PORTSIDE Archives

June 2012, Week 2

PORTSIDE@LISTS.PORTSIDE.ORG

Options: Use Proportional Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Subject:
From:
Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Date:
Thu, 14 Jun 2012 21:50:00 -0400
Content-Type:
text/plain
Parts/Attachments:
text/plain (1355 lines)
The Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

[Moderator's Note: This post is considerably longer than
most Portside posts, however we felt that readers might want
to see the full economic program of SYRIZA which Greek
voters are voting on in this Sunday's special election. At
the bottom is a link to the column earlier this week in the
Financial Times by Alexis Tsipras - "I Will Keep Greece in
the Eurozone and Restore Growth.]

The Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

by Giannis Dragasakis

[Giannis Dragasakis is a member of the Greek Parliament for
the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), and the chief
economic spokesperson for Syriza.
Translated by Alexandros Seferiades and Ageliki Tsaglioti.]

The Bullet - Socialist Project - E-Bulletin No. 653
June 12, 2012

http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/653.php

original publication:
Greek Left
June 12, 2012
http://www.left.gr/article.php?id=2406


I. Presentation of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

Comrades and Friends,

Alexis Tsipras, the president of the SYRIZA Parliamentary
Group already presented a large part of our economic program
and primarily the rationale of the program. That allows me
to focus on a few specific points. Listening to Mr. Samaras
yesterday, and also on other occasions, reading out long
lists of measures, I feel the need to explain what we mean
when we talk about a program. The Program and Our Values

1. The program, for us, goes beyond mere slogans and
measures, although we know that these are necessary as well.
For us program means a set of values, principles, straight-
out orientations and diligent positions. Our program is
based on the values of solidarity, justice, freedom,
equality and environmental responsibility. Based on these
values we will manage, if necessary, even the most mundane
tasks.

2. Program, for us, also means a way of thinking, a way of
analyzing, understanding the problem, and ranking priorities
and needs. And for us, it is the needs of the people that
are over and above profits and all selfish or partial
interests.

3. For us program means a continuous dialogue. A scientific
dialogue, a social dialogue, and a political dialogue. A
dialogue with the social movements, a dialogue with the
citizens. We want to shape our program together, through
such a continuous dialogue.

4. Program for us also means a process for the formation of
social alliances. The building of consensus from below.
Unifying the people is also an issue of the program. Our
program then is the foundation, the blueprint of a broad
social alliance among the working people, the people of
knowledge, the people of culture and the youth. It is a
social alliance to ward off any further impoverishment of
society. To avert any further decomposition of the
productive fabric of our society. To find the way toward
recovery and hope.

5. It is in this sense, that the program for us is a
continuous process. It is not a static and timeless text. It
is a ceaseless endeavor, open to new ideas and innovative
actions.

6. Finally, when we say program, we mean a political
process. A process of not simply managing the current
conjuncture, but of opening up new paths and this is exactly
what our program does. It attempts to cut new paths. It
attempts to preclude new dangers. It attempts to face up and
to make use of the possibilities.

Our Goals

The second point I would like to refer to, is the political
goals of our economic program. As it has been mentioned
already, it is not our choice to exit the Euro, but neither
can we consent to the continuation of policies that offer no
guarantee for the survival of our society and our country.
SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people, and also to the people
of Europe, the only pragmatic option that consists of a new,
honest, and binding agreement with the institutions and the
people of Europe, one that will allow us to achieve three
goals.

The first is to relieve the people who are suffering, the
victims of this crisis. The second is stabilization and
recovery. And the third is the implementation of a program
of radical reforms and transformations, through which an
effective reintegration of our country to the European
future and to the international division of labour.

How will we achieve these three goals?

The first goal we will achieve with specific measures that
are directly applicable and effective. With these measures
we will attempt to ease the pain - to put it this way - of
those who have suffered so much from the crisis and the
policies of the Memoranda. Such measures are laid out in our
program.

Our second goal concerns recovery and stabilization. It is
of vital importance and a requirement for the implementation
of the other measures. We cannot proceed with serious
reforms in an environment of social and economic breakdown.
We aim at achieving recovery and stability by freezing the
measures that involve further reductions in wages and social
expenditures, by halting the violent re-distribution of
income against the weakest. This we will achieve by
implementing a set of measures aimed at the recovery of
investments, public investments in principle but also of all
other forms of investment, and at boosting employment, with
a new fiscal framework for a just and sustainable reduction
of deficits.

As far as our third goal is concerned, that is the restraint
of insecurity and the resurgence of hope and perspective for
our society as a whole: we shall pursue this target by
restoring the sovereign right of the Greek people to choose
their own destiny. From the Memoranda we take note of the
problems. Yes, we have an issue of fiscal deficit, yes, we
have a problem with our balance of payments; yes, we have a
problem with corruption - but we need not the Memoranda to
know this. Yes, we have problems in the management and
running of the state. The solutions, the goals, the pace,
and the measures must and will be chosen by the Greek
people. By replacing the Memorandum with a plan for the
recovery of society, the reconstruction of the economy and
an equitable adjustment. With the adjustment of the debt and
the terms of the future financing for the development of the
economy.

Why a New Type of Reforms and Transformations

The third point I would like to refer to is, `why reforms.'
To be sure, we refer to reforms in a completely different
context. I listened to Mr. Samaras talking about measures
and more measures. Of course measures are necessary. But in
this country, the first presidential decree for the
establishment of a land registry was issued in 1831 by I.
Kapodistrias, the first governor of the country. Even today
we lack a complete land registry.

