The January 25th parliamentary elections were a victory for SYRIZA, but is it a victory for Greek workers? It is to the extent that it opens the road, not to the utopia of an independent Greek capitalism, but rather to an independent Greek Socialist Republic as part of a Socialist United States of Europe.
SYRIZA is a social democratic coalition of mainly former Communists and Social Democrats who left the KKE and PASOK. They left the KKE because it stands for an independent Greek capitalism when that is not possible, since Greece is a semi-colony of EU imperialism. No semi-colony like Greece can win independence unless it becomes a socialist republic. They left PASOK because it did not fight austerity. SYRIZA offered the hope that Greece could fight austerity and yet stay in the EU. The January 25th electoral victory reflects the growing hope that SYRIZA could achieve this goal by negotiating a compromise with the ‘Troika’ (EU, ECB and IMF). But what will it have to do to realise these hopes?
First, SYRIZA has to reject its alliance with ANEL (Independent Greeks) a rightwing bourgeois nationalist party. It is the KKE of the right with links to Russian fascism. No left government can survive an alliance with a bourgeois party that represents the shipping magnates and the high command of the military. It ties the hands of the working class and disarms them facing a fascist coup. Those on the left who claim that this choice was forced upon it by the KKE refusal to give SYRIZA support in parliament are parliamentary cretins. A popular front with ANEL will drive away KKE supporters and vindicate the KKE characterisation of Syriza as in bed with EU capital.
SYRIZA must break with ANEL and fight as a minority government on the policy of cancelling the debt to win the support of the KKE membership and win enough MPs to win an absolute majority to fight for a socialist program. Workers must be told the truth that any negotiated deal to reduce the debt will still leave generations of Greek workers as debt slaves. This is the way to prove to the workers of Greece that to survive they must be prepared to repudiate the debt and leave the EU and the Euro. Nor should the masses be fooled that Russian or Chinese imperialism will rescue the economy. For the masses to live, Greece must become a socialist republic independent of the US/EU and Russia/China imperialist blocs!
To avoid the destructive consequences of a default and break from the EU leading to the collapse of Greek capitalism, SYRIZA has to prove to workers that only a Workers' Government that comes to power on the back of workers councils and workers militias can turn the break with EU imperialism into a victory for the working class - a Workers Republic. Such a republic can only survive if it is based on the armed power of a workers militia that defends the revolution from the counter-revolution.
Whether this can happen depends on the ability of the revolutionary left inside and outside of SYRIZA to overcome its reformist illusions and its sectarian practices. The majority on the left are reformists who think that socialism will come through a process of peaceful transformation via parliament. Most ignore the popular front as a necessary evil or realpolitik to form a government. Those like Left Unity who still think of the bourgeoisie as the enemy and attempt to justify the popular front with ANEL are complicit in tying the hands of workers on behalf of the Greek bourgeoisie.
Those who saw SYRIZA as another cynical manoeuvre to fool the masses, and refuse it ‘critical support’ or even call for its overthrow, are anti-parliamentary cretins. SYRIZA is a coalition that contains the contradiction between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. That is a bourgeois program and a proletarian mass base. It is necessary for the revolutionary left to put proletarian demands on SYRIZA to explode this contradiction from below so that the majority of workers who have hopes in SYRIZA will now see that a mass revolutionary party can only be built, not on electoral lists, but on the basis of workers councils and militias.
The popular front will not solve the problem of unemployment. The alliance with ANEL would not survive concrete measures to provide full employment. These would be seen as a provocation by the whole bourgeoisie and the EU, NATO and U.S. imperialism. Consequently the working class vanguard, while calling for the destruction of the popular front must not rely on parliament to lead in providing full employment. This will come from the workers’ own actions: factory occupations and sit down strikes and nationalizations under workers control that result from work-ins and the reorganization of production to employ the unemployed. Work site occupations will require armed pickets because they will be subject to violent attack by the fascist Golden Dawn and the police. The “legitimacy” and “legality” of the workers reorganization of production will derive from the support of the workers councils not the bourgeois parliament.
Now is not a moment too soon for worker militants to begin wholesale fraternization with the enlisted ranks of the armed forces, the workers in uniform. It is time to begin the organization of soldiers’, sailors’, and airmens’ councils and to coordinate their actions with those of the organized workers. It is time to sort out and replace the defenders of the popular front in the trade union movement, as well as the treacherous leaders of PASOK and KKE, insofar as they support capitalist solutions that are based on pipedreams that capitalism can resolve its crisis without putting workers through many more years of life on the rack of IMF austerity.
So while it is urgent that to open the road to a socialist republic, SYRIZA must break with ANEL, at the same time it is even more urgent that the membership of SYRIZA mobilise mass support for the party to fight as a Workers’ Party on a Socialist Program based on the demand to 'cancel the debt'. This mass support has to be based on building workers councils to mobilise action on the streets, building to a political general strike, and workers militias to defeat the fascists and defend the strike, leading to the seizure of power and installation of a Workers Government.
- Break with the popular front now and for good! Class political independence is the first prerequisite for the survival of the working class. And class independence requires adoption of a revolutionary socialist program.
- Abrogation of the repayment agreements with the Troika. Repudiate the debt!
- Guaranteed union wages and benefits for all! For a thirty hour work week and forty hours pay with a sliding scale of wages and hours so that all able bodied persons can be employed. The right to employment is the last right the workers have before the complete triumph of tyranny.
- For billions to employ workers in environmental remediation. Not one cent for the French and German bankers!
- For free quality socialized medicine/health care for all. An immediate investigation and national dialogue on women’s health care needs. End denial of access of birth control and abortion. For full free abortion on demand. For free 24-hour child care. Equal pay for equal work.
- Free quality education for all. No tuition and open admissions. Living wage stipends for students.
- Greece to quit NATO!
- Publication of all government secret treaties!
- Withdraw all Greek troops from all NATO military adventures.
- For Greek solidarity with the Syrian and Arab revolutions.
- For military support for the Local Coordinating Committees in Syria and for their proliferation across the MENA.
- Defend the immigrant populations and support their rights to self-determination.
- For workers tribunals which investigate, try and sentence those who are guilty of racist, ethnic, homophobic and misogynist crimes of violence.
- Defense of minority and alternative sexuality populations and neighborhoods.
- For LGBTQ democratic rights now! These rights will only find their fullest development when guaranteed by workers democracy.
- For labor defense of minority populations and neighborhoods. For the immediate organization of inter-communal workers militias. For the suppression of the counter-revolution.
- Organize a Marxist revolutionary workers party that has as its principal activity the advancement of the working class to power and the consolidation of a workers state with an internationalist revolutionary program.
- For a new revolutionary workers international based on the program and method of Trotsky’s 1938 Transitional Program, the first four congresses of Lenin’s Third International and the resolve to accomplish all the revolutionary tasks of the completion of democracy, socialism and the march of civilization to communism.
- For a Socialist United States of Europe!
Liaison Committee of Communists, 30 January, 2015
See our statements “We are all Greeks!” from 2010
“No electoral solutions! For Workers’ Councils and a Workers’ Government!” from 2012 http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/greece-no-electoral-solution-for.html