[Marxism] Syriza, British/Greek left say Vote NO!

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 07:39:14 MDT 2015

A letter from Syriza
Panos Trigazis from Syriza’s international department appeals for solidarity.
To Friendly Political Parties and Movements
Dear Comrades and friends,

As you know, following the historic victory of SYRIZA in our national
elections on January 25 of this year, a government of social salvation
was formed in Greece, headed by our Party President, now Prime
Minister Mr Alexis Tsipras.

The new government’s clear mandate from the Greek people was to end
the policies of extreme austerity, to relieve the socially weaker
strata and to resolve the intolerable public debt crisis through
negotiations, thereby creating the conditions for economic recovery
and growth.

Negotiations have been going on since February between the new
government and our EU partners, together with the other institutions
involved in the Greek program. From the beginning, the government’s
position has been that the Greek people’s mandate should be respected
and that Greece should be treated as an equal partner in the EU and
the Eurozone.

The negotiations went through many stages. In the meantime, the Greek
Government took the first steps toward implementing its program. The
first bill tabled and passed by the new Parliament, aimed to help the
government deal with the country’s humanitarian crisis.

At the same time, the government did not neglect its task of moving in
the direction of a multi-dimensional actively pro-peace foreign
policy, seeking to upgrade Greece’s international position and role,
to the benefit of the Greek people and our country’s national issues.

Obviously, democracy and the sovereignty of the people in our country
are not negotiable; we also believe that this is not in any way
incompatible with our membership in the EU and the Eurozone; on the
contrary, it serves the European Idea in the most authentic way.

Last week, negotiations reached their most critical point. On Monday,
22 June, during the informal Eurozone Summit meeting, a
well-documented Greek proposal was submitted for agreement by the
institutions (European Commission, European Central Bank, IMF). It was
described by top EU officials as a “good basis” for completing the
negotiations. Despite this, the IMF then submitted new and
unacceptable conditions, primarily in the fields of labour rights and
pensions, for an agreement with Greece. The difficulties it raised
made it necessary for the Prime Minister himself to travel to Brussels
to take part in talks with the institutions and in the regular June EU

Unfortunately, the Prime Minister and our negotiating team were
confronted with proposals from the institutions that in fact
constituted an ultimatum. It is characteristic that the President of
the European Council, Mr Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Poland,
addressed Mr Tsipras with the phrase “Game over”.

This development caused the Prime Minister, upon his return to Athens,
to suggest to the Council of Ministers that a referendum be held so
that the people could decide whether or not to accept the
institutions’ proposal. His suggestion was adopted by Parliament. On
June 26, the Greek Parliament voted in favour of the referendum (178
votes for and 120 against), which was set for Sunday 5 July.

Within the next few days, the task of the government and the parties
that support it will be to campaign for a “NO” vote in the Referendum.

In the belief that international solidarity played an important part
in SYRIZA’S election victory in January, and has also been manifested
in various ways in the past five months, we appeal to you to continue
and step up your solidarity with the Greek people and our Government.

The battle we are fighting in Greece is also a battle for Europe and
its future. A battle for social justice and international cooperation
on an equal basis.

Panos Trigazis
Coordinator of SYRIZA’s Department of International Relations and Peace Issues
from Left Unity, Britain, June 30  <http://leftunity.org/a-letter-from-syriza>

Leaflet: Stop blackmailing Greece – drop the debt now!
A leaflet you can print yourself, putting forward Left Unity’s
position on the need to cancel Greece’s debts, respect Greek democracy
and end austerity now.

The text of the leaflet reads:

Greece is in the front line of the battle against austerity. The
Syriza-led government and the Greek people are standing up to the
bankers’ and politicians’ financial blackmail – they are an
inspiration to us all.

Now in this crucial moment the key task for the anti-austerity
movement in Britain and across the world is to stand with the people
of Greece, delivering all the support and solidarity we possibly can.

A defeat for Greece would be a defeat for us all – but their victory
can be our victory too.

Left Unity supports the Greece Solidarity campaign and Medical Aid for
Greece. For more information see greecesolidarity.org

Time is short to stop the devastation of Greece and a renewed economic
crisis. Left Unity says:
•Cancel Greece’s debts
•Respect Greek democracy
•End austerity now

Workers in Greece can strike a blow in austerity referendum
by Dave Sewell
Socialist Worker, Britain, June 30

Banks were closed across Greece on Monday of this week in the run-up
to a planned referendum on Sunday.

