Greece: 'For an anti-austerity government of the left'
By Socialist Resistance (Britain)
This statement was agreed to at a meeting of the Socialist Resistance National Committee on May 26, 2012. Socialist Resistance is affiliated to the Fourth International. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to promote left discussion. For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.]
May 28, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Syriza’s stunning vote in the recent elections has shaken the Greek and European ruling classes to their foundations. It was a total rejection of the austerity package, on a progressive basis, by 60% of the electorate and has created not only the biggest crisis, but the most significant class confrontation in Europe since the Portuguese revolution of 1974.
The combined left vote was 27%, with Syriza gaining 17%, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) gaining 8% and the Front of the Greek Anti-Capitalist Left (Antarsya) 1.9%. If we add another 6% who voted for the Democratic Left – a right-wing split from Syriza which is against total rejection of austerity because it believes Greece would kicked out of the Euro and therefore only wants to soften the package – the vote to the left of PASOK was nearly one third of the electorate. The inability of any party to form a government has resulted in the president calling a new election next month on June 17, and a caretaker government has been sworn in, led by high court judge, Panagoiotis Pikramenos.
Before the election, Syriza was the only organisation to call for a united anti-austerity platform and for a united anti-austerity government if the left won. Syriza has decisively rejected austerity and the bailout conditions imposed in March by the Troika. Alexis Tsipras has called the 130 billion euro rescue plan “an agreement of poverty and wretchedness.”
After the result – with the Greek left being offered a unique opportunity to form a government – Syriza again sought the unity of the left and workers' movement, approaching the other left formations and the trade unions to try to put together a government of the progressive anti-austerity forces. But this was rejected in a sectarian fashion.
Despite this, recent opinion polls suggest that the new elections could result in Syriza becoming the largest party and possibly forming a government. This is not guaranteed, but the momentum behind Syriza means that the ruling class and political establishment fear a new election. The EU elites have made it clear that they will make the new election into a referendum on the euro, but that a second anti-austerity vote would mean the expulsion of Greece from the euro. Massive international and internal pressure is being applied around this ultimatum – and between now and the election it will only increase. This campaign has already boosted the right wing New Democracy, which is now running neck and neck with Syriza in some polls.
It is important that this ultimatum is rejected and the austerity offensive opposed. The Greek workers should take no responsibility for the debt. The demands in Syriza’s programme are imperative at this juncture.
Meanwhile, many, mostly middle-class, Greeks have already begun withdrawing hundreds of millions of euros from Greek banks – withdrawing 3 billion euros since the elections and investing in safer havens, especially in German bonds. This has raised fears of a run on the banks even before the results of a new election, with serious fears of the banks running out of money and the possibility of Greece falling out of the euro in the short term. At the time of writing a crucial 18 billion cash injection to stabilise Greek banks has been held up – all the Greek banks are on a life support system run by the European Central Bank.
It is to the great credit of Syriza and its leadership that they have held the line against the massive pressure on all fronts, which has been thrown against them. Syriza’s election platform is a radical anti-capitalist action programme, which will be an essential baseline if they eventually form a government. It includes:
• A moratorium on debt payments.
• Taxing the rich and a radical redistribution of income and wealth.
• The nationalisation/socialization of the banks and their integration into a public banking system under social and worker’s control. The nationalisation of all public enterprises, of strategic importance.
• The administration of public enterprises based on transparency, social control and democratic planning.
• The ecological transformation of the developmental model including energy, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture.
• Well-paid, well-regulated and insured employment, the restoration of the minimum wage and
collective agreements, opposition to lay-offs, universal unemployment benefit and the introduction of a guaranteed minimum income.
• A guaranteed minimum income or unemployment benefit, medical care, housing and access to all services of public utilities.
• Price controls and price reductions.
• The introduction of direct democracy and institutions of self-management under worker’s and social control.
• Improved of the rights of women and young people in the family, the work place and in public
• The social inclusion of immigrants and equal rights protection.
• Restoration of the pensions and the universal system of social insurance.
• A free health service and universal, public and free education.
• End to tax avoidance and tax havens.
• Disengagement from NATO and shutdown of the foreign military bases.
The manifesto concluded with a declaration that the current economic and social system has failed and must be overthrown! It goes on: “We are calling for a new model of production and distribution of wealth, one that would include society in its totality. Our strategic aim is socialism with democracy, a system in which all will be entitled to participate in the decision-making process.”
It is a programme that puts Syriza in good stead for the challenges that will come if they win the election. Cancellation of the debt will be of crucial importance if such a programme is to be carried out.
In or out of euro?
Syriza is accused of ambiguity over the euro because they do not call for withdrawal. The fact is, however, that they are dealing with a contradictory situation amongst the population. Whilst a big majority are against austerity they are also in favour of staying within the eurozone – which are mutually incompatible aspirations. Syriza has rightly confronted this situation with what is essentially a transitional approach. They do not call for exit from the euro but say that they will make no sacrifice for the euro. They then advance a series of demands, which are incompatible with membership of the eurozone. This puts the ball in the court of the EU elites. If they want Greece outside of the euro they have to expel it from the euro.
Tsipras has also said the threat to accept more austerity or exit thee urozone was a high stakes game of bluff, led by Berlin, which would not happen because the eurozone had too much to lose. This is a clear reference to the threat of "contagion" within the banking system, which would probably lead to Portugal and Spain crashing out of the euro and the possible collapse of the euro itself, with bond yields going through the roof. This would lead to slump. Merkel has even called for a specific referendum on the euro to be held alongside the election itself!
Division is therefore opening up among economists and within the European political leaderships, with many arguing that the European Union can’t afford to allow Greece to leave. This would provide a Syriza-led government, according to Tsipras, with a powerful bargaining position. However, a new "Marshal Plan" to shore up Greece and southern Europe would represent a total and massively costly about-turn by Germany, which seems unlikely. It would be rash to assume that this will happen. The stakes are too high. What is far more likely is that Merkel will hold the line and every nerve will be strained to terrify the Greek population into voting for the establishment parties on June 17.
However there is ambiguity in Syriza’s position, for while presenting a radical anti-capitalist platform against the bail-out and austerity, Tsipras has also called for negotiations to reform the euro and the EU. A position of not calling for a break with the euro is not a political problem if Syriza and its supporters are fully prepared for such an eventuality. In order to advocate debt repudiation, effectively you have to be prepared for expulsion from the eurozone as a probable consequence. This approach needs to be strongly up-front in the election campaign if the electorate is to be armed against the threats and ultimatums it will face.
