Three cheers for the Greeks who have rejected austerity

6 February 2015 by CADTM

The CADTM welcomes the outcome of the Greek election and the first decisions made by the new Greek government. Relying as it does on popular support, the coalition government led by SYRIZA and sworn in on 27 January 2015 has already decided on a number of essential measures to improve living standards for the significant portion of the Greek population that has been most badly hit by the policies imposed by the Troika and by the former Greek government. Minister Giorgos Katrougalos announced that 3,500 civil servants would get their jobs back, including the 595 cleaning women at the finance ministry who have been protesting since they were laid off in 2013. Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis announced that the legal minimal wage, that had been drastically reduced, would soon rise from €580 to €751.

The same minister also announced a stop to the privatisation of the Greek electricity company DEI and that there would be free electricity for some 300,000 poor households. Minister Nadia Valavani announced the dissolution of TAIPED, the body in charge of privatising state property. Minister Theodore Dritsas decided to stop the privatisation of the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki. The port of Piraeus, which is an essential asset Asset Something belonging to an individual or a business that has value or the power to earn money (FT). The opposite of assets are liabilities, that is the part of the balance sheet reflecting a company’s resources (the capital contributed by the partners, provisions for contingencies and charges, as well as the outstanding debts). in a country that depends on the sea, had been promised to a Chinese company.

Another decision that had been eagerly anticipated by left-wing people and among the immigrant population is to grant Greek nationality to all children of foreigners who were born or raised in Greece.

Other positive decisions should be announced and implemented presently according to the programme SYRIZA presented at Thessaloniki in September 2014 (see

The CADTM is particularly pleased that the Greek government is refusing any negotiation with the Troika Troika Troika: IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, which together impose austerity measures through the conditions tied to loans to countries in difficulty.

, which it rightly dismisses as illegitimate. It has consistently turned down all new loans the Troika is trying to force upon it which would result in yet another round of austerity and privatisation measures. The CADTM supports the Greek government’s demand to organise a European conference so as to radically reduce the burden of debt.

In 2015 Greece’s creditors are to claim a huge repayment amounting to almost €22 billion. For the CADTM such repayment is illegitimate, largely illegal, odious and unsustainable. It supports the right of Greece to disregard the claim.

The CADTM has no doubt as to the real intentions of European leaders and of those former Greek leaders who turned Greece into a laboratory for the worst neoliberal policies. We must expect them to become increasingly belligerent since they cannot tolerate that SYRIZA should succeed and by followed by other European countries. Indeed European leaders and current governments elsewhere in Europe are scared by popular support of PODEMOS in Spain. They are going to use all possible means for they are aware that what is at stake is the outcome of the social war they are waging against the vast majority of populations all over Europe!

They will no doubt attempt to strangle the elected left-wing government since its success would be a tremendous boost to the resistance of European populations.

The CADTM has always supported the Greek people against austerity measures and severe infringements of social and democratic rights; it will further mobilize social movements in Europe and beyond in solidarity with the Greek people who are fighting to shake off the burden of debt which not only is not theirs but is to a large extent blatantly illegitimate, illegal or odious. The CADTM suggests that the Greek government set up a commission in charge of auditing the Greek debt (with citizens’ participation), so as to identify what part is illegal and/or illegitimate or odious, and thus not to be repaid. This initiative would strengthen the position of Greece towards its creditors and would lead to other countries following suit. It would put the cancellation of the illegitimate and/or illegal debt of all countries in the European periphery on the agenda. The CADTM is convinced the mobilisation of the Greek people and of others similarly subjected to creditors’ diktats is the sine qua non condition for policies of empowerment to be implemented.

Solidarity with the Greek people and the Greek left as they resist and fight to free their country and its citizens from the creditors’ hold and the dictatorship of the markets is a basic internationalist duty, not only for activists but for all European citizens who refuse this Europe of austerity that generates poverty, racism and barbarity.

Translated by Christine Pagnoule

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