Speech of Alexis Tsipras, President of the Parliamentary Group of Syriza - Unitary Social Front (USF), during the presentation of the Party Programme, Athinas Hall, Friday, 1 June 2012
I want to thank you for your presence here.
Today, we present the government programme of SYRIZA-USF to the society, and we submit it to the judgement of the citizens.
This is a programme of dignity and hope for the people and for the country.
It is an elaborated, comprehensive and concrete, step by step, contemporary political plan of the Left.
It guarantees the fiscal restoration based on social justice and the exit of the country from the crisis. It guarantees the reconstruction of production and development of the country and its participation in the Eurozone and the European Union on politically equal terms.
Today we submit the only credible, realistic and applicable alternative to the Memorandum in front of the Greek people, and not to the Troika, seeking its endorsment.
A contemporaty political plan, which deconstructs the neoliberal model in practice – a plan which at the same time represents a compass for the European Left.
Upon submission of this plan, it becomes clear to the Greek people, that in June 17 they have one and only real choice to make: they either vote for the Memorandum, or for the government programme of SYRIZA-USF.
They either vote for a government of the Memorandum which will be formed around New Demoracy, or for an antimemorandum progressive government, which will be formed around SYRIZA-USF
It now becomes crystal clear, that the sole dilemma of the elections ofJune17th is: Memorandum or SYRIZA.
For, there is no such thing as a more or less evil Memorandum.
There is no such thing as a more inappropriate or a less inapropriate medicine
You either apply the Memorandum or you annul it.
New Democracy and PASOK do not want to annul the Memorandum, they want to apply it.
We are going to annul it.
It now becomes crystal clear to every Greek, that in June 17th there will be a counterposition between the past and hope.
A counterposition between the past and SYRIZA/USF.
The last, desperate battle of rearguard is now given by an old world.
By a closed system of power which organised the rotten, dependent, corrupt and discredited political establishment of the post dictatorship era of the two-party system of New Democracy and PASOK.
By the real customer-state of the uncontrolled Media proprietors, of the state-fed bankers and of the political personnel that safeguarded their power and which, during the last two years, interconnects its interests with the Memorandum and the country’s lenders.
It furiously departs from the primacy of our country’s public life. After it plundered it and delivered it hostage to its lenders.
Now it threatens, it blackmails, it tries to split society and cause a generalized fear and insecurity.
It believes that in such a way it can harm SYRIZA/USF
In fact, it is harming the country. And it doesn’t care about it.
This is the swan song for the managers of burned land.
However, the strategy of fear, turned around against its mentors..
Just yestarday, Reuters revealed the blank cartridge strikes against SYRIZA/USF
The false dilemma “Memorandum or return to the drachma” was revealed to be a mere political favour from the elites of the EU, to their friends who requested it: The local political forces of the Memorandum.
A political favour, without a real value.
But at the same time, it is a proof of the moral and political decadence of the local establishment.
Of a panicked establishment, which is washed out by the wave of dignity, self confidence and decisiveness that the Greek people raised on the 6th of May, and which now leads the historical overthrow of the 17th of June.
Yesterday, for one more time, mr. Samaras announced his pre-election intention to renegotiate his signature in the second Memorandum.
And this surprised us.
Because we all remember him boasting on television last February for his hard negotiation with the lenders.
Claiming that it was the first time that Greece really negotiated with its lenders, thanks to him.
We remember him ascertain the Greek people that he is not going to accept the decrease of main and supplementary pensions.
And what he proudly rejected in front of the cameras, was exactly what he signed shortly after on the table of our unconditional surrender to the lenders.
He signed the decrease of both main and supplementary pensions.
And now, after the electoral crush of New Democracy on the 6th of May, and with the justified fear of an imminent defeat on the 17th of June, he asks for a second chance to negotiate.
Supposedly in order to repeal his personal commitment to the loyal application of the Memorandum.
He deceived the Greek people once in February. Now he tries to deceive them for a second time.
He tries to snatch the people’s vote and surrender it to ms. Merkel.
As for the perpetrator of the Memorandum and lawmaker of the system of interwining interests mr. Venizelos, he has proclaimed a pre-electoral war to the very legislation he himself introduced .
He has now come to the point to even demand the reform of the adverse conditions of the bailout agreement.
The bailout agreement he signed himself, and for the voting of which he blackmailed the parliamentary group of PASOK and ND. But the only thing he succeeds to do is reveal , the false dilemmas and the emptiness of the blackmails he extends together with mr. Samaras..
