Το παγκόσμιο έλλειμμα Δημοκρατίας, η οικονομική κρίση και ο εκσυχρονισμός των θεσμών, ήταν τα θέματα με τα οποία ασχολήθηκε στην ομιλία του με ακροατήριο νέους ηλικίας 25-30 ετών, από ειδικό σχολείο, κατά τη διάρκεια του Συμποσίου της Σύμης, ο πρώην πρωθυπουργός Γιώργος Παπανδρέου.

Ο θεσμός αυτός λειτούργησε φέτος για πρώτη φορά, περιλαμβάνοντας 12 θεματικά εργαστήρια στα οποία δίδαξαν ο πρώην πρωθυπουργός και οι συνεργάτες του, οι οποίοι μετείχαν στο Συμπόσιο.

Για την επιλογή των νέων που έκατσαν στα «θρανία» για να διδαχθούν, είχε γίνει προκήρυξη και αυτοί επιλέχθηκαν βάσει του βιογραφικού τους.

Article source: http://www.patrastimes.gr/arthro.php?id=66551

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SYRIZA’s Central Committee meeting on 21-22 June was a turning point for the organisation.

Although the purpose of the meeting was to evaluate rencet electoral results (local elections and European elections),the debate was primarily concerned about a new wave of radicalisation for SYRIZA and the tactical and strategic steps that a government of the left would need. Especially one dialectically connected with a combatative working-class movement, with a ‘transitional’ perspective on how to achieve general social liberation and socialism.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and other high profile members of the leadership team presented, without much spin, a proposal for a right shift in SYRIZA focusing on the task of destroying the government’s plan to get the required number of MPs (180) to elect a President of the Republic and thus avoid early parliamentary elections. Syriza leaders want to seek cooperation with PASOK and independent MPs and the direct inclusion within SYRIZA of DIMAR (Democratic Left).

According to Tsipras even MPs that have previously voted for the two memoranda and all the austerity policies are welcome. It was presented a comprehensive plan for how SYRIZA could govern, but with many possibilities as to the range of alliances open. The shift is based on the misplaced analysis that SYRIZA has reached an upper ceiling of influence on the left and therefore should seek to expand by gaining the “hegemony” of an illusory middle ground. In place of the “government of the left” the leadership of SYRIZA is now talking about a “broad coalition of powers.”

SYRIZA have already put forward two ideas, that prepare a shift to the right: “Saving the Country” and “Productive Reconstruction.” Nebulous references to these goals (by the leadership) describe a “stage” where SYRIZA, can cooperate with broader social and political forces, postponing the programme and the commitments of the “government of the left” for the undefined future.

The leadership’s final proposal got a majority, albeit less decisive than the usual 70%-30% majority of all recent Central Committee decisions. To the draft proposal the ‘Left Platform’ submitted two amendments, including one on the reconstruction and democratic functioning of the organs of SYRIZA and the relationship between SIRIZA’s leadership and the rank-and-file; the second one was on the centrality of the government of the left and the political urgency of the united front of the radical left. The first amendment was accepted and incorporated in the final decision, while the second was put to a vote in the Central Committee.

The second amendment of the Left Platform:

“SYRIZA will continue with consistency and stability its efforts for the united front of the left, for joint action, cooperation with all forces of the left and the radical anti-systemic ecology and will take all possible steps to initiate convergences and finding common political and programmatic grounds.

“SYRIZA will also seek joint action and cooperation with forces and persons from the social democratic space who have not been involved with positions of responsibility in implementing the neol-iberal memorandum policies and who have been radicalised and shifted to the left.

“SYRIZA keeps an open front against the centre-left, which is the other side of the neo-liberal social democracy, and expressly excludes all forms of cooperation with forces and persons who voted, supported and implemented in parliament or under government jobs and positions of responsibility the memorandum and neoliberal policies, which destroyed and impoverished the country, the working class people and popular strata.”

The above amendment got 59 votes in favour, 84 against, 4 blank votes and 7 abstentions. The Left Platform did not vote in favour of the majority Central Committee’s final decision. It is certainly worth noting that of the 200 members of the Central Committee over 50 did not participate in the vote at all or did not vote either for or against. But importantly, the proposal of the Left Platform was defeated!

Now there is a possibility of SYRIZA cooperation, not only with PASOK MPs, but even with government ministers who once tore and blooded the country with their memorandum policies and now decided to switch to SYRIZA to save their seats and their privileges.
The Left Platform’s attempt to reject the centre left orientation of SYRIZA highlights the essential internal processes and political and ideological battles within SYRIZA. Over the weekend, a number of speakers shared their experiences and conclusions of the recent electoral campaigns, highlighting weaknesses and wrong choices made predominantly by SYRIZA’s leadership​​. Many members of the Central Committee spoke critically of the overall political shift of SYRIZA’s leadership and criticized, often very harshly, the selections of certain SYRIZA’s candidates (tthose hat came from the centre left and are were part of the memorandum policies) as well as the decision making process outside the parties elected organ and bodies, highlighting the problems in the democratic and collective functioning of the party.

