Greek Internationalists on the SYRIZA Climbdown

Woe to you, Hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees!

"We have reached a difficult compromise, sometimes painful, but today we are in a better position with better conditions, and can argue and apply another policy that we promised and we are aiming towards."

Decision of the Central Committee of SYRIZA after the Eurogroup Meeting of 20/02/2015.

The die is cast! The extraordinary anti-Memorandum[1] coalition, the backbone and animator of which is the former "radical left", otherwise known as SYRIZA, along with its right-wing partner ANEL[2]: the fanatics of the fatherland, have faithfully delivered "the land and the water" to the Chancellery of the "Fourth Reich"[3]. Completely disregarding the popularity of a stubborn resistance launched against the outgoing ruling party of "germanotsoliades", they have thrown their pronouncements and partisan banners into the dustbin and scorned the promises they so generously dished out to voters. Thus they have ruthlessly destroyed those alluring false hopes and trampled on the will of the majority of the people to get rid of five years of Memorandums and their ferocious and cataclysmic consequences.

"A treasury of coal!"[4] Instead of "tearing up the Memorandum” – as he claimed he would as Leader of the Opposition when he could comfortably “posture” – the current prime minister tore up his party's programme. The agreement of Friday 20 February between the government and its "European partners" – actually with German leaders of the European Union – renewed the submission of the Greek people to the financial dictatorship of the troika and to maintaining the status of the country as an indebted colony.

Safely playing the tough guys[5]! Those whose ideal position in opposition allowed them for so long to demagogically flatter the people by issuing firm anti-Memorandum critiques and making ethno-patriotic boasts about what they would do when they won the elections – raised hopes – that on becoming the government, they would not put up with a single month of pressure from the troika. After Minister of Finance Varoufakis’ clowning they left "with tails between their legs", having capitulated unconditionally in the face of Berlin’s ultimata and accepted a humiliating agreement of total acquiescence in all the financial demands of the German Reich.

The current government is still a bourgeois government of political thugs, a ridiculous political mirage. The only role it can play is that of the local governor of the Greek province in the current imperialist Pax Germanica. It is a "collection of the cowardly, the doomed and those lacking willpower"[6]. After a few pirouettes of "national pride," just for show, it finally submitted to the boss of Europe, the international financial agencies and the sacred cow of the failed Greek banking system. Immediately after the government was anointed, it began to "lick where earlier it had spat." So we learned that neoliberal European banks are nothing other than the great European family, 70% of the memorandum is ultimately good and desirable, and that the state must meet its commitments and that it is impossible for the country to avoid its obligations. This is what leaders[7] of all the previous governments said before. Finally, we find that all this bad press comes from scruffy professors and leftists who don’t wear ties.

Not only did the Germany Chancellery remain coldly indifferent to repeated appeals for dialogue and understanding from the ridiculous rogue Varoufakis, but it forced the Greek government to define its own conditions of submission for the extension of the loan on the Memorandum it had previously loudly denounced. Yet if the humiliation of the government was not enough, the German side has successfully and easily deflected the derision onto its Greek "partners" by leaving them to present "the Agreement" without any support or a figleaf to hide behind. Schäuble, with the arrogance of the victor, said immediately after the agreement – for which the Greek government was triumphant: "I think it will be very difficult for the Greek government to explain the agreed programme to the voters who elected it".

In what appears to be Teutonic humour, the only concession made by Germany is a change of words, as the German Finance Minister had already announced in mid-February: "The programme will be implemented by the Troika, which will no longer be called the Troika ". Thus, in the text of the agreement, the Troika was renamed "institutions" and the Memorandum "the current arrangement." Now the government is trying to present the defeat as a victory, with the help of sections of the Greek press who over the years have been engaged in frenzied propaganda against the Memorandum and the governments which applied it.

