7 August 2013 — The B u l l e t • Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 860
Political Resolution, First Congress of SYRIZA
1 The Conference of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is a continuity and a breakthrough in its course, which started in 2000, continued with its official founding in 2004, and was sealed when it took on the historic responsibility to deliver the Greek people from the catastrophic neoliberal memoranda policies that have turned our country into a debt colony and led its creative, social, and productive forces to marginalization.
2 SYRIZA has been established as a unified, democratic, multi-tendency, mass party of the contemporary Left for the strengthening of an already powerful popular movement of subversion with the aim of cancelling the memoranda, erasing most of the debt and implementing a program of social and productive reconstruction. This alternative radical social and political plan – which will express and be based on the alliance between the working and popular classes, on the one hand, and the middle classes of the town and the countryside, on the other, and which will be structured by the needs of and give voice to the large groups of the socially, economically, and educationally excluded – will lead to the Government of the Left and will support it when it is in power.
3 The global structural crisis of capitalism, after decades of profit accumulation and huge redistribution of wealth and power in favor of capital, affects this or that way every country and every aspect of social life. This overaccumulation crisis is mainly characterized by inflation of the financial sector, based on the unimpeded circulation of money, which leads to the submission of the political personnel to financial power, the instrumentalization and commercialization of knowledge and information, and the biopolitical operation of the system. We are living what is called “the shock doctrine,” which means an attack to such an extent and scale that resistance seems weak or there is even no time for it to appear. Extreme austerity policies, shrinking and precarious employment, privatization of public goods and companies, destruction of large part of the productive forces, dramatic reduction in the welfare state, weakening of democratic institutions, strengthening of repression and emergency powers were all employed to maintain capital dominance and global profitability. The unemployment rate is at about 30 per cent, exceeding 60 per cent among young people, while the economic emigration of young scientists is increasing dangerously. Globalized capital continues to exhaust its profitability margins in “Third World” countries, where local wars are raging and huge migration flows are created.
4 Europe is involved in the whirlwind of the global capitalist crisis that affects the popular classes, with greater severity in the countries of the South and in the former so-called socialist countries. The raison d’être of a United Europe to the benefit of its people is disappearing from the horizon. The euro is being treated mostly as a vehicle of German policy, deepening inequalities between countries and between classes, while Asian models are applied in European societies in favor of capital. The future of the Euro zone as well as of the European Union itself is becoming more and more precarious. An undeclared world war is under way with the major currencies trying to gain more advantageous positions. The policy of austerity and recession corrodes the bonds between European countries, strengthens euroscepticism and anti-Europeanism, heightens nationalist tensions and facilitates the resurgence of fascism.
5 In Greece, very harsh measures that lead large parts of the population to a humanitarian crisis are implemented by the troika of the European Union, IMF and European Central Bank, with Germany playing a dominant role in the European strategy. National resources, public goods and companies are put under privatization/sell-off. Production collapses, tens of thousands of small and medium-sized companies close down, public services dismantle, the welfare state is constantly shrinking, and large parts of the population are deprived of health, education, pension, and social security.
6 Against this attack of capital there are movements of resistance developing on a global level. In Greece a large popular current of struggles for subversion has been giving its battle against memoranda and debt in mass terms, in squares, in the workplace, in neighbourhoods, in towns and in the countryside, reconstituting old social movements and creating new ones. We should refer emblematically to the great strikes and demonstrations of workers, the movement of the ‘indignant,’ the movement in Skouries [against the mining of gold] and in Keratea [against the opening of a landfill], in Evros [against the building of immigrant detention centers and fence], in the movements against special property tax and against paying tolls, in the antifascist movement and the movement in defense of ERT [the national broadcaster].
It is important to also refer to the great movement of solidarity that is developing throughout the country. Under the slogan “no-one’s alone in the crisis” and on an equal basis – everyone offers according to their ability and receives according to their needs – multiform structures and solidarity networks are created. These networks respond to the issues of food, health, and generally immediate basic needs. Next to this movement and often in cooperation, we see the development of a “movement against intermediaries” that supports producers who offer their products at low prices and at the same time consumers who buy these controlled products inexpensively.
The movements in our country meet up with the massive and militant movements and the popular uprisings in the countries of Southern Europe, especially in Spain and Portugal, which create a reasonable potential of ruptures in the Europe of capital and neoliberalism. As the crisis has taken global dimensions, resistance is multiplying on an international level. Struggles in Greece also meet up with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, the uprisings in the Arab world with the characteristic example of the Egyptian people and the Left that continue to struggle for democracy and social justice, as well as the movement of the Turkish people, who massively and militantly questioned social injustices and the antidemocratic administration of Tayyip Erdogan. Movements of resistance against class inequalities and in defense of human dignity are developing all over the world, typical example of which is the uprising in Brazil against inequality and provocative waste of money on large projects.
