Pantelis Pouliopoulos

Where are You Going? [A]

First Published: EOKDE Neo Ksekinima, 1927
Republished: in December 1986 by Outopia Publications, Athens in Spartakos (texts 1930-1932).
Online Version: Pantelis Pouliopoulos Internet Archive, April 2003
Transcription: H. Antonn, April 2003
HTML Markup:Roland Ferguson, May 2003

To the KKE leadership [Greek CP trans.]


The published decisions of the Plenary session of the Central Committee make official one of the most dangerous situations that the Party has known until today. No comrade in the Party, having a shred of communist honesty, can take the responsibilities, which the passive approval of the current situation would bring upon them. Everyone knows that the current C.C. doesn’t represent the true convictions of the Party. It’s the result of a disastrous, erroneous application of international super-centralism and a stupidly biased compromise made in the 3rd conference (blank voting with a protest of 15 conventioneers). Objectively, the ruling organ of the Party today, is an expression of a broader political rigging. Essentially, the Party is ruled by a clique whose entire history in the Party is one of political adventurism. It took advantage of the original political apathy of some members of the C.C. (a supposed “marxist” group) and the political naivety of some others (a supposed “workers” group), and thus took over the Party mechanism and uses it unchecked for its own destructive factionalist purposes. One of those “groups”, consistent to their classical political apathy, could not do anything more than quit, without having the courage and honesty though to explain clearly their reasons of resigning, and thus enlighten the Party. They later withdrew their resignations, with the false statement that supposedly the opposition hinders them, with their dissolving activity to fight (!!) against political adventurism, with whom however they identified completely in practice, taking upon them all blame for that adventurism’s criminal activity against the Party. And this group, wavering they resigned again later in the Plenary session from the responsible positions of the leadership organ. Thus, typically as well, the Party is in a permanent leadership crisis, even before the opposition declares itself. The adventurism of the leading clique within three months after the 3rd conference has led the Party to an unprecedented sharpening of the disintegrating phenomena, into real disasters and ridicule (organisational disorder, the tobacco workers affair [B], public appearances, etc). The Plenary session of the C.C. converged not to deal with the serious problems, that the internal disorderly situation puts in front of the Party, the international and national situation, neither to draw practical conclusions from the adventurism of the Political Bureau, but converged instead only to cover up these under the dissolutionism scarecrow. The content of the decisions of the Plenary session, which almost completely ignored an event of such enormous significance for the history of the workers’ movement like the tobacco workers struggle, is a phenomenon of ultimate political shamelessness!

As a genuine vehicle and decisive expressive medium of the indignation of all thinking comrades against the disintegrating factionalism of the leading adventurist clique, rose within the Party the opposition. It declared clearly and honestly its vies in front of the 3rd conference, written and orally, and with bolshevik firmness supported them by discussing them with the delegation of the Communist International and proving tangibly that they ignore persons and happenings in the KKE and that they erroneously and contrary to the teachings of Lenin and revolutionary experience they apply the organisational principles of the C. In.

