‘Alexis Tsipras blackmailed to avoid banking asphyxiation of Greek economy’

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras © Alkis Konstantinidis
We cannot cut anymore from pensions, from wages, from living conditions. There is nothing more to cut – nothing left to cut, says Anastasia Giamali, journalist and Syriza campaigner.

READ MORE: Scuffles rock central Athens amid labor union strike

Demonstrators protesting further spending cuts and tax hikes gathered on Athens’ central Syntagma Square. The left-wing labor policy division of the ruling Syriza Party is backing the strike.

RT: The Syriza government has supported the general strike against its own policies. How is that even possible?

Anastasia Giamali: It is the first government of the left in Greece, and this explains a lot. First of all, it is the first general strike under the new government, but it is also the first time that the government does not condemn the strike. But the labor department of the Syriza party is calling for people to participate in the strike and to join forces against the creditors. Syriza really believes - according to the announcements both of the Labor party and many Syriza MPs and ministers - that to participate in the strike is actually good for the negotiation process.

RT: But didn’t the Syriza government agree to all this austerities? And how can it now say: “You should vote against it”?

AG: The government of Alexis Tsipras – the government of Syriza - was blackmailed to agree to the deal. I should remind you that there was a 62 percent “NO” in a referendum against the austerity policies, against the measures proposed by the creditors. Then, on July 13 after 17 hours of negotiations Tsipras had to agree to a really bad plan in order to avoid a total destruction of the Greek economy and the circumstances of banking asphyxiation.

Riot policemen walk by fires caused by petrol bombs thrown by youths following brief clashes between police and protesters during a 24-hour general strike in central Athens, Greece November 12, 2015. © Alkis Konstantinidis

RT: How is the general strike going to help the economy?

AG: The general strike is not going to help the economy, but the neo-liberal measures proposed by the creditors and not helping the economy either. The answer is - help us tell the creditors that this can no longer continue; help us tell them that this is not a viable solution; help us tell them that we cannot cut anymore from pensions, from wages, from living conditions. There is nothing more to cut – nothing left to cut.  

RT: Do you think there is any bargaining with the European Central Bank?  

AG: Syriza’s campaign and Syriza’s analysis is pretty much that justice will eventually prevail. And along with the countries of the European south a new front will be formed in order to go away from austerity measures that help no one. Whether it is going to succeed – I don’t know - but it is worth trying.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.