ATHENS, GREECE, July 30 — Seven PLP youth representing our international party participated in the Resistance 2008 Festival, a worldwide gathering of thousands of young students and workers, hosted by the fake leftist Communist Organization of Greece (KOE). Our young comrades gained much experience in fighting for PL’s revolutionary communist politics internationally — helping develop new political leadership for PLP. We also fulfilled our aim of making many contacts among workers locally and from elsewhere, all seriously interested in our Party. These comrades come from different areas and work backgrounds. Some have been in PLP for a long time while others joined the Party within the last few years.
We distributed hundreds of CHALLENGES and several thousand special supplements, as well as hundreds of PLP’s document “Road to Revolution 4” and recent issues of the Communist Magazine. While there were many fake leftist groups present, most of the participants were young Greek students and workers. While unable to speak Greek, we managed to advance our ideas among many of them.
We hit the ground running to spread our ideas. Our tables displaying all our literature and banners was one of the most popular. We worked nonstop talking to new people and always had a group of people hanging out and chatting!
We fought for international working-class unity against nationalism, explaining that nationalism builds false loyalties to capitalists instead of being loyal to the working class across all borders. It is another tool, like racism, to divide the world’s workers. We were also the only group to advocate the dictatorship of the proletariat. This put us at odds with the festival, which supported the Maoists in Nepal and their leader “Prachanda” who is fighting for unity with local capitalists. Almost everyone we spoke with was interested in our ideas, even if they disagreed.
At our scheduled panel discussion on the final day, the seats were full; chairs were added three times for the overflow audience. After a KOE member spent 20 minutes criticizing our ideas on nationalism, a comrade drew applause with a powerful response that used the history of what nationalism produced in Africa and elsewhere, saying Nepal is currently following that path. We also explained why we fight directly for communism since socialism retained too many remnants of capitalism (like the wage system) and led to the return of open capitalism in the former Soviet bloc and China.
We adapted to the fact that most people didn’t speak English and that parts of the festival were dedicated to non-political events like rock concerts. So each night we distributed our literature to the concert-goers. At one point, the hundreds gathered were all reading CHALLENGE, not even paying attention to the band!
We were also fortunate in meeting a young Greek airport worker moments after landing. She took a day off to accompany us to the festival, translated our literature and banners into Greek and helped explain our ideas to those Greeks who didn’t speak English. She is very supportive of the Party and is being struggled with to join us and help build PLP in Greece.
Racism was much more prevalent in Greece and Western Europe than we expected. Our nonwhite comrades were constantly ID’d while whites weren’t. One comrade was ID’d three times by three different cops within about three minutes, while they searched for “illegal” immigrants. On the trains the police challenged the comrade’s passport for “authenticity.”
In one southern Italian city, swastikas and Nazi propaganda were plastered all over the walls. In Paris, we encountered and supported a strike of immigrant workers who were demonstrating right across from the Champs-Elysees, the main tourist drag. We tried speaking for a while in our broken French and bought them all lunch.
Our trip has built confidence in ourselves and in each other, trusting the collective and carrying out decisions in a disciplined way (both personally and politically) as well for each comrade to make decisions consistent with our goals when they were on their own and under various pressures. We internationalized our perspective of the working class. Almost all of us made separate groups of friends with whom we plan to stay in touch and collectively recruit to the Party
While the U.S. ruling class is making long-term investments in Obama and building new weapons of war, we made a long-term investment in our movement, by solidifying young comrades and laying the groundwork for the growth of PLP.