the capitalist economy from the depths of the crisis, shifting the burden onto the people."

"The struggle of the people is to get rid of that burden and this can only be done by leaving the European Union and disposing of government monopolies. This should be the direction of the workers and people, building a National Union. The Communist Party is leading this fight and it will contribute even more strongly, following the decisions of the 19th Congress," reads further the press statement of the party.

Congresses of the Communist Party after the change of regime in 1974 until today are largely stages of its history: from the 10th Congress in 1978, the first legal one, to the 19th today. Three of these Congresses, however, are crucial stages: the ones in 1978, 1991 and 1996.

The Tenth Congress. The first legitimate.

12-20 May 1978: The Tenth Congress took place in Athens and it was the first legal one, after 27 years in which the party was outlawed. It was the first Congress at which the Communist Party of Greece overruled the Communist Party of Greece, Interior. In 1978, it seemed that the party was the only exponent of the left wing.

The Congress was organised after the party strengthened at the parliamentary elections in 1977 (480,272 votes, 9.36% and 11 parliamentary seats). It surpassed the 1974’s result of the United Left (464,787 votes, 9.47%, 8 parliamentary seats) – at the time, the Communist Party was allied with the reborn United Democratic Left through which the Communist Party of Greece, Interior also participated. Charilaos Florakis was re-elected secretary general and Congress’s theses were that "for the implementation of the anti-imperialist, anti-monopolist democratic revolution in the country, the power must pass from the hands of the local monopolistic oligarchy into the hands of anti-imperialist anti-monopolist democratic forces." The Congress passed the idea of a wider democratic cooperation with other democratic parties and groups that resist the government of Konstantinos Karamanlis.

The Thirteenth Congress. The clash of two currents.

19 - 24 February 1991: The 13th Congress was the most critical in the history of the party, following the collapse of the junta. Two internal partisan currents formed then (innovative and conservative, according to the terms of those times). The first was defeated in the elections for a Central Committee. The Congress was held in the closed room of the Olympic Stadium, it involved 1,275 participants and 660 observers. For the first time in the history of the Communist Party, a woman was elected general secretary - Aleka Papariga, 46. Papariga was the only member of the political bureau who was not elected participant in the Congress. Charilaos Florakis, as the President, played a crucial role in the election of Aleka Papariga. In the vote of members of the Central Committee, Papariga won 57, compared to 53 for Yiannis Dragasakis, who was candidate of the innovative current. The collapse came in five months - in July, 45 members of the Central Committee left the Communist Party. Because of these internal party events, in December 1991, the extraordinary 14th Congress was convened.

The Fifteenth Congress. A new programme and statutes

Tags: Communist Party Congress Dimitris Koutsoumpas Aleka Papariga General Secretary
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