The withdrawal of the Greek referendum and the crisis in the EU
Written by IWL-FI   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 20:36

The Greek crisis deepens the crisis of the capital Europe

For Papandreu, there was a high price to be paid for acting the democrat. In a fast escalation of events that followed his fake and contested intention to submit the second and brutal “rescue” plan of the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF) the new reality is that the akin to the Social Democratic Pasok head of state had to go and now Greece has a new Prime Minister.

The newcomer is no stranger. He is Lucas Papademos and, under his arm he is carrying a curriculum that is sheer music to the ears of world bankers and markets: he was the vice-president of European Central Bank and former governor of the Bank of Greece. Trying to put on an image of a “technician”, he started by stating, “I am not a politician” and then went on with the compulsory guarantee, “We all have to contribute towards the difficult process of adjusting economy”. The new Hellenic head of state made it very clear that his top priority was to have the plan of adjustments voted the way it had already been passed in Brussels on 26 October with all the ensuing attacks on Greek workers’ standard of living and their rights.

The outgoing Papandreu has always been very obliging to the Troika. Steering one of the weakest and weather beaten economies of the old wreck that European Union (EU) now is, in less than two years he submitted the Greek people to five extremely harsh adjustment plans. One was fiercer than the other and he faced up to a heroic resistance of the Greek people, with the working class leading a process of struggles that includes 17general strikes with the latest one with 250 000 people out in the streets. If Greece is the pinnacle of the social war unleashed in Europe against the proletariat of the old continent, so is the fierce resistance of our class.

Making last ditch efforts, his tall tale about the referendum about the Troika plan was never much more than petty-manoeuvre of Papandreu’s in desperate endeavour to improve his situation considering his isolation and the hatred that Greek toiling masses profess for him. Any attempt at envisaging any “democratic” intention on behalf of the Athenian former Prime Minister cannot be anything but dangerous political naivety.

And panic became rife…

And yet, as things are petty serious and there no atmosphere for jokes or fakes. The mere mention of the referendum and the possibility that people said NO to the plan of adjustments that the European summit had concocted, the EU wise men burst into fury and panic. And quite rightly so: it is a well known fact that over 80% of the Greeks are against the Brussels recipes. Beginning with Merkel and Sarkozy, all the European hierarchic bosses expressed their absolute rejection of any possibility of any consultation and waged all kinds of threat against Greece. People were warned against all kinds of plagues and calamities that would befall them. Without as much as batting an eyelid, they withdrew the 8000 million euros they had promised and threatened Greece with expulsion from the Eurozone and its common currency. The reaction is obvious! Who could have thought of having the mob voting something that the gurus of the EU and the Troika had already decided. It is just the way the comrades of the Red Trend in Spain have said, “EU has just once more evidenced in a very crude manner, that it is just machinery incompatible with democracy and a war weapon in the service of bankers and great capitalists for looting European toiling masses.

That is how Papandreu, scared of his own audacity and staring at himself naked in front of a mirror, withdrew his proposal of the referendum in the midst of a terrific storm in the summits. The Greek leader attended his own funeral while attempts wee coming and going to build a government, more “technical”, of national unity, more to the liking of the Troika. Papandreu was burnt out and, as a simple fuse that he was, he had to be replaced. As both, the Pasok and the “oppositionist” New Democracy agreed totally as to the need of applying the Troika plans, before long the name of the successor was defined. In this way a new government surfaced, headed by Papademos, an ex-official of the ECB who is going to put the designs of the Troika into practice with the support of both bourgeois parties in Greece. How they are going to fare can only be defined in the streets where the Geek working class has not stopped fighting.

The “rescue plan” is colonising Greece.

Greece is a devastated country. It economic and social situation can only be compared to the effects of a war. That is why the cynicism of Merkel, Sarkozy with the support of Rajoy and Rubalcaba, who pretend to be regarded as the “saviours” of Greece when it was they who – together with the local puppets – who had driven the country to this calamitous situation.

The second “rescue plan” worsens the social and economic devastation of Greece. It is a plan made to overcome Greek workers and enslave them for decades and turn the country into a colonial protectorate, directly dealt with by the Troika, which will definitely settle down in Athens. The retreat underway is structural and historic.

Eurozone and UE cracking.

The acceleration and the crisis of the EU caused by the announcement of the Greek referendum have wound up by sinking and exposing the discourse and the results of the latest European Summit. The greatest exponents and political representatives of the capital presented their feats as “historic”, sustaining that the crisis and insolvency of the European banks as well as the problem of the Greek debt and the crisis of the Euro had been “definitely” solved.

Apart from such untruthful statements aimed at fools, what we are now witnessing is the panic seizing those who have regarded themselves as masters of Europe and are now facing the crumbling down of the EU, a project they had been building for decades. The latest G20 meeting in Cannes, where it became clear that all the EU problems persist and are even turning more serious, and that the continuity of the Eurozone and even of the EU itself are at stake, evidenced that. Even the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, admitted that “every additional day of the crisis of the Euro produced negative effects on the rest of the world economy”. Obama pointed out that the measures included in the plans were very weak. Once the meeting was over, Sarkozy, Sarkozy decreed a new adjustment of 100 000 million euros in France, which means an increase of the VAT, more taxes for the middle class, cuts on the budget of health, reduction of the aid for rent due to the housing crisis and increase the retirement age up to 62.

