10 Ιανουαρίου, 2017English Contentadmin

Since January 2015, Syriza is in power in Greece. How had you analyzed at the time this arrived ?


To make an analysis it is important to present a short chronicle of how SYRIZA managed to become government. The time when SYRIZA becomes government Greece is under its 5th year of a savage antilabor and antipopular austerity program. Two consecutive MoUs had been voted in parliament (2010 and 2012). The Right and Socialdemocrat Governments of New Democracy and PASOK respectively had bound the country with incredible commitments towards the so-called Troika (IMF and EU). These commitments were on the one hand giving public property (ports, airports, unexploited areas) to foreign businesses but mostly preparing the ground for the foreign capital onslaught. They demanded a complete overhaul of labor laws against workers and toilers as well as the dissolve of every security, health and social right. The Greek people take to the streets. For over a month and a half hundreds of thousands demonstrate in all major cities. Syntagma Square in Athens turns to a battlefield, the government responding brutally with riot police. At the same time many strikes take place during the 2010-2012 period, the workers demanding the withdrawal of the austerity measures. This situation gives birth to the movement of “enraged citizens” and the “occupy squares” movement in which participate mainly petty bourgeois, public sector workers, small businessmen and mainly young people. Unfortunately the private sector working class is absent of most of these mobilizations. The prevailing arguments in the squares were mostly about the onslaught on people’s rights as well as the reasons leading to the current sociopolitical situation in the country. Many people as well as parts of the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary Left were considering the national debt as the main reason for the bad situation. Various representatives of the Left were propagating the logistic control of the national debt, were talking about the convention of a .group of economists and technocrats who would determine which part of this debt was odious. This point of view was dominant on all specters of the Left, from SYRIZA to parts of the extra-parliamentary and radical Left even to anarchists. Our view was and is different. We consider that one of the fundamental reasons of this onslaught is the attempt of imperialists to exploit and plunder even more our dependent country and that the external debt is but an instrument to this end.
Since the “squares movement” SYRIZA has gained momentum, shown in the Gallup polls, and eventually won the elections of January 2015. Its main position was against the MoUs. We must note that in the same squares, the fascist Golden Dawn phenomenon has also grown big. (From the 0.3% in the 2009 elections soars to a 7% in January 2015, a percentage that was retained in the elections of September 2015). Anyone could easily see the shift in SYRIZA’s speech from the May-June 2012 elections through 2015. Its position of the MoUs annulment has changed to “efforts to alleviate the poorest and weakest sections” as it was proclaimed at the so-called “Thessaloniki program” in September 2014. Of course nothing of the sort was implemented after its rise to the government. To be exact SYRIZA continued the same politics of previous governments. The popular movement during the 2012-2015 period had retreated with the main responsibility lying on the whole reformist left. All those that had taken to the streets up to 2012 were urged to lay their hopes on the elections of 2012. After the 2012 elections, when SYRIZA came second and was possible to win the next round, it shifted more to the right in order to convince the system, both internally and externally, that it could become a reliable government option. SYRIZA, claiming that it will annul the MoUs, manages to come first and co-governs with the far right political party of Independent Greeks (ANEL). In just a few days anyone could see that nothing of the promises made were about to be realized. We are one of few political forces that had made it clear from the start. Things do not change through elections and especially with forces which want to have it good with everyone or rather with the powerful ones.


In July 2015 it was the victory of No in the referendum on the EU’s memoranda. Next up was the re-election of Syriza in the elections of September. What was the politics of your Party during this sequence and what conclusions have you drawn ?


The referendum takes place on July 2015, six months after SYRIZA wins the elections. The referendum fakes place after six months of supposedly “tough” negotiations with the Europeans and the IMF where Tsipras tries to convince the Greek people that he will rationalize and sensitize the EU about the Greek problem. In reality, either due to naivete or intentionally, he spreads illusions about a “mutual” agreement that quickly becomes a painful one. Once more SYRIZA deceives the Greek people this time through the referendum. We, sensing the false dilemma posed by SYRIZA, called for abstention. We made clear that the policy implemented by the lenders-imperialists cannot be overturned through referendums. The people can put a stop and oust all responsible for their suppression only through continuous struggle in an anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist direction. These struggle must be conducted by the whole people, by the workers, the youth, the farmers who are the main recipients of the policy implemented by the local and foreign tyrants. The overwhelming majority of the Left called for a NO vote maintaining and strengthening the illusion that something could change through that referendum. Indeed the Greek people with a whooping 61% voted NO to the lenders’ proposal despite the intense terrorization by the Greek Media and foreign officials. The fact that the people defied the terrorization was positive, despite the fact that it had also assumed economic characteristics through the imposed capital controls and the Grexit threats.
Only 24 hours after the referendum Tsipras – not respecting the result – came to an agreement with the lenders, which will be ratified 20 days later. On this agreement of July 2015 are based all the antipopular measures implemented today. The pension system, labor laws, tax reforms, or the sale of Piraeus port and regional airports, all are part of that agreement.
A large part of the Greek people is greatly disappointed. The popular movement is idle for more than three years. So in the elections of September 2015 many people abstain and others vote for SYRIZA with little hope for something better. Others still return to the New Democracy party out of fear for a Grexit. We took part in the elections in order to propagate our view that MoUs, either from the Right or from the Left, are equally disastrous for the people. We called the people to take again the path of struggle and class confrontation


According to you, what alternative would have had to be opposed to the Troika ?


