ON Sunday the Greek working class, youth and rural poor delivered a hammer blow to bankers and the capitalist system when it defied all the predictions of a close run referendum by voting overwhelmingly to reject the dictatorship of austerity imposed by the Troika – the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF.
By over 61% they voted ‘No’ to the dictatorial demands of the Troika – demands that would have cut wages and pensions of workers and reduced them to levels of poverty exceeding those reached in five years of constant cuts and privatisations.
The vote was achieved in the face of a vicious campaign to starve Greek workers into submission through a policy of the ECB deliberately denying the Greek central bank supplies of euros, forcing banks to close, ATM’s to shut down and bank depositors being restricted to only drawing out 60 euros.
In voting ‘No’ the Greek working class and rural poor delivered a huge blow to the Troika and the banks they serve on behalf of the working class of Europe and the world. Within minutes of the result the international stock markets began to crash, with the realisation that the strategy of transferring all the bank debts, resulting from the crash of 2008, to the various nation states, so that they could be repaid by governments taking it out of the pay and benefits of workers, has run into the brick wall of a working class resistance.
Greece was supposed to be an object lesson to workers in Europe that resistance to the domination of capitalism and the banks is futile. In this, the Troika were aided by the treachery of the ‘left’ reformists in Syriza who, having been elected on a programme of ending austerity, have retreated and surrendered at every stage.
Even now, with a resounding vote to reject austerity, their leader, Alexis Tsipras, is insisting that the vote merely strengthens his position in negotiating a compromise. In order to underline his subservience he has even forced the resignation of his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, who upset the Troika by calling them ‘terrorists’.
The compromise that Tsipras is aiming for is the vague promise, held out last week by the IMF, that at some time in the distant future (10 years or more) Greece might be allowed some relief on the debt. In return for this meaningless promise, Tsipras is prepared to agree to all the austerity measures demanded.
At every stage Syriza has demonstrated the complete and utter bankruptcy of reformism when faced with the world economic crisis of capitalism – a crisis that does not permit any compromise as far as the ruling class is concerned. They know that the vote will act as an inspiration to workers across the continent, from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Britain, who are rising up against savage austerity cuts imposed to ‘save’ a bankrupt capitalist system.
An emergency meeting of the EU, called yesterday and today to discuss what to do about Greece, undoubtedly is plotting how best to effect regime change in Greece and bring in a regime that can crush the Greek working class. Only the Greek section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, the Revolutionary Marxist League, fought for the only way forward for the working class.
That is, to vote ‘No’ and then go forward to take the power by immediately removing those leaders in the unions who called for a ‘Yes’ vote, or who called for abstention, and replace them with leaders who will immediately organise a general strike to kick out the Syriza government and replace it with a workers and small farmers government.
This government must immediately break with the capitalist EU, renounce all debt and nationalise the banks and major industries and place them under the control of the working class. A workers and small farmers government must link up with the working class of Europe in the historic struggle for the Socialist United States of Europe.
Central to this struggle is the building of sections of the Fourth International in every country to lead this fight to victory.