Prime minister Alexis Tsipras called the shock referendum last week,
as Greece’s creditors escalated their blackmail.
. . .
The institutions also want to attack workers’ rights and rule out any
debt restructuring. The referendum asks Greek workers whether to
accept these proposals.

Christos Arghyris is a radiologist at Gennimatas hospital in Athens.
He told Socialist Worker, “I’m convinced all my colleagues will be
voting no.

“We’re facing the greatest blackmail in the world—and this is our
chance to reject it...
. . .
Workers from all of Athens’ hospitals met on Monday evening and called
on their unions to make sure people turning up without cash would be
treated for free.

Christos said, “The alternative is to drop the debt—and workers have
to take control.

“We thought the new government would pour billions into health, but
we’ve been disappointed.

“Now it’s up to us to keep the hospitals open. That means a big no
vote on Sunday—and strikes and demonstrations.

*Bank worker says, ‘We have to go out on strike’*
 . . .
“We told our bosses there was a problem and the cash machines needed
refilling. They said, ‘We are in charge, not you’.

“Now there are people who can’t get the money they need for things
like medicine.”

The government has kept some bank branches open to serve pensioners.
It has also suspended bill payments due to be made in the week and
made public transport temporarily free.

But for people pushed to the brink of poverty these measures don’t go
far enough.

Bank workers were meeting to discuss action as Socialist Worker went to press.

Panayotis said, “This is not going to be over in a week.

“There’s only one solution to stop big business making big withdrawals
and to make sure wages and pensions get paid.

“We have to go on strike and get our unions to take control.”

European institutions' 'project fear' over Greece
by Dave Sewell
Socialist Worker, Britain, June 30

Right wing and liberal parties were set to protest the day after
Monday’s protests against the deal. Their main demand is for the
referendum to be cancelled.

The institutions are so outraged they’ve said their “offer” no longer
stands. But if the referendum goes ahead they want a yes vote.

Panos Garganas, editor of Socialist Worker’s [Greek] sister paper
Workers’ Solidarity, said, “It’s pure blackmail.

“The institutions are collaborating with the Greek Tories to scare
people into voting yes.

“They are telling people voting no will mean a Greek exit from the
eurozone and chaos. If they succeed, they will try to get rid of the

Greece is a small part of the European Union economy. But if Syriza
blocks austerity, it would set a precedent for workers across Europe.
That’s why the institutions want to crush the Syriza government, not
 . . .
*Referendum angers Europe's rulers*

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker slammed the
referendum in a hectoring speech this week.

Junker called the decision to hold a vote a “heavy blow” to the
“European conscience”. He suggested that a no vote would mean leaving
the euro, and advised Greeks “not to commit suicide for fear of

German chancellor Angela Merkel also played the martyr. She said,
“There is again and again the question whether, for once, principles
can be put aside. But we have to say we can’t do this.”

That would be the principle of squeezing ordinary workers to pay back
the bankers.
 . . .

Troika threatens Greeks ahead of referendum
Vote ‘No’! For a mass working class campaign to oppose Troika and for
socialist policies!
by Andreas Payiatsos and Niall Mulholland
CWI, June 30
. . .
... Xekinima (CWI Greece) has started a [full fledged] campaign for a
‘No’ vote next Sunday. Around 150,000 leaflets and 3,500 copies of the
new Xekinima newspaper are being printed this week. At the same time,
Xekinima is heavily involved in the attempt to build ‘No’ rank and
file committees in the neighbourhoods, bringing together different
sections of the Left. Interestingly, ANTARSYA (Anti-capitalist Left
Alliance) which traditionally has a sectarian approach towards the
rest of the Left and SYRIZA in particular, is now energetically
involved in this action.

Unfortunately this is not the case with the KKE (Greek communist
party) which has taken an absolutely sectarian approach, calling on
voters to spoil their ballots (abstain). Given that the KKE still
commands significant support amongst workers, this could help pave the
way to a ‘Yes’ majority if the vote is close. A Yes victory would
probably see the SYRIZA government fall and a new right wing-dominated
coalition emerge that would be willing to make a brutal austerity deal
with the Troika.

But a ‘No’ vote on its own is not enough. A mass campaign on the
streets and in the workplaces is needed to actively involve the
working class in opposing the Troika. The huge Athens demonstrations
called on 29 June by SYRIZA shows the potential for mass resistance...
 . . .

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