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Elections in Greece: Against the Troika and its austerity measures
Written by IWL-FI   
Monday, 04 June 2012 17:36

For a Front that prepares a government of the left, to reject the memorandum and prepare a rescue plan for the workers and the people.

The results of the May 6 elections in Greece reflected the Greek's overwhelming rejection of the consecutive "adjustment plans" imposed by the troika (that is, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund). The elections brought about the fall of the government headed by Luca Papademos, the ex-chief of the European Central Bank. This government had been imposed by the troika without going through the ballot box.

The elections were a resounding defeat for the governments - be them conservative, liberal or social-liberal - identified with the harsh attacks on the living standards of the workers and the people. Since the start of this crisis there has been a deep rejection of the governments who waged this social war against the toiling masses. Just as in Greece, this rejection was also expressed in the municipal or regional elections in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and even in Germany.

The results of the Greek elections were terrible news for the troika, and express a much deeper crisis in the political regime and in the ruling institutions, demolishing the bipartisanship that for more than forty years has sustained the Greek capitalist democracy.

The elections, far from bringing back a situation of stability desired by the regime's parties, imposed a situation of crisis in the whole of the regime; capitalist democracy shows its class nature day by day. Not only does it not represent the popular will, but in moments of crisis it acts in direct opposition to the immense majority of the workers and the people. This could be seen during the voting that passed the "memorandum" (an adjustment plan imposed by the troika) against 90% of the population, then mobilized in general strikes, demonstrations of thousands, or in Syntagma Square.

The regime's parties took a beating

PASOK and the conservative New Democracy, parties of the Greek regime, took a real beating and went from totaling 77% of the votes to a meagre 32% in the last elections.

We also saw, on one hand, the strengthening of the parties and coalitions to the left of the social democracy, in particular Syriza[1], and on the other of the fascist group Golden Dawn.

Syriza was the second most voted party, obtaining 16.6% of the votes. Together with the 8% of the KKE (Greek Communist Party) votes, and the 6.1% of the New Left, they add up to more than 30% of the votes. To this we must add the votes that went to other left-wing groups who couldn't elect members to parliament, yet together had a considerable voting.

The options that, in their own ways and from the left questioned the surrender of the country to the Troika and the Memorandum were backed by millions of Greek workers. In the other extreme of the political spectrum we saw the emergence of Golden Dawn, a neonazi organisation that calls for the mining of the frontier with Turkey to stop immigration, and also the creation of concentration camps for immigrants. Immigrants that Golden Dawn's militias chase and assault, with the connivance of the police. Golden Dawn shows the social polarization in Greece. For now it is still not the option chosen by the servile and frail Greek bourgeoisie, neither by imperialism. We cannot rule out, however, that it might still be, if a revolutionary alternative rises in Greece.

We must say that the strength of this fascist group lies not so much in their organized violence and xenophobia, but in that their appear as the party most clearly opposed to the sacking of Greece by the European Union, clearly defending that Greece should leave the EU and the Euro.

The failed project of “National Unity”

The plans of the Troika, of the right-wing parties and of the social democracy in Greece and in Europe as a whole is to answer to the deepening of the crisis suggesting to form national unity governments. The "stability" that they want, the "governability" that they intend to have, is no more than a desesperate attempt to steal in negotiations what the Greek people obtained with their struggles and with the election's results. When they demand all the left to be 'responsible', they are not asking for anything else other than complicity. The National Unity governments didn't save the Greek people from poverty, nor any other European people, for that matter. These governments' goals are to guarantee the implementation of the adjustment plans, social cuts and the plundering of the people, while preventing a social explosion.

The convening of new elections for June 17 confirms the double defeat of the Troika and their Greek lackeys, PASOK and ND. They failed in their electoral attempt, as well as in their attempt to bring about a National Unity government to prevent changes from happening.

On the crossroads: accept the Memorandum or leave the Euro

Through two "bailouts" and a series of merciless plans of attack, the European Union has been for two years preparing the conditions for Greece to leave the Euro. This hypothesis has become more and more likely as the destruction of the country advances, and the impossibility to pay the debt becomes clearer. These preparations by the EU mean to prevent that Greece leaving the Euro seals the currency's fate, bringing about its explosion, as well as chaos in the European financial system. No wonder the great banks and insurance companies have transferred the Greek debt to the EU (to the European Central Bank and to the countries), so as to keep it insured. The Greek people has been exploited, the Greek economy dismantled, and the country turned into a semicolony, cast aside to the periphery of the European and world economy. Although they still hope they can maintain Greece inside the euro zone, they will not vacillate to expel it if it doesn't follow its "obligations".

