“Even the rightist Greek is coming to terms with Syriza’s victory”

Greece : “We should not seek the solution to the crisis in the isolation within national borders”

17 June 2012 by Yorgos Mitralias , Fátima Martín

The Greek activist Yorgos Mitralias, member of a committee against sovereign debt, on tour around Spain, states the need for a European movement against debt and austerity policies.

“Soon the struggle will be synchronized”, thought aloud Yorgos Mitralias, the anti-debt Greek activist at ten sharp on Saturday June 9 while casseroles were clanging opposite the Madrid’s Puerta del Sol as a result of the Spanish bailout perpetrated by the Eurogroup acting in collusion with the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.

. With just a few days before the second Greek general election, Mitralias has begun a journey travelling across several European cities -especially those located in the Iberian Peninsula- as part of a Citizens’ Debt Audit Platform action.

Having the polls in Syriza’s favor, the anti-austerity radical left-wing coalition in whose foundation he has participated, Mitralias’ message is an upbeat one: conveying the momentous importance of the Greek elections and their consequences on other countries. He was interviewed when passing by Madrid after a round table held in Plaza del Carmen, the Sol Economy Working Group’s hangout, about the euro’s role.

DIAGONAL: Now that your journey is almost over, what are your impressions?

YORGOS MITRALIAS: It’s a miracle I am alive. I have been in Belgium, then in seven Portuguese cities and finally in five more in Spain during my three-week European journey. I have met with trade unionist besides anti-capitalism socialists and anarchists fellows; I have been interviewed many times… My viewpoint is that something it’s moving on in Europe. The great news is that in the forthcoming Dutch elections, the emblematic triple-A country, the SP, a socialist radical party, is leading the polls while the two main parties are expected to drop dramatically. The other feeling I have is that the citizen’s audit movement is luring many intelligent, skilled and enthusiastic people. This is the first time that the chances of starting something big, possibly a huge unitary mass movement, are for real.

D.: At this time what is the Greek message to convey?

Y. M.: Greece is going to report the historic importance of the forthcoming events as well as the consequences that the Greek elections are going to have in other countries, under the form of a European political homogenization rather than an economic one. Faced with a Syriza’s victory within a fragile European system, the UE is panicking and the chain is activated.

D: Which are the expectations regarding the elections on June the 17th in Greece?

Y.M.: We are optimistic. Even the rightist Greek is coming to terms with Syriza’s victory, with its possibility to achieve the absolute majority. There is an extreme polarization between Syriza and the Right, but Syriza keeps a huge stock of votes. For example, in big cities it enjoys an absolute hegemony. The chance of its victory must be seriously taken. If not, it would be very irresponsible. But there aren’t certainties. Everything is to be tried again.

D: Although Syriza has stated that it does not oppose leaving the eurozone, Is it compatible to be against austerity while remining in the eurozone?

Y. M.: 80% of the Greeks is against austerity and 80% is in favor of staying in the Euro. I don’t think this is a contradiction. On the contrary, we should not seek the solution to the crisis in the isolation within national borders, which would bring us as a result the impossibility of carrying out a common struggle with German workers. On the horns of a dilemma of the euro, in or out, the important thing is that this debate does not split up the movement.

D: How did it come to be that KKE, the Greek Communist Party, didn’t support Syriza after the elections in May the 6th?

Y. M.: The first thing Tsipras did was to call Aleka Papariga, KKE’s secretary general, to come to an agreement on three or four matters: debt, memorandum, austerity, NATO NATO
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
NATO ensures US military protection for the Europeans in case of aggression, but above all it gives the USA supremacy over the Western Bloc. Western European countries agreed to place their armed forces within a defence system under US command, and thus recognize the preponderance of the USA. NATO was founded in 1949 in Washington, but became less prominent after the end of the Cold War. In 2002, it had 19 members: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, the USA, to which were added Greece and Turkey in 1952, the Federal Republic of Germany in 1955 (replaced by Unified Germany in 1990), Spain in 1982, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic in 1999.
, audit… She didn’t reply, which makes us think they are collaborating with the worst enemies of the working class.

D: In view of this new setting, what seems to be the risks?

Y. M.: Violence is the principal hazard. A bomb planted in Athens’ underground or Alexis Tsipras’ assassination. We consider every possibility. They have already said they would use all means at their disposal.

D: Important international meetings are approaching; a European demonstration in solidarity with Greek people among them.

Y. M.: This is a total war. It is not an accident. The Joint Social Conference, unions and European social movements association, has lately endorsed my political declaration for a European popular movement in solidarity with the Greeks and active resistance against austerity policies. A great mobilization of all social movement has been convened for next fall 2012, with no exclusion, bringing together unions, indignants, occupy, feminists, NGOs, anti-globalization… The movement of our dreams is starting out.

D: Your visit to Madrid has coinciced with the Spanish bailout. What do you suggest?

Y. M.: My piece of advice is to withstand and organize yourselves in a horizontal and international net. The Spanish State may reach interesting situations, in a social and political way, avoiding the Greek stages.

Translated by Susana Macías and Esther Ortiz

Yorgos Mitralias

Journalist, Giorgos Mitralias is one of the founders and leaders of the Greek Committee Against the Debt, a member of the international CADTM network.

Fátima Martín

est journaliste, membre du CADTM en Espagne. Elle est l’auteure, avec Jérôme Duval, du livre Construcción europea al servicio de los mercados financieros, Icaria editorial 2016. Elle développe le journal en ligne FemeninoRural.com.

Other articles in English by Fátima Martín (9)



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