The criticism was by no means “monopolised” by the usual suspects of the Left Platform and the Communist Tendency but came from members politically close to SYRIZA’s leadership. The switch to “realism” and attempt to establish new political geography within SYRIZA will herald re-arrangements in the intra-party correlations. This is expressed by the new group within SYRIZA, the “53 Central Committee members” initiative which submitted a text prior to the meeting but chose not to submit alternative amendments. The speeches of people from “The 53” were very sharp and critical of the centre left shift of SYRIZA.

“The document of the 53”

The document of the 53 constitutes a clear differentiation, if not a rupture with the choices of the leadership team, a potentially serious enhancement of the left opposition within SYRIZA. With this movement there can be better conditions to halt the increasing shift of SYRIZA to the right. The issues that are raised by the document of the 53 have two element: the first relates to the functioning of the party and its internal democratic procedures’. The second is the political orientation of SYRIZA and its shift to the right.

The issue of democracy is of concern to thousands of members and supporters of SYRIZA. Who gets to make the key decisions? How are conference decisions being negated (such as the issue of the government of the left, the issue of the debt and the audit committee, the issue of the unilateral dismantling of the memorandum)? What is the the role played by marketing companies in shaping the campaign of the party? How are alliances being chosen (very important during the elections)? Who are the “consultants” of the President and what role do they play? How is a party of the left adopting the slogans and catchphrases of the class opponents like Nea Ellada/New Greece (neaellada.gr), these are all questions that go to the heart of the problem: whether SYRIZA will operate democratically or whether it will come to adopt the bureaucratic and non-democratic functioning of bourgeois parties.
And in SYRIZA’s rank and file there is great concern about the speed in which the leadership is overwriting previous conference decisions.

On political matters, the document of “The 53”, is quite diplomatic and timid. The document reflects the general discontent that exists in the rank and file of SYRIZA, e.g. with many of the choices in local elections, the political posturing of SYRIZA’s central executive high profile members (Stathakis, Dragasakis etc.) and how that is completely embedded within the capitalist system, and that SYRIZA is increasingly losing its radical characteristics. This kind of shift is not new, but also the historical experience of all the old left parties.

Despite the criticism that one can raise about the central members that signed the document of the 53, their stance on the intra-party struggle, and their “practice” in the everyday life of the party, ithe development is important. This is especially so if one observes that all the leftist opposition tendencies( Left Platform, ANASA and AREN (main force in The 53) have a majority within SYRIZA. On the other hand, the left opposition needs to realise the leadership has two main advantages against them
The first is that it has a “clean” and coherent economic and political direction which is not characteristic of the left opposition of SYRIZA, at least in its entirety.
Secondly, within the conflict between SYRIZA’s leadership and its left opposition, the leadership will have the full support of the establishment and the media. With that support the leadership could eliminate leftist radical ideas from within SYRIZA, at whatever the cost! And this includes the splitting of SYRIZA!

The document of “The 53” was co-written by major members of AREN, (Aristeri Enotita, or Left Bloc) who are the “backbone” of the President’s majority, so there are ambivalences.

The final decision on alliances states on the one hand that SYRIZA should persevere an aim to be the government of the left, to try to forge a united front with the Communist Party and ANTARSYA and other forces of the radical left and on the other hand recognise as potential allies top executives of social democracy who have recently (or not yet) differentiated from PASOK. This is in contradiction with the previous decisions of SYRIZA where it was explicitly stated that SYRIZA would refuse to cooperate with political formations and/or individuals that have responsibility for the implementation of the memorandum policies. Tsipras’s speech makes this clear:

“We appeal to all the forces who are dis-engaging themselves from the memorandum space and are turning to the left. Independent MPs, currents and groups now openly questioning the policy of the memorandum. We are not asking certificates of ideological and political purity from anyone. We do not keep records of their political past. But I will not let them , and we should not let them [try to get] extortion of the memoranda mechanisms.”
This is a clear opening to the forces of PASOK, and not the rank and file of PASOK and/or the PASOK working class voters (not much left of them) but the leaders of PASOK.
The Left Platform as a whole and the Red Network in particular, highlighted the dangers of SYRIZA backtracking. They insisted on the need for left-wing politics and indeed a radicalisation of the party lineas well as the organisation of political debate and actions within the social layers that are the social base of the left: the working class, the unemployed, the youth, the lower classes. They called for for genuine and sincere initiatives for a united front coalition of all the left radical anti-capitalist forces. They also highlighted that the shift to centre-left not only does not preserve any hegemonic role for the radical left line, but opens the door to wider cooperations and governments of ‘national unity’ and ‘grand coalitions’ which inevitably lead to historical compromises and defeats similar in magnitude to those of the PCI in Italy in the 1970s and the Greek EDA in the 1950s and 1960s.
The attempt by the coalition government of Samaras-Venizelos to present a positive narrative of a surplus and economic development has failed abysmally. The story that after the restructuring of the government the “new” ministers will be looking to offer some token “relaxation” of the memorandum policies has now been forgotten. Schaeuble, the Eurogroup and the Troika says “reforms” must continue. Bills to do that job are now being written. The most prominent example is the vote for further privatisation of the energy industry DEH and the subsequent civil mobilisation order against the DEH strikers.
What are the justifications for the shift? First the leadership blame the downturn of class struggle and social unrest .But SYRIZA’s leadership should shoulder part of the responsibility for the downturn of the working class movement and of the anti-memorandum movement.

