After capitulating to the EU, the ECB, and the IMF on July 12 by signing a third package of the most barbaric austerity measures tied to a new bailout of the unsustainable Greek debt, after spreading disappointment, confusion, and disgust among the Greek popular masses and anger within its own members, after a traumatic split of its party and parliamentary group, Syriza nevertheless managed to win the snap elections on September 20 and resurrected its coalition government with the right wing nationalists of ANEL (Independent Greeks).
Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose, a cynical but superficial commentator could say.But nothing is the same: the government of the same partners Syriza/ANEL is not the same as the government that was elected on January 25, 2015, empowered then with the enthusiasm and hopes of the majority of the Greek people for an end to the nightmare of permanent austerity imposed by the troika of the EU/ECB/IMF. Nobody now doubts that the new government of Syriza/ANEL would implement the diktats of the EU in the third “Memorandum ”. The political system is not restored nor stabilized. On the contrary, the unprecedented massive abstention (45 per cent now, ten points more than in the previous elections) – an abstention particularly strong among the youth, the unemployed, and the proletarian areas that led to the triumph of the NO in the Referendum of July 5- as well as a vote to the so-called “Union of Centrists” led by V. Leventis, a notorious comic figure of fringe TV, are clear signs of the loss of credibility of Greek parliamentarianism and a further disintegration of a political system already in shambles.
The fact that the Nazi “Golden Dawn” again occupies the third position among the parties in Parliament is a threatening development; but far from being a “re-assuring” sign for political stabilization, it clearly shows the deepening of social and political polarization and the dangers confronting the people. Although there was not a spectacular rise in the Nazi vote, nevertheless, it became a constant counter-revolutionary factor in political life. Their vote even doubled in the islands where the wave of migrants came this past summer.
The forces that have split from Syriza, from the left, forming the very heterogeneous and bureaucratic “Popular Unity”, were defeated in the elections as they did not present any real credible alternative, only a vague promise for a “new Syriza, more consistent with its origins” and dedicated to form an “anti-austerity, patriotic , democratic front” , based on economic nationalism, a return to the national currency, the drachma, without a break with the EU nor with capitalism. The voters preferred the original Syriza than its replica. The failure of “Popular Unity” to enter parliament now intensifies all the centrifugal forces within that organization.
The self-referential, sectarian Stalinist Communist Party (KKE) failed to attract the forces leaving Syriza, remaining immobilize with a small 5.5 per cent of the vote.
Generally, the KKE and other forces of the Left, including Antarsya, called on the people to vote solely for a combative workers-popular Opposition. The EEK fought in an electoral bloc with Antarsya, on the basis of a transitional program for an end to austerity, for a break with the EU, the abolition of the debt, nationalizations of the banks and the strategic sectors of the economy under workers control etc, but we were insisting always on a struggle for workers power and a socialist unification of Europe. The bloc EEK-Antarsya has increased its vote and percentage in relation to the previous elections in 2015 and 2012, without breaking the limit of a marginal 0.8 per cent. The broad masses see us as combat organizations necessary for the everyday struggles but not yet as an alternative to power.
The Greek people looks, first of all, at the question of what kind of government, not just an opposition force, could stop the on-going catastrophe. And it has chosen, without much enthusiasm nor great expectations, the lesser evil, the Syriza of Tsipras, to avoid a full revanchist restoration of the discredited old corrupt regime of the right wing New Democracy.
It will be the weakest and for the same reason a very dangerous government tied to the orders of the EU and the Greek ruling class to implement the most savage austerity program on a devastated people, in conditions of a rapidly worsening world capitalist crisis.
The most important battles are in front of us.
Savas Michael Matsas
September 20, 2015