Tuesday, 12 June 2012
The Fake Left on the Cusp of Power in IMF-ECB Led Greece
Tsipras arrives at the top table with the 'big boys'...
The electoral shockwave whereby a party, which in previous parliaments had not the slightest possibility of even entering, alongside a splinter from it, achieved a 500% electoral increase on a programme which basically proposed the abolition of the Accord-Bailout with the Troika. We had essentially a massive drop in the electoral base of the two main parties in power for the last 4 decades whereby their combined vote fell from around 80-85% to just 30%.
Unable to comprehend the size of their victory and in the absence of a mass movement on the streets, they have tried to prepare for the formal and technical requirements of power in an extremely short period of time. They have marginalised their own ‘left’ (Lafazanis) and loudly promoted the position that they want to remain in the Euro, the Eurozone and the EU through all outlets, the press, television, radio etc. The oligarchic elites that run Greece have realised that the PASOK-ND roadshow no longer holds any mass credibility. A regime in which its elected representatives can no longer walk the streets, cannot hold public meetings, have difficulty eating in public, have to appear with riot police constantly teargassing citizens, can continue no longer. The constant suicides and the associated political notes left behind these deeply symbolic tragedies, undermine the fabric of a society already in disarray. It is all too apparent that the difference between committing suicide and taking up arms against politicians is now so slim that the system requires a change of personnel. But this shift is really an adaptation to a popular desire for radical change by broad layers of people impoverished by the constant application of depression economics set in motion by the Troika. Those are the reasons the shift occurred to Syriza, not because of its programme, which essentially didn’t exist and is only now in the process of formation, and because both PASOK-ND announced 150,000 sackings in the public sector i.e. around 20% of the total workforce, alongside mass privatisations of anything and everything left in the government sector.
The two events which showed that the previous government of the unelected banker-nominee Papadimos could no longer continue was the February 2012 General Strike, the biggest since the fall of the junta 38 years ago in which more than 1.5 million took to the streets of Athens and the state, with its agent provocateurs, burnt down Athens in order to blame the protestors. They were unable to sell this lie and 4.5 million Greeks refused to pay the new property tax via their electricity bills despite being threatened to have their power cut off.
Greek nation has to go through the motions - critical vote for Syriza.
The divisive and sectarian position of the KKE in refusing for over two years to have joint demos with everyone else and for over a year refusing to even stay in Sindagma Square which was captured and presided over by the movement of Indignants, who, in May-June 2011, in their millions, for over two months, hit the main squares of Greece, led to the KKE not having any growth in its electoral base. It, like its politics, remained in a stagnant swamp. Its pretence of being against the EU and the Eurozone are just for show. In all its public pronouncements it has never once called for a return to the Drachma which it calls a ‘sideshow’. It now places the maximum demand of ‘Revolution’ as a counterweight to Syriza, when in practice it became famous in the fall of 2011 for sending all its members to defend Parliament during a General Strike, in case people tried to storm it. It fought pitched battles throwing people from the high upper level of Sindagma Square and only by a miracle no one was killed. If they manage to hold onto to their electoral base it will be a miracle, if they lose just half of it, that’s expected, if they don’t get even 3% it will be a cataclysm. Having stated they don’t want power or unity of the Left, no one takes them seriously. Having been unable to shut down the three factories of Manesis (steel manufacturing boss) by demobilising every dynamic resistance at its base, they have held on to a strike in a sectarian fashion and though only 6 workers were originally to be fired, 120 have now been put on the list and the strike is split by their policies. Their electoral base has now been matched by the retro fascists of Golden Dawn.
Mass media of Disinformation against Syriza
For over four weeks the media has started a barrage of attacks against Syriza. These range from the claim that it isn’t a party, Syriza being made up of 12 different organisations, to the claim that it wants to unilaterally abolish the Accord-Bailout, to it not having costed its economic programme, to its wanting to legalize every illegal immigrant who happens to be in Greece, to its being in support of the Drachma. And so on. One has to take into account that the privately owned Greek media has big commercial interests behind it (ship owners, big construction firms etc.) and the change from the established parties has been a difficult transition. It is noted that Syriza has had more favourable coverage from the global media than from the domestic. The latter has tried to emphasise its contradictions, and in so doing, absolving their own support to the Troika. But this device isn’t lost on the nation when it hit the squares, calling the journalists ‘scumbags, snitches, journalists’ which is what they are. How did the director of the Greek CBI hint at supporting Syriza and how did Laliotis (one of the kingpins of PASOK) also essentially indirectly support Syriza if it is an anti-systemic force and not an EU party committed to the ideals of the Euro and the Eurozone? The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.
