After the Syriza victory: for a United Front of the left throughout Europe!

January 25, 2015 at 9:24 pm (democracy, Europe, Greece, posted by JD, solidarity)

The epitome of the election campaign for 25 January of Greece’s main right-wing party, New Democracy, is ND
candidate Makis Voridis — former member of a neo-fascist youth organisation and minister of health in the last government, using language from the Greek civil war of the 1940s and asking people to defend the values of “Country, Religion, and Family” against Syriza’s “communist threat”.

ND leader and outgoing prime minister Antonis Samaras escalates this argument with statements in defence of Orthodox Christianity and getting himself photographed next to the fence and barbed wire on the border in Evros (the area of Greece next to the border with Turkey).

Samaras and his party and their media parrots present Syriza as the carrier of seven plagues which will take us out the euro and into an “Asia Minor catastrophe”; lead to a flight of bank deposits and a stock market crash; make farmers will lose their European subsidies; destroy pensions; demolish the barrier in Evros and flood us with immigrants; disarm the police so that criminals and terrorists will invade our homes and kidnap our kids…

The ruling class-memorandum system, having long lost the ability to convince the people and achieve the general consensus that the interests of the bourgeoisie represents the general social interest, has reversed its strategy: it identifies Syriza with the general social disaster!

While Samaras intensifies his strategy of fear, the European chancelleries and IMF leaders have already ceased to be unanimous, with a sizeable proportion of conservative leaders saying that they will respect the verdict of the Greek people. Ruling-class voices are asking for respect for the verdict of the Greek people and of the right for Syriza to demand measures to stimulate growth and to write off the non-viable debt.

The US administration is tired of the way the EU has handled the financial crisis from 2009; fears that slowing global growth will have a negative effect for the US economy; and wants change in economic policy both from the “strong” Eurozone countries and from the ECB itself.

Two Reactions

Mainstream economist Willem Buiter says: “It would be a huge disaster if Greece abandoned the Eurozone .The markets would begin to ask what country would be the next candidate for withdrawal…

“The German government knows that if Greece is out of the euro the whole Eurozone will be exposed “.”If Germany continues to insist on maintaining the existing monetary and financial policy in the euro zone, the euro cannot survive politically. The situation is extremely serious. Never before was I as worried as I am today”.

The chief economist of Citigroup says: “The faster the ECB announces the purchase of bonds, the better. There may be a special meeting of the ECB immediately after the Greek elections”.

The mainstream German weekly Die Zeit reports (7 January) that: “In Berlin and Brussels discussions are going on about how a possible compromise with Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras might look… for example… extending the maturity of the outstanding loans” [i.e. postponing when they have to be repaid].

There are different reactions within Syriza and within the left. Some express an untenable confidence that the eurozone will almost definitely tolerate the write-off of the debt and the reversal of the austerity in Greece. This assessment sees only one side of reality: the crisis of the system that makes it vulnerable and insecure.

In contrast, much of the left outside Syriza declares that the Syriza government is condemned to surrender to the austerity agenda and there is no scope for manoeuvre. This underestimates the depth of the crisis of the system and the Eurozone and the potential to break the weak links within it.

The Greek bourgeoisie wants to “encircle” and undermine and suppress mutiny against memoranda and austerity, even this relatively timid electoral mutiny. At the same time, because of its own crisis and the destruction of many political reserves, the Greek bourgeoisie cannot have a single strategy and a centre to implement this strategy.

The only thing definite is conflict and confrontation. The outcome of the conflict is not fixed in advance. Austerity will not be reversed without confronting the system, but this will be a confrontation against a capitalist system and a eurozone in deep crisis, which makes them non-omnipotent.

It will be objectively impossible, however, in the not-so-long term, for Syriza to reconcile both sides, the markets and the radical left.

The leaders of Syriza so far base everything on the belief that the EU leaders will backtrack when they start negotiations. They have so far presented no Plan B in the case that the negotiations are unsuccessful. They perceive the threats of the lenders that they will cut off any financial aid to any government that refuses to extend their austerity policies as a bluff.

