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Tsipras’ capitulation and the crisis of Syriza

After five months of negotiations, Syriza agreed with the European Union (EU) governments on several proposed cuts last Monday. These agreements look to secure the last phase of the 7.2 billion euro bailout, and prevent the country’s bankruptcy.

Celeste Murillo

June 25, 2015
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Photo: EFE.

The Greek government declared to be close to a deal with the Troika. Syriza’s new concessions include cutting pensions and raising sales tax on basic goods, leaving behind mains points of its electoral platform. Many inside and outside Syriza consider this agreement a capitulation.

Indeed, one of the leaders of the Syriza’s left platform, Stathis Kouvelakis, argued in an article published on June 23rd that , “The list of the measures in the new austerity package proposed by the Syriza government is absolutely depressing.”

The vice president of the Congress, and a member of Syriza, stated “My personal view is that these measures cannot be voted for, they are extreme and anti-social. I believe that in the end, this package which you have at hand, cannot come to the Greek parliament.”

After the first set of concessions by Syriza during the February negotiations, pressure grew to force a continuity of cuts and austerity policies (always counting on the economic asphyxiation through the debt).

Near 1.8 billion euros need to be obtained by raising sales taxes on goods (many of which are basic necessities), cutting social programs and reforming pensions. As Kouvelakis detailed, “The proposed increases in taxes include an rise of the VAT, an indirect “flat” tax disproportionately hitting low-income people, expected to bring an extra 0.7 billion this year, and double that amount next year. An additionaltotal of 1,8 billion is expected to come in the next two years from a pension “reform”, via restrictions onearly retirement and an increase in the contributions of wage-earners to their pensions and their health coverage.”

Many supporters of Syriza, inside and outside Greece say this is a “good agreement”, because Tsipras has given in “really little”. This was the evaluation of Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, speaking on Spanish television.

But the truth is very different. During these last five months all Syriza’s “red lines” (established by its electoral platform) have been crossed. They will accept a new extension on the debt, the pension reform, a sales tax increase, a salary freeze, and they will continue with the privatizations program. Calling this a “good agreement” is an argument hard to support.

This article was based on the following previously-published articles from La Izquierda Diario:

Tsipras capitula ante la Troika y se abre una crisis en Syriza

¿A dónde va Grecia?

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Celeste Murillo

Celeste is a leader of the Socialist Workers' Party (PTS) and the women's group Pan y Rosas (Bread and Roses) in Argentina. She is a host of the radio program El Círculo Rojo where she focusses on culture and gender.

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