GREECE’S Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras offered new concessions to the country’s creditors in a letter that was received by them last Tuesday. In the words of the ERT Greek TV station, he completely ‘caved-in’ to the EU’s bankers and bosses.
On the same Tuesday and then again on Wednesday, the eurozone finance ministers refused to extend the previous bailout despite the fact that his letter asked for just two minor changes in the creditors’ terms. These were that a VAT discount to the Greek islands is maintained, and that the process of raising the retirement age to 67 begins in October and not immediately.
In the letter, Tsipras accepted the abolition of all tax relief to poor farmers; accepted defence cuts; accepted the phasing out to 2019 of all supplementary pensions; accepted ‘reforms of the labour market’ to be implemented by this autumn; accepted the ‘liberalisation’ of trades which would destroy neighbourhood shops and allow big business and supermarkets complete domination; and accepted the privatisation of 49% of the energy and electricity distribution networks.
European stock markets were ecstatic – with their spokesmen agreeing that ‘Tsipras has caved in’. However, this surrender was not enough for the ECB, the IMF or German government. The latter dismissed Tsipras’ offer out of hand with Merkel calling Tsipras ‘a liar’, and announcing that there would be no new bailout talks until after Sunday’s Greek referendum.
She added: ‘Europe is strong. Much stronger than five years ago at the start of Europe’s debt crisis, which originated in Greece.’ It is payback time with a vengeance, as far as the German and and European bankers are concerned. They are seeking to smash the Greek workers as a warning shot to the workers of the EU as a whole.
Meanwhile in Greece, starving pensioners, who have no bank cards, are desperately seeking access to their funds being held behind the closed doors of the Greek banks. There can be no relief until after a ‘YES’ vote capitulation on Sunday.
The Greek bosses are meanwhile refusing to pay workers’ their wages, saying that they cannot get their funds out of the banks and that wages can only be paid after the banks reopen. Again, this will happen once a ‘YES’ vote majority is established in Sunday’s referendum.
Greek workers’ families, and the masses of the unemployed, both adults and youth, are to go hungry until the Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) government is brought down and an EU puppet regime established.
All the pro-capitalist political parties are taking part in the action. While Syriza splits up into dozens of different factions, the Social Democrats and the Stalinists are scabbing on the Greek workers. The construction workers federation is supporting the KKE’s (Greek Communist Party) counter-revolutionary call for spoiled papers on Sunday’s referendum.
The bureaucrats of the GSEE (Greek TUC) have called for a ‘YES to Europe’ vote! At the ADEDY (public sector trades unions federation) the right wing, along with KKE supporters, succeeded in blocking a call for a ‘NO’ vote on Sunday.
However, large ‘NO’-‘OXI’ banners are being hung on public buildings by the workforce despite managers’ hindrances. Mass rallies throughout Greece for a ‘NO’-‘OXI’ vote are scheduled for Thursday and Friday evenings for the first time with the explicit support of the government party Syriza. The Greek working class and youth are determined to vote ‘NO’.
They know that a ‘YES’ vote victory will see the Syriza government brought down and an attempt made by right-wing forces to bring in a military police regime to suppress the working class. This will have to be fought with an indefinite general strike and a workers’ revolution.
A ‘NO’ vote will not in itself save the Greek workers. The working class must be ready to move forward and seize the power from the discredited Syriza, imposing a workers’ and small farmers’ government that will signify the beginning of the European socialist revolution.