In this situation, nationalising the banks, imposing capital controls, taxing and collecting taxes from the rich, canceling internally held public debt, freezing the assets of the wealthy to stop them being moved out of country, will be necessary and urgent moves.
These are demands in Syriza’s programme that must be implemented at the beginning of any term of office, so that the new government can pay state employees, pensions and, also importantly, to immediately control the flow of capital and protect Greece from the manoeuvres of international finance. The nationalisation of the banks will allow the government to stop a run on the banks, ring fence the financial system and cancel internally held public debt, which is the majority of the Greek public debt. These are the measures needed to begin the fight-back against the ravages of austerity.
Other measures are also important, such as opening the books to public scrutiny of private companies, the nationalisation under workers' control of firms creating redundancies, factory occupations and the building of local support committees, which are already emerging, sharing of the work equally between all those who want to work – work sharing with no loss of pay. Action should be started to recover the billions of euros that the ruling class has already taken out of the country.
If implemented these measures would ignite an international explosion, and would have a domino effect elsewhere. There is considerable fear of ‘contagion’ in the European banking system at a time when the firewall designed to bail out other banks, especially in Spain or Italy, is not yet fully funded – this could result in the collapse of the euro. A maelstrom could threaten to bring down a new left government in Greece. Consequently a massive mobilisation of the Greek working class and international solidarity will be needed.
A Syriza government should prepare for a possible expulsion from the euro and devaluation by drawing up a plan to take all necessary measures to protect the working class. A re-introduction of the drachma in these circumstances, i.e., on a capitalist basis, will not be easy for the Greek working class, but will allow Greece to have some control of exchange rates. Weaker economies like Greece and Portugal after entering the euro became uncompetitive due to suddenly inheriting a stronger currency. An important part of their crisis stems from euro membership. Under the fixed euro for all, weaker economies could not compete with Germany, leading to industrial decline and unemployment, but at the same time credit was cheap, encouraging a massive growth of private and personal debt in these countries – enabling them to buy German goods. In effect the German economy is being subsidised by the single exchange rate, enabling it to unload its goods onto countries like Greece or Portugal.
Another important demand Syriza has made is to end tax avoidance. This is on a massive scale and would be difficult to achieve quickly because of entrenched systems of patronage. A restructured tax authority to collect taxes efficiently would be needed. This policy is essential, for clamping down on tax avoidance and corruption and canceling the debt repayments would alone eliminate the Greek deficit.
A Syriza-led government that carried out its policy to restore pensions, would have to provide alternative retirement through nationalising the pension system and creating the free provision of all basic needs after a certain age. This would be made possible by offsetting losses from defaults to the country’s banks and pension funds, as most public debt is held domestically. This in turn would leave a smaller proportion of the debt owed to foreign banks, pension and insurance funds. The heavy taxation of the rich and wealthy and corporations are important here as well.
Defaulting on the debt repayments and leaving the euro, which will result, will be essential to put an end to the austerity attacks, boost exports, lifting the burden of debt repayments, allowing the economy to recover, creating jobs and develop by orientating demand towards the internal production that meets peoples’ needs in a green sustainable way. A boost in exports would offset the inflationary pressure of devaluation.
If implemented by the Greek people this programme would inspire all of us across Europe who are fighting the same type of austerity attacks. It would be the start of the building of a different type of society – one determined by the people for the people, which will put an end to the greed of the bankers and politicians.
However, as the Greek working class faces another election, there is a serious problem that cannot be avoided – the issue of the unity of the Greek left. Before the election Syriza was the only organisation to call for a united anti-austerity platform and for a united anti-austerity government. If there are new elections both the KKE and Antarsya (though the KKE more stridently) have already said that they will not only stand their own candidates but will not give support to, or would "not prop up" a Syriza-led government if it were elected! This, they say, is because Syriza’s platform is reformist, and not revolutionary. But a more extensive revolutionary programme is something that must be and will be discussed and developed as the struggle advances and should not to be counterposed by revolutionaries to the immediate needs of the struggle as it unfolds today.
The most appalling sectarianism comes from the KKE, which, in third-period Stalinist style, has declared not only that Syriza is reformist but that reformists are the main enemy! Antarsya rejected the appeal in favour of a call for mass action against the cuts and declared that they would not "prop-up" a Syriza led government! With the Greek SWP section the main force in Antarsya, this approach is reflected by the SWP in Britain. An article by Alex Callinicos in Socialist Worker has nothing to say about the governmental situation in Greece, or of left unity, but accuses Syriza of ambiguity, of refusing to break with social liberalism, and of seeking to contain the situation within the framework of capitalism. This he says, “underlines the necessity of building a revolutionary left that is part of this great movement sweeping Europe but maintains its own political identity”. We can agree with the last sentence but that must be as an active part of the Syriza coalition and with a united front method.
This is a dangerous situation. A victory for the left is not guaranteed, but we could see an anti-austerity government with a radical anti-capitalist action programme either denied office – and the austerity continue with all its consequences – or be opposed once taking office by other sections of the left! We therefore make the strongest possible appeal to all sections of the Greek left to unite behind Syriza in the upcoming elections and to unite behind a Syriza-led anti-austerity government if it is elected. Of course the movement must be vigilant, but in the concrete situation that exists in Greece today, building a broad anti-capitalist organisation like Syriza – that can unite the working class – is what is needed, and what revolutionary Marxist currents should be engaged in.
We call on the KKE and Antarsya to break from sectarianism to become part of such a movement and a possible left government. If Syriza carries out its programme, and there will be massive pressures against it doing this, it would be a true workers' government, leading to the first major political battle in Europe against austerity and the capitalist crisis. The Marxist left should do everything in its power to ensure this succeeds, not stand aside in sectarian purity and isolation.
To conclude, the new elections, in which Syriza stands every chance of becoming the largest party, or winning, could lead to a coalition government of the anti-bailout, anti-austerity forces. The task of revolutionaries is to fully support the formation of such a government, but with vigilance against any compromise on Syriza’s action programme. This is particularly important if the reformist Democratic Left holds the balance of power and according to opinion polls two-thirds of Syriza’s voter in the first round were in favour of a political compromise to form a government. However it is important to recognise that Tsipras has shown no signs of any political compromise on Syriza’s programme. He states time and again that the “memorandum of understanding must be revoked”.
