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NO TO THE NEW MEMORANDUM AGREEMENT!

 Let’s:

  • Finish with the memoranda once and for all!

  • Prevent any compromise with the memorandum onslaught!

  • Begin with the dismantling of the bourgeois counterrevolution!

The Eurogroup agreement of 20/2 which the Greek government signed together with the other EU governments is neither a ”victory” nor the “beginning of an era without memoranda and the Troika”, as the government’s rhetoric is trying to present. It is not a “new” agreement, neither is it a “bridge program”, independent from the previous program – the very one which SYRIZA used to proclaim that was not bound by.

It is a four-month extension of the loan agreement signed by the previous governments. This is the memorandum loan agreement [1] that explicitly specifies that “the availability and the provision of Financial Assistance […] shall, unless otherwise specified, be conditional upon (i) the Beneficiary Member State’s compliance with the measures set out in the MoU and (ii) the Guarantors deciding favourably, on the basis of the findings of the regular assessments”. The very decision of the Eurogroup of 20/2 [2] states that the request of the Greek authorities falls within “the framework of the existing arrangement” and that “the purpose of the extension is the successful completion of the review on the basis of the conditions in the current arrangement”.The agreement recognizes the role of the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF (ie the three constituent parts of the Troika) and “the commitment by the Greek authorities to work in close agreement with European and international institutions and partners”.

In short, the Greek government requested a four-month extension of the memorandum loan agreement and accepted the assessment of the outcome of the memorandum program as well as the crucial role of the Troika – although they did achieve the quite remarkable feat of… having the Troika renamed as “institutions”. The false euphemisms about “the end of the memoranda and the Troika” are nothing more than a conscious effort to beautify the agreement.

The government’s rhetoric is trying to present the agreement as a “successful negotiation” that puts an end to the policies of the memorandum and grants the government time and institutional room to gradually implement its program. However, the agreement states explicitly that “the Greek authorities commit to refrain from any rollback of measures and unilateral changes to the policies and structural reforms that would negatively impact fiscal targets, economic recovery or financial stability, as assessed by the institutions”. This is a clear commitment that all the previous memorandum settings will remain in place and that any new legislative intervention that the government may wish to implement will require prior approval of the Troika.

At the same time, the agreement clearly undermines the economic prerequisites for the implementation of the “Thessaloniki program” (since 1. the money from the Ηellenic Financial Stability Fund, HFSF, from which this program would be partly financed, is not at the disposal of the government and can be disbursed by the EFSF only for the purposes of recapitalization / liquidation of banks and 2. the “balanced budgets” have now become “primary surpluses”). Moreover, “the Greek authorities reiterate their unequivocal commitment to honour their financial obligations to all their creditors fully and timely” [2], ie fully recognize that the debt is serviceable and it will be repaid on time, agreeing with the position that the debt is “sustainable” – a position that even some of the lenders challenge to a certain extent.

Tsipras boasts that the agreement “cancels in practice the commitments of the previous government for cutbacks in wages and pensions, civil servants layoffs, increases in VAT on food, pharmaceuticals and tourism infrastructure”. In other words, he is saying that the implementation of the notorious “Hardouvelis’ e-mail” (a previous austerity package) is not explicitly required. Indeed, such an explicit commitment does not exist, as the negotiation regarding the so-called «list of reforms» that the government is proposing still continues. This list, which the government intends to use as a “pillar” from which the “gradual” implementation of its beneficial-for-the-people commitments will begin, will become the ground on which the extortions and unilateral actions by the creditors will be continued and intensified. Lagarde (IMF) has already expressed certain “reservations” concerning the fact that the list of the Greek proposals does not include clear commitments for certain “major issues” such as pension and labor reforms, privatizations etc.; at the same time, the central banker Draghi (whom the government is trying in vain to present as a “friend”) is calling for “equivalent measures” (as a substitute for the Hardouvelis’ e-mail).

The fact that the government was faced with the threat of the collapse of the banking system was by no means an unavoidable natural disaster; it was the outcome of the government’s dedication to the unrealistic line “neither rupture nor capitulation” and its… unilateral resignation from any unilateral actions – while the lenders were engaging in a barrage of extortions and unilateral actions, remaining faithful to their own, crystal-clear line of a “non-mutually beneficial agreement”, a line that strives for the survival of the cartel of bonds, treasury bills, mutual funds, derivatives and their guaranteed annuities.

