THE victory of Syriza in the Greek election represents a huge blow by the Greek working class against European capitalism.
Syriza, the coalition of the radical left, has only existed for a few years, yet on Sunday it swept to within two seats of obtaining an unprecedented overall majority in the Greek parliament.
Syriza owes its rise to the fact that Greek workers and youth have reached the end of the road as far as austerity is concerned and as one worker interviewed stated ‘we have nothing left to lose’.
For four years, Greek workers have endured the most savage cuts imposed on their puppet government by the Troika of the IMF, European Central Bank and EU in order to pay off the state debt incurred in bailing-out the banks.
Wages have been halved for many, over ten thousand municipal employees have been sacked out of hand, pensions cut and the whole of Greece’s industries and public services privatised.
Huge sacrifices demanded to pay off the debts of the bankers have left 300,000 workers without electricity, hospitals without medicine and starvation rampant in the country, along with 25% overall unemployment and a staggering 55% of young people out of work.
The Greek workers and youth have had enough of paying for the bankers debts and voted overwhelmingly for Syriza which promised to write off half the debt, along with pledging to raise pay and pension levels, re-instate sacked workers and ‘re-negotiate’ the terms of the bail-out.
At the same time, Syriza and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, are adamant that they will not leave the eurozone or EU.
This is a retreat from the original position of Syriza which was to withdraw from the eurozone completely.
This retreat has been further underlined by their decision to enter into a coalition with the right-wing Greek Independence party, which mixes anti-austerity rhetoric with profound anti-working class policies, instead of using their huge majority to push through workers demands and dare the right-wing to vote them down and face an inevitable backlash from an enraged working class.
This drive to seek agreement through a negotiated compromise is doomed.
Even before the votes were counted, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was insisting that Greece must stick to its ‘previous commitments’ to carry on with EU diktats.
In this crisis situation the working class must push forward, far beyond treacherous promises of ‘re-negotiation’.
While Syriza is prepared to compromise with capitalism the working class cannot, it must immediately organise to take power through the socialist revolution.
On the eve of the Russian revolution Lenin explained: ‘The chief fortress of finance capital must be seized. Unless this is done, all phrases, all projects of how to avert disaster are sheer deception.’ (Lenin ‘The Impending Catastrophe and How to Combat it’).
Greek workers must immediately demand the nationalisation of all industries and banks along with a complete repudiation of all debts.
Across the country, workers must set up Councils of Action to defend themselves against any challenge that may arise from a capitalist-inspired attempt at a coup.
The ERT TV station closed by the EU must be reopened and its facilities placed at the disposal of the workers.
Plans must be put in place to create jobs for all workers and youth.
The riot police, which has been used to try and smash the working class, must be disbanded and replaced with a workers militia answerable to the councils of action.
This is not just a Greek issue – the Greek working class have shown the way for the working class of Europe. Across the continent millions of workers will be demanding an end to austerity, an end to a bankrupt capitalist system that can only promise misery to workers and youth and vast profits to the ruling class.
The urgent task is the building of revolutionary parties of the Fourth International in every country to lead the struggle for power and the victory of the European socialist revolution and the creation of a United Socialist States of Europe.