New Democracy and PASOK are leaving, and they deliver Greece in an economic decomposition and social desertification, on the edge of a humanitarian crisis.
I want to note at this point, that there could not be a more tragic symbolism of the slow death of our country, than the many suicides of people who cannot cope anymore.
Unfortunately, this is an unfolding tragedy.
Because everyday we witness the increase of people getting fired, of people becoming unemployed, of people being homeless, of working poor and pensioners, of bankrupt professionals and small business owners.
Because the Memorandum failed to address the fundamental reason for its imposition: the lending crisis. The fact that the country was unable to borrow from the markets.
And it failed, because it rendered the public debt as a percentage of GDP unviable.
It prolonged the exclusion of the country from the markets.
It is no accident that the overcoming of the recession is postponed from year to year. Instead of 2013, as it was foreseen in the second memorandum, it is already postponed for 2014.
And this could happen only under favourable –in other words unrealisic– conditions.
It is also no accident that no one speaks about Greece’s return to the markets anymore.
And allow me a prediction: With the Memorandum and with the new composition of public debt, whereby the debt to individuals has been replaced with institutional and interstate debt under the English Law, we must forget about borrowing from the markets, at least for the current decade.
Finally, it is no accident that none of our lenders advises us in favour of the continuation of the Memorandum, because the latter has succeeded.
They advise us to follow it only because in this way they safeguard themselves, and because mr. Samaras and mr. Venizelos have both signed and guaranteed its application.
They advise us to do it independently of the fact that it constitutes an automatic pilot to total disaster.
It constitutes a mechanism of utter bankruptcy, and of pushing the country towards the voluntary exit from the eurozone.
The only exit from the eurozone which is institutionally possible.
This is why, the false dilemma “Memorandum or return to the drachma”, is used in order to conceal the only real equation, which is:
Memorandum = Return to the drachma.
But even the prolongation of time for the application of the Memorandum, is another pre-electoral evasion.
It does not constitute a solution.
On the contrary, the prolongation of the time for fiscal adjustment, without changing the Memorandum policies, will lead to a smaller primary surplus than that foreseen.
And this does not result to development.
What it results to is either more lending from troika or a generous “haircut” of the institutional and interstate debt.
In other words, by just changing the dose of the lethal medicine, you don’t deter death.
You must change the medicine itself.
Therefore, there is no such thing as a milder Memorandum.
And neither the so-called gradual disengagement from the Memorandum, which is cunningly promoted by the latter’s supporters, is any more realistic.
The hook of the Memorandum has trapped all Greek people. And this is why we must get rid of it right now.
New Democracy and PASOK are leaving, delivering a society split in three.
The typical analytical schema of the two thirds society, which was introduced in european political thought in the 80s by the German Socialdemocrat politician and intellectual Peter Glots, has been reversed: it is now the two thirds –not the one third- that live in deprivation and great insecurity.
Only a small part of society is prospering in this instance.
The lower end of society, which continuously increases and has already overcome 40%, consists of the victims of the crisis and the Memorandum policies.
It consists of the unemployed, the low income employed or poor pensioners, the bankrupt households, the destroyed proffessionals and small business owners.
The middle class is still economically alive, but it lives in a depressing insecurity.
We are talking about relatively high waged working individuals, proffessionals and small business owners that still hold on, although not for long if the same policies continue.
The whole of the society faces an impasse and a lack of visible perspective.
Nevertheless there are some, few, who have gained from the tragedy that has struck our country.
Who gains from the Memorandum, when so many fall into misery?
* All those who owned real property through off shore companies. Because whithin a period of six months, they were given the opportunity to register it under their name, without paying any surplus value tax, but only 50% of the tax for transfer of ownership.
* Tax evaders. Because on the basis of the motives given for the repatriation of capital, they washed their money and benefited from a rate of 5% (in many cases, when the capital was re-invested, the rate was reduced to 2,5%). This was the most immoral decree of the PASOK government: legalisation of assets without criteria, money that could have come from arms trade, trafficking, drugs.
* Tax evaders, again. Because with the provisions for closing open tax cases of the years 2000-2010, all illegalities of tax evasion and tax stealing of a period during which they should have paid taxes as high as 110 bil. euros were prescripted.
New Democracy and PASOK are leaving, delivering the economy in collapse and empty state coffers.
And instead of proposing a credible solution for the problems they created, they carry around the results of their policies as a bugbear in order for the same policies to be continued.
They try to scare people in order to contain the prospected victory of SYRIZA/USF in the elections of June 17th as much as they can, .
