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The entrance to the markets and the sacrifices
The Greek government proceeded to seek new loans from the international markets with a great fanfare. We should remind ourselves that this would not have been possible over the last 4 years, due to the explosion of the public debt. Of course the borrowing needs of the country did not cease , but the government was borrowing from a “troika” of creditors, the EU, the European Central Bank, and the IMF, committed to implementing new anti-people measures for the recovery of the profitability of the capitalists and the reduction of the price of labour power.
Consequently, the new borrowing from the international markets is characterized by the government as a “successful entrance to the markets which is the result of the sacrifices of the Greek people and must not be wasted”. This argument was promoted systematically in this period by the pro-government propaganda centres. Basically there was an effort to instill the workers with the view that their torments are at an end, that with the capitalist recovery which is on the way they will live in prosperity and their sacrifices will be vindicated.
SYRIZA’s criticism is harmless as it focuses on the interest rates of the loans, arguing that the government was hasty for electoral reasons and if it had waited the interest rates would have been lower.
In this way there is an effort to avoid the truth. And the truth is that the workers have made many heavy sacrifices, not only in the recent years of the economic crisis. It is worth remembering that the Greek capitalist economy was in a period of significant growth. The KKE then had stressed that the high capitalist growth rates in Greece, much higher than the Eurozone average, were accompanied by the deterioration of the position of the working class and popular strata through the downgrading of public health and education, Social security, due to the greater commercialization, and through the consequences for the workers’-people’s income due to the privatization of energy, water etc. and the high cost of the Olympic projects. The intensity of the exploitation was highlighted by the unfavourable conditions regarding the working day and pay, with official unemployment being over 12% at that time.
These sacrifices increased the profits of Greek capital (which were supposed to be shared out fairly!), safeguarded the profitability of the monopoly groups, supported the effort of Greek capital to claim a better position in the Balkans and South East Mediterranean. These sacrifices did not prevent the outbreak of the capitalist economic crisis, precisely because the economic crisis was created by the high rate of growth and profitability.
The Greek people were subjected to even more sacrifices in the period 2009-2013 in order to advance the restructurings that, according to various representatives of capital and the bourgeois political parties, should have been implemented in the decade 1998-2008 but were delayed for various reasons. The workers have reached the lowest point in recent decades due to the crisis and its management which is aimed at bringing about the capitalist recovery. However, the sacrifices of the workers will continue due to the restructurings that have been promoted in the recent period and because any recovery will be accompanied by the maintenance of unemployment at high levels. The devaluation of the workers’-people’s needs, the non-recovery of their incomes is inevitable. While, of course, it is always possible that the recovery will lead sooner or later to a new crisis with all that this entails for the workers.
The conclusion that should be drawn is that the sacrifices of the people for capital in the capitalist development path and in the EU do not end either in the crisis phase or in the recovery phase. They do not end whatever form of bourgeois management is implemented whether they borrow from the markets now as the government has done or whether they borrow later as SYRIZA is proposing.
This path is a dead end, a vicious circle for the workers and the poor popular strata. The developments must be explained so that workers are persuaded of the need to break this vicious circle.