And they use the historical example of EDA (leftist once popular political party) in 1958 to 1961, which supposedly was supplanted by the centre because it underestimated the need for “openings”. Yet EDA constitutes a negative example of the class collaborationist approach exposing how the left which uses “openings” towards the centre always leads to total capitulation and eventual disintegration of the left. The EDA supported the Centre Left Party during an election and in reality was trying to put a brake on the workers’ movement and the great demonstrations and protests of Iouliana in the 1960s.

Conditions now are very different. In the 60s the centre left party of Papandreou at least mobilised the people on the streets against the Karamanlis terrorism, now the “centre-left” is part of the Samaras coalition memorandum government.

The people of SYRIZA have an alternative. This is to form a united front with the radical left and to escalate the working-class resistance here and now. By forming a united front in the strikes and the anti-fascist movement we can give the final blow to the crumbling New Democracy and PASOK government ensuring that the cleaners, the ERT workers, the public sector workers under the “availability” (redeployment/redundancy) scheme, the DEH workers, the hospital workers, the university striking admin staff and the Coca Cola workers are victorious. Proving that the future lies within a more anti-capitalist left rather than to a collaborationist bowing to the deflated life of Samaras left.

Just three days after the European elections, Tripras’ speech at the annual general meeting of the Federation of Greek Industries (SEV) proves that SYRIZA’s leadership is determined to pursue its illusions about a capitalist social-democratic course, at any cost .What was presented was not the agreed programme of SYRIZA but the new, even more challenging retreats from commitments. Tsipras did not declare an uncompromised “war” against national and international capitalism but tried to reassure them and was intended to “break the suspicion and to gain the Greek capitalist class confidence.”

The industrialists/Greek capitalists were not addressed as part of the “dominant bloc”, but were referred to as the “productive portion” of the Greek bourgeoisie, an appeal to support the efforts of a SYRIZA government , make “real” negotiations with lenders, restore the minimum wage and collective bargaining agreements, to create a “strong state to protect society and the environment” and proceed to public investment for economic recovery and “productive reconstruction”. In short, an attempt to to convince theGreek capitalists that in conditions of deep economic crisis, their interests are shared with those of the working class and are better represented by SYRIZA It is a caricature of the old, Stalinist “Popular Front” alliance of the workers and the “productive parts of the capital,”against the lenders and establishment of the country”. Characteristically, Tsipras pointed to a “government of social salvation with SYRIZA at its epicentre, which aspires to be a government of all Greeks” and asked the members of the SEV to recognise their “national responsibility” inviting them to sign up to a new social contract for the reconstruction and development”.

All the evidence suggests that despite the literature, the global economy is not recovering, but is threatened with a new deeper recession, as emphasized by the most serious bourgeois analysts. The capitalists themselves internationally, have no confidence in the prospects for the global economy. At the same time they are spending enormous amounts in speculative trading in derivatives and equities (even buying the market shares of their own companies!), Not only they don’t make productive investments, but instead they withdraw funds from production, leaving behind abandoned production units and armies of unemployed . At the same time, they try to contain the fall in profits by imposing through their governments a global austerity program, with Europe and Greece, to be at the forefront. If SYRIZA’s leadership speaks in these conditions for the existence of ‘productive portion “of the bourgeoisie, must indicate what is this, what are the productive investments – with decent wages and working conditions and why so far has not found a political representation to “dethrone” the “parasitic” capitalist class but are waiting for the Left to defend its interests.

It is obvious that to convince lenders, international investors and the Greek capitalists, or a portion of them, to accept workers’ rights, decent wages and social policy and to contribute, by a “generous” debt haircut and with productive investment is a utopia. They understand very well that there are not the “recipes” of Merkel and the policies of Samaras the problem – rather, they are the embodiment of their demands – but the prospects for the global and especially the Greek capitalist economy. As explained in the highly topical “Communist Manifesto”, it is not the investment in production, but the massive destruction of productive forces, the only way that the capitalist class has to get out of a recession.

