SYRIZA Proposal: The Exit from the Crisis on the Left

May 29, 2012

By  Translated by Critical Legal Thinking

1. Cre­ation of a shield to pro­tect soci­ety against the crisis

• Not a single cit­izen without a guar­an­teed min­imum income or unem­ploy­ment bene­fit, med­ical care, social pro­tec­tion, hous­ing, and access to all ser­vices of pub­lic utilities.

• Pro­tec­tion of and relief meas­ures for indebted households.

• Price con­trols and price reduc­tions, VAT reduc­tion, and abol­i­tion of VAT on basic-need goods.

2. Dis­posal of the debt burden

The national debt is first and fore­most a product of class rela­tions, and is inhu­mane in its very essence. It is pro­duced by the tax eva­sion of the wealthy, the loot­ing of pub­lic funds, and the exor­bit­ant pro­cure­ment of mil­it­ary weapons and equipment.

We are ask­ing imme­di­ately for:

  • A morator­ium on debt servicing.
  • Nego­ti­ations for debt can­cel­la­tion, with pro­vi­sions for the pro­tec­tion of social insur­ance funds and small savers. This will be pur­sued by exploit­ing any avail­able means, such as audit con­trol and sus­pen­sion of payments.
  • Reg­u­la­tion of the remain­ing debt to include pro­vi­sions for eco­nomic devel­op­ment and employment.
  • European reg­u­la­tions on the debt of European states.
  • Rad­ical changes to the European Cent­ral Bank’s role.
  • Pro­hib­i­tion of spec­u­lat­ive bank­ing products.
  • A pan-European tax on wealth, fin­an­cial trans­ac­tions, and profits.

3. Income redis­tri­bu­tion, tax­a­tion of wealth, and elim­in­a­tion of unne­ces­sary expenses

  • Reor­gan­iz­a­tion and con­sol­id­a­tion of tax col­lec­tion mechanisms.
  • Tax­a­tion of for­tunes over 1 mil­lion euros and large-scale revenues.
  • Gradual increase, up to 45%, of the tax on the dis­trib­uted profits of cor­por­a­tions (SA).
  • Tax­a­tion of fin­an­cial transactions.
  • Spe­cial tax­a­tion on con­sump­tion of lux­ury goods.
  • Removal of tax exemp­tions for ship own­ers and the Greek Ortho­dox Church.
  • Lift­ing of con­fid­en­ti­al­ity for bank­ing and mer­chant trans­ac­tions, and pur­suit of those who evade taxes and social insur­ance contributions.
  • Ban­ning of trans­ac­tions car­ried out through off­shore companies.
  • Pur­suit of new fin­an­cial resources through effi­cient absorp­tion of European funds, through claims on the pay­ment of Ger­man World War II repar­a­tions and occu­pa­tion loan, and finally via steep reduc­tions in mil­it­ary expenses.

4. Pro­duct­ive social and envir­on­mental reconstruction

  • Nationalization/socialization of banks, and their integ­ra­tion into a pub­lic bank­ing sys­tem under social and work­ers’ con­trol, in order to serve devel­op­mental pur­poses. The scan­dal­ous recap­it­al­iz­a­tion of the banks must stop immediately.
  • Nation­al­iz­a­tion of all pub­lic enter­prises of stra­tegic import­ance that have been privat­ized so far. Admin­is­tra­tion of pub­lic enter­prises based on trans­par­ency, social con­trol, and demo­cratic plan­ning. Sup­port for the pro­vi­sion of Pub­lic Goods.
  • Pro­tec­tion and con­sol­id­a­tion of co-operatives and SMEs in the social sector.
  • Eco­lo­gical trans­form­a­tion in devel­op­ment of energy pro­duc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing, tour­ism, and agri­cul­ture. These reforms will pri­or­it­ize nutri­tional abund­ance and ful­fill­ment of social needs.
  • Devel­op­ment of sci­entific research and pro­duct­ive specialization.

5. Stable employ­ment with decent wages and social insurance

The con­stant degrad­a­tion of labour rights, coupled with embar­rass­ing wage levels, does not attract invest­ment, devel­op­ment, or employment.

Instead, we are call­ing for:

  • Well-paid, well-regulated, and insured employment.
  • Imme­di­ate recon­sti­t­u­tion of the min­imum wage, and recon­sti­t­u­tion of real wages within three years.
  • Imme­di­ate recon­sti­t­u­tion of col­lect­ive labour agreements.
  • Instig­a­tion of power­ful con­trol mech­an­isms that will pro­tect employment.
  • Sys­tem­atic oppos­i­tion of lay-offs and the dereg­u­la­tion of labour relations.

6. Deep­en­ing Demo­cracy: demo­cratic polit­ical and social rights for all

There is a demo­cratic defi­cit in the coun­try. Greece is gradu­ally being trans­formed into an author­it­arian police state.

