Against imperialism, Capital and the EU: In solidarity with the people of Greece and in support of the communists.
The Galizan Movement for Socialism considers the Greek political context as being of extreme relevance in the international fight for socialism, namely in the open struggle against the European Union, and therefore wishes to share the following public remarks:
1. The situation in Greece is a consequence of the nature of capitalism, of its recurring crises and of the strategic interests of imperialism.
Greece is suffering from the consequences of a long and profound capitalist crisis that set the scene for an intense offensive from Capital, which seriously eroded the living conditions of the Greekworking class and popular sectors. This situation is not a consequence of some would-be “Greek exceptionality” (as largely suggested by the mis-informative narratives of the mass media) which would consist of specific features of its working class, the immorality of its political leaders, irresponsible debt practices or the forgery of macroeconomic registries. On the contrary, it can only be understood as a consequence of a process of integration with international neoliberal capitalism since the collapse of the dictatorship in 1974, a time in which the capitalist crises continue to repeat themselves in a recurring fashion which is only a staple of Capitalism itself. The Greek situation is a consequence of the nature of both Capitalism and the Greek state, integrated peripherally in the EU, in its monetary system, and in NATO.
In addition, Greece holds a strategic position between three continents, and is a fundamental actor regarding the complex international relations and interests involving the Balkans – in conflicts such as the one involving the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia- , Turkey and Cyprus (with half its territory occupied by the former). Its geo-strategic importance was made obvious decades agoin the 1941-1950 conflict, in which NATO intervened actively to secure the victory of the anti-communist and monarchic forces in order to impose a brutally reactionary regime. The recent EU impositions do not constitute the only historical violation of Greek sovereignty, as some reformist narratives would have us believe. In fact, Greece has been externally tutored since the end of WWII: the western powers forced Greece’s entry to NATO, supported the military dictatorship, stood behind its incorporation into the EU and generally oversaw the Greek political and economic regime, and even made specific decisions in areas such as the electoral system.
The two political forces that took turns managing the Greek government during the latter decades – the social-democrats of PASOK (Pan-Helenic Socialist Movement) and the neo-liberals of New Democracy (ND) – made use of the rhetoric of “necessary modernization” to support the implementation of aggressive neo-liberal policies which widened existing inequalities in Greece and undoubtedly set the scene for the crisis.
The responses to the crisis from the successive governments, hard-hitting to the working class as they were, set the conditions that would define the next stage of capitalist development. The successive bail-out plans and “financial aid packages” safeguarded only the interests of the banks and big businesses. The European Commission, ECB and IMF made up the committee (the infamous “troika”) that implemented the badly-named “austerity” measures, which consisted of massive privatization schemes, mass firings of workers and pay cuts in the public sector, a delay of the retirement age, reduction of the minimum wage and a rise in indirect tax; measures that would ensure the workers would pay for the consequences of the crisis. The reasoning forthis offensive included a permanent blackmailing campaign focused on the dire consequences of Greece’s hypothetic exit from the Euro and the subsequent banking crisis, which would generate a riptide effect on the whole of the European currency system.
Greece became, as Pinochet’s Chile had been in an earlier stage of neoliberal development, a new experimental ground, this time in a more aggressive, more offensive stage, with a symptomatic difference: a military dictatorship was not even needed. Instead, a bourgeois parliamentary regime was enough, conditioned by the instability of government changes but nevertheless institutionally stable.
As a result of these decisions, Greek politics in the latter years has been subject to Troika management: the Greek productive basis has shrunk and the country has been significantly impoverished. The “success story” boasted by ND minister Antonis Samaras is the story of the success of the poverty risk indicators, which now encompass a third of the Greek population, of the unemployment rate, over 30% (51.1% in the case of the youth), which set true record figures for the Eurozone. Even the suicide rates (which rose by 43% since the beginning of the crisis), as well as the alarming rates of depression and mental illness, are record-breaking.
2. The offensive of Capital wore out traditional parties and set the grounds for the emergence of new political forces
The present conjuncture notably influenced the popular opinion of the political parties associated with the government, specifically that of PASOK (now at the point of near-disappearance) and the neoliberal ND. Both these parties (in a situation with certain parallels to the Spanish two-party system), which have held the Greek government since the end of the dictatorship of the colonels, have lost credibility among the popular sectors. In this context, in the latter electoral processes we have seen a rise of Syriza, which stands as the favourite in the 25th of January elections, and, at a very different level, the emergence of the fascist creature known as Golden Dawn.
3. The goal of imperialism is to ensure the stability and continuity of the European Union
From the MGS we consider a political organization’s stance towards the European Union as a decisive indicator of the organizations’ depth of analysis and positions. In our organization’s stance we affirm the necessity of a break with the EU, which is but a project created by, and in service of, Capitalism, as well as a profoundly anti-democratic and imperialistic project, impossible to reform. It is through this lens that we examine the Greek political situation.
We seem to be witnessing a certain regrouping ofthe social democracy which may have parallels in other EU member states and countries. Regarding the issue of the EU, this regrouping stands by a number of promises of reform of different degrees of Keynesianism, of supposed democratisation of its structures, and by an “autonomous European defence policy”. This regrouping would prevent the development of a revolutionary subjectivity: it would channel the growing restlessness of the people due to the dire economic and social situation into reformist paths.
Such has been, historically, the role of the international social democracy, and it was these forces who played a more useful role for the bourgeoisie by carrying out Capital’s plans where it would have been impossible for openly liberal forces to do so.
