Friday, January 16, 2015

SYRIZA's Party Resolutions - Still Valid?

"SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras has proclaimed that he does not want Greece to leave the euro and will push to decrease the country’s debt. However, at its congress in 2013, his party resolved unequivocally to 'cancel the memoranda and the implementing laws' and undo the reforms mandated by our creditors. '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.' Furthermore, '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'."

Nikos Kostandaras reminds the world in the Ekathimerini of some official party positions which SYRIZA had unequivocally resolved in 2013. Presumably, they have not been officially revoked since then. The statements which one hears lately from SYRIZA are truly conservative compared with the aggressive and unequivocal above resolutions.

Normally, I would expect the media to quiz a candidate and pose some though questions. One tough question for Alexis Tsipras would be whether he still stands by the above resolutions or not. It's hard to see how this could by anything by a yes-or-no answer. 

Have the media asked Tsipras this question? 


  1. Mr. Kastner,

    This is the problem of being leader of a party that is composed of 12 parties. You don't control them. The resolutions of the conventions are "binding" officially. No SYRIZA member dares say otherwise. The resolutions are the result of the balance of forces inside SYRIZA's convention, where, according to many, Tsipras doesn't have absolute control, whereas Panagiotis Lafazanis controls the biggest group. Lafazanis is pro-drachma and writing off the debt unilaterally. He still goes on radios and repeats that "our convention's position is haircut of the biggest part of the debt" and when journalists ask him "if you insist on that", he replies again and again "of course, it's the party's official line" and nobody in SYRIZA dares come out and say that it isn't true, because it is...

    1. Just a little advice to Mr. Lafanzanis: Greece cannot write off the debt unilaterally. Before Greece repudiates any debt, the government would be well advised to first place a call to Cristina Kirchner to get advice from her.

      Greece may return to the Drachma and repudiate its Euro debt. That would not hinder the creditors to enforce their claim. The debt remains in Euro and Greece would have to buy Euro with its Drachma.

      Have you seen what I recently wrote about the force loan of WW2? A loan is a loan and remains a loan until it is either paid or forgiven.

      Any debt deal must be mutually negotiated and agreed. No way around it.

    2. Mr. Kastner,

      Yes, i have read what you wrote about debt. But i am afraid, you haven't read SYRIZA's convention decisions, who represent the real ideological agenda of the "real" SYRIZA. You have only read a policy paper in english, that no greek who goes to vote has ever read and is probably written by a close ally of Tsipras.
      SYRIZA's was never Tsipras' party. He was parachuted into its leadership, thanks to his mentor, Alavanos, who Tsipras managed to kick out of the party later. To give you an idea, Alavanos today, has a tiny party called "plan B", whose position is the same as KKE's, the same as Lafazanis': "drachma, unilateral haircut".

      Now, i really can't tell you how far Lafazanis could go. The soft scenario is Lafazanis saying "my position is my debt doesn't exist and i don't pay you anything. When you digest it, come talk to see if i can give you some change". The hard scenario, could be more like KKE's: "I am becoming mediterranean Cuba, i don't pay you anything for eternity and i don't care to live isolated".

      The SYRIZA that we Greeks have known for years, isn't the SYRIZA of the english policy paper, but rather this (if you go to στ. Οι προγραμματικοί μας στόχοι, it's our policy goals):

      Amongst various things, cancelling "memorandum laws", TAIPED, fast track. The production, will be "based on the public sector, on schemes of cooperatives and collective-management forms, companies of popular basis, experiments of social economy, on small and medium enterprises, especially in innovative actions".

      "We cancel the scheduled privatizations and the plundering of public wealth, we bring back to state control and reorganize the enterprises of strategic importance that have been privatized or are underway , so that we can make a powerful, productive, efficient, public sector".

      "We promote policies of restructuring of the very small (mainly self-employed) and small to medium enterprises, with the partecipation of the workers in these enterprises, so that they can partecipate in the productive reorganization of the country and reduce unemployement".

      "We put the banking system under state control, with radical change of the way it functions and of the scope it servers today, upgrading the role of the employees and the clients. We found new state banks of special purpose".

      "We will not recognize the unconstitutional and illegal actions of the goverment, that led to suspension of thousands of public employees and in abolition of many state services. In our approach of the state being the lever to reorganize the country, all licensed employees have a role and WILL be hired back.

      Just a few points, it's too long to translate everything.

    3. Maybe this will help you better understand the difference between Tsipras and Lafazanis:

      The man on the chair, is Mr. Lafazanis held in the dungeons of SYRIZA's offices, saying: "Drachma, drachma, Argentina! Untie me!"

