Recent events in Greece once again show that in every struggle of working class people, clear goals – also known as a program – are necessary. Without that, the struggle inevitably gets led down dead-end streets or into a swamp that only the capitalists can benefit from. From outside Greece, the best socialists can do is raise some thoughts. We hope these bear discussing inside the workers’ movement there.
Greek Exit from Euro or “Grexit”
It’s clear that the only way that Greece can remain inside the eurozone is by either completely prostrating itself to German Finance Minister Schauble and German capital, or rapidly build a movement of workers both inside Greece and Europe-wide – one powerful enough to get Scheuble, Merkle & Co. to back down. In any case, since the “Grexit” is clearly a possibility, it has to be prepared for. With that in mind, we would like to know what socialists inside Greece think of the following points:
- Repudiate the foreign debt.
- Prepare for the “Grexit” by starting now to develop a national currency
- Put the entire banking system into public ownership, under the control and management of the workers and the small depositors.
- Retract all plans for privatization, first and foremost of the Port of Pireus.
- Public ownership of the Greek mass media under worker control and management.
Put the Greek shipping lines under public ownership without compensation. (Note: These companies have received special tax breaks for years. That’s compensation enough.) Recall all Greek ships to the Port of Pireus for the sailors to meet with the port workers to organize how to take full control and management of their industry. This would be the first step down the road towards a planned economy. (Note: The Greek merchant marine owns almost 20% of the world’s merchant fleet. This would have serious trade consequences, but so be it.)
Build direct links with the workers in other countries, especially in the EU. This includes sending worker delegations throughout the EU, most particularly to meet up with the workers in Germany who are or were recently on strike to explain their common interests.
Take immediate steps to draw the refugees living in Greece into the struggle and help spread this struggle to their home countries.
The other part of the question is how can this program, or any program be accomplished?
As far as we can understand it, Syriza still has the attention of the majority of Greek people, including the Greek working class. If that’s true, then we don’t understand why some of the Marxists aren’t inside Syriza, fighting for Syriza to take up a program that meets the needs of the moment, whether it includes the above points or totally other ones. In fact, is there an argument to be part of the left platform of Syriza?
The other question is this: Are there any sort of committees of struggle that workers in their work places and in their communities are starting to build? We read, for instance, about neighborhood committees that were starting to build a year ago. We have no idea if these are just the fantasies of some ultra lefts or if they really involved some working class people. But are there such committees now? In other words, how could centers of workers’ power – committees of struggle – develop in Greece?
We put all this forward really as questions we’d like answers to so that we, outside Greece, can best learn from this struggle.
I think the problem is that the Syriza leadership has had the credulity of the Greek working class–but not for much longer after this sad knuckling under to the banking elite, this repudiation of the overwhelming will of the Greek people. There is no evidence that the Syriza leadership can be dislodged by Marxist elements–in fact, there’s a published story to the effect that Tsipras and his cronies are planning to purge them from the party. This is a huge setback for the Green people, the Greek left, and the international left–a crushing blow to the left’s credibility.
Thanks to William Kaufman for his comments. This article was written before the reports surfaced about a planned purge of opposition within Syriza. In any case, being outside Greece it’s impossible to really know how and where to organize. The best we can do is plant some thoughts and raise some questions.