During the second weekend of July, young comrades from the CPGB-ML attended the first international youth festival held by KOE – the Communist Organisation of Greece.
The event, which was held at the campus of the Agricultural University of Athens, spanned three days, with presentations and discussions held each afternoon and evening and a full programme of live music every night.
The main highlight of the festival was the attendance of comrades from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist-Maoist) of Bolivia, the ambassador of Venezuela and a group of Palestinian activists.
On the evening of 12 July, these comrades all took part in a presentation on struggles and revolutions in the 21st century.
The Nepalese comrades opened with a red salute to all those who attended the festival. They highlighted the destructive nature of imperialism in both the oppressed world and imperialist heartlands and outlined the importance of opposing US imperialism as the greatest enemy of the people of the world.
Comrade Leila Khaled of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was prevented from attending the festival by the refusal of the Greek authorities to grant her a visa. Nevertheless, a live link was established and her contribution to the event, in which she outlined the realities of the continued zionist occupation, was still heard.
Comrade Yousef Habash, the nephew of PFLP founding secretary general George Habash, reinforced Leila Khaled’s speech and spoke of the need for international solidarity.
The comrade from Bolivia’s CP(MLM) brought solidarity from the people of Bolivia and the government of Evo Morales, and spoke of the struggle being waged by Bolivia in the face of imperialist attempts to destabilise and divide the country..
The ambassador of Venezuela in Greece brought greetings from the Bolivarian Republic and president Hugo Chávez. He spoke of the progress being made in many Latin American countries and the strength of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) in providing economic support to countries that were trying to break free of imperialist domination.
Presentations and contributions
The other topics under discussion were ‘struggles and resistance movements in Europe’; ‘revolts of the poor and hungry’; ‘Balkans: against imperialism and chauvinism’; and ‘Europe against the EU’, at which our comrades contributed from the platform.
In their contribution, the CPGB-ML comrades focused on the imperialistic nature of the EU and drew attention to the significance of the Irish vote against the Lisbon Treaty. They also highlighted that, as part of the struggle against the EU, a relentless struggle must be waged against social democracy and opportunism.
Throughout the event, all the organisations and groups in attendance, including a wide range of organisations from Greece, had stalls around the campus. This gave the opportunity for further discussion with other organisations and individuals.
The festival obviously attracted many of the KOE’s younger members, and our comrades were as much involved in discussing with the young Greek comrades as with other international delegates.
Visit to Kaisariani
During the second day of the festival, a trip was arranged to a site in Kaisariani, which was the scene of mass executions of communists and progressives during the second world war. Over 700 people were publicly shot there, the majority during 1943-44.
On 1 May 1944, in an attempt to quell growing support for the communists, 200 party members, many of them leading cadres, were executed in one day.
Following the end of the war, as a further insult to the progressive municipality, the government gave the land to a rifle association for use as a rifle range. Until 2005, this association had sole access to the land and no monument was erected to honour the lives taken during the second world war.
However, following a long struggle by the people of the municipality, with the support of the mayor, who went on hunger strike, and other members of the local government, a monument has now been erected, featuring two high-reaching rectangular shards, a third of which are painted black to symbolise the lives lost and the remaining part painted gold to show that their contribution and inspiration lives on.
The campaign continues, however, as the rifle association is still in possession of some of the land. Earlier this year, an occupation of one of the buildings was staged by protestors, who called for it to be converted into a museum, and further actions are planned.
The trip was both moving and inspiring.
The overarching message of the festival, as its name implies, was the need for resistance to the common enemy we face: imperialism.
The recent communist election victory in Nepal and the progressive advances that are being made in Latin America were the shining examples from which the festival drew its inspiration, and they were rightly held up as examples of what is possible when the working class and its allies start to take control.
We should also bear in mind the role played by socialist countries such as the DPRK, Cuba and China, as well as the anti-imperialist resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan that has forced Anglo-American imperialism into a quagmire and weakened its ability to engage in further warmongering.
The event was rounded up with a joint statement calling for the struggle against the common enemies of the working class to continue. The statement affirmed that “our future will not be one blood-stained by imperialist wars, unemployment, exclusion, lack of basic goods and services” and condemned the “genocidal, rotten and criminal capitalist-imperialist system”.
Long live anti-imperialist resistance and the struggle for socialism!