Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History
Archeiomarxist Congress Resolution
After discussions with Molinier and Mill Trotsky proposed that the Archeiomarxists should appear as a section of the Third International, which the Left Opposition was struggling to reform, regarding the KKE as a faction and approaching it for unity in action (LD Trotsky, To the Bolshevik-Leninist Organisation of Greece (Archeiomarxists), October 1930, in Writings of Leon Trotsky: Supplement 1929-33, New York, pp.48-51). The group sent Myrtos onto the International Secretariat in 1931, but after a while it was decided to replace him with Giotopoulos, who somewhat grandiloquently assumed the pseudonym of ‘Witte’ (Beta, in respect of Trotsky’s alpha – cf. Stinas, Memoires, p.149). After a preliminary conference with Trotsky along with other Archeio leaders (L.D. Trotsky, A Discussion on Greece, Spring 1932, in Writings of Leon Trotsky: Supplement 1929-33, pp.124-40) Witte departed for Europe, where he represented the Archeiomarxists on the International Secretariat as well as functioning as its International Secretary.
The group was the largest section of the International Trotskyist movement until 1934, when it split and a section of it joined the London Bureau and the other section continued to support the Trotskyist movement. Trotsky expressed a fervent wish that their association would “last, and forever” (Preface to the Greek Edition of the New Course, 28 January 1933, in Writings of Leon Trotsky 1932-33, New York, 1972, pp.87-9). They on their part warmly returned his feelings, greatly heartening his journey to Copenhagen by lining the docks at the Piraeus and the length of the Corinth Canal with cheering workers shouting “Long Live Trotsky!” and “Long Live the Commune!” (Victor Serge and Natalia Sedova Trotsky, The Life and Death of Leon Trotsky, London 1975, p.188, and L.D. Trotsky, To Greek Friends en Route to Copenhagen, 19 November 1932, in Writings of Leon Trotsky 1932, New York 1973, p.311).
With the adherence of the Archeiomarxists to the Trotskyist movement, the Left Opposition in Greece underwent an unprecedented development in the early 1930s. Committed militants vigorously distributed the ideas and pamphlets of Trotsky in every corner of the country. The Communist Organisation of Bolshevik-Leninists (KOMLEA), as it was called, spread everywhere in Greece, and even reached out to Albania (Revolutionary History, volume 3 no.1, Summer 1990, p.27). Its newspaper, Pali ton Taxeon (Class Struggle) was sold in thousands of copies, and from publishing fortnightly became first a weekly, then twice a week, then three times a week, and for a short period during the 1933 elections it even came out daily – the first Trotskyist daily paper, to our knowledge, in the world (cf. L.D. Trotsky, On the State of the Left Opposition, 16 December 1932, in Writings of Leon Trotsky 1932-33, New York 1972, p.36). Apart from this central political organ of the Central Committee of KOMLEA, they circulated a theoretical journal and trade union papers, the Shoemaker, Baker, Student, and Public Employee. These papers reflected the deep penetration of the Bolshevik-Leninists into the trade union movement of the country, from which for a while the Stalinists were driven out. A good indication of their types of activity can be gained from A. Stinas, Memoires, pp.144-50, as well as from the above introductory account by Karliaftis.
As the Congress of the Archeiomarxist organisations (8 September-2 October 1930) has discussed all the issues on the agenda, as it has discussed its previous activity and outlined its perspectives for political and trade union work, it unanimously adopts the following resolution:
The Archeiomarxist movement has its roots in the first revolutionary nucleus of Greece, which was formed in 1919 around the group Kommunismos, and fought for the entry of the SEKE (Socialist Workers Party of Greece) into the Communist International. Inside the ranks of the new party, where they took part, the members of the group Kommunismos had to struggle against confusionist policies and against the regime imposed by the leadership of the party. For this reason they published the journal Archeio tou Marxismou (Archives of Marxism). Hounded within the party, slandered and expelled by its leaders, the Archeiomarxist group continues to attract and educate the best workers who had been hounded out of the KKE.
For their disagreements on the nature of the crisis of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist International, the Archeiomarxists, with their paltry means, with their publications, with the lessons and their propaganda demonstrated their agreement with the Left Opposition on the issues of the Anglo-Russian Committee, the Chinese Revolution, Socialism in one country, and the party and trade unions.
