BOOK Greece as a Semi-Colony_INTRO.pdf

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The question of the class character of Greece is of crucial importance both for the domestic as well as for the international workers movement: Is it an imperialist state, a semi-colonial country or something else, and what are its specific features?

The importance of this question arises from the intensity of the class struggle in Greece during the recent years. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that what the Arab Revolution has been for the world in the past few years, Greece has been for Europe. While the former has been the region of the world with the most advanced class struggle since 2010, Greece has played this same role for the European class struggle.

The Greek workers’ movement and left are divided on the issue of the country’s class character. Some argue that Greece is a minor imperialist power while others argue that is a dependent or semi-colonial country. There are also some who characterize Greece as a sub-imperialist state.

Such an analysis is often used to justify certain tactics. Various reformists and centrists, who consider Greece as dependent, use the country’s backwardness as an excuse for their opportunism with regard to Greek nationalism and their adaption to the Greek bourgeoisie. Others, who consider Greece as an imperialist or a sub-imperialist state, use their analysis to justify sectarian tactics.

The RCIT has elaborated the analysis that Greece is an advanced semi-colonial country with some specific features. [1] We endorse the historical characterization of Greece by the Trotskyist Fourth International which stated in 1945: Greece is undoubtedly among the most backward and poorest countries of Europe. For over a century it has been condemned to the status of a semi-colony of the major European Powers.[2]

It retained such a dependent position in the decades after World War II. We recognize that Greek capital has made serious attempts to become a minor imperialist power during the 1990s and 2000s. However, in the end it failed to overcome its backward character and remains a dependent country subordinate to the European imperialist powers.

Hence, we support the slogan for Greece’s exit from the EU and the Eurozone and combine this with a transitional program for socialist revolution. The European workers’ movement must mobilize against the colonialization of Greece by the EU-Troika and support the Greek resistance. At the same time revolutionaries should oppose Greek chauvinism in all its various forms. This includes the need to support the rights of Greece’s migrants and national minorities as well as to oppose the expansion of Greek capital into the Balkan countries. [3]

The following study will present a more detailed analysis of the contradictory development of Greek capitalism, its failed attempts to become a minor imperialist power and its present situation as an advanced semi-colonial country with some specific features. Finally, we will discuss the most important programmatic conclusions of this analysis.

We hope that the present publication will provide a useful contribution to the discussion among revolutionaries in Greece in order to clarify the class character of Greece and the consequent tasks. We await feedback and criticism from our Greek comrades in arms.

Finally, we wish to express our special thanks to comrade Gerard Stephens who performed the English-language editing for this book.

[1] We first elaborated our analysis of Greece’s class character in a pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: Revolution in Griechenland. Möglichkeiten, Gefahren und Perspektiven, November 2011; in English: Perspectives on the Greek Revolution. Greek tragedy is the lack of revolutionary leadership of workers movement! For Workers’ Councils, Workers’ Militias and a Workers’ Government!

[2] The Editors of Fourth International: Civil War in Greece, February 1945, in: Fourth International, Volume VI, No. 2,

[3] We refer readers to the numerous statements and articles in which the RCIT has outlined its analysis and perspective for the Greek class struggle in the recent years. They have been published in various issues of our international journal Revolutionary Communism and are collected in a special subsection on Greece on our website:


About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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