But right now, with the Spanish crisis reaching an apex, the European economy in recession and the EU in the middle of a political crisis, expelling Greece from the Euro becomes a hard task to accomplish, and one that might trigger an even greater crisis.

This is the reason for the German government's blackmail (supported by Hollande, the Central European Bank and the IMF), saying that if Greece doesn't accept the Memorandum they will be expelled from the Euro. This is not a bluff asSyriza's leadership believes, but a real threat. The Troika cannot concede on this point of the Memorandum without compromising their whole plan and loosing authority. The new French president, for all his talk about "growth" and about maintaining Greece in the Euro, agrees with the bulk of Merkel's policies. The role played by Hollande in this elaborate blackmail is to try and soften up Syriza.

For the Greek left, there is no room for avoiding the problem, or for Syriza's option of opposing the Memorandum but defending the permanence of Greece in the Euro at all costs.

The Greek left is now facing a crossroads: either Syriza continues opposing the Memorandum (or accepts it to a degree seen as insufficient by Germany), in which case Greece faces expulsion from the Euro, or it accepts it "to avoid the expulsion", thus prolonging for a longer time the agony of the Greek people. To accept the second option is to put the hopes on condemning the Greek people to misery. It would be the political suicide of Syriza and allow for a strengthening of the fascists as a reference, as the banners of the rupture with the EU and the Euro would be left to them.

A great opportunity for the Greek people and for the European workers

The workers and the Greek people have been the vanguard of all the European workers. Their many general strikes, massive demonstrations and now the electoral rejection to the Troika mark a way of hope for all the workers suffering under the same social war plans in the Old Continent.

The deepening of the economic crisis and the situation that heralds the bankruptcy of many European countries cannot be understood outside the framework of this fierce resistance by the workers and the peoples of Europe, with the Greek workers at their lead.

The question at hand today in Greece, which is a prelude of what is to come for the rest of Europe, is the choice between saving the capitalists, or the workers and the people. This expresses itself in the elections. On the one hand we havethe parties who want a national unity government that will continue applying the plans of the Troika, exploiting the people and condemning millions of workers to misery. It is necessary that on the other hand a plan for aLeft-wing government is presented, one that will stand against the Europe of the capitalists by rejecting the Memorandum and prepare the ground for a working class and popular way out of the crisis.

No efforts will be spared to keep Syriza and the Greek left within the framework of the regime. This includes threatening economic and social catastrophe if the Greek elections bring about a government that refuses itself to apply the Memorandum and pay the debt. The capitalists threaten throwing Greece out of the Euro and of the European Union if the next government doesn't follow what the Troika dictates. And leaving the Euro would be a tragedy, they say. What future tragedy do they talk about? The country is already being dismantled. Thousands of workers are being condemned to hunger and misery, losing their jobs, pensions, having their wages lowered twice or thrice, and seeing education and public health destroyed. Who can talk of an upcoming catastrophe to the millions of youth without present or future? The current situation is already a tragedy, and more will come from continuing paying the debt to the bankers and those who destroyed Greece's industry.

The EU and the Euro don't bring the European peoples closer to each other. They are the war tools used to saving France and Germany, who are the heart of European industry and finances. They do so by throwing the countries of the European periphery into misery. The European Union is the Europe of the bankers, capitalists and the rich.

Leaving the Euro would initially bring about a very complicated situation, it is true. To face it, a program with many radical measures would have to be undertaken, such as the suspension of the payment of the debt, the expropriation of the banks and of the main industries and big enterprises in strategic sectors, state monopoly of the foreign trade, as well as emergency measures to suspend all the Troika-backed austerity measures, and a plan to create jobs and divide available work between all existing workers.

In spite of the pressures, hostilities and boycott that such a plan would face from the bourgeoisie and the Troika, and of its very complexity, such a plan is the only one that can open the way for the workers and the people, stopping their ever-growing misery and saving the country.

This struggle against the capitalists must be based on the mobilization of workers and the Greek people, who must immediately attempt to link themselves with the workers of the rest of Europe for their support and solidarity. These will certainly see these measures as an alternative way out of the crisis, an authentic rescue plan for the workers and the people.

For a Front that prepares a government of the left, to reject the Memorandum and apply a rescue plan for the workers and the people!

Polls are pointing to a possible victory by Syriza and the left in the next elections. The responsibility of these organizations - starting by Syriza -before the workers and the people acquires a historic dimension. The chance to complete the victory over the Troika, started on May 6, is in their hands. For this reason a Front of the left-wing is necessary in the next June 17 elections, led by Syriza, with the KKE, New Left, and all the left-wing groups who were left outside parliament, such as Antarsya.

The workers and the people need to bring about the forming of this front, which must be organized with a program involving the rupture with the Troika, the rejection of the Memorandum, for a real rescue plan of the workers and the people.

