Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What is happening in Puerto Rico?

Communist Party of Puerto Rico

June 30, 2015
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Press Release

We are workers and honest men and women suffering the tyranny of capital on our backs more and more, and the moment of truth has arrived.The crack in the colonial apparatus is now a fact. It’s one that’s been warned about and denied - even now, but one that is recognized by the colonial bureaucracy that governs us. There’s no doubt that the people, the working and dispossessed masses of our country, can expect difficult times ahead.

We communists of Puerto Rico have to denounce and condemn the dishonest behavior of those in charge of managing the country. There’s not been even the slightest show of leadership of the country toward dealing with chaos. They waste our money hiring public relations people who rely on the official press of finance capitalism to tell us what the whole country already knows. In cowardly and irresponsible fashion, they “inform” us from a distance and are not available to be questioned by the press. What we see is the moral and ideological bankruptcy of the bourgeois parties along with their agents, actual pillars of the colonial system.

That clique of bankers, true puppets in the service of Wall Street, has fallen into criminal behavior over the past decades. They’ve cruelly delivered “austerity” prescriptions to our country on behalf of international financial organizations. They preach at us to meekly accept environmental destruction, wholesale imposition of taxes, anti-worker laws, plunder of public employees’ retirement plans, and privatization of public property. It’s always been about “saving the country from the abyss,” “stimulation of economic progress,” and other big lies.

If the administration of García Padilla has shown anything, it’s that all the “bitter medicines” they’ve handed out or approved in headlong fashion, like the coming sales tax increase to 11.5 percent, are not really intended to solve anything.
To the contrary: they are aimed at using the colonial system to recycle debt continually at higher and higher interest rates and through privatization to channel to Wall Street ever greater portions of social surplus that working masses in Puerto Rico have produced. Intermediaries and local “bookies,” some disguised as government officials, made off with their cut of bond transactions. The social and environmental cost of this colonial model of super-exploitation represents one of the biggest expropriations in all our history - in other words, systematic robbery.

AGP (Alejandro Garcia Padilla,governor of Puerto Rico), the legislature, and his “economic team” regard the increased sales tax as a valid solution to Puerto Rico’s deep problems caused by colonial capitalism. Such is their great cynicism in the midst of this whole situation.
Nevertheless, before putting forth his “plan,” AGP argues with considerable arrogance that “this is no question of politics, it’s about mathematics.” In fact, that’s precisely what it is - a question of politics. The exploitative relations that capitalism has imposed on us are power relationships, and therefore politics.

But AGP’s “plan” is that of continuing to apply the politics of austerity: in other words the same failed strategy of layoffs, privatizations destructive of the environment, plunder of public property, and all of it is disguised as “production incentives.” How will he ever convince that parasitic bourgeoisie that all it succeeds in doing is merely hoarding money in New York banks and fiscal paradises when that money actually could be invested in productive activities with no government subsidy? Is he pretending to develop his “plan” within systems of the colonial apparatus? Or will decisions be made affecting the whole of society through his version of CAREF (Advisory Council on Economic and Fiscal Reconstruction), which is a non-elected agency, without worker or social participation?

We must point out that there is a balancing act at the heart of empire in the form of rivalries playing out in the corridors of power in the United States. While their national bourgeoisie, associated with production and commercial sectors, chiefly agricultural, is fighting to preserve colonization in Puerto Rico, the financial oligarchy and its entire army of “government functionaries” are working to lift the remaining obstacles to free circulation of capital, obstacles that the colonial regime sustains, at least some of them.
On one side, that national bourgeoisie, represented in part by the Tea Party, wants to retain Puerto Rico as a captive market for its agricultural products and for merchandise produced by the working class of China. On the other, the financial sectors, who own money, want to broaden the scope of exploitation of the working masses of Puerto Rico by means of public debt and the building of unnecessary infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is considering the imposition of a receivership on the colonial government. For this to occur, the U. S. government, paladin of democracy in the world, would be removing from the ELA its facade of “a democratic regime” and would be displaying the colonial regime in all its crudity before our eyes and the world. (1)

Nevertheless, this critical situation presents great opportunities for change, and they have revolutionary potential. But we must set ourselves on the road toward construction of a more just society, one without colonial attachments and one that would allow for full development of the human being. And that is socialism. But on the other hand, populism and fascism are lying in wait also, especially if capital wants to inflict them on us as an essential mechanism for attaining its goals.

The prospect of collapse of the colony turns organization of the working class into an imperative. That means organization of all social sectors into a mass front in order to move toward a conglomeration of political forces fit for stopping the capitalist offensive. We must also mobilize ourselves to force their puppets in the empire to reach a solution to the colonial problem. We must mobilize as a society to demand the resignation and criminal prosecution of all colonial functionaries who have taken part in plundering our public property.

We must mobilize to demand that all anti-people measures they have applied be ended, in particular the increased sales tax and privatization of AEE (Puerto RicoElectric Power Authority, by its Spanish initials). We must organize ourselves to force colonial bureaucrats to not pay the debt.

Workers, men and women, people of Puerto Rico, if there has ever been a time to struggle for our future, that time is now.

Revolution or submission!
Communism or barbarism!

From the Political Commission of the Communist Party of Puerto Rico

1.  ELA are Spanish language initials for the "Associated Free State of Puerto Rico,” the colony’s official name, as per its 1952 Constitution)
Source:  (web site of Communist Party of Puerto Rico)
Also at:

Translated by W. T. Whitney Jr.

Evaluating the Sanders Candidacy

By Wayne Nealis

Taken from

Sanders' anti-One Percent message is welcome. Nonetheless, "political independence inside the Democratic Party" is a dead end. Progressives should take independent political action, break dependency on the Democratic Party and defeat the right wing.

The yearning among millions of Americans for a change in politics as usual is evident in the enthusiasm for Senator Bernie Sanders anti-One Percent campaign. In late June, on ABC's This Week, Sanders said he would win because Americans are "...sick and tired of working longer hours for low wages while at the same time 99 percent of all new income generated is going to the top 1 percent and the top one-tenth-of-one-percent now owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent." [1]

Those are fight'n words that have found traction among millions of voters. His message echoes Occupy Wall Street's scrappy call to fight back against the greed and usury of the 1 percent. Those who see the need to build a political movement to challenge the two major parties should closely follow voters' response to his campaign program, as it is a barometer of independent electoral opportunities.

In recent campaign appearances Sanders called for doubling the minimum wage, providing free college education, breaking up the largest banks, creating a universal health care system and expanding union rights. Hillary Clinton and the Democrat's center-right leadership would not support any of these initiatives.

