Saturday, June 22, 2019

The phony radicalism of Yanis Varoufakis and his MERA25 party

The former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is back and ready to participate in Greece's general elections on July 7th. Once again, the flamboyant economist tries to present himself as a "radical", "pro-european leftist" and an anti-establishment political force, aiming to attract voters who have been dissapointed by the anti-people policy of SYRIZA

First of all, Varoufakis tries to obfuscate the reality about his past as a member of the Tsipras' government. He denounces the pro-memorandum, pro-austerity stance of SYRIZA but he doesn't say a word about his own contribution to this policy. Why? The answer is clear and straightforward: Varoufakis had been an accomplice in the preparation and voting, by the SYRIZA government, of the 3rd memorandum in 2015.

Let's remind our readers that in the beginning of his term as Finance Minister, on February 2015, Varoufakis was stating during a press conference in Berlin: "We will not throw the current program. We would also want the 67% of the measures, but the problem is that the program lacks some very significant reforms". The "program", which Varoufakis was refering to, was the then existed austerity package of policies. 

The agreement between the Tsipras' government and the "institutions" (Troika) on February 20th, 2015, was actually the consolidation of the measures included in the previous memorandums (signed by ND and PASOK), as well as the opening of the way for the next, 3rd memorandum of austerity. The "shows" of "anticomformism" and pseudo-radicalism performed by Varoufakis in the media back then were meaningless efforts to obfuscate the reality of his contribution to the anti-people policy imposed by the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government. 

Today, Mr Varoufakis tries to present himself as someone who fought against the 3rd austerity memorandum. He tries to convince voters that he was a "rebel" within the SYRIZA government, the one who was "demonized" by the EU and the creditors because of his supposed defiant radicalism. But the truth is very much different than the version he spreads in his speeches and interviews. 

On November 6, 2016, in his personal twitter account, Yanis Varoufakis wrote: "As their 3rd memorandum collapses, they seem more determined to "honor" me with their hate because I didn't sign it. I thank them once again". Trying to pose as a "hero" who stood against the EU institutions and creditors, Varoufakis says that he did not sign the 3rd austerity memorandum. Is that true? 

On July 11, 2015, SYRIZA government brought in the Parliament the draft law 4333/2015 titled "On the negotiaton and conclusion of a loan agreement with the European Stability Mechanism (ESM)", which was actually the authorization for a new memorandum agreement. The law passed with 251 votes. Yanis Varoufakis was not present during the voting session in the Parliament, but he had managed to vote through a postal vote. 

The letter of Mr Varoufakis to the Speaker
of the Greek Parliament, 10/7/2015.
Here is what he was writing in a letter sent on July 10, 2015, to the then Parliament Speaker Zoe Konstantopoulou: 
"Mrs President, 
I inform you that I am unable to attend today's roll-call vote.  
I hereby want to state that, if I was able to vote in today's roll-call voting on the draft law "On the negotiation and conclusion of a loan agreement with the European Stablitity Mechanism (ESM)" of the Ministry of Finance,  
I would vote YES.  
Yours Sincerely, 
Varoufakis Yanis,MP, Athens 'B.
Taking the above into account, does anyone have any doubt about Mr Varoufakis' stance regarding the 3rd austerity memorandum? Not only he prepared the new agreement, but he voted and signed for it! 

Today, four years since his participation in the government of SYRIZA, Varoufakis' party MERA25 asks for the vote of the people, posing as a radical, alternative and "unspoiled" left force. 

However, the political positions of MERA25 reveal that this party is aligned with the strategic choices of the big capital. What Varoufakis presents today is just a renewed version of SYRIZA's social democracy. He tries to convince the workers that there is a "smart and targeted economic policy" that serves both the interests of the capital and the worker-people's rights. 

There is nothing anti-capitalist in Varoufakis' political proposal. Instead, he focuses on issues like debt restructure and the so-called "green development". He accepts Greece's participation in the imperialist organisations of the EU and NATO, while he talks about the aim to "change the EU from within". In an international level, he has formed political alliances with imperialist war-mongers, such as U.S. Senator and possible Democratic nominee for the 2020 presidential elections Bernie Sanders.

"Show me your candidates and I'll tell you who you are"

One of the names included in MERA25 nationwide candidates' list, for the July 7th elections, is the one of journalist and author Takis Michas. For those who don't know, Michas was among those who had praised "NATO's humanism in Kosovo", being a proponent of NATO's imperialist war in Yugoslavia in 1999. 

"Rizospastis" reminds us some aspects of Michas' stance back then: "In 1999, when the bombs were falling like rain in Yugoslavia, he had participated in the "Initiative for an alternative information", in order to say, along with others, that the Greek media must refer to Milosevic as a "butcher"...". 

The candidate of Mr Varoufakis has also been a proponent of the unhistorical, repulsive and shameful equation of communism with fascism. An advocate of neoliberalism's barbarity, Michas has been for years a fervent promoter of imperialist policies. 

A useful tool of the capitalist system

Yanis Varoufakis and his party are very useful for the capitalist establishment, both in Greece and Europe. While the Greek bourgeois political system is undergoing a process of partial reformation, Varoufakis plays his own role as a political supplement of social democracy. 

After all, Varoufakis himself has publicly declared his willingness to collaborate politically both with SYRIZA or New Democracy. MERA25 seems ready to become part of any coalition government that could emerge after the July 7th elections. Nothing "radical" or - even slightly - "socialist" exists in the proposal that Varoufakis offers to the Greek people. 

On the contrary, the working class and the popular strata in Greece must not fall in the trap of Varoufakis' political adventurism. There is no space for further illusions. 

The strengthening of the KKE, the red vote, is the only realistic option for the working men and women, the unemployed people, the youth, the pensioners. The people must turn their back to old and new "saviors", must reject both the sinful remnants of social democracy and the right-wing conservatives of ND, and make a step forward by voting the lists of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE). 

* Nikos Mottas is the Editor-in-Chief of In Defense of Communism.