If at the end of this remarkable opportunity the Greek left and workers' movement fails through internal divisions to form a government when the opportunity had been there and the right-wing take control as a result the organisations which opted for sectarian isolation will have a great deal to answer for, and not just in Greece. In fact the strategy of building broad parties (either anti-capitalist parties like Syriza or radical left reformist formations in other situations) capable of uniting the left and radical trade unions across the political spectrum, from revolutionary socialists to those who have not reached such conclusions, is designed for exactly this kind of situation – when no single current or tradition can meet the challenge alone.
It is an urgent necessity for the social movements in Europe to show active, practical solidarity with the Greek people and to constitute a common European platform of resistance to austerity, which in Greece must include cancellation of the debt. In Britain, this means building support for the Greek solidarity campaign, set up by Coalition of Resistance and the Peoples Charter, and supported by SERTUC and the TSSA. Across Europe it means following up the eminently sensible proposal which appears to have emanated from the indignados movement in the Spanish State for a day of action against austerity on June 16, the day before the Greek elections, with a major focus on solidarity with Greece.
Disagreements are not only normal and, in any case, unavoidable within the left. They can also be productive provided they are formulated in terms that do not excessively distort the positions of the interlocutor.
In a recent issue of Socialist Worker answering the question “What shape has Greek reformism taken?” (the terms of the question seem already biased to me), Panos Garganas summed up Syriza’s position in the current situation as follows: “Syriza’s leaders promise we can escape from austerity by reforming the EU.
“They say a left government shouldn't take unilateral steps like cancelling the debt and breaking with the euro. They seek a negotiated exit from austerity. They claim a budget with a surplus would strengthen Greece’s negotiating position with its creditors.
“This effectively postpones the promise to end austerity until the German government and banks agree to it. That’s why Antarsya says we need a strong anti-capitalist left and a continuation of the strikes.”
With the exception of the last sentence, I’m afraid this statement is quite far from giving an adequate picture of Syriza’s position but also of the lines of demarcation within the radical left and, more broadly, within the current conjuncture.
It is true that Syriza’s general position is in favour of an internal transformation of the EU, but on the basis of denouncing all the existing European Treaties (Maastricht, Lisbon etc).
It is also true that Syriza is against exiting the eurozone, although significant currents both within Synaspismos and in other components of this political front (which, by the way, also includes many significant organizations of the Greek far Left, mostly from Maoist and Trotskyist backgrounds) are in favour of such an exit (or of considering it as an unavoidable consequence).
But Syriza won the support of the majority of the left electorate, and, as its leading position in recent polls suggest, probably of a relative majority of the Greek people as a whole, not by proposing to wait for an EU reform or negotiations to end austerity but by electing a unitary government of all the anti-austerity forces of the left.
Such a government would immediately, as “its founding act” like Alexis Tsipras keeps on repeating, abrogate, by a vote in Parliament, the whole framework of the infamous Memorandums. The Memorandum is non-negotiable, stating the contrary would be like “trying to negotiate hell” as Tsipras also recently said.
On that basis, and that unilateral move, an anti-austerity government would ask for a renegotiation of the debt in order to write-off the major part. If this demand for renegotiation is rejected then Greece would stop the repayment of the debt, declare a moratorium which would last as long as necessary in order to allow a favourable outcome of the renegotiation, along the lines that similar negotiations have taken in the past (more recently in Argentina).
Syriza says that these moves will not entail an exit from the eurozone nor the interruption of the current payments to the country given as part of the bailout plan.
The statements of EU officials and European leaders claiming the contrary are presented as a propaganda war aiming at putting pressure on the electorate and blocking the rise of Syriza. This position, it should be stressed, reflects the mood of the vast majority of the Greek population, which rejects austerity but doesn’t want an exit from the eurozone.
It also corresponds to the fact that, as Larry Elliott wrote in yesterday’s Guardian, ‘Europe has form when it comes to ensuring that electorates vote the ‘right’ way’.
It is nonetheless true that it seems extremely unlikely that the EU, representing the interests of Greece’s creditors, and more broadly of European finance capital, would not react to the unilateral exit from the Memorandum-based austerity framework.
Recent statements of Syriza leaders show an awareness of the necessity for such a contingency plan, but its lines remain very unclear, since it would almost inevitably amount to exiting the euro and immediately defaulting on the debt.
The two logical possibilities that appear, if Syriza wins the June 17 elections and leads the next government, are either surrender and reneging on the commitment to abrogate the memorandum, which would amount to an unmitigated disaster not only for Syriza but for the entire radical Left and, moreover, for the Greek people, or engaging in a protracted battle which would almost certainly lead to results that go beyond the current objectives put forward by Syriza.
This would conform I think to a quite familiar in history pattern of processes of social and political change, where the dynamic of the situation, boosted of course by the pressure of popular mobilization, pushes actors (or at least some of them) beyond their initial intentions. This is what scares most the dominant forces in Greece and in Europe and explains their hysterical campaign against Syriza and the perspective opened up by its possible coming to power.
The stakes of this battle are immense, probably the more significant we had in Europe since the Portuguese Carnation Revolution. In such a context, all the forces of the radical Left should work together as closely as possibly, not only on the terrain of struggles and mobilizations, which is the indispensable starting point, but also politically, to help the situation to radicalise and to unleash its full potential.
Sterile polemics, reiterating the all-too familiar pattern of ‘unmasking the reformist enemy’, should therefore be avoided in favour of fraternal discussion, which includes of course in-depth clarifications of the real and welcomed disagreements between the forces of our camp. Our responsibilities are huge, millions of progressive people have their eyes turned to Greece as a name, and place, for hope, and of a concrete possibility for a long-overdue popular victory.
Stathis Kouvelakis, London
29 May 2012
It’s a cliche but it’s nevertheless true that the eyes of the world are on Greece. I get feverish updates of the latest opinion poll from revolutionary Marxists and bourgeois economists alike.
The reason is simple. The election on 6 May revealed that the mass of the Greek people rejected the austerity programme imposed under the Memorandum of Understanding between their government and the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The main vehicle for this rejection proved to be Syriza, the Coalition of the Radical Left. Its leader Alex Tsipras has denounced the programme as “barbarous”. His refusal to form a coalition with the parties that support the Memorandum has forced Greece into a second election on 17 June.
According to the polls, Syriza and the main party of the Greek right, New Democracy, are in a close race for first place. The stakes are very high. If Syriza formed a government that rejected the Memorandum, the European Central Bank might well react by ceasing to fund the Greek banks, precipitating Greece’s full default on its foreign debts and departure from the eurozone.
