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Panagiotis Sotiris (Antarsya) sur les élections en Grèce
Les brèves publiées dans cette rubrique « Informations et analyses » le sont à titre d'information et n'engagent pas la Tendance CLAIRE.
Greece is on the brink of a very important political change. It is most likely that after the January 25 election there is going to be a new government, a SYRIZA government, which means that we will no longer have a pro-Troika, pro-Austerity government. This is the result of a political crisis without precedent in Europe, which in some aspects took the form of a hegemonic crisis, as a result of both the impact of the vicious circle of austerity, unemployment and recession and the emergence of a prolonged protest movement which in some instances took almost insurrectionary forms. It was exactly this prolonged mass movement that acted as a catalyst for sharp breaks in relations of political representation that created a new sense of common identity of struggle and protest in large segments of the subaltern classes, and led to new forms of politicization and radicalization.
However, here is the political challenge: How are we going to make the change in government an actual change in policies, an actual change in the social landscape. A gap separates assuming the responsibility of governance from the part of the Left and actually working towards shifting power from the forces of capital to the subaltern classes in order initiate processes of social change.
Here is the problem with the strategy adopted by SYRIZA. The leadership of SYRIZA insists that we can get rid of austerity while remaining within the framework of the European Union and of our obligations towards our creditors. SYRIZA has pledged its support for the Euro, it has pledged that it is going to save the European Union, it has attempted to present its demands as being feasible and possible within the European Union framework. Moreover, the SYRIZA leadership seems to invest politically in a possible ‘wind of change’ in the EU in the form of a rise of leftist movements in other countries. To this end representatives of SYRIZA have stressed the supposed divergences between Angela Merkel and Mario Draghi, the head of the ECB, and his insistence on some form of European ‘Quantitative Easing’. Regarding ‘debt restructuring’ the representatives of SYRIZA have pointed to the example of the 1953 London conference on German Debt as an example. Moreover, regarding fiscal policies, the SYRIZA leadership has pledged its support of balanced budgets as opposed to the ‘surplus budgets’ demanded by the Troika, thus implicitly rejecting any thought of using deficits as a means to reverse the effects and social consequences of austerity.
This might sound as a realist strategy. However, it is not a realist strategy. I am not referring to a dogmatic confrontation of ‘reform Vs revolution’ positions. It is obvious that what is immediately needed in Greece is a reversal of austerity, a large increase in public spending in order to tackle unemployment, a boost in internal demand, a reinstatement of labour rights, the dismantling of an authoritarian framework of neoliberal reforms, in order to drastically improve the position of the subaltern classes and consequently enhance their confidence in struggle. However, even these ‘modest’ aims cannot be accomplished within the framework of the mechanism of debt payments to our creditors, namely the EU and the IMF, and of the monetary and financial architecture of the Eurozone with its aggressive institutionally embedded constitutive neoliberalism. Without immediate stoppage of debt payments and debt annulment, without an immediate exit from the Eurozone and a refusal to obey EU restrictions and regulations and without a nationalization of the banking system, it is practically impossible to reverse austerity in Greece, to increase public spending, to heal some of the social wounds opened by the socially devastating policies of the last years.
Moreover, it is obvious that any attempt to implement an alternative growth paradigm, to replace the aggressive neoliberalism and debt-driven consumerism of the period before the crisis also means a rupture with both the EU framework but also with the strategy of capital. You cannot have socialism on EU funding.
There is no evidence that the hegemonic forces in Europe, and in particular the German government, have decided to radically change course and become more benevolent. Only a few months ago a humiliating cabinet reshuffle and new austerity measures were practically imposed upon France. Italy is not into an official austerity program like Greece, only because the Renzi government has decided to implement austerity and neoliberal reforms by itself. Draghi’s proposals on monetary policy take as granted the imposition of the same austerity measures that the German government envisages.
