Tag Archives: austerity

Interview in Press TV News 19-12-2018 on the Greek budget and the mobilisations against it

Below are the video-recordings and the transcript (in English and Greek) of my iInterview in Press TV News (19-12-2018) on the Greek budget and the mobilisations against it

Press TV News 19-12-2018

 

  • This is another austerity budget dictated by the EU despite being promoted by the SYRIZA as the first ‘free’ state budget.
  • It places again the burden on the shoulders of the working people and the middle strata while favouring the big Greek and foreign capital.
  • Its main characteristic is the pursue of excessive primary fiscal surpluses (which is an EU requirement in order to secure the repayment of its loans to Greece)
  • These primary surpluses are coming from:
    • excessive taxation especially of the wage-earners and the middle strata
    • severe reduction of public investment (which continues to be the main investment source of the Greek economy)
  • They result in
    • subdued and insecure recovery (after almost 10 years in recession)
    • immiserisation of the working people
  • This budget does not signify the exit from the Greek crisis which is still simmering.
  • There is another feature of this budget. 2019 is an election year. Hence both the main contenders (the neo-liberal ND who is leading the polls and the social-liberal SYRIZA) are trying to present themselves as friends of the people.
  • This is pure shadow-boxing. Both of them follow the same policies (dictated by the austerity programmes of the EU) and both of them serve interests of the big Greek and foreign capital. Their only difference is that they are allied with different fractions of these capitals.
  • ND is overtly neoliberal.
  • SYRIZA on the other hand is hitting hard the working class and the middle strata but afterwards throws back some chicken feed (peanuts, crumbs) to the more impoverished people in order to buy their electoral support.
  • The trade union mobilisations of these days express the anger against these policies and are absolutely rightful.

 

  • Αυτός είναι άλλος ένας προϋπολογισμός λιτότητας που υπαγορεύει η ΕΕ παρά το γεγονός ότι ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ισχυρίζεται ότι είναι ο πρώτος «ελεύθερος» κρατικός προϋπολογισμός.
  • Ρίχνει ξανά τα βάρη στους ώμους των εργατών και των μεσαίων στρωμάτων, ευνοώντας ταυτόχρονα το μεγάλο ελληνικό και ξένο κεφάλαιο.
  • Το κύριο χαρακτηριστικό του είναι η επιδίωξη υπερβολικών πρωτογενών δημοσιονομικών πλεονασμάτων (που αποτελεί απαίτηση της ΕΕ για την εξασφάλιση της αποπληρωμής των δανείων της προς την Ελλάδα)

Τα υπερβολικά αυτά πρωτογενή δημοσιονομικά πλεονάσματα προέρχονται από:

(α) την υπερβολική φορολογία ιδίως των μισθωτών και των μεσαίων στρωμάτων

(β) την σοβαρή μείωση των δημόσιων επενδύσεων (οι οποίες εξακολουθούν να είναι η κύρια επενδυτική πηγή της ελληνικής οικονομίας)

  • Τα αποτελέσματα είναι:

(α) η υποτονική και ανασφαλής ανάκαμψη (μετά από σχεδόν 10 χρόνια ύφεσης)

(β) η φτωχοποίηση των εργαζομένων

  • Αυτός ο προϋπολογισμός δεν σηματοδοτεί την έξοδο από την ελληνική κρίση που εξακολουθεί να σιγοβράζει.
  • Υπάρχει ένα άλλο χαρακτηριστικό αυτού του προϋπολογισμού. Το 2019 είναι έτος εκλογών. Ως εκ τούτου, οι δύο κύριοι διεκδικητές (η νεοφιλελεύθερη ΝΔ που προηγείται τις δημοσκοπήσεις και ο σοσιαλφιλελεύθερος ΣΥΡΙΖΑ) προσπαθούν να παρουσιαστούν ως φίλοι του λαού.
  • Αυτό είναι καθαρή σκιαμαχία. Αμφότεροι ακολουθούν τις ίδιες πολιτικές (που υπαγορεύονται από τα προγράμματα λιτότητας της ΕΕ) και εξυπηρετούν και οι δύο συμφέροντα του μεγάλου ελληνικού και ξένου κεφαλαίου. Η μόνη διαφορά τους είναι ότι συνδέονται με διαφορετικές ομάδες αυτών των κεφαλαίων.
  • Η ΝΔ είναι προφανώς νεοφιλελεύθερη.
  • Από την άλλη πλευρά, ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ πλήττει σκληρά την εργατική τάξη και τα μεσαία στρώματα, αλλά στη συνέχεια πετάει πίσω κάποια ψίχουλα στους πιο φτωχούς για να εξαγοράσει την εκλογική τους υποστήριξη.
  • Οι κινητοποιήσεις των συνδικάτων αυτών των ημερών εκφράζουν την οργή ενάντια σε αυτές τις πολιτικές και είναι απολύτως δικαιολογημένες.