We are call­ing for:

  • The res­tor­a­tion of pop­u­lar sov­er­eignty and an upgrade of par­lia­ment­ary power within the polit­ical system:
  • Cre­ation of a pro­por­tional elect­oral system
  • Sep­ar­a­tion of powers
  • Revoc­a­tion of min­is­terial immunity
  • Abol­ish­ment of eco­nomic priv­ileges for MPs
  • Real decent­ral­iz­a­tion to cre­ate local gov­ern­ment with sound resources and expan­ded jurisdiction.
  • The intro­duc­tion of dir­ect demo­cracy and insti­tu­tions of self-management under work­ers’ and social con­trol at all levels.
  • Meas­ures against polit­ical and eco­nomic corruption.
  • The solid­i­fic­a­tion of demo­cratic, polit­ical, and trade union rights.
  • The enhance­ment of women’s and youths’ rights in the fam­ily, in employ­ment, and in pub­lic administration.

Immig­ra­tion reforms:

  • Speed­ing up the asylum process
  • Abol­i­tion of Dub­lin II reg­u­la­tions and grant­ing of travel papers to immigrants
  • Social inclu­sion of immig­rants and equal rights protection
  • Demo­cratic reforms to pub­lic admin­is­tra­tion with the act­ive par­ti­cip­a­tion of civil servants.
  • The demil­it­ar­iz­a­tion and demo­crat­iz­a­tion of the Police and the Coast Guard. Dis­band­ment of spe­cial forces.

7. Res­tor­a­tion of a strong wel­fare state

Anti-insurance laws, the shut­down of social ser­vices, and the steep fall in social expendit­ures under the Memor­andum have turned Greece into a coun­try where social injustice reigns.

We are in need of:

  • An imme­di­ate res­cue of the pen­sion sys­tem, to include tri­part­ite fin­an­cing and the gradual con­sol­id­a­tion of sep­ar­ate pen­sion fund port­fo­lios into one pub­lic, uni­ver­sal sys­tem of social insurance.
  • A raise in unem­ploy­ment bene­fits until the sub­sti­tu­tion rate reaches 80% of the wage. No unem­ployed per­son is to be left without unem­ploy­ment benefits.
  • The intro­duc­tion of a guar­an­teed min­imum income.
  • A uni­fied sys­tem of com­pre­hens­ive social pro­tec­tion cov­er­ing the vul­ner­able social strata.

8. Health is a Pub­lic Good and a social right

Health care is to be provided for free and will be fin­anced through a Pub­lic Health Sys­tem. Imme­di­ate meas­ures include:

  • Sup­port and upgrades for hos­pit­als. Upgrade of health infra­struc­tures of the Social Insur­ance Insti­tute (IKA). Devel­op­ment of an integ­rated sys­tem of first-level med­ical care.
  • Cov­er­ing the needs of med­ical treat­ment in both per­son­nel and equip­ment, in part by stop­ping lay-offs.
  • Open and cost-free access to med­ical treat­ment for all res­id­ents in the country.
  • Free phar­ma­ceut­ical treat­ment and med­ical exam­in­a­tions for low-income pen­sion­ers, the unem­ployed, stu­dents, and those suf­fer­ing from chronic diseases.

9. Pro­tec­tion of pub­lic edu­ca­tion, research, cul­ture, and sports from the Memorandum’s policies

With regards to edu­ca­tion, we are call­ing for:

  • Con­sol­id­a­tion of uni­ver­sal, pub­lic, and free edu­ca­tion, includ­ing cov­er­age of its urgent needs in infra­struc­ture and per­son­nel at all three levels.
  • Com­puls­ory 14-year uni­fied education.
  • Revoc­a­tion of the Diaman­to­poulou Law.
  • Assur­ance of self-government for Universities.
  • Pre­ser­va­tion of the aca­demic and pub­lic char­ac­ter of Universities.

10. An inde­pend­ent for­eign policy com­mit­ted to the pro­mo­tion of peace

The capit­u­la­tion of our for­eign policy to the desires of the U.S. and the power­ful states of the European Union endangers the country’s inde­pend­ence, peace, and security.

We pro­pose:

  • A mul­ti­di­men­sional and peace-seeking for­eign policy.
  • Dis­en­gage­ment from NATO and clos­ure of for­eign mil­it­ary bases on Greek soil.
  • Ter­min­a­tion of mil­it­ary cooper­a­tion with Israel.
  • Aid­ing the Cyp­riot people in the reuni­fic­a­tion of the island.

Fur­ther­more, on the basis of inter­na­tional law and the prin­ciple of peace­ful con­flict res­ol­u­tion, we will pur­sue improve­ments in Greek-Turkish rela­tions, a solu­tion to the prob­lem of FYROM’s offi­cial name, and the spe­cific­a­tion of Greece’s Exclus­ive Eco­nomic Zone.

The incum­bent eco­nomic and social sys­tem has failed and we must over­throw it!

The eco­nomic crisis that is rock­ing global cap­it­al­ism has shattered the illu­sions. More and more, people under­stand that cap­it­al­ist spec­u­la­tion is an inhu­man organ­iz­a­tional prin­ciple for mod­ern soci­ety. It is also widely acknow­ledged that that private banks func­tion only for the bene­fit of the bankers, harm­ing the rest of the people. Big busi­ness and bankers absorb bil­lions of euros from health care, edu­ca­tion, and pensions.

