— ATHENS, June 28 — The Greek government, despite its persistent efforts, failed to win the confidence of the institutions (EU, IMF) and the favor or the hegemonic bourgeois classes of Europe. The vows of loyalty to the repayment of the debt “fully and timely” and the renunciation of unilateral actions, as well as of any measure that would be contrary to the capitalist normality, weren’t enough.
SYRIZA adopted ever more measures and reforms in full accordance with the memoranda (privatizations, retirement age increases, de facto reductions in wages and pensions, increasing VAT in mass consumption products, etc.). The EU and the IMF, however, along with their domestic partners in Greece, don’t want just harsh measures but they also want to destroy any hope (and illusion) reflected in the election of a government that was elected with the slogan of terminating the memoranda, even if this slogan was withdrawn the very first day after the elections.
Thus, the leadership of SYRIZA was at a dead end. Unable to sign its political death sentence—that is to say, an agreement so shameful that would lead the party to the fate of the social democratic PASOK of George Papandreou—and under the pressure of the demands of the workers’ movement, the government launched a referendum.
We have no illusions about the intentions or the ability of SYRIZA to conflict with the interests of capital and the capitalist institutions. However, voting NO to the proposals of the troika, may open, under appropriate conditions, a new round of political crisis of the system that exploits and oppresses us.
In the following days, the traditional parties of capital, ND and PASOK, together with the ultra-neoliberal POTAMI, which altogether react fiercely to any taxation of corporate profits and of large incomes and demand even lower wages, will start ranting, in any way possible, about the alleged disaster that a rejection of the proposal of the institutions will bring. They will blackmail bluntly, brandishing the alleged disaster of an exit from the euro-zone.
The working class, however, has already experienced the real disaster: austerity and capitalist aggressions. The working class cannot and should not be terrified, because they have nothing substantial to lose by capital controls or by a general crisis in the euro-zone. On the contrary, when capitalism, the system that exploits us, shakes, we are preparing for battle. What will give us a rupture with the EU and the IMF is confidence and will for struggle, not despair and fear.
This rupture cannot be made merely by voting. Neither could the elections have been the magic solution to get rid of austerity, nor can the referendum [accomplish that goal]. The next few days should find us in the streets, so as to confront the reactionary, pro-capitalist gatherings like “We stay in Europe,” and also so as to ensure that there is real rupture, and that the referendum will not be just a negotiating maneuver of Tsipras and the leadership of SYRIZA.
Besides, let’s not have any illusion: if it weren’t for the mass mobilizations, not only the recent ones but, mainly, those of all previous years, there would be no jam with the institutions and the memoranda would proceed normally.
Our NO to the proposals of the troika is in no way a vote of confidence to the government of SYRIZA–ANEL. Besides, their own proposals, the text of the 47 pages and the amendments made afterwards, are also totally unacceptable and represent a new memorandum, maybe a little bit more mild, but including new cuts and privatizations. Actually, in certain issues, the proposals of the government are even more reactionary than those of the institutions: defending armament programs, preservation of the tax breaks for ship owners. We will say NO to these proposals as well, with our struggles.
On Sunday, July 5 we vote NO.
NO: so as to open the rift, and not to begin a new round of negotiations
NO: in the streets and not only in the ballot
NO: to this and to every agreement
NO: overall to the euro-zone, the EU and the IMF, and not just to their proposals
NO: to the Troika, but also to any other administrator of the same system
OKDE-Spartacos is the Greek section of the Fourth International.
Photo: Greek government leader Alexis Tsipras speaks to the media after voting in the July 5 referendum.