The first announcement for setting up a wealth registry was
made by PM Charilaos Trikoupis in 1893. Still, in 2012, we
do not have a complete and comprehensive wealth registry.

The first serious attempt to reform public administration
was made by Eleftherios Venizelos. Even today we are still
living with the halfhearted measures that were finally
adopted then.

The first serious discussions about fundamentally reforming
the tax regime were launched in 1955 by Varvaressos, a
bourgeois economist. The reforms he proposed have yet to be
implemented.

So when are we actually going to do all this? If not now,
when? And who will implement all this, if not a government
of the Left?

The second reason is that the crisis in which we are living
is not merely an administrative crisis, but a crisis of the
system itself. Consequently, safeguarding the interests of
the working people and guaranteeing the rights of the
working people, cannot be done by simply conserving or
restoring the collapsing old system. This will be done on
the basis of a new model of development, a new social model,
a new labour model and this is the goal of the reforms we
are proposing.

The third is that the crisis has taken the form of a crisis
of de-legitimization of politics, as a result of the vicious
two-party system and of the harsh and inequitable policies.
The crisis has also taken the form of a crisis of trust
toward institutions, the parliament, political parties and
trade unions. Therefore, it is only through new
institutions, democratic institutions of social control,
institutions of direct democracy that we can regain the
trust of the people in a new plan that will restore hope.

The Momentum of Our Program

I would like to close with one last question: On what does
the momentum and the outcome of our program depend? First,
it surely depends on ourselves. On the pace and ability that
we will manifest through an abrupt maturing to become the
political subject of collective and solidarist
responsibility that will bring together the wider forces
which can implement this plan.

Second, it depends on our society. The ability of society to
overcome fear, the ability of each and everyone to turn to a
positive perspective, to shape a new relation with politics
beyond the logic of `contracting' and of clientelist
relations.

The third factor will be developments in Europe. From the
outset we have stated that our program and our struggle is
at the same time both national and European. From the outset
we said that we want to change the blueprint. Both for
Greece and for Europe. And that is why our victory on the
17th of June will be a boost for positive changes for the
people across Europe. And the path Europe will follow, will
in turn influence our endeavor.

Fourth, the momentum of our program will depend on the
positions that the other powers outside the Europe Union,
Russia, China, the Arab world, Latin America, and countries
and people with whom we will strive to create coequal
relations. Consequently the momentum of our program will
depend on their stance as well.

However, the primary and lead role in this contract of hope
that our program represents, lies with us, the Left, and
society itself. The responsibility to fulfill it until the
end lies with us. It is up to us to turn this realistic
utopia that history has presented us with, into reality.

It is up to us to fabricate a spring in this heavy winter of
crisis. To put an end to the middle ages, toward which
neoliberalism is driving us. To proclaim the end of
destruction for a renaissance to begin both here and in
Europe. The stakes are high, but it is worth fighting this
battle and winning it as a people and as a society.

There is a Way Out!

II. Synopsis of the Economic Program of SYRIZA-EKM

A. The policies of the Memoranda and of `internal
devaluation' have proved devastating.

  *  Two years after the adoption of the policies of the
  Memorandum and of the policy of `internal devaluation,'
  not only has recession not given way to growth as the
  "Memorandum 1" prefigured, but it is out of control and
  the economy has shrunken 20 per cent in total.

  *  Not only did the Public Debt become unsustainable, in
  contrast to what the "Memorandum 1" prefigured, but even
  after `the haircut' it remains out of control.

  *  Unemployment is at unprecedented levels for a period of
  peace, at a rate of 23 per cent of the overall population
  and 50 per cent of the youth. The standard of living of a
  large part of society has collapsed, with poverty
  increasing to a threatening dimension.

  *  Not only are the long-term structural problems of the
  Greek economy unsolved, but they are becoming entangled in
  a vicious cycle and a perpetual deadlock.

B. Repositioning: Basic directions of our plan.

The Memorandum as a `remedy' has proved more devastating
than the crisis itself. The policies of the Memoranda built
around the `internal devaluation,' have been proved a weapon
of social mass destruction. A lethal experiment conducted on
the Greek people, which must be halted now, before the
devastation becomes irreversible.

We need to put an end to these destructive policies. The
vital question, however is, in what way and in which
direction will we move?

We maintain that the reasons for the failure, lie at the
very core of the initial drafting, in the erroneous
diagnosis and ranking of the causes of the crisis. That is
why prolonging the same policies will not be adequate. What
is necessary is a new diagnosis, a restating of the problem,
an entirely new orientation, at the very opposite of the
neoliberal paradigm that domestic and international
interests attempted to impose on us.

We clearly put forth the new directions that comprise our
alternative plan, directions that lie at the very opposite
of the devastating Memoranda:

  1. We reject the theory of the `collective guilt' of the
  Greek people for the policies implemented by Greek and
  European governments. We reject perceptions that
  deliberately conceal the responsibilities of the policies
  applied and the interests that benefited from these. It is
  not the `genetic makeup' of the Greek people that is
  responsible for the fact that we do not have a decent
  taxation system or an effective social state. Specific
  policies and interests are responsible for that. It is
  precisely those policies which must be overturned.

  2. The crisis in Greece does not constitute a `national
  peculiarity,' but is part of a broader European crisis,
  with both endogenous and external causes. It is only
  within a framework of a common European solution that the
  particular and existing problems of Greece can be dealt
  with.

  3. Fiscal consolidation and sustainable public debt cannot
  be achieved in an environment of austerity. It is only
  under conditions of economic recovery that the necessary
  reforms can be attempted and sustainable solutions found.