Situation is not what is being presented at the summits. The Europe of Capital cracks up. The toll of falling heads of states, victims of the brutal economic and political crisis in the old continent. Yorgos Papandreu joins the prime ministers fallen in Portugal, Ireland and Slovakia. In the middle of this storm, in Spain, Rodriguez Zapatero has been compelled to advance elections while the popularity of Sarkozy and Angela Merkel is nose-diving. In general, the fate of the European leaders depends on their capacity of imposing the extremely tough plans on the European working class that the banks and capitalism demand in order to overcome the structural crisis with as little instability as possible.

So now it is the turn of Il Cavaliere, Silvio Berlusconi to suffer his political agony. For several weeks now, the IMF and the EU, at the request of the European Summit announced that they would keep a watchful eye on the Italian government to see how they are applying the plans and pending reforms, the compliance with which is to be certified every three months. The aim is to calm down the mistrust of the markets. As Christine Lagarde, the boss of the IMF put it correctly, “The problem of Italy is credibility”. The concern is not pointless. Italy responds for the 17% of the GHP of the Eurozone and the degree of its indebtedness is equivalent of 121% of that GHP. In Italy, the so-called risk bonus (difference between the Italian bond and the German on over 10 years) has reached 573 points, that is, above the 500 points that had caused the rescue for Greece and Portugal. Italy, the third economy in Europe has entered the rescue zone by overcoming the 7% profitability of the bonds. Only that in the Italian case, the rescue will be much more expensive since the Roman debt is of 1.8 billion. Furthermore, the Italian crisis pushes the risk bonus in Spain. Lagarde announced that the world economy is about to sink in a “descending spiral”.    

UE: let the capitalists pay for the crisis.

The central task of Greece and all the other counties to be found in the “rescue zone” is to reject all these plundering and colonizing plans; reject the “rescue plan” of the troika and their capitalist governments. The adjustment plans for Greece cannot but lead the country to a total catastrophe; a debacle that, sooner or later, will lead to the expulsion of Greece from the EU only after having thoroughly plundered it and dilapidated its heritage. That is why, in order to get out of the crisis, there is no other option but to reject the “rescue plan” and stop paying the debt – which is illegitimate, to boot – benefiting the international bankers. We must boost this solution even if we know that it would imply leaving the euro and even EU.

Now, in order to impose this proletarian and popular solution, it is necessary to stage an unlimited strike in Greece. There is no other way of halting the capitalists and their adjustment plans. Only fighting in this way shall we impose an alternative of the grassroots! And our alternative is that those who have caused the crisis should pay for it and that stands for the bankers and capitalists of the world.

From this point of view, the February elections proposed by Pasok and conservatives from New Democracy, the two parties responsible for the crisis, offer no solution to the crisis. Elections are nothing but an attempt at gaining some legitimacy for their policy in the eyes of the people in order to be able to impose a new colonialist packet for the benefit of the strongest imperialisms.  That is why an extremely important task to prevent Papademus, a puppet of the IMF and ECB and pose the demand of workers’ government: a government leaning on the organizations of the workers in every workplace and popular assemblies in the squares.

In Greece, a general strike held for indefinite time is the only way to force people’s will on to the rulers and parliaments who have never respected it. In the same way, it is necessary to call for unification of struggles of all the workers in Europe creating the prospect of a united general strike at European scope. To make all this concrete, we must wage a tough battle against the European trade union bureaucracies that have crystallized into hard stumbling blocks against the struggle and the unification of the struggles. We are talking of bureaucracies that have solid pacts with the Troika and its governments meant to facilitate the acceptation of these plans by the working class, to disarm it or divide it when it is time to fight.

Moreover, we have to demand from all the governments that make fine speeches about democracy but have never consulted their people about credits or rescue plans, to call for popular referendums on these plans of adjustments in each one of the European countries.

For a rescue plan by the toiling masses and a government of workers who can put it into practice

If Greece or any other country refuses to pay the debt and splits away from the euro and the EU, it will become the victim of every kind of blackmail, boycott and chastisement by the Troika and the bankers.

That is why the refusal of the plan and of the payment of the debt must be accompanied by two fundamental issues: mobilization and self-organisation of the Greek toiling masses and the closes solidarity and unity of the entire European working class in the struggle of their Greek class brothers and against the corresponding governments. The next one is to take drastic anticapitalist measures, i.e.: apply a real workers’ rescue plan in defense of the standard of living of the majority. Basically these measures are:

-   No to the payment of the debt of the bankers;

-   Get out of the euro and the EU of the capital;

-   Expropriation and nationalization under workers’ control of the entire financial system;

-   No to privatizations;

-   Control of capitals and monopoly of foreign trade;

-   Reduction of working day without a reduction of wages;

-   Investment in public services to defend public education and health and a plan of public and social works;

-   Nationalisation of strategic industries and key services;

-   Fight for a government of workers to apply these measures.

For a Europe of workers and nations - For the Socialist United States of Europe

Faced with the concrete possibility of ruin and unprecedented poverty that the crisis initiated, there is only one struggle of the peoples of Europe. There is no chance of a strategic triumph on the continental scope against the attacks of European bankers and capitalists unless it is within the prospect of another Europe, a Europe in the service off peoples and workers or more precisely the prospect of Socialist United States of Europe. This new Europe will only come true as an outcome of a socialist revolution and the installation of a government of the workers and the toiling masses in all the countries of the old continent. Against the European community of the rich and powerful we must build the unity of the exploited of the continent against our common enemy: imperialism and its agents in each country.

-  The struggle of each European people is our struggle!

-  All our support and active solidarity for the struggle of the Greek toiling masses!

-  Let us globalise the struggles so that capitalists will pay for the crisis!

International Secretariat

10 November 2011

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