A government of the left would bring about a crisis in all of the Euro governments, opening better conditions for the struggle of the Greek workers, and would certainly muster the sympathy and support of millions of workers across Europe.

The Greek left's best efforts must be used to bring about this unity. Syriza's leadership has been taking a series of contradictory positions that have been raising criticism and doubts in the rest of the left. They rightfully have declared their opposition to the Memorandum, but support the illusion that the Troika will allow it to be rejected and not throw Greece out of the Euro. They defend correct measures, such as not paying the debt, but without warning that if they take this position forward, to its last measures, it will bring about a rupture with the European Union. In light of these, many wonder if they will keep firm in defending their positions, or yield to the Troika's pressures.

Yet, although such doubts are legitimate, and although pressure must be made on Syriza so that it rejects the Memorandum and starts applying a full array of anticapitalist measures, this is no excuse for denying the pressing need of uniting all the left-wing opposition against the Memorandum, and in defence of a rescue plan for the workers and the people of Greece. As such, the KKE (Greek Communist Party)'s policy cannot be supported. They declare to be against this unity of the left, but suggest no solution other than voting for them. They reject unity with Syriza, yet their programmatic hesitation and incoherence are not far from those held by Syriza's leadership.

Build and support the Front in the elections and in the streets

As resistance to their plans grows, the Troika's governments show their 'democratic' cynicism more and more. They have been answering to this increased resistance in different manners - increasing police repression, cutting political rights, changing electoral laws, outlawing parties, changing constitutions without popular consultation... Their actions have gone so far as to impose, in Italy and Greece, heads of government who weren't elected, but appointed directly by the Troika. In their infamy, they even considered the possibility of not calling for elections in Greece, last May 6th.

In Greece there is a possibility of a triumph of the left against the Troika's plans. In such a scenario, to count upon clean elections, or ignore the existence of fascist forces - such as Golden Dawn's bands, who will attempt to defend the system by all means as soon as it is seen as under threat - is like counting upon a fox to look after a chicken coop.

The Left-Wing Front must be formed by calling upon all trade-union and popular organizations, as well as the immigrants, to support and take part in it. This Left-Wing Front must commit itself before these organizations with a program for confronting the Troika frontally. It must agree to submit its government to the decisions of these organizations, and call upon them to follow up the electoral process with mobilizations, protests, and with an indefinite general strike if needed, to show to the enemies of the people that we are not willing to let them steal our coming victory.

It is also necessary to build unity organisms of the Front in the workplaces, neighbourhoods, colleges and schools, both to support the electoral campaign and to organize the defence against any coup attempt by the reactionary forces, and against the actions of the fascist bands. In this sense, organizing self-defence groups against the fascist bands acquires a central importance in particular amongst immigrant workers.

All our support and solidarity for the Greek people

The importance of what is going on today in Greece goes far beyond the Hellenic peninsula. The defeat of the parties supporting the Memorandum, the victory of the Greek left and the forming of a government to oppose the Troika would be a victory for all the European workers, showing them that it is possible to defeat the Troika. It would open a much more favourable situation for the resistance to the austerity plans and for the struggle for a Europe of the workers and the peoples.

We in the International Workers' League have always denounced the European Union as responsible for the social warfare in course against the workers and the people. We will struggle against all the governments of the Troika, defending a working-class way out of the crisis, and we believe that the mobilization of the masses, as well as the struggle for bringing about governments of the workers and the people is the only way to bring about social change. We fight for a real European Union, the United Socialist States of Europe. It is for all this that we place all our hopes and forces for the triumph of the Greek people

The IWL and all its parties, especially those in the European continent, offer their full solidarity to the struggle of the Greek workers and people.

●      Down with the Memorandum of the Troika!

●      Not a single Euro more for the plunderers of Greece!

●      Make the capitalists pay for the crisis!

●      For a rescue plan for the Greek workers and people!

●      For a left-wing government to defeat the Memorandum and to prepare a rescue plan for the workers and people!

●      For a Europe of the workers and the people!

IWL-FI - International Workers' League - Fourth International


[1]     Organizations that compose Syriza: Synaspismos (the largest group inside it, of which Alexis Tsipras is a part of); AKOA – Renewing Communist and Ecological Left; KOE - Communist Organization of Greece (Maoist), DEA – International Workers' Left; Kokkino (part of the United Secretariat); APO (Anti-Capitalist Political Group); Rosa – Radical Left Group; KEDA - Movement for Unity in Action of the Left; Energoi Polites - Active Citizens; Rizospastes – the Radicals; Eco-socialists of Greece; DIKKI (Social Democratic Movement), Xekinima (linked to the CWI), as well as others.


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