  4. Development presupposes environmental reform,
  developmental re-distribution, and the fighting-off of
  poverty, unemployment and social inequalities as
  components of its content.

  5. The `structural adjustments' of neoliberal persuasion
  do not solve social problems, they simply re-distribute
  assets and rights to the detriment of the weak. Exit from
  the crisis requires overthrows, a new type of structural
  changes, radical reforms and restructuring of the state,
  the economy and the political system, such that will
  tackle the roots of the problems, reduce inequalities and
  release idle resources within society, opening new paths
  and prospects.

Yet no real reforms can be implemented in an environment of
economic disintegration, constant blackmail, the curtailment
of democracy and the imposition of collective guilt on
society.

So here is what is in fact at stake in the next elections:
Will the same destructive policy be followed under the
pressure of blackmail and the terrorizing of society, or
will we follow a path of pragmatic hope, making a leap
forward, as SYRIZA proposes with its alternative plan?

C. Goals of our alternative plan.

SYRIZA does not consider an exit from the Euro as one of its
options, but neither can it consent to the continuation of
the same destructive policies, even with minor adjustments
and prolongations, as PASOK and ND have of late been
proposing, since these options are not able to support any
prospect of survival.

Consequently SYRIZA proposes to the Greek people and to the
people of Europe the only viable way out of the crisis,
which is a new, honest and binding agreement with the people
and the institutions of the EU, one that will permit Greece
to implement a plan of radical reforms and transformations
in the following directions:

  *  Avert even more massive impoverishment of large
  sections of the working-class and the middle classes.

  *  Avert even greater destruction of the productive
  fabric.

  *  Put an immediate end to the forceful reallocation of
  resources against salaries and social provisions.

  *  The direct implementation of an alternative set of
  policies for the relief of the working people and the
  recovery of society.

  *  The implementation of a new policy framework for a just
  and sustainable fiscal stabilization.

  *  The development of a new paradigm of social,
  environmental and economic development.

  *  The substantial `reintegration' of Greece in European
  developments, in a reliable fashion and based upon terms
  of mutual respect, equality and dignity.

The collapsing two-party system is handing down empty
coffers, a collapsing economy and a fragmented society. Two
thirds of the population are living in great insecurity,
whilst only a small section of society is prospering. The
lower end of society, which is constantly growing and
already exceeds 40 per cent of the population, comprises of
the victims of this crisis and the policies of the
Memoranda. It is the unemployed, those receiving minimal
incomes and pensions, bankrupt households, insolvent
professionals and small business holders. The social stratum
directly above this is still surviving financially, but
lives in depressing insecurity. It is comprised of the
middle strata of people receiving relatively high wages,
professionals and small business holders. They can still
make ends meet, but will not be able to do so for much
longer if the same policies are continued. The entire
society is trapped in a dead-end, with no prospects in
sight.

In view of this dire and dangerous social reality, the three
immediate political goals of our program are: first, the
immediate material relief of the victims of the crisis and
the policies of the Memoranda; second, the aversion of an
even more massive and deep economic catastrophe, by directly
stabilizing the economy; and third, to restrain the
generalized insecurity, to revive hope and create new
visible prospects.

As far as the immediate material relief of those living
close to or below the poverty level, priority will be given
to making use of all available means and resources to meet
this goal, with interventions concerning their incomes,
taxation, credit policy, access to public resources and
support to forms of economic solidarity (see specific
measures in the Annex below).

Concerning the goal of recovery, this will be pursued in the
following ways:

  *  The freezing of all measures that concern reductions in
  wages and social expenditure, the forceful re-distribution
  of income to the detriment of the weak, and all other
  measures deepening the recession.

  *  Through an array of measures aimed at the recovery of
  the economy, public investment, employment and incomes,
  from the bottom up.

Concerning our third target, namely the reduction of
insecurity and the rebirth of hope and prospects, we will
pursue this on the basis of a plan, which includes:

  *  Re-instating the fundamental right of the Greek people
  to determine their own future.

  *  The replacement of the Memoranda with a new plan for
  social recovery, economic reconstruction and just fiscal
  stabilization.

  *  Adjust the accumulated debt and the conditions for
  future funding of development, by writing off a large
  portion of the accumulated debt, with provisions for
  servicing of the remaining debt to be linked to the rate
  of development, and suspensions of payments on the
  interest until the economy rebounds. This adjustment will
  be pursued within the framework of a common European
  solution for the public debt of all EU countries, and in
  the event that this does not prove feasible, on the basis
  of bilateral negotiations.

  *  The implementation of a program of radical reforms and
  transformations of the state, public administration and
  the economy, aiming to create a new, sustainable, just and
  ecologically sound paradigm of development.

As far as the vital issue of fiscal policy is concerned, we
commit to follow a program of pragmatic and socially just
fiscal stabilization. The structure of this program consists
on the one hand of stabilizing public expenditure at a level
of approximately 44 per cent of GDP and a reorientation of
this expenditure on the basis of social and economic
effectiveness, and on the other hand of increasing public
revenues, which are currently substantially below the
Eurozone average (41% of GDP vs 45% of GDP), by taxing
wealth and high incomes. The target is to increase revenues
from direct taxation to the average European levels (+4% of
GDP) over a four-year period (+1% of GDP per annum), through
a drastic reform of the tax regime, so as to identify the
wealth and income of all citizens, and to equitably
distribute the burden of taxation. Our broader target is to
restore the essential role of the state budget, from being a
mechanism for transactions between the ruling political and
economic groups, to being a tool for income re-distribution,
re-distribution of productive assets and a tool of
macroeconomic policy (see Annex below).

D. The method: a program of radical reforms and
transformations of the state and the political system, with
society at the forefront.