It’s very simple. The agreement which provides for a longer extension of the loan agreement – requested by the Greek government, lest we forget – is an extension and update of the second Memorandum of agreement under the auspices of the Troika and the strict supervision of Germany. And for this reason it has been accepted by Berlin, the Eurogroup and welcomed by all of capitalist Europe and the Greek bourgeoisie. Any attempt to disconnect the loan agreement and the Memorandum is contradicted by the text of the agreement, which explicitly links the former to the latter, and is just common sense. Thus, the text of the agreement states that: "The Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to fully honour their financial obligations to all creditors and on time." In addition, Article 7 of the preamble of the second loan agreement – which extends its – states: "The availability and provision of financial assistance under this agreement (...) depends on the compliance by the beneficiary Member State of the measures outlined in the memorandum." The link to the loan agreement and Memorandum is unbreakable. The Memorandum is the basic condition of the loan agreement since it provides for measures to be implemented before the payment of the various tranches. How, indeed, can they lend without imposing conditions for payment of the loan and make sure they will lose neither money nor interest?

This agreement[8] generally provides that:

- The Government accepts the extension of the second memorandum, the obligations involved and maintaining it in its entirety as required by the Troika.

- The extension of the second memorandum is the "bridge" to conclude the new after its extension.

- The Government is committed to present a series of measures in the context of the current memorandum, which will be adopted by the Troika (the famous list Varoufakis emailed and accepted by the Eurogroup).

- Anticipated funding will be forthcoming only if the Troika evaluates positively the implementation of this package of government measures.

- The government has committed during this period to fully meet the conditions for repayment of debt.

- The government cannot take measures that violate financial discipline imposed by the memorandum and generally cannot pass any without the approval of the Troika.

It is now clear that the text of this agreement replaces the programme adopted at the SYRIZA congress, while the list of reforms replaces the Thessaloniki Agenda[9]. Elections in bourgeois democracy are nothing but a formality to hide the fact that decisions are taken by those who really rule. It is not the decisions of the party congress, nor even the elections that matter but the needs of the system and the dictates of the dominant regime. It is not the will of the members of SYRIZA or the voters which determines the policy of the Greek government but the decision of the Eurogroup, namely to follow the will of the European financial oligarchy and Berlin as its main representative. Following these developments, the moderate Keynesian programme of SYRIZA, as we have characterised it, was replaced by neoliberal policies (what else can the acceptance of the Memorandum mean?) And, of course, through the protectorate of the eurozone over Greek capitalism within the imperialist European edifice.

Submission to the dominant bourgeois regime was confirmed by the election of Prokopis Pavlopoulos from the New Democracy Party (which was in favour of the Memoranda) as President of the Republic with the support of the so-called "left wing" of SYRIZA. In previous years SYRIZA MPs had appeared as critics of constitutionalism and did not miss the chance to denounce the flagrant violation of the Constitution by previous governments, but without abandoning the "scene of the crime" of parliament, where all the unconstitutional outrages took place. Then they selected one of its representatives, a lawyer: "Honourable Professor" who, during the Papademos government[10], boldly declared that the constitution had been violated to save the country. He said bluntly that the formation of that government was a parliamentary coup "to save the country".

The Constitution is the supreme law of the State and its importance lies in the legal recognition of the bourgeois system. Otherwise, it's a piece of paper. When the system has to work, it does, of course, through violating the Constitution itself. There is nowhere a piece of paper cannot take you. This is why the "thunder" of the constitutional left is the sign of its incurable parliamentary cretinism.

As we have repeatedly written: "The parliamentary system is the democratic form of the dictatorship of capital and the power of the modern State under whatever type of government, it is the committee that manages the common interests of the most powerful faction of the bourgeoisie, particularly of the financial oligarchy[11]."* Before the elections we emphasised that "during the election, in fact, we were faced with two bourgeois programmes for the management of the system and its crisis: the outgoing government and the former opposition who cannot solve the problem. And under capitalism this management can only be for the interests of the ruling class[12]."* The status quo does not change, what changes is only the personnel. "The violinists may have changed, but it’s still the same melody[13]." The system works in favour of the establishment of capitalist plutocracy whichever party is in power.

