French and Greek elections show current policy is dead end

Submitted by Matthew on 9 May, 2012 - 11:19

Labour movements across Europe should mobilise to demand that EU leaders drop the drastic cuts programme imposed on Greece. Results from Greece’s election on 6 May have shown that the cuts are untenable.

There had been much agitation trying to blackmail Greeks into voting for New Democracy (Tories) or Pasok, or else face expulsion from the eurozone. Those two parties, which had accepted the EU/ECB/IMF cuts packages and sustained the “technocrat” government of Lucas Papademos, previously dominated Greek politics. Yet they got only 32% between them. ND got 19%, down from 34% in 2009; Pasok, 13%, down from 44% in 2009.

The left-wing coalition Syriza, which rejects the cuts, does not advocate quitting the eurozone, but advocates calling the EU leaders’ bluff, more than tripled its vote from 4.6% in 2009 to 17% this time.

The destructiveness of the cuts imposed by the EU, ECB, and IMF is shown by the rise of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which won 7% of the poll after scoring only a token vote in 2009. The right-wing nationalist anti-cuts split-off from ND, Independent Greeks, also scored well, like the far-right Front National in France’s poll.

The election result in France, where incoming president François Hollande has promised to amend the EU’s fiscal treaty, and the forced resignation of militantly neo-liberal Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte (23 April), have thrown economic policy in the eurozone further into flux.

As well as supporting defensive battles against cuts, the left across Europe should formulate a programme of its own, and intervene in the labour movement to develop mobilisations and debates on the Euro-wide issues

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