Having denounced the policies of “privatization of profits and socialisation of losses ” without taking a breath, Tsipras pledged to” support innovative private investment “,” reduce the price of electricity for the energy intensive industry”, ” taxation of profits and not of the components of production “(this means taxation of wealth but exemption of capital – a commitment that they have not dared to utter bourgeois politicians with such universal form), and” elimination of state bureaucracy for the business entrepreneurs”. On the other hand, “decently paid work was simple reset at the minimum wage level of survival threshold (750 euros), while the restoration of industrial relations, proved that it is nothing more than the restoration of Metenergeia, as if the collective bargaining agreements have not been dismantled. Such anxiety efforts to accelerate the SYRIZA’s leadership shift and the party’s orientation towards social democratic politics and for SYRIZA to be portrayed as a “responsible” and a party encouraging “development” from a capitalist power standpoint, it alienates and caused frustration in the ranks of workers as well as undermining the prospects of the formation of a government of SYRIZA.’s Attempt to win the support of the Greek bourgeoisie or a portion of it, the imaginary productive capitalist class, can only be successful if the social democratic orientation of SYRIZA is completed and the party’s leadership proceed in the formation of a bourgeois government within the context of continuation of austerity and anti-working class attacks. But this will lead to loss of support of the working class masses and the crash of such a government.

It is important to recall that the slogan that elevated SYRIZA in the elections of May and June 2012 was none other than “the government of the left”. The leadership of SYRIZA seem to want to forget it in every possible way. That is not because of KKE’s sectarianism and ANTRSYA’s occasional ultra-leftism – this is the alibi of the SYRIZA’s leadership It is because the leadership of SYRIZA wants to give reassurances to the ruling class, that the government of SYRIZA will not threaten its power.

The shift to the right of SYRIZA (if is not stopped) will be detrimental for the working class and will lead to another historical irrecoverable defeat. First of all because it cannot persuade the ruling class. The ruling class is not concerned about the radicalism of Alex Tsipras but of the social forces that will be emboldened by a government of the left and the intensification of class struggle. Secondly, because the shift to the right alienates further SYRIZA’s rank and file and working class supporters.

The left inside SYRIZA needs to realise the scale of compromise and shift to the right of SYRIZA’s leadership. The Left Platform, ANASA and AREN should coordinate their action and seek common coordinates. All othree tendencies want to put a brake on the leadership shift to the right. Combined together they have the majority and they can halt these developments. Each one of their own runs the risk of being defeated by SYRIZA’s leadership.

The left opposition of SYRIZA should:

• form a united front of all left wing tendencies and poles within SYRIZA (with each separate tendency retaining its autonomy)

• process a programme (economic and political) around a way out from the crisis, based on socialist policies and a programme of transitional demands under workers’ power and control.

And the left outside SYRIZA, has a class responsibility and duty to support in every way, in coordination and comradely consultation, the battles that the left opposition gives within SYRIZA.

We certainly did not expect anything from the leadership of KKE, or the hegemonic forces in ANTARSYA. But throughout the left there are significant forces that do not live “in their bubble world” and are not characterised by uncompromising sectarianism, are aware of the the actual processes and movements in society, so they can respond positively to the most urgent tasks of our time. That means comradely cooperation with the left inside of SYRIZA and common battles in the trade union and community fronts if necessary against the right wing SYRIZA.

Tsipras reminded us of Lenin’s historical statement about how the left should at any time “grab the moment.” He should be reminded of Rosa Luxemburg’s warning that the road of continuing expansion of social and political alliances with the aim of victory, is not just another way for the same purpose, but is instead another road for another purpose.
There can be no compromise and “common ground” between the forces of capital and the working class people and popular strata. There cannot be a period of democratic peaceful coexistence or a period of “social dialogue” between these two camps because they have conflicting class interests of life or death.

For SYRIZA to move towards creating the conditions for a decent life for the workers’ majority it needs a radical re orientation and immediate abandonment of the illusion that this can be achieved in the territory of capitalism and even more with the support of the Greek capitalist class .Factoring in the level of government debt, the economic situation and the resulting attitude of capitalists both in Greece and internationally, the elimination of unemployment, the decent living conditions for workers and the “productive reconstruction” can only be obtained by the unilateral cancellation of debt and the adoption of a plan to overthrow capitalism, expropriation of industry, banking and overall the main drivers of the economy and the establishment of a democratically planned socialist economy. The implementation of such a program would cause raging “war” from the Greek and international ruling class, which SYRIZA should confront by preparing now both politically and organizationally the working class movement and popular strata, calling for international solidarity of the working class of Europe and as a government of the Left uprooting the reactionary, bourgeois state apparatus and replacing it with the democratic power of the working people.

Article source: http://www.workersliberty.org/story/2014/07/21/battle-political-heart-syriza

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