[Marxism] an Antarsya view on post-referendum Greece; & on Syriza and its left

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Wed Jul 8 16:57:08 MDT 2015

OXI vote boosts Greek workers’ confidence
by Panos Garganas
Socialist Worker, Britain, July 7

People in Greece are elated with the referendum result. They have said
no to austerity and showed they are prepared to stand up to the
bankers’ pressure.

But the political leadership is out of touch with this mood—and
ignoring the victory of the No.

Leaders of all the political parties have signed a joint statement
that starts by saying the result is not a mandate to break with the
European Union

New finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos was on his way to Brussels with
a new proposal for an agreement as Socialist Worker went to press. It
is closely based on the one prime minister Alexis Tsipras couldn’t
sign two weeks ago.

But there will be a revolt if they try to implement any of this. The
EU leaders know this well—and are trying to come up with a scheme to
release money only as cuts and privatisations are implemented.

There’s tremendous pressure to do this before parliament ends for summer.

Any of these measures will face stiff opposition. The no vote means
people are more confident than before. Everyone in every workplace
knows that they will not be alone if they resist cuts, privatisations
and sackings.

For all the wheeling and dealing in Brussels, that’s what will happen
if they go ahead with this new agreement.

Workers in Greece defy bankers’ blackmail
by Dave Sewell
Socialist Worker, July 7
. . .
*Debating the way forward*

For many Greek workers the struggle isn’t for a slightly less brutal
austerity deal.

While the banks remained shut and the government drifted closer to
bankruptcy, some workers demanded an alternative.

Radiologist Christos Arghyris told Socialist Worker, “At work and at
the polling station, people want to talk about workers’ control—taking
over the hospitals, the banks, everything.”

Trainee surgeon Zanneta had a similar experience. She said, “We’re
having really political conversations about the EU and the debt—and
the need for workers’ control.”

Nurse Maria added, “We want free public healthcare.

“We want control of our lives and our workplaces. We will have to take
to the streets to demand it.”

Building on OXI vote can win real change
by Alex Callinicos
Socialist Worker, Britain, July 7
 . . .
The Greek masses asserted control of their destiny last Sunday. To
make this more than a fleeting moment they will need to continue, and
to demand that their government draws the logical consequences of the
No victory.

This means breaking with the eurozone, taking permanent control of the
banks, introducing a new currency, and using the power of the state to
keep the economy running.

Firms that threaten to lay off workers should be nationalised under
workers’ control. These measures are no longer socialist utopia—they
are a practical necessity.

To implement this programme the No campaigns in neighbourhoods and
workplaces must carry on.

We’ve seen divisions on the left weaken, as activists from Syriza and
the Anticapitalist Front Antarsya worked together around the
referendum, and Communist Party voters largely ignored their leaders’
foolish call to abstain.

The greater the self-organisation on the ground, the greater the power
of the No camp to counter the chaos the EU is trying to inflict, and
to overcome the government’s vacillations. By their actions, those in
the radical left in Greece have created an unprecedented opportunity.

They must seize it and make history.

Manoeuvres from above, movements from below: Greece under Tsipras
by Gareth Jenkins and Despina Karayianni
International Socialism Issue 147, SWP, Britain
posted July 6 [article written at end of May]
 . . .
There exists, then, a strategy for beating austerity rooted in the way
the working class movement has developed, whatever the outcome of the
negotiations. The reason for stressing this is to counter the danger
of believing that once a deal is signed all possibilities of
resistance will be exhausted. This is the flip side of identifying the
political hopes of the movement as identical to what Syriza stands
for—and so seeing the battle over an alternative strategy as defined
by the battle between the leadership and the left inside Syriza.
Optimism is replaced by pessimism. No doubt signing the deal will have
a negative effect on people’s hopes in Syriza. But that should not
determine the strategy of the left.

The point of this article is not simply to condemn Syriza and all its
works. Denunciation (of the contemplative sort) carries its own
dangers of passivity. The point is to welcome the Syriza left’s
condemnation of the leadership’s backslidings but to ask the question,
what is to be done? And a sign of the shortcomings of the left inside
Syriza is that it is very weak in this respect. This should come as no
surprise as it tends to concentrate its efforts on whether it can
command a majority in the party to force the leadership to change. But
here the Syriza left faces an overwhelming obstacle. For all its
claims to be a different kind of party, Syriza is locked into an
electoralist strategy and this is what gives the leadership, under
Tsipras, the whip hand. Even assuming that the left could overturn
Tsipras (or, indeed, would be united enough to carry its opposition to
such lengths, let alone succeed in forcing the dismissal of right
wing, reactionary ministers), what would it then do? It would face the
same dilemma and would be in charge of a party not equipped, because
of its fundamental orientation towards working within the state, to
resolve the dilemma in the interests of the working class.

But that does not mean that the divisions within Syriza are
unimportant. The left may not have the power it thinks it has (indeed,
such power as it has to contest the leadership is derivative of the
power of the movement) but many of those fighting the bosses, fighting
the state and fighting racism or fascism, support the Syriza left. The
revolutionary left’s capacity to grow depends, first and foremost, on
its political independence. But that independence is sterile unless it
finds ways to work with much broader forces. If, of course, it fails
(in a kind of mirror image to the illusions of the Syriza left) to
understand the contradictory consciousness of the working class (a
consciousness pulled between hope in a left government and confidence
in its own struggles, a consciousness that is uneven in individual
heads and between sections of the class), then it cannot understand
the centrality of the united front strategy. An example of where the
united front works is with the anti-racist and anti-fascist
struggle—and we saw the importance of pulling Syriza into this
struggle in what happened in the mass demonstration that marched on
the Golden Dawn headquarters.

Another example is that of the anti-capitalist left’s programme of
demands. The anti-capitalist left is not, as it is sometimes accused
of, “demanding revolution” (as a maximalist point of differentiation
in order to prove that Syriza will always “betray” the cause). That is
to misunderstand the meaning of revolutionary politics. To be a
revolutionary is certainly to believe that only revolution can
ultimately solve the crisis of the system. But that doesn’t just mean
propagandising for revolution. It means putting forward partial
demands, demands for reform, to mobilise the working class and make
actual in the consciousness of workers the need for revolution. This
is the basis of the anti-capitalist left’s programme: its demands
“fit” the objective needs of the situation and begin to “fit” what
workers feel they can fight for. In the process of realising these
demands workers will lead a broader challenge to the system.

These demands—dropping the debt, exit from the euro and control over
capital—relate to the objective needs of the situation and are, as we
have seen, shared by the left more broadly. They also bring to the
fore the question of agency—workers’ control, when it comes to the
state taking over the banks, and working class unity, in the fight
against racism and fascism and in defence of migrants, both of which
are paramount in the struggle against capital...
. . .

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