[Marxism] criticism of Syriza and Left Platform leadership by Xekinima and IMT

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Fri Jul 10 23:32:26 MDT 2015

Tsipras crosses the Rubicon
by Xekinima (CWI), Greece, July 10
 . . .
The leading group in SYRIZA and Alex Tsipras has been proven
tragically incapable of responding to the tasks of the moment and
unworthy of the confidence of the working class. They are unworthy of
the earth-shaking ‘No’ vote on 5 July which reverberated throughout
Europe and the whole world. They betrayed the confidence of workers,
pensioners, the unemployed and the poor, who voted by 70%-80% in favor
of No in the working class neighborhoods and cities. They betrayed the
great struggle launched by the Left and the working class, all across
Europe, in support of the struggling Greek workers.
 . . .
What lies behind this new historical tragedy of the Greek Left is
nothing else but the complete lack of understanding by the leadership
of the class character of living reality. And a complete lack of
understanding of what class struggle means. They went to the EU to
“fight for their proposals” with water pistols against machine guns.
They tried to “explain” and to “convince” Schauble and the rest of the
capitalist gang leading the EU, naively and foolishly, that they were
applying wrong policies and should change them. They never had and
never showed any confidence to the power of the working class and its
ability to take destiny into its own hands. They swallowed the fairy
tale perpetuated by the ruling class that their profit system is
invincible, that capitalism can never be overthrown and that the exit
from the Euro would equal to a social catastrophe.

The defeat in which Tsipras and his government led the Greek working
class is historical but it is not final. It not like the defeat
suffered by the left and working class in the Civil War in Greece.
There is still a lot of potential for resistance.

The immediate task is the coming together of the forces of the Left
which understand the need for a regroupment along the lines of
revolutionary socialism, to plan the next steps. There are serious
forces in the non-parliamentary Left, inside ANTARSYA (Anti-capitalist
Left) and SYRIZA etc., which understand that without rupture with the
capitalist system and the Eurozone there is no perspective for a
better life. These forces must urgently meet and discuss and take all
the necessary steps, to lay the basis for a new, mass revolutionary
Left. To lead the struggles of tomorrow and to offer the perspective
of struggle for a future against the false hopes of Tsipras and his
 . . .

Greece: government's proposals to the Troika turning OXI into YES
by Jorge Martín
In Defense of Marxism (IMT), July 10
. . .
Syriza CC member Stathis Kouvelakis has compared the situation to the
vote for war credits in the Reichstag in 1914 and appealed for
pressure to be exerted on Syriza MPs to vote against. He has described
the proposal as a capitulation and a “betrayal of the popular
mandate”. In an appeal to Syriza MPs he has asked them to "refuse to
trample the popular mandate under foot, and save the honour. Refuse
this humiliation of democracy. Don't forget the fate of members who
voted for previous memoranda, and that have been registered in the
people's conscience. Together with the people who want to stand up and
live, raise up, say "no"!”

The Communist Tendency of Syriza has rejected the proposals and
described them by their proper name: a new Memorandum. The comrades
have correctly described the situation as one of a parliamentary coup,
in which parliament will be used to pass proposals that directly
contradict the democratic will of the people expressed at the
referendum and have called on Syriza MPs to vote against and for
people to mobilise.

The president of the parliament, Zoe Konstantopoulo, also a prominent
Syriza member has also said that she will oppose the passage of a new
austerity memorandum through parliament. However, Greek media reported
a 3.5 h meeting between her and Tsipras last night. The Left Platform
has around 30 MPs in the Parliamentary group. As these lines are
written a joint meeting of Syriza's parliamentary group and Political
Secretariat is being held to discuss the proposals. Syriza's CC will
meet on Saturday. Today in the evening there will be a vote in
Parliament. The way in which this will be done has been calculated in
order to minimise opposition. Instead of voting on the actual
proposals being sent to the Troika, Parliament will be asked to give
Tsipras, vice PM Dragasakis and Finance Minister Tsakalotos authority
to negotiate along the lines of the letter, but the letter itself will
not be put to the vote. The idea is that this will be presented as a
personal vote of confidence in Tsipras, minimising a potential revolt
in the parliamentary group. The Guardian reported how "Syriza MPs have
been telling our Helena Smith that the big no received in the
referendum on Sunday was a 'confidence vote' in Tsipras who like no
other prime minister before now has the popular support to enforce
such punitive measures."