On foreign policy Sanders stands to the left of the Democratic Party's imperialist center, but he is inconsistent. Sanders voted to authorize the invasion of Afghanistan, though he vigorously opposed the Iraq War. In 1999 he voted to authorize President Clinton's use of military force and bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The first of many of U.S initiated illegal regime change adventures to come. Like most of his senate colleagues he refers to Israel as a key ally and friend. He publicly supported Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

He typically goes along with economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., for example, on Iran, Russia, Libya and Iraq before the 2003 war. Knowing sanctions are precursors to military aggression, his support is misguided. During the U.S. and NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, Sanders noted an interview his constituents were upset there was no debate in congress before Obama acted. Yet, when asked if he would support a resolution to authorize the war under the War Powers Act, he said, "We'll see." [2]

In 2013, when Obama proposed bombing Syria, Sanders did not come out against the action, even after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly voted to authorize the campaign. Sanders said constituents calling his offices were nearly unanimous in their opposition, but he was going to continue to listen to the president's arguments. [3] While Sanders does not have a war-hawk record like Clinton, neither is he an anti-war candidate.

What is curious about his otherwise radical sounding campaign is he seldom discusses foreign policy on the stump, in interviews or campaign statements. [4] The campaign website does not mention foreign policy, a critique of drone warfare or ongoing wars. Yet, it is quite clear from polling data that a majority of Americans are as tired of war as they are tried of Wall Street greed.

Could Sanders' silence on foreign policy be to protect Vermont from losing military-related jobs? An air force base near Burlington, under review to be closed or downsized, was recently given a reprieve, when it was chosen to be the home base of the new, $400 billion F-35 fighter plane.  Sanders defended the plane and lobbied for it being located in Vermont. Vermont firms also depend on defense department engineering and manufacturing contracts. Sanders knows the political/military establishment is not above threaten critics with loss of contracts.

Perhaps his reticence to discuss U.S. imperialist aggression and interference in Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine or closer to home, Venezuela or Honduras, is that it would mean Hillary Clinton would have to defend her hawkish record to a public tired of war. A reasonable question to ask is if his inattention to foreign policy is designed to avoid such a confrontation that could damage Clinton's general election campaign. Or, does he agree with her, as his record in part shows? Many of Sanders' supporters likely disagree with Hillary's record. If so, they should begin asking their candidate some tough questions.

The appeal of Sanders' domestic program
No doubt on domestic issues Sanders program for a political revolution resonates with a sizable percentage of the electorate, perhaps approaching 30 to 50 percent depending on the issue. So what are his chances of his winning the nomination? As much as his domestic agenda appeals to the disenchanted among democrats and unaffiliated voters the odds are stacked against him for the nomination as discussed in more detail below.

National polling shows Sanders with a respectable 15 percent of the vote among potential voters considering he has no national organization in place to sustain a general election bid. Among Democrats in early primary and caucus states, like Iowa and New Hampshire, polls shows he may garner support from 30 percent or more. Crowds at campaign rallies continue to grow with an estimated 10,000 in Madison, WI, July 1 and that number again recently in Phoenix, AZ.

These results show there is a constituency around Sanders' social equity domestic agenda on which to challenge to the two major parties. Politically, 2016 is ripe for an independent run for president on a program like Sanders'. Discontent runs high and 50 percent of voters want more choices than the two major parties. The wild card played by social media provides an inexpensive means to reach the public, especially among young voters. Might the response to Sanders been greater if he had to chosen run an independent campaign?

But running for president on a domestic program like Sanders', without a host of like-minded congressional candidates, is strategically flawed. Voters are less likely to take it as a serious effort, see it as a spoiler or symbolic, a flash-in-the-pan campaign. A slate of congressional candidates running on the same program would mark a serious effort at a political revolution. This would attract more local media coverage and extend the organizational capacity of the congressional and presidential candidates without adding additional resources. So, far it appears Sanders has not recruited any sitting or prospective congressional candidates to take up his domestic program. This adds to skepticism about the intent of his campaign.

It appears from outside Sanders and his supporters had insufficient discussion with left, progressive, peace, labor, women's and civil rights groups, immigrant rights and other forces before launching the campaign. Such a discussion even for a symbolic campaign to raise issues is incumbent on someone challenging the center-right, pro-war, corporate forces that control the Democratic Party.

These discussions might have concluded a more effective strategy would be to run as an independent left of center candidate. Even if this were not the outcome, discussions might have generated initiatives to run, left, independent or progressive democrats for House or Senate seats in 2016 and beyond. Sanders would also likely also have been confronted with demands he take a firm stand against the militarist foreign policy of interventions and war.

Why no critique of Democratic Party?
Sanders entry into the Democratic primary with little or no critique of the party raises concerns as well. Millions of U.S. workers see the Democratic Party as part of the problem, not the solution – a party solidly in the hands of big business and servants of Wall Street not the working class. The recent fight over Fast Track Trade authority reinforced this sensibility, especially among union workers. Front-runner, Clinton stonewalled aggressive AFL-CIO union leaders demands for her to speak out against Fast Track. Not surprisingly, she refused.

Sanders, on the other hand, vigorously opposed it. He deserves working people's thanks. Still, he has not questioned Hillary on her rebuff of labor or her position on Fast Track. This is after all an issue for what Sanders calls the middle class. Since Sanders is running in the party that gave us NAFTA and is now trying to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership seems incumbent on him to challenge Hillary.

Aligning a domestic reform agenda like Sanders' within the Democratic Party is to dance with corporate and political figures that categorically oppose that agenda. Furthermore many Democratic elected officials and their corporate backers supported policies that contributed to creating the health care crisis, wage inequality, declining union membership and rising tuition and student debt. The very problems Sanders' program is designed to correct.

I concede the Sanders campaign for the nomination may move public consciousness left and it does resonate with the discontent with politics as usual. As such, it could open future opportunities for independent political action. No doubt, as Sanders concluded, it would be more difficult to reach an audience running outside the Democratic Party. However, it could have been more effective.

The deck is stacked and the game rigged
It is a bit naïve to think a candidate who opposes powerful interests within the Democratic Party [5] on major domestic issues can win the nomination. It assumes the entire the party apparatus, that is essentially owned and funded by wealthy donors, will be handed over to a challenger, in this case to a self-describe democratic socialist, whose platform would end private health insurers, raises taxes on the wealthy, support labor law reform and cut profits of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. [6]

The last time a non-establishment candidate threatened the Democratic Party, was when George McGovern's anti-Vietnam War insurgency captured the nomination. What happened? Party organizations at many levels sat out the election. Some party benefactors and even officials formed and funded Democrats for Nixon and by covert and overt means subverted the McGovern campaign. After they defeated McGovern, they set about changing party rules so such a challenger could not again upset the proverbial apple cart. These rules have only grown more restrictive and under Bill Clinton and his partners the party rules tightened.

