The budget-setting meeting in the Attiki prefecture – the largest in Greece – showed both the continuing damage of Syriza’s capitulation to the new austerity memorandum and the challenges faced in building a fighting left which is prepared to rupture with austerity politics.
The budget passed was essentially that of the old Pasok governor, though Attiki is now controlled by Rena Dourou, a close ally of Alexis Tsipras.
The budget is horrendous. It hands money to privateers to run garbage disposal, cuts services and so on.
Perhaps the most scandalous measure is to hand 20 million euros to the owner of AEK to help him build a new stadium for the football club in the Nea Philadelphia neighbourhood, where there has been a campaign against the destruction of green space the new build will mean.
The Syriza majority includes councillors who broke to the left with Popular Unity (Laiki Enotita, LA.E) over the summer but have not sundered their historic link to Syriza.
So about five of the deputy governors to Dourou are supporters of Popular Unity. It is similar in other councils and in the trade unions where Popular Unity supporters remain in the same trade union front as Syriza, Meta.
The deputy governors and the bulk of Popular Unity councillors unfortunately voted for the budget alongside the Syriza and Pasok councillors
About half a dozen Popular Unity councillors rebelled and voted against the budget, alongside Despina Koutsoumba, the Antarsya member of the prefecture, and the Communist Party. There were a few Syriza councillors who voted against as well, including Flora Nikolidaki, whose report is linked to below.
There is, as you would expect, a big debate arising across the left, of course including inside Popular Unity, about the events at the council meeting.
It is a serious debate about strategy, the need to organise around clear opposition to austerity, what tactics to adopt in the municipalities and what it means to build an anti-capitalist left.
via Kevin Ovenden