We don’t have illusions in the role of Syriza. We have seen them in action over the last two years. They refused to energetically support the Indignants; instead they focused on giving speeches in the bottom half of Sindagma Square. When people trying to storm Parliament had pitched battles with the riot police, they left. They voted for Maastricht. They are committed Europhiles.
What will the Troika do?
For more than a month there has been a concerted effort by all international institutions and political leaders to instruct the Greeks how to vote. Gone are the days of not intervening in national elections of other countries. The new order has to dictate both the politics and the vote. But expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas from the Marie Antoinettes of the global order shows how distant they are from the reality of the man and woman on the street.
Since the introduction of the Euro a decade ago, Greece has seen the unleashing of a wave of easy borrowing, the subsequent crisis spiralling out of control and five years of depression and austerity. With 1 million officially unemployed but, in reality, around 2 million (as only those who are able to claim for a full 12 months are registered) and around 1/3 of those lucky enough to have work being paid either not on time or not in full. Add to this the fact that 90% of small businesses are now connected solely with the moribund internal market, the bottom has fallen out of economic activity. There is an anticipated drop of between 15-25% in tourist revenues which comprises 17% of GDP and so we will see thousands more fired and added to the endless tax demands for everyone excepting the super rich. We are also witnessing the third major cut in wages summing to cuts of 25-35% since the IMF set its terms for Greece. Children arrive hungry and faint in schools, and there is a massive rise in suicides due to the economic crisis.
Glimpses of the future associated with a deepening economic crisis are present today. We have had declines of 25% in car journeys; in all rents ranging from 15-25% for businesses and private tenants and in national insurance contributions ranging from 15-25%. The haircut on government bonds up to around 80% has also meant government insurance schemes have had a massive drop in their capital and within the near future they will be unable to pay state pensions for the same reason that there has been an inability to pay for NHS prescriptions. For over two months Greeks have been forced to buy their own medicine and there have been shocking scenes of cancer patients not receiving their prescription drugs. By all measures the GDP drop of around 20-25% in 5 years will mirror the collapse of the ex-USSR and an expected drop in average life expectancy of a decade is already underway. The IMF-imposed bailout is thus causing a cull of the population. That is what the IMF is about anyway: it is Britain’s contribution to the world after it lost its post-war role and became an appendage to the USA. At the same time it has weakened the Euro and increased the reserve role of the dollar – just in time for the US elections.
Will the Troika throw Greece out of the EU if it votes the wrong way? Or will Syriza, if it wins, backtrack on its pronouncements and officially become the IMF’s last best hope? It is difficult to see how Greece can stay within the Accord-Bailout terms as more than a quarter of the population is essentially out of the Euro by virtue of their economic position and basic state functions such as the issuing of schoolbooks for the new term or prescription medicine no longer function. Transferring all debts to the state to the tax office and issuing new guidelines that anyone owing more than E5 K will be sent to gaol or owing more than E400 will mean that repossession proceedings can be instituted against property in any form (cars, house etc.).
Attempting to create an economic union without a political union and merging developed imperialist countries with semi-advanced capitalist countries like Greece would inevitably end in failure as a currency union cannot rely on 17 different national governments. The bankruptcy of the banks, which was based on a now collapsed property boom unleashed with the introduction of the Euro, cannot be resolved by issuing Eurobonds as the debt hole is too big.
The combined vote of the three parties of the Left was around 2 million votes, approximately equal to the size of the vote of ND and PASOK. If that vote increases by a third and a third is cut off from ND-PASOK, it will be difficult for Syriza to go against its base in such a dramatic fashion without being forced to rely on (‘leftwing’) teargas from the praetorian guards of the state.
A national government with Syriza as the main party, with the Independent Greeks in and Democratic Left with the KKE and Golden Dawn giving support, will probably be the outcome with the abolition of the Accord-Bailout. The Troika is allegedly going to demand E11.5 B in cuts the day after the elections and this will be met with a moratorium of payments which will lead inevitably to the ejection of Greece from the Euro and the Eurozone. Short of this an insurrection is likely as Greeks can no longer pay the endless round of tax demands, VAT at 23% and constant cuts in basic services.
