This by Steve Mavrantonis writing in the Australian Communist Party weekly, the Guardian.
The referendum solved nothing
Greek voters rejected the proposal of the European Union in the referendum held on Sunday July 5. The No vote was 61.5 % and the Yes 38.5%. there were however 5.5% of “informal votes” which opted for a different solution. In addition, the sum total of those who did not vote, or voted informally, was 41.3%.
The direct result of the outcome of the referendum was the resignation of the leader of the conservative opposition leader, A Samaras, and the announcement that the negotiations with the European institutions and the IMF will continue. As the Guardian goes to press an EU summit meeting has been called in an attempt to finalise an agreement.
The referendum in essence did not solve any of the pressing problems of Greece. The way the referendum questions were set by the Greek government made it impossible for any decision to alter in any meaningful way the present situation.
The Greek people were asked to either accept the new agreement offered by the “three institutions” or Troika – European Commission, IMF, European Central Bank – by voting Yes, or to reject it and accept the proposal of the Greek government, by voting No.
In essence however the differences between the two proposals were so minor and unworthy that it remains a mystery to a lot of people as to why it was necessary to make use of the referendum provisions of the constitution. The governing party of SYRIZA had its own reasons for wanting to extract a favourable decision by the people, thus making the people “an accessory” to the criminal game played at the expense of all working people.
When the present government was elected, five months ago, it promised the people to end the Memorandums, the policies of austerity, to end unemployment, to restore pensions, wages and stop the control of the economy by the Troika.
None of these promises were fulfilled and the negotiations with the European partners, despite the serious and unacceptable, compromises of the government, had reached a stalemate.
The Greek government was thus looking for a way out of the difficult situation, for an escape route, so the referendum was conceived as the best way to provide that escape route and shift any responsibility for the consequences of either vote upon the people.
Both proposals the people were asked to vote for were full of anti-people measures, austerity policies, increased taxes and further stagnation of the Greek economy. Both proposals were so bad that the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), stated in Parliament, during the discussion on the referendum, “One (proposal) is a very bad memorandum, an Armageddon for the people, while the other is a very bad memorandum, a guillotine for the people”.
The position of KKE
By decision of its Central Committee the KKE took a position of voting against both proposals and indeed to use its own ballot paper which voted No for both proposals and Yes to the disengagement from the European Union with the people in power.
The government and the Electoral Board decided that any such ballot papers would be counted as “informal”. Therefore the high percentage of informal votes, as shown in the official results is the result of all the votes cast by the supporters of the KKE.
The CC of the KKE in its declaration to the people states that the government “mocks” the people “When it invokes respect of the popular will. The will of the people all these years was to get itself rid off the memorandums, the laws implementing them, while the government with its proposal to the institutions maintains and strengthens them.
“When it speaks of peoples’ sovereignty, while the keys of the economy are held by the ruling class, whom the government supports with its policy.
“When it claims that there exists a solution to the benefit of the people inside the EU, that it is possible for this alliance of wolves to change”.
It is self evident that the result of the referendum can not change the critical economic and political situation in Greece, when the government expects to go immediately to the negotiating table with the same representatives of the creditors and sign a new agreement which will prolong poverty, unemployment and insecurity for the Greek people.
Real change can only come about as a result of the persistent, organised class struggle of the people for the unilateral write-off of the foreign debt, which is unserviceable and has been already paid off many times over, the disengagement from the EU and the election of a peoples’ government that will nationalise and utilise the country’s resources for satisfying the needs of the people.