With this in mind, consider the following. The Democratic Party under Obama's leadership kept the idea of single payer health care off public hearing agendas for fear the public might see it as a viable alternative to the president's ACA legislation. In some cases officials had single-payer activists escorted out of hearing rooms or even arrested for attempting to participate. Why? Top party leaders are in alliance with the firms and financiers profiting from health care. These firms, ranging from General Electric, to Medtronic to United Health Care, are not about to support Sanders even if he were to win the nomination. Rest assured they are working behind the scenes to derail Sanders' campaign with their ally Hillary Clinton and other party operatives.

In light of these factors one might wonder whether building an independent electoral organization to run in 2016 might have been a more fruitful and no less difficult. And more importantly, demonstrate a way forward i.e. a working class exit from the confines of the Democratic Party.

Too late in the game, why? If Sanders had signaled his intent even a year earlier, creating an independent campaign network would have been realistic, but in any case a better prepared primary run. Yet, in a Playboy interview, late in 2013, he said he was 99 percent sure he would not run. [8] This timing indicates Sanders late spring debate about running independently or as a democrat might not have been genuine.

His hesitation to break with the Democrats may simply be a practical one. Inside the party makes logistic sense for a politician who has no national organization to mobilize, as for example the Green Party does even though small in numbers. But then the question remains, given the prospect of winning: What is the reason to run? Especially, in the Democratic Party?

Is Sanders intent to influence Hillary's position on the issues? This is as unlikely as changing Hillary or Obama's thinking on TPP. The Democratic Party leadership and financiers? After eight years of experience with Bill Clinton and now Obama's administration and the party's congressional leaders the lesson should be quite clear. Influence the Democrats convention platform? It's likely already agreed upon, and nominees routinely ignore any troublesome plank. Hillary's commitments if elected president? Recall how fast labor unions' signature legislation, the Employee Free Choice Act, disappeared from Obama's agenda. Or, the no NAFTA pledge of candidate, Bill Clinton, after his inauguration.

Yes, again, this last question assumes Sanders has no chance of gaining the nomination. He knows this, regardless of his fight'n bravado on This Week. Even if he had a majority of elected delegates at the Democratic convention he would not be nominated. The center-right party leadership constitutes about 20 percent of the delegate slots more or less ensuring only a pro-business candidate who supports an imperialist foreign policy can be nominated.

A revolution in politics without congressional campaigns? So, what's the purpose of Sanders' campaign? I find it difficult to believe a politician with Sanders decades of experience, is not aware his program has not a chance of succeeding without a congressional re-alignment. This would require building an electoral movement to oust dozens of incumbents, Democrats and Republican's, but he is not advocating or encouraging such organizing for 2016 or in the future.

At the very least, to pass any part of his program would require electing 50 to100 new House members. House Democrats' sponsorship of single payer health care legislation has not exceeded in gaining more than 60 to 80 firm commitments in a decade – nearly 200 votes to few. As for free college tuition, a 180-degree change in power relationships is required.

Sanders often mentions Scandinavian nations' plethora of social benefits compared to Americans, yet workers in these nations won them by organizing unions and political parties that elected majorities in national governments to win their demands for free education, health care and paid parental leave. As well, the threat of workers opting for socialism applied pressure on big business and the wealthy to compromise.

Not to say such a sea change is not possible in the U.S., it is, but the Democratic Party will not be leading it. Given the discontent in the country if labor unions, civil rights and environmental groups and others united behind a domestic program like Sanders',  it is possible to alter power relations or at least threaten to do so in as few as two or three presidential cycles, but not in 18 months, and not in the Democratic Party. Sanders could contribute to this even now, but so far he is not expanding his campaign to encourage independent action or candidates even to challenge GOP incumbents. Again, one has to ask why?

The good news is that the enthusiasm for Sanders domestic program shows the demands fit the times. Polling analysis indicates perhaps 30 percent of the electorate now supports such a broad economic justice agenda. This is enough support on which to begin building an independent electoral and political movement to garner the power to make it happen. Sanders could give this strategy a push by telling his supporters they will need to build a movement outside the Democratic Party to win his program of radical change.

Those who own the Democratic Party, and it is not unions, civil rights or women's groups, will not tolerate using the party to advance Sanders' "new deal" for the working class and poor. Corporate and political operatives spent decades ensuring the party cannot stray from the neo-liberal agenda of free trade, complaint unions, financial deregulation, privatization and an imperialist foreign policy. They are not about to change course.

Breaking with the two-party horse race for president
Some will still say that despite these arguments Sanders' run will create excitement about the election and rally voters. To do what? Vote for Hillary? Or, to vote for the Green Party? The Green's candidate Dr. Jill Stein is running on a domestic program similar to Sanders, but calls for a 50 percent cut in the military budget, an end to support for Israeli occupation and a radical change in foreign policy. Which one will Sanders choose to support?

Objectively, it appears Sanders' run inside the party, intentional or not, is a means to rally the progressive, left, civil rights and others to support Hillary as the lessor bad of the two major party candidates. So what's a peace activist, or black lives matter or climate change activist to do? One might consider not spending time and money supporting Sanders and instead, challenge the two parties by taking independent political actions.

First, it is necessary to escape thinking about the two-party horse for president. In 2017 we will have an imperialist, pro-corporate, Wall Street president. Yes, there are serious differences on social issues between the GOP and Democrats, but these can be weathered and deterred, even if the GOP were to win the presidency and a majority in both the house and senate. The left and other forces for social change must jettison the fear of a bogeyman of right wing legislative coups or another Iraq war venture like that of G.W. Bush. This fear effectively makes independent politics and a challenge to the two-party monopoly impossible.

Recall that under Reagan and both Bush administrations, even when the Democrats control one or both houses of congress, anti-working class legislation and war measures passed. And for those worried about an actual right wing take over, whatever that might mean, it could take place with a democrat as president or any combination of majorities in power. It is a small handful of people who would make that choice and all but a few of the real democrats would fall in line. The left must convince other peace and justice groups and individual activists at all political levels it is time to break with the Democratic party. Not in 2018, but now. Even if just to take small steps.

