After five years of painful austerity Greece will miss a crucial debt repayment on Tuesday and the left-leaning Syriza led government is planning a referendum on Sunday for the Greek people to decide whether to continue to be politically and economically strangled by regimes of austerity imposed by the European troika, or to reject the austerity regimes and in all likelihood leave the Eurozone.
All of us have a stake in this struggle between the forces of corporate and financial capitalism and the interests of ordinary people.
The political economist C J Polychroniou argues that the leftist Greek government failed to see that Europe’s neoliberal elite is wanting to finish them off completely to send a message to all potential 'troublemakers' of the fate awaiting anyone who dared challenge the neoliberal, austerity-based orthodoxy.
He writes that the referendum is a tool of politics rather than a reflection of some sort of a deep-seated desire on the part of the Syriza-led government to widen democracy and popular participation in the decision making process:
"....this is a sham referendum, with Tsipras trying to hold on to his job, as the bailout programme expires on June 30, which means that this is now a referendum on whether or not Greece should remain in the Eurozone.....The call for referendum on the future of Greece in such a short period of time must be seen for what it really is: a tool of politics, a way for the leftist Greek government to take the pressure off its shoulders, a refusal to accept responsibility for having dragged the country into five months of never ending negotiations with its lenders with disastrous consequences for the economy."
In the Guardian Aditya Chakrabortty writes that this a battle between what people want and what their rulers force down their throats supposedly for their own good. It is, he argues, a struggle between a cruelly unworkable version of capitalism and people:
'What this story reminds you is that the breakdown in Greece is not recent. Since 2010 the troika has peddled the fantasy that spending cuts amid a historic recession, and “structural reforms” – or the shredding of workers’ rights, the firesale of public assets and the pummelling of the welfare state – will somehow fix Greece. Half a decade later that always doubtful forecast is now proved to be a lie: the country is even more broken. Yet the technocrats keep repeating the propaganda to the subjects living through its wretched reality'