Greece: No More Retreats
The government must formulate an alternative collision plan with the blackmailers and their local lackeys, a plan that favors the working masses!
This is the February 19, 2015 announcement by the Communist Tendency of SYRIZA regarding the request for the extension of the current loan agreement.
The request to the Troika [the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB)] for a six-month extension of the loan agreement is a grave political mistake. According to the Greek government what was put on the table was “…a proposal that respects the verdict of the people, upholds the dignity of society and at the same time is acceptable to our negotiating partners. Our request also extends over the issue of the necessity to reverse the cost and impact of the crisis on society...”
The January 2015 elections demonstrated a popular mandate for an immediate end to austerity and the abolition of the Memoranda [IMF Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding.] However, despite consecutive German ultimatums, and the united front put up by all the bourgeois Eurozone governments—north and south alike—the government insists that it is possible to achieve a “win-win agreement” with its creditors.
However, as reality makes abundantly clear, there have been no reciprocal concessions offered in order to reach a deal, only retreats on the part of the government, without our “partners” granting anything other than ultimatums! What we have before us is a caricature of negotiations where one side is “unilaterally negotiating.” The other side is sitting and waiting for the Greek government’s next retreat when the party, which is in fact negotiating in good faith, is already humiliated by its many retreats.
There has been one big retreat after the other on the part of the Greek government. The aim to write off the debt has been abandoned, there is reconciliation with the predators of the Greek banking system, the TAIPED (state organization overseeing privatizations) is being maintained and so is the possibility of further privatizations. There has been an acceptance of the logic that a “primary surplus” must be achieved before important social reforms can take place, which means that the government has accepted austerity and of cuts in the interest of servicing the debt.
A more severe retreat comes in the form of the government’s request to extend the loan agreement for a further six months; this means the government would be undertaking the commitment to maintain “fiscal balance” for that period. In effect, the main measures contained in the Thessaloniki program1 (i.e., the watered-down party program of the pre-election period) would be postponed for at least another six months.
All these concessions—combined with the absence of a crucial “alternative plan” to handle the collision with our extortionists-creditors, a plan that was publicly announced as a means of safeguarding the interests of the working people—gravely compounds the situation for the Greek government.
The message they are sending to our “partners” is that if they wait a little longer, the government will be forced to capitulate to the blackmail. This would disappoint and demoralize those people that are currently supporting the new government in great numbers and who would be led to believe that an agreement on humiliating, extortionists terms is inevitable.
We, the Communists of SYRIZA, urge the government and the leadership of SYRIZA to accept the realities of a clash with the representatives of European Capital. There can be no “mutually beneficial” agreement with the creditors! The only agreement that could be signed today with our “partners” is one that recognizes the debt and affirms austerity as a method of repayment. It would be one that places Greece’s fiscal affairs under creditor supervision, including such humiliating retreats that are entirely in contradiction with the program upon which the people brought SYRIZA to power, but also with the government proposals approved in the Greek parliament.
We call upon our comrade, the Prime Minister, and the leftist ministers, to formulate an alternative plan to finance and implement the Thessaloniki program without relying on the loans of the extortionist “partners.” Announce this plan publicly, and call upon the workers and poorest social layers of Greek society to organize and fight for the implementation of this plan.
Our comrades in government must also call upon the workers of Europe—who are our only real partners—to conduct mass mobilizations in support of the Greek struggle against the aggression of their own bourgeois governments, and for a different, socially just, socialist Europe.
The Communist Tendency of SYRIZA considers that in order to find the necessary financial resources, a plan could and should include the following measures:
- Unilateral repudiation of the debt—when the creditors refuse even to marginally relax the “noose” it must be cut before it entirely asphyxiates the Greek people!
- Nationalization of Church property, to be utilized for the benefit of the people that have been struck by poverty and unemployment.
- Nationalization of the banking system (Nationalization under democratic workers’ control), that in any event functions entirely by the means of Greek taxpayers’ money. Restrictions should be put in place over the deposits of the capitalists, and those with large incomes over a certain threshold, in order to protect small and medium depositors.
- The Nationalization of all profitable large enterprises in industry, trade and services without compensation for large shareholders. They have gained enough through the crisis, while the people, in their millions, have been impoverished and made unemployed! These business entities must then be integrated by sector and function on the basis of a democratic plan that will be formulated and controlled by the government and the mass labor and popular organizations.
- The imposition of workers’ control in all other large companies. Any business found to be tax evading or avoiding, or to not be implementing the tax and labor provisions of the Thessaloniki program, are to be expropriated immediately.
- Abolition of all privilege that state officers, officials, and employees may enjoy. The maximum salary and pension limit to be that of a skilled industrial worker.
- Suspension of all government spending and their direct re-examining by a “Nationwide Workers’ Control Committee” that the trade unions and other mass organizations of the working people are to set up.
- The imposition of a state monopoly on all foreign trade for the rational planning of exports and imports with regard to the actual needs of the country and the need for the adoption of mutually beneficial trade agreements with other countries.
- Exit from the Eurozone and the necessary issuance of a national currency aimed at a future economic and monetary integration of Europe states on a socialist basis. A currency that reflects a planned, nationalized economy which serves the actual needs of working people; this is far better than the current euro, which reflects the anarchy and the crisis of European capitalism the preservation of which is predicated on extreme austerity. There must be an exit from the European Union and NATO in order to, once and for all, effectively shake off the extortions of, and the commitments to, these capitalist economic, political and military blocs.
—In Defense of Marxism, February 20, 2015
1 The Thessaloniki Program is a manifesto adopted by the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). The four pillars of the National Reconstruction Plan are: 1) Confronting the humanitarian crisis; 2) Restarting the economy and promoting tax justice; 3) National plan to regain employment; 4) Transforming the political system to deepen democracy.