Tag Archives: ECB

GREECE – SYRIZA to Greek Workers: “Referendum Just a Ploy for Better Bargaining Position with Our EU ‘Partners'”

As revolutionary Trotskyists, we take an oath to never lie to the workers of the US or the world, no matter how unpleasant the truth.  While many self-styled “revolutionary” socialist parties have praised SYRIZA  as being an authentic revolutionary socialist party, seeing all kinds of revolutionary potential in this thoroughly reformist and pro-capitalist political party, we have steadfastly exposed SYRIZA for what it is.  SYRIZA is leading the Greek working class into a political dead end, determined at all costs to stay in the European Union even if it means administering a brutal austerity programme against the Greek working class at the behest of the EU banksters.  SYRIZA’s pro-capitalist programme is the last, best hope of the disgusting, decrepit Greek capitalist class whose only loyalty is to their own bank accounts.

We don’t posses a crystal ball that enables us to see through the doubletalk of capitalist politicians of SYRIZA and other political formations like them; what we have is the Marxist dialectical method which enables us to analyze the class relationships that exist in every society which enables us to analyze what class is being served by the political party in question.  In the case of SYRIZA, a Marxist analysis of the public pronouncements of SYRIZA’s leader Alexis Tsipras suffices for us to see clearly that this party is absolutely NOT a revolutionary working class party but a pro-capitalist reformist political party.

Here again in two separate statements issued in the past few days Tsipras openly proclaims his allegiance to the capitalist class and its economic system and declares that no matter the outcome of the bogus referendum, he and the leaders of his party have no intention of leading Greece out of the Eurozone.  In fact he declares that the only reason SYRIZA has staged this referendum was to improve their bargaining position and to wrest some concessions from the EU bankers who want the Greeks to hand over their country and rob their citizens as collateral for more EU loans.

The only way out of the crisis that the capitalist class of Greece has brought upon themselves is workers socialist revolution.  A revolutionary socialist workers party would not endeavor, as SYRIZA has, to resuscitate Greek capitalism but would put it out of its misery, helping to give it a long-awaited funeral by repudiating the debt completely and organizing the seizure of power by the Greek working class.  SYRIZA will never do any such thing; and those fake-leftists who continue to sell SYRIZA to the working class as a bona-fide revolutionary party are liars who are betraying the workers and leading them into the abbatoir of austerity being prepared for the working class by the Greek and European capitalists.

Vote ‘No’ in the referendum – and dump SYRIZA, who are more interested in sucking up to their “partners” in the Troika than in making a partnership with the Greek working class!  There is no future for the working class under capitalism!

– IWPCHI

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SYRIZA: Two statements from Alexis Tsipras

1) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 1, 2015

Greek citizens,

We are at a critical juncture regarding the future of this country.

Sunday’s referendum is not about whether our country will stay in the Eurozone.

This is a given and no one should question this.

On Sunday we will choose whether to accept the institutions’ agreement or whether, with the strength of the people’s verdict, we will seek a viable solution.

In any case, I want to reassure the Greek people of government’s firm intention to reach an agreement with its partners, with conditions that are sustainable and will provide for the long-term.

Since we announced our decision to hold a referendum, better proposals have been offered concerning the debt and its necessary restructuring than those that were on the table on Friday.

We did not ignore them. We immediately submitted our counterproposals asking for a viable solution, and for this reason an extraordinary Eurogroup meeting was convened yesterday, which will continue this afternoon.

Should there be a positive outcome, we will respond immediately. In any case, the Greek government remains willing to negotiate and will do so until an agreement is reached. The government will be at the negotiating table on Monday as well, immediately after the referendum, seeking better terms for the Greek people.

A popular verdict is always so much stronger than the will of a government alone. And I would like to reiterate that democratic choice is a core European tradition. During very important moments in European history, the people have made important decisions through referenda.

This happened in France, and in many other countries, concerning the referendum on the European constitution. This happened in Ireland, where the referendum temporarily voided the Treaty of Lisbon and led to a renegotiation, that resulted in better terms for Ireland. Unfortunately, in Greece’s case, we’ve been subjected to different standards.

Personally, I would have never expected that democratic Europe would not understand the need to give some space and time to a people to sovereignly make a choice about their future.

The prevalence of extreme conservative forces led to the decision to asphyxiate our country’s banks–with the obvious aim of blackmailing not just the government, but each each citizen individually.

It is unacceptable in a Europe of solidarity and mutual respect to have these disgraceful images:

For the banks to be closed, exactly because the government decided to give the people the opportunity to express their will;

And for thousands of elderly people to be deeply inconvenienced. However, the Greek government, despite the financial asphyxiation, took the appropriate measures and made sure that pensions were paid and deposited into the accounts.