Until the break is made, we cannot know how many people a domestic program like Sanders' might inspire. Only a clear alternative political program will be seen as worth people's time, energy and passion. Such a strategy is not a spoiler role if the goal is to build political force to challenge the two parties. At some point, the risk must be taken, in federal, state and local elections.
And, on the question of war and peace, the past few decades show the only risk is not having an honest, even if small, alternative to demonstrate a way out of the two-party monopoly. Candidates opposing U.S. imperialist foreign policy and backing a Sanders-like domestic program, even if they were to cause a defeat of a Democrat, are not playing a spoiler role. They are giving voters an honest alternative to politics as usual. Workers and youth, in particular, yearn for such a choice.

Making 2016 a referendum on war and peace
In 2016 what must be challenged is the endless march to war. If Bernie Sanders would, he might be worth investing time and resources, but so far he has shown no inclination to do so. This is the greatest threat to humanity, more so than global warming. Even unchecked global warming allows years for humanity to adjust, but an accidental or intentional nuclear war? Even a nuclear skirmish? No more needs to be said.

For this reason and this alone, the 2016 election must become a referendum on war and peace. All other issues balance on this task. Capitalism's global imperial project is economically driven, but has ideological roots in white supremacy, disregard for the earth's resources and environment, for human health, women's rights and even joy in living. All these are manifest domestically.
Two fronts are needed, not just Sanders' domestic front. The two parties of U.S. capitalism are not about to abandon their creator and benefactor. If the goal is to pass Sanders' domestic plan of economic renewal and expand social benefits both of these institutions stand in the way. No doubt strong allies exist among Democrat elected officials at all levels, especially in minority and progressive caucuses, but they will need to defy the center and right forces to do what's right.

Despair is not an option. Inaction is not an option. Instead of pouring resources and time into the presidential race, the more practical and effective strategy would be to focus on congressional races and challenging candidates and incumbents on the question of war and peace, global warming and racial justice. No candidate should be able to hold a fundraiser, rally or news conference without confronting a visible presence of those agitating for peace, equality and justice.

Nearly a year remains before filing deadlines to run independent, left or progressive democratic candidates to challenge pro-war, anti-labor or law-and- order incumbents. Imagine if 25 independent candidates in 25 House districts, including Green candidates, left and progressives, were run on Sanders' domestic program for hope and change. This work would contribute more to a revolution in politics than Sanders' run.

When he loses his bid for the nomination, will Bernie help lead such an independent movement for his "revolution in politics"? Would Sanders, his staff and progressive backers support such organizing? So far, Sanders has not encouraged such an initiative, yet it is clear a sea change in Congress is required to pass his program. Perhaps, when Sanders loses, he and his staff will support Hillary and the status quo?
That would be a dead end, no matter the strength of convictions, passions or noble ideas riding the Sanders's wave.
[1] Benjamin Bell, 2015. "Sen. Bernie Sanders Predicts He'll Win White House," June 28, 2015 via This Week. URL:
[2] Fox News 2011, Trish Turner. "Sanders Questions "War" in Libya." March 28, 2011. URL:
[3] John Nichols, 2013 "Bernie Sanders: Billions for 'Another War,' but No Money for Needs at Home." The Nation, September 6, 2013. URL: .
[4] I reviewed several dozen such items since he announced and I found scant evidence of foreign policy. These included an extensive Nation interview by John Nichols, on July 6, 2015, where not one question was related to foreign policy and war. Foreign policy is also missing from his stump speeches in Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.
[5] Consider a few industries that would stand to lose enormous profits by Sanders's program: pharmaceutical, medical device makers, Wall Street firms and health insurers. Individual firms and their management are major players both parties.
[6] Add it up: free post-secondary education, single payer health care, expanding Social Security, etc.
[7] Source:

As TEEU affiliates to Right2Water

At a press conference held this morning (Tuesday 25 August), the trade unions affiliated to Right2Water welcomed the decision by the TEEU to join the campaign.  The TEEU’s Executive has voted to join Unite, Mandate, CWU, CPSU and OPATSI in supporting what Unite official and Right2Water coordinator Brendan Ogle described as “the greatest mobilisation of people power seen since the foundation of the state”.

Speaking at the press conference, Mandate General Secretary John Douglas said:

“Right2Water is about opposition to water charges and the defence of a public good – but it is also about much more.  The hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets of our towns and cities under the Right2Water banner know that water charges are just the tip of the austerity iceberg.
“Just months before the centenary of 1916, Ireland is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world where hundreds of thousands of us struggle to just get by.  Only yesterday we learnt 300,000 children are in need of the means-tested Back-to-School allowance in order to help meet the costs of our supposedly free education system.  At the same time, a relatively small few flourish in barely imaginable wealth.

“We need to assert our Right2Water – and it’s clear that people also want dramatic change in a number of policy areas.  That is why, in May of this year, the Right2Water Trade Unions issued a draft set of Policy Principles for a Progressive Irish Government and submitted the Principles to a public consultation process.  Almost 150 detailed submissions on a range of areas were received, and the resulting document will be launched at Saturday’s National Demonstration”, John Douglas said.

Unite official and Right2Water coordinator Brendan Ogle said:

“Our experience in the Right2Water campaign is that, when we all work together, we can generate change – change that goes far beyond the issue of water charges.  The ‘Banners Over Bridges’ action mounted last week in cities, towns and villages throughout Ireland  and beyond not only advertised Saturday’s demonstration – far more importantly, it was a clear demonstration of the unity and determination which has characterised the greatest mobilisation of people power seen since the foundation of the state.

“As the largest civil society organisation in the country, the trade union movement has been crucial to this mobilisation.  In July, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions formally adopted an anti-water-charges position, and we are delighted that the TEEU has now voted to affiliate to Right2Water.  On Saturday, tens of thousands of trade unions members from around the country will join with their friends and neighbours to send a simple message:  the time for business as usual is over.  The time for change is now.  First we need to abolish water charges and ensure public ownership of our water in perpetuity.  And then we need to change the type of society we live in to one based on equality, fairness and solidarity rather than one based on greed and exploitation”, Brendan Ogle said.

CPSU activist Dee Quinlan said: “We as a nation have always put our shoulder to the wheel. 
However, a time has to come when we stand up and say no, and that time is now.  On August 29th at 2pm in Dublin everyone should take to the streets to show that we will no longer pay for the sins of the property speculators, top-tier bankers, centre right politicians and their pursuit of the policies of austerity.

