Vultures Are Not Scared By Polls

This is a translation of an editorial of a workplace newsletter of the organization L'Étincelle (The Spark), a Trotskyist group in France.

Just days after being rejected by Greek voters in the referendum of July 5, the creditors’ austerity plan is back. First, the Greek Prime Minister himself pushed through, on July 9, at the Parliament, the exact program that was turned down by the ballot box. But that was not enough for Hollande and Merkel, who made a point of demonstrating their force: this Monday, after a new round of mock negotiations, the Greek Government and European leaders proposed a new plan, even worse than the previous ones, even more unbearable for the population than the measures that were bleeding it since 2010: increase in VAT, attacks on pensions, privatizations representing €50 billion of state assets, etc.

All the Greek people who voted ‘No’ to austerity in the referendum, workers, lower classes, young people with no future, have cause to be angry. Austerity began 5 years ago, in the process they got poorer, when they did not fall into poverty and were forced to attend soup kitchens, and now they are being asked once again to tighten their belt. On the other side, banks and capitalists who will benefit from privatizations couldn’t care less about their fate.

Creditors are not on our side

Here in France, we’re almost being told to rejoice about the Greek people’s misfortune. French politicians on the left and on the right, with the help of the mainstream media, have been trying to convince us to adopt the point of view of a creditor of the Greek state. They even attempted to make us believe that the Greeks owed money to each French taxpayer. While in fact the French State made money from the Greek debt. These same people were cheering when the government positively picked our pockets to gift €40 billion to French employers.

But what do we have in common with these creditors? What have we in common with Christine Lagarde, director of the IMF, ready to punish the Greek population starting with the poorest because their state was unable to repay the €1.5 billion it owed to the IMF? She was less demanding when, as France’s Minister of finance, she gave a €1.7 billion tax break to Société Générale at the time of the Kerviel affair. What do we have in common with Hollande and Merkel, who are ready to kick the Greek poor when they are down, to satisfy the appetite of a few vultures, banks, international financial institutions or states, starting with France and Germany? Our side is that of the Greek working class. What the banks and the governments working together have imposed on the Greek workers, they will impose on us, too.

Until the revolution

By accepting to play the rigged game of the creditors, in accordance with the rules of capitalism and the rights of the wealthy, the Syriza Government has doomed itself into betraying its election promises.
If money must be found, then better take it from where it really is: in the safes of the bourgeoisie. From the rich ship owners and the Church, a powerful landowner, who are exempt from taxes. Among the assets of the top Greek bourgeois, including those who went to stash their billions in Switzerland. In the banks’ reserves. By taking from the military budget, which is used mainly to enrich a very French arms dealer, Dassault. There should be no hesitation about requisitioning the assets of the bourgeoisie, since the living conditions of the working classes have been taken hostage for many years. Such a policy would require a powerful mobilization of workers in Greece. It would take a revolutionary mobilization, the only one that would scare creditors into giving in.

Some hope that after Greece, the vote for the “left of the left” will spread to the rest of Europe. The recent Greek experience shows that it is a dead end; we cannot scare the vultures of finance with a few ballots. We must rely instead on the combativeness of workers in Greece, on our solidarity and revolutionary contagion across Europe.