Illegal Immigration and a breakdown of law and order will confront Syriza
As opposed to the crisis of 1932 when Greece declared bankruptcy and broke its shadowing of sterling, now a return to the Drachma will lead to issues with the Euro and the Eurozone, the second pole of the New Order inaugurated by Bush senior in the early 90’s with dramatic effect in the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The fake Left, in totality having adopted open borders, (KKE in late 70’s when it expelled militant seamen when the ship owners globalised their crews and in the 90’s with building workers who arrived from Albania) and Syriza which has always been pro-EU (predecessors voting for Maastricht) is faced with turmoil in Greek society over the issue of illegal immigration. According to Eurostat 68% of all EU immigrants arrives in Greece where they are trapped due to the Dublin 2 agreement signed by Papandreou. Greece, having neither colonies in the capitalist era, and only being constituted as a state for the last 100 years, and having been occupied by 3 countries since (during WW2) never had the institutions to cope with a mass influx of immigrants. For the last decade they have congregated in the centre of Athens, which was a commercial, shopping and tourist centre. Around 4 years ago the citizens of a central district (6th Arrondisment) Ag. Panteleomonas rebelled against the situation. The Left (Syriza mostly egged on by the globalists of Antarsya) attacked the citizens as being ‘racists’ ‘xenophobes’ etc. and led march after march against them, with the cover of the riot police. The locals, who had nowhere to go, stood firm and won their mini-battle. The square in front of Ag Panteleomonas was restored to its previous state without hundreds of illegals using it as a squatter camp.
Since the issue erupted politically in the centre of Athens, the only party that appeared to support the citizens was Golden Dawn: no one else. It’s no coincidence therefore that ND, in the form of Samaras, recently arrived in the square and stated this is where ‘illegal immigration’ essentially became a national issue and we have to do something to control it. But he is credited with his stance in Albania when he went there 20 or so years ago and praised the opportunities in capitalist Greece leading to hundreds of thousands arriving and working for the big construction firms thereby defeating the pivotal role Greek building workers had in setting labour rates for the whole labour movement.
It’s no coincidence, therefore, that Golden Dawn, which had the same electoral base as Antarsya 5 years ago, ended up almost matching the KKE. And it is set to rise. The parties of the establishment, Left and Right, have had just one line on illegal immigration. The riots over the setting up of so-called ‘Immigration Centres’ in a series of towns over the last two months and the big disturbances in Patras over the murder of a 29 year old Greek are precursors to a continued rise of Golden Dawn. The ‘Far’ Left whose main characters have never done a day’s work in their lives, and have close relations with the top banksters in Greece, have encouraged its growth to the detriment of the labour movement. In total contrast with the policies of the First International they have adopted this pillar of globalism as their raison d’etre. Now, in assuming roles akin to government, their cover is about to be blown. They will face the same population with the same issues, but not behind riot police lines but in government offices. This will prove much more difficult to handle in a situation where Greeks can’t survive and the hundreds of thousands that arrive yearly are in a worse position.
The irony of the situation is that whilst GD wants to restore the former glories of Greece in taking back Constantinople and the eastern seaboard of Turkey, the ‘far’ left want to turn into a Greek anyone and everyone who comes into Greece by whatever means. Two sides of a coin and the theory of GD being neo-nazi adopts the pre-war stupidities of the state capitalist called Stinas, who termed the Metaxas dictatorship of 1936 as nazi, when it was no such thing. GD are just lovers of military coups and they would have had no increase in size if it wasn’t for the politics of the KKE and Syriza.
PASOK-ND will Disintigrate
Whatever the outcome of the elections both major parties will start to disintegrate politically, they have no reason to exist. The new formations are the new popular front in formation between the old right (IG) and the new Left (Syriza). Any attempt at continuing the old politics will force the new formations into conflict with their new electoral base. The Drachma will return either which way otherwise Greece will disintegrate. The electoral rise of the Left isn’t linked to an organisational rise at the base of society but this will change when it becomes clear that electoral changes in and of themselves do not change the relationship between the people and the transnationals that rule the world. Other forces and other politics have to be born and they will be. The markets rule the world, but man created the markets. Its about time the markets served man.