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Time for a new, mass revolutionary left to oppose all austerity!
epa04584627 Alexis Tsipras, leader of the radical left main opposition party Syriza, celebrates in front of his supporters as winner of the Greece general elections in Athens, Greece, 25 January 2015. Greeks revolted against five years of unrelenting austerity Sunday in a landmark vote that saw the leftist anti-bailout party SYRIZA place first in parliamentary elections. The opposition party was projected to earn around 35 per cent of the vote, falling short of an absolute majority in the 300-seat Parliament by one or two seats, the Interior Ministry said. Thousands of SYRIZA supporters flocked to the Athens University building, chanting and waving the party's red and white flags as party leader Alexis Tsipras addressed the crowd. 'The vote of the Greek people has closed the vicious circle of austerity,' he said, declaring Greece's 240-million-euro (270-million-dollar) bailout now 'a matter of the past.' EPA/MICHAEL KAPPELER

Time for a new, mass revolutionary left to oppose all austerity!

On 13 July Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras reached a deal with Eurozone leaders, securing a third bail out in return for pledging to implement huge austerity.

This comes after months of ‘negotiations’ following the election of Tsipras’ party, Syriza, on an anti-austerity platform at the start of the year.

As described in the statement below, Tsipras first tried to concede on 9 July – but the harsh measures he signed up to then were not enough for the EU leaders, who demanded more again.

The ‘deal’ now agreed is the harshest that had been discussed. The Guardian quoted a senior EU official as saying that this was ‘payback’ for the Greek people’s heroic 61.7% ‘No’ vote in the recent referendum on a previous austerity ‘offer’.

Among the measures Syriza leaders signed up to:

  • Sell off €50 billion of Greek public assets
  • Undo measures carried out since they were elected in January – possibly including sacking the government cleaners they famously re-hired on coming to power
  • Increase the retirement age and cut retirement benefits for the poor
  • Increase sales tax on the Greek islands and apply the highest rate of sales tax to more items
  • Implement automated spending cuts if spending deviates from the Troika’s plan
  • Review collective bargaining and industrial action laws
  • Privatise energy distribution

As this article was written (14 July) the situation is a moving picture. The Adedy civil servants union has called a 24-hour strike in response to the deal and other unions may join in.

  • For updates see www.socialistworld.net

For international struggle against the austerity elite

The capitulation of Alexis Tsipras to the demands of the Troika is a massive blow to the Greek working classand to all forces, in Europe and internationally, that are fighting austerity.

The EU ministers are implementing regime change – not like they did in Iraq with guns and military ‘shock and awe’ but through the market – with banks not tanks. It is an act of colonialism by the EU.

The hard line taken has provoked hostility not just to the EU as a whole but to German capitalism and to its boot boy, finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, in particular.

Schäuble suggested Greece should be forced to leave the Eurozone on a temporary basis and organise a parallel currency.

But there is no such thing as a temporary exit in this situation. Such a step would have been the beginning of the end of the single currency.

There are some on the left in Greece who see this as a solution in itself. But on the basis of capitalism there is no solution in or out of the Euro. For this reason it is necessary to appeal to the international working class.

The strength of such an approach has already been shown – in the run up to the referendum there were at least 250 demonstrations across Europe in solidarity with the Greek people.

Contagion

The capitalists are worried about contagion – that Spain, Italy, Ireland, and even Britain, could be next to reject austerity.

That’s why they decided on punishing the regime by rubbing the noses of the Greek people in the mud – as a warning to the Greek working class and the working class of the whole of Europe. We need an international struggle against austerity.

Tsipras will probably only be able to get the proposals through the Greek Parliament by relying on opposition MPs. He is likely to resort to expelling from Syriza those MPs who continue to oppose the deal.

The effect of the proposed measures on the Greek working class will be huge. Already the depression in Greece has been economically and socially devastating.

Some sections of Greek workers could be demoralised by the disappointment of the magnificent ‘No’ vote in the referendum one week, followed the next by the acceptance of huge cuts. But not everyone will feel resigned.

We hope, along with our Greek sister party Xekinima, that workers will fight with all means at their disposal.

This may have to include, if all possibilities are used up inside Syriza, the fight for a new party which will confront Greek and European capitalism and blaze the path to socialism in Greece.

The Socialist

#ThisIsACoup

As EU ministers negotiated the ins and outs of the ‘deal,’ hundreds of thousands of Twitter users appended ‘#ThisIsACoup’ to their tweets opposing the terms imposed on Greece by the Troika.

The hashtag was trending internationally as well as in both Greece and Germany, showing the solidarity felt by working class people across the world. The German left party, Die Linke, has also opposed the deal.


Preparing the ground

In 2013 Socialism Today (the Socialist Party’s magazine – www.socialismtoday.org) reported on the structural changes agreed at the Syriza congress of that year.

This included dissolving the federal components of Syriza and ending their ability to speak publicly of their independent positions – an attempt to limit the influence of Syriza’s left wing.

We said: “The right-wing of Syriza and the leading group around Tsipras have made their choices. They have rolled up their sleeves and showed their intentions in the clearest way.

“The left is obliged to answer back. In a sense, the really big clashes in Syriza have just begun.”

For more seewww.socialismtoday.org/172/greece.html


Time for a new, mass revolutionary left to oppose all austerity!

Editorial statement by Xekinima (CWI Greece), 10/07/2015

July 9th was a black day for the Greek left. SYRIZA’s leading team, around prime minister Alexis 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 Alexis Tsipras have 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 favour of No in the working class neighbourhoods 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 centre of Athens and on 5 July voted No by a massive 61.3%.

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.

Serving capitalism

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 in 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 be equal to a social catastrophe.

The defeat in which Tsipras and his government has 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 the 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 in 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 a state monopoly of foreign trade; thenationalisation 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.

And appeal to workers and youth across Europe to fight austerity and for a socialist Europe.


What programme for the Greek left?

Xekinima calls for the Left Platform Syriza MPs and MPs from the other left parties to oppose and to vote against the 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.

Xekinima 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 a 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 before the referendum, we need to 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.

We must appeal to workers and youth across Europe to fight austerity and for a socialist Europe.


Part of the above was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 11 July 2015; more was added (from theSocialist paper) on 15 July.

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