Ene - 28 - 2015

In the parliamentary elections on January 25, Syriza has won with the 36.34% of votes, being the first minority with 149 MP’s. In second place is New Democracy, the right-wing that governed during the past three years, which obtained 27.81% and 76 MP’s.

The next parties in order are the neo-nazi Golden Dawn (6.28%, 17 MP’s), «The river», a liberal and pro-European party (6.05%, 17 MP’s), the Greek Communist Party (KKE, 5.47%, 15 MP’s), the Independent Greeks (ANEL) right-wing chauvinist party, which emerged as a detachment of New Democracy in 2012 (4.75%, 13 MP’s) and finally the PASOK (Social Democrats) the New democracy Government ally, which has collapsed to 4.68%, with 13 MP’s.

Antarsya (coalition of the Radical left) did not obtained tge 3 percent required to enter Parliament and has no MP’s. That is also the case of the newly formed Socialist Democratic Movement of former Prime Minister Yorgos Papandreu.

With these results, Syriza is able to form a Government. In fact, it is already doing it with an agreement signed with the nationalists of ANEL. Thus, this very afternoon, Alexis Tsipras assumes as Prime Minister of Greece. Tomorrow he will announce his Cabinet.

The new Government of Syriza will test the policy of «balance» that Tsipras promises to establish, staying true to the EU and its institutions, and at the same time solving the most pressing social misery which the Troika (the IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission in Brussels) has imposed to Greece.

Massive rejection of the policies of the Troika, in the context of a serious economic and social crisis

The first thing to note is that the election became a clear proof of majority rejection of the workers and the Greek people to the austerity measures imposed by the Troika from the beginning of the crisis. From this point of view, the outcome of the elections is, in a distorted way, the proof of a significant development of the consciousness of the workers and the Greek people, and is somehow the ‘bastard son’ of the mobilizations and radicalization process inaugurated in 2008.

The economic situation in Greece, which we have addressed on numerous occasions, is that of a real economic and social crisis. Far from attenuating the effects of this crisis, Troika’s plans of «bailout» have done nothing but deepen it: the public debt went from 89.5% of GDP in 2007, to 175.5% in 2014; the unemployment from 7.8% in 2008 to 25% today. The austerity measures included also dozens of attacks on pensions, the closure of public television ERT, the layoffs of thousands of State workers, the budget cuts in health and education.

Faced with this situation, the workers and the Greek people have given ample evidence of combativeness. The youth uprising of 2008, against the killing by police of a teenager, marked the beginning of a cycle of struggles and growing radicalization. There have been more than 30 General strikes and mass mobilizations, in addition of the «Occupy» movement that occupied the squares of the country. Recently, even after the 2012 elections and Syriza’s slow but steady electoral growth, there has been great fights: the fight against the closing of State television ERT, which included its occupation; the massive mobilizations in support of the hunger strike by Nikos Romans, a Greek anarchist, friend of the teenager killed in 2008, and that was fighting for his right as prisoner to attend the University.

These fights and the rejection of the austerity policies have been reflected in a distorted way in the election’s result.

We don’t have any illusions in Syriza, a reformist organization that has already          abandoned some key measures of his programme. But there is no doubt that the Greeks voted for it because they consider it an «anti-austerity» political party, opposed to the Troika and the EU, which will finish with the anti-social measures.

In this sense, the most objective element to retain is that the Greeks have voted massively against the austerity, crushing the classical parties of the regime. This fact will be source of contradictions, conflicts and crises, in a Government that will remain trapped in a clamp between the Diktats of the European Union and its resolution of not leaving the euro, and the pressure from the mass movement.

The rise in Greece, one of the countries that had the hardest time because of the crisis and the policy of the Troika, of a bourgeois ‘abnormal’ Government, which does not belong to the classic parties of the bourgeoisie, is a very significant fact. In 2007, New Democracy and PASOK concentrated still 80% of the votes; in these elections, these two pillars of the Greek bipartisanship just scratch the 33% altogether. We then attended a deep political crisis, which will not fail to have surprises, and that reflects the erosion, even with limits, of the classic bipartisan regimes of the bourgeoisie.

