[Marxism] Syriza's Left Platform: The Alternative to Austerity

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Fri Jul 10 14:33:57 MDT 2015

The Alternative to Austerity
There is an alternative to capitulation in Greece
by The Left Platform
Jacobin magazine, July 10

The following is an abridged version of the statement submitted by the
Left Platform at today’s plenary meeting of Syriza’s parliamentary
   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -
 . . .
In order to confront the pressures and unacceptable demands of the
creditors, the process that could lead Greece out of the eurozone is a
serious and complex enterprise, which should have been systematically
prepared by the government and by Syriza. However, due to the tragic
blockages that prevailed both in government and in the party, this has
not been achieved.

Nevertheless, even now the government can and must respond to the
blackmail of the “institutions” by posing the following alternative:
either a program without any further austerity, providing liquidity,
and leading to debt cancellation, or exit from the euro and default on
the repayment of an unjust and unsustainable debt.

If required by the circumstances, the government has, even now, the
possibility and the minimum of liquidity that is required to implement
a transitional program to the national currency, which will allow it
to implement its commitments towards the Greek people, and in
particular to adopt the following measures:

1) The radical reorganization of the banking system, its
nationalization under social control, and its reorientation towards

2) The complete rejection of fiscal austerity (primary surpluses and
balanced budgets) in order to effectively address the humanitarian
crisis, cover social needs, reconstruct the social state, and take the
economy out of the vicious circle of recession.

3) The implementation of the beginning procedures leading to exit from
the euro and to the cancellation of the major part of the debt. There
are absolutely manageable choices that can lead to a new economic
model oriented towards production, growth, and the change in the
social balance of forces to the benefit of the working class and the
 . . .
More specifically, some of the positive aspects of the exit include:

*Recovery of monetary sovereignty, which automatically means regaining
the capacity to provide liquidity to the economy. There is no other
way to cut the European Central Bank’s noose on Greece.

*The elaboration of a development plan based on public investment,
which will however also allow in parallel private investment. Greece
needs a new and productive relationship between the public and private
sectors to enter a path to sustainable development. The realization of
this project will become possible once liquidity is reestablished,
combined with national saving.

*Regaining control of the domestic market from imported products will
revitalize and enhance the role of small and medium-sized enterprises,
which remain the backbone of the Greek economy. At the same time
exports will be stimulated by the introduction of a national currency.

*The state will be liberated from the stranglehold of the European
Monetary Union at the level of fiscal and monetary policy. It will be
able to achieve substantial lifting of austerity, without unreasonable
restrictions on the provision of liquidity. This will also enable the
state to adopt measures which will bring fiscal justice and
redistribution of wealth and income.

*The possibility of accelerated growth after the initial difficult
months. The resources that became inactive during the seven-year-long
period of crisis can be quickly mobilized to reverse the disastrous
policy of the memoranda, if there is sufficient liquidity and a
stimulation of demand. This will open up the possibility of a
systematic decline in unemployment and a rise in income.

Finally, by leaving the EMU, Greece will not become less European, it
will follow a path that differs from the one followed by the countries
of the European Union core, an option which is already well advanced
in countries such as Sweden and Denmark. The exit from the EMU not
only will not isolate our country, but, on the contrary, will allow it
to acquire a new role on the international scene. A role based on
independence and dignity, very different from the position of an
insignificant pariah as dictated by the neoliberal policies of the

The process of an exit from the EMU requires of course political
legitimacy and active popular support. The referendum demonstrated the
will of the people to reject once and for all austerity regardless of
the challenges raised by the foreign and the domestic establishment.

It is now clear that our government has been essentially forced to
exit the euro because of the EU’s final refusal to accept reasonable
proposals on debt relief, the lifting of austerity, and the rescue the
Greek economy and society, as demonstrated by the new ultimatum sent
after the referendum.
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Translated by Stathis Kouvelakis.

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