New Democracy and PASOK are leaving, together with the pillars of their interwining system, and the day of hope for a life with dignity and perspective is rising.
SYRIZA/USF is coming.
We are coming to restore democracy, people’s sovereignry and the sovereign rights of the country.
We do not participate in the political dispute of decomposition and decay, which the New Democracy tries to impose.
We have the ideological and political self-confidence of a calm force that has the volition, the knowlekge and the ability to change the destiny of the country and its people.
At this point I want to stress certain focal points of immediate application included in our governmental programme:
I would also like to clarify that the first act of the government of the Left, immediately after the opening of the new Parliament, will be the annullment of the Memorandum and of its application laws.
We will replace it with a National Plan of Reconstruction for social and economic development, for productive change and fiscal restoration, which we have already elaborated.
Immediately upon the annullment of the Memorandum, the new government will denounce the burdensome conditions and will seek the renegotiation of the bailout agreement.
More particularly, concerning the viable management of the country’s public debt, it will seek a European solution.
Without a common European solution to the problem of accumulated debt and the funding of development, fiscal adjustment, the realisation of primary surpluses, paying for the interest of accumulated debt, funding public investments and carrying out public policies all at the same time are impossible for Greece.
It is an insoluble equation.
This is why we will renegotiate a solution for the problem of debt, aiming to a drastic decrease, or a moratorium and the suspension of interest payments, until the conditions are created for the stabilisation and recovery of our economy.
The servicing of the debt should also be connected with the rate of development of the Greek economy, that is, with the rate of GDP growth (development clause).
At the same time, the government of the Left:
I. Will immediately abolish the Ministerial Act no 6-28/2/2012 which enforces the decrease of the minimum wage by 22% (32% for the youth up to 25 y.a.), as well as the decrease of unemployment benefits, sickness and maternity benefits and restore the abolished collective bargaining. It will bring the minimum wage back to the level of €751 and the unemployment benefit to €461,5.
Unemployment benefits will be granted for two years (double the current time period).
It will annul the abolition of postaction for collective agreements, and restore the obligatory extention of sectoral agreements.
II. It will abolish the imposition of special taxes on small and medium incomes, and primarily on the unemployed, the low waged, the low pensioners and all those living close to the poverty line.
III. It will directly work for three basic goals:
These three immediate goals will be met with the application of the elaborated plan of SYRIZA/USF for the realistic, effective and socially just fiscal stabilisation..
The plan provides for the stabilisation of primary expenditures as a percentage of the GDP, at least on the level of 43% – against its decrease to under 36% of the GDP as a result of the Memorandum – and, at most, on the level of the current average of the Eurozone, which is 46%.
The stabilisation of expenditures must be covered by the increase of public incomes, which are significantly lower than the average of the Eurozone (41% of the GDP against 45%).
The adjustment proposed will come from the taxation of wealth as well as that of high incomes, with the goal of increasing revenues from direct taxation in order to reach the european average, (which is higher by 4% of the GDP) within 4 years (increasing them by 1% of the GDP every year)
This presupposes a radical reform of the tax system, in order to trace the incomes and property of every citizen for the fair allocation of taxation.
The indicative measures for the stabilisation of primary expenses also include:
The indicative measures for the increase of public incomes, also include:
It is estimated that this, as well as the previous measure, will have a positive and multiplicative effect on internal demand, due to the higher propensity of the lower incomes to consume such goods.
The relation between the Greek state, the shipping industry and the shipowners, aiming to the abolition of the provocative 58 different tax-exemptions and the creation of a stable tax regime which will meet the constitutional demand for the contribution of all Greek citizens to the tax burdens, will by reexamined.
At the same time, we will mobilise resources for funding development, from both internal and external sources.
The internal sources include: the creation of conditions for the return of deposits and for the stability of the financial system, the increase of resources stemming from the radical reform of the tax system for the redistrubution of wealth, the cessation of refusing to pay for social contributions, the exploitation of the mineral wealth and fossil fuels, the signing of an inter-state agreement with Switzerland for the taxation of the deposits of Greek citizens there, which is still pending, as well as the suspension of interest payments for a period of time that will be agreed through negotiations.
The external sources of funding and development include: the reorganisation of the NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) and the increase of its absorption, the application of a European programme for funding investments in the member states of the European Union for confronting recession, and the use of multilateral economic diplomacy, as a possible source of new funding resources.
