[Marxism] Antarsya statement and IV article on Greek situation

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Sat May 19 18:52:37 MDT 2012


IV Online magazine : IV448 - May 2012 Greece What next for Greece?

http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2619

Following the Greek election results on the 6th of May, the left 
internationally has been following with great interest what happens now. 
Here we publish an article by Andreas Kloke of the Fourth International's 
Greek section OKDE-Spartakos, member of the Antarsya coalition, 
analysing the results, an article by Eric Toussaint drawing the 
comparison with Argentina in 2001, and an editorial statement by 
Socialist Resistance, British section of the FI.


The shadow of the Weimar Republic hangs over Greece: The election 
results of May 6

Andreas Kloke

The Greek parliamentary elections led to an earthquake-like change in 
the political landscape and to the end of the "two-party domination" by 
the conservative New Democracy (ND) and the social democratic PASOK. 
Compared to the 2009 elections, the ruling PASOK party fell from 43.9% 
to 13.2%, ND which is now the strongest party, won 18.9% (2009: 33.5%). 
On the other hand SYRIZA ("Coalition of the Radical Left") rose from 4.6 
to 16.8% and has thus become the second largest party. The "Independent 
Greeks" led by P. Kammenos, a right-wing nationalist split from ND and 
founded in February 2012, a party that refuses to support the memoranda 
policies, are in the fourth place with 10.6%. The CPG (KKE), up to now 
the strongest left party, received 8.5% (2009: 7.5%). Chrysi Avgi 
("Golden Dawn"), a gang of neo-Nazi Hitler nostalgia addicts gained 7.0% 
(441 000 votes, 2009: 0.3%), certainly the real "scoop" of these 
elections. The "Democratic Left" (DIMAR) is in the seventh place with 
6.1%. DIMAR was founded in 2010 and is a right-wing split from SYN, the 
left-reformist party with origins in euro-communism and the main 
component of SYRIZA. The far-right LAOS failed with 2.9% (2009: 5.6%) 
due to the 3% threshold. The same happened to the "Green Ecologists" 
with 2.9% (2009: 2.5%) and three right-neoliberal formations , namely 
"Democratic Alliance" (DISI) with 2.6%, "Dimourgia xana" with 2.2% and 
"Action" (Drasi) with 1.8%. ANTARSYA ("Anti-Capitalist Left Alliance for 
the Overthrow"), essentially a coalition of some 10 anti-capitalist 
revolutionary organizations, received 1.2% (over 75,000 votes; 2009: 
0.36%), the alliance of two ML organizations 0.3 %, EEK, an organization 
that calls itself Trotskyite 0.1%. The percentage of valid votes cast 
was 62.7% (2009: 68.9% and 2007: 72.1%), again significantly lower than 
ever before, which also provides an indication of the falling acceptance 
of the parliamentary democracy, established in 1974 after the fall of 
the military junta, in the Greek population.

There is no question that the election results express the complete 
rejection of the memoranda policies by the clear majority of the 
electorate. On the one hand, the share of leftists in the broad sense 
has increased to 34% (if you count the ecologists, to 37%), on the other 
hand, the "anti-memorandum"-camp gained a total of around 60%. The very 
good result of the left must certainly be attributed to the general 
strikes of the last two years, and particularly to the large 
mobilizations and square occupations, particularly the Syntagma Square, 
from May 2010 to July last year, the great general strike of 12 and 13 
October and the mass protests of well over half a million demonstrators 
on 12/02/12 at Athens alone, that is to the powerful movement directed 
against the memoranda policies, especially from May 2010 to February 
2012.

The "ungovernableness" of the country A crucial problem connected with 
the election result is known as the "ungovernableness" of the country, 
i.e. the great difficulties to continue the memoranda policies under the 
guise of "democratic" government coalitions. The leaders, but also the 
system-compliant media in Greece and Europe (as usual, especially in 
Germany) have launched a wild propaganda campaign to keep Greece on 
track and to secure the continuation of memoranda-slavery, the ruin and 
plunder of Greek society in favor of unbridled domination of domestic 
and foreign capital. The calls for the eviction of Greece from the 
euro-zone are getting louder.

Because of its good election result the SYRIZA leadership under A. 
Tsipras is playing a key role. The ideas of the left parties as a whole 
had been characterized during the election campaign as "unrealistic", 
"highly dangerous", "catastrophic", but after the elections the tables 
have been turned and SYRIZA was asked to "take its responsibility" and 
to participate in a "government of national unity" with ND, PASOK and 
DIMAR. The DIMAR leadership, which would like to serve in such a 
government, played a particularly bad role but finally it did not dare 
to do so without the consent of SYRIZA in the face of the election 
results. A day-long wrangling over the formation of a new government 
began, but ended without result. Therefore, the second round of the 
elections has been scheduled for June 17. According to current opinion 
polls SYRIZA has bright prospects to become the strongest party with 
well over 20%, and thus also to get hold of the "bonus" of 50 (of the 
total 300) seats in parliament. This totally undemocratic scheme was 
specifically included in the electoral law to allow a majority, at least 
of a coalition government of ND and PASOK. But it did not work since 
both parties together received only 149 seats.

