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Yanis Varoufakis – ‘Left should beware of friends who fear confronting the rich’

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Issue 2471
 Yanis Varoufakis (Pic: Jörg Rüger on Wikimedia Commons)

Yanis Varoufakis (Pic: Jörg Rüger on Wikimedia Commons)

Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis was among those who rebelled against Syriza’s support for austerity in parliament. He spoke to Socialist Worker:

“I’m sure Jeremy Corbyn understands that he will be met with fierce resistance. There will be all sorts of underhand strategies for pulling the rug from under his feet.

The character assassination has already begun, and will intensify if the establishment begin to fear that he will damage them.

But my advice to Jeremy is, beware your friends—of those who are fearful of not taking things too far in the confrontation with the powers that be. That fear can be converted into something more sinister. 

Look at our experience. Syriza was always languishing at around 4 percent in the polls. Then suddenly we were propelled to dizzying heights. It was a great moment in history. 

The rulers of Europe looked at this phenomenon, and quite rationally, were worried. I had a 75 percent approval rating because I was contesting effectively a class war. 

So they decided that they had to exterminate us using any weapon they could—and they did. 

In the referendum, even with the banks closed and people facing threats, 62 percent voted no rather than accept that our government had been stuffed out. But we were overturned from within.


Austerity is an important weapon in the class war, but it’s not the whole point. The point is about power—and austerity is used by the ruling class to minimise the power of labour.

The betrayal of the 62 percent caused immeasurable sadness and dejection. 

The people who were out in the streets protesting and then voted no are in a state of deep depression.  

My friends don’t want to vote and the party’s split three ways.

The presidential group have sold their soul and are increasingly becoming part of the system. 

They’re telling people, ‘We’ll torture you, but less enthusiastically than the other guy’. That’s not a good reason to get excited.

The Popular Unity split are good comrades and friends. But they are looking into the past for a solution of the future. They are falling back into certainties of isolationism within Europe. 

But there’s a larger group of despondent people, who are trying to find new ways of becoming politically engaged. And I’m one of them.”

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