Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6–20 May 2015),
The Greek picture is becoming clearer and clearer. We are now in May, the fourth month of the new SYRIZA-led government’s term, and the result of the so-called “negotiations” with the Troika is zero!
The position taken by the so-called “European partners” is not only unacceptable, but it’s also malicious and criminal! They continue to demand and receive every single installment of the Greek debt repayment, without giving one single euro in new loans! This represents a conscious policy of sabotaging and strangling the Greek economy with the aim of forcing SYRIZA to bend to their demands!
As the government spokesperson, G.Sakellaridis, clarified, the sums that the Greek government handed over to the lenders add up to 6.5 billion euros!!
Six and a half billion euros in these conditions represent an absolutely colossal sum! A sum that could, in a very short period of time, abolish the problem of survival that is faced by the most hard hit layers of the population and also give a quick kick-start to the economy and put it on the path of growth if sections of it are directed to public investments.
The question is not why so-called “partners” follow this policy of suffocating the economy! Because this was predictable — and SYRIZA ought to have known! The question is, why is SYRIZA continuing to make debt repayments when the Troika has such a hostile stance?
Grexit talked about globally — when will it be taken seriously here?
In the international mass media there is an ongoing discussion about ‘Grexit’. The Dutch head of Eurogroup, J. Dijsselbloem, stated the following: “We are ready for a Grexit, we have a plan B…The Netherlands and the Eurozone are ready for all possibilities. There is a plan B for Greece. Yet we hope, that we shall arrive at an agreement with Greece”
Jerry Rice, spokesperson for the IMF, said that the IMF:“is examining various scenarios, but we do not expect the exit of Greece from the Eurozone” [note: “we do not expect” does not mean “we do not prepare for the possibility”)
Alister Wilson, CEO of Moody’s, stated to the CNBC TV Channel: ”The Eurozone will probably recover quickly from a Grexit, but the impact on the mood of the investors and on confidence, would be very sharp and have a long duration”
The Italian newspaper La Stampa, wrote: “Berlin and Frankfurt are preparing ‘plans B’ for Greece… With the introduction of some type of internal controls… in order to avoid a collapse of the banks…”
All the above statements were made in the course of just one day (30 April). The main international institutions, powerful states and ‘think tanks’ around the world are preparing (according to the media, not just foreign, but also the Greek media) plans for the exit of Greece from the Eurozone! But in Greece there is no discussion about a plan to face such an eventuality!
It is not too late, even now
The Greek ruling class, its political parties and mass media, are “hiding” behind the supposed “desire of the Greek people to remain, by all means, in the Eurozone”, according to polls that they themselves prepare. But the picture presented by the mass media will prove entirely false and could change to its opposite if SYRIZA changes its position.
If SYRIZA is to be consistent with its pre-elections declarations, it must:
Stop retreating! SYRIZA has abandoned the cancellation of the debt, compromised on the issue of privatizations, left the anti-gold mining movement in Halkidiki suspended in midair, “postponed” a number of measures, like collective bargaining rights, labour relations issues, a rise in the minimum wage, a Christmas bonus for poor pensioners, the abolition of the property tax for the poor etc., Yet the Troika (now called “Institutions”) refuses to retreat on anything.
Tell the truth to Greek working people! That is, that if the Greek government refuses to concede to the demands of the Troika, these “partners” will force Greece to exit the Eurozone.
Recognize that in order to be consistent with its pre-elections declarations, SYRIZA has to break with the Eurozone and move in the direction of a socialist programme! This should include the refusal to pay the debt, the nationalization of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy, workers’ and social control and management — democracy in production and the planning of the economy for the needs of the people and not the profits of the capitalists.
If SYRIZA does not move in the above direction, it will not be able to fulfill even its most basic promises. It will not be able to carry out the “Salonica programme” (SYRIZA’s pre-election manifesto) and then disappointment amongst the ranks of the working class will be immense!
Some of the recent polls give SYRIZA a 10% lead over the right wing New Democracy (ND) party. Not so long ago the gap between SYRIZA and ND was in the range of 25 percentage points. The dangers are real and they are present and the worst that the Left can do it to ignore them.
SYRIZA must tell the truth to the Greek working people and not discuss in the ‘background’ (secret diplomacy), without workers knowing what precisely is happening. If SYRIZA does change course then it will have the massive and enthusiastic support of the Greek laboring masses!
The question of a referendum over the issue of the Eurozone is now open talk in Greek society. We say that if a referendum is held (or new elections called — depending on circumstances) they must not be on the basis of putting forward a rotten deal with the Troika in the name of staying within the Eurozone! They must be held on the basis of a clear proposal to leave the Eurozone as part of a pro-working class approach and a socialist alternative to workers, youth and pensioners (along the lines of the demands made above). This must be combined with the encouragement of the mass movement, the creation of popular assemblies and action committees of the rank and file in workplaces and communities, so that the working class and youth can actively participate in the struggle against the Troika and for a socialist alternative.
One thing will then become entirely clear: the working class and the poor will provide their wholehearted support. The condition for this is one and only one: SYRIZA must decide to fight and fight until the end!
Faced with a choice of “subordination or rupture”, the Greek people will decide for the second without any hesitation. The whole history of generations of struggle proves this. It’s time for the leadership of SYRIZA to make up their mind!