Manifestation in support of the government in front of the Greek Parliament. By Aggelos Kalodoukas, left.gr
Learn to swim, mate
That the tide will lift
That freedom is happening here
(Sergio Godinho, Mare Alta)
The Eurogroup agreement does not bring the negotiation into conclusion. It does not even postpone the clash. In contrast, it opens a new, long period full of hard clashes both inside and outside our country; clashes that have never taken place before, since the previous pro-austerity governments did not simply agree in everything with the Troika and the leadership of the EU, but, in many cases, even surpassed them in the severity of the austerity measures they elaborated and applied.
The basic aim of the neoliberal European elite and its political representatives was -and still is- the entrapment of SYRIZA into a framework which does not constitute a real alternative against neoliberal hegemony. They tried and they will continue trying to entrap the Greek government and SYRIZA in a clearly defensive stance, in which we would be forced to merely try to confine the damage, without having the ability to undertake our own alternative initiatives.
The whole framework of the negotiation was formulated by our opponents so as to lead the government to collapse or get ridiculed. Nevertheless, the stance of the Greek government ruined their plans and deconstructed the fake blackmail circulated by Greek and foreign circles that, in case the Greek side expressed its disagreement, our country would be led to collapse and to a forced exit from the Eurozone.
The fact that we managed to overcome the aforementioned dangers and gain crucial time is very important. Furthermore, it is also very important that we managed to cancel all the painful austerity measures that the previous government has pre-electorally committed to apply.
The Greek government signed an agreement that substantially reflects the fact that, from now on, every next step will be a part of the clash. This agreement is far from what all of us would consider as ideal. It includes obstacles and restrictions that force us to postpone or re-formulate a part of our popular governmental program.
Nevertheless, the return of politics in the foreground of the European process and the first political ruptures that were caused in a European level after the electoral victory of SYRIZA and the overall stance of the Greek government of social salvation, constitute encouraging signs for the next period. This specific stance changed the framework of discussion throughout Europe, creating, in parallel, a big, unprecedented solidarity movement. The reinforcement of the solidarity of the peoples of Europe is a duty of utmost centrality, for the perspective of reinforcing pan-European social struggles and changing the balance of power in Europe.
The transparency with which the new government acted in the negotiation process constitutes another qualitative difference with the previous governments of New Democracy and PASOK. We have nothing to be afraid of, as long as we continue to address the Greek people with sincerity, both for the existing possibilities and the existing problems.
The basic characteristic that will determine the fate of the next stages of the confrontation with our opponents, is whether the government will manage to keep open the rupture created against the total dominance of neoliberalism. In case we achieve smaller or bigger victories in the next period, political developments in Europe will be accelerated, since the dogma of TINA will have collapsed. If we also take into account the parameter of the Spanish national election in November, we can easily comprehend the reason why the neoliberal forces of the EU will escalate their offensive against us.
Undertaking its historical responsibility, the Greek government must immediately work very hard, in order to avoid any possibility of new austerity measures and, at the same time, to improve public finances by making the rich pay. A first positive sign in this direction is that the economic prosecutors investigating the lists of Greek depositors who illegally transferred money to Swiss and other foreign banks, already blocked 404 million Euro found in bank accounts of 17 depositors. In parallel, we will be judged by our initiatives for the democratization of the political system and the public sphere, the war against corruption and the tackling of the humanitarian crisis. The government already presented this week its first law proposal, which includes free electricity (300 Kwh/month) for households that live in conditions of extreme poverty, housing rent allowance (70 Euro/person or 220 Euro/family per month) for 30.000 households and nutrition allowance to citizens that also live in conditions of extreme poverty.
In these four months, we should make decisive steps, which will improve our position in tomorrow’s clashes; and these steps can be made as long as a big part of the society is determined to support the government of social salvation and not simply wait. The existence of this unprecedented popular availability, as expressed in the first post-electoral opinion polls, but mainly in the unprecedented mobilizations in favor of the demands of the government, constitutes a crucial element for our party.
Today, when the dogma that “everybody is the same” collapses and politics return as the way to change our lives, our party should maximize its internal unity, without this meaning the suppression of diversity, but its inclusion in our collective reflection and common goal. Criticism and controversy of views in the processes of the decision-making bodies of a multi-tendency left party is fair, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize our internal solidarity or distort our official decisions.
SYRIZA must now open its doors to embrace all the people who wish to fight collectively and unselfishly, in order to win back their dignity. Our planning, our procedures and actions should mirror our determination to create the “collective intellectual” who will build a new collective consciousness in the Greek society. A new concept of common sense, based on collectivity, solidarity and the fulfillment of social needs.
As the President of SYRIZA recently said, our common slogan in this new beginning must be: Less words and more work.