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Opening speech of the Communist Party of Greece

Feb 26, 2024

We intensify the struggle for women's emancipation, against the EU and the system of capitalist exploitation and imperialist wars


On the occasion of this teleconference, let us first of all express our solidarity with the people, the women and the children of Palestine, who have been facing for months now the aggression of the murderous state Israel, with the backing of the USA, NATO and the EU as well as with the active participation of Greece in the imperialist carnage. The people of Israel and the peoples of the Middle East are also victims, experiencing the consequences of the plans of the bourgeoisie of Israel and its allies, while the fuse of the escalation of the imperialist conflict has already been lit. The KKE, together with its forces in the workers' and people's movement, in the Federation of Women of Greece (OGE), have taken diverse actions to strengthen popular solidarity with all peoples experiencing the consequences of the imperialist war and also to stop the involvement of Greece in the Euro-Atlantic plans.

Today's teleconference also provides an occasion to express our solidarity with the struggle of the toiling farmers, who are mobilizing in Greece and in many other European countries. They have risen up against the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the “green” transition that is  destroying them.

Our discussion today is taking place at a time when the EU and the governments of the Member States are intensifying the attack on the working class and the people. The working-class women and women of popular strata are confronted with exploitation in the workplace and with the commercialization of health, education, welfare, as they are counted as a cost for capital. At the same time, the business giants enjoy new packages of funding, privileges and tax breaks based on the criterion of capitalist profitability and competitiveness, as is the case with the EU Recovery Fund.

It is important that the action of our parties during this period should have a more specific content and form when addressing the women we are interested in socially and class-wise, so that it will also have an impact on women’s voting criteria ahead of the European elections.

We take into account that the attempt to draw false dividing lines between ‘progressive’ and ‘conservative’ bourgeois political forces, between ‘democratic’ and ‘extreme right-wing’ parties, will intensify. All this is exploited to conceal today’s reactionary turn and decay of capitalism, to constrain the thinking of women and the youth in particular.

A response can be given by the CP’s conception of women’s emancipation that is opposed to obscurantist, nationalist views about the institution of family and the anachronistic social roles of men and women, which are reproduced by extreme right-wing forces. Our positions on equal relations between the sexes are also in opposition to irrational views that go so far as to deny the objective social reality, the distinction between the sexes according to their historically formed social characteristics, which do not negate the biological sex.

These are different sides of the same coin, which try to hide the fact that in the framework of class division and social discrimination, the bourgeois state, the bourgeois power —no matter the government— neither wants nor can ensure universal social rights. Bourgeois law, like the law of previous exploitative societies, is unequal.

The core of women’s inequality remains because capital has an interest in exploiting discrimination against women to intensify capitalist exploitation.

More specifically, the EU and the bourgeois governments of the Member States aim to increase the employment rate for men and women. They estimate that the reduced participation of women compared to men in wage labour ‘costs’ the capitalist economies more than EUR 370 billion a year. In other words, it reflects the objective fact that the wage labour power of women and men is the source of surplus value, of profit. Increasing women’s participation in social work is seen as a prerequisite for improving the profitability of the European monopolies in their competition with those of the USA, China, Japan etc.

The specific direction to integrate more women mainly in wage labour is being implemented albeit with contradictions. It does not negate the high rates of female unemployment and underemployment. It is influenced by the conditions of capitalist reproduction, the unevenness in capitalist development in each country and among bourgeois states.

On this basis, the bourgeois institutions elaborate and promote a set of measures on the “reconciliation of work and family life” to manage the consequences of the expansion of women's wage labour and the lack of support for motherhood, for the family.

A key aspect of this attack by capital on all the capitalist states as a long-standing direction of the EU is full flexibility of daily and weekly working time. Flexibility even applies to the workplace, for example in the form of teleworking.

The aim is the intensification of work, as they make the boundaries between working and non-working time blurred. All of the above affects the level of women’s wages and pensions.

Nowadays, the current guidelines and political practices of bourgeois governments include a set of measures aimed at sharing the time spent away from work due to family responsibilities between the two sexes.

The real motive is the need of the monopolies to increase and attract labour force of both sexes with expertise. For example, in the face of the lack of effective social support for young women to have children at the most fertile age, the business giants present the cryopreservation of eggs or the prospect of ectogenesis as a solution to keep women at work in their productive age and intensify their exploitation. Today, capitalist power uses new scientific and technological achievements, not to improve working and living conditions, but in a reactionary and anti-social direction in order to enhance capitalist profitability, in the context of the automation and digitalization of the capitalist economy.

In a similar direction are the EU and governmental measures for sex equality, which have abolished measures to protect the female body in the workplace, e.g. the ban on night shifts for women in industry. The motive behind these measures was to benefit capitalist enterprises. The deterioration of measures to protect maternity in the workplace is related to the fact that they are counted as a cost for the state and capitalist employers. In essence, ‘equality’ means levelling down the rights of both women and men.

Dear comrades,

The development of capitalism in its imperialist stage, the domination of the monopolies, the sharpening of capitalist competition and the intensification of capitalist exploitation to unprecedented levels have raised new questions on the conditions of reproduction and the upbringing of the new shift of the working class.