However, one leader of the majority, John Dragasakis, admitted in a recent debate that if by July no solution has been found, then Greece will not be able to pay the €6 billion due to the ECB then.

The Syriza leaders’ optimistic perspective is not shared by everyone in the party, and especially by the Left Platform, who argue that there will be conflict, but under certain conditions the government of the Left.

The ruling-class side is definitely preparing. It would be tragic for our side not to prepare with the corresponding seriousness and determination, and to cultivate illusions that everything can be done with a tough but still civilised “dialogue”.

We should have four axes

First of all the strict application of Syriza’s “Thessaloniki programme” and its conference decisions: repealing the Memoranda and austerity, restoring workers’ rights, wages and conditions, and removing most of the debt.

Secondly, the awareness of the asymmetry of the correlation of forces. Even after a Syriza election victory, the main centres of powers, economically, socially, and within the state, will be controlled by the enemy. The re-invigoration of Syriza’s rank and file and a new wave of radicalisation are the only way to confront the enemy.

Thirdly, persisting in our argument for a United Front of the Left, despite the refusal of the leadership of the KKE (Communist Party) to promise support for Syriza against the right. We should not forget that there is a decisive difference between electoral power and links with the organised labour movement, and in the organised labour movement, outside-Syriza left forces retain a big role.

Fourthly, the weapon of Syriza and the Greek working class is going to be working class internationalism and solidarity. The prospect of a Syriza victory has generated a wave of solidarity and hope for all the political and social forces that are suffocating within the present neoliberal framework in Europe and all over the world.

12 Comments

  1. Syriza: Some European Left Reactions. | Tendance Coatesy said,

    […] And this (on Shiraz Socialist): After the Syriza victory: for a United Front of the left throughout Europe! […]

  2. Steven Johston said,

    But they don’t have the money to end austerity, so all they will end up doing is managing austerity. Does anyone here believe you can vote/march/strike your way out of austerity? It is what the capitalist system is demanding and no party can end it.
    Anyone else find the hard-left & hard-right alliance odd?

    • Jim Denham said,

      Yes, the coalition with the anti-immigrant, antisemitic Independent Greeks, is highly regrettable and to be opposed. But, having said that, it seems a bit hypocritical of the KKE (Greek Communist Party) and their supporters in the UK (like the ‘Morning Star’) to attack Syriza over this – given that the KKE has consistently rejected the idea of any kind of united front with Syriza.

  3. Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

    Not odd at all. Dictator’s are at home with each before they turn on each other. I think the Greek military will make their move sooner than later. The left who detest democracy only got 36% of the vote. 64% did not.

  4. The Samurai Socialist said,

    I don’t think there is any contradiction in this alliance. The central issue here is about taking control over their own destiny rather than have it dictated to them by the demands of the market. Debt reduction is essential.

  5. The Samurai Socialist said,

    I have just started blogging on similar themes so please feel free to have a look if you are interested … https://thesearchforsocialism.wordpress.com
    Cheers

  6. Steven Johnston said,

    Take control of their own destiny? How on earth, under capitalism, can governments do that! LOL…Marx said that was impossible, I thought every socialist would know that. You don’t subvert the system, its subverts you!
    T
    hough what have other governmets in Greece being saying, post-austerity?
    “Vote for us! We will leave your destiny is the hands of others!”

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    Hmmm, no contradiction in entering into pacts with racists and anti-Semitics? Has the modern left really sunk that low?
    Maybe at the next anti-racist or fascist demo they could each that on their banners “We hate you…but we will enter into a political alliance with you”

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      There is not a modern left just a bunch of loonies that support islamic fascists and the degradation of women. If there is to be a modern left then they must denounce far right religious organisations including islam.

  8. Jim Denham said,

    This is, I think, unduly pessimistic, but nevertheless worrying:
    http://anton-shekhovtsov.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/greek-left-wing-syriza-forms-coalition.html

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      As I said in an earlier post, ‘when will the military intervene’.

  9. Rosie said,

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