|Varoufakis: Not by abandoning the fight you won't.|
Afscme Local 444, retired
I wanted to take a break from writing but it seems there is so much happening I am compelled to go on. The jubilant and heroic Greek workers have thumbed their noses at what is in reality the global bourgeois or capitalist class that is waging a united and savage war against them. Well, one exception might be Putin the ex KGB thug and president of Russia who is probably getting some pleasure from the result.
But in the aftermath of the vote I read in today's Guardian that the Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has resigned and has issued the following statement:
“Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants [eurozone finance ministers], and assorted ‘partners’, for my … ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the prime minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
“I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
“And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.”
Like most people, I am not privy to the internal life of Syriza let alone the negotiations, but I have been a part of negotiations in contract disputes on more than one occasion and can assure you what has been said in caucuses is not always revealed. In my last set of negotiations we made the issue of new hires, of added jobs, an issue. I worked for a public utility and should make it clear I was not a full time paid official, none of us were.
Our employers at one point said that they do the hiring and that we (the union) cannot demand jobs. We paid no attention at all to that and told them that they don't tell us what we demand or who we have on our team. We demand what we want.
If it is true and and Varoufakis was "asked" by Alex Tsipras to resign under pressure form all the finance ministers of the EU, plus the added pressure from the IMF, that is not a good sign of course. It could be likely as the Troika may have demanded that in an attempt to smooth things over and close a deal. Varoufakis has been very combative, in words anyway, referring to the moneylenders as "terrorists". I commented in an earlier blog that Tsipras' speech calling for a "no" vote before the referendum was lacking any clear direction and plan to drive back what is in actually a global offensive of capital against the Greek working and middle classes.
But talk is cheap as they say and if it is true, Varoufakis, by complying, is worse than Tsipras. Instead Varafoukis should fight for his position, he is denying the Greek working class an ally in this struggle and is a guilty of abandoning them.
Imagine how demoralizing this must be after the Greeks have taken their stand and confidence has risen. Varoufakis has just deflated it. He should refuse to resign. He should publicly condemn the Troika and the EU finance ministers for dictating to Syriza, the elected government of Greece what it should and shouldn't do with regard to its personnel. He should publicly call on Tsipras to retract the request and tell the Troika to eff of. Varoufakis is in the drivers seat here and is the most responsible for helping change course and he is running away from the fight. He is betraying the Greek workers and all workers if he complies and it will confirm that he has been hot air all along. There's a lot of hot air in this business at times.
In my years as an activist in the trade union and workers movement I always understood that the power lies in the ranks, and in the working class as a whole. In their conscious understanding of what must be done, what will take us down the path to victory and a decent life and what won't. But I learned through bitter experience that in times like these leadership is crucial.
The Guardian quotes one banker Demetrios Efstathiou of Standard bank who makes it clear what they want as he gives his opinion on Yanis Varoufakis' likely successor, the Oxford-educated Euclid Tsakalotos, “He is one of the most sensible/moderate figures in Syriza and his appointment, if confirmed, would increase the chances for a sensible negotiation and a positive outcome,”
There's not one damn seasoned trade union fighter that doesn't know what "sensible" and "moderate" and terms like "flexible" and "realistic" means when coming out of the mouths of bankers, bosses and political representatives of the 1%. What it means is "do it our way." Carry out our dirty work for us. They're not too "flexible" or "moderate" when it comes to their interests, their profits. These terms are a sign of weakness then.
This is a moment in time and moments in time don't last long. The Greek workers have taken a stand and it is impossible that millions of workers throughout Europe aren't watching this.
Yanis Varoufakis has just betrayed his constituents or at best made a huge mistake. Take back your resignation. Varoufakis' obligation, his loyalty, is not to Tsipras or Syriza but to the Greek, European and indeed the world working class. Fight within Syriza against capitulation, take it to the Greek workers and call on the European workers to join the fray.