But Syriza isn’t the only force on the radical left. The Greek Communist Party (KKE) is one of the biggest surviving Stalinist organisations, with deep roots in the organised working class.
It is also very sectarian. Aleka Papariga, the KKE general secretary, refused to meet Syriza after the last election. Its vote is being squeezed, and deservedly so.
There is also Antarsya, the Front of the Anti-Capitalist Left. This is a coalition of far left organisations, some from Maoist and Trotskyist backgrounds. Its two most important constituents are the New Left Current (NAR), a breakaway from the KKE, and the Socialist Workers Party (SEK), Greek sister organisation of the British SWP.
Antarsya has a distinctive programme which calls for Greece to default on its debt, nationalise the banks, cut the working day, and leave the euro. Syriza, in sharp contrast, is dominated by Synaspismos, representing the pro-EU wing of the Greek Communist movement.
Antarsya won 1.2 percent in the elections—an advance on its previous performance but not enough to get into parliament. It is standing again. But there have been numerous calls for it to withdraw, some from inside Greece, many from outside.
The critics—including some who agree with Antarsya’s call for a break with the eurozone—argue that in office Syriza will move left and take on the EU. Maybe this will happen, but I don’t see why one should count on it.
Interviewed on Channel 4 News on Thursday last week Tsipras said that, faced with a Syriza-led government, Germany and its allies would back down. This isn’t the message of IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, who announced in a callous interview in last Saturday’s Guardian that it’s “payback time” for Greece.
Much of this discussion takes place in an electoral vacuum. Since December 2008 Greece has blazed with the fiercest social struggles Europe has seen in a generation. Austerity has provoked 17 general strikes plus many more national and local strikes, and occupations.
This is what pushed Greece to the left. Syriza has benefitted electorally but it hasn’t led the anti-austerity movement. Trade unions have traditionally been controlled by Pasok, the Greek equivalent of Labour, though its dominance has now collapsed. Activists from the KKE and Antarsya have been much more important on the ground.
I don’t expect Antarsya to get a big vote. But its presence in the elections will provide a political voice for some of those leading the real struggle—which must now include a big push against the fascists of Golden Dawn. Antarsya has made it clear that it sees itself working alongside and in dialogue with those who support Syriza.
The stronger its voice is, the greater the pressure will be on Syriza to stand firm in the face of the forces trying to impose austerity as Greece’s permanent condition.
The decisive battles will take place after the polls have closed, and here Antarsya will have a big part to play.
* Socialist Workerk, Issue: 2305 dated: 2 June 2012
Vote in Greece in the June 17 2012 election for Antarsya and a Transitional Programme
By Dave Hill
May 30, 2012
In this paper I argue that Antarsya should not join Syriza in an electoral coalition or joint list, but that Antarsya should fight the elections and continue to stick with and advance its Transitional Programme.
Antarsya should announce, in advance of the June 17 parliamentary elections, that it will support a Left government and hold it to its programme, while pushing for a more socialist programme such as repudiation (rather than negotiation) of the debt, nationalisations of privatised industries and the banks.
For Antarsya to continue with its Transitional Programme.
Programme and Strategy
The type of Programme demand by revolutionary Marxists and by Parties (such as Socialist Resistance in Britain, and OKDE-Spartakos in Greece) within the Fourth International is related to Strategy i.e. whether to support the
(1) Broad Party concept strategy or
(2) the Revolutionary Unity strategy or
(3) a revolutionary sectarian/ us alone policy
The implications can be seen in, for example
France (whether in the first round of the 2012 Presidential elections to support the (left social democrat) Front de la Gauche of Jean-Luc Melenchon, or whether to support the NPA)
The UK (what to do about the Manchester Central and other parliamentary by-elections) and more widely, to work in Broad Parties such as Respect, to work in broader coalitions such as the Coalition of Resistance (with, for example, the Green Left, other Greens, Left Labour MPs and supporters), or whether to work with avowedly Marxist/socialist parties and individuals in organisations such as TUSC (The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)
In Greece, whether to support Syriza or Antarsya in the upcoming elections of 17 June 2012 and what advice we should give to OKDE-Spartakos, the Greek section of the FI, regarding whether Antarsya should (i) fight the elections alone, or (ii) as part of Syriza, or (iii) alone but saying we will support (and join? or support and not join) a Syriza led government (which, if it happens, will likely be in government coalition with the Democratic Left (of Fotis Kouvelis), a right-wing split off from Synaspismos the major component of Syriza.
The actual results of the Greek general election of 6 May 2012, e.g. at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_legislative_election,_May_2012 and at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/20/1092730/-Anti-Capitalist-Meet-up-The-Mouse-that-Roared-Greece-s-Struggle-Against-Austerity. Current (late May 2012) opinion polls indicate high levels of support (between 20% and 30% for the (conservative) New Democracy party, and the (Left of PASOK) Syriza, with clear class polarisation and political polarisation taking place. The 6 May 2012 election, and the upcoming 17 June 2012 general elections, take place amidst the terrible economic and social and human consequences of the austerity programme imposed on the Greek people by the international/ transnational capitalist class and their institutions (`the Troika’) and their tools, the formerly dominant parties of neoliberal capital in Greece, New Democracy (Conservative) and PASOK (now neo-liberal, formerly social democrats). (For `The effects of the crisis on daily life’ in Greece, see Andreas Sartzekis and Tassos Anastassiadis, at http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2614).
This class polarisation has been evidenced by massive resistance to the austerity measures imposed by the Troika (European Union, International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank) in February 2012. There have been 17 general strikes and one fifth of the population of the country has been on the streets in recent months protesting against occupations. There have been re a number of workers’ occupations, such as hospitals, newspapers, steel works (though not yet on the scale of Argentina's fábricas recuperadas movement, which emerged in response to the 2001 economic crisis in Argentina).
Minimum, Maximum and Transitional Demands (how to get from minimum to maximum)
The Death Agony of Capitalism: and the Tasks of the Fourth International
The Mobilization of the Masses around Transitional Demands to Prepare the Conquest of Power (Online at the Marxists.org website, at,http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/index.htm). Trotsky explains,
The strategic task of the next period – prerevolutionary period of agitation, propaganda and organization – consists in overcoming the contradiction between the maturity of the objective revolutionary conditions and the immaturity of the proletariat and its vanguard (the confusion and disappointment of the older generation, the inexperience of the younger generation. It is necessary to help the masses in the process of the daily struggle to find the bridge between present demand and the socialist program of the revolution. This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and from today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class and unalterably leading to one final conclusion: the conquest of power by the proletariat.
