Opening speech of the 22nd Congress of AKEL by Nicos Ioannou, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL
4TH June 2015, Nicosia
Back then a handful of people, approximately twenty in all, taking every precaution, embodied the vision of the humble, the despised and the persecuted.
“I am not a sow of Luck, the creator of the new life. I am the child of Necessity and the mature child of Rage”, as the poem says.
The Left, despite the contempt, persecutions, imprisonments and even the murders committed against it, became deeply rooted in this country. For 90 years we have been defiant and continue struggling. We were not born by accident to subsequently disband. We are here to stay, in defiance of all those who question and continue to question us. The ninety years of struggle and sacrifices were just the beginning.
In looking back to history for a moment, we can only pay homage and bow our heads in respect to all those vanguard veteran people’s fighters that have passed away and others still alive who have bequeathed us a combatant Party, with clear class, ideological and political orientations.
In looking back to history for a moment, we do so only to remind each and every one of us of our great obligation and responsibility that we too must bequeath such a party to the young generation.
We turn to the past for a moment to declare that we are looking to the future with optimism so as to take AKEL even more forward, even higher.
As in the past, so today as well our homeland needs a strong AKEL and a powerful Left; a powerful Left throughout the whole of Cyprus that they can’t contain and restrain through the barbed wires of division and the occupation. Without monopolizing the struggle and concern of our people as a whole for a solution and reunification, we the Left of this country are called upon in view of the developments surrounding the Cyprus problem to raise even higher than anybody else the banner of reunification. And we have every reason to do so.
The heart of the Turkish Cypriots, together with our own heart, which is one and the same, is beating with the same intensity. The heart of our own Party can embrace all the people of this Island – Christians, Muslims, Maronites, Armenians and Latins. The arms of AKEL embraced both the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. They embraced Costas Mishaoulis, but also Dervis Ali Kavazoglou. Both of our comrades and heroes-symbols are resting in the same land of our martyred Cyprus with the difference that one is buried in the Muslim and the other in the Christian cemetery.
Our Congress is convening in difficult and unprecedented conditions for society.
Cypriot society is hurt and wounded. It is angry. It is wondering how is it possible that the whole of society is paying for the economic crimes committed by a handful of bankers and the economic establishment with cuts, sackings, unemployment, poverty and misery.
Working people are facing an unprecedented attack and violation of their gains. All those managing to work for 300 and 500 Euros per month are called privileged by bourgeois society because according to their perception they are not included in the army of the unemployed.
The young generation is paying a very heavy price. It is seeing its dreams being shattered as a result of the austerity policies and the Memoranda. It is migrating abroad in search of its future, depriving the country of its most hopeful asset.
Charity and social food banks have become part of our people’s daily life.
The advocates and enthusiasts of the Memoranda are talking the same language and using the same words. They are looking to the past to apportion the blame and selling a hope for better days to come; days however which never come.
In the conditions of this economic crisis, but also of rampant greed, our Party, together with the class-based trade union movement, constitutes the leading force and is in frontline of the struggles and resistance to the policies that are destroying working people’s dignity. With the conclusion of our Congress we are called upon comrades to be even more militant and assertive, in order to fulfill in practice, together with and on the side of society, our Congress slogan “Strength comes from struggle, hope comes from the left” .
The contemporary theoretical apologists of neo-liberalism with supposedly sophisticated scientific analyses are attempting to interpret the crises in line with their own outlook. In contrast, truth once again, but also life itself is vindicating Karl Marx, the greatest theoretician and thinker of our times. The same Karl Marx who in a really scientific and dialectic way substantiated that capitalism cannot be humanity’s future and that a new world is feasible, that is to say the world of socialism.
AKEL is a patriotic and at the same time an internationalist Party. It stands in solidarity with the peoples who are struggling for democracy, freedom and social justice. Our Congress will also deal in depth with the problems that are tormenting our neighborhood, but also Europe and the world too.
The presence of such a large number of Parties from all the corners of the world is an indication of the solidarity and support towards Cyprus and our Party.
Your presence is a particular honour for us and gives us strength to continue our struggle. We express our gratitude.
With these thoughts, the 22nd Congress as of today and for four days will set out its own path. So, forward comrades!
Long live the 22nd Congress!
Long live united Cyprus!
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