We owe an explanation to these people who have been so inconvenienced:

We have been fighting all these months in order to protect your pensions.

To protect your right to a decent pension and not a miserly “tip”.

The proposals that they tried to blackmail us in order to accept demanded huge pension reductions.

And we refused to go along with this.

And this is why they are retaliating today.

The Greek government was given an ultimatum to implement exactly the same austerity measures, and all the outstanding aspects of the memorandum that had not been implemented.

And, in fact, without any provisions on the debt and financing.

This ultimatum was not accepted.

The self-evident alternative was to reach out to the people.

And this is what we have done.

I am well aware that during this period the sirens of destruction have been blaring.

They are trying to blackmail you as well, and ask that you vote YES on all the measures requested by the institutions, without any prospect of exiting the crisis.

They want you to side with those in Parliament who have repeatedly said YES to all the measures that have burdened the country.

To become one with them.

Complicit in perpetuating the memoranda.

It is important to understand, NO is not just a slogan.

NO is a decisive step towards a better deal that we aim to be signed immediately after Sunday’s result.

It constitutes the clear choice of the people concerning how their lives will be going forward.

NO does not mean breaking with Europe, but rather, returning to a Europe of values.

NO means: strong pressure for an economically viable agreement that will solve the debt issue, that will not increase the debt so that it continuously undermines our efforts to rebuild the Greek economy and society.

A socially just agreement that will allocate the burdens to those that can shoulder them, and not the workers and the pensioners.

An agreement that will allow the country, in a short period of time, to access the international financial markets, and thus end the supervision and guardianship.

An agreement containing reforms that will punish, once and for all, those who enable corruption and that have been fueling the political system all these years.

And at the same time, it will address the humanitarian crisis, create a comprehensive safety net for those who are marginalized–precisely because of the policies that have been implemented in our country for so many years.

Greek citizens,

I am fully aware of the difficulties.

I personally pledge that I will do everything possible so that these difficulties are temporary.

Some insist on linking the referendum’s result to the country staying in the euro.

They claim that I have a hidden agenda, if the NO vote prevails, to remove the country from the EU.

They are knowingly lying.

These are same people who used to say the very same thing in the past.

And they do a great disservice to the people and to Europe.

As you are aware, a year ago during the European elections, I was a candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission.

I stood before the Europeans then, just as now, and I argued that austerity policies must stop, that the memoranda will not lead to an end to the crisis.

That the program implemented in Greece failed.

That Europe must stop behaving in an undemocratic manner.

A few months later, in January 2015, the Greek people confirmed these sentiments.

Unfortunately, certain people in Europe refuse to understand this, refuse to admit this.

Those who want a Europe of authoritarianism that fails to respect democracy, those who wish for Europe to be a superficial union with the IMF being the “glue” that binds, are not visionaries for Europe.

They are timid politicians, unable to think as Europeans.

They stand side by side with those in our domestic political system, who are responsible for leading our country to bankruptcy, and that now have the gall to attempt to dump the burden on us–even as we’ve been trying to put an end to the country’s course of destruction.

They dream, indeed, of being restored to power.

This is what they’ve been hoping for—and still hope for, irrespective of whether we accepted the ultimatum–as they have blatantly sought an unelected Prime Minister who would implement it– or whether we gave our people the opportunity to express their will.

They talk of a coup. But democracy is not a coup. Unelected governments intent on manipulating circumstances—that is a coup.

Greek citizens,

I want to wholeheartedly thank you for the calmness and composure you’ve shown during every hour of this difficult week.

I want to assure you that this situation will not drag on.

It will be temporary.

Salaries and pensions will not be lost.

The deposits of citizens who did not withdraw their money or place it abroad will not be sacrificed on the altar of expediency and extortion.

I personally assume responsibility for reaching a solution immediately after the democratic process.

I urge you to strengthen this negotiating effort with your support, I invite you to say NO to the memorandum measures that are destroying Europe.

I invite you to respond positively to the prospect of a viable solution.

To turn a page, that calls for upholding democracy.

With the certain hope that we will reach a better deal.

We owe this to our parents, our children, ourselves.

It is our duty. We owe this to history.

Thank you.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/01/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message/ Retrieved 4 July 2015]

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2) Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ message

July 3, 2015

My fellow citizens,

The time for responsibility and democracy has arrived. The fear-mongering and threats of disaster must stop.

When a nation takes a stand on its future, it has nothing to fear.

