Socialist Resistance editorial statement May 13th 2012.
Socialist Resistance strongly welcomes the stunning vote achieved by Syriza in the Greek elections which put it second in the poll on a solidly anti-austerity platform. It is a vote which has shaken the Greek and European ruling classes and has opened up the possibility of Syriza emerging as the biggest single party in the new elections next month.
We also strongly support Syriza’s five demands which are an action programme for a united fight against austerity. They include the rejection of austerity and the bailout conditions imposed in March by the Troika. They call for a moratorium on debt payments and an international commission to audit the Greek debt, together with vigorous debt write-offs. They also call for taxing the rich, a radical redistribution of income and wealth, nationalisation of the banks, and a new industrial policy to rejuvenate the manufacturing sector. These measures exclude any deals with pro-austerity parties and are what are needed to begin the fight-back against the ravages of austerity – though more stress on green solutions would make it stronger.
There is, however, a serious problem, in the face of another election, which cannot be avoided. That is the issue of the unity of the Greek left. Before the election Syriza was the only organisation to call for the most obvious thing – a united anti-austerity platform and for a united anti-austerity government if the left won. Now the situation is even worse. In the upcoming election both the KKE and Antarsya (though the KKE more stridently) have already said that they will not only stand their own candidates but will give no support to, or would ‘not prop up’ a Syriza-led government if it were elected! This, they say, is because Syriza’s platform is not a full revolutionary programme. But a more extensive programme is something that must be discussed and developed as the struggle advances and should not to be counterposed to the immediate needs of the struggle as it unfolds today.
This is a very dangerous situation. We could see an anti-austerity government either denied office – and the austerity continue with all its consequences – or opposed once taking office by other sections of the left! We therefore make the strongest possible appeal to all sections of the Greek left to unite behind Syriza in the upcoming elections and to unite behind a Syriza-led anti-austerity government if it is elected. This is exactly the reason for building broad organisations like Syriza – in order to unite the working class in this kind of situation.
Despite Syriza’s continued rise in the polls it should not it be assumed that victory in the next election is certain for the left. The EU élites have already made it clear that they will not only make the next election a referendum on the euro but that a second anti-austerity vote would mean the expulsion of Greece from the euro. Massive pressure is going to be applied to reinforce this ultimatum between now and election day.
It is very important that this ultimatum is rejected and the austerity offensive opposed. Syriza has made it clear that whilst it is not calling for exit from the euro, if this is the consequence of defeating the austerity drive, because of the actions of the EU élites, then so be it. It is the same with the debt, for which the Greek workers should take no responsibility. In order to advocate debt repudiation effectively you have to be prepared for expulsion from the Eurozone as a probable consequence. This approach needs to be strongly up-front in the election campaign if the electorate is to be armed against the threats and ultimatums it will be facing.
The struggle of the Greek working class is a struggle for the workers’ movement across Europe. Add your signature to the statement of solidarity with the people of Greece backed by trade union leaders, members of Parliament and campaigners which can be found on the Coalition of Resistance website.