The Greek Crisis and the Fourth International
We publish below a letter of protest from Comrade Andreas, a leader of the Greek section of the Fourth International protesting the orientation of the FI leadership – which is verging on a ‘unity’ project in Greece and across Europe on a programme of too many give-aways to moderate left projects. As the letter by Comrade Andreas stresses, in the past, capitulations to the right by national sections have been dealt with softly. The 2003 World Congress for example saw the FI leadership stating that they would not allow any voting on the Brazilian issue (i.e., the Brazilian SD taking cabinet position in Lula's government), since what was first needed was a discussion and consultation with the comrades on the ground. for sections and comrades on the ground who are to the left of the FI leadership, such a policy seems unacceptable. This is certainly questionable. While RS is not expressing the stand of RS here, RS feels the FI leadership should take the FI's own section much more seriously.
You've probably seen that the "Executive Bureau of the Fourth International" (EBFI) has issued a statement on Greece in "Int. Viewpoint". In this statement it declares itself unreservedly in favor of the previously published opinion of SR, the British section of the FI. Thus it challenges the view of OKDE (the Greek Section) and of ANTARSYA (which OKDE is part of). (My article that was also published last week in IV reflects the general approach of OKDE.) The declaration of the EBFI advocates unequivocally, and with all desirable clarity, the political conception of the SYRIZA leadership, especially its "5-Point Plan". The declaration states:
"We call for the coming together of all the forces which are fighting against austerity in Greece - Syriza, Antarsya, the KKE, the trade unions and the other social movements - around an emergency plan." And:
There is no space here for a deeper analysis. From my / our point of view I / we would comment as follows:
- OKDE, as the Greek section, was not even consulted before the publication of this statement. This, in itself, is highly irregular and completely unacceptable. Whether the comrades of the EBFI agree with the orientation of OKDE in the present situation or not (and it is certainly their right to disagree) it is a violation of every basic tenet of international leadership for them to adopt a position without even initiating a discussion with the comrades who are actively engaged in Greece itself. For some decades now, when various national sections of the FI have taken actions or developed an orientation which many in our world movement considered objectionable, but which reflected a rightward political drift, we have been consistently informed--by the same comrades who drafted and voted for this statement on Greece--that it is not the proper role of the FI's elected bodies to publicly criticize sections regarding their national "tactics." This was the approach insisted on, for example, when the comrades in Mexico endorsed the campaign of Cuathemoc Cardenas for president, running as the candidate of the bourgeois PRD; in Brazil when the Socialist Democracy current chose to politically support the neoliberal government of Lula in the months immediately after he was elected president; in Italy when a comrade in the Senate voted to fund the war in Afghanistan, justifying this by the need to follow the discipline of Rifondazione; in Denmark when the leadership of SAP agreed with the majority of the Red-Green alliance that it would be OK to vote "yes" on the budget of a potential left-reformist bourgeois government; in Portugal when comrades from the Left Bloc in parliament voted in favor of the draconian EU "bailout" for Greece. (The one partial exception to this pattern that we would note was with Brazil, but here the differentiation, when it came, was extremely mild and took place only after a considerable delay, prompted by the fact that our former section had undeniably been turned into a social-democratic formation and was no longer a section of the FI.) Today, however, when the comrades in the EBFI object to the OKDE's revolutionary policy and want to endorse the reformist SYRIZA "action plan," the EBFI suddenly leaps into action to issue a public differentiation from the approach being advocated by the Greek section. This kind of double standard should be completely unacceptable to all comrades of the FI, no matter what their opinions might be on the substantive issues.
- It is difficult to assess the differences between the orientation of OKDE (and of ANTARSYA) and the declaration of the EBFI as merely “tactical.” It seems to clearly be a matter of two fundamentally incompatible views—both counterposed political assessments and political/programmatic orientations.
- At the end of each article in “Int. Viewpoint” one can read the following: “The Fourth International - an international organization struggling for the socialist revolution - is composed of sections, of militants who accept and apply its principles and programme.” The time has come, however, to honestly ask ourselves: What principles, what program?
- Given the extreme escalation and the critical situation in Greece, which is emphasized by the very declaration adopted by the EBFI, the FI finds itself at a crossroads: Should we support a perspective that can only be characterized as (left) reformist, or do we support a revolutionary anti-capitalism and an updated transition program? All sections, currents, groups, and ultimately every militant will have to take a position on this question.
After the elections of May 6 a further polarization of the electorate between "left and right" is developing, clearly favoring SYRIZA and New Democracy (ND). On the left everything is turning towards SYRIZA. The left sentiment is still rising and is currently at about 40% (on May 6 it was still at 37%). On the other hand, the intimidating propaganda (mainly from the German mass media) urging that Greece be kicked out of the euro favors ND and PASOK. The present published opinion polls are slightly different from one another but give the following overall picture:
ND 23.5 to 26%, SYRIZA 21.5 to 28.5 (or even 30) %, PASOK 13.1 to 14.8%, Independent Greeks (nationalistic - rightwing, but against the memoranda policies) 5.8 - 7.2% , DIMAR (politically somewhere between PASOK and SYRIZA, a particular phenomenon) 6.2 - 7.0%, CPG (KKE) 4.8 - 5.2%, Ch.Avgi (fascists) from 3.8 to 5.5%, Dimiourgia xana / Drasi (extreme neo-liberal) 2.4 - 3%. ANTARSYA is mentioned with 1%. It may be, however, that the result of the next election on June 17 will be well below this figure, since parliamentary illusions are in full bloom. This should be understandable in any case.
SYRIZA could therefore actually be the first party in the next electoral round. But we still strongly doubt that the formation of a "left government" can be achieved, since there is no suitable coalition partner in sight. KKE will not participate, as everybody knows. DIMAR is one likely coalition partner but that would pull SYRIZA even further to the right. The "Independent Greeks" are very unlikely to join such a government as they are rightwing-nationalist and do not fit with SYRIZA.
If ND and PASOK, and possibly still another party (e.g. DIMAR), are going to form a government, muddling along in the context of the memoranda policies as before, the country will very soon be left with no prospect. There could well be totally uncontrollable outbreaks, more reminiscent of chaos or civil war perhaps. The society itself is on the verge of collapse and cannot simply go on like this. On the other hand, a viable alternative is hardly in sight.