The creation of suitable conditions for the more effective exploitation of workers led the bourgeois state, especially in the mid-20th century, to assume an important role in the upbringing, education and technical training of children and adolescents, focusing on producing - providing knowledge and imposing the dominant bourgeois ideology. School became compulsory and child labour was restricted.

In this regard, bourgeois governments all over the EU and in Greece are promoting measures for the care of preschool-age children and elderly people, adapted to the irregular hours of parents. On the other hand, in recent decades in capitalist society, where everything is bought and sold in order to further develop the profitability of capital, we witness the commercialization of education, health, social security and care services, while state responsibility is reduced, amongst others, by increasing the burden on working-class women and women of popular strata.

These adjustments take place through contradictions and retreats, with the criterion of not preventing the expanded reproduction of social capital.

This is why bourgeois governments adapt their policies in relation to the family according to the needs of the state, the phase of the capitalist economic cycle, the scale of migration, etc.

For example, the complex demographic challenge and the improvement of birth rates in Greece and other capitalist countries is of concern to the bourgeois staffs, not from the point of view of the needs of women and men who want to procreate, but from the point of view of the reproduction of the nation-state, i.e. in capitalist terms.

Any bourgeois modernizations cannot resolve the contradictions, including those in relation to the social position of women and their social rights. In some cases we also witness  a retreat, as confirmed for example by the bans on women’s right to abortion in the USA and elsewhere.

Anachronistic, patriarchal concepts and practices are still being reproduced today. In the decayed capitalist arena, the values of individualism, competition and selfish thinking affect all human relations —including interpersonal ones. They dominate the whole of society because the shackles of economic and social constraints remain. Because the formation of social perception of a phenomenon is determined by the mechanisms of ideological and political manipulation, which are in the hands of the dominant–exploitative class.

This is the ground on which the theories that present patriarchy as the main and primary cause of social discrimination against women are also reproduced in Greece.

Patriarchy is presented as an independent system, detached from the exploitative relations of production and distribution. As they claim, the cause of discrimination against women is the dominance of men in the bodies of bourgeois power and in the bodies of stock-capitalist companies, concealing their exploitative character.

Such theories and political practices distract new forms of women’s inequality from their class roots. They try to conceal the fact that the survival of capitalism is also based on the incorporation of pre-capitalist reactionary concepts, even if these concepts do not fit in with the iron laws of the capitalist organization of the economy and society.

For example, the developments with the mass participation of women in social production, even in sectors that were considered to be male-dominated, were belatedly expressed in changes in family law, in attitudes concerning the social status of women and men.

We are living in a period when the fluidity of the reactionary turn of the class exploitative society dominates and is reflected in relations between the two sexes. Traditional social perceptions, attitudes about the social roles of the sexes and the relations between them are changing to a considerable extent. That is to say, there is a questioning of the traditional social role of women as good wives who take care of children, and the traditional social role of men, who were only seen as the family’s financial providers. In this context, new confrontations arise within the family, which remains obliged to reproduce the labour power that capital will need in the future by its own means.

All manifestations of social life are subordinated on the altar of capitalist profit. Parental relationship, human procreation, as in the process of surrogacy, and even sexuality are commercialized, bringing huge profits to companies, states, criminal circles, either legally or illegaly.


On the Party's understanding of the place of women in society


The basis for the abolition of unequal relations between men and women is the participation of women in social work. And the condition for women’s social emancipation is the overthrow of exploitative relations in production and distribution.

Only through the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, the establishment of social ownership of the concentrated means of production is the path paved for:

- The universal participation of women in work and in the bodies of revolutionary workers’ power;

- Equality between the sexes, in their interpersonal relations, in the relations between parents and children.

Only revolutionary workers’ power forms the solid basis for rooting out anachronistic concepts that survive from the past. The workers’ state can establish the new revolutionary content of the relations between the individual and the society on an equal basis.

This will be achieved:

- Through the new content of the educational, ideological, cultural intervention of the socialist–communist society;

- Through the creative content of individual contribution to social work.

This is also reflected in our Party’s elaborations on sex equality, on the position of women in socialist–communist society, drawing on the experience of the course of socialist construction in the 20th century.

With this content, our Party struggles for the increased participation of the people and particularly the working-class women in the class, political struggle, in the Communist Party and the Communist Youth, in their promotion in the organs of the Party and the labour – trade union movement. In this direction, our action in the radical women’s movement in Greece, in the Federation of Women of Greece (OGE), plays a crucial role.

As our slogan states: We intensify the struggle for women's emancipation, against the EU and the system of capitalist exploitation and imperialist wars.

We draw experience from Lenin’s words, as this year marks the centenary of his death:

The whole of social life is now being militarized (...) How will proletarian women oppose this? They will say to their sons:

‘You will soon be grown up. You will be given a gun. Take it and learn the military art properly. The proletarians need this knowledge not to shoot your brothers, the workers of other countries, as is being done in the present war, and as the traitors to socialism are telling you to do. They need it to fight the bourgeoisie of their own country, to put an end to exploitation, poverty and war, and not by pious wishes, but by defeating and disarming the bourgeoisie.”

  1. I. Lenin, The “Disarmament” Slogan, Collective Works, Volume 30, pp. 154-156