Let us all go to the polls calmly, and let us make our choice based on the arguments–and not the slogans.

Yesterday an event of major political importance occurred. The International Monetary Fund released a report concerning the Greek economy.

The report is a great vindication for the Greek government; it confirms the obvious–that the Greek debt is unsustainable.

Per the IMF, the only way that the economy can recover and the debt be made sustainable is through a 30% haircut and a 20-year grace period.

The institutions never presented this report to the Greek government during the five months of the negotiation, during the five months that we have been negotiating.

It is also missing from the institutions’ final proposal that the Greek people will be approving or rejecting on Sunday.

The IMF’s report vindicates our choice to not accept a deal that ignores this integral issue, making the debt sustainable.

In short, the main driving force behind the memorandum has confirmed our assessment, the fact that the proposal we were given will not lead to a sustainable exit from the crisis.

We should all recognize this crucial fact.

On Sunday, what will be determined is not whether Greece remains in Europe.

What will be determined is whether, under duress and blackmail, we will accept the continuation of a policy that even its creators are now admitting has failed.

On Sunday, what will be determined is whether we will consent to the slow death of our economy and the impoverishment of our society.

If we will accept to further reduce pensions, so that an unsustainable debt will be repaid with the savings of the pensioners.

Or, if with determination, we will strengthen our negotiating resolve to achieve an agreement that will finally put an end to the destruction of the last five years.

My fellow citizens,

With the polls opening shortly, I urge you to act with civility and to respect opposing views, so that we may present a united front in the negotiation. For our common tomorrow, our common future.

No matter what we vote on Sunday, there will be nothing to divide us on Monday.

Nobody is disputing the country’s membership in Europe. Voting “NO” to an unsustainable agreement does not mean a break with Europe.

It means continuing the negotiation with better conditions for the Greek people. Therefore, I urge you to say “NO” to ultimatums, to blackmail, to fear.

But I urge you to say “NO” to being divided, as well.

NO to those who are trying to incite panic and prevent you from deciding with composure and responsibly for your own future.

I urge you to decide in favor of democracy and dignity.

For a proud Greece that will remain standing in a Europe of democracy and solidarity.

[Source: http://www.primeminister.gov.gr/english/2015/07/03/prime-minister-alexis-tsipras-message-2/  Retrieved 4 July 2015]

 

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Communist Party of Greece (KKE): Voting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ Means Same Thing – ‘Yes’

We republish below an official statement of the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE) denouncing SYRIZA’s bogus referendum scam.  They correctly point out that, in fact, no matter whether Greek workers vote “yes” or “no” in the referendum on the EU’s austerity programme July 5, it will mean the same thing: “Yes”.  That’s because, says KKE, a vote “against” the EU’s austerity proposals will essentially mean a “yes” vote for SYRIZA’s own austerity proposals – which the KKE asserts are “90% identical”!  And they are right about that.  Take a look at the “secret” counterproposal SYRIZA offered up to – and rejected by – the Troika which was leaked to the Financial Times earlier this month.

SYRIZA proposals for restructuring of debt May 2015

These proposals of SYRIZA incorporate almost all of the demands of the Troika, offering up not only the most profitable national assets – sea- and airports – but also the lives of the Greek workers themselves in the form of a gradual raising of the retirement age and other cuts to pensions and what remains of the crumbling Greek capitalist state’s social safety net.

The KKE is a Stalinist party of the Third International which – almost alone among the Stalinist Communist parties of Europe – still defends the USSR and has undergone an incomplete self-criticism of its own counterrevolutionary role as the Greek branch of the Soviet Union’s international “peaceful coexistence with capitalism” betrayal of the working class.  The KKE is a very large ostensibly revolutionary party whose membership boasts some of the finest revolutionary socialist workers of the Greek working class of today; in the Greek legislative election of 25 January 2015 the KKE polled over 338,000 votes, making it the fifth-largest political party in the Greek Parliament.   Unlike the SYRIZA party, inside the Stalinist KKE there still exist actual proletarian revolutionaries with a desire to overthrow the Greek capitalist class and lead a workers socialist revolution.  But in order to do that,the KKE must make a clean break with its appallingly class-collaborationist Stalinist past and embrace revolutionary Trotskyism – which is asking a lot from a party whose leadership consists of dyed-in-the-wool apologists for Stalin – the butcher of Lenin’s revolutionary Communist Party leadership – and millions of Soviet workers and peasants.  The anti-Marxist Stalinist concept that “communism” can be built in a single nation-state must be jettisoned in favor of Trotskyist internationalism.  At the very least, the KKE must jettison every deeply ingrained impulse towards seeking rapprochement with the capitalists of the world – and their demands in the face of the referendum indicate that the KKE is not yet ready to do that:

“The KKE stresses that the people must not choose between Scylla and Charybdis, but must express, with all means available and in every way, their opposition to the EU and its permanent memoranda in the referendum. They must “cancel out” this dilemma by casting the proposal of the KKE as their vote into the ballot box.

  • NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE EU-IMF-ECB
  • NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, WITH THE PEOPLE IN POWER”

[Source: Communist Party of Greece, “The referendum on the 5th of July and the stance of the KKE” (no date)]

Although the KKE states earlier in this same article that “the only realistic way out from today’s capitalist barbarity […] is: RUPTURE-DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, UNILATERAL CANCELLATION OF THE DEBT, SOCIALIZATION OF THE MONOPOLIES, WORKERS’-PEOPLE’S POWER”, their “demands” specifically do NOT call for the preparation for a seizure of power by the working class.  And the formula “workers’ – people’s power” implies a “two-class” power-sharing arrangement, not a revolutionary socialist workers government led by the proletariat.

If we had comrades in Greece today, we would seek to sound out the KKE on these questions in an effort to form a “united front” with them and all other revolutionary parties in Greece – especially, of course, the other Trotskyist parties – who seek – at least on paper and in their public pronouncements – to resolve the current crisis of Greek capitalism in favor of the working class permanently through workers socialist revolution.  The vital necessity of close co-operation of all the revolutionary left socialist and anarchist groups is highlighted by the ominous growth and boldness of the fascist “Golden Dawn” party, which polled 50,000 MORE votes this year than the KKE.  It is crucially important that the Greek workers join together in a united front to smash the Golden Dawn scum whenever they rear their heads.  The failure to do so in Germany in the 1930s – a failure caused by the reactionary twists and turns of the Stalinist misleaders of the COMINTERN – paved the way for the rise of Hitler, the crushing of the German Communist Party and the ensuing mass slaughter of World War II.  This, too, is a historical fact which the Stalinist KKE has yet to come to terms with.

Workers socialist revolution is truly the “only way out” for the Greek working class – and all the rest of the workers of the capitalist world as well.  There is simply NO FUTURE FOR THE WORKING CLASS UNDER CAPITALISM!  Capitalism must be overthrown so that the working class may live – it’s really just that simple.  We offer our support (extremely modest as it is) to our working class sisters and brothers in Greece who are organizing the workers to prepare for the seizure of power from the hands of the murderous, morally, politically and financially bankrupt Greek, EU and US capitalist classes.

For workers revolution in Greece and throughout the EU, the Americas and the entire capitalist world! Workers of the World, Unite!

– IWPCHI

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[Source: The-referendum-on-the-5th-of-July-and-the-stance-of-the-KKE, retrieved 30 June 2015]

The referendum on the 5th of July and the stance of the KKE

As is well-known, the government of the “left” and in essence social-democratic SYRIZA party and of the “rightwing” nationalist party ANEL, in an attempt to manage the complete bankruptcy of its pre-election commitments, announced a referendum for the 5th July 2015, with the only question being whether the citizens agree or not with the proposed agreement, which had been tabled by the EU, IMF and ECB and concerns the continuation of the anti-people measures for a way out from the capitalist crisis, with Greece remaining in the euro.

 

The coalition government’s officials call on the people to say “no” and make it clear that this “no” in the referendum will be interpreted by the Greek government as approval for its own proposed agreement with the EU, IMF, ECB, which in its 47+8 pages also contains harsh antiworker-antipeople measures, with the aim of increasing the profitability of capital, capitalist “growth” and the country’s remaining in the euro. As the SYRIZA-ANEL government admits, which continues to extol the EU, “our common European home”, the “European achievement”, this proposal of theirs is 90% identical to the proposal of the EU, IMF, ECB and has very little relationship with what SYRIZA had promised before the elections.

 

Fascist Golden Dawn, together with the parties of the coalition government (SYRIZA-ANEL), took a position in favour of a “no” and it also openly supported the return to a national currency.

 

On the other side, the rightwing opposition ND, social-democratic PASOK that governed until January 2015, together with POTAMI (in form a party of the centre, in essence a reactionary party) took a position in favour of a “yes” to the barbaric measures of the Troika, which they state will be interpreted as being consent to “staying in the EU at all costs”.

 

In reality, both answers lead to a yes to the “EU” and capitalist barbarity.