International Situation and Emerging New Trends
7 Today’s world is multipolar but not peaceful or fair. Next to the imperialist presence of the U.S., which is now undergoing a decline in their power, China is emerging, affecting conflicts of interest worldwide and transferring a large part of international tensions to the Far East. The countries called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are modifying the international status quo and the balance of power in international organizations, with Russia seeking a leading role.
In this unstable geopolitical framework, the European Union, under Germany’s guidance, develops its strategy, which is more and more submitting the achievements of the European peoples to the international competition of capital. Aged Europe, which produces less and less wealth and moves between powers like the USA, Russia, Turkey, China and Latin American countries, has no prospects unless it reverses its self-destructive neoliberal strategy.
Greece, as a country of the European south, is today at the epicenter of this extreme EU strategy, in similar position to the other southern countries that are now being subjected to the same policy. It is a Balkan country and at the same time is in the hot zone of the Eastern Mediterranean, and therefore is directly affected by the claims and the conflicts of power developing in relation to the economic and geostrategic interests at issue. Greece’s position in the European South determines the community of interests and the need for coordinated struggles and subversion plans with the people of these countries, in the context of the social resistance of all European peoples to contemporary neoliberal capitalism. The countries and the people of the European South can be inspired by the steps of economic and political cooperation taken by Latin American countries, which are following a difficult and contradictory path of disengagement or relative independence from international organizations of dominance.
Greece’s position in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean necessitates the resolution of all open issues of foreign policy on the basis of law and peace, to the benefit of the common interests of the people in the area. Turkey’s foreign policy and aggressive diplomacy – particularly toward our country – tends to multiply claims and demands, maintaining tensions alternated with declarations of friendship. But the people of Greece and Turkey have no real differences to set them against each other. Good neighbourly relations are consolidated on the basis of peace, cultivation of friendship, mutual respect of sovereign rights, international Law, and UN resolutions.
As regards Cyprus, in particular, whose bonds with Greece are still very strong, our support on all issues concerning today’s threats against it is a given fact. After the Eurogroup’s financial attack, which was a paradigm shift as far as bank deposits and EU banking are concerned, Cyprus is going through serious economic, social, and national hardships.
The Cyprus crisis has proven that today’s neoliberal European Union is in fact denying the idea of European integration. The unprecedented by postwar standards capitalist crisis and the harsh neoliberal policies are already destabilizing and undermining the very core and existence of the European edifice, as the dominant powers cynically and brutally violate even today’s institutional framework of the European Union and the Eurozone. Europe cannot be unified by the forces of big capital that turn popular classes against the EU, but by the forces of labour, left and progressive forces.
Greece’s prospects are interwoven with Europe’s prospects, in the context of wider international developments, of course. The imposition of neoliberal policies has already triggered a European resistance movement, of which the Greek movement is a part. Our Europe is poles apart from today’s; it is the Europe of Enlightenment and of its radical critique, of revolutions, of the welfare state, of democracy, of grassroots movements. SYRIZA’s strategic objective is socialism of the 21st century in Greece and in Europe.
Social, Economic and Political Situation in Greece
8 The imposition of neoliberalism in Greece dates from the Mitsotakis [1990-1993] and Simitis [1996-2004] governments, which were characterized by policies of privatization of “enterprises in difficulty,” controlled rise of unemployment, and flexibilization of labour, and were opposed by the mass movement and the Left. The high rates of class oriented and one-sided growth (until 2008), which was based on the limitless expansion of the financial system, the inflation of the public sector, and especially on private lending and the assistance of the Community Support Frameworks, facilitated the legitimization of the bourgeois power bloc – which had begun as early as the first Changeover years – and the consent of the majority of the middle classes as well as of considerable parts of the wage labour.
The crisis that began in 2008 and the policies followed completely changed the scenery. Not only did it lead the working-class and the popular strata to impoverishment but also exacerbated the position of middle strata in towns and the countryside. During the memoranda years, 850,000 jobs were lost, which had taken 17 years to create with a 4 per cent annual GDP increase. Mass unemployment, dumping of wages and incomes, shrinking of insurance rights and looting of social insurance funds, exclusion of 30 per cent of the population from the public health system, financial and institutional blows to public education, constant tax attacks and uncommon confiscation of small property, the destruction of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses to the benefit of the capital concentration: all these have led the followed memoranda policies and the political system to a structural delegitimization, paving the way for new social alliances and new political representations.
