THE working class and people of Greece have shown great courage and fortitude in voting against the austerity and privatisation measures demanded by EU finance ministers, the EU Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and IMF.
But, despite fine words about respecting “democracy” and the Greek nation, this referendum result will be treated with the same contempt by politicians, bureaucrats and bankers as all the others which do not agree with proposals from the EU Commission.
The Greek people’s defensive salvo will now meet with a renewed offensive on behalf of the Commission, the eurogroup and the ECB to impose the kind of anti-democratic, anti-working class and anti-people programme tabled by unelected EU Commission “president” Jean-Claude Juncker.
His final draft on June 28 included sweeping measures of privatisation — the ports, ferries, electricity transmission, regional airports and most other state assets including, ultimately, the public-sector railway system — which most of the British and other mass media have chosen to omit from their coverage of the crisis.
The danger now is that any new settlement for Greece will retain these proposals as well as those to cut pension entitlements, raise VAT, increase health insurance levies and slash employment rights (as well as reducing military spending and raising corporation tax).
It would also retain the mechanisms to ensure that austerity and privatisation policies are conducted under the supervision and control of the EU Commission and ECB.
Thus the people of Greece now face a momentous struggle not only to prevent a further steep decline in their standards and quality of life, but also to defend the principle of national sovereignty and to exercise the popular sovereignty expressed in the July 5 referendum.
In that struggle, they should have no illusions about the intentions of the EU authorities, who reflect the monopoly capitalist class character of the EU, of its fundamental treaties and key institutions.
The EU is no friend of the working class or the mass of the people, whether in Greece, Britain, any other EU member state or in any other part of the world. It promotes the interests of the big monopoly corporations, particularly those represented by state power in Germany and France.
Perpetuating or supporting illusions in the EU, that the EU and eurozone are reformable and can be “democratised,” that some kind of “social Europe” can be built on the basis of the EU, will not serve the interests of the Greek workers and people generally.
What the Greek people need now is clear thinking about the way forward, without illusions in the EU, neoliberalism or social democracy. They should note the treachery of many so-called “socialist” and social democratic parties in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, and that of the European TUC, who urged them to surrender by voting Yes on July 5.
They also need the solidarity of workers and peoples across Europe and beyond, including in Britain where the Tory government’s fresh attacks on public spending, welfare benefits, public services and trade union rights require a massive, militant response from the labour movement, the left and the People’s Assembly.
The most effective form that such international solidarity can take is to step up the fight against austerity and privatisation in every country, against every ruling capitalist class, and to do so in opposition to the EU and the class interests it has been designed to serve and enforce.