“If we accept these charges and recognise Irish Water, we are then in acceptance of the inevitable privatisation of water in this country.  If the end goal of this unfair policy is not privatisation, then why is our government stubbornly refusing to hold a referendum to enshrine ownership of our water services in the hands of the public?”, Dee Quinlan asked.

Community activist Freda Hughes said:  "Over the last seven years we have seen some of the most vulnerable in society bear the brunt of austerity - be they migrant communities, Travellers, lone parents, the sick or the elderly. Our government has imposed cuts that have resulted in over 300,000 people emigrating in the past four years and seen an increase of 55% in those affected by homelessness. Despite the fact that 69% of One Parent Families currently experience social and economic deprivation, last month we saw the One Parent Family Payment cut under the pretext of ‘incentivising’ people to take on more work. There has been no impact assessment, policy review or evidence to support implementation of these measures.

“This is possibly the most gendered cut our government has yet proposed, and it further compounds the pressures placed on some of the most vulnerable in our society. It is vital in this climate of inequality that we assert our Right2Water, oppose the charges and fight for public ownership”, Freda Hughes added.

CYM Summer School 2015

Picture from the CYM School in Glendalough, Summer 2015

Friday, August 7, 2015

What Would the KKE Do If It Were in SYRIZA's Place?

What Would the KKE Do If It Were in SYRIZA's Place?

by Rizospastis (newspaper of the KKE)

We often hear the following, well-intentioned question: "What would you have done if you had been in the place of the SYRIZA government?"

The question is not illogical.  But we must put it in the right perspective.

If we, the KKE, were in the "place" of SYRIZA, meaning the place of bourgeois management, the place of defending the interests of capital demanding the restoration of profitability, seeking to use the advantages conferred on capital by membership in the EU, the eurozone, and more generally the Euro-Atlantic alliances and the NATO; if we were in the "place" of taking over a government that is a tool of the power of monopolies; if we were in the "place" of negotiating on behalf of Greek capitalism by sitting in the roundtables of the EU, the eurozone, and other imperialist organizations.

If we were in that "place," we would not do anything more or less than what SYRIZA is already doing.  We could not help but have the same dilemmas: should we continue inside the euro or opt for bankruptcy, whether controlled or uncontrolled, and a drachma-based Greek capitalism?  We would weigh what is more to our capitalism's interest and choose accordingly.  And that's what SYRIZA did.

But if we were in that "place," we would no longer be a Communist Party, the party of the working class and the popular strata; we would have become a different party, unable to struggle on their behalf.

That is what we have explained since 2012, when workers were asking us, with good intentions, to "enter" a coalition government with SYRIZA, to support it, or at least to tolerate it on 5-10 issues.
We explained, back then as well, that every government of bourgeois management, for all its intentions, declarations, and self-characterizations, for all its aspirations, is objectively forced into a specific anti-people path, because such a government is not the product of rupture with capital, its power, the imperialist organizations, the EU, etc.

Today, the illusion and delusion that things could have been otherwise collapses before our very eyes, no matter how much various and sundry try to cover up the truth with the tatters of a caricature of rupture, such as the "national currency," the capitalist "reconstruction of production," the "honest compromise"; no matter how much they try to retouch the make-up and resell it, trying to snare those who are angry, or disappointed with SYRIZA's policy, back into the corral with the shipowners, the pharmaceutical industrialists, the US and German capitalist centers supporting Grexit.
But let us turn the question around:

What would have happened if there had been a radical change in the correlation of forces, to the advantage of the working class and poor popular strata, if, in place of a government of bourgeois management, a government that is a mere tool of capitalist power, we had a real workers' and people's government, a tool of the power of workers and popular strata, in which communists would of course play a decisive role?

Such a governmental power would not be trapped in the dead ends of an anti-people negotiation with the imperialist organizations of the EU, the ECB, and the IMF.  It would not even start the kind of process we have lived through in the past five months.

First of all, because it would not acknowledge the entire existing institutional and legislative anti-people and anti-labor framework, nor the memorandum-related and non-memorandum-related laws; it would not acknowledge the measures supporting capital, protecting its profits, the outrageous privileges of corporate groups.  It would abolish all of them; it would overturn them.  It would also not recognize commitments to the EU, the ECB, the IMF, and the NATO, nor the "obligations" deriving thereof.  It would put an end to the participation of the country in these imperialist groups.  It would disengage it from them.

It would not leave the keys to the economy, the production units, the services, energy, infrastructure, and banks, in the hands of business groups, capital of monopolies.  It would undertake a series of immediate steps, launching the process of socialization and the organization of the economy on the basis of scientific central planning.  It would thus open the path to the utilization of the productive capacity of the country, using as a criterion not the profit of corporate groups and capital, nor capitalist exploitation, but the satisfaction of workers' and people's needs, of broader social needs.  This path will allow us to exit the crisis in the interests of workers and common people.  It will make it possible to develop, equally and commensurably, sectors that are currently restricted because of commitments to the EU (e.g. shipbuilding, sugar, meat production).
Such a power would not acknowledge public debt, nor the obligation to pay it back.  It would declare its unilateral abolition.

Such a power and government would be a product of a broad working-class and popular mobilization and the participation of the workers and popular strata in the exercise of power, through new institutions that will arise from their subversive struggle, replacing the rotten institutions of the bourgeois political system and the "democracy" of monopolies.

Such a power and government would immediately sign mutually beneficial international agreements with other states, to import medicine, food, energy, precisely because it would not have the commitment to participate in imperialist organizations like the EU, the NATO, etc.
This is the place for which we are struggling today.

The whole struggle of communists is oriented in that direction.  It aims to change the correlation of forces to the benefit of the working class and the poor popular strata, in order to change the path that the country is following; in order to abandon the capitalist path to development, whether based on the euro or the drachma, along with its crises, its immiseration, its exploitation, its rightless life, the adaptation of workers' and people's needs to the limits always imposed by the profits of corporate groups, its commitment to participate in capitalist unions and imperialist alliances.

This is the reason why today the KKE calls on the people not simply to resist capital's new anti-people and anti-labor attack, the SYRIZA-ANEL government, and the EU; but to use its struggle as a launching pad, to turn it into a step toward the regroupment of the labor movement, the reinforcement of the Popular Alliance; to strengthen the anti-capitalist and anti-monopoly orientation of the movement, by targeting the real enemy: monopolies, capital, employers, and their governments, their parties, their international allies the EU-USA-NATO.  This is the only way to change the correlation in the interest of the people -- in order for the people to form a strong, determined force, capable of blocking the anti-people offensive today, and defeating it tomorrow, imposing its own way out.  In this process, workers will be able to attain successes and victories, small and large.  And that is the criterion with which they must stand in front of the ballot box, if and when this happens again: how their vote will help bolster the effort to change the correlation of forces in order to help the people rise up, organized and determined to put their future in their own hands.

