To all member and observer parties of the European Left
To all fraternal and friendly left and progressive parties
Dear comrades and friends,
In 20 August, the Prime Minister of Greece, comrade Alexis Tsipras, announced in an address to the nation that he resigns and that he will ask the President of the Republic to initiate the constitutional process for an extra-ordinary election (possibly to be held in 20 September). On the same day, comrade Tsipras visited the President of the Hellenic Republic, Mr Pavlopoulos and officially filed his resignation.
The day after, 25 MPs of the Parliamentary Group of SYRIZA (most of them coming from the “Left Platform of SYRIZA”) officially declared that they form a new Parliamentary group and a new party under the title of “Popular Unity”, led by Panagiotis Lafazanis, former Minister of Productive Reconstruction. Another 4 MPs of SYRIZA declared their independence the same day.
This split was premeditated by its orchestrators long before the announcement of extra-ordinary election. Their decision was clearly exposed after the finalization of the painful agreement in Brussels, when they formed committees against the governmental policy, in collaboration with members of extra-parliamentarian leftist organizations and groups. Furthermore, it was institutionally manifested through their decision to vote against the agreement in the Greek parliament and leave the governmental coalition (which was given 162 seats by the popular verdict in 25 January) with less than 120 seats, which are needed, according to the Greek constitution, in order to present a minority government.
Unfortunately, since the very first moment of existence of the “Popular Unity”, SYRIZA seems to be their only rival. This fierce and unethical rivalry against comrades with whom they shared common struggles and aspirations until a few days ago, is highly promoted through their disproportional exposure by private media, which aim at the electoral defeat of SYRIZA.
Our government is now accused, by those who chose to split our party, for submitting itself to the TINA (“There Is No Alternative”) doctrine.
The reality is that Alexis Tsipras and the government never said that the measures which we were forced to sign are either compatible with our program and values or positive for the country; he publicly opposed them as mainly recessional and harmful. We were forced to sign the agreement under the pressure of a real blackmail: the immediate, uncontrolled default of Greece and the liquidation of the Greek banks, which would lead to the loss of the deposits of the Greek people (the majority of deposits that remain in Greek banks belongs to small and medium depositors, since the rich have already transferred their money abroad).
At this point, we need to be clear and tell the truth to the people: An “agreed exit” from the Eurozone (a proposal made both by Schauble and the former “Left Platform” of SYRIZA-now “Popular Unity”) and the return to the national currency of a country that does not have either a big productive basis (as Argentina had when it defaulted) or substantial foreign exchange reserves in its National Bank would automatically lead to:
- The need for an immediate devaluation of the new national currency (many international analysts estimate it around 40%-50%), which would mean the immediate and extremely violent loss of wage earners and pensioners’ incomes.
- The immediate need for a new loan, which would have to come from either the EU-ECB or the IMF or both, since all possible alternative funding partners –in our parallel talks during the negotiation- stressed the need for an agreement within the Eurozone as a precondition to begin a discussion on future financial assistance. This new loan by the same creditors would again be accompanied by a new memorandum.
Unfortunately, for reasons of political survival, our former comrades do not recognize the existence of the aforementioned blackmail, while failing to present a concrete and coherent alternative plan for a so-called “popular exit” from the Euro. After six months of participating in high level ministerial and governmental positions, they have suddenly discovered that their comrades became “traitors” or “memorandum supporters” in one night. Their decision to split the governmental majority led us to the decision for an extraordinary election, since for us it would be politically destructive to be depended in the Parliament on the votes of the parties of the old, neoliberal establishment (New Democracy, Potami, PASOK).
Τhere is indeed an alternative, the one supported by the government. The Left is a social and political power that steadily fights to change reality, without “escaping” from it, and its dynamic is directly linked to the needs, the aspirations and the values of the popular strata of society. Without attempting to hide our mistakes and problems, we have a tough but substantial task ahead of us.
Our utmost priority is to avoid a social catastrophe and mitigate the consequences of the painful agreement on the weakest sectors of the population. In order to achieve this, we are elaborating a governmental program which includes social counter-measures, on the same path of our pro-social legislation of the last seven months, while intensifying our combat against tax evasion, corruption, illegal trade etc. At the same time, as it was included in the agreement, we are pushing forward a final negotiation and decision on the strategic issue of debt.
The fundamental precondition to achieve these aims and work on a plan for overcoming the current difficult situation, is the victory of SYRIZA in the forthcoming election, so as to continue the fight for the dismantling of the old establishment and the survival of the social majority, even under the current constraining framework of supervision. We do not have the right as leftists to abandon our country to the hands of the political criminals that destroyed and looted our people during the last decades.
In order to win this battle, we are inviting all members and friends of SYRIZA inside and outside our country to maximize our solidarity and unity, in order to live up to the expectations and the historical duties we have undertaken towards the Greek people and the peoples of Europe. We will enter the electoral battle with all our strength and determination, because we are convinced that the window of hope is not closed and that — through our common fight for the sociopolitical enlargement of the European front against austerity — we can deepen the cracks that have opened in the neoliberal construction. Our rivals, the representatives of the authoritarian neoliberal establishment, might have won a battle, but the war continues, as class struggle is not determined in one instance.
With our warmest, fraternal greetings,
— Yiannis Bournous
Member of the Political Secretariat of SYRIZA
Head Responsible for European Policy, International Relations, Foreign Policy and Defense, Greek Diaspora