The turn of events quickly confirmed these truths, which of course were not discovered by us but are the basic axiom of communist theory that is repeatedly confirmed in valuable lessons from the experience of the revolutionary movement. We also remind the various extreme leftists of this, so-called realists, who are physically reduced to the role of SYRIZA followers, "with" or "without" illusions, describing the change of government at the head of capitalism as a victory of the movement. Through our "sectarian glasses", we saw nothing but a change of managers in favour of capital.

Especially, social democracy in all its aspects is, by its very nature, the left wing of liberal capitalism. As history has proven and political practice continues to demonstrate, social democracy does not represent the movement of the working class, but rather, it is the pillar of capitalism and the left wing of capital seeking to integrate the movement into it, exhausting it, and in revolutionary conditions, suppressing it. All Marxists, or revolutionaries in general, who do not understand these fundamental lessons which have cost so much suffering in the class movement live on the planet of illusions, and even worse become propagandists of these illusions themselves.

The "Left" in Greece, as elsewhere in Europe, is only the heir of a story full of lies and betrayals, which it always takes care to cover up through fraud in the sacrifice and blood of its militants. This is why Tsipras – following the old road of the left – as the first official act immediately after his inauguration, chose to go to Kaisariani firing range to make a so-called tribute to the 200 Greek political activists who were executed by the Nazis on May 1, 1944 and to shamelessly pass himself off as a modern "partisan" before bowing submissively to Berlin. The Left is not the solution to the social question, but above all a part of the problem because the problem is the system itself which the left itself defends and supports. Here are certainly included – amongst others – all the Maoist and Trotskyist agents of the extreme left.

SYRIZA is now seriously thinking not to put the loan agreement to the vote in Parliament in order not to expose its " left wing MPs" who disagree and would therefore be forced to take a public position. (Their argument is that if it does not pass in Parliament the validity of the agreement is reduced, as if the validity of the agreement was independent of the signature of the Greek government). This is a joke! These gentlemen previously "tore their clothes"[14] when multiple bills passed in Parliament during the night.

The most insidious, however, is the so-called "left wing" of SYRIZA, the members of which knew very well what was coming, but said nothing. Now they claim to be dissidents, but do not dare to declare themselves openly as such and do not even demand for the loan agreement to be put to the vote in Parliament.

To make things completely clear. We are not speaking as disgruntled voters of SYRIZA! In our case we do not vote, we refuse to participate in the parliamentary farce. Otherwise we would have participated in recent pro-government demonstrations outside Parliament. We do not feel betrayed by the sellout by SYRIZA because we never argued for SYRIZA or its programme. Your enemy cannot betray you!

It is, however, good grounds to expose the actual functioning of the parliamentary system as a democratic system of governance of capital and the hypocrisy of its pillars of left or right. We, on the contrary, are for a system of power exercised by workers' councils and local popular committees. A system where all public affairs are based on direct popular participation, the creation of the body of collective work, the unification of legislative and executive power, social control by the rank and file, the direct responsibility of public officials, the performance of duties by everyone in rota and whenever required by elected representatives who are immediately recallable by their constituents.

We are against any programme to manage the system because we demand its revolutionary overthrow. This is the substance of the matter. Because the current deep and multidimensional crisis of contemporary capitalism puts the overthrow and the establishment of a collectivist society of freely associated producers on the agenda. Any other solution is nothing but an illusion that reproduces in one way or another, the existing system of social relations.

It is likely that the current coalition will limit its work to the extension of the Memorandum and will be the "bridge" for the establishment of a wider government that will sign the new Memorandum. Anyway, the real question is not what the "top" [the ruling class] are doing – the devil knows what they are preparing – but what the "bottom" intend to do. So, regardless of changes at government level and the future of this government, the question of questions is the reconstruction of the class movement, the constitution by labour as a force to overturn the system and create a liberated society. So long as there is no powerful revolutionary movement, the bourgeois system will always have solutions.

This does not mean passively waiting for the realisation of this ideal. Our agenda is the hard work over the long-term to rebuild the working class movement, proletarian class autonomy and, finally, a revolutionary political organisation of the working class. This project begins in today’s difficult reality, with the organisation of resistance against all forms of current capitalist barbarity and the creation of grassroots organs to conduct militant struggles and link them to the perspective of social liberation.

