JAISAL NOOR: This is second part of our discussion
with members of Antarsya who support leaving the Euro as a way to address Greeks’ economic
problems. Joining Thanos Andritsos in Part 2 is Kostas
Fourikos, who started out by discussing Antarsya?s relationship with Syriza, the the party of
Prime Minister Alexis Tispras. KOSTAS FOURIKOS: Yes. We think–and that was
a, our difference with Syriza even before the referendum, before the election over the
past years. That exiting the Eurozone is a key element, not the only one of course, but
a key element of an alternative program to fight the crisis, to fight the recession,
and to fight the poverty in Greece. Why is that? Because there are a lot of critical
elements in the structure of the European Union and the structure of Eurozone that do
not allow Greece to have a policy, economical policy that we help poor people and the labor
class. That was proven, unfortunately, [this date]. It was proven that it’s not only the
balance, the specific balance of power that exists now in the Eurozone and now in the
European Union, but it’s structural, and think that the Eurozone only tries to support only
the interests of big corporations and Europe, Germany, banks, and not the interests of people. So our alternative [inaud.] remains exiting
Eurozone. Not Grexit, because as a term Grexit is very terrifying term, it was used by Schauble,
Merkel, and the powerful leadership of the European Union. So we say exiting the Eurozone
could be a part of the alternative program. Also with canceling the debt, stopping the
debt, nationalize the banks, nationalize certain big sectors of the economy. Raise the taxes
for the wealthy people in Greece that were having much profits in the past time. And
even having [inaud.] in Argentina. For example, corporations that they are shutting down and
the labor–the people that are their employers there, they could take the–. NOOR: The capital. Capital flight, yeah. FOURIKOS: Yes. They could take their corporation
and they would use it and–. NOOR: The workers would take it over. FOURIKOS: Yes. They would take it over. NOOR: Yeah. Okay. ANDRITSOS: Can I, can I add something. This
is–there is a big discussion, I mean, okay. Maybe we are not specialist on the exact figures
and things like that. But there is this big discussion whether this program of exiting
Eurozone, exiting European Union, whatever, is something that it’s, I don’t know, impossible
or even crazy, et cetera. What we are thinking is that it’s not that
it is easy. But we have to, I mean, to examine what, what we mean by difficult. In my perspective
it is difficult politically because we have to mobilize the people. Because you have to
fight with European and Greek oligarchy. Because you have to find ways in solving problems
that may occur. But it’s not difficulty, technically. And this is something different. It’s not
that we try to find water in the desert. It’s that we want to reorganize our economy in
the favor of people in trying to somehow–I mean, create some kind of a social security
for all the people that they are suffering right now. So there is a different discussion about how
we will organize people, how we will somehow find ways in order to change, I mean, the
level of exploitation that right now in Greece is, it’s extremely high. How we can find ways
in order to, I mean, reproduce–to produce again things that have stopped producing due
to the European agreement, that we have somehow again find ways to cultivate things that we
have stopped in the last years. But it’s not difficult in a way that there
will, people in the–will die in the streets, I mean, without having anything to eat. The
problem will be how the people and the labor movement, and the people in the neighborhoods
can organize in order to implement these kind of measures. NOOR: And there’s been meetings. In Athens
there’s been meetings over the past few days about how to achieve that, how to self-organize
within the government and without, and outside of the government as well. VARIKOS: Yes. Now I think that it is a crucial
moment. That more and more people are trying to understand and try to do what they can,
try to think what we can do about the, I think that there was no plan B with this procedure
of the last month. NOOR: Which exposed Tsipras’ weakness in the
negotiation. ANDRITSOS: Yes. Yes, I mean that we think
that exiting Eurozone and canceling the debt, and all these measures that I described before,
that could be plan A. But it is crazy for the government and for some–for a government
that wants to be left-wing government not to have a plan B and to have this conclusion.
This conclusion is like left-wing–there is no alternative to, you know. So now yes, there are meetings, there are
organizations from different parts of the left that are trying to coordinate and trying
to cooperate and organize what could be called like the movement of a five of July, 5th of
July. Because you know, 5th of July was the day of the big referendum, a major part of
the Greek society instead of all this fear and terror of voting no, they voted for the
no. And now the no became a yes. FOURIKOS: So they are–I want to say that,
to add to what Thanos said, that there are two arguments that say first that we need
to support the government, even though the government had to sign this [agreekment],
as they said, the agreement. We have to support it because we have to support the existence
of a left-wing government. But what we have with this agreement, it’s neither a left-wing
policy nor a government. This government cannot govern with this agreement. If someone could
read the agreement he could see that all the, almost all then the [loans] that the government
voted in the parliament must be reexamined or maybe canceled. But all the loans that
are going to be–. NOOR: They have to be pre-approved. FOURIKOS: They have to be pre-approved by
the institutions, as they say. So this is a very difficult thing also. They are saying
to us that then, what would be like exiting the Eurozone? Maybe a big recession time.