The reversal of the descent toward degradation and
marginalization cannot be achieved without the
implementation of a radical program of reforms and
transformations of the state, the political system and the
entire `body' of the Greek social formation.

First, because the crisis we are living through is a crisis
of the system itself, rather than simply a management crisis
of the system. Everything must change: the political system,
the state, the relation of the citizen with the state and
with politics. Consequently, the way out cannot be found in
a return to some version of the past. The way out lies in
opening up new paths to new productive and consumption
paradigms, to new forms of real democracy, to new social
arrangements based on equality and solidarity, the respect
of human dignity and the environment.

Second, because important reforms, such as in the tax
regime, public administration and the redrawing of the
relations of the state with the church, all constitute
pending issues from the past, even the distant past. These
pending issues of our collective historical life, have
become pressing necessities and conditions for survival, and
urgent preconditions to avert a catastrophe.

Third, because the administration of the country by a
corrupt two-party system over so many years, the chronic
inequalities and injustices, and finally the destructive
austerity of the last years, have delegitimized and
destroyed any sense of trust in the institutions, the
parliament, the political parties, the trade union
organizations of this country and even in the constitution
itself. So it is necessary to form new democratic
institutions and reform existing ones, so that they can
inspire trust.

The reforms and adjustments we are proposing here,
constitute a permanent component of the entire program, they
constitute long term changes. But they must, and can,
commence immediately. And very soon they can bare their
first fruits.

The reforms we are proposing can be separated into three
main categories. The first (taxation, wealth registry) has
as its target the increase in public revenues. The second
refers to reforms (public administration etc.) which relate
to the productivity of assets. The third category concerns
reforms and transformations which in tangent with the
previous ones, aim at increasing the wealth produced, at
reinforcing society and the economy.

(i) The wealth registry

The constitution stipulates that Greek citizens have equal
rights and obligations (article 4, paragraph 2), and that
`...they contribute without discrimination to the public
burdens, according to their ability' (article 1, paragraph
5). This constitutional provision has been shredded by the
corrupt two-party regime, with institutionalized de facto
tax reliefs for the powerful and widespread tax evasion.

The wealth registry will record the wealth of all Greek
citizens, both in Greece and abroad, in all its forms as
fixed or movable assets. That will allow for the
establishment of a single basic tax, upon which provisions
for tax reductions or surcharges can be applied, with
special diligence observed in all occasions, to avoid double
taxing.

The wealth registry will mark the starting point of an
entirely new tax regime, one that is just, simple and
effective. Once fully developed, it will allow for the
substantial tax relief of those receiving minimal wages, low
pensions, small property owners and small holders of shares
and bonds, while simultaneously allowing for an increase in
the total revenues of the state.

(ii) Tackling the `black economy' as a `structural problem'

The so called `black economy' is not the result of `low tax
conscience.' It is primarily the result of a perverse
reaction to the problem of competition from large companies
and monopolistic formations faced by small businesses and
the professions, and of the absence of a state policy to
tackle such issues.

Evading taxes and national insurance contributions
substitutes comparative advantages, and ensures the survival
and in certain cases the unwarranted accumulation of wealth.

Consequently the `black economy' can be tackled with revenue
and taxation measures, as well as sectoral policies and
programmatic agreements, in a rubric of targeted productive
reconstruction and policies to face cartels and unfair
competition. Within the framework of such agreements, mutual
commitments will be made, both by the state and by the
bodies representing specific sectors.

(iii) Re-examination of all the special tax regimes and
creation of a modern tax revenue system

The complete re-examination of all the special tax regimes
established after WWII, constitutes the second element of
the tax system reform. These special tax regimes have
rendered the tax system replete with loopholes and
ineffectiveness, and for this reason they must be repealed
within the framework of creating a single universal tax
regime.

The complete restructuring of the tax revenue system, with
extensive application and rational utilization of
information technology, the adoption of groundbreaking
measures to tackle tax evasion and the creation of Research
Centres for issues pertaining to tax policy and fighting tax
evasion and especially internationalized tax evasion,

(iv) Public administration reform

This is the second `historically pending issue,' after the
reform of the tax regime.

Public administration reform can only be implemented as an
endogenous process based on the values of solidarity, social
justice and respect of public assets, and in direct
correspondence with the needs of the Greek society. This
process involves the political system, the administration
and society. Simultaneous and combined changes will be
needed in all three areas, with the aim of separating
political administration from public administration and
management. It is only through such a combined change that
political party meddling, inside dealing, waste and
corruption can be tackled.

In the new `division of labour,' politics will give the
vision, the direction, make decisions and open new paths.
The administration, together with the necessary scientific,
research and educational institutions, becomes capable not
only of implementing, but also of proposing policies and
alternative scenarios, depending on the capacities, the
political choices and the needs of society.

Based on such a fundamental reform, innovations and
practices can be productively incorporated in the public
administration system, such as democratic development
programming, double entry accounting systems, program
budgeting, systems for the monitoring and evaluation of the
effectiveness of social expenditure, new technologies and
information systems.

(v) Eliminating the clientist system, is a precondition for
reform in the political system

The entrenched two-party political system, is based on
insider dealing and supports widespread corruption. This
system and its structures have infiltrated all aspects of
public administration and the state, and many sectors of
society. The May 6th elections sent a strong message, that
Greek society does not tolerate this system any longer.