9 The proposal for a Government of the Left defines the new dividing social lines in the political field and suggests an alternative road of social salvation, of social, productive, and environmental reconstruction to the benefit of the vast social majority. The forces of wage labour, the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people, the army of highly-qualified young people who cannot find a job, the self-employed, the small and medium-sized farmers, and the small and medium-sized businesses all form a social bloc with fundamentally different interests from the dominant ones. The dominant bloc’s core is capital; Greek, European, and international: banking, shipping, commercial, and industrial – mainly in the mining industry – capital in the sectors of energy and high technology. The state-supported capital of “major projects” and “exclusive suppliers” controls the largest part of the electronic and printed media. The triangle of the intertwining interests consists of the collapsing political system, the bankrupt banks, and the heavily indebted pro-system media. The political system funds the bankrupt banks for their recapitalization with the taxpayer’s money, and these lend the pro-system media, which on their part prop up the political system.
In this socio-economic context, the array of political forces is being dismantled and new seemingly legitimate solutions to government formation are constantly being sought. The latest three-party government, under the control of New Democracy, which is taking on the far-right characteristics of the traditional Right, did not obtain popular consent. Democratic Left [DIMAR] withdrew from government and decided to give its backing as the case may be. This intensifies the gridlock of the memoranda governments, which are caught in a vicious spiral of unsustainable debt, successive memorandum measures, and deepening recession, having taken on the role of the appointees of the lenders.
10 The crisis of the political system – due to the memoranda’s class-ridden policies, its intertwining with major economic interests, and corruption that reaches the highest political levels – leads to radical changes in the traditional political affiliations of large social groups. In place of the traditional representation, there are two rival socio-political blocs emerging.
On the one hand, there is the unified bloc of the bipartisan system, which contains both far-right and center-left components and tends to acquire characteristics of a unified political group closely connected to the state and its power mechanisms. At the farthest end of this bloc lies the “anti-systemic” rhetoric and terrorist practice of Golden Dawn, which foreshadows totalitarian developments and poses a threat to democracy, social rights, and citizens’ security. The Left, as a historically irreconcilable enemy of fascism, is at the forefront of the broad antifascist-antiracist movement, both ideologically and practically (collective action, antifascist committees, protection of demonstrations, etc).
Today, the memorandum bloc presents itself as the reformer of society, highlighting – in a distorting way – existing problems and pathologies of the political and social life, which have been created by itself. It divides society into morally “good” and “evil” and marginalizes a large part of it with exclusion, detention, persecution, and repression. It flouts explicit and implicit rules of resolving differences and leads the political controversy to the extreme. The memorandum bloc has dissolved Greek society, dismantled state administration, and seriously afflicted democracy. The memorandum bloc replies to the expected reaction of the working-class and the Left by generalizing the stalemate in the popular classes’ life and by resorting to political irregularity and democratic derailment. Over the last months, there have been tens of legislative acts, which constitute direct blows to democracy, as they contravene the principle of equal political treatment and cancel political control, i.e. the government’s responsibility to the will of the people. The issue of civil mobilization orders, the suspensions, and dismissals are also direct blows to democracy, pushing society toward deeper political and social instability. The result is a generalization of social and economic destruction, the promotion of reactionary values and behavior models, the strengthening of fascism, and the effort to divide the people.
Against the aforementioned bloc, the forces of wage labour, the millions of the unemployed, the self-employed, and the middle classes of the town and the countryside are already forming their own bloc. This includes the movement of the squares and the multiform movements developed in the years of the memoranda, thematic social movements (student, feminist, of radical ecology), movements of generalized resistance, as in Skouries [gold-mines] and ERT (national broadcaster), movements expressing particular identities, as well as new diverse and promising social solidarity networks. It is these forces that SYRIZA aims to represent politically and express their interests as best as it can. At the same time, it aims to join forces with the rest of the Left.
Syriza’s Action and Conclusions Drawn
11 SYRIZA coordinates its action with social movement and popular demands in order to contribute with all its forces in the development of a mass multiform social movement which will repel the government’s daily attacks on every front, shaping the conditions for the great social and political subversion. The government of the Left will emerge as a result of this great popular mobilization and initiative. The experience from the first sublime anti-memorandum struggle of the great protests and the squares and the comparative recession of the movement that followed showed that the struggle for the defeat of the memorandum government will last longer. It is necessary that the option of subversion and the conviction that there is an alternative way out of the crisis take root in all key parts of society and shape a majority social alliance.