The rise of Syriza could help deepen these phenomena in other European countries. In the weeks leading up to the elections, the reformist formations as Podemos (Spain) or Front de Gauche (France) tried to ride the «wave of Syriza» as much as possible. The victory of this formation is a boost to these currents, and more generally, at the international level, shows the development of «a channel of political and electoral sensitivity» to the left of the traditional formations.

A boost for the European «new reformism»

As we have been pointing out, as well as Syriza, the other winner of this election day is the «new reformism», represented by currents as Podemos and the Front de Gauche. The major newspapers of the continent indicate that a «new era» opens in Greece, but also in Europe as a whole.

The Greek campaign was crossed by its utilization by different European political parties. In the last electoral meeting of Syriza Pablo Iglesias from Podemos, Cayo Lara of Izquierda Unida, and Pierre Laurent of the Front de Gauche joined Tsipras. They all struggle to appropriate the symbolic capital that Syriza represents.

The victory of Syriza will undoubtedly boost these formations. The pro-Syriza rally organized in Paris gathered critical members of the PS, of the Greens (who until recently were part of Hollande Government), the French Communist Party and the Parti de Gauche. The hope that united them was to create «a Syriza à la française».

In Spain, the great beneficiary of the victory of Syriza is undoubtedly Podemos and its leader Pablo Iglesias. His electoral growth made him one of the ‘stars’ of the last electoral meeting of Syriza, and its leaders are beginning to declare that the «winds of change» will also arrive in Spain. Izquierda Unida, another candidate to take advantage of the rise of Syriza, is in a major crisis, and its rise has been strongly blocked by the rise of Iglesias’ Party.

However, not only the “new reformists” expect to benefit from the «Syriza effect». In that sense, leaders of the Spanish right, of the Popular Party, declared they expected that a Government of Syriza will show the limits of such a project and their obligation to “negociate”. And they hope this will block Podemos’ growth.

The numerous steps back given by Syriza, give a strong support to that expectation. The fact is that as Syriza was reinforced as a Government alternative, its program began to approach more and more the exigencies of the Troika. This is true for the moment, but we must not ignore the pressure that the popular masses could exert on the new Government. And, even, the possibility of a struggles that will question by the left the brand-new Tsipras’ Government, if it carries out a scandalous capitulation.

Syriza’s regressions and its role of containment

Syriza’s promises of the unilateral interruption of the payment of external debt, leaving NATO and other promises they made during the 2012 parliamentary elections, have been buried long ago. This last period of Syriza as «parliamentary opposition», has been a long journey to reassure European leaders and banks that they have nothing to fear .

Tsipras himself began by expressing his admiration for governments like Kirchner and Lula that, despite their «anti-imperialist» speech, have been paying foreign debt non-stop. In that sense, his promise of stop paying the debt has been abandoned, and replaced by the inoffensive policy of the «restructuration» and the «audit» of the debt. I.e., renegotiate the conditions of the austerity measures.

We have to add to this is the promise of staying in the European Union, whatever it takes. Now, keep the euro and the submission to the EU, and at the same time reject the austerity measures, is a contradiction that is insurmountable.

As we said after the European elections: «This is a chimera that cannot get very far. The problem is precisely that the historic basis of the EU corresponds to the interests of their central and imperialist bourgeoisies: French and German bourgeoisies. […] The European Union and the euro are not an ‘empty shell’, where it will suffice to ‘change the content’. On the contrary, the very “raison d’être” of the EU is to crystallize an unequal relationship between the different Member States. A relationship that profits to the core economies: the euro is the transmission belt that allows them to carry out this objective. Therefore, pretend, as does Syriza, that Greece can keep the euro and reject the austerity plans cannot withstand any analysis.»

Syriza has also regressed on other aspects of its program. It no longer defends the exit of NATO, but to «respect the obligations laid down in the treaties». From the demand for a minimum wage of 1,300 euros, it now defends one of 750. From the nationalization of banking, it now defends the presence «State leaders» in the direction of major banks. Its program is a «neo-Keynesian» alternative, for all practical purposes not feasible in the context of an international economic crisis that follows its course, and even threatens to deepen in key countries such as the emerging economies

The consequence of this «race to governance» will be a policy to maintain controlled and even to stop the mobilization of the masses. But it is also possible the struggles deepen, given the expectations on the new “left” Government, surely considered by many as «their own». But it is also a fact that as a result the initial confidence in the new Government among broad sectors, Tsipras could achieve not only to control but also to “calm” the masses, to convince them to stop struggling.

