The Greek government, led by the left party Syriza, has called a referendum on the austerity agreement that the European Central Bank (ECB), the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been trying to impose since Syriza was elected in January 2015. These bodies pushed through vicious austerity measures in “memorandums” with previous governments. They are now demanding further austerity measures including more cuts in pensions, more taxation and a 10 percent surcharge on electricity bills. This is on top of the privatisations and scaling back of minimum wage and welfare Syriza has already agreed to.
The vote is set to take place on Sunday, 5th July.
The referendum in Greece is part of the fight against austerity across Europe with strikes,, massive demonstrations and the growth of a left alternative in elections:
- Turkey – the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), an alliance of pro-Kurdish and left-wing political forces gained over 13% of the vote in the June elections, with seats in parliament denying the ruling party an overall majority.
- Spain – the Popular Unity Candidates, with the support of Podemos, took power in four of the five biggest cities after the local elections in May. This provides an excellent base for the general elections next year.
- Germany – the largest strike wave in decades. This year Airline pilots, train conductors, postal workers, preschool teachers and nurses, have all been on strike. The rate of strikes is over four times the level of last year and twenty times that for 2010.
- London, June – a huge demonstration of over a quarter of a million trade unionists demanding: “End Austerity Now”.
Statement by the Greek Socialist Workers Party
We vote NO to the agreement. The government should get back all the concessions that have been made.
We need a united front for cancelling the debt, leaving the EU and nationalising the banks.
The government has announced a referendum. The massive resistance to compromise with the blackmailers of the IMF and the EU forced the government not to sign an agreement.
This development is a step forward for all those who fought and fight against the old and new memorandums.
The dockers who went on strike against the privatisation of Piraeus port, the hospital workers who went on strike asking for money and more staff for the health service, the thousands who came out against the agreement—this is the force that said no to blackmail, no to compromise.
Now we must continue to crush the right wing and liberal parties that are loyal to the Troika and its memorandums. On Sunday vote a massive No to the agreement.
But do not stop there.
We demand that the government of the left proceed directly to implement the promises it made to the labour movement in order to get elected.
Cancel the old and new memorandums, provide work for the unemployed, increase wages, pensions and money for schools, hospitals, local governments and pension funds.
The money to fund them should come from
- Cancelling the debt—here and now, without exceptions.
- Nationalising all the banks
- Leaving the euro and the EU and embarking on a struggle for workers’ control.
In this battle we have support from the working class throughout Europe. They have rallied against the EU and the IMF in all major cities.
What is needed is the strengthening of the revolutionary left. To fight together to overturn the agreement and make way for a new society without the burdens of bankrupt capitalism.
Do not stop the fight against extortionists and compromises.