12 In the parliamentary field, SYRIZA has been very active in revealing the promoted policies and the cases of democratic derailment – daily, systematically, incontestably – always in collaboration with the social actors and the social groups that are affected by the government’s laws. In addition, SYRIZA takes on legislative initiatives with bill drafts that reflect elements of its present and future (governmental) policy, mobilizing forces with knowledge and experience. SYRIZA is now drawing up the governmental program that will be the basis of the Government of the Left.
Our Programmatic Goals
13 Our programmatic processes contribute in the shaping of today’s fronts and at the same time are affected by the new elements that the struggle brings out. In view of this:
13.1 We will cancel the memoranda and the implementing laws. We will implement a program of social and economic recovery, of productive and environmental reconstruction, which will heal the wounds inflicted on the working-class and gradually restore the conditions of secure employment and decent living, with the appropriate wages and pensions, creating new jobs. The first step will be the restoration of employment relations, collective bargaining, minimum wages, minimum pension, unemployment benefit, and family allowances to pre-memoranda levels. We will not recognize the government’s anti-constitutional and illegal actions that have recently led to the suspension of thousands of public servants and the abolition of important public services. In our perception of the public sector as a lever of reconstruction, all the employees who have been laid off are necessary and will be hired back.
13.2 We will prevent our country from being turned into a debt colony. We will renegotiate the loan contracts and cancel their onerous terms, conducting an audit. As it was conveyed by our old slogan “no sacrifice for the euro,” SYRIZA’s absolute priority is to prevent humanitarian disaster and meet social needs, and not to submit ourselves to obligations taken on by others mortgaging the country. We commit ourselves to tackle any possible threats and blackmails from the lenders with all the possible means we can mobilize, while we are fully prepared to deal with any possible development, being certain that in any such case the Greek people will support us.
13.3 We will raise a protective shield against humanitarian crisis. There will be no citizen without the necessary for his survival minimum income, without healthcare or social protection, without access to the basic goods of food and decent housing. We commit ourselves that we will allow no confiscation of any main residence due to debt.
13.4 We will cope with deficits in an effective and socially just way, giving priority to redistribution and environmentally safe growth, aiming at gradual increase in wages and social expenditure. We will create a national land registry and an analytical registry of assets in order to restore economic democracy. State revenue will come from the taxation on wealth, net profits, high incomes, large property, and the property of the Church; from cancelling the privileges of the oligarchy and multinational corporations; from halting recession.
13.5 We will create the conditions for the productive and environmental reconstruction of the country by reversing overcentralization (in Attica) and eliminating inequalities between regions and between urban areas and the countryside. Production – specified by sector and industry and taking account of the regional structure of the country – will be based on the public sector, cooperative and self-management units, grassroots companies, social economy ventures, and small and medium-sized businesses – particularly the innovative ones. The funds will be obtained through a new radical as well as just taxation system, as we have already mentioned; through relentlessly combating the sectors of the underground economy that accumulate uncontrolled wealth at the expense of labour; through the environmentally safe use of mineral resources; through increase in production.
13.6 We will cancel the environmentally destructive regulations of the memoranda governments concerning: concession of natural resources (mining rights, beaches, forests, and nature reserves) and of any other public property to HRADF (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund); fast track procedures that bypass legislation about the environment, land use, or archaeology; legalization of any environmental abuse; the scandalous contracts for waste management.
In contrast to capitalist competition, continuous enlargement and accumulation, we support another organizational model which is based on the balance between human activities and natural resources and which ensures sustainable growth. The ecological transformation of the economy can become a key element in a more just socio-political vision of productive reconstruction that can mobilize large masses of citizens for its specification and implementation.
13.7 In the context of respect for life in all its aspects and for the rights of all living beings, SYRIZA will promote appropriate legislation to protect animals and their habitats, to ban animal abuse and unacceptable living conditions.
13.8 We will set the banking system under public ownership and control, through the radical conversion of its functioning and the aims it is serving today, through the upgrade of the workers and the customers’ role. We will found special purpose public banks focusing on agricultural credit, small and medium-sized businesses, and public housing.
13.9 We will cancel the planned privatizations and the looting of the public wealth, restore public control on – but at the same time reconstruct fully – strategically important enterprises that have been privatized or are under privatization, so as to form a powerful, productive, efficient, and open to cooperation public sector of a new type.
As regards the contracts for the concession of national roads, SYRIZA proposes and will claim a radical redefinition of the strategy for the national road network according to social needs. Namely: renegotiating contracts and claiming from concessionaires the money they owe to the state. We will also set up a public actor under social control in order to continue the works of expansion, improvement, and maintenance of the road network.
