Tuesday, July 5, 2016

One year since the Greek bailout referendum: KKE's position has been fully vindicated

One year since the Greek Bailout Referendum: KKE's position has been fully vindicated.

By Nikos Mottas.

It's been a year since the bailout referendum was held in Greece. The whole story surrounding the referendum, as well as what followed the referendum result, consists a major episode in a series of deceptions created by the Tsipras' coalition government. The referendum's question was whether the Greek people agreed or not with the bailout conditions proposed by the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank [1]. The outcome was a triumph of the “No” vote with 61.31%, while a 38.69% of the voters choosed the “Yes” choice.

However, the referendum itself was proved a political fraud. The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government- and Prime Minister Tsipras personally- openly advocated in favor of the “No” vote. Thousands of “No” supporters gathered in mass demonstrations, while the country lived a short but intense polarised period, trapped between the “No vs Yes” dilemma. A fake and illusive dilemma, which had nothing to do with the real interests of the working masses who, once again, found themselves entrapped in bourgeois political antagonism.

While advocating the “No” vote, the Tsipras' coalition government was, on the same time, deceiving the people. The government campaigned for the rejection of the (harsh, anti-worker, anti-people) austerity bailout package of the Troika, but had already prepared it's own proposal – a proposal of 47+8 pages of harsh, anti-worker, antipeople measures. In fact, the SYRIZA government called the people to reject the EC-IMF-ECB proposal while the same government had agreed behind the scenes to equally harsh austerity measures through another proposal.

While the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government, along with the other bourgeois parties (New Democracy, PASOK, Potami, the Nazi-fascist Golden Dawn), were playing a nasty political game on the people's back, KKE was warning about the fraudulent dilemma of the referendum. In a statement, the Political Bureau of the CC of KKE was stressing out: "The government in fact calls the people to verify its own proposal towards the lenders, (a proposal) which is the other side of the same coin. (The government) is deceiving the people in order to make them consent to its antipeople plans. The people must not choose between Scylla and Charybdis, but must rise up and express, with all available means and ways, their opposition to the EU and her continuous austerity memorandums" [2].

PM Tsipras addressing a "NO" campaign
rally in Athens.
From the very first time, KKE pointed out that the “No” vote (which the SYRIZA government was promoting) was in fact a “Yes” to the governmental plan which had extremely few differences from the one of the EC-IMF-ECB. In a massive rally organised in central Athens just a few days before the referendum, the GS of the CC of KKE Dimitris Koutsoumbas had, among other things, pointed out: 

"Our people are being called on to take part in a referendum with a Yes or a No, which are only different in terms of appearance. Both the Yes and the No mean the acceptance of a new memorandum of anti-people measures, perhaps the worst that we have seen up to now. Both the Yes and No will lead the people to new torments and tragedies. Both the Yes and the No mean anti-worker, anti-people measures. The referendum is an excuse for a new memorandum-agreement at the expense of the Greek people” (3/7/2015).

This is exatly what happened after the referendum. The government of Mr.Tsipras turned the “No” vote into “Yes” to a new bailout agreement with the Troika. The SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government used the referendum in order to impose new harsh, antipeople austerity measures. Reflecting the interests of a significant part of the Greek bourgeoisie, the Tsipras' government manipulated the anger, the distress and the hope of the people in order to play political games within the EU establishment. In this context, the SYRIZA government tried to obfuscate the real role of the EU as an imperialist union (which serves the interests of the monopolies), by extolling “our common European home” and the “founding principles of Europe”.

The opportunistic stance of the Greek left.

In this extraordinary case of deception, Mr.Tsipras wasn't alone. The “No”
Late night of July 5th; Supporters of "No"
celebrating in Syntagma Square.
campaign was openly supported by a number of then-prominent leftist SYRIZA members (like Panagiotis Lafazanis, Zoe Konstantopoulou) [3] who, after the referendum, splitted from SYRIZA and founded their own parties. Opendly advocated in favor of “No” was a number of smaller opportunist parties and organisations of the extra-parliamentary Left (e.g. Antarsya, Trotskyites, Maoists etc.), the stance of which fostered the illusions among the working class- It was the illusion that a “No” vote would mean a “rupture with the memorandums and the EU” and which, supposedly, would “radicalize” the people's political conciousness.

The above forces of the Left had then fiercely criticized KKE for not supporting the “No” vote. These opportunist forces still advocate Greece's disengagement from the EU, supporting that the exit from the Eurozone or the EU on its own can be a step for peoples' radicalization and can lead to positive developments for the masses. However, they disconnect the needed condemnation of the EU (and the rupture with imperialist organisations like EU and NATO) with the struggle for Capitalism's overthrow, for workers-peoples' power. Political powers like 'Popular Unity' (splitted from SYRIZA, under Lafazanis' leadership) actually spread illusions that a capitalist Greece under Drachma would be better for peoples' interests than the capitalist Greece of the Eurozone. In few words, they imperatively pose the issue of Greece's withdrawal from the EU and leave for later the most crucial thing: the struggle for the overthrow of the rotten Capitalist system and the demolition of the monopolies' power.

KKE's Vindication.

The developments that followed the 2015 Greek Referendum- the elections of September 2015 and the new austerity bailout deal (memorandum) signed by the Tsipras' government- have fully vindicated the political stance of the KKE. The Communist Party of Greece denied to participate in the farce of the bailout referendum; it denied to put its struggle under the “false” flags of the “No” or “Yes” camps. The KKE called- and continues to call- the working class to fight for its own interests, to say a big “No” to all bourgeois-oriented (Social Democratic, Liberal-Neoliberal or Opportunist) illusions.

The stance of KKE in the Greek bailout referendum- a principled and political stance- sent a clear political message to the working people of the country: That they must not submit to any kind of blackmail, to any kind of fake dilemmas created by the Troika, the government or the other bourgeois parties. This firm political stance leaves a significant legacy for the Greek working-class movement in order to intensify the struggle for the abolition of the exploitative system, for the total overthrow of the monopolies' power and the construction of Socialism.

[1] The question in the referendum of July 5th was: Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June 2015, and comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal, be accepted? The first document is titled "Reforms For The Completion Of The Current Program And Beyond” and the second "Preliminary Debt Sustainability Analysis."

[2] KKE's proposal, which the Party called people to vote in the referendum, was the following: NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE EU-IMF-ECB. NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT. DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, WITH THE PEOPLE IN POWER. During the Parliamentary session of June 27th, the governmental majority of SYRIZA-ANEL rejected the proposal of the KKE to place the above- as an official choice- before to the judgment of the Greek people in the referendum. Therefore, KKE distributed its proposal to workplaces, neighborhoods, outside the voting centers and elsewhere.

[3] Panagiotis Lafazanis, long-time member of Synaspismos/SYRIZA, served as a and Minister of Productive Reconstruction , Environment and Energy in Tsipras' government from 27 January to 17 July 2015. On August 21, 2015 he founded the party “Popular Unity”, along with 25 MPs formerly afficiated to SYRIZA / Zoe Konstantopoulou, long-time member of Synaspismos/SYRIZA, served as Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament from 6 February to 4 October 2015. On April 2016, she launched her own party called “Course of Freedom”.

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