From the International Relations Section of the Communist Party of Greece
The ancient philosopher Heraclitus said “You cannot step twice into the same river”, but some Greeks today seem to be ignorant of this dictum. There is a discussion about the political forces that recently detached themselves from SYRIZA and announced the creation of a new party, Popular Unity (PU). The GS of the CC of the KKE, Dimitris Koutsoumpas, in reference to this development, stressed that “the same scenario must not be repeated at the expense of the people. In any case, the sequel is usually worse than the original film.”
The system used its “left reserve”
In order for us to understand the latest political development in Greece, it is worth mentioning certain facts about the history of SYRIZA. SYRIZA was formed as a union of various opportunist groups with Synaspismos as its basic component, i.e. with forces that left the KKE in the 1990s, influenced by the ideas of Gorbachev, after they had previously and unsuccessfully attempted to achieve the social-democratization and organizational self-liquidation of the KKE. These forces were joined by those that had previously left the KKE (1968), under the influence of the opportunist euro-communist current.
Synaspismos’ programme was always a programme for social-democratic management, via reforms.
Since the early 2000s and onwards, especially after the assimilation of various groups (Trotskyists, Maoists etc.) and the transformation of Synaspismos into SYRIZA, this social-democratic programme was artfully enclosed in “radical”, “Anti-system”, “movementist” wrapping paper. Something that was reinforced after 2010, with the outbreak of the capitalist economic crisis. The signing of the anti-people agreements (memoranda) of the governments of PASOK and ND with the imperialist organizations (EU, IMF, ECB), which were accompanied by harsh anti-people measures, resulted in the adoption of the blurred “anti-memorandum” line by SYRIZA. At the same time, the rapid collapse of the social-democratic PASOK led to the absorption of many cadres of this party by SYRIZA. The false dilemma “memorandum-antimemorandum” allowed SYRIZA to hijack ideas, to deceive popular forces, promising that the people could be saved from the harsh anti-worker measures while remaining inside the framework of the EU and the capitalist development path, promoting the demand for the reduction of a section of the state debt, i.e. in essence accepting that the debt created by the governments of the plutocracy should be paid for by the people.
In the context of the recomposition of the political scene in 2012, SYRIZA was supported by a section of the bourgeois class and increased its electoral strength enormously, achieving victory in the elections of January 2015. It formed a government with another party, ANEL, the basic core of which came from the conservative ND party and has nationalist tendencies.
After 6 months of the SYRIZA-ANEL government, the Greek people came face to face with a new 3rd memorandum, which includes new antiworker-antipeople measures.
The “left” sloganeering in the service of capital
If anything has been demonstrated in the most glaring way by the developments of recent months in relation to SYRIZA and its bourgeois governance, it is the complete bankruptcy of the political line which claims that it can serve both the monopolies and the people. That it can via a bourgeois government, inside the European Union and the imperialist alliances and in conditions of capitalist barbarity, serve the people’s interests. The new massacre of the Greek people and the working class and popular families came about with the signature of the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government, which has proved to be a worthy successor of the ND-PASOK coalition government, and with the votes of the other bourgeois parties (ND,PASOK, POTAMI).
Amongst the measures of the 3rd unbearable memorandum are new dramatic cuts in salaries and pensions, negative changes to labour relations, a new round of tax burdens, the reduction of health and education services and welfare provisions, new privatizations, as well as the coup de grace at the expense of the poor farmers and self-employed. And at the same time the previous memoranda and the 400 anti-people application laws will be kept in place.
In the face of the exposure and bankruptcy of the new-style social-democracy in these few months, something the KKE had accurately predicted and warned the people about, it is obvious that the bourgeois political system needs to create new barriers to the radicalization of the people.
So, the scenario that unfolded from 2012 to 2014 with SYRIZA as its protagonist is being repeated in Greece now with the newly formed “Popular Unity” of P. Lafazanis, until recently the Energy Minsiter of the SYRIZA-ANEL government. The parliamentary group, bearing this name, that emerged on Friday 21/8 after the withdrawal of 25 MPs from SYRIZA seeks to be the precursor of a new political formation-“shock absorber” to entrap those leftwing, radical militants who in previous years had illusions about SYRIZA, its government and the possibility of it paving the way for a pro-people perspective for the country. PU promotes a return to a national currency as the way out and openly regurgitates neo-keynesian positions and proposals, which SYRIZA had used in recent years to foster illusions regarding a leftwing pro-people management of capitalism.
Champions in deception
This split in SYRIZA was carried out by forces that had positions as leading ministers in the SYRIZA-ANEL government and implemented precisely what the decisions of the two previous memoranda and accepted without protest all the decisions that prepared the ground for the 3rd and most painful memorandum.
