The Shorty Long of It By S. Artesian

5 March 2015 — The Wolf Report: Nonconfidential analysis for the anti-investor 

1.  The Short

Submit the “reform package” agreed to by Syriza government to the parliament for a vote
No to the “reform package” agreed to by the Syriza ministers
–No confidence in the Syriza government
–Repudiate the debt, the MFFA, and the reforms in their entirety.

2. The Long

Somewhere along the curve of the universe that is this space-time continuum, Alexander Pope runs into Hungry Joe, King of the Bunco men.  The result of that heroic couplet is a grade A, class 1 mash up of cosmic proportions that goes like this:  Hope springs eternal in the human breast because there’s a sucker born every minute. 

No sooner does the Syriza government reverse its “policy” regarding the extension of and compliance with the 2012 agreement and its so-called reforms, than our eternalists take hope from the very bleakness of the situation.  Syriza has “bought time.”  To do what, exactly?

The victory/defeat won by the government has a “due by” date of four months.  At the end of four months….

At the end of four months, the final tranche(s) of the bailout money is, or is not, released to the government, and the money, except for €8.2 billion held by the IMF for distribution through 2015-2016 is… gone.  Vanished, disappeared, gone.   The “reforms” however, like the debt, are supposed to last forever, and at €317 billion, the debt is pretty certain to last forever– or  until it is abolished.

So the eternalists, despite all noises made to the contrary, despite the “emphatic statements” of Prime Minister Tsirpas  are, more or less, committed to yet another bailout, because, much more than less, none of the “reforms” will generate sufficient cash flow to sustain the government, and without the guarantee of the guarantors– the ECB, the IMF, and the European Commission– the international credit markets, having been compelled to submit to one Greek haircut earlier, aren’t about to Sweeney Todd themselves one more time; or at least not without charging an interest rate that factors in the price of the haircut and thus consumes more of the meager cash flowing to the government.

Now the “reform package” that is supposed to revive the cash flows and make Greece’s sovereign debt instruments marketable requires devaluation, deflation, liquidation of government assets and government obligations.  This liquidation is in direct contradiction with the generation of taxable revenues for the government. 

Much has been made in the press, by the Eurogroup, the IMF, and the Syriza ministers about tax evaders but the fact is that much of the lost tax revenue is lost from people who are too poor, not too rich, to pay taxes.  Nothing in the reform package remedies the raging poverty in Greece.

More revenue is lost as those companies providing basic services on a contract basis to the government  have not been paid, and can no longer provide the service (in particular in the health care sector).  

There is no solution to the predicament of Greece based on the reforms, the current bailout, or future bailouts that preserve the debt.  Yanis Varoufakis, when questioned about a scheduled debt repayment due the IMF at the end of this month said he was prepared to “squeeze blood from a stone” to meet that obligation.  The problem is of course that stones can’t bleed; and human beings aren’t rocks. 

3. Function: Hungry Joe meets the Alexander Papists

Some take heart from the apparent dissent of Syria’s left wing, “The Left Platform,” from the reform package.  The depth of the dissent is supposedly great enough that 40% of the Syriza representatives in parliament oppose the reform package. An “amendment” (amending what?) expressing that dissent states:

In the immediate future, SYRIZA, despite the agreements of the Eurogroup should take the initiative of implementing steadily and as a matter of priority its commitments and the content of its programmatic governmental statement.

To go down that road, we have to rely on workers’ and popular struggles, to contribute to their revitalization, and to the continuous expansion of popular support in order to resist any form of blackmail and promote the perspective of an alternative plan promoting the full realization of our radical objections.

The main conclusion of the latest developments is the necessity, which is of decisive importance for the course we will follow, that decisions should be taken following a discussion in the leading party instances, which have, jointly with the party and the party branches as a whole, to upgrade their function and play a leading role in the new progressive course of our country.  

Of course, the fact that the “Left Platform” wants these discussions to be confined to the party organization; that these discussions are not conducted “outside” the party structure, in public, and on the floor of the parliament, means that this bloc regards the “workers’ and popular struggles” as an adjunct to Syriza, as a “pressure group” rather than the means and ends for a class that must organize itself to take power.

4.  Junction

The inflection point, the moment of transition, for the class struggle in Greece is the emergence of working class organs of dual power. 

The strategy for advancing to that transition point is to deprive the institutions of bourgeois power; the parties; the ministers; the parliament of the support of the workers.

The tactic critical to that strategy is to demand the presentation of the package to the parliament for approval/rejection.

Submit the “reform package” agreed to by Syriza government to the parliament for a vote
No to the “reform package” agreed to by the Syriza ministers
–No confidence in the Syriza government
–Repudiate the debt, the MFFA, and the reforms in their entirety.

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