Greece

Last week several thousand gold miners marched in Athens against the government (the media claimed there were 6,000 protesters, although this is visibly an exaggeration). They were demonstrating against the government’s plans to close the Skouries gold mine in Chalkidiki, owned by the Canadian mining company El Dorado and also partly by Greek investors.

Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister, presents himself as a Marxist –albeit an “erratic” one – and is even described as such in the bourgeois media. We would argue that he is a classic reformist who believes that a solution to the present crisis can be found within the capitalist system itself, something which Marx never stood for.

Last Saturday, 14th March, the held a meeting on SYRIZA’s recent deal with the Eurogroup and what the future looks like for the party.  The event was held at the Gini building in the historic Polytechnic area and drew several dozen youth, SYRIZA activists, and workers. The discussion was held to discuss the political backpedaling of the SYRIZA government in relation to the agreement of the Eurogroup and how communists can fight against this conciliation within SYRIZA by arguing for a bold, socialist programme.

Despite all the concessions imposed on Greece by the troika, the February 20th agreement with the Eurogroup has produced very little of any substance and is already starting to unravel. The deep crisis of Greek capitalism, combined with the stubbornness of the troika in humiliating the Greek government, leaves almost no room for manoeuvre.

“You must either conquer and rule or serve and lose, suffer or triumph, be the anvil or the hammer” (Goethe)

In October 1944, the last German soldiers left Greece and on the 12th ELAS, the Greek People's Liberation Army, moved into Athens. The atmosphere among the masses was electric, especially in the working class neighbourhoods. Not only had they expelled the hated Nazi occupation, but they could feel that power was there for the taking.

Tsipras and his finance minister Varoufakis have toured the European capitals in an attempt to muster support for their debt renegotiation policies but have been met with open hostility. At the same time the workers in Greece are rallying around what they regard as their government in a movement that could escalate in the coming weeks. In this talk Fred Weston of the International Marxist Tendency outlines the fundamental contradictions which are accumulating in Greece and explains why the only way out for the Greek masses is Socialism.

Last weekend the Central Committee of Syriza met. Opposition to the party’s Majority line on the agreement with the Eurogroup was strong. A critical amendment by the Left Platform, the main opposition group led by the Minister Panayotis Lafazanis, won 68 votes, 41% of the total.

Stathis Kouvelakis, member of the Central Committee of SYRIZA and one of the leading exponents of the Left Platform, has written an account of the turbulent meeting of the party’s parliamentary group, which reveals doubt and opposition to the agreement reached with the Eurogroup.

The letter from the Greek government to the Eurogroup detailing the measures it is committing itself to implement as part of the agreement reached on Friday, reveals the extent of the retreat from Syriza’s programme. This has caused an uproar of opposition within the party.

On Friday, February 20th Greece signed a joint statement with the Eurogroup of Finance Ministers which amounts to an abandonment of the programme on which Syriza won the election on January 25, as well as government policy statements made since then. What are the details of the deal?

Friday’s Eurogroup agreement amounts to the government’s capitulation to the Troika’s blackmail. The agreement provides for a four-month extension, not simply of the “loan agreement”, but, as is expressly stated, of the “programme”, that’s to say of the Memorandum itself.

Once again, any illusions that the negotiations with its creditors could ever yield something positive for Greece have now crumbled in the light of the recent Eurogroup meeting. The unanimous ultimatum of Greece’s so-called capitalist Eurozone “partners” to the new government and the overwhelming majority of the Greek people that support the government was once more a provocation.

After the breakdown of negotiations between the Greek government and the EU last week, the produced this article, which provides background information to the present impasse.

Tsipras and his finance minister Varoufakis have toured the European capitals in an attempt to muster support for their debt renegotiation policies but have been met with open hostility. The workers in Greece are rallying around what they regard as their government in a movement that could escalate in the coming weeks.

Last Sunday's government programme announcement by the Prime Minister did not contain the sort of backtracking that the ruling class and the Troika are seeking. The government and SYRIZA should maintain a dignified and firm position. A confrontation with the Troika and capital is inevitable given that they have no desire to negotiate with the  government. Rather they seek to humiliate it, have no qualms about undermining its commitments to the Greek people and even about expelling Greece from the Euro. Therefore, the important measures contained in the government's programme cannot be implemented unless these are supported by a socialist programme.