Long-distance race in Greece

Submitted by AWL on 10 March, 2015 - 5:50 Author: Sotiris Martalis, a member of the Greek socialist group DEA (Internationalist Workers Left)

The government portrayed the agreement with the Europeans as a matter of necessity, caused by the position it was left in by the previous government and the imminent expiration date on the bailout of February 28.

They claim that they won time — four months to prepare for further negotiations where they can make more gains.

But the truth is that they didn’t prepare for any other option... They signaled their willingness to compromise from the beginning, with the formation of the government. The alliance with the Independent Greeks was a unilateral decision of the party leadership, without any input from its elected bodies. The same is true about the appointment of people with a social-democratic, and not a radical, outlook to positions of authority in the new government, particularly in the area of the economy and the banks. Plus, there is the nomination of a right-winger as president of the republic.

These decisions gave a very clear signal of what the government was willing to do--of the compromises it was prepared to make. Needless to say, the leaders of Syriza didn’t prepare the party nor society at large for the likelihood of rejection by the Eurogroup, nor the possibility of a break with the euro...

There was a meeting of the Syriza parliamentary group [on February 26] that lasted 11 hours, with 140 of the 149 members of parliament speaking. Many objections were expressed, and in the end, more than 30 members of parliament voted against or abstained among the 120 who were still in attendance by the end of the meeting.

At this point, there are still no planned protests by the unions or the social movements. The forces of the Left Platform within the unions are adding their voices to the call for the government not to give in and to keep its promises... To be honest, workers are still waiting to see what the government will do next...

This isn’t a 100-yard dash, but a long-distance race. The government is also moving in the other direction by announcing... legislation [which] will provide free electricity and food subsidies to the poorest 300,000 households, and it will create a housing program to help 30,000 people who are currently homeless.

Another law would bar imprisonment for debts up to 50,000 euros... There are planned proposals to tax and otherwise restrict the financial activities of those who transferred large sums of money abroad...

Another would restart ERT, the public radio and television station that the former government led by New Democracy closed down, laying off all employees.

Apart from these proposed laws, the government announced it was setting up a parliamentary committee to investigate how Greece entered into the Memorandums with the Troika, and whether those responsible are guilty of criminal wrongdoing...

Syriza is a nationwide network of union militants and political activists who in previous years fought within the working class and popular resistance.

Now, in the new conditions, these members can lead the way and open up the paths of resistance to others, by putting forward radical left politics and insisting on the objective of overthrowing austerity.

• Abridged with thanks from the US Socialist Worker (unconnected with the British paper of the same name).

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