[Marxism] Kouvelakis: Those who lead Greece and its Left to surrender should be opposed.
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Fri Jul 10 10:47:10 MDT 2015
>From the Absurd to the Tragic
Those who lead Greece and its Left to surrender should be opposed
by Stathis Kouvelakis
Jacobin magazine, July 10
. . .
How could one explain that New Democracy’s Vangelis Meimarakis and To
Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis — heads of the camp so crushingly
defeated on Sunday — should have become the official spokespersons for
the line being followed by the Greek government? How is it possible
for a devastating “no” to memorandum austerity policies to be
interpreted as a green light for a new memorandum? And to put it in
commonsense terms: if they were disposed to sign something even worse
and even more binding than European Commission President Jean-Claude
Juncker’s proposals, what was the point of the referendum and the
struggle to achieve victory in it?
. . .
So the framework is given: it is that of the restrictive measures
which secure fiscal surpluses and aim at the repayment of debt. It is
incontestably the framework of the memoranda. The disagreement is over
the “distribution of the burden.” It involves a (supposedly) “socially
more just” variant of austerity, which will be presented as
“redistribution” at the same time as it perpetuates the recession
(every reference to commitment to non-recessionary measures has been
effaced) and impoverishment of the majority.
. . .
And yet, despite the gravity of the situation and despite the fact
that through the imposition of capital controls part of the road has
already been covered, nobody, apart from Costas Lapavitsas and some
cadres of the Left Platform, is speaking of the self-evident and basic
measures of self-protection that are necessitated by circumstances of
this kind, starting from public control and nationalization of the
The explanation for this is of course very simple: anything of this
kind would place Greece with one foot outside the euro, which the
government is completely unwilling to do, despite the fact that even
mainstream economists like Paul Krugman assert that “the greater part
of the cost has already been paid” and that it is time for Greece “to
reap the benefits.”
. . .
This is nothing but a new austerity package — actually, a “copy and
paste” of the Juncker plan rejected by the electorate a few days ago.
Its core is all too familiar: primary surpluses, cuts in pensions,
increase in the VAT and other taxes, and a handful of measures to give
it a slight flavor of “social justice” (e.g., an increase in the
corporate tax rate by two points). The document was approved by all
the major ministers except Panos Kammenos, head of the Independent
Greeks party (ANEL), and Panagiotis Lafazanis, the leader of the Left
. . .
As was predictable, and probably even planned, this proposed agreement
has triggered an uproar inside Syriza. For the moment, most of the
strong reactions are come from the Left Platform and other currents of
Syriza’s left wing such as KOE, the Maoist organization that has four
MPs. In today’s dramatic meeting of Syriza’s parliamentary group,
Lafazanis, minister of energy and leader of the Left Platform, said
the agreement is “incompatible with Syriza’s program” and “doesn’t
offer a positive perspective to the country.” The Left Platform
ministers are expected to resign today.
Thanassis Petrakos, one of the three speakers of Syriza’s
parliamentary group and a prominent member of the Left Platform,
The “no” of the referendum was a radical and a class “no.” Some
high-ranked comrades insist on the “there is no other way” logic. We
should prepare exiting the eurozone and say that clearly to the
people. The Left has a future when it opens its wings to the unknown,
not to nothingness. Those who insist on the choice of staying in the
euro whatever the cost might know that it is a disaster. We need a
prepared exit to open up a new path. The first steps are the public
control of the banks and of the Greek central bank and a crackdown on
Varoufakis is also said to have opposed the agreement, as well as some
MPs from the group of the “fifty-three” (the left wing of the
majority), although in an internal meeting held yesterday a
significant gap appeared between the rank-and-file and middle-range
cadres, strongly opposed to the agreement, and the MPs, much more
inclined to support it. The vote that will take place late in the
evening will certainly be of crucial importance for the future
developments, but also for the future of Syriza.
Whatever happens in the next few hours and days, one thing should be
clear: any attempt to cancel the popular will for the overturn of
austerity and the memoranda amounts to hubris in the ancient Greek
sense of the term. Whoever dares to lead the country, and the Left, to
surrender and to dishonor should be ready to face the corresponding
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