You have drowned the voice of the opposition, you did not publish its declarations officially recorded in the 3rd conference, with the malicious aim to hide them from the Party and so not to be able to compare them with its critical political thinking against the its current political experience, evaluating their correctness or erroneousness. You published views and articles of comrades of the opposition as official views of the Party without their signatures, so that the Party wouldn’t know that our political line is outright communist and correct. (“Rizospastis” [C], 14/4 “Against the rent of landlords”, 15/4, full positions of the KKE with the same title, 5/6, “What is the Insurance Fund”, 26/6, “The struggle concerning T.A.P.K”, 26/6, “Constitution and Communism”, 30/7, “The significance of the sailors movement”). You didn’t publish our refuting declarations about the bogus slander of the bourgeois press on our “secession”, in order to profit from it and sharpen your factional weapon of the supposed truth of the opposition’s “movement towards a split”! You don’t discuss within the Party like honest revolutionaries the correctness or erroneousness of our views on the basic problems of the movement, but instead you defame, lie, blacken and terrorise the uneducated workers of the Party -it is you who leave them uneducated, for them to be easy prey of your demagoguery- with the spectre of our “dissolutionism”. You talk about “obstacles” that we presumably raised in the dissolution of the “Third Situation”, when we only struggled to persuade every honest revolutionary belonging to the “Third Situation”[D] to enter the Party, while you refuse to accept them, for fear of reinforcing the opposition, and thus pushed them towards regenerating their organisation. No one among you believes that we want to split the Party, nor that we “fatally bear with it”. If there is anyone among you who believes that, he’s a political infant. Our dedicated Party work after the Conference proves that we struggle to make the only Party ! of the Greek proletariat healthier, not to dissolve it. What we seek to dissolve once and for all is the adventurism leading the Party to disintegration or to its current level stagnation. You have declared the opposition effectively “out of order”, you tie our hands 1, you remove every means to communicate with the Party and you prohibit us from shaking off the heavy accusation that we want to dissolve the Party. It is now crystal clear that you are the pettiest factionalists that the international communist movement has ever known. Without daring yet to “expel” the opposition, you expel form the Party nuclei and branches (Athens Organisation, Athens Youth), workers, trade union secretaries (Athenian Waiters), for simply requesting to enlighten them on what the opposition says. You are calling us archeiomarxists [E] and under your sneers, gangs of “selected” members of the Athens Organisation, unpunished by the Party, attack like thugs comrades of the opposition, whose only crime is their years in prison, persecution and exile for the Revolution. You have turned the Party into an army camp, where military discipline has substituted workers’ democracy, and the simple worker trembles in front of the corporal-local commissar reprimanding him for reading the “New Beginning”!! You don’t have dissolving theories, you are practically dissolving the Party.

Comrades, even a little working class child understands that there is only one means for the ideological struggle to proceed normally inside our Party, and to become truly constructive and raising its own level: the immediate democratisation of centralism, ceasing terror inside the party and that stupid “dissolutionism” firework, calling an Extraordinary Conference and free comradely discussion in “Rizospastis”, as well as freedom of speech for the opposition in every nucleus of the Party and the Youth organisations.

In our view, the problems to be discussed are:

  1. Organisational
    1. The crisis in the Party
    2. The problem of qualitative composition and its leninist position on the Greek communist movement
    3. Internal normalisation of the Party and democratic centralism
    4. Theoretical-educative and practical work and their correct correlation for the KKE
    5. “Archive of Marxism”, “Third Situation”
  2. Political
    1. Political pseudorevolutionary adventurism, particular instances and how to fight it off
    2. National Question
    3. Theory of “Socialism in one country” and international opposition
    4. Danger of war, struggle for the legality and practical preparation of forms of illegal organisation and illegal work
  3. Professional
    1. The problem of unity

If you have conviction in your own views, why are you afraid to let the whole of the Party and its followers hear our views too? If our “theories” truly dissolve the Party, as you say, then it won’t be difficult at all to persuade the Party on this. It is a demagogical lie that discussion today is “unadvisable” because of “dangerous conditions”. In this sense, conditions for a communist party will never cease to be “dangerous”. No matter how dangerous the political conditions are, there is nothing more dangerous for Greek communism than the current internal situation of the KKE. The more dangerous this situation is, the more urgent the need to recognise these dangers, to think collectively, the whole of the Party, not factionistically of the best ways to deal with them. Comrades don’t forget that in the first instance of illegality the party the Party almost dissolved in essence, and during the Asia Minor war [F] the Party was talking idly about the 21 clauses while most “pure communists” where common deserters, that is practically anarchists. And don’t forget that basically since then we only changed the name of the Party, our attitude remains the same. About what illegality and what confrontation with the new war are you on about, what assistance to the international revolution, with today’s organisational condition and with the theoretical and political confusionism that prevails among us? Where are you going?

