[Marxism] Antarsya member: for united front against austerity and rupture with eurozone

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Mon Jul 13 18:02:02 MDT 2015

The Future Is Now
It’s time for a united front on the Greek left against austerity and
for a rupture with the eurozone.
by Panagiotis Sotiris  (Panagiotis Sotiris is a member of Antarsya and
teaches at the University of the Aegean.)
Jacobin magazine, July 13

July 3 was Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s greatest moment. In
front of a huge crowd in Syntagma Square, he gave an electrifying
speech in favor of a “no” vote, evoking the words of the great poet
Andreas Kalvos: “freedom requires virtue and courage.” Unfortunately,
in the long night of the negotiations with the European Union, he
showed neither virtue nor courage.

July 13 is the end of the road for both Syriza and Tsipras. In spite
of the massive popular vote in favor of “no,” in spite of the evident
acceptance by large segments of the people that a rupture with the
eurozone is a possible solution, in spite of the alignment of a broad
spectrum of left and progressive social and political forces in favor
of an exit from the iron cage of eurozone austerity, Tsipras and the
leading group of Syriza chose to quickly and fully capitulate to the
demands of Greece’s creditors.

In a state of panic regarding any thought of an exit from the
eurozone, unable to realize that Greek society was more than ready for
such a development, totally unprepared both for the blackmail of the
EU but also for an eventual Grexit, Tsipras and the negotiating team
could offer no actual resistance to the proposals of Greece’s lenders.

They never learned the lesson of the Cypriot tragedy of 2013: if you
do not accept the first set of measures proposed by the EU and you are
not ready to exit the eurozone, then you will be forced to accept the
second set of measures, which will be worse and harsher than the first

The result is a devastating set of commitments to an aggressive
neoliberal program that entails privatization and fire sale of the
state assets, additional austerity and budget cuts, pension reform,
further curtailing of the right to collective bargaining, repeal of
whatever legislation Syriza had already introduced, a humiliating
condition of limited (or even non-existent) sovereignty, and to a
disciplinary supervision from the EU.

Instead of the “honest compromise” Tsipras had promised, we have a
humiliating defeat and yet another “memorandum,” equally authoritarian
and neoliberal as the two previous ones that sparked the immense
protest movement of 2010–12. Today, the danger is that the very notion
of “the Left” will become associated with betrayal and full
endorsement of austerity. And this a cost that the entire Left will

This is also the end of the road for the pro-euro left. It is more
than evident that any insistence on the utopia of a “good euro” can
only lead to the dystopia of authoritarian neoliberalism and limited
sovereignty, to the death of democracy. Exit from the eurozone,
suspension of debt payments, and disobedience to EU treaties are the
necessary and inescapable conditions for any progressive exit from the
current crisis.

It is the moral obligation of all Syriza members of parliament to vote
against the new measures if they want to somehow salvage the honor and
dignity of the Left. Otherwise, they will be no different than the
systemic parties’ parliamentarians, who approved the austerity
packages without even reading them. They will be equally hostile to
the people and the forces of labor. There is no point in hesitating in
the name of keeping a left government in place; it is not a left
government anymore, and Tsipras will find a way to negotiate with the
dominant forces and rule in cooperation with them.

Above all, now it is the time for all forces of the Left that insist
on the road of rupture, the road of Oxi, inside and outside of Syriza,
to take the initiative. With courage and audacity we need a Left Front
around the dividing lines of Oxi and the question of rupture with the
eurozone. And we need it now, leaving aside the pathology of
sectarianism and the micro-intrigues of the radical left.

We need exactly the convergence of political forces and movement
dynamics that could, in a certain way, dialectically incorporate and
at the same time go beyond, the legacy of Syriza as broad front, the
experience of Antarsya as anticapitalist unity, the experience of all
the forms of organization in the movement. The Greek crisis opened a
historical rift that traversed Greek society and created the
conditions for a new bloc. Syriza failed to translate this
potentiality into political praxis. We have a historic responsibility
to construct this translation.

We need it in order to maintain the spirit of Oxi and the spirit of
resistance and collective effort, as well as to avoid leaving the
popular classes in a state of shock, humiliation, and disillusionment.
Because if we allow that to happen, we will see not only a return to
individualized struggle for survival, but also a resurgence of the
fascists that are already trying to present themselves as the only
force committed to Oxi.

Today is a sad day. But we must not forget the spirit of joy, courage,
and determination that we all felt after the referendum. That is where
the real potential is. That is where we can find hope.

The struggle continues. The future is still before us.

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