Break with the austerity – adopt a socialist programme!
The Greek ruling class, the mass media that work for it, people like Stavros Theodorakis (leader of the liberal ‘Potami’ party) J.C. Juncker, M. Schulz and the rest of the “golden boys” of EU’s officialdom, “explain” tirelessly to the Greek people that SYRIZA leader prime minister, Alex Tsipras “should act as the country’s prime minister and not as the leader of SYRIZA”.
They even openly invite Alexis Tsipras to proceed to make an agreement with the country’s creditors, to put it to the vote in the Greek parliament, ignoring the Syriza party and even its Central Committee. And in case SYRIZA’s left wing refuse to vote for the deal, they ask Tsipras to go ahead and “not to worry” because others will vote for the agreement – Potami, for sure, and possibly PASOK and New Democracy, if not officially and as a whole, at least some in the two parties.
This is a public and provocative call to SYRIZA’s leadership to proceed to an open alliance with the ruling class and the Troika (now called “Institutions”) and to split SYRIZA.
How did SYRIZA respond?
We have not seen from the SYRIZA leadership the signals and statements that would clarify the leadership’s position and make all the reactionary forces mentioned cease their demands on SYRIZA’s.
On the contrary, we see the leading SYRIZA’s team continue to “embrace” representatives of the ruling class. At the same time, they do not hide the fact that they are preparing for a possible collision with the left wing of the party.
Most recent and striking examples of this process are the choices of L. Tagmatarhis as the CEO of the public broadcaster, ERT, who was appointed as a CEO in the past by the austerity-making PASOK government. And E. Panariti was chosen by the SYRIZA’s government as a representative of Greece at the IMF. On behalf of the World Bank, Panariti used to work as a consultant for the neoliberal and ultra-repressive government of Fujimori in Peru. In the end, Panariti was forced to resign from the IMF position because of the massive outrage from inside SYRIZA to his appointment. But the fact remains that the decision to appoint Panariti was taken by the prime minister’s office (and not just by Finance Mininster, Y. Varoufakis, on his own accord, as was initially rumored. Panariti used to be Varoufakis’ assistant).
Nikos Pappas demands "party discipline"
At the same time, we have the statements by Nikos Pappas, Minister of the State, and a very close collaborator of Tsipras, who said that the coming vote in the parliament raises the issue of “party discipline”. D. Papadimulis (an MEP and one of the leaders of the right wing of SYRIZA) stated that if some of the MPs from SYRIZA or the Independent Greeks (SYRIZA’s coalition partners) do not want to vote in favor of the proposals regarding a deal with Brussels that the prime minister will make, new elections should be called. Parliamentary spokesperson, Nikos Filis, made the same statement.
These threats are not general and vague. They are targeted specifically against the left wing of SYRIZA. The leadership around Alexis Tsipras essentially threatens the left with expulsions and new parliamentary elections in which they would lose their parliamentary seats (according to electoral law, if elections take place within 18 months after the last election, each party list is decided only by the leader of each party).
Why does the leading group in SYRIZA resort to such threats? It is because they are concerned that an agreement negotiated behind the scenes with the ‘Institutions’ will cause a big reaction within SYRIZA.
Tsipras, SYRIZA and society
Some prominent cadres of SYRIZA think, and say boldly, that SYRIZA reached 27% during the 2012 elections and then rose to 36%, last January, because it has in its leadership "gifted people like Tsipras”. Such ideas are completely removed from reality.
SYRIZA’s rise had to do with the objective conditions in Greek society and the great social struggles of the previous years, coupled with the fact that SYRIZA posed taking power and invited the rest of the Left to take common action. In a similar way in all the countries hit by the economic crisis, we have the emergence of new political phenomena, either from the left or from the right or both, which drive the political scene that was dominated for decades by the traditional parties of the ruling class. Examples of new left phenomena that have destabilized the political scene over the last couple of years can be seen not only in Greece, but also in Spain and Ireland.
We say to the ruling class and the leadership of SYRIZA that Tsipras and his circle have no right, on their own, to close a deal with the Troika. The Greek constitution and the legal system, created by the ruling class, give the Prime Minister Bonapartist powers (that place him, ‘above’ his party and above society). But if Tsipras wants to be consistent with the ideas and the traditions of the Left, he has no right to make use of such Bonapartist powers! Instead, the SYRIZA government must abolish these laws!
SYRIZA’s leading group has a different responsibility to start with: to recognize that they were wrong in their approach and tactics to the Troika and ruling class. They had illusions that they would have a "mutually beneficial negotiation with partners", as they initially claimed, only to discover later that the “partners” were determined to teach SYRIZA a harsh lesson. Varoufakis should remember that before the elections he said the EU was prepared to offer a “gift” to the next Greek government, when, in fact, what they were preparing a noose for Greek workers and the poor!
After the impasse that arose, the leading SYRIZA team decided to abandon the idea of the “interim agreement/bridge" and to go for the “overall agreement”. Now they realise that this is not on the table either as far as the Troika is concerned! So they turn to using threats – "party discipline" and "elections", if there are disagreements within the SYRIZA parliamentary group!
Put an end to austerity misery
To sum up and repeat, the Greek people in the last elections voted for SYRIZA, not for Tsipras’s ruling circle. And they did not vote for SYRIZA "in order to ensure that we will not leave the euro" as all the parrots of the ruling class in the mass media never tire of repeating. They voted for SYRIZA in order to put an end to austerity.
This is the task that should be undertaken by SYRIZA and this is what the Greek working class are expecting and demanding from SYRIZA. This is what Alexis Tsipras must do, if he does not want to go down in history as another one of all those so many left leaders who compromised and sold-out to the ruling classes.
Xekinima (CWI Greece) calls for SYRIZA to be consistent with its pre-election anti-cuts pledges, to break with Eurozone austerity and to adopt a socialist programme, which includes:
- Refusal to pay the debt
- Controls on capital flows and the state monopoly of foreign trade to protect the economy from the attack of the “markets”
- The nationalization of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy, under democratic workers’ control and management – planning the economy for the needs of the people and not the profits of the capitalists
- Reverse all the austerity cuts and introduce jobs for all with a living wage and free, quality health, education and welfare
- The creation of popular assemblies and action committees of the rank and file in workplaces and communities – for the active participation of the working class and youth in the struggle against the Troika and for a socialist alternative
- Appeal to workers and youth in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and across Europe to join the anti-austerity struggle and to fight for a socialist Europe