"Your Struggle is Our Struggle"
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the Syriza-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015 on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the “troika” - the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission.
We support the call of Syriza for a 'no vote' as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.
We condemn the “troika” and their allied political institutions, for forcing their policies of neoliberal austerity, privatization, deregulation, and savage cutbacks dismantling the public sector. We, therefore, hold the “troika” responsible for the massive unemployment, increased poverty, greater social inequality, and a severe economic depression now being experienced by Greece. The irony of it all is that the huge debts the “troika” is demanding for repayment did not go to Greece but were used to repay private sector creditors such as French and German banks. In other words, these are onerous and illegitimate debts.
We had welcomed the election of the Syriza-led government on a program committed to ending the neoliberal-austerity policies imposed by the EU creditors and we stand in solidarity with them as they struggle to implement an anti-austerity program.
The austerity program has been assessed as a colossal failure by leading economists worldwide. Despite this, the insistence of the EU creditors and their political and economic allies to resuscitate this failed program, can only be construed as a cynical political maneuver whose real aim is to bring down the Syriza government, the first anti-neoliberal, anti-austerity government to be popularly elected in Europe.
Syriza was a product of the mass movements’ and working people’s struggles against neoliberal austerity promoted by unbridled capitalism. Similar political organizations have arisen across Europe, such as Podemos in Spain, a product of the anti-austerity 'indignados' movement.
The specter that haunts the European capitalist class is a 'Syriza syndrome' spreading to other parts of Europe, particularly in Spain, with the election of an anti-neoliberal Podemos government. By bringing down the Syriza government, the capitalist hydra aims to strangle such a movement at its birth.
Peoples from all over the world, in both developing and developed countries, have been struggling for the past decades against the imposition of a whole range of neo-liberal measures - liberalization, deregulation, and privatization, including neoliberal austerity programs imposed by capitalist governments led by the US and its allies, through the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial institutions.
There has also been a long history of struggles against debt repayments and for the cancellation of odious and illegitimate debts. The world has experienced how debt burdens and neo-liberal impositions have created havoc on economies, depleted natural resources, exacerbated inequalities, and impoverished peoples while siphoning off billions of dollars to global capitalist banks, giant corporations and imperialist governments.
We welcome the people of Greece into the struggle of peoples of the global South against neoliberalism, onerous debts and austerity.
Your struggle, is our struggle. Your victory, is our victory.
Eduardo C. Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Reihana Mohideen, Ph.D., Transform Asia
Ric Reyes, Philippines
Sonny Melencio, Chair, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) - Philippines
Jean Enriquez, World March of Women
Mary Ann Manahan, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Joseph Purugganan, Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Josua Mata, SENTRO, Philippines
Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
Manarishi Dhital, Editor Janadesh Weekly and socialist activist, Nepal
Cora Valdez Fabros, STOP the War Coalition, Philippines
Isagani Serrano, President, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Amado Mendoza Jr., PhD., Professor, University of the Philippines
Teresa Encarnacion Tadem, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Joseph Anthony Lim, Ph.D., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University
Jafar Suryomenggolo, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Edru Abraham, Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Jerik Cruz, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva
Teodoro Mendoza, Ph.D., Professor, University of the Philippines
Anuradha M. Chenoy, Ph.D., Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Ph.D., Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Darwis Khudori, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Le Havre
Annabelle Benedicto Bonje, De La Salle University, Philippines
Francisco Nemenzo, Former President and Professor Emeritus, University of the Philippines
Ana Maria R. Nemenzo, Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP)
Edmund Landrito, Arya Progresibo
Mercy Fabros, WomanHealth, Philippines
Omi Royandoyan, Centro Saka, Inc. (Center for Rural Development Studies)
Michael Treen, national director Unite Union, Aotearoa/New Zealand
Marcela Olivera, Red Vida, Bolivia
Benjamin Quinones, Jr., Ph.D., Executive Coordinator, Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy (RIPESS-Asia)
Fatima Gay Molina, Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP-Philippines)
Janus Isaac Nolasco, University Researcher, University of the Philippines
Aries Arugay, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines
Krishna Kumar KK, Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP-India)
Maria Luisa Torres, PhD., Professor, Ateneo de Manila University
Maria Dulce F. Natividad, Ph.D., University of the Philippines
Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, Ph.D., University of Tsukuba
George Aseniero, Dapitan, Philippines.
