[Marxism] Paul Mason "What was the point of Tsipras referendum?"

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Fri Jul 10 11:40:24 MDT 2015

What was the point of Tsipras referendum?
by Paul Mason
Channel 4 News blog, England, July 10

The new Greek government proposals, published late last night are
clearly based on those submitted by Jean Claude Juncker last Thursday,
before the referendum.

It’s left many Greeks frustrated,  asking: what was the point of the
referendum? It’s left many foreign observers saying the same.

Here are the most obvious answers:

First, the Greek government’s hope that a referendum mandate would
allow swift negotiations with their creditors, and relaxation of
terms, did not materialise. Instead a renewed ultimatum materialised.
If they can’t meet it, the ECB and EU will collapse the Greek banking
system and throw them out of the Eurozone. Indeed, one of the main
“achievements” of the referendum was to flush out that clear threat,
from politicians who had never admitted it before.

The Greek government has no mandate to leave the Euro, as the 61% vote
No last Sunday was clearly won as a “stay in and fight” mandate.

Secondly, the deal makes no economic sense without debt relief. The
referendum, combined with US pressure, seems to have prompted key
European voices, including Angela Merkel and Donald Tusk, [to] accede
in principle to the need for debt reprofiling – which is a sneaky way
of writing off debts.

Thirdly, it is still redistributive on balance. Syriza can still sell
this as a very different programme from those previously designed by
the conservative led coalition. 29% corporation tax is one example.
However it does make concessions on pensions and on VAT on the
islands, which currently enjoy a discount.

Fourth, it is the work of Euclid Tsakalatos. Tsakalatos, as I’ve been
explaining since mid-January, is existentially committed to two
things: Euro membership and the use of government to foster widespread
modernisation and social change. He wants to stay in power – not lose
it to a government of “technocrats”.

Fifth, the deal comes with a request for a loan to make Greece’s debt
repayments over the next three years. If someone else pays your debts
for three years, that is a very fiscally beneficial thing, and leaves
Greece with money to spend it did not have.

Most importantly, this is not a done deal. If it gets through the
Greek parliament and is then thrown back into the Greeks’ faces it
will solidify and prepare Greek society for Grexit.

It will most likely prompt a few resignations from Syriza, but I am
told the Left Platform in Syriza will mainly accept it. But getting it
through parliament is not the problem. Getting it through the EU is
the problem – and it’s left many Greeks still predicting this is the
last gamble before Grexit.

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