Whatever the formula used in the vote,Tsipras has already been
preparing for the eventuality that 30-40 Syriza MPs might vote
against. On Monday there was a closed meeting between Tsipras, the
leaders of opposition parties and the [right wing] President of the
Republic. They all agreed a statement (with the exception of the KKE)
along the lines of the proposal made today. This means that now
Tsipras is in a de facto alliance with the same parties (ND, Pasok and
To Potami) which all along supported the previous Memoranda which
Syriza strenuously opposed. Leaders of the opposition have been kept
informed of every step of the negotiations. Between Thursday and
Friday, European Commission president Juncker would have met with
leaders of ND, PASOK and To Potami. There have been strong rumours of
ANEL leaving the government and being replaced by To Potami. The main
plan is to split the left away from Syriza and join with pro-European
parties in some government of national unity.

This is what is happening at the top, but then there is the reaction
of the masses in the streets. Tsipras became extremely popular in the
last days of the referendum campaign, but on the basis of a NO to
austerity and standing up to the troika. Working people feel
confident, having won, through a mass grassroots mobilisation, a
resounding victory against the Troika. If they are now told to accept
a deal worse than last week's, the reaction could be furious. We
cannot underestimate the level of politicisation achieved last week
which has not gone away.
 . . .
There are demonstrations called already for tonight in Athens and
Thessaloniki. One is a Syriza demonstration which had already been
planned to celebrate the referendum victory at Syntagma Sq. Now other
forces, including Antarsya are planning to join in. There is also an
appeal by 6 members of the leadership of civil servants union (ADEDY)
to mobilise to defend the NO. The KKE is calling for a protest
separately at Omonia Sq.

In understanding the behaviour of Tsipras and Varoufakis (and also
Tsakalotos) a crucial factor is the fact that they cannot see any
alternative to remaining in the EU and the euro. As a result, they are
forced to move further and further away from their original illusion
of the possibility of an "honourable deal" and make ever greater
concessions to the troika.
 . . .
...This was all along a battle of opposing class interests: those of
working people in Greece, and across Europe on one side; those of the
capitalist class in Europe (dominated by Germany’s bankers and
capitalists) and their class brothers and sisters in Greece. On our
side, our weakest point have been the generals of our army. It has to
be said. Tsipras could have followed a completely different course of
decisively breaking with the Troika, repudiating the debt and
challenging the logic of capitalism. He had massive popular support
(80% in February, 62% at the referendum) which would have allowed him
to embark on such a course of action. He refused. It was never part of
his strategy.

Lafazanis and the Left Platform in general have been hopelessly
unprepared for the battle. Lafazanis has shied away from any open
opposition for 5 months, and the Left Platform has never operated as a
coherent force, responding to the different compromises and
concessions and mobilising against, which could have changed the
course of events, or prepared better the battle. Finally, even the
more advanced elements within it seem to lack a clear understanding of
what the alternative can be, limiting themselves to the idea of a
return to the drachma within the limits of capitalism (with the
inevitable nationalisation of the banks). This is a hindrance, since a
large section of workers are, correctly, scared of the consequences of
Grexit, which would lead to a frightful collapse of the economy on top
of everything else they have already suffered in the last 5 years.

The KKE leadership, while making many correct criticisms has been
locked in sectarian isolation, unable to pursue a proper Leninist
united front approach to Syriza, which would have allowed it now to
replace it having won over a sizeable chunk of Syriza’s members and

The Communist Tendency of Syriza, has been constantly explaining and
warning. But its forces are still very small and its voice can barely
be heard. It cannot determine the course of events. At most it can be
a small contributing factor.

The battle in Athens is not over yet. It is not ruled out that Germany
will put its foot down and reject any new bail out. The immediate task
in Greece is to oppose these proposals, to exert pressure on Syriza
MPs to vote against and to mobilise the widest possible layers in the
streets against, and then to resist the implementation of these

Beyond Greece there are important lessons to be learnt, particularly
as parties like Podemos in Spain come closer to power. There is no way
to break with austerity, it is not possible to implement even modest
measures in defence of the living standards of working people within
the limits of capitalism in crisis. In order to end austerity we must
break with capitalism.

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