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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‘Our Athens Spring’ a speech by Yanis Varoufakis

VaroufakisPublished: 25 September 2015.

This fascinating and detailed speech on what really happened inside the negotiations between Greece and the Troika, was delivered just over a month ago on August 23, 2015, by former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. He was speaking at a festival  organised in the French department of Saône-et-Loire by the local organisation of the French Socialist Party, which is associated with former French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg. Montebourg was sacked from this post in August 2014 by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

?Let me tell you why I am here with words I have borrowed from a famous old manifesto. I am here because:

A spectre is haunting Europe ? the spectre of democracy. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: The state-sponsored bankers and the Eurogroup, the Troika and Dr Schäuble, Spain?s heirs of Franco?s political legacy and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany’s Berlin leadership, Baltic governments that subjected their populations to terrible, unnecessary recession and Greece?s resurgent oligarchy.

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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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Greece: SYRIZA versus the Capitalist Institutions of the European Union – the First Defeat

To cut or to leavePublished: 25 July 2015
Author: Soteris Vlachos (Socialist Expression, Cyprus)

The Result of the Referendum
The five-month battle of SYRIZA inspired millions in Europe and the world. The NO result of the Referendum, in the middle of an actual banking coup and a near strangulation of the economy, was a crowning moment of this process. However, instead of this point being used as a springboard for even more decisive action by the leadership of SYRIZA, the very next day Syriza?s leader, Tsipras, laid down their arms. By openly stating that the purpose of the Referendum was to reach a better agreement rather than to leave the Eurozone, Tsipras opened the way for German Finance Minister Schäuble and the rest of the Eurogroup gang to impose on them an extremely degrading agreement. An agreement that provides even for the dismissal of the few workers that SYRIZA government had rehired and terminates of all legislation that had passed through parliament since SYRIZA was elected.

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Greece After the Referendum

EG-AE336_edp040_G_20150401142419Published: 11 July 2015
Author: Jonathan Clyne (Socialist Network Sweden)

?No? Vote a Major Victory
The widespread mobilisation expressed in the Greek referendum achieved with a single blow what months of negotiations without popular mobilisation had failed to do. It immediately caused a major split within the ruling classes of Europe. On one side, Italy and France are leading the compromisers. Donald Tusk has swayed wildly, but now seems to have fallen into line after pressure from the USA. On the other side, Germany leads a motley coalition of EU bureaucrats and politicians from Spain, Portugal, Ireland and some smaller Eastern European countries that have staked their careers on austerity. They and the self-righteous German leaders, who unlike most European countries have not practised much austerity at home, egged each other on into hysteria.

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The Deal Between Greece and the EU ? Time for Mass Mobilisation

Syriza EU Deal CollagePublished: 24 Feb 2015
Author: Jonathan Clyne (a member of TSN)

 

 

 

The new deal between the Syriza-led Greek Government and the EU Finance Ministers appears to leave things more or less unchanged: in effect postponing a confrontation for four months.

However, on the Left, reactions to the agreement have been sharply different. On one side, some have said that ?Varoufakis?s strategy was pure genius, mainly because it knocked the EU finance ministers off balance and threw the process into turmoil?, and by the EU leaders agreeing to the deal ?they would be acknowledging (and, tacitly, approving) Greece?s determination to make the program less punitive in the future.?

At the other extreme, the deal has been presented as a ?betrayal?, the result of not going for a full blown socialist revolution. Somewhere in between these positions, there is the view that ?we should give the government a chance?. That they need a breathing space after just getting elected.

All these views miss the point. They do not relate to the hopes and aspirations of Greeks of finally getting politicians that keep what they promise. Success in politics, for those that oppose the establishment is not decided by being ?clever? either with tactics or slogans nor by being ?patient?, but by mobilisation.

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