ANTARSYA statement for the recent agreement between the Greek coalition government and the EurogroupPosted: February 26, 2015
What will the next steps of the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government be until June?
One month after its election, the SYRIZA-ANEL coalition government showed with its’ capitulation to the Eurogroup, that there is no margin for challenging the destructive austerity policies of the Memorandum within the EU and the Eurozone and in the context of commitment to repaying the debt. With its’ choices, the government leaves the foundations of social deprivation, poverty and the unemployment of 1.3 million people untouched. No propaganda can hide this. No demand for tolerance and patience can be accepted.
The first important withdrawal was the commitment of Tsipras that the debt will be paid off, thus accepting that it is sustainable and that the demands of the lenders are legal. Next came the burdensome agreement to extend the Memorandum, the loan agreements and the supervision by the EU, ECB and IMF, i.e the institutions as the Troika was baptised. Finally, the “reforms” which were included in the letter of Minster of Finance, Mr. Varoufakis (24/2/2015).
This letter shows that the government extends the Memorandum in a society that has been extremely burdened in the last five years, cancels its program and promotes the reactionary restructuring-reforms. In this letter the government:
- Commits to reform the wages of the public sector in order to decompress the wage distribution through productivity. This could mean that the wage will be connected with productivity. The government also commits not to lower the current minimum wage neither to increase the wages in the public sector.
- This commitment, combined with the choice to cut public expenditures even more through the rationalisation of non-wage benefits, predisposes to new cuts of wages in the public sector. At the same time it has committed to retain wage freezing and will not restore the 13th and 14th salaries.
- Leaves the way open for extending the high taxation of the people as it foresees total abolition of the few tax-exemptions: ‘eliminating tax code exemptions and replacing them, where necessary, with social justice enhancing measures’. At the same time there is no talk about increasing taxation on capital except the well-known promises for eliminating tax-evasion. Also, it foresees further increases of VAT ‘with a view to limiting exemptions while eliminating unreasonable discounts’.
- Lays the groundwork for further cuts in pensions that will be imposed through the consolidation of funds and through the neoliberal perspective that pensions are connected with income.
- Commits to extend the policy of auctions of the main residence of households as the government agreed to ‘coordinate with the institutions in order to avoid in the forthcoming period, auctions of the main residence of households below a certain income threshold’. As for the non-performing loans they will be dealt with in a manner that fully considers the banks’ capitalisation.
- Agreed to continue to sell public property, another ‘red line’ of the government as it will ‘not abolish the privatisations that have been already completed. In the case that they are in progress the government will respect this procedure’. What will the government do then? Will it complete the sale of the Public Company of Electricity, of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, the land of the ex-Athens airport? Will it accept Cosco and other tycoons buying and managing public property?
- Accepts that it will maintain and deepen the flexible employment hell and the destruction of the labour market as it agrees to ‘expand and develop the existing scheme that provides temporary employment for the unemployed, in agreement with partners and when fiscal space permits and improve the active labour market policy programmes with the aim of updating the skills of the long term unemployed’.
- As for the minimum wage the government agreed ‘to streamline and over time raise minimum wages in a manner that safeguards competiveness and employment prospects. The scope and timing of changes to the minimum wage will be made in consultation with social partners and the European and international institutions’.
- Restores the ‘independence of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues (GSPR), if necessary through further legislation, from all sorts of interference (political or otherwise)’, i.e. the independence of technocrats against the people.
- What has remained? The humanitarian crisis, that the EU partners allow the Greek government to confront only ‘if this will not have a negative fiscal effect’.
The supervisory mechanism of the EU, ECB and IMF also remains untouched. They will continue to evaluate the execution of the Memorandum even if they are called ‘institutions’ and not Troika.
People did not reject the previous governments in order to have a new agreement of social looting and supervision from the EU, ECB and IMF. It is the moment of the labour movement to come to the fore and defend the right to employment, to decent life, to democracy and independency, the right of the people to decide for their future. The popular labour struggles will cancel the new agreement by fighting to overthrow the policies of the Memoranda and the EU, ECB and IMF.
ANTARSYA calls all the forces of the militant Left, all those that feel that the support they gave to the government which eventually signed the extension of the Memorandum was betrayed, to do their best in order for the people to come to the fore. It is a time of historical responsibility which doesn’t justify waiting or tolerance towards the government as the lesser evil, because the greater evil of justification of the most reactionary options is lurking. There is another road, without debt, Memoranda and euro. It will be mapped by the people through social struggle, paving the way for the anticapitalist overthrow of the attack and social emancipation. It is in this struggle that the Left will be honoured in order to be worthy of its name and history.