The class struggle has sharply intensified in Greece since June 27, when Greek Prime Minister and Syriza Party leader Alexis Tsipras called on the people to vote NO in a referendum against blackmail and humiliation by Greece’s capitalist creditors. On Sunday, July 5, nearly 62% voted NO, and only about 38% voted YES. In working-class districts the vote was over 70% NO, while in upper-class districts it was over 70% YES.
We reprint here a July 7 statement by OKDE-Spartacos, the Greek section of the Fourth International:
The “NO” answer in the 5th of July’s referendum was a painful slap against the traditional parties of capital, the bourgeoisie, the systemic media. In the short period before the referendum, this disputatious alliance had extorted and terrorized the people, using all means available: Via television, through newspapers, in the work places. They only managed to make fools of themselves and to increase the class hate [of the working class against them] even more.
The referendum turned into a pure class fight, regardless of Syriza’s intentions. The working class voted NO and rejected the settlement massively, despite the historical betrayal of the General Working Union’s bureaucracy, which sided openly with the “YES” and with the capitalists.
The bourgeoisie fought hard in favor of YES, even those parts of it which weren’t hostile to Syriza. The majority of the middle class, having almost nothing to lose anymore, formed into line with the working class and voted NO. Contrary to those who called for national unity and amity, it became clear to everyone that two, totally different “societies” exist in the country: The exploiters and the exploited. The escalation of the class consciousness of a large part of the working class creates a vast amount of fear for those who are afraid of a clear expression of the class and choose national unity as their main slogan, in order to promote complacency and social peace.
Those who tried to avoid a clear stand in this class fight naturally found themselves on the fringes. Especially the Communist Party, promoting the nullity refrain [i.e., the party called for voters to abstain] in the referendum, served the working class poorly and, as was the case with its position in December of 2008, once again adapted to middlebrow fears and to the bourgeoisie.
This class struggle wasn’t just limited to the vote. This fight actualized in the streets, in the working places, inside the universities, in the neighborhoods. Without the huge demonstrations and marches, the fear would have prevailed and the outcome of the election would have probably been different.
The anti-capitalist Left and the revolutionary organizations played the lead role in the NO movement and put pressure on Syriza not to sign the agreement initially. Especially ANTARSYA, despite partial mistakes, became the strongest feature of the most dynamic and decisive part of the movement. The anti-capitalistic Left is a social and political reality in the streets and in the working places. Syriza has no right to think that this movement and this NO is its property.
The confidence this NO victory gives us should not become complacency. The next day should be a day of even harder battles. Without any doubt, Syriza will return to the negotiation table in order to discuss austerity measures regarding the workers, with the hope that the institutions will be lenient. Also, without any doubt too, the bourgeoisies of Greece and Europe, along with the bureaucrats of EU, will try to take revenge. We should not let the NO be defeated, nor be “stolen,” nor degenerate into a mere negotiation paper.
The class front, which struggled in favor of NO, should reject any new agreement and any new measures. It must demand salary increases and collective working contracts. It must impose a break with the IMF and the EU. It must demand nationalization of the banks and big corporations, under workers’ control, as the only solution against the banks’ extortions and the bosses’ sabotage.
It must disarm the police, which even under the Syriza government, protected the YES demonstrations and suppressed the NO demonstrations. It must completely crack the Nazis of Golden Dawn, which is trying to exploit a part of the NO movement, a NO that they supported with false pretenses, for political survival purposes. We do not have the slightest illusion that the Syriza-ANEL government will pursue such measures. We are confident that the power of the workers can achieve them.
The working class showed indeed its power against the alliance of the main parties of capital, against the bosses’ terrorism, the bureaucracy and the mechanisms of the “deep” state. With massive and tenacious struggles and long-term strikes, we must enlarge the gap that has opened inside the stability of the system and never let it close again. In this battle, the role of a strong anti-capitalist Left, independent of reformism and the government, is crucial.