Antarsya and the far left
ANTARSYA HAS recognised the importance of the massive swing of voters behind Syriza as an act of rejection of the austerity programmes. They have elaborated a series of demands as the basis for a social movement from below and demand that Syriza should commit itself to implementing them. They are:
1. Cancellation of all Memoranda and Loan Agreements with the EU, the ECB and the IMF, cancellation of all impending measures
2. Protection of the unemployed, increases in salaries and pensions, decrease of work time, secure employment for everybody, taxation for big capital
3. Immediate cessation of payments to our creditors and unilateral cancellation of the entire usurious public debt
4. Nationalisation without compensation and with workers’ control of all banks and enterprises of strategic importance
5. Reinstatement of popular sovereignty and democracy by the people, for the people, doing away with special police forces, neutralisation of Golden Dawn [the neo-Nazi party], stopping the anti-immigrant pogroms, dismantling army mechanisms that turn against people, disengagement from NATO.
6. None of the previous vital demands can be materialised without the immediate exit from the euro and euro treaties, the rupture with, and disengagement from, the EU.
Antarsya also calls for: “A rising of the entire working population – Anti-capitalist revolution! Power and wealth belong in the hands of the workers!”
The first four demands are in our view essential. The fifth demand does not say what institutions would exercise popular sovereignty nor what their fundamental class character should be. Are we talking about a parliament or soviets? Nor does it say how Golden Dawn should be “neutralised”– by the state, by the armed workers? Equally, it does not say how the anti-immigrant pogroms can be stopped. On these two linked issues, two forms of organisation should be clearly named – workers’ councils and a workers’ militia.
Point six, however, is wrong in presenting an exit from the Euro and the EU as a strategic necessity, indeed a principle goal, of the movement. Any suggestion that formal “national” independence is a pre-condition of working class victory is a dangerous concession to nationalism, as well as a utopian strategy. The strategic orientation of revolutionaries must be towards a pan-European overthrow of capitalism, and our tactics must serve that strategy.
That means fighting for a pan-European working class offensive against the EU authorities and the major powers, against austerity and cuts programmes everywhere, and not isolating the Greek struggle, currently the most explosive and radical, from its natural allies across the continent.
Moreover, expulsion of Greece from the Eurozone, or even from the EU, is one possible solution that could be imposed by the imperialist powers within the EU, to preserve their financial control of the remaining bloc. Why make the EU rulers’ job any easier for them? Trying to create a capitalist Greece in autarky from Europe would be virtually guaranteed to lead to hyperinflation as a “New Drachma” collapsed in value, and would leave Greek workers with no greater control over their destiny than they have within the EU.
In the context of the anti-capitalist revolution called for by Antarsya, there is every reason to expect the EU authorities to impose a blockade on Greece, to isolate the revolution as a step to strangling it. In those conditions, revolutionaries everywhere would need to oppose such enforced “independence” and fight to bring down the counter-revolutionary authorities of the EU and replace them with a United Socialist States of Europe.
Last, but not least, the perspective of a revolutionary uprising is meaningless sloganeering if it does not address the question of the leadership of the working class, which at present is in the hands of reformists, whether of a left social democratic or Stalinist hue.
That existing leadership may be able to form a government within the coming month, which would immediately come under massive attack, including the threat of economic or constitutional destabilisation.
So, simply criticising Syriza, or even passively hoping it will win, while waiting for the real revolution (with soviets and insurrection, etc) to come along when the revolutionary sects are ready for it, may seem principled but is actually tactically inept to the highest degree.