July 9th was a black day for the Greek left. SYRIZA’s leading team, around Prime Minister A. Tsipras, subordinated itself completely and absolutely to the demands of the Troika lenders. The Greek working class finds itself in a tragic position. They voted for SYRIZA in order to find solutions to their problems and to escape from the Memoranda (austerity packages). Yet after five months in government the only thing that SYRIZA was able to deliver was another catastrophic Memorandum which finishes off the pro-austerity policies of the previous governments of New Democracy and PASOK.
The working masses do not forget that the same people who are today betraying the ideas and principles of the Left are the same people who had promised to get rid of the Memorandum “within one day and with one law”. It’s the same people who promised the Salonica Programme (SYRIZA’s more radical pre-election promises), which they claimed would be carried out irrespectively of the negotiations with the Troika.
The leading group in SYRIZA and Alex Tsipras has been proven tragically incapable of responding to the tasks of the moment and unworthy of the confidence of the working class. They are unworthy of the earth-shaking ‘No’ vote on 5 July which reverberated throughout Europe and the whole world. They betrayed the confidence of workers, pensioners, the unemployed and the poor, who voted by 70%-80% in favor of No in the working class neighborhoods and cities. They betrayed the great struggle launched by the Left and the working class, all across Europe, in support of the struggling Greek workers.
And yet, even at this time, the SYIRZA leaders around Tsipras have the gall to ask people to rally today in favor of ‘No’ because, supposedly, this ‘government of the Left’ needs the support of people in the streets! But why should the working class rally and demonstrate to defend those who have stabbed it in the back! Particularly when, only a few days ago, on Friday 3 July, workers and youth came out in their hundreds of thousands into the center of Athens and on 5 July voted by a massive 61.3% No.
The so-called negotiations with the Troika are still, supposedly, continuing and it seems that the only possibility, however remote, of a reversal of the process of the subordination of SYRIZA is if sections of the ruling classes in Europe simply decide to kick Greece out of the Eurozone. This would be the only instance in which Tsipras could come into a head-on clash with the Eurozone. If this happened, it would of course not change even one iota any of the above criticisms of the leadership of SYRIZA.
July 9th represents a historical turning point in the transformation of SYRIZA from a party of the Left into a party in the service of the capitalist system. Tsipras and the ruling team have crossed the Rubicon. And they will continue on this road even if this leads them into the hands of a “national government” along with the enemies of yesterday, even if they have to expel the left wing of SYRIZA and “destroy” the party.
What lies behind this new historical tragedy of the Greek Left is nothing else but the complete lack of understanding by the leadership of the class character of living reality. And a complete lack of understanding of what class struggle means. They went to the EU to “fight for their proposals” with water pistols against machine guns. They tried to “explain” and to “convince” Schauble and the rest of the capitalist gang leading the EU, naively and foolishly, that they were applying wrong policies and should change them. They never had and never showed any confidence to the power of the working class and its ability to take destiny into its own hands. They swallowed the fairy tale perpetuated by the ruling class that their profit system is invincible, that capitalism can never be overthrown and that the exit from the Euro would equal to a social catastrophe.
The defeat in which Tsipras and his government led the Greek working class is historical but it is not final. It not like the defeat suffered by the left and working class in the Civil War in Greece. There is still a lot of potential for resistance.
The immediate task is the coming together of the forces of the Left which understand the need for a regroupment along the lines of revolutionary socialism, to plan the next steps. There are serious forces in the non-parliamentary Left, inside ANTARSYA (Anti-capitalist Left) and SYRIZA etc., which understand that without rupture with the capitalist system and the Eurozone there is no perspective for a better life. These forces must urgently meet and discuss and take all the necessary steps, to lay the basis for a new, mass revolutionary Left. To lead the struggles of tomorrow and to offer the perspective of struggle for a future against the false hopes of Tsipras and his circle.
On the evening of 10 July, a planned SYRIZA demonstration taking place in Syntagma, in central Athens, will now probably become a rally mainly of the SYRIZA Left and of ANTARSYA against the Tsipras U-turn. Members of Xekinima (CWI Greece) will distribute the above statement at the protest.
Xekinima (CWI Greece) calls for the Left SYRIZA MPs and MPs from the other Left parties to oppose and to vote against latest proposals of the Tsipras leadership. The Left in Greece must appeal to workers and youth to mobilise against the new Memorandum, including organising mass protests and demonstrations, invoking the powerful No mandate from last week’s referendum to oppose any sell-out of their class interests.
(CWI Greece) calls for the Left to break with austerity and to adopt a socialist programme. This includes refusal to pay the debt; controls on capital flows; for the state monopoly of foreign trade; the nationalisation of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy, under democratic workers’ control and management; reversal of austerity; jobs for all, with a living wage, and free, quality health, education and welfare.
Planning the economy for the needs of the people and not the profits of the capitalists - the socialist re-organisation of society - would see an end to economic crises, poverty, joblessness and forced emigration.
To achieve this it is essential to build independent class politics, inside and outside of SYRIZA. Following the enormous No rallies last week across Greece, continue, deepen and expand the active participation of the working class and youth in the struggle against the Troika and for a socialist alternative. This means the creation of popular assemblies and action committees of the rank and file in workplaces and communities.
Appeal to workers and youth across Europe to fight austerity and for a socialist Europe.