 

 

 

 

Stavros Mavroudeas – A resurgence of popular mobilisations in Greece – BRAVE NEW EUROPE

 

 

https://braveneweurope.com/stavros-mavroudeas-a-resurgence-of-popular-mobilisations-in-greece

 

Stavros Mavroudeas – A resurgence of popular mobilisations in Greece

November 15, 2018 Austerity, EU politics, EU-Institutions, National Politics, Neo-Liberalism in the EU

On November 14th, Greece`s largest union, ADEDY, which represents about half a million public sector workers, carried out a one day strike. The union is demanding that the SYRIZA government retracts pay and pension cuts and tax increases which were part of three bailout programmes since 2010. We asked Stavros Mavroudeas to give us a brief evaluation of the strike.

Stavros Mavroudeas is Professor of Political Economy at the Department of Economics at the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki

Edited by BRAVE NEW EUROPE

 

 

 

 

 

 

These days some glimmers of hope seem to be appearing in a Greek society devastated by the EU. This is not the result of the false claims that the Greek crisis is over, being vaunted by the EU, the SYRIZA government, and the champions of Greek capitalism. Instead, it comes from a resurgence of popular protest in Greece after a considerable period of calm. Several strikes have already taken place and participation, although not spectacular, is increasing.

The Greek people have been suffering from a capitalist crisis and a barbaric EU-IMF austerity programme for almost ten years. Following the eruption of the 2008 crisis and the subsequent euro-zone crisis, Greek capital and its foreign patrons (EU and the US) imposed a vicious programme of austerity upon the country (adjustment programmes overseen by the troika –the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank).

Initially there were strident popular reactions to these austerity programmes that discredited the establishment parties and led to frequent changes of government. However, this popular activity and energetic intervention by the people was defused when SYRIZA was elected to government, since the party had promised to ameliorate the population’s devastated living standards. But SYRIZA betrayed the people’s trust by continuing the same austerity policies as its predecessors. Instead of shelving the troika programme, it agreed to a new third one. However, popular mobilisations remained subdued as SYRIZA discredited the Left and the people were at a loss to know how to respond to SYRIZA’s betrayal. The recent resurgence of popular protest breaks this pattern and possibly signifies a return of the masses to the political foreground.

There are several reasons for this resurgence:

First, SYRIZA and the EU, by declaring that the Greek crisis has ended, are proving to be victims of their own deception. The Greek crisis is still simmering and is far from over. Its structural causes (the low rate of profit of capitalists and imperialist exploitation by the core euro-zone economies) are still present. Furthermore, Greece´s immediate problems (such as the debt burden on the economy) have not been solved but only swept under the carpet. The EU propagates the myth that the Greek crisis has ended because it wants to avoid pressure from the US and is under increasing strain as new serious conflicts arise within the EU (Brexit, the budget dispute with Italy etc.). SYRIZA is following suit hoping that by selling a false ‘success story’ it might win the next Greek election. However, behind this façade, the Greek people sense that if the crisis has at least stabilised, then there must be space for recuperating at least some of the huge losses they have suffered. It should be noted that the Greek workers and middle classes have borne the burden of austerity, whereas Greek capitalists and oligarchs have remained largely unscathed.