13.10 We promote policies of restructuring, modernizing, and reconstructing very small (mostly self-employed) and medium-sized businesses with employees participating in them so that these businesses will contribute to the productive reconstruction of the country and to tackling the explosive problem of unemployment.
13.11 We promote a new alternative model of tourism development with social value, which will respond to the needs of workers, small and medium-sized tourism businesses, and local societies, will protect our tourism resources (natural, social, cultural), and will highlight our national heritage and the distinctive environmental identity of our country. We will support sector policies for tourism, recovery of public control over development tools, extension of the tourist season on an all-year-round basis, quality mass tourism in combination with alternative forms of environmentally friendly tourism, and disengagement from big tour operators. We aim at the functional synergy between tourism and other industries with the objective of a holistic national strategy for tourism. The structure of the national tourism organization will be regulated in the context of these policies.
13.12 For SYRIZA it is essential to ensure food sufficiency/food sovereignty. That is why we promote a new radical agricultural policy, part of which is the redistribution of farmland (public, large private, or belonging to the Church). We aim at price reductions in raw materials and at a move toward the production of branded certified products. We support integrated administration and organic farming. We seek to secure employment and a stable satisfactory income for family farming units and medium-sized farmers, especially young ones. We aim at a fundamental reconstruction of the cooperative system and cooperative organizations, the trade unions of the farmers and other collective forms of agricultural activity, with the active participation of those directly involved and through democratic procedures.
We ask for a European agricultural policy that guarantees access to healthy food at stable and fair prices and environmentally sustainable forms of production. This means a radical revision of CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] with an increase in the budget for quality farming, redistribution of funds in favor of small and medium-sized farmers and Mediterranean products, prices above production cost, relating aids to production and product quality, supporting mountain and island areas, and totally banning all Genetically Modified Organisms. Our aim is that the international trade in agricultural products should be laid on new foundations, under the supervision of the UN and not of the WTO, giving priority to local and regional production, to control over multinationals and dumping policies, and to the promotion of sustainable development and equal collaboration between countries.
13.13 We will restore and strengthen the welfare state and promote the democratization of all its activities and functions: protection of employment, the jobless, healthcare, social welfare, education, and social insurance. The social insurance system, which is now collapsing, calls for a huge regenerative effort based on aiding employment, combating social insurance contribution evasion, and increasing the number of insured employees, with universality, solidarity, and the state guaranteeing its public/social character and the three-part funding.
13.14 We will ensure the functioning of public hospitals, primary healthcare structures (health centers, EOPYY [National Health Organization] health units, mental health structures, prevention and rehabilitation centers). Furthermore, we will retain and develop a public health system and top quality social welfare structures accessible to everybody both in the center and in the periphery of Greece. We guarantee the efficient operation and reorganization of public healthcare and free access to it for all residents – Greek or foreign – regardless of their employment or insurance status. It is a top priority for SYRIZA that the uninsured population is fully covered in terms of healthcare and medicine – with no contribution for chronic disease patients and patients under the poverty line.
13.15 We will take immediate precaution measures against high prices, controlling prices at the source where the cost of goods and services is determined, with parallel measures against monopolies and oligopolies in the market and with the establishment of a genuine price index that will reflect the real price increases in staples. We will be implementing particularly stringent checks on mineral oil products.
13.16 We will repeal all regulatory legislation and emergency state structures, all the authoritarian and repressive laws, and we will fundamentally reorganize the political system, eliminating any source of corruption and vested interests, observing the principles of the separation of powers and the separation of church and state, and restoring the orderly and transparent functioning of all the relevant institutions. We will upgrade the democratic structure and operation of the representational institutions, both at the level of the central government and at that of local authorities, enacting simple proportional representation and introducing forms of direct democracy. Finally, we advocate and promote the establishment of a new local government charter to replace Kallikratis, the democratic revision of the Constitution based on the principle of subsidiarity, and the relevant refounding of the state.
13.17 We will bring back and upgrade the whole institutional framework that regulated employment relations and the framework of collective bargaining. Free collective bargaining, protection against dismissals, the upgrade of control mechanisms, the elimination of undeclared and precarious work, the strengthening of the labour unions’ role, and the free and unhindered exercise of union activity are the pillars of our policy and of the production process itself. We need and we will do everything we can to reorganize an autonomous mass class labour union movement, inspired by the values and principles of the Left: liberty, equality, solidarity, transparency, and democracy. It is our nonnegotiable aim to promote democracy in the workplace, establish institutions of labour and social control independent from the labour movement, but which will include representatives of the workers, elected and recalled by them.