We undertake the responsibility and we guarantee:
In this special, exclusively public fund which we are going to create, we will tranfer all incomes stemming from the natural and mineral wealth of the country, including the possible fossile fuel deposits, if they are proved economically exploitable, as well as all the tradable mobile and immobile property of the state.
Thus, public property and the sources of our country are going to be reclaimed, with social reciprocity and with the eyes turned to the amelioration of the standard of living for the next generations.
With the programme of immediate application that we have elaborated, and with the mobilisation of the state mechanism.
To relieve the unemployed and the underemployed, the homeless, the poor pensioners, the low waged, the highly indebted households and the people with special needs.
In this direction we will immediately decrease the VAT for catering and tourism.
With the regulation of the farmers debts to the banks, as a part of our general policy for a safety net for the peasants.
With shaping low interest rate for short-term loans, through state funding of the interest rate, directly connected with the continuation of agricultural production.
With the issuing of a cultivation card for every peasant, during the next two years, guaranteed by the Greek state, a card that will be valid for a period equal with the cultivation period, and with an economic ceiling based on the cultivation declaration of the last two years.
With this card and through a single bank chosen by the peasant, the peasant himself or herself will choose the legal providers of his/her inflows, who will be paid according to their sales straight from the bank, up to the amount set as ceiling.
The necessary precondition is to undertake international initiatives to address the causes of population movements.
The negotiation of a new European Framework of Migration Policy, with the proportional and equal distribution of weights among member-states and the demand for an essential and effective European support for the policies applied at the national level.
With the gradual granting of travel documents to the large number of immigrants who wish to depart from the Greek territory.
With the rationalisation of the legal and institutional framework for the legalisation of immigrants who live and work in our country and for their integration based on equality.
With the effective wiping out of the rackets of contemporary slavery-trafficking of women, children, men, individuals with special needs, of the rackets that commercialise immigrants and refugees.
On the basis of the democratisation and transparency in the structure of the political system.
By setting rules in the management of public property on TV frequencies and the function of the private RT Media.
By changing the law concerning the responsibility of ministers – and more particularly the decrees that violate equality before the law.
By legislating proportional representation.
The defence of the territorial integrity and national independence of our country is a priority that we do not negotiate.
Our country is an equal member of the EU. This is a relation which entails rights and obligations.
But our country is, at the same time, an important cultural, trade and energy junction of three continents, in the South-East end of Europe.
The outdated dogma “we belong to the west”, which was gradually replaced by “we surrender to the powerful”, cannot continue to be the compass of our external policy.
Within this frame we will try to turn the page regarding the relations of our country with Turkey.
We strongly wish to improve our relations and we will act in this direction as strongly as possible.
We believe that th people of both countries have paid a heavy price due to the cold war that continues for many years now in the Aegean.
We thus gave the opportunity to third parts and strong interests to exploit this dispute between us in order to increase their profits from military industries.
This dispute must stop.
Peace must prevail.
But peace needs two.
Our country, but also Cyprus, supported and still supports the European perspective of Turkey.
But we have not yet seen some decisive step from the other side, for the restoration of great injustices.
We didn’t see any positive step towards a fair solution for the Cypriot problem, despite the sincere efforts of president Christofias.
The truth is that we will not be able to do much if there is no response from the other side of the Aegean.
The approach and the collaboration need steps from both sides, they cannot be unilateral.
In this direction we will propose to our neighbours to immediately proceed to a moratorium for the further purchase of defence systems.
And we shall wait to see and evaluate their true intentions.
Today we submit to the judjement of the Greek people, a comprehensive and complete governmental progrmme.
A programme containing concrete, structured and to a great extend complementary radical reforms, political interventions and mesures to be applied that will have an immediate, short-term and medium-term effect.
We don’t claim that “there is money”.
We would never take refuge to such vulgarity.
The Greek people do not ask for money like beggars.
They demands work in order to make a living.
They demands the satisfaction of their basic needs.
But we can ascertain, that resources can be spared.
Without the cruel cuts of the Memorandum.
It is a governmental programme that the people will endorse in the last, crucial and decisive referendum of the 17th of June on the Memorandum.
A governmental programme that sets as a first national target the rehabilitation of social justice and the dignity of all Greek people.
SYRIZA/USF has worthy and specialized cadres, important scientists and academics, with internatinal acknowledgement, political experience who are ready to fight and successfully apply this governmental programme.
Greece can and must become a pioneer for change in Europe.
The Greek people deserve a better future.
They have the right to dream, to live with dignity in our country, they have the right to hope.
We call the people to unite, with their reflections and their dreams, and open the road to hope.
Thank you for your presence here today.