The role of right and left nationalism, as an ideology which separates the working class, is and was evident in the relationship between Germany and Greece. While the German nationalists agitated against the “bankrupt Greeks” living on the “hard-working Germans”, the Greek Left nationalists of Syriza picked the slogan “Merkel or Greece”. The loans from IMF, EU and ECB were presented as generous gifts by the rightwing German nationalists. In reality Athens of course had to pay interest and austerity left the economy ruined and drove Greece proletarians into misery. Syriza displayed their nationalism in their slogan: “Merkel or Greece”. Greece, meaning Greek national capitalism. The Greek nation is an apparent community of capital and labour, which is being damaged by German imperialism. Greece is being weakend by austerity and destabilized by the growing impoverishment of the proletariat. When Greek politicians use the slogan “Merkel or Greece”, it means: Greek bourgeoisie, we will always fight for you against foreign imperialism! “Merkel or Greece” distracts the proletariat in Greece from its true class enemy: Capitalism. The proletariat have become the new infantry of Syriza, the new ruling puppets of Greek national capitalism.
Large parts of the Left couldn’t see anything bad in slogans like “Merkel or Greece”.
On the contrary, in their bankrupt ideology of “oppressed nations” they thought of Greek nationalism as progressive. But nationalism always means the empowerment of capital and its bigwigs, all nationalism is socially reactionary an a class enemy of the proletariat. Although the leaders of nationalist movements sometimes hide behind an anti-capitalist mask, they will never end the exploitation of the proletariat because this would automatically mean an end of their nation. By parroting “Merkel or Greece” German petit-bourgeois lefties can indeed look very radical. Greece nationalism showed its reactionary character against the Greece working class. Social revolutionaries in Greece and Germany must of course fight against German imperialism, but always as a part of their struggle against world capitalism.
Proletarian revolutionaries must fight all over the world against this disgusting reactionary motto: “Merkel or Greece”. Merkel and Greece stand hand in hand when it comes to fighting against the revolution. Our position therefore must be: “World Proletariat against World Bourgeoisie!”
In January 2015 Syriza was the strongest party at the general election. Syriza formed a government alliance with the rightwing nationalist party ANEL. In spite of this, the greater part of the petit-bourgeois left were willing to stir up many illusions about the new left/right-capitalist Regime. The agency of the Greek bourgeoisie, the SEV didn’t harbour any illusions about Syriza, yet they recognized Syriza as their advocate from the start. Syriza always led the negotiations with the EU, IMF and ECB in support of the interests of Greek national capital. That the end result of the negotiations was a new subordination of the Greek nation under imperialism was clear from the outset. International diplomacy isn’t about dreams or desires but about the hard facts and tough circumstances of international capitalism. The strong will always force the weak into unconditional surrender. Greece is deeply in debt and periodically needs new credits to pay back the old ones. Of course Greece won’t be able to get rid of its debts this way, but the mighty creditors will be spared big losses. The Greece Proletariat is bleeding for global financial capital and for Greek national capital. The Greece Bourgeoisie was indeed wounded badly by austerity measures but nevertheless the Greece ruling class is among the profiteers of the increased exploitation of workers. Austerity had a contradictory effect on Greece national capital which was shown during the diplomatic poker game between the Syriza Government and foreign imperialist powers. This poker game, which nearly ended in the financial collapse of Greece, could only end with the increased exploitation of the Proletariat. However Syriza couldn’t bow down in front of imperialism immediately. It had to present the Greek voters the fake picture of a party that fought with all its strength for the Greek People but was unfortunately beaten at the very end. In that respect Syriza was successful. At first (with a lot of propaganda) they let the Greece people reject the demands of the creditors in a referendum. On 5th July 2015, 61% voted against the creditors. Then confronted with imperialist pressure, Syriza caved in 8 days later. In this deal of the global and Greek capital, it was agreed that Greece should get a new credit of 82 billion euros, in return Syriza should squeeze out the working class even more. Syriza squeezed with all its power. On 15th July and the 22th July, Parliament decided to organize a new attack on the Proletariat:
“Taxes on many foodstuffs and services were raised by 10%. The Retirement age will be elevated, social support for poor pensioners will be abolished. The fiscal pact was anchored into Greece law and the state budget was withdrawn from the control of government by automatic spending cuts. Sacking employees was made easier, the market was liberalized and last but not least a fund was set up to sell of the remaining state property (worth 50 billion) to investors…………Of course these circumstances didn’t stop Tsipras promoting the investor to the public as a great opportunity. The future will show what abominations are yet to come due to the negotiations.” (Thanasis Spanadis, Fatale „Europhorie“, in: “Junge Welt”, 5th August 2015, S. 12.)
