• We need a Plan B: for another Europe, for all of Europe!

  • By Walter Baier, Elisabeth Gauthier | 16 Jul 15 | Posted under: Greece, European Union
  • After five months of negotiations conducted in an authoritarian and arrogant manner, 18 heads of state and government of the Euro-group under the leadership of Germany’s finance minister, have forced an agreement on Greece’s democratically elected government that contradicts SYRIZA’s electoral programme and negates the results of the July 5 referendum.

    Alexis Tsipras accepted this so-called “agreement” under threat of financial strangulation, total economic collapse, and a humanitarian catastrophe. The July 13 agreement is the result of unacceptable blackmail. It has become dramatically evident not just how much the neoliberal system of domination aggravates the crisis for individual peoples but that it is about to destroy the whole European Union economically, socially and politically. Never before has the European Union made a decision that undermines so fundamentally the project of European Integration.

    Not the Greek government is to blame for this agreement but the leaders of the European Union are.

    Attempting to implement its coercive measures will provoke the resistance of broad sectors of Greece’s population. Alexis Tsipras himself has called it a bad agreement and is determined to continue the struggle in defence of the Greek people. We will remain in solidarity with the Greek movements which resist and fight for better living conditions of the population. We simultaneously seek to widen the struggle against austerity throughout Europe.   

    This policy conducted by the EU leaders has already visibly failed and will continue to fail and erode democracy. Nevertheless, the humiliation of the SYRIZA government and punishment of the Greek people is intended to demonstrate to all European peoples the supposed hopelessness of the struggle against neoliberal austerity and for democracy. It is not only Tsipras and the Greeks who are to be punished and condemned to impotence but all of us!

    All governments and all political forces which have carried through the neoliberal model in the states and in the union bear the responsibility of the European crisis. The attempt on the part of influential sectors of the German elites to attain dominance in Europe is doomed to fail however it threatens and compromises the very idea of European unity. Today’s EU is also politically out of balance.

    This can never be our Europe. All of Europe needs a Plan B.

    In the week before the referendum, the OXI week, 200,000 people in 150 cities throughout Europe demonstrated their solidarity in the struggle against austerity policy. Finally also the European Trade Union Confederation has raised its voice and demanded in accordance with some of the largest national trade union confederations that Europe’s political leaderships respect the results of the referendum; many of the world’s most important economists along with numerous European intellectuals are calling for a change of policy of the governments and the EU; hundreds of thousands European citizens have declared their support with the Greek people. These are positive and important new elements. However so far it has been impossible to get the urgently needed policy changes adopted.

    More and more decisive European action is required.

    The reason for the present dilemma is not in the failure of the SYRIZA government but its isolation in relation to other European governments. It is our own weakness that was brought home to us on July 13, and we need to think about it and discuss it seriously.

    Various strategic options are now being discussed within the movements, the European and Greek lefts, among them Grexit. It is the Greek people who have to accept or reject this option. In this context our most important task is to build the struggle against austerity policy on a European scale and change the relation of forces in our countries and in Europe as a whole, and in so doing ease the suffering of the Greek people and widen the manoeuvring room for their political decisions.

    This continues to require our Europe-wide cooperation, solidarity, and unity.

    In this spirit we prepare initiatives, European wide mobilisations and a joint demonstration in Brussels in October.