By Alain Badiou, Athens, 7 July. Originally published in Liberation. Translated from the French by David Broder.
Copyright: Giovanni Tusa 2014.
It is urgently necessary to internationalise the Greek people’s cause. Only the total elimination of the debt would bring an "ideological blow" to the current European system.
1. The Greek people’s massive "No" does not mean a rejection of Europe. It means a rejection of the bankers’ Europe, of infinite debt and of globalised capitalism.
2. Isn’t it true that part of nationalist opinion, or even of the far Right, also voted "No" to the financial institutions’ demands – to the diktat from Europe’s reactionary governments? Well, yes, we know that any purely negative vote will be partly confused. It has always been the case that the far Right can reject certain things that the far Left also rejects. The only clear thing is the affirmation of what we want. But everyone knows that what Syriza wants is opposed to what the nationalists and the fascists want. So the vote is not just a generic vote against the anti-popular demands of globalised capitalism and its European servants. It is also, for the moment, a vote of confidence in the Tsipras government.
In his Jacobin article below, Stathis Kouvelakis argues that after five months of negotiations, Syriza’s choices remain the same: capitulate to Greece’s lenders or break with the euro. Kouvelakis made the following statement in response to the proposals offered by Tsipras yesterday:
The list of the measures of the new austerity package proposed by the Syriza government is absolutely depressing. They amount to a total of 8 billion for the next two years (2,7 for 2015 and 5,2 for 2016) distributed in cuts and increase in taxes and social contributions. The proposed increases in taxes include an rise of the VAT, an indirect "flat" tax hitting disproportionately low-income people, expected to bring an extra 0,7 billion this year, and the double next year. A total of extra 1,8 billion is expected to come in the next two years from a pension "reform", via the restrictions in early retirement and the rise of the contributions of wage-earners for their pensions and their health coverage. The rise in taxes also includes a rise in corporate tax, and the (slightly amended) "special solidarity tax" instituted by the previous government. The privatizations will go on as scheduled by the previous government with some minor changes in the procedure. The government claims that it keeps the right to change the labour legislation and raise the minimum wage, although these points are unclear in the non-paper distributed to the media. There are also some rather symbolic gestures like an ultra-minimal cut in military spending (200 million) and a tax on luxury yachts.
Needless to say that all the "red lines" have been crossed and that very little is left of Syriza's programme. Needless also to say that a new 8 billion "purge" to a country that had already lost 25% of its GDP can only lead to further recession, poverty and unemployment. But, of course, even this is still not sufficient for the Troika. The EU strictly follows the line of the Italian 68ers: "vogliamo tutto" / "We want it all". And it seems to work, since at each round they succeed in getting even more concessions without them making the slightest one! Will this downward spiral stop before it's too late! It's more than time for the social movements and the combative forces of the Left to wake up and fight!