Second, 2019 is a multi-election year. Greece will be holding EU elections, local elections, and ultimately general elections. So, the people sense that establishment parties are in a vulnerable position and if they don’t want to suffer huge electoral losses then they have to make concessions. The Greek and EU establishment on the other hand want to make as few concessions as possible, get past the elections, and then renew their austerity drive.

However, history has taught us that once the genie of popular action is out of the bottle, the corrupt Greek and EU establishments may not be able to contain it. The return of popular protest is a glimmer of hope for Greece.

A comment in PRESS TV News on the supposed Greek exit from the troika program

Yesterday (21/8/2018) I made a short comment in PRESS TV News regarding the supposed Greek exit from the troika (IMF-EU-ECB) program.

The main points of the comment are the following.

The supposed exit from the troika program is a sham. The program is practically continuing as there are more austerity measures in the pipeline, the repayment of the troika loans will take several decades (and it is not guaranteed, hence a future default is always on the cards) and the supervision by at least the EU mechanisms (if IMF leaves the program as is expected) will also continue for many years.

The program is a failure. Its declared aim (however myopic it may be) was to make the Greek public external debt viable. It has not achieved it as the current debt/GDP ratio is higher than in the beginning of the program. Furthermore, austerity has weakened the Greek economy making its growth rospects dismal.

So the SYRIZA government’s and EU’s rejoicing about the succesful completion of the program is a sham orchestrated for cheap political and economic reasons.

The Greek people will continue to bear the burden of this anti-popular program and the policies that lay behind it for many years.

 

The video of the interview follows:

 

Comment on SYRIZA’s new law implementing troika’s demands – PressTV News 16-1-2018

This is the video of a short comment in PressTV News (16-1-2018) on SYRIZA’s new multi-article law implementing troika’s demands and imposing furter austerity measures on the Greek people.

Some comments on Greek youth unemployment in an article in ANADOLU AGENCY

http://aa.com.tr/en/economy/young-jobless-greeks-form-lost-generation/576902

Anadolu Agency

Anadolu Agency

Young jobless Greeks form ‘lost generation’

The economic crisis, followed by austerity measures, plus bureaucracy and tax woes, produce a ‘perfect storm’ for the young

Young jobless Greeks form 'lost generation'

 

By Vasiliki Mitsiniotou

ATHENS

More than 4 million young Europeans are jobless and not enough is being done to help what is becoming a lost generation, experts say.

In 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said youth unemployment is the biggest crisis facing Europe and urged other governments to do more, speaking before a summit to tackle joblessness among young Europeans. The economic crisis has intensified what was previously a chronic unemployment problem in Europe, especially in the southern countries.

According to latest Eurostat data, 4.287 million young people under 25 were unemployed in the EU-28, including 2.94 million in the eurozone. The lowest rates were seen in Germany (6.9 percent), the Czech Republic, and Malta (both 9.8 percent), and the highest in Greece (51.9 percent), Spain (45.5 percent), and Croatia (39.0 percent).

Stavros D. Mavroudeas, professor of political economy at the University of Macedonia in Thessalonica, Greece, explained in an email interview how we got to this point: “The global economic crisis back in 2007-2008 resulted in a series of regional crises, the most important of which is that of the eurozone. The European crisis revealed the structural problems of European integration. Particularly, the structurally inscribed predominance of the hegemonic euro-core and the inferior position of the euro-periphery (in which Greece belongs). The austerity adjustment programs that have been applied to many economies of the euro-periphery benefited the euro-core but aggravated problems in the euro-periphery. In particular, they have led to rampant unemployment and in ‘jobless recoveries’ (when there was such a thing).”

What’s more, youth employment conditions are fragile, tenuous and concentrated, according to the European Commission. In other words, the young are far more likely to be hired on temporary contracts than adults and in sectors which tend to be more sensitive to the business cycle: manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and hotels and restaurants.

“I worked in a restaurant in Germany with no prospect and in bad working conditions. Then I had to return home. I know that it is going to be very hard to get a job in Greece but I am hopeful,” said Manolis Gotsis, 24, outside the Greek Employment Organization (OAED) in Thessalonica.

