Only a few days remain until the snap elections on September 20 called by former prime minister Tsipras, after the implosion and split of the ruling Syriza party that followed his capitulation to the troika on July 12, and the vote of the third and worst “Memorandum” of austerity measures.
The Tsipras leadership of the remaining Syriza group blames the Left Platform faction led by Lafazanis, for this action. The Left Platform opposed the Memorandum and split with 25 Syriza deputies to form a new party, “Popular Unity”, now running independently in the elections. It is not true at all. There was and continues a generalized shock among the Greek masses, a deep disappointment, and a deeply felt anger towards Tsipras’s capitulation that ignored the popular will expressed in the landslide victory of the NO in the Referendum on July 5. It is the wave of popular revolt about what rightly is considered as a betrayal of the hopes invested in Syriza for an end to austerity that led to the collapse of the government.
The splits in Syriza are not limited to the forces joining “Popular Unity”, they are multiple, and they are all splits from the left. The most important, potentially, is the split of the vast majority of the Youth organization of Syriza from the Party, leading to its demise as a youth organization, with only a small part moving towards the “Popular Unity”, and other sectors looking towards the revolutionary left.
The split of Syriza was followed by a split of Antarsya, the coalition of organizations in the extra parliamentary left, with a sizable minority joining “Popular Unity”. The majority of Antarsya rejected what it considered to be an ultimatum in negotiations with Lafazanis’s new party , which refused to form a united front between the two organizations, asking instead for a dissolution of Antarsya in “Popular Unity” and full acceptance of the program of the latter. This program is a replica of the Syriza 2012 program, including the refusal of any break with the European Union and the bankrupt capitalist system. There are very few differences from the so-called ‘Thessaloniki program”: an emphasis on the “possibility of a return to the national currency, the drachma”, a call for workers control and some other, more or less minor changes, mainly rhetorical, to give it a more “leftist” outlook. The main call of the national-reformist Popular Unity, including in its electoral campaign, is to rebuild a “ Syriza consistent with its origins” to form an “anti-Memorandum, patriotic, democratic front”, without any class reference and /or anti-capitalist content.
Although the polls cannot be trusted, they give to “Popular Unity” only a meager 3-4.5 percent in the coming elections, and some of them raising the possibility that Popular Unity will not even enter into parliament. Perhaps these figures distort reality, as no one can forget that the polls totally failed to predict the triumph of the NO in the recent Referendum. But it is true that “Popular Unity” had an ill start, repelling many forces that initially had turned to it by reproducing the bureaucratic, authoritarian, reformist, electoralist, and programmatic features of Syriza, only substituting Lafazanis in the role previously held by Tsipras. Lafazanis, is a Euro-skeptic but stops short of rejecting the EU. His national reformism does not look like and indeed is not an alternative to the pro-EU reformism that has already capitulated and been discredited. So Syriza undoubtedly loses some of its best militants and voters in a non-stop hemorrhage but, until now, it is neither the Right, or the fascist far right or Popular Unity that wins them.
The peculiarity of this short pre-electoral period is that all the competing parliamentary parties are discredited by introducing, either in the past five years or now, the austerity measures of social cannibalism. The electoral competition between the two biggest parties, the right wing “New Democracy” and Syriza, are around the choice of “the best manager of the 3rd Memorandum”. Syriza promises a “more humane” management of the “List of Horrors”, as Der Spiegel has called the 3rd Memorandum, while the Right a more “responsible” one.
In any case, no party can win an absolute majority on Sept. 20, and already everyone speaks about a “new national unity” government, a ruling coalition either having as its dominant core Syriza or New Democracy, or both, in a “Grand Coalition”. It’s (impossible) mission: to impose the “List of Horrors” on a devastated, pauperized but still undefeated people, with a surging, combative young generation of unemployed workers and a youth without a future in the forefront of all social struggles.
Greece has been transformed into a peculiar EU protectorate, where all the main economic, social, and political decisions will not be taken by any government elected in the next elections but by the imperialist “institutions” of the EU, the ECB, the IMF, and now the ESM (the troika has been transformed into a “quartet”) regularly supervising the implementation of the Memorandum and imposing financial discipline.
The elections will only exacerbate a deep capitalist regime crisis. Whatever the result, class war will intensify within the conditions of a new phase of the world capitalist crisis, as a new tsunami already broke this summer from China, having a huge impact on a stagnating, over-indebted EU economy, and its broken link, Greece.
The old political system had collapsed already in 2012. The attempts for its restoration by the Right, exploiting the failure of Syriza as an alternative, is undermined by the insoluble economic bankruptcy and the political de-legitimation of the bourgeois political system established after the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. Everything is changing rapidly, all is fluid, particularly on the Left.
To prepare for the coming battles, the EEK considers it necessary, now more than ever before, to fight for a United Class Front based on a transitional program in the struggle for workers power. Unity of action is urgently needed as well as the largest, open discussion in front of the people among all the left organization, parties, collectives of the workers and popular movements, to draw the lessons of the last 5 years and to open a new road , after the failure of Syriza, towards workers power and a socialist unification of Europe, on the ruins of the imperialist EU, the prison of the peoples and the cemetery of the migrants, its victims.
A re-groupment of the forces of the revolutionary left, first of all, is necessary and urgent. For this reason the EEK, while keeping its political independence, has formed an electoral bloc with the majority of Antarsya on the basis of a transitional program against all austerity measures, for a break from the EU, the IMF, and NATO, for the abolition of the debt, nationalization of the banks and of the strategic sectors of the economy under workers control, against racism and fascism, for fraternal unity with the migrants, for a break from capitalism, its State and governments, to open the road for workers power and an internationalist perspective for Europe and the world in a communist direction.
Athens, September 14, 2015
by Savas Michael-Matsas