[Marxism] Greek situation: interview with leader of FI group w/in Antarsya

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Wed Apr 8 16:15:20 MDT 2015

“The debt is a key class issue in the current situation. It lies at
the heart of the question: which class pays for the crisis?”
interview with Manos Skoufoglou
International Viewpoint
April 7, 2015

Manos Skoufoglou is a member of the Political Bureau of the
OKDE-Spartakos, Greek section of the Fourth International.
OKDE-Spartakos participates in Antarsya.

. . .
What political definition do you have of the government Syriza-Anel?

This is actually the key question today. The so much praised
“government of the left” is not actually a left government, although
it’s main actor is SYRIZA, a left socialdemocratized party. Even more,
it is by no means a “workers’ government”. If we had to make a
definition, the most appropriate would be a “class collaboration
government”, both in terms of its composition and in terms of its
program. Tsipras himself has described it as a “national salvation
government”. This concept explains why SYRIZA, after their victory,
proposed and elected Prokopis Pavlopoulos to be the new President of
the Republic. Pavlopoulos is an active ND cadre who, as the then
Minister of Internal Affairs, has been the man in charge to repress
the December 2008 riot.

The government of Tsipras actually consists of cadres coming from the
full social spectrum. It combines older militants of the left, new
cadres of the apparatus SYRIZA, left intellectuals, modern mainstream
economists, technocrats and contractors, people from the world of
business, bureaucrats previously linked to Simitis and Papandreou
(former presidents of PASOK) governments.

The determining factor, however, is not mainly the social composition
of the government, but the integration of various social-democrats
and, above all, of the nationalist bourgeois party of ANEL
(Independent Greeks). Since 2012, SYRIZA and ANEL have been moving in
an aligning track in the name of the anti-Memorandum struggle.
Especially after the Tsipras-Kammenos official agreement on the issue
of Cyprus in spring 2013, their future governmental collaboration has
been a common secret. Contrary to a common argument used by its
uncritical supporters worldwide, SYRIZA did have an alternative. They
could have formed a minority government and claim a vote of confidence
from the Parliament, which would be easy to gain. Anyway, accusing the
CP or even ANTARSYA of “forcing” SYRIZA to a coalition with ANEL is
highly hypocritical. SYRIZA had come to an agreement with ANEL before
addressing to anyone else.

SYRIZA’s supporters would claim that these alliances are not
determining, however this is not true. The Ministry of Economics is in
the hands of Yanis Varoufakis, a Keynesian academic economist closely
related with Galbraith Junior. Varoufakis has never been a militant of
the left. And it is even more telling that none of the two armed state
forces are controlled by SYRIZA: the Armed Forces have been assigned
to Kammenos, the head of the right nationalist ANEL, and the Police is
offered to the social-democrat Panousis, who has been notorious for
his authoritarian positions as a university teacher.

In terms of its program, the government advocates a form of class
compromise that seeks to partially and temporarily stop the offensive
against the working class, but not to reverse it. They propose a mode
of capitalist management which aspires to include certain concessions
to the working class, without, however, being willing neither to break
with any bourgeois institution nor to challenge the right to
capitalist property...
. . .
...They demand a radical and abrupt redistribution of wealth. In order
to achieve that, to repel tax evasion of the rich, as SYRIZA propose,
is not enough, although it would have been positive. What is needed is
nationalization of the key sectors of the economy, without any
confiscation to private capitalists, and under the control of workers
and the people themselves, so that they can indeed function in favour
of their own needs· and the cancellation of the debt, as the working
class can’t and shouldn’t pay it off. It is clear that such radical
changes cannot be tolerated in the EU, so rupture is necessary, along
with internationalist work for a new kind of collaboration of the
peoples against their bosses. This alternative may sound utopian, but
why is it more utopian than trying to reconcile the wolf with the
. . .
Anyway, the idea that there is no life outside SYRIZA is absolutely
distorted. The working class voted for SYRIZA, but they don’t side
with SYRIZA in their everyday activity. This is a myth. Being
independent from SYRIZA is not a sectarian obsession, it is a choice
based on the material ground of the class struggle.
. . .
ANTARSYA is not an organization or party, it is an anticapitalist
front consisting of 7 different organizations and several independent
militants. Its function is based on the principle “one member, one
vote”. There are about 80 local branches, who decide their local
activity in general assemblies. The leading bodies are elected in the
national conference.

The main issue of the debate within ANTARSYA is about alliances.
Nobody advocates an alliance with SYRIZA, however there is a wing who
supports the formation of a broader front, on a more minimum
programmatic base, mostly against the EU. The core of this wing
consists of two post-eurocommunist organizations of maoist influence.
A left wing supports full political and organizational independence of
all kinds of reformism (including radical anti-EU popular front
reformism), while willing to cooperate with any workers’ current on
certain common actions. This wing is mostly trotskyist, consisting of
the IST section (SEK) and the USFI section (ourselves,
OKDE-Spartakos), despite some important differences between those two
organizations. Finally, there is a centre formed around the biggest
organization of ANTARSYA, NAR, which has been a left split of the CP
in the late 1980’s, in reaction to the CP’s short-lived participation
in two bourgeois governments. However, those 3 wings are not stable
and may reshape as very important issues demand clear answers.
. . .

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