The dismantling of the clientist system will be the result
of combined actions from the `bottom up' and from the `top
down.' It requires the transition from the citizen - client,
who passively handed over his or her fate to the government
of the day, the party or to authority in the generic sense,
to the active democratic citizen, who thinks and acts not as
an isolated individual, but as a member of the `Demos,' of
society. That presupposes regaining trust in politics and in
institutions. Our proposals and our plan, seek not only the
vote of the citizens, but primarily this very trust. And
this, in order to change the state from a domineering force
to a servant of society. So as to implement everywhere
objective criteria, transparent processes and public
accountability, so that citizens have the knowledge and the
ability to support and to control.

This process of dismantling, taking apart and finally
eliminating the clientist system, requires the contribution
of society, of the parliament and of the legal system.

  *  The legal system has to respond to the universal
  popular demand that those responsible be punished, no
  matter how high positions they may hold, always within the
  framework of the constitution and the rule of law.

  *  Parliament must repeal those laws which
  institutionalize and protect the two-party system,
  introduce proportional representation and put an end to
  the regime of overlapping laws, which allows for self-
  serving interests to be pursued with impunity.

  *  Society must press for the establishment of a
  democratic political life and a political discourse based
  on values, ideas and programs that offer solutions to
  problems.

In this way not only will the clientist system be
dismantled, but the political system and the terms of
political life will be democratically transformed.

(vi) New institutions of social and workers' control

SYRIZA will create the conditions for the emergence and
establishment of new forms of social control. Transparency
in all decisions of the administration and public
accountability are required for this.

All public administration, but especially bodies and
structures which manage public funds are accountable to
society and the taxpayers.

In parallel, new forms of authentic expression of the will
of working people and citizens must emerge, on the basis of
direct democracy, removed from clientist, party affiliated,
employer or statist rationales of the past, which were
nourished by the established two-party system.

(vii) Establishing the principle of democratic programming
and of long term planning at all levels of the state

An `invasion' of democracy, meritocracy and democratic
programming must be arranged in the day to day functioning
of the state and public administration. Knowledge and
experience must be acquired so that new or alternative plans
and options for progress can be developed. This requires a
broader mid-term plan. For critical problems, the
configuration of programs, and the formation of groups of
experts to study them on a long-term basis, are required.
Such problems, among others, are:

  *  Environmental issues and tackling the effects of global
  warming.

  *  Demographic trends and the consequences of the ageing
  of the population.

  *  The management of water, natural resources and seismic
  protection.

  *  Energy planning etc.

This plan must involve the parliament, the scientific
community and society at large, and must be linked to
specific policies.

(viii) Reconstruction of the economy: transforming and
upgrading the productive system together with the labour
force and society

For a viable recovery of investment and employment to occur,
a combination of measures and public policies is required,
in parallel with corresponding measures from the banking
sector. These must encompass the support, and wherever
necessary the rescue of the collapsing old productive base
and the corresponding work force, with measures and policies
that encourage new productive activities. These activities
aim at reducing the dependence on imports and external
borrowing, at supporting employment and respecting the
environment.

A productive reconstruction of this sort is tied to the
reconstruction of the state, the readjustment of labour
relations, the upgrading of labour and the role of the work
force in decision-taking and the immediate abolishment of
labour laws that weaken the force of labour contracts.
Furthermore, the bargaining power of the labour force must
be reinstated, including the emergence of new forms of
collective representation, beyond the traditional clientist,
party-dominated and employer-controlled networks.

The transition to a new productive paradigm will not occur
spontaneously through the markets, but requires a robust
long-term plan. Policies and the corresponding programs that
will have a direct impact can be applied imminently to
reduce youth unemployment, unemployed engineers and other
scientists, as well as other labour cohorts that have been
especially hard-hit by the crisis, such as construction
workers.

One of the priorities of a government by the Left and other
progressive forces, will be to launch a broad political,
social and scientific dialogue for the productive, social,
labour and environmental paradigm that we must develop as a
society for the decades ahead, aiming toward a society of
justice, full employment and solidarity, with an enhanced
and equal position in the European and international
division of labour.

In a world that is changing radically in terms of
scientific, technological and geostrategic conditions, the
formulation of such long term planning is a condition and a
prerequisite to deal with the immediate and often dramatic
social problems.

  *  It is of vital importance to redefine the role and
  contribution of all economic forms, public enterprises,
  small [and] large private enterprises, cooperatives and
  solidarity based economic initiatives, within the
  framework of a mixed economy, for a planned and targeted
  transition to a new, socially just and environmentally
  sustainable productive system.

This is the orientation that encompasses all the reforms and
transformations included in this program. Beyond these, the
active contribution of the working people, local communities
and especially people working within state institutions and
scientists will be needed.

Also, among others, it is of vital importance to redefine
the role and contribution of all economic forms, public
enterprises, small private enterprises, large private
enterprises, cooperatives and solidarity based economic
initiatives, within the framework of a mixed economy, for a
planned and targeted transition to a new, socially just and
environmentally sustainable productive system.

SYRIZA has developed and will present more detailed and
specific proposals along these orientations.

(ix) The public sector as a lever for the qualitative and
quantitative upgrading and reconstruction of the productive
system

  *  We are committed to intensify the processes of
  modernization and reconstruction of public enterprises and
  organizations. To develop new organizational and
  management models, which will ensure the effective and
  transparent operation, the protection of public interest
  and will concretely tackle the issue of corruption,
  insider dealing or subjugation of public enterprises to
  private interests.

  *  We support the formation of new institutions for the
  genuine collective expression of the working people, away
  from the clientist rationale of party or employer
  interests.

  *  We will directly investigate the options for the
  formation of programmatic collaborations between the
  public sector and private enterprises, local and foreign,
  aiming at developing enterprises and expanding them into
  new operational directions both in Greece and abroad.

