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Greece: what direction will the struggle take?

12 June 2012

AT THE moment, it is vitally necessary for revolutionaries to pursue such a tactic within Syriza and to campaign for maximum electoral support while criticising every limitation of its programme and leadership. Any sectarian abstention would be suicidal for the left because it would pass the initiative to the fascists, who could grow like wildfire amongst the lumpen-proletariat, the ruined petty bourgeoisie, the unemployed and the youth.
The classic conditions for fascism to emerge as a serious challenger for power are those where the working class has had the opportunity to resist a capitalist crisis but has failed to take it. An electoral victory for Syriza and other anti-austerity parties would represent such an opportunity, it would encourage the working class to fightback against austerity, to insist on its own interests, and build its own organisations. However, defeat would have the opposite effect, tending to lower expectations and morale and demobilise resistance. Worse still would be a failure to form an anti-austerity government because of a refusal by working class parties to participate.
Any sectarian abstention in the electoral arena would be both criminal and suicidal for the Left. Yet, that is the position adopted by the KKE. Like the German KPD in the early Thirties, which refused to join forces with the Social Democracy because of its reformist politics and, thereby, allowed the Nazis to take power, the KKE, which has considerable influence within its affiliated unions, is prepared to see a pro-austerity government take office rather than fight alongside the reformists of Syriza.
While that would undoubtedly be a tragedy, the adoption of a similarly “intransigent” position by the far smaller forces organised within Antarsya is just as surely a farce. However, it is certainly no laughing matter. Any parties of the left that allow the right to continue with the austerity, despite a reaffirmed majority vote for rejection, will be unfailingly condemned by the masses, and rightly so. In such a situation, the Golden Dawn fascists would see a further huge increase in their vote and support.
Whatever the outcome of the election, the impact of the capitalist crisis and the austerity programmes will continue. Youth unemployment is already 53.8 per cent and overall unemployment is 21.7 per cent. Whether the austerity goes through or there is a default, it will get much worse. Unless there is a compromise, that is, a partial back down by Merkel and the EU, there will be a race between the forces of the left and fascism during the coming months. Greece will enter an acute revolutionary or counterrevolutionary situation.
Therefore, anticapitalist and socialist measures become not just a question of fighting for hegemonic ideas but also the only solution to the crisis. Once again, the Greek crisis shows how vital (both for good or ill) political parties are, and the terrific crisis of leadership of the workers’ movement.
THIS IS exactly the kind of situation that the Communist International addressed with its development of the United Front tactic and, more specifically, the Workers’ Government tactic.
Today’s revolutionaries should apply those tactics in the coming months. If Syriza wins enough votes and seats to form a left coalition and fulfills its promise of rejecting the Memorandum, the task of revolutionaries, however small their numbers, will be to defend it against the inevitable sabotage and revolt of all the key elements of the bourgeois state.
Our task should be to work all out to create councils of delegates from the unions, workplaces and popular communities, to ensure this.
This means appealing to all the trade unions, especially at workplace level, to call mass meetings and elect delegates to councils of action as real alternative organs of power, located in every village town and city in Greece. The model for such assemblies has been set by those created by occupations but also by Syriza’s local assemblies.
Such bodies would have to create a mass self-defence force of workers, unemployed, students, capable of defending the new power. Only a government resting on the entire mobilised working people could defy the forces of reaction at home and abroad and carry though the essential measures.
Within such bodies, we would agitate for them to take control over the large-scale firms and banks of the capitalist economy and demand that the government legitimise all such measures. We would demand that the government, faced with retaliation from the EU and the imperialist powers, should also appeal to the workers of Europe to come to the aid of the Greek workers by taking direct action against their own governments and the EU institutions – joining their Greek sisters and brothers in a fight for a Socialist United States of Europe, as the first step to a socialist world.
As for anticapitalists and revolutionaries outside Greece, it is our urgent duty to mobilise a Europe-wide movement to demand/support the complete cancellation of the Greek state debt and the abandonment of the Fiscal (austerity) Pact.
We should call on the French, German, Spanish, Italian and Greek unions, the left social democratic and Stalinist parties, and even the mainline Socialist and Labour parties, to mobilise on the streets and in the parliaments to demand an end to the torture of the Greek people, the complete cancellation of the Greek state debt and the total abandonment of the Fiscal (austerity) Pact.
Across Europe, revolutionaries need to unite their forces around these key policies to halt the austerity programmes, make the rich pay and put socialism and revolution on the agenda for millions.
Greece is the living laboratory in which the theories, principles and practice of revolutionaries will be put to the ultimate test – the struggle for power.
It is the duty of revolutionaries now to rally support for the Greek workers, mobilising across every border to build the practical solidarity that can deliver victory.

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