The threat of the collapse of the banking system and the unilateral extortion by the creditors can only be tackled through unilateral actions of imposing control over the banking system and capital movement, cessation of amortization payments, issuing of a national currency and maybe even a parallel local currency the circulation of which would be compulsory for the internal market. But such measures would require a line of rupture towards the EU extortions – and this line would be the opposite of the unrealistic “neither rupture nor capitulation” one.

Tsipras stated that the government “proved that Europe is a field of negotiation and mutually sustainable compromises, not a field of annihilation, subjugation and blind punishment”. He believes (or rather wants to believe or pretends to believe) that this agreement justifies politically the line of “neither rupture nor capitulation” and of national unity together with Panos Kammenos (leader of Independent Greeks, ANEL) and Prokopis Pavlopoulos (a right-wing politician who was elected as the President for Democracy). In reality, however, the Eurogroup agreement is the beginning of a major rebuttal of this line. It is the starting point of the collapse of the line of a “mutually beneficial solution”, the notorious «win-win» scenario. “National unity” along with avoiding rupture can only lead to subjugation.

As KED, we stated prior to the elections that ”the leadership of SYRIZA imagines that by constantly giving guarantees and credentials it can elicit the tolerance of the Greek bourgeois class and the EU “partners”, until everyone is convinced that “a progressive governance will be beneficial for everyone”. It is more than certain that this is not going to happen. After the elections, we stated that there should be no complacency and no trust to the new government as “there is no room for beneficial solutions for all parts involved, neither with the EU nor with capital”.

The crack brought about on January 25 is still active – no matter how hard some forces of the Left are trying to pretend that they do not see it. These forces are sitting on the fence, waiting for “things to settle down” and for “their opinion to be confirmed” (that what happened on January 25 was nothing more than a “substitution of the manager of capitalism”). The room that the government has to manoevre in its effort to balance and stand up trying to have it both ways is hopelessly narrow. Quite shortly the government will be faced with the harsh reality of a capitalism that does not exactly depend on the political choices of each political manager, but on a recession going on for seven years now, one that cannot be overcome by the extensions of the ongoing rescue programs. On this ground, issues that had fallen in abeyance are raised again and a new round of class confrontation is imminent.

The line of national unity with Kammenos and Pavlopoulos in conjuction with the despair broadly experienced by working class and petty bourgeois strata due to the previous austerity onslaught form the following situation: on the one hand, an unstable and interclass “tolerance” towards the government’s retreat; one the other hand, a feeling of numbness, frustration and outrage among the left-wing political as well as the wider electoral basis of SYRIZA and all of the people who are either organized in the Left or have expectations from it, the people who have been present at roadblocks, strikes and solidarity struggles over the last years. This outrage must be reinforced and expressed at a political and movement level. It should be unhooked from the government propaganda about the “negotiation victory” and stand against the new Memorandum-extension agreement as well as all memorandum and systemic status quo.

What counts now is not the ascertainment of the “traitorous role of SYRIZA”, nor is it the passive anticipation of a tougher stance by this government. The agreement is actually the outcome of a policy that has been seeking all along, ruling out any possible rupture. Those in SYRIZA who state that they are “100% anti-memorandum” and that they will not accept «50%, 60% or 70% of the memoranda and the Troika» should oppose this agreement as well as the government propaganda, which is trying to present black as white.

The movement could not stay idle during the days of the consequent meetings of the Eurogroup and it cannot do so now, either. Despite the fact that the government signed the agreement and begun retreating, neither the signatures nor the retreat should be tolerated.

 

  •  Down with the Eurogroup agreement. No to any new memorandum.
  • No backing out of from the commitments for which this government was elected.
  • For the reorganization and counterattack of the movement in the streets and workplaces, in order to win back the labor, collective and democratic rights.
  • To finish once and for all with the memoranda, to prevent any compromise with the memorandum onslaught, to begin the dismantling of the bourgeois counterrevolution.

Communist Revolutionary Action (KED)

References

[1] MASTER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FACILITY AGREEMENT [2012]

[2] Eurogroup statement on Greece [2015]

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