Read the statement of the Communist Tendency of SYRIZA on the latest developments in Greece. The new government should stay true to its commitments and keep away from any new agreement—which would be a trap to keep Greece in the terms of the Memorandum.
[This statement was originally written on Wednesday, February 4.]
The European bankers and oligarchy fear the “virus” of SYRIZA! But SYRIZA must stay firm and resist the pressure! Take power from the oligarchy, starting with the banks! Do not give in and accept the debt, even if interest payments are “pushed” back for all time! Turn Europe into a vast “Puerta del Sol” human tide!
As a result of pressure because of the strong, dignified attitude of the new government in the first days after the election, but also from the first major solidarity demonstrations held on Saturday in Spain, the EU and the bourgeois governments of Europe have initially shown a conciliatory attitude towards the new government.
What determines their attitude is not solidarity towards the Greek people. None of them is willing to consent to the implementation of the radical commitments of SYRIZA. Their general motivation is totally self-centered. It is fear that the “virus” of SYRIZA will be transmitted to the rest of the world. Their ultimate aim is to push the new government in the smoothest way possible towards concessions from its commitments to the people. For this reason SYRIZA can afford no political complacency.
But let’s look in more detail at the specific objectives of the new “friends” of Greece. Obama, on behalf of American imperialism, supported a relaxation of austerity because “you cannot squeeze a country that’s in recession.” This statement, however, was accompanied by the remark that the “reforms”—i.e., the attacks on the living standards of the working class and the poor—”did good in Greece and should be continued.” It is obvious that in these statements, in reality, is manifested—not solidarity towards those tormented by the Memoranda (the “reforms”)—but the concern of the American ruling class about what trouble Greece could cause the fragile global economy, i.e., a potential public bankruptcy and exit of Greece from the euro.
French Finance Minister Sapen, after meeting with the new Greek Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, said that Greece needed “a breath” and a “New Deal.” But clearly this “breath” refers only to finding possible ways to repay the debt; he also noted that this “New Deal” will “provide Greece with the opportunity to express its desire for reforms.” It is clear from these statements that the French government does not speak for an end to austerity. It speaks of a new agreement with the same content as the old (Memorandum) so the Greek government can implement “reforms,” which as we said, in the hypocritical language of capital is synonymous with antilabor policies and austerity. The French government clearly indicates with these statements its readiness to “provide”—not solidarity to the government to implement its commitments to the Greek people—but rather a renewed communication formula (contract) to continue the current policy of the Memoranda.
The French bourgeois are using Greece as a bargaining chip in their own competition of interests with Germany. The administrative “breath” they seek for Greece’s debt stems from the need to obtain from Germany time to service their own debt and their own deficits. What those who celebrate the attitude of the French government forget is that, in order for the millions of poor and unemployed in Greece to get a real breath, the minimum requirement is to stop the “reforms” of this “New Deal” of Mr. Sapen now and forever.
Another recent “friend,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in an interview with the German newspaper Handesblatt supported the abolition of the troika and its replacement by another committee with another name. But the problem for the Greek people is not—as is wrongly being put forward by new Finance Minister Y. Varoufakis—what committee or executive body of European capital will conduct the reviews of the implementation of programs that the lenders have imposed on Greece. The problem is the terms and policies imposed, namely, the famous “reforms.” On this issue, this “friend” of ours, Juncker, was very clear. A new committee will be only feasible “as long as the government pledges to adhere to the letter to the Greek agreements for the implementation of structural reforms.”
Of course, according to the report of the German newspaper, the President of the European Commission does not seem to be opposed to the restoration of the minimum wage to 751 euros. Juncker, being the experienced bourgeois politician and technocrat that he is, understands that it is vital for a newly elected government to “give something” to the people to reach a new agreement with its lenders, and also that the undermining and cancellation of any potential growth of the minimum wage can be done in practice, since the capitalists are those who continue to control the economy, and not the Greek government. In the same interview, the President of the European Commission said the statements of the newly elected left ministers to fulfill the commitments of SYRIZA were “appalling” and that he “rejects any talk of a debt haircut.”
So it is clear that all these “friends” and “allies” of the last few days are just false friends. They are bourgeois hypocrites trying to ensnare SYRIZA into a new agreement superficially different but in substance the same. The celebrations for their statements should stop. The roles relating to Greece within international capital are distributed according to the particular interests of everyone. The “friends” and the “good guys” are either the ones that are interested in using SYRIZA as a mean of putting pressure on Germany to pay most of the European debt, since it is the main beneficiary of the existence of the Eurozone (US, France); or people like Juncker, who work in favor of Germany, attempting to offer the new government abundant excuses and communication alibis to retreat from their left-wing commitments. But Germany will not stop asking SYRIZA for a retreat, with maximum possible humiliation. The best outcome that can be achieved by negotiating with all of these “friends” and enemies is a combination of all those things, which will be based on the same policy of the Memoranda, perhaps slightly relaxed, with the most basic leftist, radical commitments of SYRIZA cancelled.
