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15:09 | 30.05.2012



Changing Power Relations in All of Europe

The press conference given by Alexis Tsipras, Jean-Luc Mélenchon und Pierre Laurent in the French Parliament was a tremendous success with journalists from TV- and radio-stations and print media asking a number of questions about SYRIZA’s positions regarding Greece and Europe.

Obviously it was clear that in Greece something is happening of a European dimension, simultaneously with a change of political power relations in Europe, with the radical Left playing an active part in some countries. In Greece, where SYRIZA, as an extremely responsible left – and by no means left extremist – alliance, came second, way before the Social Democratic PASOK and is still gaining sympathies, the breach with the chain of neo-liberalism could become a concrete chance.

Also in parliament and at the invitation of Pierre Laurent, President of the European Left and the PCF, a meeting took place of the delegation with parliamentarians of Front de Gauche as well as representatives of movements and trade unions (FSU, Solidaires, CGT, Fondation Copernic, Attac, Economistes atterrés, transform! europe). On behalf of the Parti Socialiste (PS), only two representatives were available for an informal meeting with the parliamentarians of SYRIZA.* A meeting at the square in front of the National Assembly and an evening event with the Greek Left in Paris completed the programme.

It has to be made clear – as Tsipras says – that it is “impossible to have rain and sunshine at the same time”, which means that the governments and European institutions have to choose between austerity and growth. All throughout Europe, the wage/salary-earning, unemployed, precarious and retired people have a common interest: to form an alliance against “the coalition of the forces of financial capital ruling the continent”. Thus Tsipras can consequently say in the German Bundestag that SYRIZA’s vision also corresponds to the interests of the wage/salary-earning people in Germany. Therefore it is no coincidence that the key points emphasised by the delegation show a great convergence with the ideas of the European Left as well as of social movements and militant trade unions.  

After Hollande’s election it will be about overcoming any ambiguity concerning the Fiscal Stability Treaty and to get Europeans to say a clear “No” to it. A factual growth in the interests of the populations and in the sense of a new model of development – and not one in favour of finance – can by no means be achieved by a continuation of the prevailing logic. In so far, the destructive Fiscal Stability Treaty cannot just be “amended”, but must be rejected altogether. 

In Greece both the economy and the people are stifled more and more, because the super-austerity policy is barring any way-out. Obviously the European oligarchy is using a country as a test-case whose GNP amounts to 2% of the European GDP (gross domestic product) to see how far it is possible to go, applying avalanches of data and permanent fear-mongering as weapons. However, the Greek population has the power to clearly say: “Stop! Not one step further on this road!” In Italy and Spain the governments – who are by no means leftist, but confronted with increasingly growing difficulties – are using the breakup of the “Merkozy”-axis to announce their doubts. The de-facto expulsion of one EU-country would by no means eliminate the causes of the crisis, but it would create chaos in the economies and the currency in all of Europe, with the situation of the populations deteriorating even further. As representative Giannis Milios said, the question is not “Euro or Drachma”, but “Which Europe do we need and want?”

The conflict about Greece today crystallises the European class confrontation which is raging on social, political and ideological levels at the same time. Vis-à-vis the organised block of the ruling class in Europe (Giannis Milios) it is the order of the day to establish new alliances – a common front (Pierre Laurent) – in favour of an alternative logic, both on national and European levels, alliances based on real convergences between social, cultural and political forces of different natures and backgrounds. SYRIZA is aware that forming a “government” under present-day conditions does not mean to take over “power”, but that it creates better conditions for leading the struggle together with the entire population for more power, for democracy and social justice. In that respect, the elections were just the beginning.

The best protection for the Greeks will be the highest percentage for SYRIZA on 17 June

for the most favourable conditions in the re-negotiation of agreements, and
to acquire the balance of power most favourable to be heard and respected in Greece and Europe.
In the discussion with the delegation of SYRIZA it became clear that currently several political levers are available which need to be operated simultaneously to bring about a change in political decisions in Europe:

The Greek elections which are able to break open one link in the chain of neo-liberalism, whereby any isolation of Greece and the Left must be prevented.
The French elections in which it will be about shifting the balance of power further to the Left
The upcoming ratification of the Fiscal Stability Treaty where pressure can be intensified by the populations on each and every individual representative to vote against it and/ or in favour of a referendum  

For all of Europe the concrete question is: Will it be possible to arrive at a new quality in the conflict with the ruling oligarchy by involving an ever greater part of the populations and mobilising numerous social and political protagonists?

* In the delegation’s next stop in Berlin, a meeting came about between Sigmar Gabriel, president of the German SPD, and Alexis Tsipras.

By: Elisabeth Gauthier

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