Classical Social Democracy, functioning in an epoch of progressive capitalism, divided its program into two parts independent of each other: the minimum program which limited itself to reforms within the framework of bourgeois society, and the maximum program which promised substitution of socialism for capitalism in the indefinite future. Between the minimum and the maximum program no bridge existed. And indeed Social Democracy has no need of such a bridge, since the word socialism is used only for holiday speechifying. The Comintern has set out to follow the path of Social Democracy in an epoch of decaying capitalism: when, in general, there can be no discussion of systematic social reforms and the raising of he masses’ living standards; when every serious demand of the proletariat and even every serious demand of the petty bourgeoisie inevitably reaches beyond the limits of capitalist property relations and of the bourgeois state.
The strategic task of the Fourth International lies not in reforming capitalism but in its overthrow. Its political aim is the conquest of power by the proletariat for the purpose of expropriating the bourgeoisie. However, the achievement of this strategic task is unthinkable without the most considered attention to all, even small and partial, questions of tactics. All sections of the proletariat, all its layers, occupations and groups should be drawn into the revolutionary movement. The present epoch is distinguished not for the fact that it frees the revolutionary party from day-to-day work but because it permits this work to be carried on indissolubly with the actual tasks of the revolution.
The Fourth International does not discard the program of the old “minimal” demands to the degree to which these have preserved at least part of their vital forcefulness. Indefatigably, it defends the democratic rights and social conquests of the workers. But it carries on this day-to-day work within the framework of the correct actual, that is, revolutionary perspective. Insofar as the old, partial, “minimal” demands of the masses clash with the destructive and degrading tendencies of decadent capitalism – and this occurs at each step – the Fourth International advances a system of transitional demands, the essence of which is contained in the fact that ever more openly and decisively they will be directed against the very bases of the bourgeois regime. The old “minimal program” is superseded by the transitional program, the task of which lies in systematic mobilization of the masses for the proletarian revolution. (Trotsky, 1938)
Alistair Mitchell (1985) has a good enough summary of the three different types of programme
Marx and Engels didn’t just call for the introduction of a socialist society (the maximum programme) without charting the way of getting there. Neither did they merely advocate reforms which fell way short of breaking from capitalism (the minimum programme). The key to their method lies in the extract quoted above with its steps which are by themselves inadequate, but through the workers’ struggle for them lead to other attacks on capitalism. These further measures become possible and necessary as the workers gain in confidence and rally others to their side, learn the next steps required and challenge a weakened and retreating ruling class. The method of Marx and Engels is to connect the present situation and immediate aspirations of the proletariat with the task of the socialist revolution. The minimum and maximum programmes are linked in a transitional programme’. (http://www.whatnextjournal.co.uk/Pages/Newint/Tranprog.html)
As Wikipedia summarises,
It is necessary to help the masses in the process of the daily struggle to find the bridge between present demand and the socialist program of the revolution. This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and from today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class and unalterably leading to one final conclusion: the conquest of power by the proletariat.
Trotsky urges that transitional demands should include the call for the expropriation of various groups of capitalists- sometimes translated in modern terms into the nationalisation of various sectors - under the control and management of the workers. Transitional demands should include opposition to imperialist war. Such demands intend to challenge the capitalist class's right to rule.
By fighting for these "transitional" demands, in the opinion of the Trotskyists, the workers will come to realize that capitalism cannot meet their needs, and they will then embrace the full program of the Fourth International. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_Program)
Antarsya, Syriza and Greece and the elections of 17 June 2012
Now let’s apply this to Greece
Syriza Programme following the May 6 elections (taken from the Coalition of resistance website, 9 May, http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2012/05/tsipras-lays-out-five-points-of-coalition-talks/
* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that will impoverish Greeks further, such as cuts to pensions and salaries.
* The immediate cancellation of all impending measures that undermine fundamental workers' rights, such as the abolition of collective labor agreements.
* The immediate abolition of a law granting MPs immunity from prosecution, reform of the electoral law and a general overhaul of the political system.
* An investigation into Greek banks, and the immediate publication of the audit performed on the Greek banking sector by BlackRock.
* The setting up of an international auditing committee to investigate the causes of Greece's public deficit, with a moratorium on all debt servicing until the findings of the audit are published.
Or in the words of Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson on the Socialist Unity website, 12 May, http://www.socialistunity.com/greece-the-responsibility-of-the-left/) words
• Cancelling the bailout terms, notably laws that further cut wages and pensions
Scrapping laws that abolish workers’ rights, particularly a law abolishing
collective labour agreements due to come into effect on 15 May
• Demanding proportional representation and the end to the 50 seat bonus to the first party
• Investigating Greece’s banking system which received almost 200bn euros of public money and posing the need for some kind of state control over the banks
• Setting up an international committee to find out the causes of Greece’s public deficit and putting on hold all debt servicing.
Analysis: What type of Programme is Syriza’s
I thought the 5 point plan put out for negotiation by Syriza serves well as a socialist minimum, defensive, programme. It is at
In other countries such a plan would (currently, with existing states of political and class consciousness) be considered more than a minimum programme, but such is the state of political and class consciousness in Greece currently that this can be regarded as a minimum programme. However, it can also be analysed as a left social democratic programme, and this is my view of what it is. A huge advance on neoliberal, neo-conservative pro-austerity programmes of ND and PASOK for example, but Syriza says, essentially, overall… `no more cuts’… it does not say,` reverse the cuts! Restore the wages and pensions’.
Paul Mason (online at http://paulmasonnews.tumblr.com/post/22914870033/greece-trying-to-understand-syriza)
When I interviewed a SYRIZA spokesman earlier this year I explored the problem of a far-left party, which is anti-NATO etc, taking power in a country whose riot police have been regularly clashing with that party’s youth since 2008. The message was that they would be purposefully limited in aim, and that the core of any programme would be a debtor-led partial default – that is, the suspension of interest payments on the remaining debt and a repudiation of the terms of both Troika-brokered bailouts. What SYRIZA shares with the Dem Left and PASOK it its commitment to the EU social model: they are left globalists.
… the resulting government may, in effect, be little more than a left-social democratic government, despite its symbology and the radicalism of some of its voters..
