|Members of the Communist Party of Greece at an rally last week|
The Greek bourgeois Establishment sees this weekend's electoral battle as an opportunity to give itself a facelift.
This is because the traditional governing parties are in decay. The right-wing New Democracy has absorbed a smaller right-wing party, the Democratic Alliance, and MPs from the nationalist Popular Orthodox Rally and is seeking to promote itself as a "centre-right pole."
But on the centre-left, the previously dominant Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok) has been decimated and its position is being taken by the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza).
Syriza is made up of forces that left the Communist Party (KKE) in the splits of 1968 and 1991 and "divorced" themselves from the communist movement.
Many of these forces are characterised by their support for the imperialist European Union. There are also Maoist and Trotskyite groups and forces which have come to Syriza, chiefly from within Pasok.
Syriza says it is struggling for a "left government" which will relieve the very serious problems faced by the Greek people but without coming into conflict with the EU or Nato, and while keeping Greece in the eurozone.
It was no accident that the Greek federation of industrialists was in favour of a government with Syriza's participation.
The Democratic Left is also in this "pole," it being a split from Syriza which also contains ex-Pasok forces.
The bourgeois mass media is promoting this bipolar system as the only option for Greece in an attempt to render the potential dynamism of the people's vote useless.
This is a trap which aims to block the path of popular forces to the KKE and to impede the development of a working-class movement which would not compromise with capitalist barbarity or engage in class collaboration.
The KKE will not be complicit in a government - even if it has a left label - which will operate within the framework of the interests of bankers, industrialists, ship-owners and the other capitalists. It will not be complicit in implementing the anti-people policies of the European Union or the crimes of Nato.
Journalists and politicians who have attacked the party for years now show a belated concern over this stance, asking whether it is because "the KKE does not want to govern."
This is an attempt to herd the party of the working class into managing the system of exploitation, as has happened when parties of the left have joined capitalist governments in the past.
Communists understand the anxiety of Greek workers to find government solutions to the enormous problems they face. But if workers merely seek crumbs from the table - mercy or alms from the EU and capital - then the capitalists and their EU will hammer us for years to come.
The KKE holds that workers must struggle for their contemporary needs but in a comprehensive way aiming at a fundamentally different organisation of society.
Even if we are not fully victorious, we will prevent the worst and make some gains.
On this basis it asks workers to resist the bipolar system of "centre-right" or "centre-left" government.
"Solutions" which merely manage the existing system hamper the creation of the preconditions for real radical change, for a real solution that would satisfy the Greek people.
That real solution is determined by the struggle for working-class popular power, for disengagement from the EU, for the abolition of the "memoranda" from the troika (the EU, European Central Bank and IMF) and the attacks on workers' wages, pensions and social security, and for the unilateral cancellation of the debt.
At the same time some left forces accuse the KKE of postponing socialism (or as some call it the "second coming") by rejecting participation in a government to "relieve" the working people.
The idea that the KKE postpones everything to the future is laid bare by the role of communists in the front line of the popular struggle, in workplaces, in neighbourhoods, in trade unions such as the All Workers' Militant Front (Pame) - the class-oriented "pole" of Greek trade unions - as well as in other unions, mass organisations of the poor farmers and in women's and youth organisations.
The KKE fights inside parliament to advance these struggles.
There are no common solutions for working people and capitalism, solutions which benefit both. You are either with the plutocracy or with the people - that is the real dilemma confused by false distinctions between "European" and "anti-European" and between "left" and "right."
Will the impoverishment of the Greek people continue - as it is likely to with either a New Democracy or a Syriza government - or will we move into a counterattack?
The KKE presents a clear way out of the capitalist crisis, with its proposals to withdraw from the EU and Nato and cement people's power, but emphasises that there are no easy solutions.
Its path - the path of rupture and of confrontation - will of course require sacrifices, but only by throwing off the capitalists and their alliances will Greece find a road to people's prosperity. The path of compromise and submission preached by the centre-left and "governmental left" will require constant sacrifices without a positive prospect in sight.
The elite is certainly disturbed by the KKE's proposed solution. It would prefer a KKE assimilated into the system - a communist "spice" in a left government which could be manipulated. A KKE in a capitalist government could be told not to complain, not to protest, not to go on strike or make demands but to "take part in the management of the system." The Establishment would have brought the KKE to heel.
But the KKE decisively rejects this approach and continues to fight for workers' and people's power. That is why the Establishment's main goal in these elections is to reduce the KKE's power, because they cannot subjugate it.
The KKE is swimming against the current of false hopes which is being fostered by Syriza, and the party is aware that this may affect its electoral results.
But the KKE is a party with principles, a consistent party "for all seasons" which will fight persistently for the people in the front line of the struggle. It will continue to fight this fight whatever the result on June 17.