Initiatives have been launched at the European level. Most of them through the EU Youth Strategy for 2010-2018, notably the “Youth Guarantee” program, try to ensure that young people are offered a job, further education or work-focused training for four months at the longest after leaving education or after becoming unemployed. Some are designed to encourage mobility, such as “Your First EURES Job”. Mobility lies at the heart of the Erasmus program, launched in 1987 to give millions of students the chance to pursue part of their studies in a university in a different member state.

However, “European programs on youth unemployment are short-sighted. They are about short-term, unstable, bad-quality jobs that mostly benefit employers who fire their employees once the funding stops,” said Mavroudeas.

He argued that the funds the EU is willing to provide are simply not enough,saying, “It’s like giving an aspirin to a patient that has cancer.”

Labor market institutions also play a significant role in explaining persistently high levels of youth unemployment, also suggesting that policies to address youth joblessness should be comprehensive and country-specific. Stavros Gavroglou, head of the Active Political and International Networks Department of the Greek National Labor and Human Resources Institute, said of youth unemployment in Greece, “it was always hard to deal with since the economy could not absorb the number of university graduates.” However, it seems that “there has been a slight decrease lately due to OAED efforts to follow through with the European youth programs.”

Moreover, the last six years of austerity policies have not helped the problem. “The three bailout programs implemented so far are all about debt and primary deficits. Employment is not an objective, it is not a decisive variable feature. Instead, there is an effort to create a new model: the flexible worker with low wages, insecure employment, and no social insurance. They apply this primarily to new employees and hence to youth,” explained Mavroudeas.

Perhaps young people should try on their own, but uncertainty prevails along with other problems. “The bureaucracy is a huge problem, and also the tax system especially affects small businesses. Even if there are European programs funding start-ups and innovative projects, the information about them has been insufficient,” said Vasia Ntoulia, 25, at a café in Thessalonica.

“Being unemployed results in [young adults] staying with my parents and having to ask them for money. Not pleasant for either party,” said Ifigeneia Athanasiadou, 24, sitting next to Vasia. Ιt is no wonder the young flee the country. According to official data since the beginning of the economic crisis, in 2010-2013 over 350,000 Greeks, or 3 percent of the population, have emigrated, most of them between 20 and 39 years old.

Tackling youth unemployment requires a long-term plan that includes young people. They are, after all, the ones that will shape the future. But for now they feel like the lost generation of today’s Greece. “I would like the thought that there is nothing for me here and it is not going to change any time soon to be eliminated from my mind,” said Ifigeneia.

SYRIZA votes for a disastrous new EU austerity program – A new popular political front against the EU is required

The following is the extended transcript of the interview I gave today to the News program of the Press TV.

Press TV

http://www.presstv.ir/Default/Live

 

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SYRIZA votes for a disastrous new EU austerity program

A new popular political front against the EU is required

 

The new austerity program that was proposed yesterday (13/8/2015) by the SYRIZA government and voted by the majority of SYRIZA and the discredited old pro-austerity and pro-EU (European Union) parties brings disaster for the Greek people. Economic depression will be aggravated, foreign debt will be increased, wages and pensions reduced even more, poverty exacerbated and Greece’s subservience to EU’s imperialism heightened.

The SYRIZA government has followed the course of the previous New Democracy (ND) government. It has been elected on an anti-austerity electoral platform. Once elected, it pretended that it negotiated forcefully with the EU for a remaking of the austerity restructuring program for Greece. However, soon it capitulated to EU and became another puppet government.

This political betrayal produced a schism in SYRIZA with its Left wing rejecting the new austerity program and ready to break out from the party. However, till now SYRIZA’s Left wing has adopted a hermaphrodite political position: it rejects the austerity program but supports the SYRIZA government that pushes it forward. This is an untenable position. SYRIZA’s Left wing has to decide: either it will remain within the party and try to rectify it (which is obviously infeasible) or it breaks out and creates a new political front. It would be foolish if it tries the second option on each own. The SYRIZA’s Left wing has neither the organizational capabilities nor the political clout for this. If it had both (or either of them) it would not have participated in SYRIZA (whose treacherous course was predictable). A new popular political front can only be created if it unite the significant Left and popular forces that exist outside SYRIZA and have a significant presence in popular movements. A new political front must also have a clear program. It has to confront the EU and openly adhere Greece’s secession from this exploitative imperialist organization. Any hesitation regarding this is self-defeating. Unfortunately, SYRIZA’s Left wing till now has not made any clear move in these two crucial aspects. If it fails to do so then its demise is on the cards.