First of all we need to clarify that our country is a dependent country. Actually it is under a double dependence, under both the EU and the US. This is old history. In fact, if we go back at its inception, the Greek state was always exploited by foreign powers that were binding our country with burdensome loans that could not be repaid ever. So we think that both external and internal policies implemented by all past governments were suited to the imperialist interests, both European and American.
So the IMF and the EU, in their efforts to meddle more into the internal affairs of our country, “discovered” and brought up the debt problem of Greece. Both the IMF (that is the US) and the EU, with the excuse of the debt, start to intervene a lot more into internal politics.(It is well known that there are other countries inside and outside the EU that owe much more than Greece but nobody bothers them). So they demand lay-offs in the public sector, change of labor laws, hospital shutdowns, privatization of many public facilities, abolition of fundamental rights like pension, health care, work, democratic and trade union rights, and the list goes on. In our opinion the external debt is a very good opportunity for the imperialists and Greek capital to attack the working class and its rights. This attack is something that capitalism wanted to escalate after the 1989-1990 collapse of the eastern regimes.
This onslaught will not stop with the adjustment of the debt or the good will of the imperialists. History has taught us that differences are solved to either direction only through confrontation. And this confrontation must be led by a broad anti-imperialist front for an independent and socialist Greece.


In your opinion, what are the responsibilities of the organizations of the left of Syriza, like the ex « platform left » or Popular Unity, in the development of illusions of reformism ?


They are accountable for great and historic actions. They had cultivated illusions for many years. They supported the parliamentary road and they were of the opinion that the European Union can be reformed and acquire a humane and pro-people face. Several years ago many of them had supported Greece’s joining with the EU and were fervent supporters of Gorbachev and Perestroika. For many years they had cooperated with the PASOK social-democrats who in the 90’s mutated into neo-liberals. Recently they cultivated illusions about a supposed alliance with Putin’s Russia and close economic relations with it. All their expectations crumbled down like a card tower. In fact Tsipras used them in order to ascend into power and later, when they had become burdensome, threw them overboard. Unfortunately they continue to follow the same dead-end road of parliamentary illusions having as main aim their comeback into Parliament. They continue to propagate a reformist transitional program inside capitalism and inside the EU. Recently some sections of ANTARSYA have joined these failed politics and became part of Lafazanis’s Popular Union.
We think that, first of all, a movement must be built that will grow through struggle, will separate friend from foe and in time will realize that all these cannot be won inside the current system but in a different society after the smashing of the old one. We do not think that decades are needed for this to happen. It is characteristic that when people struggle as in the 2010-2912 period they can overcome any illusions. During the “squares movement” and later the question of the usefulness of participation in the EU was first posed. This is just an example of the fact that beliefs can change but only through struggle. Only in the streets we can dissolve illusions and create new consciousness..


Today what is the situation of the class struggle in Greece, particularly in relation to the migration crisis ?


At the start of 2016, because of proposed changes in the pension and taxation systems that threatened their very existence, a new wave of struggle was launched mainly by farmers and self-employed. These struggles were the first during the SYRIZA administration. In the private sector and despite the many difficulties start several mobilizations especially when workers are unpaid or laid-off. The official labor federation (GSEE) is sold to the capitalists and consists of bureaucrats with no intention to do anything. The situation in the public sector is slightly better due to a few remaining labor freedoms. This period, with the government having passed a very tough law against social security and pensions, we try to organize the resistance of the workers.
Despite the difficulties the Greek people showed impressive solidarity towards the refugees and migrants. They gave anything they could. Pictures speak for themselves. The government once more succumbed to the imperialist demands and signed the shameful agreement between the EU and Turkey. Now they try to send back to Turkey as many refugees and migrants as possible and agreed to accept NATO warships in the Aegean. This is a very dangerous development in the region.


Which politic leads your party in this period ? What do you expect of international solidarity, especially with respect to workers and proletarians of other European country like France ?


Currently we try to show our solidarity to refugees and migrants and organize a broad anti-imperialist and anti-war campaign with marches and other actions all over Greece. This mobilization is organized by the POPULAR RESISTANCE – LEFT ANTI-IMPERIALIST COOPERATION, a formation in which we cooperate with other revolutionary forces. At the same time we organize our struggle against the government policy that abolishes social security and imposes tougher austerity measures. We are glad that in France mass popular struggles unfold against the brutal capitalist policy. We hope that these struggles will grow. This is the best help to our own efforts !


September – 2016