A Socialist In Canada, July 4, 2015
Ruptly TV has filmed from the sky overhead the massive rally in Athens on the evening of July 3 supporting a ‘no’ vote in the referendum vote to take place in Greece on July 5. In complicated wording, the referendum asks whether Greece should accept orders from the European Union and its related financial institutions to implement deeper austerity cuts to government spending and people’s livelihoods. (Text of the referendum question is below.)
The Syriza government of Greece has made deep concessions to Europe’s rulers in the talks that have taken place since it was elected on an anti-austerity platform on January 25. But the European capitalists are unmoved. They are gambling that the extreme hardship and uncertainty caused by their hard line could lead to a resignation or overthrow of the Syriza government.
Part of the European capitalists’ gamble involves their very European Union institution and its currency, the euro. If the Greek government moves to exit the euro and re-establish its own currency, the drachma, this would further destabilize the EU and euro, possibly enticing other countries with weak capitalist economies and high government indebtedness, such as Italy, Spain and Portugal, to follow suit.
The drachma was abandoned in 1981 when the then-government of Greece completed a process begun years earlier of joining the European Union. There was never a referendum vote on that process.
A ‘Grexit’ by the Greek government is no panacea for Greece’s economic ills. It will create its own set of harsh economic conditions. But it may be the only path left open to recover the sovereignty and dignity of the country. To benefit the working class population, a reestablishment of the drachma will still require protracted class struggle and mobilizations to win democracy and an economy of social justice. All the while hoping and expecting that other countries in Europe will follow suit…
There are many interesting articles in mainstream press describing the difficult conditions prevailing today in Greece for working class people as a result of the EU’s hard line. Here is one describing conditions in an agricultural village.
Text of the Greece referendum (as published from Associated Press on Time magazine):
Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the June 25 eurogroup and consisting of two parts, which form their single proposal, be accepted?
The first document is titled ‘Reforms for the completion of the Current Program and Beyond’ and the second ‘Preliminary Debt sustainability Analysis’.