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Give Greece a chance

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For a democracy from below, let's fight austerity everywhere.

Statement by the Alter Summit network of unions and social movements

Brussels, March 6, 2015 -- Posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Brief analysis

1. The SYRIZA government coming into office has a double significance:

In Greece, it is a matter of responding to humanitarian emergencies, restoring social rights and starting to rebuild a destroyed and/or privatised production apparatus.

In Europe, it concerns breaking with the pro-austerity unanimity and the hegemony of the German government´s ordoliberalism over the euro zone.

2. Those two challenges are not to be confused, however each one constitutes a necessary condition for the other, even if not sufficient: a defeat of one of the two plans would almost necessarily imply a powerlessness over the other. On the contrary, a victory in national issues would boost social movements across Europe.

3. In the conflict regarding the interpretation of what is happening to us, the priority is to present the conflict not as national (“Europe against Greece”) but as social and political: on one side, the interests of the working class and their families, and on the other side, the interests of financiers, banks and large corporations represented by neoliberal governments and European institutions.

4. A political and social commitment of many movements and citizens is possible and necessary. Regarding the political conflict at European level that is unfolding at the moment, the resistance, even coming from a single country, is the first step towards a break with austerity. No one is doubting that this first battle would be the beginning of a protracted confrontation. Indeed, the Greek government is currently the only one to express an alternative and its projects are subject to a very strong generalised adversity. A concrete solidarity with the Greek people and its organisations is justified in two ways:

It is a simple act of solidarity with comrades in struggle and with organizations that we have been supporting for a long time.

A success of the Greek government to respond to those internal emergencies would strengthen its capacity for action at European level and it would open prospects of change elsewhere in Europe.

Our position

Alter Summit is a European network of unions and social movements which struggle together against austerity and for a social, ecological, feminist and democratic Europe. Our vision for the future of Europe is expressed in our Athens Manifesto[1] as such:

1. We defend the Greek people and its democratic decision to opt for the Thessalonica programme and to reject the austerity and the Troika.

2. We will continue to support Greek social movements and trade unions both in their political struggle against austerity and their concrete actions of solidarity.

3. We support the Greek government's decisions aiming to battle austerity and the anti-democratic interference of the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European and EcoFin Councils.

4. We call national, regional and local governments and political representatives to defend a vision of society in accordance with the Athens Manifesto.

5. We call on the members of the European Parliament and the governments of the member states of the EU, as well as the regions and local authorities to support the right of the Greek government to carry out the programme on which it was elected and to reject all forms of pressures and obstacles to their freedom of action.

6. We will continue throughout Europe to support and organise struggles against austerity and for democracy while maintaining the awareness that the change in Greece is not a threat, but an opportunity for all of us.

[1] See our manifesto http://www.altersummit.eu/manifeste/article/the-manifesto

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