The agreement reached between the SYRIZA government and the Eurogroup on Friday, 20th February is an extension of austerity and an abandonment of even the minimum promises for vindication of workers' demands.
No verbal acrobatics can disguise the fact that, as expressly mentioned in the first rows of the official statement, "the purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement, making best use of the given flexibility which will be considered jointly with the Greek authorities and the institutions "
In ordinary Greek, the Memorandum (now, "current arrangement") continues, control by the Troika continues ("review") and the only changes will be, as in the past, ("given flexibility") under the approval of Troika (now, “institutions”).
The only ones that come out winners from this agreement are the bankers who retain control of banks, ensure funding from the ECB and utilize this "liquidity" for the recycling of debt. As before, the tranches of funding that will come from the institutions will go for debt payments to bankers and not for meeting social needs.
Instead, all the promises for workers demands are frozen, even those the new ministers made immediately after their inauguration. The state budget is chasing a 'suitable' surplus by cutting expenditure. Privatisations not only will not be reversed, but will be continued. The re-employment of the fired workers in public sector promised by the new government can be allowed only at the expense of new recruitment.
Tax exemptions for shipowners remain untouched, rich people who owe big to the tax authorities will get facilities, but the tax-free measure for low incomes awaits the approval of the Troika.
The increase of the minimum wage is now responsibility of the "social partners", that means it has to be solved between the unions and the bosses' s organizations.
The current round of pension cuts is still underway, since “the Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions”.
Alexis Tsipras, who has done not one, but several steps back, still claims to have the support of the people that demosntrated in the squares. Manolis Glezos is right to apologize for being an accomplice in this illusion.
The challenge now is how to prevent this destructive development. Is there an alternative and how can it be enforced? Three steps are necessary.
*The first is the continuation of workers' struggles, who resisted against the troika memoranda attacks throughout this last period. We have to fight against the "freezing" that the new agreement brings, proclaiming implementation of all demands highlighted in labor struggles:
All fired workers to return back to their jobs. to reopen ERT, the natoinal broadcaster, and all schools, hospitals etc that have been closed during the last years. To say no more "availability", no more "evaluations", no more wage reductions in public sector.
To throw the predators of private sector, like COSCO, out of the ports, airports , railways, water, electricity companies. Restoration of salaries, pensions and collective agreements against the cuts, old and new.
To stop the racist "memoranda" (denounce of citizenship for 2nd generation immigants, police's racist raids against immigrants called “Xenios Zeus”, concentration camps, the fence at the border with Turkey, Frontex patrols) which attack not only refugees and immigrants but the entire working class.
To destroy all the mechanisms who protected the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, wherever they exist (police, courts, shipowners's offices etc). To demand trial and condemnation of neo-Nazi killers.
We need to start again strikes and rallies, ocuppations sit-ins, we need new Manolada struggles. Our strength lies in the organized parts of the working class and their struggle, not in the polls. No "referendum" will save us, and if this is attempted we will not let it legitimize this new memorandum.
*The second step is the political generalization of workers' struggles and demands by using the transitional anti-capitalist program: Delete the debt, breaking with the euro and the EU, nationalization of the banks under workers control. Every fight, in order to be victorious, need to have an overall perspective.
In order not to succumb to the blackmails of European Central Bank to blow the banks up by stopping the liquidity, in order not to fear that speculators will provoke a «bankrun» taking their funds abroad, it is necessary to have control of the banking system, currency and capital flows.
With these anti-capitalist measures we can support a workers's “NO, we won't pay the debt” struggle and stop the bleeding of wages, pensions and social services for the sake of interests.
Even the official budget figures show that we have paid huge sums for the debt in the last three decades and the debt instead of decreasing, it's rising. The campaign to drop the debt is the most mature demand and an overall way out. It is a necessary complement of everyday struggle.
*The third step is to strengthen the revolutionary anti-capitalist left. The compromise between SYRIZA and the Eurogroup-bankers and their institutions, is the confirmation of the deadlock of the reformist road. It's not a momentary retreat, it is an integral part of a strategy that is looking for alliances and bridges with right wing politicians like Kamenos of ANEL and the new President of Democracy, Pavlopoulos, alliances and bridges with the institutions and political personnel of the capitalist class.
It may have been a century since Rosa Luxemburg spoke about the dilemma Reform or Revolution, but the timeliness of this dilemma is ahead. Those who thought they could abolish this dilemma baptising SYRIZA as a "new radical left that surpasses the old dividing lines" are now in an uncomfortable position. The braves asking for the apology and the unrepentant looking for excuses.
This is no time for disappointments and fall backs. Now is the time to roll up the baton of overthrow before they let it fall. All we, who took part in the movement that brought down four governments in five years, we can and have to join the ranks of the revolutionary left serving the perspective of the overthrow of capitalism, for a society where the worker will have control over the wealth they produce and their own lives.