SYRIZA’s capitulation to the EU and the tough austerity measures of the new program (and their prerequisite actions) have already started biting people’s incomes and eroding SYRIZA’s electoral support. This is leading to an ‘Argntinian situation’. In Argentina neoliberal Peronist Menem government was voted out because of it austerity measures dictated by its dollarization policy (i.e. relinquishing monetary independency). A series of governments followed that all were nominally anti-neoliberal and anti-imperialist. However, none of them ventured to cross the system’s ‘red line’: dollarization. The result was that all of them, in practice, followed Menem’s economic policies and for this reason they were forced out by popular revolt. Similarly, SYRIZA does not question the Greek systemic ‘red line’: the participation to the EU. This participation may bring profits to the Greek oligarchy but it is the ‘mother of almost all evils’ for the Greek pople. For this reason SYRIZA will also, sooner or later, face popular anger.

Currently, SYRIZA is trying to negotiate with the EU imperialist their permission to hold snap elections. It calculates that, before the new austerity measures destroy people’s incomes, a snap election will give SYRIZA enough electoral support to remain in government. However, the EU imperialists are hesitant as even a snap election will have an injurious economic impact. Moreover, they prefer a coalition between SYRIZA and the old pro-austerity and pro-EU parties.

In all cases people’s anger is boiling and the mainstream political parties (SYRIZA included) that are subservient to the EU and the Greek oligarchy are losing support. The times are calling for a change. The necessity for a new popular political front that will confront the EU and lead Greece’s secession from it is obvious.

euro-handcuffs_wide_280_151

SYRIZA betrays the resounding NO vote of the Greek people and signs a 3rd troika austerity program

SYRIZA betrays the resounding NO vote of the Greek people and signs a 3rd troika austerity program

The Left should create a popular front against the EU

meimatsip

In the 5th of July 2015 the huge majority of the Greek people (61%) rejected the insolent demands of the EU for the extension and deepening of the austerity and pro-capital restructuring policies in Greece. These demands were codified in the so-called Juncker Plan for Greece that set barbaric terms for the extension of the previous austerity program (the 2nd Economic Adjustment Program for Greece) in exchange for releasing much delayed tranches of the troika loans to Greece. These tranches were urgently needed for repaying instalments of previous loans by the troika. As I have argued in a previous note (‘The Greek referendum and the tasks of the Left’) SYRIZA was led unwillingly to call this referendum because of the failure of its unrealistic program for a ‘decent compromise’ with the EU and for ‘staying in the Eurozone at any cost’. Moreover, the whole affair proved beyond any doubt that EU is a capitalist and imperialist integration that cannot be reformed towards serving peoples’ needs.

The referendum’s victory with such huge margin was unexpected even for the NO supporters. In the short one-week campaign the Greek economic and political elites unleashed a blatant terror and misinformation campaign through their mass media purporting that a NO vote would destroy Greece and that EU’s terms should be unconditionally accepted. In this unconcealed blackmail the Greek politico-economic elite was directed and abetted by the EU with direct interventions by J.C.Juncker, the German government and the rest of EU’s high priesthood. Moreover, the EU proceeded to literally slowly strangle the Greek economy by curtailing, through the ECB, the injection of liquidity to the moribund – because of the troika policies – Greek banking sector. This led the SYRIZA government – on top of foolishly (?) emptying the state coffers for paying previous troika installments – to impose capital controls the very day that pensions were going to be paid. This alienated significant portions of the middle and lower strata and turned the previously almost sure NO victory to a gamble.

