YESTERDAY”S Greek presidential vote heralds the start of a fresh eurozone crisis that threatens to bring down the Eurozone and with it the whole of European capitalism.
This was the third vote in the parliament to approve as president Stavros Dimas – nominated by the right-wing Prime Minister (Antonis Samaras) and the only candidate for the post.
Despite the advantage of being the only candidate, Dimas failed to receive the 180 necessary to win the presidency.
Under the Greek constitution this failure to elect a president automatically triggers a general election which will take place at the end of January or beginning of February.
It is the outcome of this general election that has caused panic within the eurozone as it is almost universally predicted that the right-wing coalition between the conservative New Democracy and the social democratic PASOK party will be thrown out of office and replaced by Syriza – the coalition of the radical left party.
The decision by the coalition to call early presidential elections was a desperate move by Samaras to shore up his shaky and hated coalition which is facing demands from the IMF, EU and ECB troika for even more vicious austerity measures to be agreed before the end of February when the latest round of ‘bail-out’ comes to an end.
To date, the ECB and IMF have pumped 240 billion euros into keeping bankrupt Greek capitalism from collapse – in return they have inflicted on the Greek working class an austerity programme of mass sackings, wage cuts and the privatisation of huge swathes of the public sector.
These austerity measures have been imposed on the Greek workers and youth through the brutal force of the riot police.
Despite all the repression, workers and youth especially have fought back at every turn with strikes and occupations.
The imposition of yet more austerity has created a profoundly insurrectionary movement in the working class – a movement only barely held back by the treachery of the Stalinist and reformist leadership of the Greek trade union movement.
It is this insurrectionary mood that has propelled Syriza, which has vowed to end all austerity measures and refuse to sign up to another bail-out on those terms, to the position where it could easily form the next government.
Such a refusal, if carried out, would mean Greece being out of the eurozone, defaulting on its massive debts and bring the entire European banking system to its knees.
Greece’s debt repayments for the first three months of 2015 stand at 5 billion euros.
If this prospect was not terrifying enough for the bankers, a victory for an avowedly anti-austerity party would give enormous impetus to the insurrectionary mood sweeping the working class of Europe, not just in the so-called ‘periphery’ economies like Greece, Portugal and Ireland but the massive economies of France, Italy, Spain, Holland and even Germany.
With these economies in deep crisis and the capitalist class demanding more and more cuts and privatisation, the revolutionary implications of the situation in Greece are explosive.
However, despite all its anti-austerity rhetoric, Syriza remains a left reformist party that opposes Greece leaving the eurozone and EU and believes that it is possible to reach an agreed settlement with bankers and the Troika.
At the weekend Tsipras underlined Syriza’s commitment to the capitalist EU and eurozone, saying: ‘Our historical responsibility is to pave the way for an alternative policy in Europe, turning a eurozone country from a neoliberal experiment to a model of social protection and growth.’
There can be no alternative policy as far as capitalism is concerned, it can only survive by dumping the full weight of its historic crisis on the backs of the working class.
There is no reformist solution to this crisis of capitalism for the working class.
The only way forward lies in the struggle to take the mass insurrectionary movement to the overthrow of capitalism and the victory of the European socialist revolution.
This demands the building of mass parties of the Fourth International in every country.