But how–. NOOR: Well, they’re saying there might be
food shortages, rationing, people really suffering, right. FOURIKOS: But how can we think only about
the [elisation] and the difficulty from a choice like this, when we have guaranteed
recession for the next five, six, or ten years with this agreement. This is madness. And
it’s, it’s sad that maybe some people from the left because of this argument to support
the left government and–are trying to put arguments like this in the public discussion.
I think it’s, it’s not good for the left in Greece, and internationally. Because also, we can see now these days that
the conservatives in Europe are trying to use this conclusion of the negotiations in
their own countries in order to say to their people that there is no alternative. For example,
[rahoy], two days after the agreement, he said to a conference that–. NOOR: Who is this? FOURIKOS: [Rahoy], the prime minister of Spain.
He said–he’s a right-wing politician, conservative. And he said to a conference to his people,
look at Greece. Look at what happened in Greece. Look what happened with a left-wing government
that tried to negotiate in a more hard way. They ended up with a worse agreement than
the previous government, which was right-wing. Can you see what’s happening here? ANDRITSOS: Can I add something. In this, in
this discussion about the food?the food shortages and et cetera, okay. There have to be a specific–there
has to be a specific research on what Greece is producing and what is consump–and consuming,
and things like that. But from what I have seen and what most of
the people that are try somehow to, to, to think of an alternative, have already mentioned
is that first, Greece have the ability–has the ability to feed its people. I mean, right
now. The percentages of food sufficiency are, I think that are more than 100 percent. The
electricity, for example, it’s more than capable to provide to, to, to all the country. In, in many other important aspects Greece
is not that–I mean, in such a difficult position to somehow, I don’t know, be able to, to,
to cope with it. We are not saying that it won’t–there won’t be problems. But what is
more important is that the reason why Greece is now in a difficult position to even feed
its own people, to even provide [inaud.] basic goods, is because European Union and Eurozone
agreements have sabotaged Greek production and Greek agriculture. So many people that are saying that okay,
we weren’t ready now, we should prepare for the next years and after that we may be–it
may be easier for a Euro, for a Eurozone exit. But it’s not going to happen because every
day the situation is going worse. If you want to somehow start a different road and create
the–I mean, the ability, the capability of the Greek society to live differently, then
you cannot do it after you have sell all your infrastructure, after you have–I don’t know,
destroyed all your agriculture and all your productive abilities. NOOR: So I wanted to ask you, so you’ve been
advancing these ideas for some–for years now. For more than six years you’ve been–your
party, you’ve had this party that’s representing these ideas. Talk about–has there been change
in popular support for your organization’s–and the amount of people that have also support–that
also want to know more or support this alternative, especially in the last few weeks? You talk
about that? FOURIKOS: To start with I think that we have
to see that in Greece what’s–a lot of things happened in the last five years. All the left
organizations gained too much power through the last five years because of the memorandum
and the, this awful economic, political situation. Antarsya has support many schools and workplaces
and social areas. But it didn’t gain as much support as it could, because Syriza managed
to express all these political project of hope. So most of the people turned to the left,
but turned to Syriza. Also, a big mistake that was made by Syriza was that Syriza said
again and again and again that we should not leave the Eurozone at all costs. At some point.
And that also–. NOOR: Even after the referendum. Tsipras said
the referendum wasn’t for the Grexit. FOURIKOS: Yes. But also I’m trying to, to,
describe what was happening all these last five years with a lot of strides, with a lot
of struggle, and a lot of discussion, public discussion. And a conflict, ideological conflict,
also inside the left. Syriza tried to say that we should stay in
the Eurozone and we could find a, a fair agreement inside the Eurozone. I mean, that’s not a
story about the last five months. It’s also the story of how Syriza gained its power,
how Syriza was elected, how it became government, et cetera. Now, years, there are again a lot
of people that try to understand that there has to be an alternative. So yes, we’ve seen these in the last few days
that a lot of people also voted from Syriza, members of Syriza. They’re trying to find
an alternative, a different solution. They’re not exactly [turn] to Antarsya, but [also]
to a [sense] that people need and try to find a new left, now. We’re talking about now.
A new left front, a new left organization that would not be afraid, it won’t be afraid
to express this opinion and this program alternative, anti-capitalist program.