The Antarsya programme
The anti-capitalist Left, ANTARSYA, is the only tendency of the Left that openly called for an immediate annulment of debt payments and exit from the Eurozone, (Sotiris, at http://www.newsocialist.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=626:greek-elections-the-vengeance-of-a-people-in-struggle&catid=51:analysis&Itemid=98
1. Immediately terminate the loan agreement, any memoranda and all related measures.
2. Do not recognize the debt, debt cancellation and suspension of payments.
3. Break with the system and with the euro/EU.
4. Nationalize the banks and corporations without compensation under workers’ control.
5. Immediately increase wages and pensions! Cancel the poll tax and increase the taxation of capital.
6. Prohibit layoffs and fully protect the unemployed. Shorten working hours and reduce the retirement age.
7. Expropriate hundreds of closed factories and re-commission them controlled by the employees themselves.
8. Provide cheap and good quality food through agricultural cooperatives, poor and middle farmers—without middlemen and large producers.
9. The solution is a strong Left struggling for a break with the system and the anti-capitalist revolution!
The Antarsya statement continues
The parliamentary parties of the Left do not meet their historical responsibilities. SYRIZA suggests a "leftist government," but does not dare to say anything against the euro and the EU. It is increasingly in search of “solutions” to the debt problem through agreements with the creditors! The Communist Party (KKE) now rejects the recognition of the debt and takes a stand against the EU position, but points to the metaphysical presence of “peoples’ power” that should come into existence through parliamentary channels and through the conquest of the parliamentary majority in the election. This party avoids any overt political conflict and still refuses to participate in a united front for a workers and popular uprising. Such an approach is a barrier to the struggles. Joint action is more necessary than ever!
What is needed is the mobilization and organization of goals and demands, put today on the agenda by reality itself (cancellation of debt, leaving the euro zone and the EU, nationalization and workers’ control). This can be achieved by a united front of all those who want a break with the system and revolution, by the escalation of the workers’ and popular uprising combined with strikes, occupations, demonstrations, also by the organization and coordination of struggles at the level of the rank and file on the basis of an anti-capitalist program. This is the way to achieve the power of working people, true democracy combined with a socialist and communist perspective.
This is the left ΑΝΤΑRSΥΑ is struggling to create. We are committed to ensuring that this left—one which will break with the system and aim for the insurrection, the anti-capitalist revolutionary left—will come out stronger from the national parliamentary elections.
In the elections we give our voice and support to ΑΝΤΑRSΥΑ!
Analysis: What type of Programme is Antarsya’s
This is a revolutionary Marxist programme that would lead to the expropriation of Capital/ism and its replacement by a Socialist state. It can be regarded as a Transitional programme.
The Ways Forward for Antarsya: a) Support/ Coalition with/ Join in with Syriza/ Become, or at least Support, `the Broad’ (Left) Party
Socialist Resistance, together with Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson, various socialist and Marxist groups nationally and internationally (such as the ISO in the USA) and the SP in Britain argue for various versions of Left Unity. SR’s position (to be voted on at an NC meeting on 26 May 2012 (the fuller extract from the policy statement is below) states:
In fact the strategy of building broad parties (either anti-capitalist parties like Syriza or radical left reformist formations in other situations) capable of uniting the left and radical trade unions across the political spectrum, from revolutionary socialists to those who have not reached such conclusions, is designed for exactly this kind of situation - when no single current or tradition can meet the challenge alone
Socialist Resistance in Britain:
In a Socialist Resistance Editorial statement of 13 May, (online at http://socialistresistance.org/3510/unite-behind-syrizas-anti-austerity-programme) SR stated,
We therefore make the strongest possible appeal to all sections of the Greek left to unite behind Syriza in the upcoming elections and to unite behind a Syriza-led anti-austerity government if it is elected. This is exactly the reason for building broad organisations like Syriza – in order to unite the working class in this kind of situation.
In a further statement, SR’s position is very clear, in its title for the statement: `Unite behind Syriza’s anti-austerity programme’ (also online at http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2619
Editorial statement by Socialist Resistance, Britain
There is, however, a serious problem, in the face of another election, which cannot be avoided. That is the issue of the unity of the Greek left. Before the election Syriza was the only organisation to call for the most obvious thing – a united anti-austerity platform and for a united anti-austerity government if the left won. Now the situation is even worse. In the upcoming election both the KKE and Antarsya (though the KKE more stridently) have already said that they will not only stand their own candidates but will give no support to, or would ‘not prop up’ a Syriza-led government if it were elected! This, they say, is because Syriza’s platform is not a full revolutionary programme. But a more extensive programme is something that must be discussed and developed as the struggle advances and should not to be counterposed to the immediate needs of the struggle as it unfolds today.
This is a very dangerous situation. We could see an anti-austerity government either denied office – and the austerity continue with all its consequences – or opposed once taking office by other sections of the left! We therefore make the strongest possible appeal to all sections of the Greek left to unite behind Syriza in the upcoming elections and to unite behind a Syriza-led anti-austerity government if it is elected. This is exactly the reason for building broad organisations like Syriza – in order to unite the working class in this kind of situation.
The SR EC statement (sent to SR NC members, to be voted on as a statement of policyto be voted on at the SR National Council meeting of 26 May 2012) states
The most appalling sectarianism comes from the KKE, which, in pure third period style Stalinism, which declared Syriza not only to be reformist, but that reformists are the main enemy! Antarsya rejected the appeal in favour of a call for mass action against the cuts and declared that they would not ‘prop-up’ a Syriza led government! With the Greek SWP section the main force in Antarsya this approach is reflected in the SWP in Britain. An article by Alex Callinicos in SW has nothing to say about the governmental situation in Greece, or of left unity, but accuses Syriza of ambiguity, of refusing to break with social liberalism, and of seeking to contain the situation within the framework of capitalism. This he says, “underlines the necessity of building a revolutionary left that is part of this great movement sweeping Europe but maintains its own political identity”. We can agree with the last sentence but that must be as an active part of the Syriza coalition and with a united front method.
This is a dangerous situation. A victory for the left is not guaranteed, but we could see an anti-austerity government with a radical anti-capitalist action programme either denied office – and the austerity continue with all its consequences - or be opposed once taking office by other sections of the left! We therefore make the strongest possible appeal to all sections of the Greek left to unite behind Syriza in the upcoming elections and to unite behind a Syriza-led anti-austerity government if it is elected.Of course the movement must be vigilant, but in the concrete situation that exists in Greece today, building a broad anti capitalist organisation like Syriza – that can unite the working class - is what is needed, and what revolutionary Marxist currents should be engagedin.