13.18 We will radically change the way public services and local authorities operate, establishing democracy, decentralization, transparency, and meritocracy, regardless of ideology or political opinion; relentlessly cracking down on corruption, vested interests, partisanship and bribery. We will introduce the concept and practice of democratic planning and social control on all levels of central and local government. We will reassess the administrative structure on regional and municipal level and ensure that regions and municipalities will get the necessary funds to exercise their social role and contribute to the economy’s growth. We will also establish permanence and stable employment relations.
13.19 For SYRIZA, culture constitutes both intellectual and material wealth – from antiquity to contemporary cultural production. It is a public good and a key factor in development and creation. The social and productive reconstruction of the country is interwoven with its cultural revival. Culture is the language, the letters and the arts, national heritage, education, the customs and traditions, and other elements of daily life; but it is also the employment relations, the forms of social communication, public space, and in general the various aspects of social community and production. We support scientific research, the letters and the arts, the preservation and promotion of our national heritage, all forms of civilization, reforming existing institutions and setting up new ones, adequately funded. SYRIZA will ensure access to cultural goods for everybody, with special emphasis on combating “cultural poverty” and the exclusion of poor and marginalized social groups from creating and enjoying cultural products. It will also support and encourage amateur cultural creation and mass sports, combating commercialization, small-time sports politics, high-level sport competition and all their negative consequences. We will contribute to the reconnection of sports organizations with the democratic movement in education, health, culture, and ecology.
13.20 Public education is a nonnegotiable universal social good that should be provided free for all the people living in the country and at all its levels, from crèches to post-graduate schools. Private education is a disorder that will be eliminated through the upgrade and substantialization of public education. The education system will not be based on exams, but it will be converted to a system that will provide knowledge as well as its critical examination, with free access to all its levels and structural link between universities and research centers. The education system will cultivate freedom of religion, critical knowledge, collective action, and solidarity. It will be opposed to any militarist spirit, racist attitudes, and phenomena of exclusion and discrimination. It will guarantee the democratic functioning of school units – with equal participation of teachers and students – as well as the unhindered work and permanent employment of teachers. The education system will strengthen the administrative autonomy and the academic nature of universities, and guarantee university asylum.
13.21 We combat racist and homophobic violence, all discriminations based on racial or national origin, religion, color of the skin, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity, which are endemic in many aspects of social life and we guarantee the change of the legislative framework that legalizes, directly or indirectly, such discriminations. In this context, we fully support the right to self-determination in terms of sexual orientation and gender choice, homosexual civil marriage with full and equal rights, and recognition of gender identity.
13.22 SYRIZA is committed to promote gender equality and the demands of women, who are more severely affected by the memoranda policies. In view of this, it will update and complete the relevant legislation and will insist on its implementation, with women taking part in decision-making centers, and will make sure that these laws are actually enforced by the authorities and courts, in cases where these rights are violated. In order to deal with rising violence against women (state, domestic, sexual harassment, rape), SYRIZA will launch campaigns to raise awareness in education and the media, and will set up support units (shelters, etc) for women who fall victim to gender violence.
13.23 We treat the immigration issue in all its complexity and in all its dimensions (humanitarian, class, international). The large migration flows are a result of the neoliberal, capitalist globalization that uproots people from their hearths, either because it makes them victims of war or because it deprives them of the basic means of survival. Economic and political migrants or refugees are today’s “damned of the Earth.” The situation in Manolada, and not only there, certifies this. The European migration policy has to change immediately, with main criteria the European shared responsibility, the reception capacity of each country, and the prevention of underpaid work and exploitation of migrant workers. The Dublin II Regulation and the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum must be cancelled so that refugees or immigrants will be free to go to another country if they do not wish to stay here. Furthermore, it is necessary to humanize the institutional framework for legalization, for asylum granting, and for giving travel documents to immigrants and refugees. Residence permits and work permits that were taken away due to de-legalization procedures followed these last years must be given back to refugees and immigrants. It is essential that there is a new legalization process for immigrants with “no papers” who have been working in Greece for years. Immigrants who are working must be treated equally and fairly and Greek citizenship should be immediately given to children who are born in Greece. We will close down today’s inhumane detention centers and set up open centers where immigrants will be able to live with dignity.
13.24 Social peace and security require justice and reduction of disparities. Mass poverty and misery lead to the violence of survival. Our plan for social reconstruction will result immediately in a drop in crime rate. The elimination of major organized crime, drug trafficking and arms trade, prostitution and human trafficking, slave labour, excessively high rents, should all be targeted by public services and security forces, fundamentally reoriented and democratically trained.