On top of that, SYRIZA for almost half the campaign week dragged its feet; flirting with canceling the referendum, revoking its support for NO and with several of its prominent members and ministers covertly helping the YES coalition. Only the last two days SYRIZA actually threw its support behind the NO campaign. Last but not the least, the Communist Party also facilitated the elite’s assault by campaigning for a null vote or abstention; a move that cost it dearly in its electoral support. Only the independent and extra-parliamentary Left and grass-roots initiatives and movements fought from the very beginning for NO.

Despite all these adversities, the NO ended winning by a landslide. It was a silent landslide because in the mass media and the public debate there was a suppressing dominance of the YES instigated by the Greek politico-economic elite and by the incompetent acts of SYRIZA (particularly the banking ‘holiday’, the capital controls and the problems in paying pensions and wages). It was also a class landslide in that the working people, the peasants, the lower middle strata and overwhelmingly the unemployed youth voted for No whereas the bourgeoisie and the upper middle strata voted for YES (see http://www.publicissue.gr/en/2837/greek-referendum-2015-no-voter-demographics/).

It is now evident that SYRIZA’s leadership and systemic centers did not welcome this landslide. They expected the win of NO or YES to be by a small margin that would facilitate them to argue that there is no popular support for a confrontation with the EU and thus proceed to an agreement with EU’s high priesthood. As all evidence suggests the NO landslide caused panic not only to the politico-economic establishment and the EU but also to the SYRIZA leadership. Thus, immediately the day after SYRIZA threw away the referendum result and its clear message for a confrontation with the EU despite the financial strangulation by the EU and the pain already felt by ordinary people. A.Tsipras convened a meeting of the leaders of parliamentary political parties (excluding the neo-nazi Golden Dawn) which had either openly (New Democracy, PASOK, River) or implicitly (Communist Party) opposed the NO vote. In this meeting they all agreed – with the exception of the Communist Party – to field a new proposal to the EU that was exactly on the same lines of the rejected in the referendum ‘Juncker plan for Greece’. Moreover, after a few initial skirmishes, SYRIZA accommodated itself again with the systemic mass media that have implemented the terror campaign for YES.

EU’s high priesthood replied to SYRIZA’s new overtures by toughening its position and demanding even more austerity and anti-popular measures and threatening with the immediate strangulation of the Greek banking sector and even a Grexit. In front of this assault SYRIZA and Alexis Tsipras capitulated unconditionally and they themselves proposed a new 3rd austerity and restructuring troika program for Greece. This was a complete somersault the extent of which was unexpected even by most of SYRIZA’s harsher critics. It denotes that SYRIZA’s leadership aimed from the very beginning for a deal with the EU which they knew that it would be barbaric and they simply played for time in order to consolidate their power and their position in Greek politics. The EU played along but also indicated – and the SYRIZA leadership was fully aware of it – that a delayed deal would be more costly. In a nutshell the SYRIZA leadership delayed in order to gain ‘political capital’ at the expense of ‘economic capital’. Its last gamble was the referendum. Once this trick back-fired the SYRIZA leadership blinked and retreated in panic. It proposed not simply an extension of the previous troika austerity program under the conditions of the ‘Juncker plan for Greece’ but a new 3-year program in exchange for either a debt haircut or a debt reprofiling, a new loan and some funds for development aid.

On the other side of the fence, the EU had its own internal antagonisms. While all of them were united in blackmailing Greece to capitulate they were divided in how much pain they were to inflict after the capitulation. The French and the Italians, reminiscent of their own economic problems and the fact that their turn might come soon, were keen on milder terms. They were supported in this by the distant but non-negligible pressures by the US. The latter does not actually care about the Greek case as such but it uses it as a lever to weaken German hegemony and the ability of the EU to dispute its economic supremacy. One of the major issues of disagreement between the US (and the IMF) and Germany is whether the Greek program would involve a debt haircut or not; the former press for it and the latter bitterly oppose it.

