On Thursday, 26th February, the UCLU Marxists held a public meeting to discuss the recent political situation in Greece. Titled “Greece: No Surrender,” the discussion featured a lead-off by Fred Weston, the editor of www.marxist.com. The lead-off focused on the recent election of Syriza to power and what this might mean for Greece in the upcoming months. Tsipras and his finance minister Varoufakis are currently working to rally support for their debt renegotiation policies and have been met with hostility from many European capitals. Meanwhile, Greek workers are continuing their support for the new Syriza government, despite drastic new changes to the platform on which Syriza was originally elected to power.
Since the banking crisis of 2008, Greece’s production rates have fallen drastically. Roughly 40% of the Greek population live in impoverished conditions, and Greece’s debt has risen to almost twice its total production output per year. This means that the debt is virtually impossible to pay.
Syriza was elected as the main left party of Greece as a result of the severe austerity measures faced by workers across Europe and especially in Greece. The party has been highlighted as an inspiration for Podemos in Spain. Yet Syriza’s alliance with the worker’s struggles is quickly fading in favor of finance capital. Since the election, Syriza has changed its original platform to favor reforms and the interests of the wealthy. Varoufakis has expressed his belief that capitalism is still capable of being fixed, and that its downfall will only lead to barbarism.
As Marxists, we realize that the Greek people are being denied the platform for which they originally voted. The discussion following Weston’s lead-off included potential ways forward for the Greek people and debt crisis, the German loan that was forced from Greece during World War 2, and the lack of party politics groups in the Greek countryside. Though slow to start, the discussion was very successful. Many attendees were familiar with the Greek economic crisis, and offered new insights into the situation.
The meeting was attended by seventeen students and workers, seven of which left contact information for future events. Handouts for UCLU’s upcoming meeting on Turkey were passed around, as well as a sign-up sheet for the protests and events to be held in solidarity with the missing Mexican students during the week of Mexican president Peña Nieto’s visit to the UK. As the situation in Greece unfolds, Syriza’s so-called working class interests will be put to the test.
by Jaki Michele, UCLU Marxists