The 17 June Elections in Greece
Polarization and impasse: rise of the Left, Pyrrhic victory for the Right
The right wing New Democracy won in the Greek elections on June 17 a pyrrhic victory, with a very narrow lead from the second party, the reformist SYRIZA: the Right got around 30 per cent( not permitting to form a majority government by itself alone) and the reformist Left around 27 per cent ( from 17 per cent on May 6). This extremely limited and non inspiring “success” of the Right came despite a gigantic international and national campaign of intimidation of the Greek people and in favor of New Democracy, waged by all international and national bourgeois media as well as by the IMF and Lagarde, Merkel’s and Shäuble’s Germany, Baroso, Oli Ren and the EU Commision, Junker, the chairman of the Eurogroup, even by Obama himself and his Administration. Although the pro-Memorandum parties (New Democracy, PASOK, the liberal Democratic Left) can form a coalition government supported by a parliamentary majority (thanks also of the anti-democratic electoral law giving to the first party as a bonus 50 seats), the majority of the voters themselves have voted anti-Memorandum parties.
The left turn of the working class and of the popular masses in their opposition to the draconian austerity imposed by the hated troika of the EU/ECB/IMF, which was expressed on May 6, continues propelling SYRIZA again on the second rank of the Official Opposition with a far higher percentage this time. The polarization of the anti-Memorandum left forces was concentrated around SYRIZA. The Stalinist KKE, which made a hysterical electoral campaign, calling the Greek people “to correct its mistake and its vote of May the 6th” and making as its main, if not exclusive, target SYRIZA, was smashed in the polls, losing half of its votes and falling to the last position of the parliamentary parties, with a an appalling percentage of 4.5 per cent ( got only in 1994, in the aftermath of the collapse of the USSR and after two splits of the KKE in 1989 and 1991). The centrist front ANTARSYA was pulverized too, falling from 1.2 per cent on May 6 to 0.3 per cent on June 17!
In the last case, the reasons are political as well and not limited to the pressure of the overwhelming wave towards SYRIZA. During the discussions the EEK had with ANTARSYA before the 17 June elections exploring the possibilities for an electoral bloc, we had insisted for an objective assessment of the new political situation after May 6, the need to avoid both an opportunist capitulation to SYRIZA as well as a sectarian blindness towards the political process in the masses leading to its ascent; on this basis we posed only three conditions: we proposed to include in the program two crucial points- on the struggle for workers power, on the necessity to counter-pose to the imperialist EU the struggle for the United Socialist States of Europe- and, third, to keep our own political identity and independence by mentioning our name too alongside of ANTARSYA’s on the ballots. The leaders of ANTARSYA said that in general they agree on the political-programmatic points but they rejected for “technical and political reasons” to have our name on the ballots. So, the negotiations collapsed. Despite that, the EEK decided to give a critical vote to ANTARSYA, making a united front with those in their ranks that opposed an opportunist capitulation to SYRIZA and accepted our programmatic points.
But as a matter of fact, ANTARSYA made the exact opposite from what we had discussed during the negotiations. They were internally split and paralyzed between openly pro-SYRIZA and anti-SYRIZA forces; the pro-SYRIZA forces ( which torpedoed the bloc with the EEK) could not hidden their opportunism towards the reformists, and the anti-SYRIZA forces followed a rather sectarian line, not very different from that of the Stalinist KKE. On the programmatic basis, their so called “acceptance” of the EEK’s programmatic points on workers power and on the socialist unity of Europe against the EU disappeared: with a few individual exceptions in some articles and some speeches, in the electoral material and in the main electoral rally, the urgency of a struggle for workers power was ignored while the line for an exit from the EU and abandonment of the euro, without the alternative of the United Socialist States of Europe, was indistinguishable from the line of the KKE.
The call for a break with the euro and a return to a (devalued) drachma, within the capitalist framework, both in the case of the KKE and ANTARSYA collided completely with the will of the vast majority of the Greek people, which is hostile to the EU because of its austerity measures that destroyed its living standards but nevertheless it sees a return to a devalued drachma as a the culmination of the current catastrophe. A program for a revolutionary socialist way out from the capitalist system’s bankruptcy and for the United Socialist States of Europe is not abstract propagandism but an urgent task to be advanced by the vanguard within the fighting masses.
