Published: 27 December 2014
Author: Ilias Milonas
On Monday the Greek Parliament will vote for the next President. If the Government’s nominee fails to gain the minimum 180 votes there will be a general election which will be held in the following six weeks. In such a situation, the opinion polls put Syriza, Greece’s new left-wing party, as the likely winner of the elections which could put the first anti-austerity party in power in the Eurozone. In the light of this, it is important for us to analyse Syriza’s new policy platform that was announced recently. Here, an active member of the left-wing of Syriza outlines the new policy and explains why it is not enough.
A Limited Programme
This programme was announced by the president of SYRIZA, Alexis Tsipras, during the International Exibition of Thessaloniki in September. It was not a result of a discussion through the bodies of the Party but the work of a group of people around him. It is a limited programme which the leadership wants to present to the people as the final programme of SYRIZA.
It is a programme of course for a positive direction in order to relieve the poorest social layers. It promises:
• A serious negotiation on the National Debt and a “haircut” of the biggest part of this
Higher taxation of the rich
• Higher salaries for some low paid employees
• The abolition of ENFIA (the latest property tax)
• More money for the municipalities and the local authorities
• 300,000 new jobs
• Restoration of public radio and television closed down by the current government
The establishment of a new National Development Bank
• The restoration of the minimum wage at 751 Euros
The leadership of SYRIZA is in reality trying to reassure the ruling class with this programme which is obviously not a genuine socialist programme. The intentions probably are good, but the capitalists in today’s conditions of deep crisis and hard competition will refuse to lose even one cent. Even this minimum programme presupposes a hard conflict with the bourgeois and so we will need to have by our side the big organised layers of labour in society. It is not obvious that the leadership of SYRIZA is prepared to organise these social layers in a proper way for such a conflict.
Indeed, it is possible that even the simplest demand, for example of the minimum wage of 751 euros, will not be acceptable to the economic powers in Greece. Even more so the whole programme of 12 billion Euros!!
Greece and the Eurozone
On the issue of the national debt, there is a permanent conception by the leadership of SYRIZA that the European Union cannot expel Greece from the Eurozone. This is really an illusion and the opposite was proved in the case of Cyprus – they threatened the Cypriot government that if it would not accept their terms Cyprus would be kicked out of the Eurozone, even if the Cypriot Parliament backed their government’s position.
Actually, it is now more difficult for Greece to be thrown out of the Eurozone as its debt is higher (despite a three year period of hard austerity) and thus there is a bigger danger for the lenders to lose their money. Nevertheless, the Troika are not willing to continue the bailout without insisting on their rules being followed. Already they have sent a message to the Greek government which created a mini crash on the local stock exchange which lost 300 points.
As the Left Platform and the main internal opposition in SYRIZA, we have put a lot of time into the issue of a Plan B, in case that Greece will be pushed out of the Eurozone.
Public Ownership of the Banks
In the Syriza leadership’s programme also absent is the most crucial matter of the nationalisation of the banks, a policy that was decided on at the last congress of SYRIZA – almost all the banks in Greece have been privatised in recent years. We believe that there is not one programme that can be implemented without the nationalisation of the banking system along with and the rest of the economic system. In contrast, the leadership’s proposal for the establishment of a New Development Bank with a budget of one billion Euros is like planting a tree in the Sahara in the hope of greening the desert. Indeed, all they propose for the banks is a vague form of “social control”.
The Potential of an Election Victory for SYRIZA
We believe that a victory for SYRIZA at the coming elections will unleash a mobilisation of the workers in Greece who will demand from the new government, which they will see as their government, policies to take back what they have lost in recent years under the hard monetaristic measures of austerity. Such a situation has the potential to change the atmosphere in the whole of Europe, triggering off a domino movement towards the Left.
SYRIZA must not be allowed to fail as a defeat for SYRIZA will be a defeat for the whole Left and of course for the whole of the working class.
By Ilias Milonas (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ilias is a member of the Left Platform of SYRIZA and a member of the Central Committee of the Internationalist Revolutionary Left (DEA). Please note that the group that Ilias formerly belonged to, Kokkino, has very recently joined the DEA.