European capitalism hits the rocks

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THE capitalist EU is being battered senseless this week by an economic crisis that is relentless and a working class that is refusing to pay the price for keeping a bankrupt system staggering on.

All week, finance ministers from across the eurozone, along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), have been desperately trying to impose a ‘solution’ to the Greek debt crisis.

The only solution they have is to economically strangle the Greek economy and force the ‘left’ Syriza government to completely capitulate and accept a further bail-out in return for implementing cuts to pensions, wages, jobs and increased taxation far beyond anything yet seen.

At the same time, the bourgeoisie of Europe are reeling from the results of last weekend’s municipal and regional election vote in Spain.

In these elections, the ruling right wing People’s Party (PP) were hammered. In the major cities of Madrid and Barcelona, plus in cities across the country, a number of ‘left’ political parties standing on a platform of anti-austerity came from nowhere to record huge votes. These smashed up the old two party system (PP and the Socialists) that has dominated in Spain.

This mass movement of workers against capitalist austerity has undoubtedly increased the determination of the ruling class to step up its offensive against the working class and its reformist leadership.

The IMF is piling the pressure on Syriza, demanding that it comes up with 1.6 billion euros next week to pay off an IMF debt. Greece simply doesn’t have the money.

The insistence of Syriza leader, Alexis Tsipras, that if the choice is between paying wages and pensions or repaying this debt they will choose to default, is clearly not believed by the IMF and the central bankers. They have good reason to believe that this is so much bluster.

Since their election in January, Syriza pledges to end all austerity, restore wages and pensions and end all privatisations have been dumped. Syriza has not re-instated sacked workers or reversed any of the privatisations carried out at the diktat of the Troika by the previous right-wing coalition – quite the opposite, they have just agreed to privatise the ports and docks.

Syriza was elected after promising to end austerity through negotiations with the Troika. They based themselves on the delusion that men and women of goodwill would sit down and reach a ‘sensible’ compromise that recognised the suffering of the Greek people and were interested in alleviating it.

However, capitalism is not interested in the suffering of workers, only in profit.

Their reformist daydream has been shattered, but yesterday Tsipras was still insisting that his government would honour its debts. As for the capitalist class, a whole section, led by the German bosses, has decided that the game is up and that the only way out of the crisis is to take on the working class in an all-out class war.

Scared rigid by the mass movement of workers as demonstrated in Spain, the ruling classes are determined to humiliate Syriza and bring it down – no doubt replacing it with a dictatorship along the lines of the rule of the Greek colonels in the 1970’s, which imposed austerity at the point of a gun.

Syriza’s days in office are numbered. It must be brought down from the left, by a working class advancing beyond reformism to the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and its replacement by a workers and small farmers government and socialism.

The crisis of Syriza proves that reformism, whether of the left or the right variety, is completely bankrupt in the face of the historic crisis of capitalism.

The only way forward lies in the resolution of the crisis of leadership in the working class by building revolutionary parties of the Fourth International in Greece, throughout the EU, and in every country, in complete opposition to reformism and Stalinism.

Only a revolutionary Marxist leadership can take the working class forward to the victory of the European and the World Socialist Revolutions.