A careful examination of the 3rd September 2015 joint statement by the Antarsya and EEK on their electoral platform shows that it is very similar to the platform of the Popular Unity party. We quote the relevant part of the statement:
‘ANTARSYA presented an appeal for open political cooperation and an agreement was reached on the basic programmatic points. The common ground is that the first task of the anti-capitalist left is to contribute to the development of a broad social and political front of rupture and overthrow, for the third memorandum not to pass, to smash the old memoranda and all their implementing laws, for the immediate and “unilateral” satisfaction of social-economic-political and democratic rights of the working class, the youth, the unemployed, the poor, the small and poor farmers.’ [our emphasis]
The platform of Popular Unity is:
‘ For all these reasons it is urgently necessary to form Popular Unity, a social and political front to overturn the memoranda, predatory austerity, the negation of democracy, and the transformation of Greece into a European colony by means of indebtedness.’
Both Antarsya-EEK and Popular Unity want to build a broad social and political front; both are anti-imperialist; both want to nationalize the banks. Antarsya-EEK claim that Popular Unity wants them to dissolve themselves into it, as a reason that they did not join it. Thus Antarsya-EEK correctly criticize Popular Unity on this point- under no circumstance can a revolutionary party or group dissolve their political principles and banner for the sake of a broad front.
But this does not mean that Antarsya-EEK cannot give critical support to Popular Unity, even at this late stage, support from outside its ranks and still dialoguing with the base of Popular Unity. The Antarsya-EEK could justifiably argue with the base of Popular Unity: why do your leaders not want us in? Are they preparing a betrayal? Even Syriza allowed different groups to be represented- was this not what prepared the way for the revolt of the Syriza MP’s against the betrayal by the Tsipras leadership?
As it stands, imperialism requires a split in the ranks of the masses in order for them to regain capitalist ‘stability’, to accelerate and implement further attacks on us. By critically supporting Popular Unity, while warning the masses of potential betrayal by their leaders, unites the masses against the plans of imperialism. They called this election quickly, to prevent the left from organizing a united resistance. The EEK-Antarsya election platform, despite its good intentions, will be seen by the masses as divisive. It would end up assisting the plans of imperialism, who hope that the support of the fractured left, each in their own corner, will be wiped out from a parliamentary presence. The masses want political power, they have not yet broken from parliamentary measures- we need to give them every assistance to break their parliamentary illusions.
Is the EEK-Antarsya election platform going to overthrow the memorandum and austerity? The masses in the street will. So why is EEK-Antarsya giving prominence to electioneering for itself instead of organizing joint demonstrations and building cells in the workplaces and in the unions?
Critical support should be clarified with all our critiques of the political shortcomings of Popular Unity and clearly indicate no political support for it but as uniting the masses around the demands for nationalization of the banks, without compensation to big capital, to be placed under workers control.
There are parallels between the Platform of Popular Unity and that of the Mexican govt in 1938, when they nationalized the oil industry as a measure of using the proletariat to manoeuvre against imperialism. Trotsky called (in his work ‘Nationalised industry and workers management) for the proletarian party, despite all the dangers the step posed, to support the nationalization, while preparing a presence in the nationalized industry to prepare the path forward against the bourgeois regime:
‘ In any case, to use this new form of activity in the interests of the working class, and not of the labor aristocracy and bureaucracy, only one condition is needed: the existence of a revolutionary Marxist party that carefully studies every form of working class activity, criticizes every deviation, educates and organizes the workers, wins influence in the trade unions, and assures a revolutionary workers’ representation in nationalized industry.’
If the Popular Unity deviates from the programme of nationalizing the banks, the masses, as quickly as they built support for Syriza and Popular Unity, based on support for their programme, will shift to the revolutionary left who marched with them in this fight, maintained their unity and learnt from them on the one hand and who educated them (the masses) in revolutionary politics, on the other.
The over-arching slogan should be: for a workers government, of the workers, poor, unemployed, the youth, the pensioners.
Through this joint campaign, the masses would see clearer that for such a government to come about, would require them to set up their own power, to overcome democracy, not revive it; to this end, mobilizing for a massive rally on the 19th Sept, on the demands of the masses, would be an important next step for the revolutionaries to consider. Demands should also be raised to free Nikos Romanos and all Greek political prisoners (many who have been protesting against the new austerity measures).
Critical support for Popular Unity in this period, would help shatter the masses illusions in them.
We feel strongly that all the anti-austerity parties, be they EEK, Antarsya, Popular Unity, the KKE, or others, have a nationalist conception of internationalism:
The Greek banks have a sizeable influence on the Balkans. The 4 main banks control 28% of the banks in Bulgaria, 12% of the banks in Serbia, etc.
The German and French imperialists use devaluation of currency and high interest rates in Eurozone countries that do not use the Euro; 200 000 families in Hungary may be in line for eviction from their homes in the near future; while within the Euro currency area, they use cuts in pension and wages. These attacks are really part of the same austerity measures by the imperialists. The nationalization of the banks in Greece should be linked up with the freeing of the Balkan masses from the clutches of debt due to the Greek banks or banks that use Greece as a springboard for exploitation there. Thus a call for a Workers’ government in Greece is immediately a call for the same in the Balkans. This has to go hand in hand with setting up of workers’ control committees, councils of delegates from every bank, every ship, port, every factory, every workplace, every working class area, irrespective of union or party affiliation, whether local or immigrant; including delegates from the unemployed youth, the pensioners, the small farmers, the rank and file soldiers of the army; as part of these workers’ councils should be set up workers’ self-defence committees.
Thus the question is not of an exit from the EU or Eurozone but the immediate transformation and broadening of the revolt in Greece to the rest of Europe. This is the path to the revolutionary Socialist Workers Europe based on direct democracy of workers’ councils. Such a programme is the basis for the setting up of a revolutionary international.