70 years on

70 years are completed today after the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The World Federation of Democratic Youth has a constant position about the usage of such nuclear weapons. During the end of World War II, a nuclear bomb was launched by the United States of America to cause the death and suffering of thousands of peoples in Japan, and further the side effects of this bombing were spread in the area for a long time period. Today, after the passing of 70 years, such nuclear is possessed by several powers.

After 70 years, the World Federation of Democratic Youth, together with its member organizations, are highlighting this memory, to state firstly the danger that comes out by the usage of this kind of weapons, and secondly the necessity of the world to abolish the nuclear weapons. Owning this kind of weapon is not only a threat to mankind in the form we know, that places the owner in a blackmailing position against other countries at any moment. But also is the unfair possession of highly developed weapons that may end life in a second, finishing the hopes, the wills, and fights of peoples.

This year WFDY is calling again for peace, is calling the youth to fight for peace and for a world where the people will be the real masters in their places and they will be able to develop and use their scientific capabilities without any threat of destruction.

We call the youth of the World to keep their future away from the dangerous paths of imperialism, and to remember the consequences of the wars, to remember that within the wars there is a usage of such nuclear weapons that can threat and destroy the whole future of the humanity.

For WFDY the fight against imperialism will never end and the anti – imperialist youth must stay united forward for a lasting peace.

Why Greece Doesn't Matter

by Athanasios Lazarou

We have to stop talking about Greece.  What must emerge from the calamity of SYRIZA-ANEL is a renewed call for democracy.

There is a scene in the 1972 political satire The Candidate where Robert Redford looks at the camera and quietly says, "Politicians don't talk, they make sounds."

For the past five years Greece has been making a lot of sound.  For the past five months, the SYRIZA-led coalition government has been nothing but noisy.  The noise even formed slogans: "No More Austerity!"  "Out with the Troika!"  "Yes to a Democratic Europe!"  "Referendum!"  But slogans are not the same as strategies.
Elections and referendums are easy to win, change is harder.


What has happened in Greece is a tragedy.  The country now finds itself in the process of realizing a third Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).  The first two MoUs created a humanitarian crisis grinding people down to subhuman levels: 41% of children in poverty, a 35% increase in suicides, 35.7% of the population at risk of poverty.  Saddled with 177% debt to GDP, Greece has 27% unemployment with over 50% youth unemployment.  2% of the population have left since the crisis began in 2010.  The economic collapse is the second largest recorded in modern history, surpassing even the Great Depression of the United States.  Critically, however, the Greek crisis is still unfolding and is widely predicted to deteriorate further.

People are dying on the streets of Athens.  This has to stop.

With each MoU the governing party has fallen trying to implement it.  Greece even had an unelected technocrat government in 2011-2012, and in the last election a fascist, neo-Nazi party won the third largest number of seats in parliament.

To complicate matters further, the urban morphology of Athens is not designed to handle the crisis.  Its modern infrastructure is physically unable to support such a rapid depreciation in living standards.  For the past few winters the skyline of Athens has descended into smog as rising gas prices have forced people to start wood-fires within their apartments to stay warm.  People have been dying from the smoke, but people have been dying from the cold too.  And no end is in sight.

Alexis Tsipras and his SYRIZA (literally an acronym for "Coalition of the Radical Left") government are agreeing to engage in the largest-scale destruction of a European country's social fabric since the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.  The third memorandum includes as much as €86b of financing, a €50b privatization plan monitored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the retrenchment of basic social and sovereign rights.  It is widely seen as deliberately cruel and designed to punish Greece.  This is not to place the blame solely on SYRIZA -- the European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF are smart enough to know that what is being proposed is "an agreement that will deepen the country's recession, makes its debt position less sustainable and virtually guarantees that its problems come bubbling back to the surface before too long."

The present crisis is constantly analyzed and discussed starting from the preposition that the Greek political class has active agency in its resolution and possesses the potential for transformational change within the unfolding Euro-conflicts.  This is how SYRIZA has been framed and has framed itself.  It is lazy and wrong -- political identity politics at its worst.

False Hope

SYRIZA promised a new politics.  The only thing that was new was the party administering it.

SYRIZA stormed university campuses with police, infringed on the right to assembly, abused parliamentary process to stifle debate, worked with the Greek oligarch classcarried out mass privatizations, andsupported the NATO.  They formed a coalition government with a nationalist party whilst their own parliamentary composition comprised numerous former PASOK members (the same PASOK whose implementation of the first MoU led to the aforementioned humanitarian crisis).  They refused to address the law in Greece that gives politicians legal immunity and refused to remove the electoral law that awards the party with the highest votes extra 50 seats in a 300-seat parliament.
When SYRIZA came to power they promised to remove the "Troika" from Greece; instead they merely recategorized the Troika as "the Institutions."  The referendum was claimed as a democratic call to arms, yet it too had severe structural flaws: a 72-word question referred to two technical documents of fiscal policy that had already lapsed.  The "No" option was moreover placed above the "Yes" option on the ballot paper.  It was an act of political theater.

Despite these numerous and repeated violations of legal, moral, and political conduct, people still called the party the "radical left" and assembled in the streets of Athens and throughout Greece in its support.  And people were dismayed when Greece was offered far worse terms than the ones that they had resoundingly rejected.  This is because the Greeks are desperate for an end to the crisis.

SYRIZA offered a break from the existing model, appearing to emerge from within itself.  Yet all that emerged was an old politics with a new face.

All those who actively supported SYRIZA are complicit.  That is how democracy works.
SYRIZA and the numerous other parties within the Greek political spectrum whose names even those outside Greece have had to learn over the past five years (ANEL, PASOK, New Democracy, To Potami) are all part of the same catalogue of neoliberal political products: they just operate at different ends of the rhetorical spectrum.  Some like New Democracy serve the interests of capital directly through the monopolies and oligarchs, whilst parties like SYRIZA co-opt those disenfranchised by them to do the same.  One side serves capital by operating under the promise of economic development at all costs, the other serves capital by promising a "fairer" redistribution of the intangible benefits.  They are both fuelled by global capital and at most only look to fiscal policy as remedy.  They both acknowledge the same market-dictated rules of the game.  They still need the same system to function and build upon each other to take turns in charge, just as they still need to seek "the other" to blame, whether this takes the form of a rival party or a foreign state.

