Debate: What options for the Left in Greece?

Syriza Keeps the Greeks on Track

Published: 15/10/2015.
Author: Themos Demetriou (Socialist Expression Cyprus).
Intro by: TSN Editor.

In the run up to our Annual Meeting next weekend in Athens – see here for details – the debate about the struggle in Greece continues. Here we publish a document written eight weeks ago, a long time in terms of the frenetic pace of events there. Accordingly the author has added an introduction to cover his thoughts on the latest developments:

 

The document below was first published in late August, during the election campaign that returned Tsipras to power with an astonishing 35.5% of the vote. Even at that time it was necessary to add a postscript in order to bring it up to date with the fact that elections were called by Tsipras, and a split took place in Syriza with the formation of the new Popular Unity party.

Today, with the results of the elections being what they are, a few comments on the developing situation are probably in order.

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Greece: ‘To Euro or Not to Euro’ is Not the Question We Should be Asking

Euro and GreecePublished: 7 August 2015
Author: Jonathan Clyne

In the face of the brutal blackmail of the Troika, the Syriza government broke its anti-austerity promises. Much of the debate since then has focused on whether the government could have avoided this by leaving the Eurozone. It is a debate that risks tearing Syriza apart. Many on the left believe that leaving is a decisive step towards resolving the Greek crisis. Leading Keynesian economists of various shades, such as Krugman and Stiglitz, and many British conservatives agree. They are wrong. As are those on the Left that argue that Greece must stay in the Euro. If Syriza splits on this question, both parts will end up in a dead-end.

The left and the right in Syriza and internationally are ignoring the most important means for resolving the Greek crisis – raising the level of productive investment in the Greek economy. In the last weeks before the climb-down, former Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis outlined a plan to do precisely that. It has not been commented on since. That is the most tragic thing about the present discussion. Varoufakis’s plan ought to be at the centre of discussion about how to end the crisis, not only in Greece, but also throughout the capitalist world. Staying in or leaving the Euro is a secondary question.

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Ignore the Troika’s Blackmail, Vote No to Austerity and Start Building a Democratic Socialist Greece

Vote No 2Published: 30 June 2015.
Author: Michael Roberts.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

 The following is the first of a two-part article in which Michael Roberts examines the brutal austerity measures that the IMF and the EU leaders are trying to impose on Greece, and points the way towards an alternative democratic socialist economic plan for Greece and Europe.

Syriza, the Troika and the ironies

The ‘impossible triangle’ for the Syriza government was 1) reversing austerity 2) staying the Eurozone; and 3) Syriza staying in power (see my post: ‘Syriza, the economists and the impossible triangle‘). The Troika prepared to break that triangle. What the Troika wanted was a Greek government carrying out a full programme of austerity (running a government budget surplus in the middle of a depression) and ‘structural reforms’ (ending labour rights, deregulating services and finance and privatising state assets). The previous Samaras government got bailout funds in return for such ‘conditionalities’. When Syriza wanted to change those conditions, not only did the Troika not concede, it actually tried to impose even harsher ones on Syriza.

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Debate: As the Greek Crisis Nears the End Game would a ‘Grexit’ Help or Hinder?

EPSON scanner imagePublished: 18 June 2015.
Author: Soteris Vlachos.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

The long and torturous negotiations between the Syriza-led Government and the IMF and EU institutions are now drawing to a close. Unless a last-minute compromise emerges, it would appear that the prospect of a deal has broken down and that the next six weeks will see crisis measures forced upon the government of Greece. In this situation there is an intensifying debate among the Greek Left on whether to Exit from the Euro. Below is a contribution to the debate from a Cypriot comrade who is a member of Socialist Expression, a group affiliated to The Socialist Network. It is part of ongoing debate we have been organising on this website – see ‘Debate: What Way Forward for Greece?‘ for earlier material.

The Case Against a ‘Grexit’

Exiting the Euro is not the way out for the Greek economy or its people.

In these years of austerity Europe found itself in the worst economic position since the end of the 2nd World War. In Greece this policy has caused an economic catastrophe similar to the one that the crash of 1929 inflicted on the United States.

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Greece: Keynes or Marx?

Keynes or Marx coll

Published: 14 March 2015
Author: Michael Roberts

The Greeks are now in a so-called four-month breathing space – an extension of the existing ‘bailout’ programme that was agreed by the previous Conservative-led government with the Troika (the EU Commission, the ECB and the IMF).
Of course, this breathing space is already narrow and closing as the Greek economy continues to suffocate (see my post https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/greece-breaking-illusions/).

An interview with Costas Lapavitsas
But there is an opportunity to consider the way out for the Greek people when the four months are up. That’s what makes the recent interview in Jacobin with Syriza MP and Marxist economist, Costas Lapavitsas, a leading member of the Left Platform within Syriza, so interesting. (https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/03/lapavitsas-varoufakis-grexit-syriza/).

Costas Lapavitsas
Costas Lapavitsas

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Greece: Syriza, the Economists and the Impossible Triangle

3ED2-ECB-EuclidTsakalotosPublished: 23 Jan 2015
Author: Michael Roberts

All the polls show that the leftist Syriza alliance is set to win the general election in Greece next Sunday.  It may not get an outright majority and may have to form a coalition with one of the small centre parties.  But it looks most likely that the incumbent coalition of Samaras’ conservative New Democracy and the degenerated social-democrat PASOK will lose power.

Financial markets are getting worried and Greek government bonds have dropped sharply in price as investors fear a default.  Greek banks are losing deposits as Greek corporations and the rich (or at least those that have not already done so) shift their euros overseas.  Three banks are now asking for what is called Emergency Liquidity Assistance (ELA) from the Greek central bank (in effect, liquid funds from the Eurosystem controlled by the European Central Bank).

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