Chibu Lagman, Independent journalist
Chris White, socialist, former Secretary of the United Trades and Labor Council of South Australia
Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Fremantle, Western Australia
Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance City Councillor for Moreland, Victoria, Australia
Tim Gooden, Secretary, Geelong Trades Hall Council, Victoria, Australia
Darcey O’Callaghan, USA
Marta Harnecker, writer, Chile
Michael Lebowitz, Professor Emeritus of Economics, Canada
Saturnino Borras, Jr., Ph.D., Professor, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague
Nicole Curato, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Canberra
Roland Simbulan, Professor, University of the Philippines
Francis Loh Kok Wah, Ph.D., Professor, Universiti Sains Malaysia
Samuel Lee, Ph.D., Secretary General, Korean National Commission for UNESCO
Kinhide Mushakoji, Ph.D., Professor, Osaka University of Economics and Law
Naruemon Thabchumpon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Chulalongkorn University
Carl Middleton, Ph.D., Lecturer, Chulalongkorn University
Eduardo T. Gonzalez, Ph.D., Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Kho Tungyi, Ph.D., Lecturer, Lingnan University (Hongkong)
Wei Xiaoteng, Ph.D., Professor, South China Normal University
Temario Rivera, Ph.D., Professor (ret), University of the Philippines
Jean Franco, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of the Philippines
Fred Chiu, Ph.D., Professor, National Taiwan University
Rudi Hartono, editor Berdikari Online
Yvonne Miller Berlie, Third World Network
Nick Dearden, Global Justice Now, UK
Caroline Sy Hau, Ph.D., Professor, Kyoto University
Lisandro E. Claudio, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Kyoto University
Lin Shenjing, New International, Taiwan
Hansley Juliano, Lecturer, Ateneo De Manila University
Tyrell Haberkorn, PhD. Fellow, Australian National University
Arze Glipo, Executive Director, Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty
Woody Aroun, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa
Focus on the Global South
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Socialist Alliance, Australia
Marxist Student Federation, Philippines
Socialist Aotearoa/New Zealand
Alab Katipunan, Philippines
Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)
Alternative ASEAN Network (ALTSEAN)
Liga ng Makabagong Kabataan, (LMK-Philippines)
Partido Lakas ng Masa-PLM, Philippines
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Awami Workers Party, Pakistan
Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Philippines
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM)
Resistance, Young Socialist Alliance, Australia
Blue Planet Project, Canada
Council of Canadians
Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino-BMP, Philippines
Partai Rakyat Demokratik, Indonesia
Social Action for Change, Cambodia
Global Justice Now, UK
Earth in Brackets
South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)
Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
People’s Alliance in Central East India (PACE-India)
Bangladesh Krishok Federation
Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum
All Nepal Peasants Federation
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN), Nepal
Joint Preparatory Committee on Tax and Fiscal Justice (JPCTFC), Nepal
LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women's Rights)
Our Rivers, Our Life ( OROL)-Philippines
Gitib, Inc - Philippines
Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)
Defend Democracy, Repudiate Austerity
Akbayan Party’s Statement of Congratulations and Solidarity with the Greek People
We in Akbayan Party extend our congratulations and solidarity with the Greek People in their overwhelming rejection of austerity in their recently concluded national referendum. We laud their government, led by the political party Syriza and their Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, in standing with their people instead of taking the easy route of surrender and acceptance of the bailout package proposed to them by their creditors.
The Greek people have spoken. They have made it clear that they will not bear the humiliation of more privatizations and deregulations. These measures are not the answer to the country’s debt crisis. Instead, these measures have crippled the country’s economy and worsened the crisis.
Their decision to reject the terms of the bailout package proposed to them by the infamous troika of the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank is a reiteration of their consistent opposition to the neoliberal policies imposed on them. They had already made clear that they reject the punishing economic measures forced on them by electing an anti-austerity party, Syriza, into power. That mandate remains.
The troika’s humiliating antidote to the country’s debt crisis in the form of cuts to social spending, gutting the Greek public sector, among others, has not resulted in any meaningful solution and instead ensured that Greece's future spirals into further uncertainty. These measures have worsened unemployment with 1.5 million Greeks without a job out of an active population of 6 million or an unemployment rate of 27% with youth unemployment hovering at 50%. Pensions in the country have been reduced by 44%, with 44.8% of Greek pensioners now living below the poverty line. Because of austerity, the country's GDP has been reduced from 27,000 USD in 2010 to 21,700 USD in 2014. These policies are not working.
These policies have also adversely affected the sizable migrant community in Greece, especially our own overseas Filipino community, who have become more socially and economically vulnerable due to the decrease in government spending and protection. The social tensions created by the crisis have also emboldened the burgeoning neo-fascist and anti-immigrant movement in whose racist rhetoric pin the blame on the foreign migrants instead of the true culprits of the crisis, which are the austerity policies.
The Greek people should no longer be made to pay for the illegitimate and onerous debts which have enriched foreign creditors. They should not be made to pay for a debt crisis that they did not cause. Their government has remained steadfast that a solution to their debt woes should never be at the expense of their own economic sovereignty. This reflects the mandate and the sentiment of the Greek people.
Their government’s decision to defer any deal with the troika without the full consent of the people is in line with the Greek people’s assertion that they should determine the fate of their country. This is democracy in its most straightforward definition.We laud them for remaining true to their heritage as the cradle of democracy. As shown by the referendum results, democracy did not fail them.
Now that the Greek people have repudiated austerity they are on their way to regaining a measure of self-respect, arrest the continued ransack of foreign corporations and creditors of their economy and pave the long road towards recovery. This will not sit well with its foreign creditors and the troika who are probably preparing to retaliate at the negotiating table. As such, we in the Philippines and other countries of the global South should stand with them in their rejection of austerity and neoliberal policies. We must also stand in solidarity with their government as they once again enter in negotiation with their creditors with a clear mandate from their people.
While the Philippines may be thousands of kilometers from Greece, we share a similar experience of bearing illegitimate and onerous debts. Our country's traumatic experience under the Marcos dictatorship did not end with its collapse but persisted as our country had to pay for the illegitimate loans contracted by the Marcos regime. These debts, much like the Greek debts, severely limited our capacity to invest in much needed social services. Some may surmise that the Philippines has little chance of sharing the same fate as Greece. However, our country has been the recipient of the same 'antidote' of neoliberalization, of privatizations and deregulations. Our country has faithfully followed the same economic policy prescriptions as Greece.
Today, Greece has chosen democracy over austerity. They have stood for their democratic principles as the true sovereigns of their country, their economy and their future.
Democracy has triumphed over austerity.
Akabayan - Citizens Action Party - Philippines