In a period of a deep crisis of the European project, when the choice of the forces of capital and their governments is a fuite en avant of even more aggressive neoliberalism by means of the limited sovereignty which is entailed in the framework of the European integration process, Greece must continue to be the testing ground of austerity policies in order to set the example that no one can escape them. The experience of Cyprus has been very revealing of the ability of EU to enforce austerity. Any process of negotiation will mean open blackmail from the part of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. Since Greece is still dependent upon European Union funding and financial lifelines, then this blackmail will force compromises from the part of any government that will attempt to negotiate. Consequently, this will not end up in a reversal of austerity; it will end up in a left government imposing some form of austerity. This would disappoint the people, create a new form of political crisis, and lead to the return of systemic parties, in an even more aggressive, authoritarian, far-right form. This would be the end of the ‘Leftist interval’ in Greek politics.
That is why an alternative strategy for the Left is urgently need, an alternative plan, not just some form of ‘Leftist opposition’ to SYRIZA. This should include the insistence on the stoppage of debt payments and the annulment of debt, the exit from the Eurozone and potentially the EU itself, the nationalization of banks and strategic enterprises, the use of monetary sovereignty and the democratic control of finance as a means to reverse austerity and to open up an alternative developmental paradigm based upon participatory planning, self-management, new forms of coordination and distribution. This should also include rebuilding the movement from below, beginning with helping a surge of struggles after the election: in order to demand the immediate repeal of neoliberal reforms imposed by the Troika, the repeal of mass lay-offs, the reversal of wage and pension cuts. Rebuilding the movement also means investing politically not simply in electoral dynamics and parliamentary balance of forces but also upon the strength of the movements and the forms of popular self-organization from below.
Consequently, it is imperative to have an independent political presence of the radical anti-EU Left outside of SYRIZA. This has nothing to do with some form of sectarianism or some dogmatic insistence upon programmatic differences. Nor has it anything to do with the sectarian and defeatist position of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) which refuses any cooperation with other radical forces and is basing its political presence upon a ‘nothing can change’ narrative, suggesting that everything will be solved in the far future of the ‘people’s power and economy’. It has to do with the need to elaborate and represent in all aspects of the political process a necessary Left alternative to the strategy of ‘negotiation’ with the EU framework. We are perfectly aware that large segments of SYRIZA, especially around the ‘Left Platform’ fraction, embrace such positions, however, the limitation of being members of a party on the brink of governmental power, lead to various forms of ‘self-cencorship’ and alignment with the dominant line. That is why we insist that the challenge is to build an alternative radical front of the anti-EU and anticapitalist forces. We think that pretty soon the evolution of political developments, struggles and confrontations, both at the national and the international level, will make it evident that such a radical alternative is the only way for the Left to actually lead a process of social change without precedent and avoid the tragic consequences of defeat and a ‘missed opportunity’.
A rupture with the ‘European road’, which has been the main narrative of the Greek bourgeoisie for more than half a century, and the opening up of the possibility of socialist transformation, is not just a ideological fantasy; it is an historical possibility inscribed in the very materiality of class antagonisms in Greece today, and the possibility by means of the ‘cathartic’ experience of the crisis, to form a new ‘historical bloc’ in Greek society, the possibility of an alliance of the forces of labour, of science, of culture, under the hegemony of the forces of labour, to lead Greek society towards a new path, beyond neoliberal capitalism, towards a renewed socialist perspective, thus setting an example for the rest of Europe.
The electoral alliance of ANTARSYA, the front of the anticapitalist Left in Greece, with other radical anti-EU forces, is just a first step to the direction of the articulation of this urgently needed Left alternative to the limits of Left Europeanism and of a social-democratic conception of governance. We are sure that in the new phase that lies ahead of us, which is going to be far from smooth, there are going to be shifts and changes in the landscape of the Left. We will fight for the radical reorientation of the Left and for the emergence of a strong movement. We will insist on the necessary opening of the strategic debate, we will cooperate and coordinate forces with any tendency of the Left, both inside and outside SYRIZA that understands that today radical rupture is the only realism. An historical opportunity is ahead of us. It should not be missed.