These forces that had previously existed inside SYRIZA as its “Left Platform” accepted the agreement of the government with the EU, ECB and IMF on the 20th of February, which provided for the implementation of all the anti-worker measures of the previous memoranda and the satisfaction of all the demands of big capital.
Over this entire period, they accepted the government’s proposals to the Troika for a new memorandum with painful anti-worker measures. It is indicative that they did not bring down the SYRIZA-ANEL government before the passing of the barbaric memorandum and that they continued to provide clear assurances that they supported the government despite their disagreements… right up until the Prime Minister Tsipras announced the resignation of his government…
These forces were silent when the SYRIZA-ANEL government promised the USA and NATO a new military base in the Aegean, and when their government held joint military exercises with Israel, when it voted to continue the EU’s sanctions against Russia, and when the Defense Minister stated that the country will participate in all the imperialist activities of NATO and the EU.
Now they present themselves as … “cheated spouses” and as the genuine representatives of SYRIZA’s “radicalism” and will participate in the elections on the 20th of September independently.
A capitalist Greece with a national currency
What is this specific political force proposing? If SYRIZA up until now has been promising that Greece will remain a part of the Eurozone, PU talks about “an orderly exit from the euro, if necessary”. It does not however pose the issue of the country leaving the EU and the capitalist development path. Why is PU talking about an “exit from the euro, if necessary”? As the head of PU, P. Lafazanis, clarified, with a nod and a wink to capital, such an exit will occur in the instance that the capitalist economy needs it in order to recover. In addition, PU regurgitates a number of well-known neo-keynesian measures to manage the system e.g. “the socialization of the banks so that they play a developmental role”, arguing that the banks can become charitable institutions that will hand out ready state money in order to support the much-vaunted capitalist recovery. In this way it is sowing illusions amongst the people, concealing the basic laws that govern the capitalist economy, which constantly demand new “sacrifices” from the workers, the reduction of social and labour rights and the shriniking of the people’s income with the aim of aiding the recovery of capital’s profitability.
Finally, PU talks about “canceling the largest part of the debt so that the country can breathe”, in this way accepting, as the other parties of the system do, that the people are responsible for the debt and must pay for it.
The cadres of PU also refer to “other countries outside the euro which are getting along just fine” as a model. Which countries is the head of the new opportunist party, Lafazanis invoking? Britain, Denmark, which are not in the Eurozone, something that does not impede the destruction of workers’-people’s rights in these countries, while other cadres invoke the Le Pen’s National Front in France, Italian industrialists, a section of German capital…
What do the peoples of these states, the people of Greece and the hopes for their needs to be satisfied have to do with aims of their exploiters? These aims are reflected in the political proposals for national currencies, wearing the “mantle” of radicalism in order to trick the people and hide their true anti-people content. This new false dichotomy “euro-drachma” aims to conceal from the people that the basic issues are capital’s course and power, participation in the EU and the imperialist system. The people must confront these things and not align with sections of capital that are flirting with idea of a national currency, another monetary alliance.
The new attempts to deceive the people must fail
The effort to set up a SYRIZA Mark 2, now that any doubts about the role of Mark 1 are dissipating, must not be welcomed at all by the people, who have already experienced the painful refutation of the expectations which it fostered. There is no room for new disappointments, for the wasting of valuable time again, which will be at the expense of the people.
The people have experience. They can draw conclusions. They must not be deceived again. There can be no solution in favour of the people inside the capitalist system, with the alternation of governments of bourgeois management. There can be no solution without a rupture with the capitalist development path and imperialist system. The people must not be deceived by those who prioritize the productive reconstruction of the capitalist economy as their main goal and indeed served this very goal as members of the government. All those who give a nod and a wink to sections of capital that are flirting with the idea of a national currency can not follow a different path other than the one that leads to the people’s bankruptcy. It is not important whether this is carried out via a memorandum or not. It is not important whether this is carried out inside the Eurozone or outside. What is important is that the efforts to trap the people in yet another choice in favour of capital must be thwarted.
The people, the poor popular strata that have a militant stance, must not allow themselves to once again become spectators in the same show, to experience new disappointments. Today, they can place their hopes with even greater certainty in the KKE, both as regards the daily struggle in the workplaces and working class neighbourhoods and also as regards the upcoming elections. Because it is the only force that has a truly realistic alternative hopeful proposal for the way out, the axes of which are disengagement from the EU and NATO, the unilateral cancellation of the debt and the socialization of the country’s wealth, with the people holding the reins of power.