A paradigmatic example of this dynamic can be found in the period after the Spanish transition, when the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) –the main flagship of “change” and a party undergoing a sharp electoral ascent- forsook Marxism and seized the Spanish government. There, PSOE oversaw the consolidation of the State of the Autonomies and the fight against the national liberation movements, as well as the Spanish integration into the European Common Market, NATO, and the rest of the structures of international capitalism. This trajectory is echoed by the history of PASOK at the beginning of the 80’s, when it opposed Greek membership of NATO and EEC and demanded the closure of US military bases – three significant points more advanced than Syriza’s current programme, that doesn’t even question NATO membership.
Syriza, “Coalition of the Radical Left”, emerged from the confluence of different groups which ranged ideologically from Trotskyism to Maoism. It was formed in 2004 around the Synaspismos party. In summer 2013 Syriza became a unitary party, forcing its internal political organizations to dissolve their structures. This transformation was a step within a wider strategy aiming for electoral success as an immediate goal, leading to the formation of a so-called “left government”.
This political party managed to accrue some of PASOK’s cadres and some ex-members of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) such as its leader, Alexis Tsipras.
At this point Syriza’s programme emphasizes the importance of defending what they refer to as “the European ideal” and the maintenance of Greece’s status inside the Euro.Syriza consider themselves as “the saviors of the Euro”. They have argued for the need of a pro-European end to the crisis, something they have publicly discussed in press releases and meetings with presidents of the Council of the EU, the ECB, the EC, diplomatic staff of G20 countries, representatives of different investment funds, etc.
Syriza rapidly changed their programme and went from demanding a total cancellation of the memorandum to defending a negotiation with the European plutocracy: according to reformist logic, the people will immediately benefit from the return to economic growth and the recovery of the economy under capitalism, without the need to challenge the root of capitalist power.
In the field of trade unionism, Syriza is not the partisan opposition force that some portray it as being. This oppositional role is in actuality incarnated by the Militant All Workers’ Front (PAME). Syriza supports conceding and collaborationist trade unionism from ADEDY (Confederation of Public Sector Workers) and GSEE (General Workers’ Confederation of Greece).
In the international scene, Syriza has declared itself in the same trend as other social democratic tendencies such as François Hollande’s in France. It even praised the pragmatic management of the crisis by US president Barack Obama. Syriza is, in this regard, the main hope of the political forces hoping for EU reform, organized around the Party of the European Left. It is not surprising, therefore, that Tsipras has been the chosen candidate of the Party of the European Left and of part of the European United Left–Nordic Green Left parliamentary group for the presidency of the European Commission.
It is not surprising either that the Spanish reformism has recently pledged its support to this party. In our environment, the mass media have routinely portrayed Syriza as the only “left” option and as the only alternative, while they silenced KKE’s positions. In the same way, senior EU leadership has constantly targeted Syriza, which may be seen as an attack, but only contributes towards political polarization and visibilization of the supposed enemy.
The MGS would not regard a Syriza victory as a challenge to the capitalist system or to the imperialist alliances, namely the EU, that hold our future hostage. A Syriza victory will likewise not be an important step towards the weakening of the US’ imperialist hegemony, or a solution for the people of Greece.
The KKE, by opposition, is developing a completely different project against the grain. While KKE is facing a small reduction of their electoral strength, their social and political influence is much wider. It is precisely the organizational strength and incidence of KKE that forces Syriza to maintain an apparently radical rhethoric, in the same way as PASOK in the 80s was forced to, when it was theoretically the most advanced political force of all European social democracy.
KKE has completely different methods and targets: KKE explains the nature of the crisis, and the inevitability of the crisis within capitalism, and therefore stands openly for a withdrawal from EU and NATO, for a unilateral cancellation of the debt and the socialization of the means of production, and is developing a day-to-day fight rooted in class struggle and the mobilization of thousands of workers (through PAME). KKE also maintains a significant presence in local governments, peasant associations, the student movement – from secondary to higher education – and the youth movement in general.
Additionaly, KKE plays a key role in the process of dialogue and approximation between communist and workers’ forces worldwide from a Marxist-Leninist stance, and likewise in favour of communist co-ordination in Europe. KKE’s strategy contemplates the regrouping, organization and mobilization of the communist movement in Greece and worldwide.
4. Support to the struggle of all the peoples against capital
It is our duty to accurately analyse and understand the ways in which bourgeois governments respond to this and other capitalist crises, as they are going to be commonplace until we defeat the capitalist system. It is also our duty to learn how to organize alternatives, expose false paths, and effectively spread revolutionary stances.
The longevity of this economic terror depends on the developments of the class struggle. Likewise, whether the Greek population will be forced to endure grim living conditions, or whether an advance in the fight against the political and economic stability of capitalism is made, in order to seize people’s power and organize the economy in accordance to the needs of the people instead of those of monopolistic interests, by an exercise of sovereignty that permits them to implement this alternative social and economic model is at stake.
The MGS considers, by this analysis, that the reinforcement of KKE would constitute the best possible outcome for the people of Greece and for the whole of the workers and peoples of the world. This outcome would better strengthen the development of the class struggle, weaken the Greek plutocracy, and represent the best outcome for the modification of the correlation of forces at the European level, damaging the UE, NATO and the IMF.
The people of Greece do not have to conform to a reform that merely manages capitalist barbarism. They can, on the other hand, dream of a world that doesn’t exist yet, and build it through struggle. The battle of the 25th of January will be one more battle in the process of defence against the new antipopular policies that loom in the horizon, and in the advance towards the seizure of power by the people.
From the modesty of our party, from a small stateless country on the other side of the continent, we transmit our support to the people of Greece in their struggle against Capital, from the awareness of the absolute indissociability of our national and international duties, and from the principle of proletarian internationalism. Before and after the 25th of January, we will stand by the people of Greece in the fight against capitalism and imperialism.