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Syriza’s “Austrity no, Euro yes” based on deception from very beginning

Alavanos on the third bailout plan for Greece

20. July 2015

"One third of Greek people in favour of euro exit": Alekos Alavanos was one of the leaders of Syriza and the first to advocate the exit from the eurozone. He later form the movement Plan B.

Journalist [Mrs Xenakis]: Mr. Alavanos, you ‘welcomed’ the Brussels agreement with harsh characterizations. You spoke about “betrayal of the people. “Now, after some days, I would ask you if you insist in this very sharp thesis and why?

Alavanos: In the referendum, the question was clear: Yes or No to the plan Juncker. And the message of the people was clear: a sweeping NO. A week after, the government signed the Tsipras Memorandum, which is much worse than the plan Juncker. Let’s imagine something very similar: while, in the 1974 referendum, the people of Greece had voted against the king, a week after Konstantine returned not just as a constitutional king but as emperor. If this is not treason, then what is treason?

J: Many say that what succeeded Mr. Tsipras was the best he could in the current conditions.

A: I hear government officials to say that they have experienced a “coup.” All of us we know that during the 1967 coup of colonels the Left was the first to resist, paying heavy price, fighters lost their lives, tortured, exiled, imprisoned. It is completely absurd in which way the leadership of Syriza tries to defend itself speaking about a “coup” of the Germans and others. Their behaviour was perfectly predictable, they have done the same with Papandreou in Cannes, in 2011. When Sarkozy had caught him by the collar.

J: Had the prime minister another option in front of so many reactions, and what consequences would has produced this other option for Greece?

A: The whole policy of SYRIZA from 2012 onwards, when they abandoned their position “the euro is not taboo” is based on a cynical lie: We can abolish austerity and the same time stay in the eurozone. This led to a policy agreeable for large sections of people because it did not involve ruptures, but it was a policy totally unrealistic. This policy, for which the party of Syriza bears full responsibility, would necessarily lead to “cloudy Sunday” of 7/12.

J: Yet, even after this Third Memorandum, prime minister seems to enjoy the confidence of a large part of his party but also even the tolerance of the opposition …

A: Do not jump the gun. The people is confused after the latest events, they feel a big disappointment because the hope and encouragement of the first few weeks of Syriza governance develops into a wild situation with the third memorandum. Let them think…..

J: You are of those who believe that the prime minister get carried away by Mr. Varoufakis? He gave him great freedom of movement, while not supposed to do that?

A: Certainly persons play an important role, especially in periods of negotiations, during which are required intelligence, resourcefulness, seriousness, ability to make alliances and mostly clear objectives and an alternative plan. The jerky movements, the Scottish shower, to say other words out of the country and other words within the party, the absence of clear policy and plan b were not typical features of only a governmental player but overall government policy.

J: You know very well the Left. Do you expect to be developments that will lead to fragmentation?

A: I expect the very opposite. I think finally, unforgivably late indeed, that a social current, which in surveys appears between 30% to 40%, could be expressed through a united front of the people for the liberation of our country from the eurozone, for salvation and reconstruction, for the right to work.

J: What do you believe about the national consensus government scenarios?

A: “National consultation” already exists. The ruling majority consists at this very moment of a part, the larger, of Syriza, the far right of ANEL, New Democracy, PASOK and the River party. We have already gotten a taste of the bitter fruit. A taste perhaps even more sour than we had with the national unity of DIMAR, another party of left origin, ND and PASOK. The experience of Greece shows that the euro devouring each party which supports it, even when operating in conditions of national unity.

J: Do you think Mr. Tsipras will try to make a turn toward center-left and become a leading figure in this space lacking leadership?

A: I don’t believe that it is possible not only for left but even for center-left nor for social democratic policy. The euro, the debt and the memorandum impose ruthless policies in a society that thirsts for jobs, decent income, adequate health care, quality education.

J: You were the first politician who talked about the need to return to the national currency. Do you still believe that Greece should move toward national currency, despite in the polls the majority of people say that the euro is the only way?

A: Unfortunately you are right in what you say about the people. You know, every dominant economic and political class has a dominant narrative. When this class is on rise this narrative is positive, as was the case with the old Karamanlis in the 1980’s and the European project. When this class collapses its narrative becomes negative, and it is trying to instill terror regarding the alternative. So, we hear incessantly, from Barack Obama to [very known Greek tv journalist] Paul Tsimas, that the exit from the eurozone will go us back to the Stone Age. The people, however, processing of their new experiences and they are released. With regard of this alternative, we, as Plan B, don’t assert any primacy. But we have our conscience quiet, because we have outlined, in a significant extent, the steps of an alternative government policy outside of the eurozone, based mainly on valuable studies of “Dimitris Batsis Institute”.

Appeared first in “Parapolitika” (18/07/2015), translated by Adriadni Alavanou.