We should call on the KKE and Antarsya to break from sectarianism to become part of such a movement and a possible left government.If Syriza carries out its programme, and there will be massive pressures against it doing this, it would be a true Workers Government, leading to the first major political battle in Europe against austerity and the capitalist crisis. The Marxist left should do everything in its power to ensure this succeeds, not stand aside in sectarian purity and isolation.
To conclude, the new elections, in which Syriza stands every chance of becoming the largest party, or winning, could lead to a coalition government of the anti-bailout, anti austerity forces. The task of revolutionaries is to fully support the formation of such a government, but with vigilance against any compromise on Syriza’s action programme.This is particularly important if the reformist Democratic Left holds the balance of power and according to opinion polls two thirds of Syriza’s voter in the first round were in favour of a political compromise to form a government.However it is important to recognise that Tsipras has shown no signs of any political compromise on Syriza’s programme. He states time and again that the “memorandum of understanding must be revoked.”
If at the end of this remarkable opportunity the Greek left and workers movement fails through internal divisions to form a government when the opportunity had been there and the right-wing take control as a result the organisations which opted for sectarian isolation will have a great deal to answer for, and not just in Greece. In fact the strategy of building broad parties (either anti-capitalist parties like Syriza or radical left reformist formations in other situations) capable of uniting the left and radical trade unions across the political spectrum, from revolutionary socialists to those who have not reached such conclusions, is designed for exactly this kind of situation - when no single current or tradition can meet the challenge alone.
In this analysis of the Greek political situation and necessary strategy, SR stands alongside The Socialist Party/ Committee for a Workers’ International (or at least, its Greek section, Xekinima, which on 16 May stated:
In this situation, what should the Greek Left do? Xekinima welcomes Syriza's public call for left unity. Syriza should open up and develop its structures as a broad left alliance, so that fresh layers of workers and youth can join and decide party policy democratically. Xekinima supports united action of the left parties ahead of the next elections and for working people to vote for Syriza.
This should be done concretely, with the convening of mass assemblies at local, workplace, regional and national levels to discuss and agree programme, demands and electoral tactics, to campaign for a left government and to strive to ensure that such a government pursues anti-austerity and pro-working class policies.
The communist party (KKE) and Antarsya (the Anti-capitalist Left Cooperation) both took a sectarian attitude before the last elections and rejected Syriza's 'left unity' proposal, with the result that their votes remain stagnant. To the amazement of many millions of workers, the KKE leadership still continues to refuse to form a block with Syriza.
But under growing pressure from their rank and file, and the working class in general, a section of Antarsya has indicated that it is prepared to have joint collaboration with Syriza. (http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/14508/16-05-2012/solidarity-with-greek-workers)
Michael Karadjis in an article for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on May 16 (republished by Socialist resistance at http://socialistresistance.org/3535/greece-syriza-the-communist-party-and-the-desperate-need-for-a-united-front made a clear call for a United Front, the article is entitled `Greece: SYRIZA, the Communist Party and the desperate need for a united front’
All the smaller parties of SYRIZA and Antarsya need to take the lead in ensuring continual mobilisation, alongside the ranks of Synaspismos and the KKE, as well as the trade unions and even the traditional base of PASOK, in demanding a left united front to smash the austerity as a minimum program and sustain such mobilisation through the intensification of the crisis that will inevitably result from the collapse of the Memorandum, the exit from the Eurozone and the cut-off of EU cash.
The KKE’s idea that it will gain from a “second wind” when the masses see the failure of SYRIZA is almost beyond comprehension in its sectarian reasoning. In a situation that is revolutionary, that is life and death for the masses, the nettle needs to be grasped. More likely a failure of the left to unite at such a crucial moment for Greek society will open the door to fascism as a section of the masses swing right to find an “alternative” to the crisis. The massive 7% vote for the neo-Nazi, immigrant-bashing criminal gang Golden Dawn on May 6, alongside the 10% vote for a right-wing nationalist split from ND, may end up being a signal of the future direction if the left cannot offer an alternative. Those leftists who pave the way for this will be, and ought to be, judged harshly by history.
Andrew Burgin and Kate Hudson in Socialist Unity website(12 May)http://www.socialistunity.com/greece-the-responsibility-of-the-left/
What is necessary in Greece is a united front of all workers’ parties. The situation is so grave that historical and programmatic differences must be set aside in the interests of the working class. Parties can maintain their own organisational independence and slogans whilst the government centres on concrete political and economic issues for the benefit of working people.
The current position of the KKE is a tragedy both for itself and the people of Greece. At the next election its vote is expected to fall and many KKE supporters will switch to Syriza – but even then it is unlikely that Syriza will be able to form a government without the support of the KKE.
The same support for a united front should come from all sections of the left in Greece. Whilst it does not have the same political weight as the KKE, the far left anti-capitalist coalition Antarsya should also back a Syriza-led government. But as a leader of the British Socialist Workers’ Party – its British sister organisation – tweeted ‘Anti-capitalist left Antarsya will not prop up SYRIZA govt but is calling for joint-action to beat austerity in strikes, occupations’.
Antarsya is not in a position to prop up any government – they got 1.2% of the vote and polled 75,000 which is down on their result in the 2010 local elections when they polled 97,000. However, Antarsya contains many good activists and they have been at the forefront of anti-fascist activity and the call that they make for united action on the streets is important. On some demonstrations in Greece this is beginning to happen in practice, notably in February when cadre from the KKE opened their lines to protect Syriza supporters from the riot police in Syntagma Square.
This view is supported by organisations such as the ISO in the USA(http://socialistworker.org/2012/05/09/political-earthquake-in-greece)
The Way Forward for Antarsya: Stand separately at the elections, not by joining in Broad Party, but by standing as a Revolutionary Party with a Transitional
A variety of commentators, Marxist groups and individuals nationally and internationally support this analysis, including the OKDE-Spartakos itself, the SWP in Britain and its sister party in Greece, which is part of the Antarsya coalition
Alex Callinicos suggests that `Over-simplifying a little, it (Syriza) is essentially some version or other of left reformism. (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28461)
Andreas Kloke (a member of OKDE-Spartakos, writing in International Viewpoint) http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article2619 16 May
ANTARSYA had not a sensationally good, but solid election result gaining 1.2%. It was the main force on the left that placed the importance of social resistance through strikes, occupations and mass protests, the self-organization of all victims of the memoranda policies, of the workers, young people, pensioners and of the partially “illegal“ immigrants at the center of its election campaign. ANTARSYA has shown the way how social resistance may be victorious through the propagation of a program of actual transitional solutions that are geared to the real needs of the vast majority of the population and aimed at the self-organization of these people, and by adhering to the perspective of the anti-capitalist revolutionary overthrow of the existing political and social system.