13.25 We highlight the need for and demand the reversal of the current form of the European integration process, the reversal of the Euro zone architecture and the neoliberal concept which the common currency has been based on, so as to re-found the European project in the direction of democratic construction and functioning, social justice, and socialism. Through the European Left Party, our action in the European Parliament and all the European and international forums, we cooperate with other Left forces and build up warm comrade relations with political forces and social movements in various countries in Europe that we share the same ideas and practices with.
13.26 SYRIZA will continue to claim war reparations from Germany, repayment of the loan extracted during the German occupation, and the return of the archaeological treasures, as a minimum debt of honor to the thousands of fighters of the Greek Resistance, who paid a heavy toll of blood in the first line of the antifascist war for the liberation of our country and the whole Europe.
13.27 We give new significance, both practically and theoretically, to the concepts of “national” and “patriotic,” connecting them with what is genuinely “popular.” Nationalism and “patridokapilia” [use of patriotism for one’s own ends] are in constant conflict with the democratic-internationalist patriotism of the popular classes and the Left. We will resolve the open issues of foreign policy, defense and security of the country and its residents based on the rules of international law and the principle of the peaceful settlement of disputes.
13.28 We promote integration into the international scene through an independent, multidimensional, and peaceful foreign policy founded on equal cooperation, national independence, and protection of our country’s national-territorial integrity. Greece is not only a European country but also a Balkan and a Mediterranean country, in close vicinity to sources of permanent tension in the Middle East. This complex reality spells danger but also offers opportunities. Bonds of friendship and good-neighbourly relations with all countries on the basis of respect for the borders and sovereign rights, and cordial relations with progressive movements and progressive governments all over the world can be a protective shield against the extremely precarious international situation, but also an opportunity for peaceful active intervention in cases of international tension and conflict. The guidelines of our foreign policy are: support on the Republic of Cyprus for the settlement of the Cypriot problem, respect for international conventions and relevant UN resolutions, withdrawal from NATO, closure of all foreign military bases, termination of military cooperation with Israel, which may breed danger of military involvement of Greece in the Middle East conflicts, and the application of the principle “no Greek soldier at war fronts outside Greece’s border.” The struggle for peace and nuclear disarmament is of top priority for SYRIZA and it is closely related to the struggle for democracy.
13.29 We will institutionalize rules of democratic regulation and social control over the media. Radio/television frequencies are a public good and belong to society as a whole. Licenses will be examined from scratch, will be granted for a limited term, and will be linked to the respect of labour rights. The licenses will be renewed or recalled by the National Broadcasting Council. We will also upgrade the public media, shaping a democratic environment in public life, ensuring the expression of society without today’s predominance of manipulation mechanisms, and giving emphasis to its potential of becoming a producer of information and not just a consumer of views on information and culture produced by commercial and business interests.
For a New Political Changeover
14 We are submitting our platform and we will proceed to further processing and consideration, with the support of SYRIZA’s members and friends, through open consultation with social actors and society. In order to be implemented, this platform needs the active intervention of an already existing mass and militant socio-political movement of democratic subversion. A Government of the Left cannot prevent destruction and give a popular solution to the problems without the synergy and availability of the Greek people, without the determination of the social majority to support this radical change – politically, socially, and productively – so that the country can take a new path. For this reason, SYRIZA firmly aims to share the above programmatic goals with the vast majority of the Greek people. For this reason, we have been holding events in workplaces, in the Parliament, in neighbourhoods and big towns, where specific programmatic proposals on specific issues were presented for public consultation and discussion. Even though they do not exhaust SYRIZA’s program, these proposals demonstrate the key options and main priorities of our policy. They concern issues of capital importance, such as the democratization of the political system and state, the plan for the productive reconstruction and the fight against unemployment, the immediate relief of the victims of the deepening humanitarian crisis, etc. In the time to come, such events of public consultation will be more frequent and systematic, as it is SYRIZA’s priority to formulate its proposals together with the citizens and harmonize its program with real social needs. In contrast to the memoranda governments, for SYRIZA democracy does not constitute a problem, but instead an essential part of the exit from the crisis. The new political changeover has already begun. We intend and aspire to soon have the vast majority of the people believe in it.
15 SYRIZA persists in its proposal for collaboration with the forces of the Left, the left social-democrats, the radical ecology; this is a proposal that is at the heart of the plan for a Government of the Left. It is evident that in today’s emergency circumstances we cannot wait till the leaderships of the Left comprehend the need for unity and unitary action. At the same time, though, we state our intent to enter into a dialogue – any time, today or tomorrow, before or after the elections – and take steps toward unity for the prevention of the country’s further destruction and the support of the Left Government.
