Written by Ricardo Ayala, Ángel Luis Parras, Felipe Alegría
Friday, 20 February 2015 13:45
In sight of the negotiation with European Union: Syriza’s government must decree the non-payment of the debt.
The Eurogroup (the finance ministers of Eurozone) gave an ultimatum last Monday to the Syriza-Anel government to have them deciding by Friday whether they ask for an extension of the current bailout, which expires on February 28. According to the president of the Eurogroup, it would be a technical extension that would allow “making better use of the flexibility already existing in the current program.” That is, the powers in the Europeran Union (EU) may accept some negotiation, but within the current memorandum.
On the other hand, the Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, states that he “was ready to sign a draft communique by Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s economics commissioner: a ‘temporary’ program until August, in which Greece commits not to take any financial measures that entail changes in the financial stability, and accepts some conditions. However,” says the Greek minister acrimoniously, “that draft had been withdrawn by the president of Eurogroup, Jeroen Dijsselbloemminutes before the meeting started, and replaced by a document that demands the extension of the current program in exchange for some flexibility.”
Greek and European workers have plenty of reasons to take to the streets to reject the Eurogroup ultimatum, which requires the end of the progressive emergency measures taken by the government, and to demand Syriza not to step back in the commitments that made the Greek workers and people vote for them: ending the debt and cancelling the memorandum.
The discussion is not whether the name is “bridge agreement”, “temporary program”, or “bailout extension” until August, but whether to keep on with the cuts, privatisations and denial of collective negotiation, and the repayment of the illegitimate debt.
EU claws out of Greece!
Although Tsipras’ office has rejected to quit the debt (which amounts to 185% of Greece’s GDP) and assumes it wholly; although it has accepted 70% of the contents of the despised bailout memorandum and has committed to negotiate the remaining 30%; in spite of their acceptance of extending the bailout deadline and of the fact that its main claim is achieving the so called “primary surplus” (public income minus public expenditure, before tax payment) of 1.5% of GD instead of the current 4.5%; despite all that, neither EU nor the European powers are willing to even discuss outside the formal framework set out by the signed memorandum.
Last week, Tsipras and Varoufakis understood during their tour around the European capitals that there is no solidarity with them in the EU and their governments: neither in those playing “bad cop” (Merkel and her entourage) nor in those playing “good cop” (France and Italy). All require as starting point that Greece accepts the terms and conditions of the bailout program, which are those of colonial plundering. Only on that basis they admit cosmetic changes which, in reality, don’t change any of the important things. In the meantime their great concession is substituting “the three institutions” (European Commission, ECB and IMF) for Troika (exactly the same institutions…).
The EU is after the formal subjugation of the Greek government
It is not enough with the deep concessions done so far by Tsipras cabinet. EU wants something like a formal surrender. EU, Berlin and Paris demand stepping back some of the more important emergency measures passed after winning the election. They want, for example, to go on with the privatisations, dismissals, to maintain the collective negotiations frozen, or preventing from raising the minimum wage.
Our solidarity with the Greek people
The EU, after bailing out banks with taxes paid by the European workers, is all in to humiliate Greece.
In the face of that, we have to rise international solidarity with the working class and the people of Greece, who has taken on to the streets to confront blackmail and to proclaim their unwillingness to be a German colony. We need to stand to defend their sovereignty and their lawful right of exiting the social catastrophe into which they have been sunk by banks and EU governments alike.
European workers and youth must take the lead of the fight against the pillage of Greece, and for demanding EU and our own governments the immediate cancellation of the Greek debt.
Syriza must not back off in their commitment; instead they have to cancel the repayment of the debt.
During the next days, Tsipras government must choose between a total capitulation to European imperialists and respecting the term that the Greek people granted them in order to finish the social catastrophe.
Minister Varoufakis’ statements worry us. He told the media that he “envisions an agreement in the following 48 hours”. But accepting the dictates of Eurogroup would mean ignoring the commitments Syriza has made with the Greek workers and people.
Syriza is trapped in an insurmountable contradiction: they want to oppose the bailout terms and, no matter the cost, at the same time remain inside the Euro and respect the EU agreements, as well as the agreements with the Greek bourgeoisie, embodied in the ANEL ministers. But it is not possible to stop the Greek catastrophe if the cost is staying in the eurozone. If there was any room for doubt, Berlin and Paris have spoken clearly: Syriza must choose between one thing and the other.
Last Tuesday Tsipras claimed in the Greek parliament: “they can’t think of Greece as a colonial country anymore and of the Greeks as the European pariahs”. He also said that he would not accept ultimatums. But accepting 70% of the memorandum is not in the spirit of these statements.
The streets are full of screams for “don’t step back” on the commitments with the people. But reality is that starting a negotiation accepting that by no means they would break with the Eurozone, Syriza has already given a big step backwards.
We defend the measures passed by the new government against the imperialist blackmail carried on by the EU. Those are necessary measures, although on their own they are not enough to stop the catastrophe Greece is currently suffering. We demand, along with the Greek streets, that Tsipras must, by no means, give up on those measures as a mean to stay in the Euro, no matter the cost. And we are positive that those measures cannot be sustained unless they are followed by the cancellation of the debt, nationalisation of the banks, control of capital flow and ending the submission to the European treaties by which the pillage of the country is taking place. It is this, or continuing in the spiral of poverty and national subjugation.
The Greek debt with Spain and Rajoy’s impertinence
Rajoy and de Guindos (Spanish Minister of Economy), Merkel’s jesters, are yelling claiming the Greek debt back. This debt is 26,000 million euros, out of which actually, only 6,000 have been paid. De Guindos (former Lehman Brothers’ advisor for Europe) has been impertinent enough to say, shamelessly, that they were unable to increase the income for pensioners and unemployed people. But the Greek people did not see a single Euro from those millions that Rajoy chipped in on behalf of Spain. That money went straight to the German and French banks, to buy Greek public debt from them, to keep them out of trouble. Let Rajoy and de Guindos claim the money from the pillage made by Bankia and their banker friends; or from Bárcenas’ accounts, or from the Gürtel plot; or maybe get the 1,500 million Euros from project Castor, but leave the Greek people alone!
Solidarity with the Greek people!
UE, keep your talons out of Greece!
Tsipras government must stay true to the emergency measure already passed!
Cancellation of the Greek debt!