An exit from the crisis requires bold meas­ures that will pre­vent those who cre­ated the crisis from con­tinu­ing their destruct­ive work. We are endors­ing a new model for the pro­duc­tion and dis­tri­bu­tion of wealth, one that will include soci­ety in its total­ity. In this respect, the large cap­it­al­ist prop­erty is to be made pub­lic and man­aged demo­crat­ic­ally along social and eco­lo­gical cri­teria. Our stra­tegic aim is social­ism with demo­cracy, a sys­tem in which all will be entitled to par­ti­cip­ate in the decision-making process.

We are chan­ging the future; we are push­ing them into the past!

We can pre­vail by for­ging unity and cre­at­ing a new coali­tion for power with the Left as a corner­stone. Our strength in this endeav­our is the alli­ance of the People: the inspir­a­tion, the cre­at­ive effort, and the struggle of the work­ing people. With these, we will shape the lives and the future of a self-governed people.

Now the vote is in the hands of the People! Now the People have the power!

In this new elec­tion, the Greek people can and must vote against the regime of the Memor­anda and the Troika, thus turn­ing over a new page of hope and optim­ism for the future.

For Greece and for Europe, the solu­tion is with the Left!

Ori­gin­ally trans­lated at left.gr

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6 Comments on “SYRIZA Proposal: The Exit from the Crisis on the Left”

  1. [...] SYRIZA Proposal: The exit from the Crisis on the Left (Greek Left [...]

  2. Bill Bunting says:

    To future Greek Policymakers,

    I am amazed that you do not have a back tax restitution policy. To not make a significant effort to collect back taxes is not fair to the Greek Government’s creditors if you are going to ask them to write down debt further. Much of the avoided taxes has been to make those with connections or know how wealthier at the expense of every one else.

    This is how I would handle the back taxes.

    Set up an independent facility to determine where the greatest tax default lies.

    Calculate the avoided tax debt from the top down.

    Issue tax debt bonds with a caveat against the property of the debt holder.

    These bonds will need to be bought back from the Greek government for the tax defaulters to gain clear title to their property.

    The bonds become an asset backed security which the Greek Government can use to achieve an operating income while the country gets back to work.

    The advantage of the bonds is that they are a real tangible asset that can be used to underwrite loans at affordable rates, or they can be handed to key creditors in order to maintain working relationships.

    The bonds offer flexibility of repayment for the bond holder and will bring in a minimum interest rate matching that which the Greek government must pay for its debts, a significant proportion of which represent the taxes that were not paid by the tax defaulters in the first place.

    These bonds would not be aimed at wages level tax defaults, they would be aimed at transaction and property tax defaults.

    Most importantly, though, doing all of the things in the above thread and that in this comment will count for nothing if Greece does not energetically get back to work.

    There should be an immediate and energetic tourism marketing programme. Small business should get every and priority assistance. I would apply a global tarrif on all non Eurozone origin imported goods and services in order to fund stimulous initiatives and to promote a rapid return to local manufacturing and employment. Greece is well placed to take maximum advantage of solar energy so an aggressive programme to manufacture local solar energy devices which are within Greece’s ability to produce should be of premium priority.

    Good luck and good resolve.

    Bill Bunting

  3. Mark Taylor says:

    I fear that if you try to enact but one of these brilliant notions, a second Sulla will be inflicted upon you. Let no good deed go unpunished and all that.

    • Bill Bunting says:

      From my brief reading of Sulla, he would have been the one to enact these reforms.

      The fact is that a Greek exit from the Euro would do nothing to solve the core problems that Greece faces, worse it would derate the wealth of middle and low income Greeks and set off a wave of foreign ownership of Greek property and commercial assets.

      It is only a Syriza like party that can perform the structural reforms that Greece needs. The right wing parties will only deliver more of the same as they are the problem.

      I am only guessing here but I suspect that the Greek people have the American disease. The millions of ordinary people are reluctant to smash the structure that supports the oligarchs because they, although it is completely impossible, like to believe that they them selves can be like the wealthy one day. The fallacy of that is that the very policies that encourage the concentration of wealth into the hands of a few mean that every day Greeks can never get sufficient commercial power to break through the wealth ceiling. And that barrier is ever stronger as Asian manufacturers steadily attack the traditional baseline products that give small business entrepreneurs the opportunity to make a start. Americans look up to the billionaires, Greeks look up to their oligarch overlords.

      How sad is that

  4. Bill Bunting says:

    Sulla’s epitaph reads

    “No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full”.

    Greek people need to think carefully about who are their friends and who are their foes.

  5. Bill Bunting says:

    OK, Mark Taylor, I hadn’t read the Optimates link. Yes, Sulla would have supported the oligarchs, and bumped of all of the union leaders

    “Populares addressed the problems of the urban plebs, particularly subsidizing a grain dole, and in general favored limiting slavery, since slavery (read Asian labour) took jobs from poor free citizens”

    But I still like his epitaph which should be taken as a moto for Greek reformers.


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