As was to be expected, the direction taken by the Tsipras government after the fatal day of July 13 confirmed the pessimistic forecast (1) that it would turn with unheard cynicism and violence – albeit only verbal for the moment – against those who dare challenge its total pro-memorandum transformation. And since the ‘Tsipras Tendency’ in Syriza has chosen to take charge of a new government that would govern the country with the absolutely decisive collaboration of all the neoliberal parties (New Democracy, PASOK, Potami), its offensive was clearly directed solely at the opponents of its government program, i.e. the third Momorandum. And naturally, these opponents are not to be found in yesterday’s opposition which has now turned into a government partner, but first and foremost in the left wing of Syriza, which is now the main opposition force, seeing as Golden Dawn and the PCG (KKE) are in the words of their leaders, lately in agreement with the Tsipras government that Greece must remain faithful to the Euro!
The fact that all these changes and “unimaginable” reversals of the political map of the country took place in less than a month makes the stunned citizens even more embarrassed and confused. However, a somewhat closer look at the evolution of the Tsipras government would have been enough to prepare us for its final Ovidian metamorphosis. Indeed, we should have been warned by their continuous retreats during their first five months of negotiations with the creditors. – and above all, by the rightward spread that began on the very day of the formation of Tsipras government with ministerial appointment of individuals without any social base who not only had not the slightest connection with Syriza, but were insulting them in public just days before the election! As, for example, Mr. Mardas who, on January 17, 2015 – that is to say just a week before the victory of Syriza – published a particularly foul article against Syriza MP Rachel Makri:”Rachel vs Kim Yong and Amin Dada”which concluded with the very rhetorical question (highlighted by himself) ” are these the people who are going to govern us?”. Ten days later this same Mr. Mardas became, by the grace of the Dragasakis/Tsipras duo, Deputy Minister of Finance and, together with the Minister of Interior Mr. Panoussis (2) assumed the role of ideological mentor, pillar and Inspector General of the new government, with practical duties that far exceeded his economic competence, which were more and more extended by successive decisions of Mr. Tsipras.
If we add to all this the long and gradual “normalization” of the party and its sympathizers, in order, in view of its coming to power, to neutralize the most “disturbing” elements and at the same time offer “those on top” the necessary pledges that …” you have nothing to fear from us” then the Tsipras government’s pro-memorandum metamorphosis appears as an almost” natural outcome “of a route doomed to lead to that result. What is more, an outcome whereby a Tsiprist “normalized” Syriza into European Social Democracy will turn out to be equally “natural”, especially since we are already witnessing some “disharmony” in its relations even with the European Left Party. In short, no surprise since the worm of betrayal of July 13 was a long time in the body which gave birth to “the first left-wing government in the history of Greece”. In the same way that the worm of betrayal of August 4, 1914 existed in German social democracy -and internationally- who negated its whole reason for existence by voting for war credits for the slaughter of the First World War.
While taking account of differences, the present capitulation of Syriza and its government will have the same or even worse consequences in Greece than those resulting from the betrayal of the SPD in Germany in that fateful August of 1914. However, even though the disastrous consequences for the Greek Left have already begun to be measured, it is a remarkable fact that no one here in Greece is concerned at the no less disastrous consequences of the Tsipras Government’s submission to neoliberalism outside Greece, in Europe and the whole world.
Without hesitation, we believe that Mr. Tsipras and his staff bear downright criminal responsibility in creating the dangerous situation provoked by their particular capitulation, in the ranks of the international left, the social movements and among progressive citizens of Europe! But realistically, what more could you expect from people who, for months or years, have turned their backs so ostentatiously on movements of solidarity of “those from below”, which developed almost everywhere in Europe and beyond (3) while at the same time they still preferred to seek allies just in the places where all one could find was sworn enemies among the international Social Democrats and the various brands of Hollande, Renzi and Schultz!?
Indeed, given that Syriza was until recently the flagship and at the same time the source of inspiration and hope to the European left – already enmeshed in a deep crisis- at the beginning of the 21th century, one can say that its capitulation will have catastrophic consequences similar to those that had a century ago the capitulation of what was at that time the flagship party of the international labour and socialist movement, that is to say, German social democracy. Here it is no longer a question of a simple working hypothesis to be confirmed by events. From all corners of Europe, but also beyond, we are confronted by an avalanche of messages reporting a feeling of deep disappointment, anxiety or even despair that is spreading among millions of citizens in and outside Europe, who believed that under the leadership of Syriza, they could finally fight together successfully against austerity and the “debt-system.”
One must admit that the situation created in the international socialist and progressive movement by Syriza’s capitulation is terribly dangerous. It is not just that there are thousands and thousands of people who are forced to abandon all activism and to withdraw into themselves; nor that there are as many who feel paralysed and choose to wait passively for the course of events. It is especially that Syriza’s betrayal comes at a very critical historical moment, when the racist extreme right is advancing almost everywhere in our continent, which already makes immediate and direct the threat that many of the citizens Europeans disappointed by Syriza will fall prey to this racist and neo-fascist self-proclaimed “anti-systemic” extreme right. Bearing in mind all the above, our conclusion is that it is of the utmost urgency for the resistance front against the Memoranda, which is under construction, to heed with all speed – today and not tomorrow – the call of millions of citizens in Europe and the world who continue to invest their hopes for a Greece which resists neoliberal barbarism, by taking international initiatives of concrete and visible struggle. Time is running out and any equivocation could be fatal for us. Moreover, it is by assuming these so very important internationalist tasks that the Greek Left could not only move on but also bring the difficult struggle in Greece to a safe conclusion.
1. See “Black days: 4th August 1914 Germany and 13th July 2015 Greece” (http://cadtm.org/Black-days-4th-August-1914-Germany)
2. Coming from the “Democratic Left”, which participated and supported at least one pro-memorandum government, Yannis Panoussis, Interior Minister in the Tsipras government, distinguished himself in recent months for his daily diatribes against what he called the “Left of nothing”, the President of a Parliament “which is the domain of psychiatrists,” Yanis Varoufakis “who deserves to go before the special court,” Marxists “lost in space”, Youth and trade unionists of Syriza … and by his praise of “Law & Order” and repression against anything that moves. Incidentally, it was under his command that the Greek police – for the first time in the history of the country- raided universities, violating the traditional university asylum.
3. See « Quelle réponse de Syriza aux millions de citoyens solidaires de par l’Europe ? » (http://cadtm.org/Quelle-reponse-de-Syriza-aux). And « Nos meilleurs alliés, les 300.000 de Puerta del Sol ! » (http://cadtm.org/Nos-meilleurs-allies-les-300-000)
Translated by Julian Silverman