[Marxism] Socialist Alliance statement: Greece: This is a coup cancel the debt!

Michael Karadjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Sat Jul 18 07:04:18 MDT 2015

From: James Creegan 
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2015 4:25 AM
> I have had just about all can abide of statements to the effect that Tsipras and Co. were "forced" to capitulate or "beaten into submission". Were they forced to stand on a platform of ending austerity, knowing all the while that they would mitigate austerity only to the extent that the "institutions" found it acceptable? 

They had illusions that they could end austerity, or at least mitigate it to a great extent, while staying in the eurozone. These were left-reformist illusions. At the same time, they also believed their mandate was to end austerity but to try to stay in the eurozone, as that is what most polls seemed to indicate was the view of those who elected them. They therefore put up a 5-month battle to try do the impossible. It is hard to fault them for trying, and most give them the credit for fighting hard for most of that time. 

Aside from illusions, it is also possible that they expected some kind of moblisation of solidarity among working people in Europe to pressure their governments. The fact that this barely occurred at all is, in my opinion, a useful thing to discuss the meaning of.

But I agree that in the end this was impossible. But having consistent illusions, and fighting as hard as they could within that framework – and what they saw as impossible alternatives – is different to “betraying”. 

I didn’t say they were “forced,” but “beaten into submission” is a good description of what went on. The reports spoke of Tsipras alone and sleepless being badgered hour after hour by Eurocats taking turns, a process likened to “mental waterboarding,” while being presented with the alternative of a total cut-off of ECB funds and a disorderly unprepared grexit. 

I definitely don’t support Tsipras’ decision and from the outset of this discussion I have said my sympathies all along have been with the Syriza Left Platform. But that doesn’t stop me from recognising that he was forced to make a decision between arsenic and cyanide at that moment, and as I wouldn’t like to be in that position, I see it as futile calling people that are traitors. Note that even in her fantastic speech to parliament rejecting Tsipras’ capitulation, Zoe Konstantinopoulou used the kindest words about Tsipras himself and the unequal struggle he had confronted (http://www.analyzegreece.gr/topics/greece-europe/item/288-zoe-konstantopoulou-n-to-ultimatums-n-to-the-memoranda-of-servitude) while voting against him:

“The prime minister spoke with
honesty, bravery, boldness and selflessness. He is the youngest of all
Greek prime ministers and he has fought as much as any of his
predecessors for the democratic and social rights of the people and of
the younger generations. He represented and represents our generation,
and he gives us hope. I honor him and will always honor him for this
stand and this choice.

“And at the same time, I consider it my binding responsibility, as
president of the parliament, not to close my eyes or to pretend that I
do not understand blackmail. I cannot make it easy. I could never vote
for and legalize the content of this agreement. I think the same is true and would apply to the Prime Minister, who is
today blackmailed with a weapon threatening the survival of his people.”

> Were they "forced" to oppose in their central committee Left Platform Resolutions calling for a  Plan B, and greater emphasis on mass mobilization? 

No, they were not forced. This was their error all along, as I wrote here the first day of this latest discussion. The lack of a Plan B was due to their “Europeanist” politics. There ahs been much discussion on this list of whether preparing a Plan B within that time frame would have made any difference or is even feasible. That is a useful, real world discussion to be having. It is much more useful than denouncing betrayers, however fulfilling you find the latter. But yes, IMO, not having developed any Plan B along the way did make theor choices at the end of the process much more stark.

> Were they "forced" to call a referendum, attempt to surrender to the Troika before it was even held, and then do exactly what the voters overwhelmingly rejected? 

No. The move you refer to just before the referendum, and just after, were disastrous, inexplicable errors of Tsipras. They make no sense. I think by then he was defeated.

> Are they now being "forced" to ram an austerity bill through parliament and act as accomplices to the Troika in driving their people deeper into poverty and national humiliation? 

Not sure about the continual quote marks around the word “forced” since you’re not quoting me, but of course I agree with the Syriza deputies that voted against the new colonial memorandum. The reality is, however, that by then the real world choices offered up by the Troika were both horrendous. Part of the reason was the lack of any planning of a Plan B, but by then it was too late. Much as I know which side, from afar, I would vote with, when the choices are that horrible I don’t feel any pleasure in denouncing those who I think have made the writing decision as betrayers. I’d much rather focus on the enemy that imposed these choices on Syriza.

> If all else failed, they could at least have had the decency to resign!  

Yes, if there are no alternatives at this moment, I’d prefer Syriza to resign and allow the right/”centre” to carry out the new austerity disaster. But I don’t live in Greece. Really, it seems to me there are enormous issues to take in to account before doing something like that, and it is people over there, including those in Syriza who voted against the bill, who are the ones to be thinking these issues through, not people who think they are very smart on the other side of the world.

> All of the things they are now doing they are doing of their own free will, and must be "forced" to take the rap. There is no "constructive criticism" of betrayal!

Whatever. There can be plenty of constructive criticism of Syriza’s course over the last 5 months, I’ve never been part of the “no criticism” brigade, but no, sorry, I still think Syriza is a big party with lots of great cadres and the support of the masses, who were given few real world choices, and so I think discussion, including criticism, is still more useful if conducted in a comradely way (eg, in the way Zoe Konstantinopoulou does). 

Some are saying the opposite of you, that what’s done is done, now we only have to think of the future struggles and not worry about critiquing what has occurred and why. I disagree. Of course, the main issue now is the future struggle, as I said in the very post you attacked. But we also learn nothing if we don’t engage in sensible discussion about what failed and why. In my opinion, the best discussion we are having is about the actual real world possibilities of an orderly, socialist-oriented grexit,with some excellent articles being sent to the list about possible alternatives. This discussion is useful for both critiquing the past and for the struggles of the future. 

Far more useful than learning from you that “there is no constructive criticism of betrayal.”

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