On SYRIZA’s path toward social and political subversion and the Left administration, we will safeguard our credibility and reliability. Forces and figures of the bankrupt and culpable political world, particularly the ones that endorsed the “one-way street” policies of the memoranda and took active part from key positions in the memoranda governments, do not belong in a government of the Left.
The Party We Are Founding
16 The unified, mass, democratic, multi-tendency party of the Left we are founding aims to sum up – from the perspective of 21st century socialism – the claims and demands of the working classes and oppressed social groups. It is open to society and the international process. It aims at joint action and political alliance of the Left. It supports social struggles and grassroots initiatives. The party we are founding has its class roots in the labour and popular movement and is motivated and inspired by the ideas and positions of radical ecology and feminism. It rallies historical and contemporary strands; forces of the communist, radical, renovative, anti-capitalist, revolutionary, and liberationist Left. It systematically endeavors to be a model of the society it seeks to build.
17 Today, young people, on the one hand, experience the painful consequences of the financial crisis that confines them to the grey zone of unemployment and precariousness, depriving them of any hope or prospects and often forcing them to emigrate in order to find work. On the other hand, young people are also that critical part of society which can – with their own particular responses – contribute effectively to the creation and synergy of social resistance, to the questioning of the new conditions imposed on their lives, and to their claim for a different future. Young people are at a turning point. A generation with accumulated skills, knowledge, capabilities, and sensibilities is faced with a bleak future. Despite the difficulties though, this state may offer the potential to articulate many different elements of contemporary youth identities so as to organize collectively. SYRIZA wants to voice the youth. A powerful SYRIZA needs a powerful and mass youth organization. SYRIZA’s conference has decided, in an explicit and binding way, to found SYRIZA Youth within 2013. In its first session, the new Central Committee will approve the date and the proceedings of this foundation. The relevant proposal will come from the coordinating committee of the SYRIZA youth.
18 In view of the above, we call upon the working-class, the popular classes in general, the unemployed, the self-employed, and the middle classes of the town and the countryside that are suffering from the crisis, all those who live in our country or the Greeks of the Diaspora, to unite with SYRIZA in a great popular, social and political movement of subversion, which will make the Government of the Left come true, will stop the humanitarian crisis and the destruction of the country, and will start the great task of social and productive reconstruction and the recovery of labour, social, and individual rights. We call upon all men and women to fight for a great radical change for the restoration, expansion, and decentralization of democracy and participatory institutions. This change will take root in all parts of the country; in all the places where people live and work. We call upon all men and women to take part in a broad antifascist movement that will limit the electoral power of the neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn and weaken it socially and ideologically. We can walk together on this path of social emancipation and political subversion.
At this historic breakthrough point, SYRIZA is giving the starting signal for a quality mobilization and initiative of the wider social strata, so as to realize the social and political subversion and set a new course for the people and the country. The members of SYRIZA enlist in this great cause. As well as taking on an uncompromising political struggle to overthrow the government and participating in the social struggles to overthrow the memoranda policies, SYRIZA is at the forefront in the struggle for the restoration of democracy and popular sovereignty. All the members of SYRIZA in all parts of Greece have taken on the task to spread the message of unity and the rebirth of our people.
The state we are in today calls for something more than a programmatic framework; even something more than a complete program formed democratically and collectively. It calls for the creation and expression of the widest possible, militant and catalytic political movement of multidimensional subversion that will operate in a spirit of utmost solidarity, elation, and inspiration; a movement that will bring close together and mobilize hundreds of thousands of people. We are referring to a movement that will creatively unite all the people that flooded the squares and took enthusiastic part in small and large strikes, in towns and villages; all the people that are brutally affected by the crisis in their everyday life; all social actors, collectives, and initiatives; all the social radicalism that emerges from every cell of the society.
Only such a movement can lead to a Government of the Left and only such a movement can safeguard the course of such a government. A Government of the Left has a specific expectation horizon: it carries out radical reforms, takes on development initiatives and other initiatives of a clear environmental and class orientation, opens up new potentials and opportunities for popular intervention, helps the creation of new forms of popular expression and claims. However, it cannot realize the great changes this country urgently needs all by itself. For a Government of the Left, a parliamentary majority – whatever its size – is not enough. It cannot proceed as if it was just a matter of delegation. Taking account of these facts, SYRIZA has shouldered the responsibility to contribute decisively to the shaping of this great movement of democratic subversion that will lead the country to a new popular, democratic, and radical changeover. It has shouldered the responsibility to give a new decisive boost to its work and create a new dynamic that will overcome hesitation or even distrust, which still exist. •
This was first published on the left.gr website.