The alternative course is the facile denunciation of the profound alienation, the passivity and the acquiescent servitude of the masses, their passive and antisocial resignation, delusions about alternatives, intellectualist theoretical contructs, the deadend of stirring social explosions, the exaltation of the glorious past and operating as satellite-type organisations of the extreme left. Above all, what’s needed is the linking-up of all today’s remaining living forces who want to talk seriously and patiently but act decisively to create a relationship of continuity between short-term tasks and the long-term goal and so establish a consistent relationship between words and deeds. It also means a definitive break with the depressing fatalism of alternating cycles of subversion which labels all the present multitude as "babies old before their time", in other words, disillusioned and hopeless.

Petros Serafim


28 February 2015


[1] The Memoranda are the various agreements the previous Greek governments signed with the “Troika” (group of three) of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank in which in return for a bailout the Greek Government imposed austerity measures unequalled in any other European country.

[2] The Independent Greeks (AN.EL) is a political party of the right formed on 24 February 2012 in a split from New Democracy. The principal demand of this party is the rejection of the agreements between Greece and the European Union and International Monetary Fund. Socially AN.EL is an ultr-conservative party; opposing immigration, rejecting multi-culturalism and supporting the presence of the Greek Orthodox Church in the centre of society especially education.

[3] The expression ‘Fourth Reich’ is deliberately in quotation marks as it is an ironic reference to a term that is often used by the Greek Left in order to characterise the modern unified Germany. The same applies to the term ‘collaborators’ (the real term is ‘germanotsoliades’, i.e. the notorious Security Battalions from the Nazi era mentioned in the next sentence) often attributed to the previous pro-Memorandum governments. In the last five years we have seen a caricature of the period of Axis Occupation and National Resistance during World War Two in Greek political life, which has been promoted by the Left and also by a part of the Right. Ironically, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) has not actively participated in this patriotic fever as much as the ‘radical Left’, including a part of Andarsya (a part of the ‘extreme Left’) and a great part of the anarchists (many of them voted for Syriza). The last have expressed a fierce pro-EAM (the massive leftist resistance movement during the War) sentiment in the antifascist movement against Golden Dawn, where they play the leading role. So, in this fervent nationalist atmosphere, which SYRIZA chooses to play on, an internationalist communist group is not welcomed here at all. We must swim against the stream and that’s the reason why we have chosen the name ‘Internationalist Comrades’

[4] A Greek expression meaning that the they only have a sack of coal (i.e. bankrupt) in the Treasury

[5] Arrogant with an exaggerated estimate of their own importance

[6] Extracted from a poem by Kostas Varnalis, Greek writer and poet.

[7] Papandreou, Venizelos, Kouvelis and Samaras

[8] See Eurogroup statement on Greece,

[9] On 13 September 2014, on the occasion of the annual international trade exhibition of Thessaloniki, the president of SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras announced measures that SYRIZA would apply from the first days after his inauguration. This is based on four pillars: dealing with the humanitarian crisis, the recovery of the real economy, restoration of employment with the guarantees of an invigorated and strengthened right to work, reform of the powers of the state for citizens. See The Thessaloniki Programme.

[10] Loukas Papademos was named in 2011 as Prime Minister by President Karolos Papoulias to led a government of national unity formed to solve the debt crisis following the resignation of George Papandreou.

[11] See our article from before the elections« Κυριακή κοντή γιορτή! Εκτιμήσεις και σκέψεις για σκέψη με αφορμή τις εκλογές» [“Tomorrow will be a short celebration! Thoughts and analyses for reflection on the current elections”].

[12] See our statement on the Greek Elections at

[13] Kolokotronis, Greek General, one of the heroes of the Greek war of Independence (1821-30) had uttered this sentence to King Otto (elected King 1832-62).

[14] As in Greek theatre, to weep and lament with obvious gestures.


Monday, March 16, 2015