Socialist Worker

We need a party that looks to the class

Issue No. 2461

Greek workers gave the finger to the bosses

Greek workers gave the finger to the bosses (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Time and again the Greek working class has shown its ability to challenge the bosses. And the massive referendum vote against austerity sent new shudders through Europe’s ruling classes. 

The left party Syriza has given voice to millions who have suffered the harshest assaults on their living conditions because of capitalism’s crisis. 

It was elected in January after workers’ struggles and grassroots resistance to austerity.

The British media describe Syriza as “controversial” and dub prime minister Alexis Tsipras a “firebrand”. They patronise Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn in the same way.

Political commentators find it hard to accept any deviation from the “common sense” that cuts are necessary.  

But for millions of people it’s been a breath of fresh air to hear some politicians arguing there’s an alternative to working class people paying for the crisis. 

That feeling is not confined to Greece. We witnessed it in Britain when the Scottish National Party won a landslide in Scotland in the general election.

Its leader Nicola Sturgeon and its candidates spoke out against cuts and Trident nuclear weapons.

As anti-austerity views were given a platform within official politics it boosted all those who wanted to oppose Tory attacks. 

But there is a problem.

Concessions

If mass working class support is used only as a bargaining chip to win small concessions from capitalism, the spirit of resistance can lose its potency. 

Syriza won a stunning victory in the referendum. But there is a danger that the party’s leaders will go back and try to do another deal. 

Any reforms they win are important—they can make a difference to people’s lives. 

But any compromise that makes workers pay for the crisis can create confusion and demoralisation. 

That’s why we need a different sort of political organisation—one that can mount a fundamental challenge to the system. 

Revolutionary socialists fight for solidarity for every struggle to win change—whether it is a pay rise, stopping a pension cut or job loss. 

We want to build a party rooted in those struggles, which can bring together the most militant workers and activists.

The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) sees the organised working class as the force that has the power to challenge austerity. 

But when the collective power of workers is mobilised, anything is possible.  At present, our labour is used to make profit but instead we could be working to satisfy the needs of the many.

We don’t need to be satisfied with just a few crumbs from the capitalists’ table. Workers have the potential to bring capitalism down and build a socialist society based on human need.

To join the Socialist Workers Party in that struggle, go to swp.org.uk/forms/join-swp.

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Article information

What We Think
Tue 7 Jul 2015, 18:07 BST
Issue No. 2461
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