There is no denying that it is not by chance that SYRIZA has become the 
first force of the left. Because SYRIZA spoke during the election 
campaign of a "left-wing government", for example to pressure KKE, but 
also because it does not favor a withdrawal from the euro-zone, despite 
the rejection of the memoranda policies, people voted for it massively. 
This reflects in part the stagnation or weakness of the resistance 
movement that has been seen since February and caused the rise of rather 
vague hopes that a fundamental shift in government policies could be 
achieved through a changing of parliamentary majorities. The SYRIZA 
leadership is coming under attack because of the ambiguities of its 
election promises from two sides: first, the forces of the establishment 
can harass SYRIZA to do everything to ensure that Greece remains in the 
euro-zone, or make SYRIZA also responsible for a possible failure of 
this intention and expose it; on the other hand, there are critics on 
the left, pointing out quite rightly that the various promises of SYRIZA 
leadership are inconsistent and contradictory. It is virtually 
inconceivable that a Greek left-wing government, if it came about, could 
accomplish a revocation of the memoranda policies and thus of the credit 
agreements agreed with the Troika, that are leading to a strangulation 
of the Greek society, without Greece's exit or expulsion from the 
euro-zone.

SYRIZA, KKE and ANTARSYA In other words, a consistent "reform polic" in 
favour of working people and all memoranda victims that does not come 
into direct conflict with the interests of finance capital and big 
business in Greece, the EU countries and the United States, is very 
unlikely to be practicable. The SYRIZA leadership is anything but 
prepared to conduct politically this inevitable clash between the 
disparate interests of the perpetrators and victims, the exploiters and 
the exploited. However, it will have to put its cards on the table in 
one way or another. SYRIZA is an alliance with some "semi-Stalinist" and 
"semi-Trotskyist" organizations of the milieu of the (as yet) 
non-parliamentary left, but is dominated by the Synaspismos leadership. 
This assumes that the problems of the global capitalist crisis, but also 
the crisis of Greek society, are to be solved with "Keynesian" means 
within the framework of the capitalist system of exploitation. 
"Socialism" is in this perspective, at best, a distant goal, and 
achievable only at an "all-European" level etc. Despite its "radical" 
name SYRIZA is an alliance oriented to limited reforms, although in some 
nuances more to the left than the German "Left Party", for instance. It 
is certainly not a good sign that Tsipras wants to discuss and perhaps 
to come to an agreement with the French president F. Hollande, regarding 
the memoranda policies. The explosiveness of the current social and 
political situation will make inevitable a clarification of the 
contradictions in the policies of the SYRIZA leadership. Too strong is 
the desire of the great majority, to finish the continued impoverishment 
and too weak the current will and the ability of the SYRIZA leadership, 
to implement this need into a real anti-capitalist (ultimately 
revolutionary) orientation.

The KKE leadership has decided to isolate itself even more from SYRIZA 
and the rest of the Left because its election result was not very 
favorable. The disadvantage of this attitude is that it is increasingly 
difficult to convince its own base that this strategy and tactics might 
be successful. The KKE leadership considers more or less openly that 
there will be no overthrow of the memoranda policies by mass 
mobilization from below and by the movement itself. Thus it points to a 
future "people's economy" and "people's democracy". But it is not able 
to explain how its objectives can be achieved if not by a sudden and 
massive increase of KKE votes, something that is obviously not in sight. 
It remains the mystery of the party leadership how all verbally 
proclaimed objectives, particularly the overcoming of capitalism and 
imperialism, may be imposed. It is foreseeable that the party itself can 
get into a crisis that may soon lead to greater friction losses.

ANTARSYA had not a sensationally good, but solid election result gaining 
1.2%. It was the main force on the left that placed the importance of 
social resistance through strikes, occupations and mass protests, the 
self-organization of all victims of the memoranda policies, of the 
workers, young people, pensioners and of the partially "illegal" 
immigrants at the center of its election campaign. ANTARSYA has shown 
the way how social resistance may be victorious through the propagation 
of a program of actual transitional solutions that are geared to the 
real needs of the vast majority of the population and aimed at the 
self-organization of these people, and by adhering to the perspective of 
the anti-capitalist revolutionary overthrow of the existing political 
and social system.