      And his captor replying: "After the elections, Panagiotis".

      Most of SYRIZA's upper members, are former KKE members. Lafazanis was in KKE's youth and the indoctrination that one is subjected there, is similar to soviet union's. A SYRIZA MP these days, repeated an older position, of dismantling the riot police. Another says that policemen will be disarmed when they go near public protests. Another SYRIZA candidate these days, commenting on the gas bomb that was put on Adonis Georgiades' political office (it was a fortune that the petrol used for ignition burnt instead of exploding in the gas cans), said that "well, Adonis Georgiades has provoked the people" (the theory of the "deserved rape for wearing provocative clothes").

      Other SYRIZA MPs, have defended terrorist groups, including 17N, both in court and outside (defense witnesses, calling them "fighters of the people"). Every time something gets done by the anarcofascists, someone from SYRIZA will either come out to justify them or there will be a bland condemnation of the event after the goverment forces them mediatically. Adonis Georgiade's bookshop has been burnt down 16 times until now. If it was someone's leftist MP bookshop, you 'd have mass protests about fascists, calls to foreign journalists to write about it and the extreme right in Greece, etc. It is also a mystery of how come all hooded youngsters that burn Athens break away from SYRIZA protests at some point and start burning. But since SYRIZA got ahead in the polls, they no longer have the will to burn Athens. I have always found this strange. How come they no longer want to burn down Athens... I am sure it is a coincidence, but i am suspicious by nature.

    4. I wrote all the above, just to attempt to make you understand, that reading an english paper with no reflection on greek reality, isn't what we, the rest of the population, know about SYRIZA.

      Tsipras, is macchiavelist. He sees the opportunity to take power and become Papandreou and he wants it. As long as things to well, the "non controlled" part of SYRIZA, is giving him a vote of tolerance let's say. The internal problems for Tsipras will start after the elections, where he will have to stray away from the party's official resolutions and when he will start getting attrition.

      To put it otherwise. In a normal world, Tsipras and Lafazanis (not just him), would not be in the same party. There are various small parties inside SYRIZA that are plain extremist. They happened all together, just because SYRIZA needed all 12 small parties to get a 3% and enter the parliament. And suddenly they find themselves with 23% and having to govern together.

  2. In case you are interested, this is Lafazanis' own website (of course, he couldn't share a common one with Tsipras):

  3. Speak of the devil...

    A SYRIZA member, had written the prologue of Koufodinas' book "I was born 17 November". Koufodinas is one of the arrested 17N terrorists. Pardon me, revolutionary organization i meant.

    Koufodinas repays the courtesy with statement today:

    "The silent voice of the society now finds an electoral voice in SYRIZA. But this is not enough".

    That's the SYRIZA we all grew to know and loved and is a glimpse of why for 20 years it was a 3% party.

  4. """Normally, I would expect the media to quiz a candidate and pose some though questions. One tough question for Alexis Tsipras would be whether he still stands by the above resolutions or not. It's hard to see how this could by anything by a yes-or-no answer.

    Have the media asked Tsipras this question? """"

    My question to this wise reporter. When has there ever been in history a good politician who has unsaid or taken back what was earlier said? Are you kidding me? Admist to something said to clear what is a real agenda? If there is even an agenda...Never.... half the time actually i would say 80% of the time politicans are blurting out garbage just to attract possible future voters. Have you even taken psychology 101? It is basic way to sway masses into your corner. Prelection period is the climax of this.

    You call your self a reporter? that is a serious question?

    For all the fearmongers. Are you all in fear that we are on the verge of a collapse of Greece. Please. wake up and smell the coffee. In 10 days, the new agreements pre agreed will be enforced. In 1,5 months they will be voted and we will continue.


    1. Not so fast. Once Tsipras signs such an agreement he loses the hard core constituency and Syriza is going to poll below ND two months after the elections. ND had some constituency that belived in sacrifices and in Europe. This thing does not exist in Syriza. It's 5% exarhia/romanos/koufodinas and the rest is lamogia from pasok, ND, GD etc. The connecting tissue is they are all against the memorandum, so Syriza can literally go to 0% within months. I guess it will disintegrate before that happens.

      So, don't be so sure. There is that thing Americans call 'mandate'. GAP's mandate was 'λεφτα υπαρχουν' so he went from 40% to 5%.