In the end, a very onerous (for Greece) provisional deal was struck. First, in order to ‘regain the debtors’ trust’, the SYRIZA government should revoke all legislation contradicting the troika austerity program and also legislate through fast track procedures (that violate parliamentary rules) deep cuts in pensions and wages, extensive privatizations and the transfer of public property worth 50bn euros to an independent company (that initially was humiliatingly suggested to be based in Luxemburg but afterwards agreed to be in Athens). This first move essentially means that the conditions of the 5th review of the old troika austerity program should be fulfilled. Second, once this done, the EU and the ECB should slowly restore liquidity to the Greek banking sector and release some of the due funds in the form of a bridge-loan. Third, only after the legislation of several other austerity measures new negotiations would begin negotiations for a new 53bn euros loan. This new loan would comprise by old tranches, some new funds from the ESM and a 35bn euros very dodgy development plan. This last item is supposed to comprise of already available National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) funds that were not actually absorbed because of the deep recession of the Greek economy and the lack of proposals and supplementary national funding. Of course, all these would be under strict conditionality and a return of the despised troika in Athens for close scrutiny and control. In these future negotiations there is a vague reference that some alleviation of the Greek total debt (through either reprofiling or haircut) would be considered.

The new austerity measures are extremely recessionary and anti-labor. They cost more than 13bn euros only for the 2015-6 period that would worsen the crisis of the Greek economy. Moreover, they would be paid by the working people and the lower middle strata. Several other pro-capital structural reforms are included (e.g. mass firings, semi-automatic mechanisms for fiscal cuts if the public budget is derailed). The new 3rd austerity and restructuring program would push Greek economy and society further down towards impoverishment and Balkanization. They will definitely foment popular discontent as already shown from the current popular mobilizations.

This grave situation poses a serious challenge for the Greek Left. One futile course is followed by the SYRIZA left. They voted against the deal but support the government and refuse to leave the party. This will expose them to popular wrath as willing or unwilling accomplices to the new austerity. The second futile course is that of the Communist Party that preaches the coming of socialism as a solution to everything while at the same time recognizing that this is not on the current agenda. At the same time refuses to fight against the EU because it considers this as intra-capital antagonism. This alienates it from and rank and file communists and the working people as it does not offer a solution to the immediate popular problems and a transitional program for social change. If these two dead alleys prevail then only the extreme Right would remain as the receiver of popular discontent and wrath against the EU and its austerity.

It is of paramount importance for the Left not to leave the field free to the extreme Right as it had happened in West Europe. A Left popular front against the EU should be urgently organized. This should involve political forces and grassroots popular organizations, fight austerity and capitalist restructuring and strive for the total disengagement of Greece from EU (that is for a popular Grexit involving leaving the whole structure and not solely the monetary union). It is the task of the independent and militant Left and the combatant forces of labor to instigate this front.

 

* Stavros Mavroudeas is a Professor of Political Economy in the Economics Department of the University of Macedonia.

e-mail: smavro@uom.edu.gr

web: https://stavrosmavroudeas.wordpress.com

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Republished in

Counterpunch

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/16/syriza-betrays-greeces-no-vote-why-the-left-should-form-a-popular-front-against-the-eu/

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Anti-imperialist Camp

http://www.antiimperialista.org/node/244741

2015-07-04_0-58-37

 

Politica&EconomiaBlog

http://politicaeconomiablog.blogspot.gr/2015/07/un-commento-dalla-grecia-in-inglese.html

2015-07-05_11-44-05

Naked Keynesianism

http://nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.gr/2015/07/syriza-betrays-resounding-no-vote-of.html

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 Tendance CLAIRE (pour le Communisme, la Lutte Auto-organisée, Internationaliste et RévolutionnairE)

http://tendanceclaire.npa.free.fr/breve.php?id=13896#

BandeauTC

Interview in Pravda.Ru on the Greek referendum and its aftermath

 

Stavros Mavroudeas, Professor of Political Economy at the University of Macedonia speaks in Pravda.Ru and to Said Gafurov about the results of Greek Referendum, anti-crisis policy of Syrisa government, pro-cycle and counter-cycle approaches to economic policy and situation in banking, manufacturing, agricultural sectors of Greek economy as well as in tourism and trade.

He stresses the popular basis of the NO vote and the hostility of the Greek eite. He also points out that SYRIZA did not expected this landslide and immediately afterwards betrayed it by capitulating to the EU.