When the influence of Archeiomarxism penetrated the broadest layers of the working class, its activity was strengthened and the Archeiomarxists started to take part in and eventually lead important proletarian struggles. Exposed to government anti police repression, the Archeiomarxists were able to build their illegal organisation and thus defend their cadres.
Despite the heated struggle against the Archeiomarxists and despite slanders, provocations and even murders (which forced the Archeiomarxists to organise their own defence) the Communist Party was not able to crush the Atcheiomarxist movement, which, on the contrary, has become even stronger, with many workers and strong cadres.
Congress confirms that the Archeiomarxist movement, after experiencing a long period of preparation, now enters a new stage of political development which will make it assume great responsibilities in all the political problems of the revolutionary movement.
The important forces which were acquired after the patient work of many years and the true influence which the Archeiomarxists exert on the most advanced and conscious layers of the Greek working class, places before the Archeiomarxist movement the immediate task of acquiring all the forms of open political struggle of the International Left Opposition, and of placing themselves in a broad struggle of political work.
The serious ideological preparation of the Archeiomarxist cadres which occurred for many years, in the spirit and criticism of the Russian opposition and the principles of the International Left Opposition, constitutes a guarantee that the basis of all the open political activity which the Archeiomarxists will undertake will be inspired solely by the ideal and principles of the International Left Opposition.
Congress places before its members the problem of the form and future political activity of the organisation, in other words, are we obliged to follow the example of the Left Opposition in other countries, who work as a faction of the Communist party, or must we, given the particular conditions in Greece and the constellation of forces between the KKE and the opposition – which are favourable to the opposition – enter on the path of a new Communist party?
Congress draws the attention of all Archeiomarxist members to two obstacles which confront our movement in its path towards the building of a new party – obstacles the importance of which must not be underrated or ignored:
(a) The subjective obstacle: the Archeiomarxist movement, working for years inside closed educational circles, was not able to acquire all the necessary political experience which is necessary for a Communist party.
(b) The objective obstacle: the KKE, which in the past attracted many sympathisers, especially during the period of the Asia Minor expedition and the period which directly followed it, is today found to be in a situation of decline such as it has not hitherto known. But even if completely lacking in cadres and degenerating due to its illogical and opportunist politics, the KKE can still suddenly achieve a new leap forwards under the prestige of the Communist International by appearing as the stable defender of the USSR and the October Revolution.
Congress calls upon the members of the Archeiomarxist organisation throughout the country to discuss seriously these problems in the following months, before they lay down the decisive groundwork for our future political activity.
Due to the obstacles mentioned above and the objective conditions, Congress proposes a position, at least at the beginning, between the independent party and an opposition, which on entering the leadership of the political and economic struggles of the working class, will carefully observe the development of the KKE. It will also support all initiatives which attract the working masses towards a new revolutionary movement. For the political revolutionary struggle to be undertaken, Congress decides on the publication of a political newspaper under the direct control of the leading organs of the Opposition. This paper shall be called Pali ton Taxeon (Class Struggle).
The newspaper will carry out firstly an energetic and constant struggle against the capitalist system and all the political formations which support it. The newspaper will pay attention to the revolutionary trade union movement, and stand for the true and positive defence of the Soviet state, and the revolutionary education of the working class, in the spirit of the first four congresses of the Communist International and the ideas of the International Left Opposition.
Congress recognises the previously fruitful activity inside the trade union movement which allowed the Archeiomarxists to concentrate a significant section of the working class inside trade union organisations. It opposes the demoralising activity of the KKE, which, with its slogans of the ‘Third Period’, tried to lead the workers astray into adventures, and created pseudo-trade union organisations, which divided the energies of the revolutionary elements of the working class.
In the meantime Congress projects as an immediate aim the preparation of the necessary groundwork for the creation of an independent unified revolutionary trade union organisation which will correspond to the true interests of the working class.
Congress energetically opposes the hated regime of the ‘democratic’ dictatorship of the Venizelos government, and proclaims its solidarity with all the victims of oppression, of whatever tendency.
Congress ends by sending warm greetings to the harassed, gaoled and exiled Russian oppositionists – led by L.D. Trotsky – victims of the fierce oppression of the Stalinist machine.
Updated by ETOL: 19.7.2003