    2. The greek people are not voting for Syriza for hard line position. Nor are they confused to the garbage the whole politcal scheme is spooing out. In just reading blogs, hearing plain people talk, listening to the old men at cafenia, etc.... you have the understanding that they all are very clear and understand that the troika will continue, the changes in public companies will continue, new types of taxations will come to replace the current. They all know this. The reason that they vote is to pick a party that "might" get something from the EU, who blew off Samaras. Troika and EU stated in 2013 that when the greek governement, progresses to a positve debt ratio and agreements to changes in governement prgressed which have, we will reevaluate the debt overall and the package. And 4 months ago IMF ("the bad guy") said it was time to study debt forgiveness. EU backed off. And then emptied Samaras.

      The kicked the can down the road one again.

      Greek people are not stupid and have made their choices clear int he opinnion polls. Yes we want Europe, No we can not continue on this path. We need a change in how we are to proceed. Syriza is just the tool.

      And although there are some hardliners in Syriza as there were hardliners in ND from the right, you have to look to the core. The core you have to believe will do something. I do not expect great things from Syriza. Maybe slightly better things than Samaras.

      Both did better than PAP. He was just an idiot and confirmed after his interview last night. He has no stomach to be a politician.

      Syriza will come and we will see how things will change. To be honest, i believe the puppeteer has gotten tired of this "crisis" story line and he is moving onto a period of grow. Greece will muddle along as always and the private sector hopefully will pull us out in the long term.


    3. The hardliners from ND left and went to Kammenos and GD. Some still remain. For sure though, the Syriza hard liners (5% or so) will flee the moment Tsipras says we achieved a compromise with the Troika. The rest of the support will flee when they learn that there is no ENFIA but there is Haratsi or just some new name.

      These things are obvious; how Tsipras acts and how the thing plays out is up in the air. For sure, Greece is hanging by a thread. A mistake and she is out. Some miscalculation from the Europeans or the Greeks and it's over.

      Finally, if Greeks had matured they would have definitely picked some decent guy. Not an illiterate 'eonio' student.

  5. You may be interested ...

    “Greece is in big trouble. They are up against the most powerful foe imaginable.”

    Norbert Häring: QE and the nature of the standoff between the ECB and Syriza
    18 January 2015

    “On Thursday the ECB’s Governing Council will decide on whether to start a large bond buying program. I am afraid the decision is clear, though not for economic reasons. A few days later, the Greek will probably vote for a left leaning government under the Syriza-party, which wants to renegotiate the terms of the huge government debt, and is opposed to the EU-imposed austerity program which impoverished the country. There will be a standoff, a game of chicken, in which Brussels, Frankfort (the ECB) and Berlin threaten to throw Greece out of the euro, causing the people even more suffering, and Athens counting on this being an empty threat, because any country leaving might easily lead to more countries being pushed out by speculative attacks on their bond markets. If the ECB has a free hand to buy as many government bonds as it wants from any government that follows the ECB’s commands and fulfils their conditions, this danger is very significantly reduced. In such a situation, Greece can be forced out if needed (by cutting of ECB financing for Greek banks, which can be done any day at the ECB’s discretion). The experience would be made as harsh as possible to the Greek people to scare of the voters of other crisis countries, who might consider voting for similar parties, like Podemos in Spain.”

    Here you can find Norbert Häring’s complete article:

    1. More threats. Let the cards fall where they may. I am fed up and so is the majority of Greeks.


  6. I have noticed that miss concept of debt, also with most of my Greek friends. All prefer to look at default as an event, not as a condition you are in. It goes like this "OK we defaulted yesterday, so now we are quit, yes?" But then again, I have difficulties understanding Syriza's words; maybe it's lost in translation.
    "We do wish to inherit our parents' house, but not to pay the mortgage."
    "We will not take unilateral steps unless they force us."
    "We will honor the existing loan agreements, albeit with altered terms."
    Or the latest from Varoufakis (ops, did I call him level headed recently?)
    "Agreement or death."
    It's all Greek to me, but no Greeks find it paradoxical.

  7. The leader of one of SYRIZA's forming parties, called "Anticapitalist Politcal group", stated that SYRIZA's victory, has the ambition of becoming worthy of the big narratives of postmodern era", equal to the Mexican Zapatistas, the "arab spring" and the Occupy Wall Street movement, since it will be a political example of leftist goverment, "in the heard of eurozone and western capitalism", "an example capable of restarting and igniting and struggle of the classes at least in the european level". So he calls "to all marxists, comunists and conscious leftists to be prepared for the next day".

  8. At the website of Tsipras' economic advertiser John Milios, he posted an interview with the Handelsblatt that will interest you:
    Very telling, isn't it? An alleged 12 billion Euro (who's gonna believe that?) program with free electricity and other goodies, funded by 50% via EU funds that are reserved for rather different issues! That's what Syriza calls "financial responsibility".