On May 10, 2020, the parties of the European Communist Imitative held a teleconference with the theme "The struggle of the communist and workers' parties in the conditions of the pandemic and the new capitalist crisis". As the conference was held at the initiative of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) the party's General Secretary gave an important and rousing opening statement. After the teleconference a joint statement was issued by all the parties. "The teleconference was attended by 24 communist and workers' parties from Austria, Bulgaria, France, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Latvia, Belarus, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Sweden and Turkey." Here are excerpts from both statements. Introductory Speech of the General Secretary of the KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas (excerpt): Dear comrades, IT IS UP TO US TO 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. IT IS UP TO US TO DEMAND MEASURES to support the workers and the self-employed who have been hit by the restrictive measures. TO DEMAND the cancellation of thousands of redundancies and the much more damaging changes that preceded them. WE WILL NOT LEGITIMIZE measures taken under the pretext of the epidemic, with a view to become permanent, such as those concerning further "flexibility" of work... ...Comrades, 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 addressing 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 was tragically proved in many cases and deaths in Greece that occurred in private clinics and structures that did not fully meet hygiene standards. 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 materials and drugs. The necessity for an exclusively public and free Health system with the abolition of any business activity has been dramatically demonstrated. Today, it is indisputable that the health of the people, their care, protection, and security are incompatible with capitalist profit, greedy capital and the capitalist mode of production. Either a solution will be provided based on the real needs of the people or the people will suffer, they will live in miserable conditions, they will constantly pay out of their own pockets so that the few and chosen ones of capital will make huge profits. And as life confirms, the monopolies seek to increase their wealth both in conditions of capitalist development and in conditions of crisis of the capitalist economy. Especially in the recent period, the activity and competitions at a European and international level have intensified over how to more effectively support the stricken capitalist economy. The consequences of the coronavirus pandemic acted certainly as a catalyst for the worsening of the serious problems that pre-existed in the capitalist economy... ...The coronavirus will be cured and the pandemic will end, just as others did in the past. Capitalism, however, is incurable and will continue to torture humankind, with poverty, unemployment, wars, the destruction of the environment, until the peoples decide to lead the way in the developments. More and more people in the world are realizing and shouting out loud that “capitalism is the real virus”. Today’s system can only be overthrown and replaced by a superior social system, socialism – communism, where social ownership of the means of production with workers’ power, scientific central planning for the satisfaction of people’s needs, workers’ control of all the administrative organs and participation in all the organs of power, from the bottom to the top, can lead to prosperity for the people, to peace and the progress of humankind. We must be consistently and unwaveringly oriented to this task. Our daily tactics and practice must be subordinated to this task, of course always taking into account the particular conditions, the correlation of forces, but without retreating because of them or altering our strategic goal. Internationalism, workers'- communist solidarity and action, are what should accompany us at every step, as we have done so far, but with faster steps that will lead to realistic perhaps small leaps in the present, but which will prepare the big leap in the future, for the peoples of our countries, for the whole Europe, for the whole world. Joint Statement of the European Communist Initiative Parties (excerpt): The ECI parties also expressed solidarity with those affected by the CoVID-19 pandemic and wished them a speedy recovery. Moreover, they saluted Cuba's solidarity action with the most affected countries. The parties agreed to reinforce the struggle for: Immediate strengthening of public health systems, recruitment of permanent medical and nursing staff with full rights, the meeting of all needs in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and infrastructure required for the full operation of public health care and research services. Immediate provision of all the necessary means of protection (masks, gloves, disinfectants, etc.) to the people by the state free of charge and fight against profiteering. Immediate provision of all protection measures to the healthcare personnel that gives this battle. The communist and workers' parties in Europe noted that they will lead the struggle against the attack of capital, which in the face of the new crisis proceeds to widespread layoffs and tries to further crush wages, working hours, leaves, and other labor rights. They expressed their solidarity with the class-oriented trade unions that struggle in order for the workers not to pay the consequences of the capitalist crisis. They spoke out against the imperialist plans of the USA, NATO, and the EU, as well as against sanctions and economic exclusion measures that are criminal and make people's lives difficult. The parties that attended the teleconference noted that the current situation shows the deep impasses of the capitalist mode of production (crisis, unemployment, the impoverishment of the working class, the commercialization of social needs such as health, imperialist wars, etc.). Under these circumstances, the slogan "Socialism or barbarity" is more timely than ever.
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