Only three days are left before the next Greek elections. The Coalition of the Radical Left ( SYRIZA ) has the golden opportunity to build socialism in Greece. Many Greeks have enough of the capitalist system and a SYRIZA majority government is possible. However Alexis Tsipras seems not so willing to build a socialist Greece. Sure he wants to brake with the neoliberal austerity politics, but will he brake with the European Union and the whole capitalist system? Since 2012, SYRIZA has moved to the right by not calling for socialism and limiting its work to parliament. Revolutionary socialists fear the that former radical leftist coalition, may turn into yet another parliamentary reformist party like PASOK and Democratic Left. Meanwhile the right-wing of Greece spreads panic about a possible socialist government. Lies after lies are spread to put fear into the minds of the middle class. The main conservative party; New Democracy claims that under socialism Greece will be competently bankrupt, although New Democracy is the party that caused the bankruptcy in the first place!
There are clear signs of panic among the rich of Greece. They fear for their money and wealth. For years they paid little taxes and profited from government corruption. Also thanks to good political connections with both New Democracy and the traitorous; Pan-Hellenic ”Socialist” Movement, the rich of Greece enjoyed many benefits. However workers and poor suffered as the PASOK government of 2009 started with the first EU imposed austerity. The elections of 2012 reduced the Greek social democrats in parliamentary seats, but it kept the main capitalist party strong. New Democracy rules Greece together with PASOK, these two parties carry out austerity. They cause poverty and misery and many Greeks hate them!
Although the economy has shown recovery after massive cuts and deregulations, there is a huge increase in poverty. Children are affected too. Before 2009 it was estimated that 20% of all Greek children grow up in families with a very low income. Today in the year 2015, this has grown to 40%. Which means that two out of five children do not have the money for fun things. In only six years, child poverty rose by 20% due to many families losing their jobs and incomes. Unemployment benefits are low, many families are forced to live on 600 euro’s a month while the prices for food, electricity and basic needs extent those 600 euro’s. Even families who do have work are not out of poverty risk. Most workers earn a salary of 1000 euro’s a month, which is not high!
Still New Democracy and PASOK claim that Greece will recovery under capitalism. Sure they are right, but only at the expense of workers and poor people. This is why SYRIZA must brake with the European Union enforced austerity. No negotiations with the European Central Bank or the International Monetary Fund. The IMF has a reputation of enforcing pro-capitalist demands to poor nations. Only if a nation has embraced capitalism and privatized most of its assents are the IMF willing to provide a loan. It was also the ECB and the IMF that stood behind the austerity plans that caused so much misery in Greece!
Only three days remain until new elections are held. SYRIZA is leading in the polls as many Greeks have enough. The capitalist media fears a socialist government as PASOK never build socialism all the times it was in power. In the 1970’s, PASOK was founded as a democratic socialist party. Five times the Greek government was led by PASOK and never did the social democrats brake with the capitalist system. This satisfied the rich and the capitalists who understood that PASOK was not danger to them. SYRIZA however is more radical and not pro-capitalist like the social democrats and Democratic Left ( a breakaway of PASOK ). As SYRIZA leads the election polls, panic erupts among those with money and power. They fear higher taxes and less profits. This is why they use their media outlets to spread fear and threats. Capital flight is what they promise if SYRIZA dares to challenge their wealth and profits. Here we see the essence of capitalism, as long as democracy serve their needs the rich support it. But once a party comes to power that stands against them, they will lie, cheat and try to stop the democratic transaction to socialism!
Socialism does not mean higher taxes or a big government. In fact this is classic social democracy. Revolutionary socialists reject this system however, as it does not brake with the capitalist system. The problem with SYRIZA is that they are not united under a socialist program. There were 17 radical leftist parties that made up the original Coalition of the Radical Left before it became a political party in 2012. Most of the founding parties/groups were either reformed stalinist, revolutionary maoist, trotskyist or leftist social democratic. Still the largest party in SYRIZA was the Coalition of Left, of Movements and Ecology ( SYNASPISMOS ). This party was a SYRIZA like coalition in the 1990’s. In fact, today’s SYRIZA looks very much like SYNASPISMOS. Alexis Tsipras started his career inside SYNASPISMOS and became its leader in 2008. The fact that SYRIZA does not have a socialist program lies in SYNASPISMOS, who also did not provide a clear socialist alternative!
After 25 January 2015, Greece may have a SYRIZA majority government. Then we will see how socialist Alexis Tsipras is! Will he brake with capitalism or keep it alive and only try to limit austerity. If so then the sectarian Communist Party of Greece, will have its proofs that SYRIZA cannot be trusted. The stalinists refused to work with SYRIZA because they claim that Alexis Tsipras is not a revolutionary fighter for socialism. Although they are right about the weaknesses of SYRIZA, this does not mean that the communist party should compete with SYRIZA. Both parties need to work together under a socialist banner to establish a Greek Socialist Workers Republic!