Communist Youth Organization

The Youth Branch of The Workers’ Communist Party of Iran

Chia Barsen: Syriza: a different perspective

The newly elected prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, has agreed to a four-month extension of the existing loans as dictated by the EC (European Commission), ECB (European Central Bank) and the IMF (International Monetary Fund), also called  the “troika”. This extension on the loans is seen by many people on the left, especially the Trotskyists, as a betrayal of Syriza’s anti-austerity election platform and a clear trek back to the petite-bourgeois politic
s. The troika loans come with a list of reform measures that Syriza needs to arrange in Greece and pass by the Greek people in order to avoid defaulting on a 320 billion euro debt. The Greek people that are seeking a way out of the humiliating austerity measures have now been further entrenched into them. However, this is only a two dimensional view of the situation in Greece and the current political manoeuvres of Syriza as offered by the left-wing internationalist critics of Syriza.

The current state of Greece, with high unemployment and large state debt is an enormous weight for any political party, let alone a party that even hints at being left-winged and anti-austerity. Greek economy is also deeply entrenched in the monetary and fiscal instruments of the EC, ECB and IMF as well as the economics and politics of the euro. In the face of the current economic situation, the first measure and action of any political party in Greece has to be to create a breathing space through some negotiations with capital lenders. There is an absolute necessity for economic stability in Greece in order to begin to construct a path out of the European capitalist web. There is a need for a solid economic ground and a foundation for the Greek people to start to build a future towards emancipation from economic exploitation.

Many left-winged critics, after hearing the news about Syriza’s short-term agreement with the EC, ECB and IMF, have suddenly forgotten that Greece has been a capitalist state and has been functioning within a web of European capitalist states for nearly a century, and most importantly, that socialism cannot be built overnight! Syriza, by raising the left-wing anti-austerity flag in Greece and negotiating with Eurozone finance ministers resulted in capital flight of up to 1 billion euros in a single day alone (20 billion euros since the elections). The Greek economy has been haemorrhaging capital for months now: a bankrupt Greece is a catastrophic start to any possible short-term reforms let alone a socialist state. Syriza needs to have financial levers and tools to make short-term changes in the Greek economy for the benefit of the Greek people, which is slowly becoming less of a reality for the Syriza government if it does not stop the capital bleeding out of the economy. 

Syriza needs to build a strong solidarity with the working people of Greece and continue to grow its relationship with the working-class as a power base. This in part necessitates that Syriza works towards integrating the working-class into spheres of economics and policy creation: a stark contrast to the people-out-of-politics which has been business as usual for all bourgeois political parties in recent Greek history. An informed and well-integrated (in economics and politics) working-class in Greece will be a force to be reckoned with and it can solidly support Syriza if it chooses to untangle the Greek economy from all exploitative tentacles of capitalism. The election of Syriza in Greece was a welcome hope for many working people in Greece as well as Europe as a way out of the capitalism austerity misery and towards a future where human beings can actualize their human right to negotiate their own lives.

The welcome hope for change can only begin to translate into reality after Syriza has answered the here-and-now and the real time crisis facing Greece. Only then can Syriza, if it chooses to follow the direction of true working-class emancipatory party, begin to design and plan the Greek economy that has revolutionary solutions to all the internal capital contradictions (such as the main and immediate use-value and exchange-value contradiction) and towards a socialist society.

Chia Barsen

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