To enforce its austerity programme without controversy, Syriza had to expel its left wing which it did on the 17th July 2015.
Conclusion: The “small people” who trusted Syriza became nothing but the reproduction of “Merkels” attacks and “Greece” exploitation. Syriza became the mask of capitalist policy and organized bourgeois class war against the working class. A large part of the petit-bourgeois left helped Syriza by spreading illusions. We proletarian revolutionaries had analyzed Syriza as reactionary even before they were in government. In 2013 we wrote:
“The global and the Greek bourgeoisie shouldn’t have a too difficult job in hi-jacking Syriza should they get into government.” (Nelke, Klassenkämpfe in Griechenland S.71)
At the moment Greek Party-Marxists are trying to establish themselves to the left of Syriza with their old state-capitalistic concepts. The Socialdemocratic-Trotskyist organization Xekinima (comrades of socialist alternative) tried to act as adviser to the left wing of Syriza. Xekinima demanded a state-capitalist policy from the government. Nikos Kenellis, the press officer said in an interview with the German leftwing newspaper Junge Welt:
“In that case the government should implement socialist policies, like the nationalization of Banks and bring important economic branches under the control of the working class and society as a whole, public investment programmes and economic planning. The national economy should be protected from the greediness and sabotage of capital. Unfortunaly Tsipras and his policies are going in the other direction. That’s why pressure from “below” is crucial.” (Translated from:„Der Druck von unten ist entscheidend.“ Discussion with Nikos Kanellis, in: „Junge Welt“ , 3d March 2015, Page 2.)
Whereas social revolutionaries fight without compromise against all States, these Socialdemocratic Trotskyists just give left bourgeois regimes bad advice. For them proletarians are only good to exert pressure on Syriza, so that left politicians can lead the working class to a great state-capitalistic paradise.
After Syriza and EU-imperialism had agreed on continuing class war from above on 13th July, the moderate Statecapitalist Wing of Syriza started to get rebellious. It didn’t give its parliamentary consent for this bourgeois class war and demanded the exit out of the Euro. They also demanded the nationalization of banks and important industries. The orthodox Stalinist-statecapitalist “communist” party of Greece (“K”KE) fought consistently against Syriza and also against its rebellious left wing. Heike Schrade wrote about the Position of the “K”KE:
“Dimitri Koutsoubas the Partyleader declared that his party was at the present time the only party fighting hard for an exit from euro. Plans, like those of Syriza leftwingers could eventually be more harmful than the memorandum. The return to a national currency would definitely lead to devaluation of over 50% and would mean the income of employees would decrease. For “K”KE an exit out of the euro is only possible in a completely socialist society.” (Translated from Heike Schrader, Vorwurf des Putsches, in: junge Welt , 29th July 2015, P. 6.)
The state-capitalist concept of the „K“KE means the complete nationalization of Industry, the national exit out of the EU, the cutting of state debts and the “diplomatic approach” to Russia.
Proletarian revolutionaries naturally don’t stand for national exits out of the EU. Revolutionaries lead a long fight for a stateless and classless society. This fight might not be successful but it is and it will be necessary to fight against World capitalism, international imperialist alliances like NATO or EU and against all Nationalism may it be private- or state-capitalist nationalism!