The European elites are in shock. In defiance of massive intimidation the people of Greece have delivered a huge 61% No vote in the referendum. It is a stunning result. It is a bigger No majority than anyone was predicting and a great credit to the campaign run by the No side. It is a historic development in the struggle against austerity both in Greece and across Europe.
This vote is a victory for young people in particular, who were the backbone of the No campaign.
It is also victory for democracy and a huge blow to the European elites, who pulled out all the stops in recent day to boost the Yes campaign. The European Central Bank withdrew support facilities from the Greek banks forcing them to close. Predictions were rife that there would be banking collapses within days, that the ATMs would run out and that the country will descend into chaos or worse.
Voters were told that Greece would crash out of the Euro, that a No vote would be the end of the world as they knew it.
Tsipras responded to the result by saying that it was a mandate to negotiate a better deal. The right wing in Greece are in disarray. Antonis Samaras, the leader of the former ruling party, New Democracy, has resigned.
Martin Schulz the President of the European Parliament responded by saying that it makes no difference – Greece must still meet meeting its obligations. Angela Merkel and Holland have called an EU summit for tomorrow.
The result is massive mandate for the Greek government to stand firm on its demands. It is a mandate to stand firm against any further austerity and to demand immediate debt relief – everyone knows (including the IMF) that the debt is impossible for Greece to pay.
The first report of the Truth Committee on Public Debt set up by the speaker of the Greek Parliament in April concludes not only that is Greece unable to pay but that it should not pay because the debt is ‘illegal, illegitimate, and odious’. It says the following:
“All the evidence we present in this report shows that Greece not only does not have the ability to pay this debt, but also should not pay this debt first and foremost because the debt emerging from the Troika’s arrangements is a direct infringement on the fundamental human rights of the residents of Greece. Hence, we came to the conclusion that Greece should not pay this debt because it is illegal, illegitimate, and odious.”
The vote is a mandate to reject being held to ransom over Eurozone expulsion. The ball is now in the court of the EU elites. If they think the EU can survive the consequences of a Grexit they can throw Greece out.
It is a victory for the whole European working class and the struggle against austerity. The task is to translate this victory into renewed struggle against austerity across the continent. It is a huge boost for Podemos in Spain with elections coming up.
Solidarity with Greece has to continue across Europe. The objective of the elites is to destroy the Syriza government and that has not changed. In fact the need for solidarity is greater now than ever before as Greece moves into uncharted waters.
Greece on the brink – no to austerity, yes to democracy. 6.30pm at the TUC Congress House, Great Russell Street. It is sponsored by Greece Solidarity Campaign, the TUC, and Jubilee Debt Campaign.