 

During the session of the parliament on the 27/6, the governmental majority of SYRIZA-ANEL rejected the proposal of the KKE that the following issues be placed before to the judgment of the Greek people in the referendum:

 

  • NO TO THE PROPOSALS FOR AGREEMENT OF THE EU-ECB-IMF AND THE GREEK GOVERNMENT
  • DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU-ABOLITION OF THE MEMORANDA AND ALL THE APPLICATION LAWS

 

With this stance, the government demonstrated that it wants to blackmail the people into approving its proposal to the troika, which is the other side of the same coin. That is to say, it is asking the Greek people to consent to its anti-people plans and to burden them with its new anti-people choices, either via a new allegedly “improved” agreement with the imperialist organizations, or via an exit from the euro and a return to a national currency, something which the people will be called on to pay for again.

 

In these conditions, the KKE calls on the people to utilize the referendum as an opportunity to strengthen the opposition to the EU, to strengthen the struggle for the only realistic way out from today’s capitalist barbarity. The content of this way out is: RUPTURE-DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, UNILATERAL CANCELLATION OF THE DEBT, SOCIALIZATION OF THE MONOPOLIES, WORKERS’-PEOPLE’S POWER.

 

The people, through their activity and their choice in the referendum, must respond to the deception of the false question posed by the government and reject the proposal of the EU-IMF-ECB and also the proposal of the SYRIZA-ANEL government. Both contain barbaric anti-people measures, which will be added to the memoranda and application laws of the previous ND-PASOK governments. Both serve the interests of capital and capitalist profits.

 

The KKE stresses that the people must not choose between Scylla and Charybdis, but must express, with all means available and in every way, their opposition to the EU and its permanent memoranda in the referendum. They must “cancel out” this dilemma by casting the proposal of the KKE as their vote into the ballot box.

 

  • NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE EU-IMF-ECB
  • NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, WITH THE PEOPLE IN POWER

[END OF DOCUMENT – IWPCHI]

 

Interesting article predicting new arrangement between ECB and Greece

Came across an interesting article today in Business Insider from Peter Tchir, “founder of TF Market Advisors, a platform providing macro trading strategies based on insight into the credit markets.” – [IWP Editor]

“Here is my best guess at what will happen with Greece.  In spite of all the rhetoric, Greece will make the May payments.  Whoever is in charge will get calls from Merkel, Lagarde, and Draghi warning them of the global carnage that would ensue if they miss those payments…” [emphasis in original]

So the May debt gets paid.  In return, Greece is allowed to drop some provision about immediate job cuts.  Austerity is out of favor anyways, and it would let the new government safe enough face, on a subject that has become controversial across Europe.”

The first thing that needs to be addressed is the bank recapitalization.  That needs to be done quickly, so that the economy can function better, but it doesn’t need to be done according to the original plan.  Shareholders need to be wiped out.  The banks need to be nationalized, and shareholders and preferred creditors just lose everything.  Depositors need to be fully protected.  I would have bondholders take losses, but since at this point the only bond lenders are probably all domestic, that causes more problems than it solves…”

The other key element of the program will be serious negotiations with the ECB.  For all of their supportive talk, quite frankly the ECB has acted like a jerk in the restructuring of Greece.  After the May payment, the ECB will still own about €50 billion of debt, with the bulk of it maturing in the next 5 years.  Let’s assume that it has an average cost of 85% of par (just a guess, but doesn’t seem to [sic – iwp] far off).  So the ECB’s cost is €42.5 billion.  The ECB will have been paid back at least €10 billion so far on bonds they bought that matured.  Assuming an average price of 90 on those (they were shorter dated), then the ECB has already booked a profit of €1 billion.  On the €60 billion that the ECB held, let’s assume the average coupon 4.5% (possibly a bit low) and that they held for about 18 months on average.  That is about €4 billion of interest that the ECB would have received so far on their Greek bond purchases.  So the “breakeven” for the ECB on their existing bonds only about €37.5 [billion – iwp] (my guess).  The ECB should agree to swap their remaining bonds for about €37.5 billion of the new PSI bonds.  Seriously, it’s not like the ECB is mark to market.  They don’t need a profit and if anyone can live on 2% interest it is an entity that prints money.  This quickly wipes out €12.5 billion of debt for Greece (my guess is the real number using my methodology would be greater).  It also reduces annual interest cost from roughly 4.5% on €50 billion (€2.25 billion) to 2% on €37.5 billion (€0.75 billion).  Annual savings to the country of €1.5 billion – I even know some hedge fund managers who would get out of bed for that sort of money…”

Read more:
http://www.businessinsider.com/this-is-what-happens-in-greece-2012-5