(x) Banks at the service of society, a lever for development

The immediate targets of SYRIZA with regards to the banking
sector, in line with the rest of our program, are:

  *  To guarantee bank deposits by all available means, and
  to enhance liquidity of banks and of the economy.

  *  Bank recapitalization through the issuing of ordinary
  voting shares, so as to ensure the interests of the Greek
  state and taxpayers. Public administration and social
  control of banks that are recapitalized with public funds.

  *  To launch the dialogue with stakeholders for the
  shaping of an effective system of public control.

  *  A restructuring/haircut of the private debt of
  households toward banks, with a ban on the seizure of
  primary homes for the lower income brackets and
  readjustment of monthly installments, so that they do not
  exceed 30 per cent of the monthly income of debtors.

  *  To reform `Tiresias' in order to relieve individuals
  and companies from burdening data, and to introduce
  special regulations that take into account the special
  conditions that have been created by the crisis and the
  restriction of credit.

  *  To adjust the criteria and the operating conditions of
  the banking sector, in order to function as a lever of
  development in support of the real economy and of a
  targeted productive reconstruction.

  *  To develop a full range of services for small
  companies, the self-employed, farmers, new productive
  enterprises, cooperative and solidarity-based initiatives.

(xi) Regional planning requirements and land registry

The `regional planning everywhere' initiative concerns the
zoning of housing, tourism, small industries, waste
recycling, renewable energy infrastructures, animal
breeding, mining, fish farming etc, as well as the
restructuring through strict regulation of holiday and
tourist housing.

Town planning in combination with an emphasis on small
rather than large-scale public works, will give
environmental and economic content to a vast range of
professional and economic activities, offering an outlet
toward sustainable development. The zoning of waste
recycling and the planned transition to renewable energy
sources will become a vital field for the social economy and
municipal entrepreneurship. The privatization of the land
registry company, `Ktimatologio Ltd,' must be averted. The
completion of the land registry must be accelerated.

(xii) A complete strategy for the financing of development
and the needs of society

The de facto bankruptcy of the country, the destruction,
depreciation, exhaustion, the flight abroad of a large
proportion of domestic savings and movable assets, as well
as the prolonged and deep slump, have created an acute
problem in the funding of development and the future
requirements of social security for the years ahead.

Our priorities are:

  *  To create those conditions that will stall the flight
  of deposits abroad and restitute deposits to the banking
  system.

  *  To increase public revenues through tax reforms,
  combating tax evasion, restricting insurance contribution
  evasion and the `black economy.'

  *  To establish agreements to secure the taxation of bank
  deposits abroad, until the wealth registry is operational.

  *  To stall interest payments within the framework of a
  new agreement on national debt.

  *  To restructure and accelerate the rate of absorption of
  the NSRF and other European funds.

  *  To fully investigate and make use of the opportunities
  for the development of cooperation with third countries,
  under the rubric of a multi-dimensional foreign policy and
  the implementation of economic diplomacy.

E. Existing obstacles and why SYRIZA is the only power that
can overcome them.

The leap forward that we describe above is feasible, but it
will meet specific obstacles:

  *  The decay of the established two-party system and the
  internal dealings of the regime's political and economic
  forces, which aim to control social developments and avert
  changes that will upset their privileges.

  *  The substantial curtailment of democracy and national
  sovereignty, and the loss of the choice to define
  political targets and means.

  *  The spiraling depression, depreciating speculation, the
  fear and widespread insecurity about prospects and the
  future.

Only a new coalition of political and social forces such as
the one that SYRIZA proposes can tackle and overcome these
obstacles.

  *  Because only the long standing values of solidarity,
  justice, equality and freedom that the Left represents can
  inspire a spring of hope and open up new prospects.

  *  Because SYRIZA is the Left of the working people, the
  unprivileged, the young parents and the social forces who
  need these changes and transformations.

  *  Because the Left is a power for the transformation of
  society, not the temporal management of circumstances. We
  do not want the state as a trophy, as the parties of the
  two-party system do, but as a lever for the transformation
  of society. That is why we must transform the state.

  *  Only the Left can support a new culture of active
  participation, a fighting stance against the logic of the
  citizen as `customer,' and the rationale of `contracting'
  that requires the citizen to be a passive observer of
  developments.

  *  Because only SYRIZA has an alternative plan to the
  Memoranda, a plan that opens up the prospect of a just and
  sustainable fiscal consolidation, economic reconstruction,
  transformation of the state and of politics itself.

We call upon the Greek people to give even greater power and
international resonance to our alternative plan with their
vote on the 17th of June.

Because we believe firmly that there is a way out, there is
hope.

With SYRIZA's alternative plan. With a powerful SYRIZA. With
society at the forefront. With a new social and political
coalition of power.

ANNEXES Annex I

1. Orientations for the direct material relief of the
weakest

The following measures are indicative. They are complemented
by social policy measures, which are expanded upon in a
separate chapter.

These measures, together with other related measures, beyond
offering a direct material support to the poor and the new
poor strata, will also contribute to the stabilization of
economic recovery.

(1) We will pursue through renegotiation, for the period of
the effort toward fiscal adjustment that a portion of the
NSRF funds is made available for a special program to combat
extreme poverty, establishing a minimum guaranteed quality
of life, securing shelter and food for the homeless and a
special subsidy for households with no members employed or
receiving no other adequate income.

(2) Restitution of the minimum wage to previous levels and
extension of the [right to] unemployment benefit.

(3) Direct measures for tax relief (provisional property
taxes etc.) for the first home, the unemployed and everyone
who lives bellow or around the poverty line.