What unites both types of bourgeois “partners” of the new government in this negotiation, “good” and “bad,” is their common hatred for the developing solidarity for SYRIZA and the Greek workers among the European workers. There was a wave of massive solidarity demonstrations that began in Spain last Saturday. This development is crucial and multiplies the mood of militancy and enthusiasm generated within the working class and poor people in Greece, who have scheduled their own rallies for February 17.
The Communists of SYRIZA urge the leadership of the party and the government not to overestimate the importance of negotiating with the “good” and “bad” representatives of creditors and international capital. This negotiation isn’t something that will provide solutions to the fundamental problems of the country’s workers. Negotiating with them has very narrow limits. All our efforts must now focus on how to create a mass movement in Greece and in Europe, as a shield to directly implement the program of Thessaloniki.
This does not at all mean that this negotiation doesn’t matter to the Communists. However, we believe that to gain more bargaining power we should disarm creditors and the Greek ruling class who, with (first and foremost) the bankers, began to sabotage us and blackmail us. In this respect, it is politically unacceptable for the Prime Minister to declare (see his interview in Bloomberg) that the bonds will be paid as normally and that the government now accepts “de facto” that there are “also other solutions for the debt” other than the active “haircut,” which is SYRIZA’s commitment to the Greek people. SYRIZA was not elected to the government to consent to the equal distribution of the huge debt burden on present and future generations, but to relieve the people from this burden.
Also, it is politically unacceptable for the government to leave the Greek banks still in the hands of the bandits of the oligarchy. Much more, it is unacceptable for the economic head of the government, a former minister of the dire coalition of Synaspismos and New Democracy in 1989, to try to find a mutually acceptable solution with the current owners of the banks, which SYRIZA has committed to placing under “social control.” If the comrades of the leadership consider “social control” synonymous with keeping them in the hands of private speculators, they are betraying their own program.
The Communist Tendency of SYRIZA warns the comrades of the leadership and the new government: do not retreat from the SYRIZA’s commitments, because that would be disastrous! Do not be tempted to dress up any retreats with PR stunts! Workers in Greece and Europe will quickly see those retreats for what they are and will be disappointed, making the new government powerless against any pressures from the lenders and the local oligarchy.
The Communists of SYRIZA invite the workers and the youth to rally behind the following demands:
- No illusions in negotiating with European capital and its institutions! Our opponents are the capitalist interests, local and foreign, that are hiding behind the Troika, and not their technocrat employees.
- Our only true ally is the European working class! SYRIZA must call now for a Europe-wide program of mass action to make Europe a vast “Puerta del Sol”!
- We must create committees of struggle against the Troika and the Greek financial oligarchy throughout Greece, in every work place, in every neighborhood, in every school and university!
- The government cannot make a single step back from its commitments! Direct application—without any “condition”—of the commitment for the minimum wage and all the other commitments of the Thessaloniki program!
- We now have a war with the Troika and the investors and must disarm them! Perform a debt cancellation to remove from the Troika every right to blackmail us! People’s houses and deposits cannot be in the hands of the oligarchy for a moment longer! Socialize the banks! Integrate them into a single state bank which will guarantee the deposits and will become the headquarters of an economic development for the benefit of society.
- Institutionalize workers’ control to reveal tax frauds and other scandals of the capitalists!
- Remove the TV frequencies from the hands of the media entrepreneurs and give them to the people for free use and the exercising their democratic rights!
- Socialize without compensation all enterprises which were privatized! Apply a plan of socialization of all large companies that refuse to implement the new labor laws and are abandoned by their owners in the context of economic warfare against the government.
- No confidence in the corrupt and authoritarian state apparatus! Changes in ministerial positions are not enough. We must prevent provocations and internal sabotage against the government! Reestablish, on a democratic basis, the police and the army, removing all fascists; remove the country from NATO; and pass control of the armed forces to the mass organizations of the people!
- Kick out of the government the “weakest link” to capitalism! Remove the bourgeois nationalists of ANEL from the government, because they undermine the vital matter of internationalist solidarity with Greece. Remove those ministers who support the agreement with the Troika and capital!
- Rather than requiring a European conference with the bourgeois governments for the debt, we must hold directly in Greece an international conference of the mass organizations of the working class and youth against capitalism!
- No illusions in the EU and the Eurozone, the allied European capitalists! We must fight for the United Socialist States of Europe!