Greece says Oxi! Reaction roundup

Dan Swain rounds up initial online reaction to Greece’s momentous vote.

Photo: Flickr/Adolfo Lujan
Photo: Flickr/Adolfo Lujan

The left across Europe celebrated last night as the Greek people delivered a resounding vote against the bailout plans by the Troika. As the evening unfolded, it transpired that not a single part of Greece had voted yes, and overall 61% had voted no. The establishment had got it wrong. Very wrong, in the case of bookmaker Paddy Power, who had paid out on bets on a Yes vote earlier in the week.

Reaction has been swift, and generally celebratory. Tariq Ali declared it “a slap in the face of the EU elite and the Troika; a signal that people are ahead of the politicians and prepared to go further“. James Meadway, for Counterfire, suggests that this week heralds the end of austerity in Europe. A sentiment shared by Antonis Vradis and Hara Kouki, from Occupied London, who earlier in the week argued:

A “no” vote on Sunday will not be about any concrete plan, it won’t be about Syriza, it won’t be about the euro, and it won’t even be about Greece alone. It will be about so many of us seeing our lives wither away and being expected to get used to it. Not just over here: in the housing evictions in Spain, in the benefit cuts in the UK, at the EU borders all over… Might there be another way to imagine our coexistence on this old, shared continent of ours? Our “no” may just open up a window to a “yes”.

Sotiris Martalis and Antonis Davanellos, of Internationalist Workers Left (DEA), describe what this victory means for the left of Syriza:

How will Tsipras act now that the referendum is over? His main line was that we needed a “no” vote so that he will have the democratic demand of our people to go back to negotiations in a stronger position. Our campaign for a “no” vote was different. In the unions, in the branches of SYRIZA, in the communities and everywhere, we said simply that a vote for “no” was a vote to stop austerity, to stop the privatizations, to stop the layoffs and to increase the wages of the people. These are very different positions. And this is the problem we will face in the coming days. I can think of 20 scenarios of how this might play out, but the point is not to guess about them. The important point is that the left is in a much stronger position going into the next steps of the struggle.

The question of where next is also one considered by Nantina Vgontzas in Jacobin. She suggests 5 possible outcomes, the most radical being “open confrontation with capital, to which key figures within the party have shown great apprehension.” In that context “the question is whether the Left in which many Greeks have entrusted their vote is willing to take such a plunge into the unknown, into the alternative we said is possible.” Antarsya supporter Panagiotis Sotiris questioned earlier in the week how prepared Syriza is for this sort of rupture.

Tempering the joy was the news that Yanis Varoufakis, the popular and broadly left-wing Greek Finance Minister resigned this morning, signing off with the spectacular last words: “I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.” The reasons for this are being widely speculated about, with most assuming it is a concession to the creditors, and wondering what it means for the long term. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard gives a useful overview of the events and of the character of his replacement, from perhaps a surprising source. Paul Mason has given his own response to this as part of his Channel 4 video blog:


All of this just shows how fast events are moving, and how important every development could be. We will continue to host and share analysis, debate and reporting as the situation develops.


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