Green Parties support Syriza’s call for debt conference for Greece
Leading figures from both the Green Party of England and Wales and the Scottish Green Party have voiced support for Greece to reject the proposal from the Troika (the IMF, EU, and European Central Bank) that would involve further austerity imposed upon Greece.
Instead, they are supporting the Greek government’s calls for a European debt conference to agree on the cancellation of debt for Greece, along the lines of the 1953 conference that agreed to cancel 50% of Germany’s debt to governments, people and institutions outside the country, paving the way for Germany to recover from the Second World War.
Green MP Caroline Lucas was one of the signatories of a letter calling on David Cameron to ‘to support the organisation of a European conference to agree debt cancellation for Greece and other countries that need it, informed by debt audits and funded by recovering money from the banks and financial speculators who were the real beneficiaries of bailouts’.
Lucas also wrote an article on why she attended Monday’s demonstration in Trafalgar Square in solidarity with the Greek people, along with Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett. She said that with over 40% of children living in poverty, a quarter of the workface unemployed, youth unemployment at almost 50% and a healthcare system close to collapse, ‘it’s abundantly clear the Troika’s plan is failing in human terms’.
But it is also an economic failure, she said, as Greece’s government debt has grown from 133% of GDP in 2010 to 174% today, in which time the Troika has lent €252 billion to the Greek government—the vast majority of which has been used to bail out banks, pay off the private sector to accept restructuring, and repay old debts and interest from reckless lending.
She described the current stand-off as involving ‘democratically elected Government that’s trying – against all the odds – to protect people from the ravages of austerity, pitted against an unelected Troika hellbent on defying the will of the Greek people’.
Romayne Phoenix, the Trade Union Officer for the Green Party of England and Wales and a founding member of the Greece Solidarity Campaign, spoke at the demonstration on Monday. Referring to her participation in the first solidarity anti-austerity delegation in Greece, she said: ‘What Tsipras said to me in that little office with that little formaica tables on that day in February 2012 was: “Even if we achieve government, it will not be enough. We will need to build a social movement, in Greece, but also in every country fighting austerity, and we need those networks of those movements across Europe and then the world, in order to fight and win this battle against the ruling class and capitalism.”‘
Like its sister party south of the border, the Scottish Green Party has declared its support for the people of Greece against further austerity from Europe.
Maggie Chapman, co-convener of the Scottish Green Party, stated that: ‘We are in the midst of a crisis caused by the rich. The great economic challenge of our time is ending their power to punish the rest of us for a crisis we did not cause. Austerity is the mechanism they use and the place that has borne the brunt of austerity more than anywhere is Greece.’
Therefore, she stated she stands ‘in solidarity with my SYRIZA & Ecologist Greens comrades in the Greek Government as they lead Europe’s opposition to austerity’. She called on the Scottish and UK Governments to ‘intervene with the Institutions to secure the substantial restructuring of Greece’s debts and an end to austerity’.
You can sign Global Justice Now’s petition for a European debt conference; an end to the enforcing of austerity policies in Europe and across the world; and the creation of UN rules to deal with government debt crises promptly, fairly and with respect to human rights here.