A challenge for the Left and the movement in whole Europe
On July 5th the Greek people raised proudly their voice against the powerful alliance of the domestic and foreign economic elites along with their allies: the EU, the ECB, the IMF and the Greek and foreign media that were threatening the people with a disaster in case of a NO vote. This was the second case within 6 months, the first being the election of a left government on January 25th that the Greek people voiced successfully their stubborn resistance against the austerity policies and its representatives. This time the expression of the will of the people took place in a state of blackmail as the ECB and the EU had forced the closure of banks that has led the Greek economy to stagnation.
The outspoken decision of the people has not been respected by the government and the EU. On July 13th a new austerity agreement was reached in the Eurogroup that aims at humiliating the Greek people and leading them to complete economic and social disaster. The aim of this agreement is not to solve any financial problem but to punish harshly the defiant Greek people for opposing successfully the austerity-driven one-way policies.
The last Eurogroup agreement clears out any doubts on the nature of the current European project. The EU and its institutions are not neutral and do not aim at safeguarding the well-being of European citizens. After saving the European banks (including the Greek banks) with the fake debt restructuring of 2012, now the EU tries to destroy the Greek people with the use of economic weapons. At the same time, the EU does not hide its open effort to save and preserve the power of the corrupted Greek economic elite. That’s why they fiercely demanded measures that hit the poor (such as the reduction of low pensions and the liberalization of house evictions) but include only vague commitments for the rich.
The conclusion of the 6-month negotiations with this disastrous agreement shows also that no progressive reform is possible within the structure of this EU. The negotiation strategy of the Greek government that aimed at shifting the EU-institutions towards a slightly more social-oriented approach has undoubtedly failed. Even the mild Keynesian economic program that was presented initially by the Greek government was met with fierce rejection by EU institutions. Facing this situation, the Greek government chose to shift completely towards the implementation of harsh austerity policies that will bring a disaster to the Greek people instead of making the brave but difficult choice of a rupture with the Troika. What the people in Greece need is neither the austerity-fit GRexit that the dark circles of Schauble prepare nor a similar GRexit that parts of the Greek elite would envision in order to preserve their own profits and power. Both would result in more despair and suffering by the people. The people in Greece need a different perspective of economic and social development that is based on direct democracy, social equality and social justice. This perspective is clearly incompatible with the current suffocating neoliberal and undemocratic environment of the Eurozone and the European Union.
It is time to take our lives in our own hands
It is now clear that only the active involvement of the people can make a difference. In the open class conflict that the people face, change can only come through taking our lives in our own hands. It has become once again clear that people should not expect any “wise leader” or saviour party to provide the solution. We can only reach a solution with decisive struggles against the neoliberal attack that we face, at the place where we live, work or study. This is the only way to neutralize the terror campaigns that are launched by the media and the elites and to prevent struggles from being betrayed by our “saviours”.
A decisive rupture with all old and new austerity policies, their political representatives and the economic elites that are profiting from them is needed. Such a rupture should concern all aspects of organizing the economy and the political system.
The implementation of the new austerity agreement will mean that many people will have no access to basic goods such as housing, food and health care. Neither the current government nor the corrupted economic elite can or want to lead the economy to a path of sustainable growth and cover the needs of the people. Based on existing and new grass-roots economic initiatives, people should take over as much as possible the production and the distribution of basic goods. The aim should be at first to approach self-sufficiency in basic goods such as food and medicine and then to make a coherent plan for sustainable economic growth.
No economic alternative can be built under the current status of the banking system. The EU and the ECB should be deprived from their ability to strangle the Greek economy through imposing liquidity constraints. This can only be achieved through the nationalization of the banks including the Greek central bank. This should be accompanied by the imposition of capital controls that aim at stopping the outflows of cash from the country (which is done by rich people) and not at diminishing the ability of pensioners to serve their basic needs or small companies from operating as it is the case now. The nationalized banking system should be given the task of financing public and communal investments that will foster a sustainable economic growth.
Supporting the people in need should be unquestionable in our society. Solidarity is our weapon. The new austerity memorandum will produce more homeless, unemployed and poor. People should organize local and national initiatives that will prevent house evictions, will fight individual and collective lay-offs at workplaces and will organize and achieve support for the people in need. Local trade unions and grass-roots initiatives should take the lead in this. Solidarity is our weapon. We should achieve the provision of basic income and basic goods to everybody in the neighbourhood, the town or the village.
Protecting democracy is a big challenge. The new austerity policies can only be implemented in a state of terror and absolute repression where the MPs’ will legislate with the Troika’s gun on their head and the riot police will attack any protest. People should organize in local and regional assemblies that will become institutions with de facto power.
A challenge for the Left and the movement in whole Europe: now is the time
The struggle of the Greek people against EU-driven austerity concerns Europe as a whole. Greece is the guinea pig of the Eurozone where policies are tested. However, such policies are implemented in all countries: the reform of the tax system in favour of the rich, the gradual reduction of wages, the flexibilisation of employment, the liberalization of house evictions, the exclusion of large parts of the population from health care. It’s high time that the left, the trade unions and the social movements in the rest of Europe strengthen their active solidarity with the Greek people but also begin their struggle against austerity in their own country and Europe as a whole. It’s high time that these organizations form wide solidarity platforms to support the struggle of the Greek people that challenge the twisted reality that is presented by the media and organize massive protests.
If not now, then when?
If not you and me, then who?
If not because of this coup d’état, then for which reason?