(4) Measures concerning credit policies, adjustment of loans
included, as it is outlined in our proposal.

(5) Securing access to health services, education, means of
public transport and other public goods.

(6) Measures and policies against high prices.

(7) Redesigning of existing programs for the support of
young farmers, as well as employment programs, to maximize
their social effectiveness.

(8) Encouragement of forms of solidarity-based economic
activities.

(9) Allow for enterprises that are insolvent or have closed
down, to continue to function or to be re-started by their
work force, through cooperatives or other collective legal
formations.

(10) Encourage forms of direct trade between producers and
consumers.

(11) Formation of a permanent all party parliamentary
committee, which will develop a comprehensive policy for
combating poverty on a mid-term basis. Annex 2

The new framework for a just and sustainable fiscal
stabilization

One of the fundamental causes of the fiscal crisis in Greece
is the absence of a state mechanism that retains its
relative independence from private economic interests. This
political weakness has transformed the state budget into a
mechanism of transaction, which ensures the systematic
financing of specific private interests that at the same
time enjoy a beneficial regime of tax immunity. So long as
this system of economic and political transaction is
maintained, it is impossible to solve the fiscal problem.
The government of the Left intends to overturn this system
of insider dealing and achieve fiscal consolidation with a
radically different class orientation.

Expenditure

Our starting point is that public expenditure must offer a
level of operational effectiveness of the state mechanism,
provision of public goods and social welfare that guarantees
the descent living standard of citizens, as well as the
funding of public investment to ensure the long-term
sustainability of the country. We estimate that to be in a
position to meet these aims, the level of primary
expenditures cannot be further reduced, but must be
stabilized within a range of 43 per cent to 46 per cent of
GDP (i.e. with a minimum of current levels in Greece and a
maximum of the Eurozone average).

However, the issue of public expenditure does not only
concern the level of expenditure, but also the quality of
expenditure. The services which are finally offered to
citizens, are disproportionately low compared to the
outlays. This is caused by the interlinkages between
business interests and public expenditures, which have
rendered fundamental sectors such as health, public works,
investment incentives, projects, subcontracting of services
and numerous other activities, hostage to an extremely
costly and ineffective use of public funds. Consequently
there is the issue of re-distribution and of the
reorientation of public funds to more financially and
socially effective uses.

Indicative measures

  *  Immediate freezing of reductions in social
  expenditures, salaries and pensions, in order to halt the
  marginalization of lower income cohorts and the
  downgrading of middle incomes.

  *  Fundamental re-examination and re-distribution of
  public expenditures. Rationalize and promote savings in
  cases of overlapping services, resource waste and socially
  ineffective expenditures. Funds that are saved will
  improve the quality of public services and goods provided,
  and will be channeled to sectors which are underfunded,
  such as health and scientific research.

  *  Operate and reinforce the central authority for state
  provisions, which will monitor the pricing of goods and
  services, which are purchased by the state from the
  private sector.

  *  Application and extension of regulations that serve the
  direct monitoring of expenditures, such as diavgeia,
  online medical prescriptions and monitoring of all public
  expenditures via online information systems.

Revenues

The consolidation of expenditures will have to be covered by
the increase in public revenues, which are well below the
Eurozone average (41% of GDP vs 45%). The adjustment we are
proposing will derive from the taxation of wealth and high
incomes. The target is to increase revenues from direct
taxation to the average European levels (+4% of GDP) over a
four year period (+1% of GDP per annum), through a drastic
reform of the tax regime, so as to identify the wealth and
income of all citizens, and to equitably distribute the
burden of taxation.

The need for fundamental reform of the tax system derives
from the realization that the low tax revenues are due to
the design and constant alteration of the existing tax
regime, which, the more complex it becomes, the more
ineffective it is rendered. Its most fundamental failure is
the inability to tax wealth and high incomes (revenues from
direct taxes are just 8.3 per cent of GDP in Greece, as
opposed to 11 per cent in the Eurozone). This is due to
extensive tax evasion, as well as a mesh of tax exemptions
and favorable regimes that leave the strata with the
greatest taxpaying ability untouched. Consequently, what is
required is a simple and functional tax system, which will
offer the correct motives, will be easy to monitor in its
application and will ensure the equitable distribution of
the tax burden among all citizens.

Indicative measures

  *  Change the tax rates and income brackets of individuals
  and legal entities (to the average European levels), so as
  to achieve an increase in revenues with a lightening of
  the burden for the worst-off and an increase of the burden
  for the better-off.

  *  Gradual reduction in VAT rates and near elimination of
  these rates for priced food products (bread, milk etc.).
  (This and the previous measure will have a positive
  multiplier effect on domestic demand, due to the greater
  propensity to consume in the lower income brackets).

  *  Modernize and staff tax revenue offices with expert
  personnel and reinforce information systems for auditing,
  cross-checking and long term monitoring of the tax base.

  *  Implement a comprehensive and universal wealth
  registry, where the wealth of all Greek citizens, mobile
  or immobile, in Greece and abroad will be recorded. Re-
  examine all special tax regimes and tackle the `black
  economy.'

The size of the public sector which results from the above
is of the order of magnitude of 45 per cent of GDP, a
proportion which is close to the Eurozone average and we
believe correspond to the provision of the necessary public
goods and the tax paying ability of the private economy.