In his commentary on Syriza, Kloke argues,
The SYRIZA leadership is coming under attack because of the ambiguities of its election promises from two sides: first, the forces of the establishment can harass SYRIZA to do everything to ensure that Greece remains in the euro-zone, or make SYRIZA also responsible for a possible failure of this intention and expose it; on the other hand, there are critics on the left, pointing out quite rightly that the various promises of SYRIZA leadership are inconsistent and contradictory. It is virtually inconceivable that a Greek left-wing government, if it came about, could accomplish a revocation of the memoranda policies and thus of the credit agreements agreed with the Troika, that are leading to a strangulation of the Greek society, without Greece’s exit or expulsion from the euro-zone.
My own view is as follows.
I am a supporter of OKDE-Spartakos, indeed, speaking at OKDE and Antarsya meetings in Greece over the last two years, and being with them on various strikes and demonstrations. In Britain I am a supporter of TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and stand for them at local, national and Euro-elections -while recognising its faults of democratic deficit/ top-down control and its (current) policy of closing the door to to Marxist/ Socialist national parties other than the SP / CWI and the SWP. (It would welcome the participation of the CPB, the Communist Party of Britain). TUSC has, though, welcomed, local groups of activists into its electoral campaigns, and has an individual membership facility group, the ISN (Independent Socialist Network) and has an embryonic branch structure. I am also a member of SR, though not in sympathy with the Broad Parties policy and not in sympathy with its (related) policy of calling for OKDE and Antarsya joining in a coalition with Syriza.
Dave Hill response (17 May) http://www.socialistunity.com/greece-the-responsibility-of-the-left/
Joining Syriza is the strategy of Socialist Resistance and the large majority of the Fourth International, the USFI, as part of its `Broad Parties’ strategy. Incidentally, yet another Broad Left party, Die Linke in North Rhine Westphalia, was punished at the polls this week for supporting big cuts. A number of other commentators have noted how broad parties swallow or eject Marxist revolutionary currents, and often end up voting for neoliberal programmes, in coalition with (formerly) social democrat ruling coalitions, nationally or locally.
The view of OKDE-Spartakos, the Greek section of the Fourth International, is, like the view of the Irish section, opposed to the `Broad Parties’ line of SR and (most of) the FI. I happen to agree with, for example, the critique of Broad Parties put forward by John McAnulty (20 Jan 2012) in his Book Review: New Parties of the left: Experiences from Europe - Bensaid, Sousa et al Resistance Books (2011) online at http://www.socialistdemocracy.org/RecentArticles/RecentReviewNewPartiesOfTheLeft.html and with the FI Discussion Document prepared by Jette Kroman in December 2011, A class answer to the capitalist crises: A transitional Program of action for Europe.
Conclusion: For Antarsya to continue with its Transitional Programme.
My own view, like that of OKDE-Spartakos, and the large majority of Antarsya, is that Marxists should seek revolutionary Left unity, putting forward a Transitional, Socialist, programme. (Kokkino, which has observer status at the FI/USFI, is in Syriza, and would disagree with this view of mine and of OKDE and Antarsya more widely). This is in fact what Antarsya has decided. Different from the Syriza programme (which itself is far to the left of anything New Labour, the PS in France, European social democracy is considering).
But if Syriza can form an anti-austerity government, then my analysis is that the KKE and Antarsya should give a Syriza government, and a Syriza led Left government, critical support.
The KKE, the Greek Communist Party, is thus far, resolutely isolationist and purist. The Greek Communist Party refuses to enter dialogue with other left-of-PASOK coalitions such as Antarsya and Syriza, and for a long time has held off joining pan-Left anti-austerity marches and demonstrations, preferring instead to hold its own, separate events).
In contrast, Antarsya demonstrates with and has very good street level and also some good leadership level relations with elements in Syriza, marching together, being teargassed and `sound grenaded’ together regularly on strikes and demonstrations.
The analysis and proposal I am advancing is that Antarsya should not oppose Syriza in Parliament, should vote for those proposals that are socialist, should oppose any measures that retain any cuts, while campaigning for taxing the billionnaires, and pushing / organising the involvement of working class organs/ organisations to defend any gains by means such as nationalisations, workers control, using local assemblies as parallel systems of power. Antarsya is dominated politically by groups of neo-stalinist origin (NAR is a left split from the KKE and ARAN and ARAS are considered as post euromaoists and neo-althusserians). This is reflected in most of the Antarsya declarations regarding the call for Greece pulling out of the eurozone without connecting it with the overthrow of capitalism in (the whole of) Europe. Together with comrades in OKDE-Spartakos, I believe that we should call for revolutionary Marxists should also fight for a genuine transitional program inside ANTARSYA, as well as within Syriza and the country at large.
For Antarsya, In a nutshell, not to join Syriza, but announcing in advance of the elections that it will support a Left government, hold it to its transitional programme, while pushing for a more socialist programme such as repudiation (rather than negotiation) of the debt, nationalisations of privatised industries and the banks.
For Antarsya to continue with its Transitional Programme.
Revised 30 May 2012
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Callinicos, Alex (2012) The politics of the rising European left. Socialist Worker online. 15 May. Online at http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=28461 Accessed 30 May 2012.
Ekathimerini.com (2012) Tsipras lays out five points of coalition talks. 9 May. Coalition of Resistance website. Online at http://www.coalitionofresistance.org.uk/2012/05/tsipras-lays-out-five-points-of-coalition-talks/ Accessed 30 May 2012.
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[Dave Hill is a political activist in TUSC (the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) and in SR (Socialist Resistance) in Britain, and works with OKDE-Spartakos and Antarsya in Greece. He is Visiting Professor of Education/ Equality at the Universities of Athens, Middlesex and Limerick. He chief edits the journal, the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, www.jceps.com, and, with Kostas Skordoulis, organises the annual International Conference on Critical Education in Greece (http://icce-2012.weebly.com/).
[An earlier version of this paper (27 May) is online at http://radicalnotes.com/journal/2012/05/27/greece-vote-for-antarsya-and-a-transitional-programme/.]