The Party leadership in reality remains completely unconscious in the face of the above dangers and recalls them only to obscure the Party spirit. They play a very sad game against it. They say that the opposition with their ideas seek to dissolve the Party and turn it into a “reactionary petit-bourgeois” organisation, that is a fascist organisation reacting to even the most elementary demands of the working class (for no other reactionary petit-bourgeois organisation can today be meant outside fascism). They also know that the opposition stated in the 3rd conference and now declares that they consider the struggle within the Party a vital need for the dominance of these “reactionary” views. If the leadership truly believed what they say inside the Party about the opposition, and if they had any elements of political consistency and honesty, they ought in accordance to rid the Party organisation immediately of such dangerous members who have ordered from their tailors their greek fascist black shirts! But they don’t dare do that. They merely “rid them of responsible positions”. This shows that the Leadership has lost every sense of political soberness. On the other hand they declare officially that “it is not an opposition but rather a reaction within the Party” (statements of the General Secretary of the Party to the Council of Secretaries in Peraeus), that we are the “internal enemies of the Party” (“Youth” 15/7), that we “stick a murderous knife to the back of the Party” (“Rizospastis” 30/7), while in reality we continue being members of the Party, working for the Party purposes and under the commands of its responsible organs.

This game that you’re playing, comrades, is a stupid political farce. A farce against the Party, a farce against the revolutionary proletariat who needs a Party able to instill respect by everyone, “even its enemies” (Lenin), and not laughter.

We declare that we don’t mean under any circumstances to become comedians of this farce alongside you, because we happen to have a completely different notion of our position among the lines of fighting revolutionaries of our country. We plead you for the last time to cease your squalid fractionistic methods, to recognise charter rights to the opposition, to allow us to tell the whole Party our views, opening a free discussion in “Rizospastis” and the organisations. Otherwise we inform you that we’ll find the appropriate way to enlighten the Party.

With revolutionary greetings

P. Pouliopoulos

I declare that I agree absolutely with the above
declaration of comrade Pouliopoulos

P. Giatsopoulos

Athens, 27th July 1927

1 Before this declaration was delivered to the Political Bureau, it had been read to a conference of the nuclei of the Peraeus Organisation with the following addition: “You don’t publish the statements of the opposing members of the C.C. of the Party”. The P.B. was forced to publish the next day these statements in “Rizospastis”.

Translator’s notes:

[A] First published in 1927 in the special paper “Neo Ksekinima” (New Beginning), “special paper of the opposition inside the KKE”, republished in December 1986 by Outopia Publications, Athens in “Spartakos, texts 1930-1932”.

[B] Referring to the tobacco workers strike in June 1927 in Peraeus.

[C] “Rizospastis” (Radical in English) is the organ of the Greek Communist Party, still in circulation to this day.

[D] In the words of Pouliopoulos (“Letter to the members of the KKE”): “The so-called “Third Situation” includes proletarian and intellectual elements with good communist propaganda work in the past, who request to enter the Party. The tactic of the Party Leadership towards them is basically erroneous. They demand from them not to have certain views on the recovery of the Party, but to declare that they recognise absolutely the correctness of the decisions of the 3rd Conference, while the only thing that the leadership could ask from the revolutionary proletarian followers of the International would be to declare discipline to the Party”.

[E] The archeiomarxists (named after their organ “Archive of Marxism”) were another group of opposition to the KKE (external) led by Witte (Giotopoulos). They became the Greek section of the ILO, a decision bitterly opposed by Pouliopoulos and his group. They eventually split with Trotsky and the F.I. in 1933 and faded to obscurity.

[F] That is the Greek-Turkish war of 1919-1922, where Pouliopoulos himself was sent in 1920, and where he began his political activity by joining the KKE, then called SEKE.

See also “What the Veterans and Army Victims Demand” for some more information on that conflict.


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