These are all parties that insist on finding solutions for the problems of capitalist social and economic relations within capitalism itself.  Rarely is policy communicated on anything other than an economic indicator.  SYRIZA is neither radical nor left.  SYRIZA was doomed to fail before it took power.  History is not deterministic, but orientations within history are.
With the creation of the third MoU, SYRIZA is implementing a policy thatits own leading intellectuals themselves have said will cause Greece to enter into further recession for an indefinite period.
People are still dying from the humanitarian crisis.  This has to stop.
Contemporary Capitalist Political Economy Doing What It Does Best
Under the banner of "hope," SYRIZA promised an impossible act of staying in Europe, rejecting austerity, and implementing a redistributive social program.
In five months SYRIZA has proved that the quickest way to erode public support is to throw it away in five minutes and propose measures that even your critics couldn't have imagined.  First Greece was seen as tragedy, now it is a farce.
Most alarming, the forces of the popular struggle have been betrayed by the very political apparatus that claimed to represent them: it is only through the leadership of a party claiming the left mantle such as SYRIZA that the implementation of a third memorandum could ever be tolerated by a Greek electorate.

After winning the referendum and mobilizing the largest contemporary demonstrations in modern Greek history, Alexis Tsipras and SYRIZA have committed what can only be called a post-modern coup d'état: combining activist network organization with parliamentary and electoral deceit.

The unique position of SYRIZA being in charge of implementing these agreements as a governing party of the left has eroded the capacity of large-scale mass mobilization to produce recognizable change within the political class of Greece up until this point.
After five years of crisis and multiple coalition governments, the Greek public are worn out of dancing with an exit from the Euro.

Tsipras hasn't capitulated as the headlines suggest.  He hasn't been bullied by Merkel, Schäuble, or Germany -- such nationalist agitations are unhelpful.  Far from it, he is merely the extension of his and SYRIZA's own political operations reaching their logical conclusion -- operations that were predetermined the moment he, and the party he leads, orientated towards a politics within the existing capitalist political economy.

As the SYRIZA-ANEL dénouement plays out, the problem of our mesmerization by the party narrative and the parliament spectacle is only now being mentioned.  Paul Mason wrote in the Guardian:

Syriza itself is the embodiment of a leftism that always believed you could achieve more in parliament than on the streets.  For the leftwing half of Greek society, though, the result is people continually voting for things more radical than they are prepared to fight for. . . .
When it comes to the now-abandoned Thessaloniki Programme, the radical manifesto on which Alexis Tsiprascame to power, there is always talk of implementing it "from below": that is, demanding so many workers' rights inside the industries designated for privatisation that it becomes impossible; or implementing the minimum wage through wildcat strikes.  But it never happens.  When strikes are called, it's by the communists.  When riots happen, it's the anarchists.  The rest of leftwing Greece is mesmerised by parliament.
More trenchant critique has come from John Pilger:
The day after the January election a truly democratic and, yes, radical government would have stopped every euro leaving the country, repudiated the "illegal and odious" debt -- as Argentina did successfully -- and expedited a plan to leave the crippling Eurozone.  But there was no plan.  There was only a willingness to be "at the table" seeking "better terms".
Greece Really Doesn't Matter

We must stop talking about Greece.  Greece doesn't matter.  It is merely the keygen to more complicated arguments regarding systemic power struggles within orientations of market capitalism.  We have to stop ceding power to undemocratic institutions such as the ECB, IMF, NATO, and other acronyms that are omnipresent in modern political discourse.  They do not represent the interests of voters.  They have their own interests, be they financial, geopolitical, or politically polyamorous, and these interests are definitely not humanitarian, nor democratic.  They do not come under the same scrutiny as elected bodies.  They do no debate in open forums, but shake hands behind closed doors.
The Eurogroup is not a democratic institution, and the Eurozone was not founded on democratic principles -- it was founded on the Maastricht treaty: an open market treaty designed to operate within the functioning of a shared currency.  It's fundamentally a market mechanism that ties economic growth with closer integration to a central bank.  Open market structures by their very definition are designed to run on inequality.  Markets don't care about democracy, they care about profit.  The past five months has made that abundantly clear.

What Now?

What is needed is the creation of a new possibility.
What is needed is a politics that works democracy as an emancipatory tool.  If the past five years of Greece proves anything, it's that a political apparatus seeking to promote change by seeking power within a contemporary capitalist political economy is an approach that has been formally and practically tested and has failed miserably.  SYRIZA had a mandate from an election, a resounding referendum win, and the mobilization of public support.
SRYIZA also had a vocal "left" platform rooted in the ideology of left-Europeanism that emerged out of Eurocommunism.  Make no mistake, the so-called "left platform" of SYRIZA are the worst kind of collaborators, who sought change by seeking power, and when in power used it to help carry out a process that could not but create a third MoU that would go beyond what any of the previous conservative governments had implemented.
The left platform now cry foul of the positions they find themselves in.
The left platform of SYRIZA is an oxymoron: they do not seek change, they did not revolt during the July 11 vote in parliament that proposed over €50b of austerity, hand in hand with parties that implemented the previous memorandums and that by doing so caused the unending humanitarian crisis.  They still communicated in terms orientated towards a solution in keeping with market directives, which proved to be ideologically more derisory when confronted.

And now, as Greek membership to the Eurozone fluctuates on a daily basis, and the third MoU reaches €86b, it is predicted the Greek economy will peak at 200% debt to GDP (again, still measuring the crisis in economic statistics).

What is needed is a change towards a new orientation, beyond the limited horizon of fiscal policy solutions.

That depends on your perspective of how emancipatory political movements should operate and under what principles you consider democracy achievable.  One thing, however, is certain: when the SYRIZA party is gone from the stage it should be buried with Euro coins over its eyes -- as it walks the underworld blind to its dogma, those who glimpse its shadow may say: "There goes SYRIZA, the political party who thought the Euro was a beacon worth attaining."

Change in Greece will not come from short-term strategies and tactics of seeking power, but from a long process of coordinated and planned immanent critiques. This political organization will not aim to represent itself in the machinery of parliament -- where the watchful eyes of the IMF and ECB will determine policy -- but will emerge from an organized movement comprising the disenfranchised, the working class, and the intellectual vanguard.  It will not compromise.  It will instead operate under an ideology for an emancipatory alliance of humanity removed from the spreadsheet, removed from the NATO, and removed from free-market directives.  It will not seek to claim power in an election, it will be given it by the people themselves when the movement is ripe.

This movement already exists in Athens, yet everyone has been distracted by the sounds of SYRIZA politicians claiming, exalting, and ultimately burying the left narrative.
Everyone has been looking in the wrong places.

