What kind of “communists” were elected in Graz?

This article originally appeared on In Defense of Communism: http://www.idcommunism.com/2021/10/what-kind-of-communists-were-elected-in.html

When the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ) won the local elections in Graz, the country’s second largest city, we did not hide our concern about the political orientation of the party. “The KPÖ is affiliated to the Party of the European Left, the political alliance which includes social democratic and opportunist forces, like Greece’s SYRIZA, Germany’s Die Linke and Spain’s United Left”, we wrote.

Eventually, the KPO and its Graz branch has received strong, but justified, critique by the Party of Labour (PdA) which was formed in 2013 by a Marxist-Leninist breakaway faction of the KPÖ who disagreed with the party’s opportunist turn. According to the Party of Labour’s chairman, Tibor Zenker, the KPÖ “is not a Marxist-Leninist party”, while concepts such as class struggle, socialist revolution and communism are included neither in the rhetoric, nor in the activities, of the KPO (“Das dunkelrote Graz“, zeitungderarbeit.at).  Following in the footsteps of the Social Democratic Party (SPO), the KPÖ Graz poses as an alternative social democracy, seeking the formation of local political alliances even with highly conservative forces, such as the People’s Party (OVP). 

What is more interesting is the effort of the KPÖ Styria leadership to renounce the political characterization of “communist”. The communist ideology seems to be a “heavy burden” for the future mayor of Graz Elke Kahr.

In a recent interview to “Kronen Zeitung” Kahr said that she “does not represent any ideology at all”, adding that “marxism does not mean loyalty to the regimes in the East”. In fact, with these remarks, Kahr adds fuel to anti-communism, promotes revisionism and anti-Sovietism. What kind of communist fears to openly declare her ideological background? What kind of communist calls the Soviet Union and the socialist states a “regime in the East”?

As if that weren’t enough, during an interview with Croatian newspaper “Jutarnji list”, Kahr said that her role model would be Josip Broz Tito. So, the mayor-elect of Graz “does not represent any ideology”, but admires Marshal Tito who chose to clash with the Soviet Union and blatantly violated fundamental principles of socialist construction with the so-called “self-management” economy.

It must be mentioned that Elke Kahr, who regards the Soviet Union and the socialist states as “regimes in the East”, was sent by her home party to study for eight months in Moscow in 1989. For many decades, the Soviet Union stood as a major source of support for numerous communist parties in Europe, including the KPÖ. But, apparently, ingratitude is inherent to opportunism.

After all these, someone can rightfully set the rhetoric question: What kind of “communists” were elected in Graz and what do they actually represent? 

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