Greece: No Surrender To ‘Gang of Lenders’

Plan an anti-austerity fight-back, with socialist policies!

Editorial article from Xekinima [dated 17 June 2015]

Greek society is watching the process of the so-called “negotiations” and is tired, frustrated and angry with the stand taken by the ‘Institutions’ [the IMF/ECB/EU ‘Troika’ by another name].

However, this tiredness and frustration with the lenders is also gradually turning into disappointment towards SYRIZA. For the first time since the elections, there are many voices in the Greek working class saying “they’re all the same in the end” and that “SYRIZA is no different than the others”, etc.

SYRIZA should not underestimate the importance of these voices. Of course all the polls show that SYRIZA has an important lead over the right wing New Democracy party. But this lead is becoming smaller with time. On some occasions, the difference between SYRIZA and New Democracy is only around 10%. Less than 3 months ago, it was around 25%.

The feeling of disappointment is also characteristic of the rank and file of SYRIZA, which feels, to certain extent, trapped and betrayed. It feels that SYRIZA is abandoning some of its most important positions for which it was voted into power by the Greek people.

“Red lines” becoming blurred

The “red lines” which the government is trying to stick to, are far away from the Salonica (pre-election) programme of SYRIZA. And the Salonica programme is far away from the measures that are actually needed in order to find a way out of the crisis. Even worse, the “red lines” are becoming blurred as time goes on.

The Institutions want to force SYRIZA on its knees. They want to make it apply similar politics to those imposed by New Democracy and PASOK when they made up the last government. In other words, the Institutions are doing their job. How is the leadership of SYRIZA, now in government, responding to this pressure? It says that if rupture is required, then rupture we shall have. However, though it speaks about rupture, the SYRIZA never explains what actually this is and it never proposes a specific plan for it! Therefore, the question which naturally arises, is to what extent do they mean it when they refer to it?

Because the “frontal clash” or “rupture” with the “institutions” means exit from the Eurozone! Either quickly and immediately or through a slower, transitional process, a clash with the lenders leads to Grexit! This is very well known to the leadership of SYRIZA! So, why don’t they say it, openly, publicly and boldly to the Greek people in order to prepare the masses for this development?

Ship-owners and big business media

Precisely because the leadership of SYRIZA has not raised the issue of exit from the Eurozone in a clear and decisive manner, the mass media of the ship owners and big business can speculate on the feelings of the Greek people, presenting polls which have one and only target: to create the impression that the Greek people want the country to remain by all means within the Eurozone and therefore the government must bend to the pressure of the lenders. However, even their own biased polls falsify their arguments, as Xekinima has shown in numerous articles.

Lying — an “art” they know very well…

The section of the population which is ready for a head-on collision, if and when this is necessary to secure its living standard and basic rights, is very big and this is shown by all polls, without exception.

This does not mean that the majority wants collision, as such, or wants a return to the drachma, as such. Why should they, after all? Ordinary workers would naturally prefer a stable currency to one which is potentially unstable and would naturally prefer to avoid a clash if that could be possible. This however does not mean that they are not ready for great battles when they understand that these are necessary and this, we repeat, has been confirmed by all the polls, if we look below the surface.

Importantly, this is at a time when the leadership of SYRIZA refuses to speak clearly about collision with the lenders and refuses to propose a plan about how to face such a development. If the leadership of SYRIZA decides and proposes to the Greek people a collision with the EU, together with a concrete plan about how to come out of the crisis, the response of the Greek people will be magnificent. These after all, are the traditions of the Greek working class whenever they have to fight for their rights.

What does a ‘plan’ mean?

Let us talk concretely about what a rupture would mean, without the metaphysical dimensions given to it by the ruling class and its mass media in their attempt to cause fear in the masses:

When on 5 June, the “unthinkable” to the ruling class took place, and the SYRIZA government refused to pay the instalment to the IMF, the “sky did not fell on to our heads” — we’re still alive. If on 30 June, the government refuses to pay the next installment to the gang of the “institutions”, we shall continue to be alive and the sky will still be in its place.

The Institutions proposed to the Greek government “capital controls”, as were applied in the case of Cyprus after a proposal by the Troika itself. The Greek government said no! Why? Since when is the Left a defender of the freedom of movement of big capital in global markets?

It is tragic! Capital controls — a measure that the government of the Left should aim at, so as to stop the speculation by big capital and the rich, sending their money abroad, thus threatening a collapse of the banking system — was in this case proposed by the EU and the “institutions” and the SYRIZA government said no!

These are measures from which the government itself should have initiated on its own initiative: stop completely the payment of the installments to the lenders (as the government did on 5 June); Impose capital controls so as to stop wealth moving abroad

Having taken these measures, the government should prepare for a transition to a national currency, linked inseparably with the initiation of a series of socialist measures. A transition to drachma on its own, in the context of capitalism, is not going to solve any of the major problems faced by the Greek economy and society.

Socialist measures means a series of steps, necessary for the functioning of the economy and for the survival of working class communities: nationalization of the banking system; nationalization of strategic sectors of the economy; an economic reconstruction plan based on national coordinating bodies by industry and between industries; the writing-off of the debts of small businesses and self-employed who were destroyed by the crisis; long-term interest-free loans to small businesses, professionals and small non-profit cooperatives; democracy in production, with social and workers’ control and management in all aspects of the economy, etc.

On this basis there is hope and enthusiasm, not only for Greece, but for workers across Europe, who will support and embrace such an initiative taken by the Greek mass anti-austerity movement. On the basis of such a socialist programme there is hope and a positive perspective for the Greek working class. On the basis of capitalism, facing its deepest international crisis since the 1930s, there is none.

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