Of course, we cannot exclude the possibility of contradictions with the «mandarins» of Europe. But, given the historical moment we move, it is much more likely that the new Government of Syriza tries to achieve some kind of agreement by reducing to a minimum the «anti-austerity» program and trying, at the same time, to demobilize the masses.

It’s a conscious policy of such organizations, which are also strictly parliamentary, and whose weight in the working-class and popular organizations is very limited. It was not casual that few days ago, Pablo Iglesias declared in Spain that «the hour of the protests passed; now it is the time of the elections». In the same way, Syriza union leaders have opposed strikes in education, with the argument that we had to «wait for the elections».

For these reasons, Syriza will not at all be the «kick-off» of a popular revolt, it is not an «undefined» organization that we could simply «push» to break with capitalism and take the revolutionary path (as some theorized about governments like Chavez or Evo Morales).

For this reason, and in order to prevent the capitulations of Syriza to favor the right-wing partys as it has been the case with the crisis of the «bourgeois nationalism of the 21st century» in Latin America (where, however, in some cases, electoral victories of the left have been obtained, as in Argentina), the construction of an independent revolutionary alternative is more than ever essential, an alternative able to carry the process through a really anti-capitalist.

Build an independent revolutionary alternative

As we have said, the Greek people have demonstrated enormous reserves of will to figth in recent years, and Syriza’s vote reflects, even in a distorted way, a turn to the left of Greek people. In the context of an international crisis that continues, there will be important struggles in which intervene; fights that will open a huge auditorium for the revolutionary left.

No solution of the crisis will come from the hand of «renegotiating», «respect the accords» or transactions with the Troika. Although they may be willing to give up some centimeters, the European bourgeoisies already made clear that their strategic perspective is to keep squeezing the Greek people until his last breath.

To resolve the crisis in a lasting way, the only solution is to deepen the revolutionary figth against the Greek and European capitalism. The cancellation of debt, the nationalization of banks, the nationalization under workers control of key sectors of the economy, a public health and education system can only be obtained with the mobilization of the working class and the people.

And this will ned, also, an anti-capitalist exit of the euro, the currency of the European Union. Without an own currency, obtained on the basis of a Workers’ Government, it will be impossible to defeat the austerity, adjustment, poverty and capitalist exploitation. Hence the Tsipras and Syriza plan is equivalent to squaring the circle.

We must resume and extend the struggles that were occurring before the elections, without placing any confidence in the Government of Tsipras. The self-organization from below, must be developed, as the unique guarantee to overthrow the unions’ bureaucrats and to build real direct democracy: independent organisms of the working sectors (organisms that are still very poorly developed in Greece).

To fight for this perspective, it is essential to build an independent revolutionary organization. An organization that will fight against every outrage or imposition of the leaders of the European Union, and at the same time is firm in its independence from the new Government, an organization which fights openly against every attack Syriza may attempt against the working class, relentlessly denouncing every eventual betrayal of the just aspirations of the Greek people.

An organization that address the strategic task of organically build itself between the working class and the youth, to take root in the sectors that lead the fights against austerity. That builds ties with workers in the rest of Europe, also victims of the austericids measures imposed by the EU.

We have no doubts there are huge wills to struggle in the Greek proletariat and people. What’s more: the great joy that expresses itself today fort the triumph of Syriza, could tomorrow lead to big fights in the workplaces, universities, in the streets.

In the context of the economic crisis, the Tsipras’ Government will have a very narrow margin of maneuvering and surely will soon withdraw its promises, as evidenced by the Government which he is building with the xenophobic nationalists of the Independent Greek. Because there is no way out of this type of situations on a purely parliamentary basis. That is another huge strategic limit of the new Government: it is not based on the revolutionary mobilization of the masses, but only in the politic and parlamentary game. Their perspective is not revolutionary but only reformist.

We sympathize with these struggles to come, and we will support with all our strength the construction of independent revolutionary organizations in Greece in the prospect of a Workers’ Government in that country.

Socialsm or Barbarims International Current statement, 26/01/2015

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