So long as the crisis continues and until this stabilization
is achieved, we will follow a special purpose fiscal rule,
which will aim to consolidate the primary regular budget (in
other words exempting interest payments and public
investment; in 2011 this deficit was just 1.3 billion Euro).
This rule derives from the conclusion that a new
renegotiation of the debt and its interest payments is a
condition for sustainability, as well as an urgent need for
financing support of public investment that can lead to the
remobilization of the economy, increasing in parallel
productivity and the physical capital stock. Annex 3

Resources for funding the Greek economy

The Greek economy has entered an impasse in terms of
development funding, which, under the current policies, has
resulted in the deepening of the recession, the contraction
of incomes and unemployment approaching devastating levels.
Identifying liquidity resources for the funding of
development and social needs is a priority for a government
of the Left. Both domestic and external sources of funding
can be identified.

Domestic sources

Irrespective of difficulties at the current juncture, the
basic orientation of SYRIZA is toward finding domestic
funding resources.

More specifically:

1. Create the conditions for the restitution of deposits and
the stabilization of the financial system.

SYRIZA's program aims to create the necessary conditions for
the stabilization of the financial system and the security
of deposits. The necessary steps to achieve this are:

  *  Reversal of the policies of economic destruction and
  social dismantling, so as to create a positive economic
  climate, which will contribute to the restitution of
  deposits.

  *  Recapitalize banks with public control, so as to ensure
  the capital sufficiency of banks under terms that benefit
  the interests of society.

  *  The government of the Left will take the initiative to
  create a pan-European mechanism for the protection of bank
  deposits, which will constitute a powerful lever to
  restore the trust of depositors.

2. Increase resources through reform of the tax system, for
a developmental re-distribution of income.

Through a radical reform of the tax regime, in a socially
just and economically efficient manner, an increase in
revenues will be achieved, which in turn will constitute the
source of funding for the economy.

This is the aim of our proposals, which constitute a major
tax reform.

3. Curbing contribution evasion and the `black economy.'

One of the most important losses of revenue in the Greek
economy derives from tax evasion and contribution evasion,
which is due to the wide `black economy' and `uninsured
black labour.' These deficits are swelling due to the
recession and the explosive levels of unemployment, which
contribute to the loss of revenues. Tackling these issues
constitutes a priority, as set out in the relevant chapters.

4. Exploitation of mineral resources and hydrocarbons, and
the creation of a special fund to manage resulting revenues.

The exploitation of mineral resources and hydrocarbons, with
respect to the natural environment and local communities,
through developmental joint ventures or other relevant
formations, can constitute a source of revenue and a basis
for the funding of the economy. In this direction, it is of
strategic importance to develop a national strategy for the
exploitation of natural and mineral wealth, under conditions
that will serve the public interest, boosting the role of
the public sector in ELPE [Greek Petroleum] and DEPA [Gas],
and upgrade IGME [Institute of Geology and Mineral
Exploitation], in contrast to their current downgrading.

5. National wealth and social security fund

All rights upon the natural and mineral wealth of the
country, including possible deposits of hydrocarbons (if
extraction proves financially viable), as well as all the
mobile and immobile tradable wealth of the state, will be
transferred to a special exclusively public fund which will
be created for this purpose. Resources from this fund will
be used by priority to cover future needs for social
security.

6. Signing of a bilateral agreement with Switzerland and
other countries for the taxation of deposits of Greek
citizens.

It is a known fact that Greek deposits worth many billions
are resting in the banks of Switzerland and other countries,
without ever having been taxed. It is a long time since Mr
Venizelos promised to contract a bilateral agreement with
Switzerland [on this issue], but apparently he lacked the
political will.

For the government of the Left such an agreement will
constitute a priority, so as to reveal the names of Greek
depositors and to examine the origins of this wealth, to
retrospectively tax this accumulated wealth and to impose
the relevant taxes on the interest of these deposits.

7. Suspension of interest payments

This constitutes a fixed position of SYRIZA-EKM that will
lead to the freeing of tens of billions of Euros, which,
instead of being deposited with the creditors, will be used
to cover the funding needs of the economy. The period of
this suspension - which will derive from negotiations - will
depend on the condition of the Greek economy. Furthermore,
within the framework of the negotiation of the public debt,
considerable relief will derive from a clause linking
interest payments with the growth of the Greek economy and
employment, following the end of the suspension payments.

External funding

8. Redesigning the NSRF and increasing the rate of
absorption

9. European program for the funding of investment in EU-
member states as a response to recession

Greece, like other countries in the Eurozone which are
facing liquidity constraints, must be supported with
interest free funding from the European Investment Bank or
with alternative means of funding within the framework of
the European Union, taking into account the sectoral
structure of the Greek economy, but also the social needs
which must be covered by the funded investment, so as for
them to be efficient.

Additionally, Eurobonds can constitute a co-funding tool for
the Greek economy.

10. Developmental cooperation with third countries

The government of the Left will pursue the development of
equitable relations with other countries outside the
European Union which are willing to contribute to the
development of the Greek economy. Strong possibilities for
developmental cooperation exist with Russia, China, nations
of the Arab world and other countries. A first step in this
direction will be the exploration of such possibilities.

===

Giannis Dragasakis is a member of the Greek Parliament for
the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), and the chief
economic spokesperson for Syriza.

Translated by Alexandros Seferiades and Ageliki Tsaglioti.

==========

I will Keep Greece in the Eurozone and Restore Growth

By Alexis Tsipras

Financial Times
12 June 2012

http://www.left.gr/article.php?id=2472

==========

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

Submit via email: [log in to unmask]

Submit via the Web: http://portside.org/submittous3

Frequently asked questions: http://portside.org/faq

Sub/Unsub: http://portside.org/subscribe-and-unsubscribe

Search Portside archives: http://portside.org/archive

Contribute to Portside: https://portside.org/donate

ATOM RSS1 RSS2