It's not about voting for "deals" and seeking "conditions."  It's not about playing politics.  It's about making demands.  Basic demands, humanitarian demands.  Democratic demands.

Greece doesn't matter, it never did.

August Socialist Voice out now

Full version of the paper available here

Below is this months lead article

Greek and all European workers paying a heavy price

As events unfold in Greece it’s clear that the EU is determined to make Greek workers pay for the crisis now engulfing the country. 
     The Greek debt, like the Irish debt, is simply unsustainable and unpayable. The impact and renewed assault on Greek workers will be felt throughout the European Union: it will not be confined or contained within the borders of Greece. 
     Many myths have been spread about the Greek people over the last five years. One is that they don’t pay taxes. Well, do workers employed by the government—road-sweepers, people who repair the water system, repair roads, work in hospitals, etc.—not pay tax? Do those workers employed by both large and small businesses, or transnational corporations, not pay tax? If the taxes are taken from workers’ wages and not handed to the government, who is responsible for that? 
     Regarding pensions and the increase in the age of retirement, we have to ask the question, Why should workers have to work to 67 or 68 years of age? Are workers not entitled to have time to experience and enjoy other elements of their lives—to enjoy travel and to experience new countries and cultures? 
     Most workers work 40 or 45 years of their lives; they are more than entitled to experience what life has to offer. Since we create, produce and build everything in the first place, why should only the professional classes and the rich experience and enjoy these things? 
     The crisis in Greece and the crisis of the euro will continue to be used by elements within the EU to further shift the balance of power in relation to capital. It will give further impetus to the anti-democratic thrust that is central to the EU’s strategic development. German monopoly capitalism, as the strongest and most concentrated form, will push for a greater say and influence. 
     What German and other workers in Europe who fall for the myths of the EU fail to understand is that these same people and institutions—the EU Commission, EU Central Bank, German big business, the IMF, and the rest—when they have demolished and pulverised Greek and Irish workers will come after German and French workers’ rights, their terms and conditions, using the Greek and Irish workers as the example. They will play one off against the other. 
     In Greece, as in Ireland, the tax code is skewed in favour of the rich and powerful, to make sure they pay little or no tax. The professional classes also received favourable treatment under previous and present governments’ taxation policy. 
     So no: Greek workers, like workers everywhere, carry an unfair share of the tax burden, and derive little in return. 
     Greece’s debt now stands at about €328 billion; and 90 per cent of the money borrowed in the form of loans went straight back out of the country to service old debts, to banks that the new money was borrowed from. This revolving door of debt was also a feature of the Irish debt. Greek workers got nothing from all this borrowing. 
     As Irish workers contribute most in taxes, both direct (income tax) and indirect (VAT), we pay nearly €8 billion a year in interest to service the massive national debt, which is 17 per cent of all tax revenue. The present government, since it came into office, has paid more than €35 billion to international finance houses to service this debt. Have we not other priorities for this money? 
     We are made to pay every day for debt that does not belong to Irish workers or the Irish people in general. This is a debt incurred by bankers and speculators, egged on by European financial institutions, all too willing to lend vast sums to Irish banks in order to make a killing, in the form of huge profits from property speculation. 
     They were complicit in the whole deal. Those German and French banks knew that Irish banks were borrowing money off them on a short-term repayment basis, and that they were lending it on a long-term basis to speculators. 
     These EU and global financial institutions were planning on a quick turnover and a high return, with high risk. As the Dáil banking inquiry has shown, when the economic system went into crisis the EU’s priority was to save German and French banks and the euro, while the priority of the Irish political establishment was to protect the economic interests of the Golden Circle. 
     These buccaneers of the casino economy took a massive speculative risk; and when everything went pear-shaped, as it inevitably does under capitalism, workers were forced to pay the bill and, for generations to come, will continue to pay it. 
     It’s clear why the government was so forceful and outspoken in criticising the new Greek government. Why would they do anything different? They never protected the interests of the Irish people but rather put their own selfish interests and their dependent relationship as gatekeepers for the European Union before their own people, making us pay for a debt that does not belong to working people. 
     So the likelihood of them standing up for the Greeks was slim to nil. To put it simply, it would have exposed their own hypocrisy. They know who butters their bread. 
     Debt is the means of imposing austerity. It has provided the pretext for launching a massive assault on workers’ terms and conditions throughout the EU. With the defeat of the Soviet Union they are confident that they are now in a position to take back from workers the rights, terms and conditions and the social advance that they were forced to concede during the twentieth century because of the very existence of the Soviet Union and the organised strength of workers. They don’t have to keep looking over their shoulders any more. 
     SYRIZA, like other social-democratic forces, fails to understand the real nature of class power. What has emerged is how opportunist and cynical leading elements of SYRIZA are. The former minister of finance, Varoufákis, acknowledged that he understood that while they were calling for a No vote in the referendum, leading elements secretly wanted a Yes vote, to give cover for the massive retreat they were prepared to make in regard to the EU and austerity. Like previous Greek governments, they are prepared to sacrifice Greek workers to save the euro and the European Union. 
     It’s a strange “left” that wants to save an economic system that is based on exploitation, domination, and control. 
     They continue to underestimate, or simply do not recognise, that the state is primarily an instrument for imposing and protecting the interests of the system, that the European Union is not a coming together of equals but a political and economic bloc constructed to protect and advance the interests of European monopolies, and that the much-hyped talk of European democracy was little more than a veneer. 
     The EU has skilfully used the ideological superiority that was carefully and deeply embedded within European societies, culturally, economically and politically, in particular within the working class, an ideology that has been nurtured over the centuries by the various European colonial powers for ensuring compliance and complicity in the barbarism inflicted on the colonised peoples. The EU has taken ownership of this ideology to re-create the myth of Europe’s civilising mission in bringing “democracy” to the world, as well as being a counterweight to the United States. 
     The dominant economic forces took the long view, carefully building the necessary controlling legal structures—the treaties—that are designed to remove all possibility of democratic accountability, to neutralise any possible challenge to EU controls at the national level. The euro is one of these essential controlling mechanisms. 
     It is a simple fact that workers will find no solutions to their problems so long as they believe that the euro is more important than their own interests. Greek workers are learning a very painful lesson. They will be sacrificed to pay the debt and to save the euro. 
     Workers and youth need a political strategy that liberates the people, that gives them power over their lives, that gives them control over the wealth they create, that allows the people to have control over all economic and political decision-making: a society that creates a humanised culture—a society of genuine equality.