The lack of such a perspective was used by the ruling class in its campaign of intimidation not only against the KKE and ANTARSYA but as well against SYRIZA itself. Tsipras and SYRIZA asked for an impossible compromise, the rejection of the Memorandum without a break with the EE and the euro, and without breaking the framework of the capitalist system. The European and Greek bourgeoisie and their political personnel supported by a vicious mass media campaign presented a possible electoral victory of SYRIZA and the formation of a government of the Left in Athens as the prelude of the famous “Grexit”, the automatic ejection from the EU and exit from the euro. Despite all the protests of Tsipras and SYRIZA for the opposite, for their loyalty of the EU and the euro, their conciliationism, more and more pronounced during the election campaign, codified also in their renewed electoral program, which respected capitalism, the euro, the EU, even the NATO membership of Greece, was seen by more and more people at least as a vagueness adding and exacerbating their insecurity. So the fact that SYRIZA did not win the rank of the first party in the June elections as it wished, cannot be explained just by the enormous pressures that indeed imperialism and the Greek ruling class exercised. In conditions of insoluble systemic crisis and deepening social polarization, more conciliatory becomes the one political pole weaker it becomes as the opposite pole becomes more radical and extremely violent in its opposition.
This is a political lesson exploited by the fascists themselves. The Nazi “Golden Dawn” succeeded to keep its high percentage of 7 per cent not despite but thanks to its extremely provocative behavior after May the 6th, the escalation of its murderous pogroms against the immigrants, and the pre-determined show of violence of a leading member of the Nazis against two women deputies of the Left during an ANTENNA TV Station show. Of course, all this Nazi violence remains unpunished thanks to the protection of the Police and the security services that work together in harmonious cooperation with these gangsters. The bourgeois parties and media cover them by “condemning equally both extremes, right and left”, although the left is rather extremely legalistic and respectful of the bourgeois parliamentarian democratic framework.
The rapid disintegration of the petty bourgeoisie, the mass unemployment of a youth without a future and with a miserable present, the discredited parliamentarianism, the conciliatory politics of the systemic Left, and the lack of an irreconcilable, powerful, deeply implanted in the masses of the working class, anti-systemic revolutionary Left helps the counter-revolutionaries to masquerade as “anti-systemic”.
The mobilization of such storm troopers by the ruling class is a clear alert signal that we approach in Greece the moment of truth: the historical confrontation between social revolution and counter-revolution.
The crisis of political power, which emerged in the previous May elections, when both bourgeois parties that ruled Greece from 1974, the New Democracy and PASOK, have collapsed and a powerful ascent of the left was manifested with the rise of SYRIZA in second position has not been resolved, although the vacuum of a government will be filled now by a coalition of the ruins of the old bi-partisan bourgeois system plus the “willing allies” of a (not so) Democratic (not so) Left.
It will be a very weak and heterogeneous bourgeois government, amidst a generalized capitalist bankruptcy expanding now in Spain, Italy, all over Europe and internationally. It is confronting a strong Left Official Opposition, and above all a devastated people, which is totally hostile to the implementation of the memorandum that is the real program to which is committed slavishly the new government, as Samaras, leader of the New Democracy, said first thing in his first declaration immediately after his electoral “victory”… There is no doubt that they will try to implement all their commitments to the EU and the IMF i.e new enormous cuts of 11.5 billion euros, new privatizations etc. And they will do it by force, by State and para-State repression. A weak government can be very vicious and dangerous precisely because of its weakness and semi-Bonapartist features.
Nobody believes that it will be a very lasting government. The crisis of political power has as its source capitalist bankruptcy and the growing inability of the rulers to rule. With or without a bourgeois government, Greece remains ungovernable.
The workers and popular movement has to prepare itself politically, programmatically, organizationally: self organization of the masses in popular assemblies, Centers of Workers’ Struggle, Defense Workers Squads against the fascists, for a United Front to smash the Memorandum and the Memorandum capitalist government of the Troikans, for the repudiation of the debt, the nationalization of the banks and of the key sectors of the economy without compensation under workers control, for an Emergency Plan of salvation of the people, which only a workers government and a workers power can implement, in alliance with the European workers fighting to smash the imperialist EU to establish the United Socialist States of Europe.
We have to address this program in all struggles and to the Left, including the ranks of SYRIZA, re-grouping the most combative elements in the working class and the youth.
This is the general line for the militants of the EEK, and of the entire revolutionary vanguard.
18 June 2012