Monday, September 21, 2015

Greek Elections: The Phase through which we are passing.

European capitalism rejects Greek referendum and sends armed cops against workers. 

 Sean O'Torain

For those of us who want to change the world for the better we have to be able to identify the phase through which we are passing. If we cannot, then we will not be able to integrate our efforts to change that world with the events that are taking place in it. It is hard to think of a time when it was more difficult to draw general conclusions about the present phase.

Painting with a very, very broad brush I suppose you could say that there is not a part of the world that is not experiencing crisis in one form or another.  The economic slowdown in China, the Euro and political crisis in Europe, the explosive events to come in the former Soviet Union, the wars in the Middle East and the refugee crisis flowing from this, the coming economic crisis in the USA and its present political and military crisis, and in every other part of the world mass poverty, starvation and debt. And of course, hanging over all this,  the  threatening catastrophe of climate change and nuclear or partial nuclear and with that the possibility of the destruction of life on earth as we know it.   Sorry if  this is a bad way to start your morning.

When Stalinism collapsed, capitalism was restored, or is on the way to being restored in just about all the countries which were formerly under Stalinist rule. The partial step forward that was taken by the working class and peasantry in these societies in their revolutions was reversed and capitalism was restored. History does not develop in a straight line. History took a partial step forward, then a step back. Hopefully we can look forward to a new full step forward in the decades ahead. By that I mean the world socialist revolution. 

But for that we need something that does not yet exist. That is a mass international organization of tens and hundreds of millions of working people internationally committed to ending capitalism. The building of such an organization will not be easy. It will be complicated and full of twists and turns. But it is what has to be done.

Take just one example which is in the news today. The economic and political crisis of Greece. The big financial crooks loaned billions to the Greek government and banks. They knew that it could not be paid back. The Greek capitalists paid no taxes and took their money abroad to buy property and speculate. These were the forces, the criminal element, that bankrupted the country. The Greek masses rebelled. They created a new party – Syriza. They elected it and its leader Tsipras to power. The European and international capitalists refused to accept the democratic decision of the Greek people, demanded Tsipras and Syriza negotiate with them and pay back the debts of Greece. Tsipras put the issue to a referendum and 60% of the voters backed him to stand up to the international capitalists and refuse to do this. This was an incredible victory. A huge inspiring victory. It showed that two thirds of the Greek people wanted to oppose the demands of international capitalism.

But what did this pathetic creature Tsipras do with this victory?  He scurried to Brussels and sat down with the international capitalists and in a matter of a couple of days he threw out the vote of the Greek people and he surrendered. He agreed to a deal where he gave the international capitalists even more from the resources of Greece than the Greek people had turned down in the referendum. In yesterday’s election  Tsipras was returned to power as the leader of the biggest Party. It was nauseating to see him stand on the stage and wave his fists as if he had won a victory when in fact he had won a vote to surrender.

But a question has to be asked and answered. It was not only the role of this pathetic Tsipras that is involved here. He did he after all his betrayal win the largest chunk of yesterday’s vote. What about the workers who voted for him? What about the left parties and forces who said they disagreed with his capitulation. How did Syriza win yesterday's election. The answer is not so difficult. Syriza and Ysipras won it because there was no large force, no large political party which offered the alternative of taking on the European capitalists. So many workers and youth who voted for Syriza and its capitulation yesterday did so because they thought there was nothing else they could do. They felt helpless and hopeless. They felt they would be even worse off if they stood and fought and ended up outside the Euro and isolated. So they followed the Syriza surrender road.

This is understandable but it has to be strongly opposed. It was not the only option. There were and are forces inside Syriza who oppose the surrender.  These should have refused to buckle to the demands of the vulture international capitalists. They should have explained what was being demanded to every workplace, school and college, to every home in Greece. They should have used the social media. They should have mobilized the Greek working and middle class against the demands of the international and Greek capitalists. They should not as some of them have, split from Syriza but should have stayed in and fought to change the policies of Syriza and build a socialist current within Syriza and the trade unions. This was the alternative. 

Crucial to such a strategy would have been to spread the battle internationally, especially throughout Europe. And talk about the timing being good for this. Corbyn just won in Britain. There are already left parties in Spain and Italy and other European countries. These all got a boost by the Corbyn victory. Syriza standing up against the European and Greek capitalists would have been another boost. Corbyn’s victory would have been part of this. A new mass fighting movement could have been built in Europe. Syriza standing up and fighting, Podemos, Corbyn, the other left parties and trade unions, a new fighting let movement in Europe was possible. However Syriza’s and Tsipras’s capitulation means that this for now is not likely to take place at least in such a widespread form. More defeats most likely lie ahead.

There are a number of lessons from yesterday's vote for Tsipras. If the working class is going to fight they need to have a vision and a serious belief that the organizations and policies around which they will fight have a chance of succeeding. They need to have confidence that the leaders of their organizations and their organizations are up to the task. The capitalists know what they are up to. They spat upon the victory of the Greek referendum. They are now spitting upon the victory of Corby in Britain. This is not a game. The forces who want to challenge capitalism and its so called austerity – there is no austerity for the rich - have to see that capitalism will fight them with everything.

We already have the warning by a military top in Britain to Corbyn. This is not on the cards yet but it will be if they can get away with it in the future.   We have to build a mass revolutionary democratic socialist movement to take on capitalism throughout Europe and internationally. This is what is necessary given the phase through which we are passing.

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