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Greece

The troika leaves, its misdeeds remain

Tuesday 7 August 2018, by Tassos Anastassiadis

In a few days (August 20, 2018), after more than eight years of direct European management of the country, Greece will celebrate the official end of the troika. And the enthusiastic statements of the European elites (European Commission, Tsipras, Merkel and others) resonate, despite the terrible damage caused by the Troika, as applause! Recall that the invention of the troika in Europe was made in early 2010, supposedly to fight against Greece’s huge public debt.

Triumph of the Greek bourgeoisie

But this latter, estimated at 301 billion euros in 2009 (126% of GDP) has actually, with the troika, exploded a little more, to reach 325 billion (178%) in 2018 (not to mention the private debts created). An undeniable success!

The end of the troika does not mean an end to its misdeeds. On the one hand, the “undertakings” have been given until 2060 (!) And the “reforms” produce effects, which are not only "structural" (for example, the new cut in pensions programmed for 2019 by 1% of GDP, a drop that could go up to 18%!). On the other hand, there is the continuation of "reforms" already programmed and "freely agreed", in terms of selling off public space, competition, greater flexibility at work and so on.

The petty institutional game, classic for the EU, between the authorities in Brussels and the national authorities, took a very acute and even dramatic character in Greece in 2015, when the blackmail appeared in all its brutality on the political scene. The European TINA triumphed for the greatest enthusiasm of the bourgeoisie - especially Greek: the “reforms”" were not in danger, the workers could continue to be unpaid, underpaid, flexible, without rights and obedient.

This victory of the Greek bourgeoisie, with the help of Brussels, also dealt a political blow to the left. Not only for ideological reasons - with the fact that the one who acts as the most faithful executor of Brussels in the government still proclaims himself as “left2" ... - but also because at the strategic level the reflection could very easily deviate from the social and class issues, towards technical or institutional aspects, notably the euro. Thus, the break with the euro could become the new gadget of those who, until now, had deluded themselves about democracy or the "rationality" of the European bourgeoisie! Most of Syriza’s leftist divisions, especially the Popular Unity / LAE, have moved in this direction, which is in truth a headlong rush.

Nationalist drift on the left

The new "Initiative 1-1-4" of the Popular Unity / LAE, which is an axis for a "national liberation", is programmatically purified of any reference to working class politics and even annoying words like wages, pensions, etc., in favour of the "saving of the fatherland", of the competitive bourgeois, in alliance with properly nationalistic and Christian forces. This sovereignism is no longer an innocent excess of language: it becomes dangerous and even reactionary, especially when the victorious bourgeoisie is always demanding more. This was the case with the suspicion of a recognition of the Republic of Macedonia by Greece, which was enough to mobilize the masses, the nationalist left protesting against the “treason” of the rulers in the pay of Europeans or Americans! Not to counter or flirt, and even to participate sometimes, in this resurgence of a nationalism hostile to its neighbours, is more than a shame: it is about a complete political disorientation, in a conjuncture where the Greek bourgeoisie takes offensive initiatives, especially against its eastern neighbours, with even the risk of war.

But the alignment with the "nation" - rejected and denounced by some anti-capitalists and anarchists - against Macedonians, Turks, Europeans or Americans - and more rarely the Russians - propelled by the dominant Stalinist legacy, does not respond to the social needs created by neoliberal “reformism”. Basically, this may be the main reason that undermines the credibility of sovereignism - except for the extreme right, which is still threatening. Because the proletarian layers of the new model created by the troika, young people, refugees and immigrants, but also some of older people thrown out of the workplace, have nothing to do with a “nation” that identifies itself with the European wild west: everyone for themselves! Their problem is literally vital, in a cannibal labour market where their labour power becomes no more than a commodity, a capital, whose realization (in salary, in retirement or in service) is not even ensured by the social rules but depends only on the market itself and its wild forces.

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