Greece

On Sunday, May 22nd, the Greek Parliament voted in favour of a new austerity package. The austerity measures include a raise in taxes of 2.8 billion euros, the largest privatisation programme in the history of the country and the acceptance of an automatic mechanism that triggers generalised cuts in the event of excessive budget deficits in the future.

An analysis by the Greek comrades of the IMT of Thursday’s general strike, an important political development marking a new stage in the class struggle. But where should the movement go from here?

Spain is moving inexorably towards a Greek-style situation with Podemos potentially being placed in the same situation as SYRIZA. The same process is underway across the whole of Europe. Therefore the lessons of Greece must be taken on board by the European left if we are to avoid the same mistakes made by the SYRIZA leadership. Here we provide the outlines of a speech given by Stamatis Karagiannopoulos of the Greek Communist Tendency (the IMT in Greece) during his recent tour of Spain.

Here we provide an analysis of Popular Unity’s first steps, its programmatic statement and the political tasks facing the party. This was written before the recent Greek elections, in which the party failed to win any MPs, but its criticisms of the party programme and methods remains valid.

SYRIZA won the elections yesterday, which Tsipras claims gives him a mandate to continue on the road he had already embarked on this summer, i.e. to apply the conditions dictated by the Troika. He, however, conveniently ignores the not unimportant detail that his government coalition (SYRIZA-ANEL) lost a total of 416,000 compared to the vote in January.

Greece goes to the elections on Sunday, the outcome of which will be determined by several factors, an important one being the sense of betrayal and disappointment among many of the SYRIZA voters, but there is also a process of radicalisation taking place on the left.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras just announced he will step down. He has lost his parliamentary majority and Syriza is split, with left leader Lafazanis announcing the formation of a new party, Popular Unity. Speaking in a televised address last night, Tsipras stated that the Syriza government would tender its resignation and call an election. Tsipras said Greeks still have struggles ahead of them, but that Greece is “determined to honour” the latest so-called bailout package. What does this mean?

It was after midnight on July 15 when the Greek parliament finally approved an omnibus law containing all of the “prior actions” demanded by the institutions. The vote was met with strike action, demonstrations, a rebellion by 38 Syriza MPs and the opposition of the majority of the party’s Central Committee members. Tsipras survived but he had to rely on the votes of those parties which passed the previous two Memoranda which Syriza was elected to oppose.

The deal imposed on Greece in the early hours of July 13 after an all-night Euro Summit can only be described as a humiliating capitulation. Greece has basically given up sovereignty to the Troika in exchange for a new strings-attached bailout and some vague promises that debt restructuring (but not debt forgiveness) will be studied, at a later date, perhaps. This deal will not work. It will politically destroy Tsipras and Syriza and economically will plunge Greece even further into recession. It has also exposed deep rifts within the European Union.

The next few hours are, again, crucial in Greece. The victory of the OXI in the referendum is being quickly turned into its opposite. The government has sent a proposal to the Troika which in essence represents accepting what people rejected in the referendum on Sunday. This in exchange for a new, third, bailout it has requested from the European Stability Mechanism, which is thought to be worth 70bn euro. It remains to be seen if this will be enough for the Troika Minotaur. Opposition is also growing in the ranks of Syriza and beyond, among the Greek working masses aroused by their victory in the referendum, but the government has worked to secure the support of bourgeois opposition

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