ANTARSYA could have achieved a better result through a more consistent 
policy in the past two years, through greater unity, more and better 
activities of the local committees etc. But there was hardly a cure 
against the prevailing mood for a parliamentary change mainly in the 
last week before the elections. As the slogan of "left-wing government" 
before the election was nebulous and even now continues to remain so, it 
was essentially correct not to feed such hopes. However, ANTARSYA could 
come up with a statement supporting critically a left-wing government 
under certain conditions. That has not happened so far. The basic 
political and programmatic direction of ANTARSYA remains correct after 
all.

The ANTARSYA statement

The ANTARSYA declaration of May 14 states among other things:

"The left must have as its target the conquest of political power and 
government power by a subversive political and social movement. This can 
be achieved through the institutions of popular power and workers' 
control and the connection of the question of government power with a 
contemporary revolutionary strategy, by breaking with capital and 
imperialism through a workers' and popular movement capable of imposing 
its own power and government.

"The influence of ANTARSYA was finally limited by parliamentary 
illusions of a "left-wing government" that might lead to the immediate 
and conflict-free solution of the problems without an insurrection. 
Nevertheless, it will be necessary to continue the efforts to convince 
the broad popular layers that it will not be possible to confront the 
most pressing and immediate social problems with answers simply directed 
"against the memoranda", without leaving the euro-zone, the decoupling 
from the EU and without the complete break with the system that produces 
crises and memoranda. The collision course with the lenders and capital 
is not an easy path, not the easy victory that a "left government" may 
give us, but will be a difficult, uphill battle, the culmination of the 
political class struggle that requires the development of the struggle 
organs of the workers' rank and file. It will be necessary to continue 
the efforts to connect all militants who are in a radicalization process 
and their struggles on the basis of the program of "anti-capitalist 
revolution" and contemporary forms of a socialist and communist 
perspective.

"It is necessary that broad layers of the population take the matter 
into their own hands in order to avoid setbacks and to proceed on the 
path of the great struggles and of the outcome of the May 6 result, to 
develop a political workers' and grassroots movement, to fight for the 
abolition of the memoranda, of the loan agreement and of all related 
laws, to increase the salaries and pensions to a decent level and to 
enforce the prohibition of dismissals. All further privatizations must 
be prevented and those already implemented must be reversed. We have to 
demand the nationalization of the banks and big companies of strategic 
importance under workers' control. Spending on education and health must 
be increased. The movement of civil disobedience "I will not pay" and 
for the final abolition of the poll taxes, the tolls etc. must be 
supported. The insubordination and resistance against the EU decisions 
directed against the workers must be strengthened, the cancellation of 
the law on fiscal package, the exit from the euro-zone and the EU by 
strengthening the organs of self-organization beyond the trade union 
bureaucracies have to be demanded and organized.

"ANTARSYA stands by its proposal to build at once a battle front for the 
break with the system and for the defense against the attack and to 
proceed immediately with the strengthening of the struggles. The workers' 
organs of struggle must be developed and supported. The call is 
addressed to all forces of the left, to be active into this direction as 
soon as possible.

"At the same time ANTARSYA promotes the creation of a broad united front 
of the left and the workers' movement against the fascist threat and the 
criminal activities of 'Chrysi Avgi' directed against immigrants and 
activists of the movement. It is necessary to develop initiatives aimed 
at exposing the deeply system-friendly and reactionary character of 
'Chrysi Avgi', its fixation on EU and memoranda, its Nazi mentality and 
its pseudo-populist rhetoric in order to subvert its social base. 
ANTARSYA will immediately establish an initiative for a common approach 
in dealing with the fascist threat on the part of all social and 
political organizations of the workers' movement and the left (including 
KKE and SYRIZA), both at central and local levels.

"We will continue on the necessary path of the front of the 
anti-capitalist left and call on all forces and the militants who choose 
to break with the system and support the overthrow, to discuss openly, 
to act jointly and to cooperate in the elections. At the same time we 
continue the struggle for the further strengthening of ANTARSYA 
primarily by the struggles in the movements, but also in the next 
elections." (Excerpts from the declaration)

Racist incitement and chauvinism in the mass media over decades and 
through the official policies of racism as well as the evil governmental 
racism are responsible for the spreading of the fascist plague in 
Greece, which is only one step away from being transformed into a mass 
movement along the lines of the German Nazi Party before 1933. But the 
apathy and indifference of the political parties and organizations of 
the Left and the workers' movement have also greatly contributed to the 
rise of Nazi gang, and this responsibility is very serious. It is 
urgently necessary to reverse this disastrous trend. It may be that the 
specter of a left-wing government has appeared in Greece, but more 
serious is the drift of the social and political conditions into the 
direction of Weimar Republic. Greek capitalism and its bourgeois 
democracy have evoked this witching hour.

16th of May 2012

Andreas Kloke is a member of the leadership of OKDE-Spartakos, Greek 
section of the Fourth International.

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