Statement of KOE
As we have already noted on a number of occasions, a crucial aspect of the recent political period in Greece is the radicalism and the new mass movement emerging among the people. In both elections, there was a significant people's movement that managed to terrorize "yesterday's rulers." The elections of 17 June were also a difficult battle under highly polarized conditions. On the one hand, popular power was mainly expressed in the form of the Coalition of Radical Left (SYRIZA) itself. On the other hand, the right wing New Democracy represented a pro-Memorandum, pro-Troika axis with strong anti-left and far-right characteristics. The old dominant forces aimed to strike the people's movement, stop SYRIZA and curb the overall morale of the Greek people. All key international and European forces of capital rallied around these goals, along with the pro-austerity domestic forces.
In these circumstances, we must recall that SYRIZA earned only 4.6% of ballots cast and 315,000 votes in 2009. This jumped to 17% and 1,060,000 votes in May 2012, then 27% and 1,655,000 votes in June 2012. Such a result was inconceivable even a few months ago. It demonstrates a tremendous shift in the consciousness of Greek society. It reflects the steps taken by the popular movement within two years and shows a convergence of popular power with the Left. In other words, SYRIZA finally succeeded to articulate the intense search of broad masses for a way out of the crisis, as well as their rejection of the bankrupt political system.
The results of the two recent elections, which brought the impressive collapse of all the pro-Memoranda parties (PASOK, New Democracy, LAOS, Democratic Alliance) compared to their score in the 2009 elections, and the fact that most of the votes that they obtained was based on their pre-electoral promises for "renegotiation" of the agreements with the Troika, lead to one conclusion: The policy of the Memoranda and the regime imposed by the Troika are delegitimized in the conscience of the Greek people. And this fact constitutes the major problem of the once mighty bourgeois parties. Nobody can ignore this reality; nobody can govern pretending that this policy is "approved" by the Greek people.
Despite all this, New Democracy came in first place by a small margin. This party was a major pole for pro-austerity forces of the Right, sculpting a camp of fear while unleashing slandering lies against SYRIZA and threatening the masses with an immediate catastrophe in case they "dare" to vote for SYRIZA. New Democracy attempted to hide its program, that is, fundamental support for the Memoranda and the Troika, while speaking of a "renegotiation" of the austerity measures. All this talk of "renegotiation" was, however, forgotten by the New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras during his very first statement on the night of the election. This new government will represent Euro-slavery and destruction. Such a government can offer nothing other than poverty, misery and repression, with the assistance of the fascist "Golden Dawn".
The entire political map of Greece has changed [following these elections]. SYRIZA is clearly the big winner. The system of domination of the two once mighty bourgeois parties and their alternation in government has ceased to exist. PASOK is nearly finished and the pro-austerity bloc is weak, despite international support. Certain bipolarity has developed based on the social polarization created by the Memoranda and the agreements with the Troika. There are also huge upheavals on the Left, as some left parties (KKE, ANTARSYA, etc.) paid a heavy price on 17 June for pretending to ignore the importance of social conflict and preferring to hide behind their "pure truth". Only by understanding the new situation and responding to the current need for a concrete front, however, would one be able to contribute to the efforts of the people to escape from their chains. SYRIZA expressed largely one pole of this conflict, while a smaller portion was expressed by the "Independent Greeks." The fascist right made inroads on the basis of a general questioning of politics, corruption, a selling out of the country, abandonment of "national assets" and of course taking full advantage of the immigration question. All this, of course, from a formation (i.e., "Golden Dawn") that represents the long arm of the domestic terrorist system and international blackmail.
There are also other political dimensions. The people asked for the Left to change, to become a force for the overthrow of the political system. The Left has indeed changed, but not as much as would be necessary for an even greater social change. This would require an even greater intensity of frontal characteristics and a separation from the old political system.
Popular radicalism has been diverted in various directions. There is a tremendous rage among the people, a desire to tear down everything. This is sometimes manifest in the departure from one political party in order to simply try another. The people find no easy answers. Nevertheless, there is gravitation around SYRIZA. It has peaked and should be given orientation.
The old political system marginally survived and proceeded to enable the formation of a new government. Survival of the old political system is now enabled by certain cornerstones. First, there is the participation of the bankrupt PASOK and its "big business" supporters and others. Second, there is the participation of the "Democratic Left", which before the 17 June elections had stated that it would not be involved in such a government. The "Democratic Left" discovered the proposal of "disengagement" from the memorandum before the 17 June elections, in order to finally enable the formation of a government with PASOK and New Democracy. Why was such a government not formed after the 6 May election since New Democracy, PASOK and the Democratic Left already could form then a parliamentary majority? Why did they consent to a second round of elections while hypocritically cursing the June election as a disaster for the economy and the society? It is because they wanted to demonstrate [to their masters] that they are attempting to compel SYRIZA into a pro-austerity government, although they also knew that this was Midsummer Night's Dream.
Those who supposedly care about national salvation proceeded to a second election only to change the balance of power between the parties, to constrain the people's energy and to exercise huge pressure on SYRIZA. Nevertheless, they were unsuccessful in their attempt, and today they have formed a government counterfeiting the popular anti-austerity majority. The power of the new government is based on foreign meddling; the arrangement is fragile, an attempt to save a political system unwanted by the vast majority of the people. This especially holds in the most popular neighborhoods, among the workers and the unemployed, the youth and the productive ages of the population.
In the days following the elections, the people will gather more strength. The struggles of the past two years have imparted valuable experience. But the massive popular movement has also produced two significant political consequences [discussed below]. Standing besides this massive popular movement will be a political force, namely SYRIZA, that showed a potential to listen to the Greek people's concerns and can contribute to a different perspective.
SYRIZA is not anymore what it was [before the elections]. Its transformation into a mass popular democratic formation of the Left is quite necessary. SYRIZA cannot remain a scheme of correlations, cannot continue as equilibrium between components and without an organized basis. The organizations and parties that form SYRIZA should be able to maintain their ideological, political and organizational autonomy, but SYRIZA can no longer remain an aggregation of the forces that have hitherto constituted the Coalition of Radical Left. The popular radical current in society must animate SYRIZA, and this cannot be done with the old methods and habits. With initiative, a large opening in society, the self-organization and a wider rallying of the masses, a new SYRIZA can be built. KOE will try to contribute in this direction.
The main task of SYRIZA today is to provide guidance to popular radicalism and a way out from the crisis. SYRIZA embodies this popular radicalism, but it is a new and higher level about which we speak. Hundreds of thousands voted for SYRIZA in order to get rid of the memoranda and of the bankrupt political system. In order to move forward, SYRIZA must assume its responsibilities. From this perspective, there is a need for a greater "accountability" of SYRIZA. This does not mean concealing its views. It means to take into account the needs, problems and anxieties of large segments of society. To respond and give answers to society, providing a way out, beyond mere slogans. This is the real challenge: Intensification of the antithesis with the Memoranda and austerity, the Troika and the political system, in a more complex and conscious antisystemic direction.
21 June 2012
Communist Organization of Greece / KOE