Kate Davison interviewed Christine Buchholz, German MP for Die Linke (‘The Left’ Party) and supporter of Marx21, about austerity measures imposed on Greece by the German government and the EU.
Tell us why Die Linke voted against the Greek bailout in Parliament?
Many people talk about this package in terms of “helping Greece”. In reality, this money is to go directly to the banks, for the benefit of the banks, and is connected to a row of measures against the Greek working class. These include privatisation measures, lay-offs, pay cuts and the cutting of the minimum wage.
What is being exposed at the moment is that the EU is a “union” which exists to enforce the interests of European capital.
For us, it is therefore always important to say that it is possible for there to be a European solidarity from below, with the working people of Greece, Germany, France against European capital.
It is important to point out the mutual interests of German capital and Greek capital, of the German political class and the Greek political class, to push these measures through, because what is being done in Greece right now is a massive, concentrated upward-redistribution process, exactly like what has happened in Germany over the past 10 years.
What are the prospects of solidarity across Europe against demands for austerity?
We are being given a picture of “lazy Greeks”: living beyond their means, corrupt, with a bloated state apparatus. The tabloid papers have run a very hard campaign against the “lazy Greeks”, and therefore at the moment there is hardly any active solidarity.
It is therefore important that a broad coalition was formed in February which has issued a call out for a European anti-crisis protest in Frankfurt in May 2012, against the policies of the German government, the European Central Bank, and the IMF. It is clear that when wages are cut, and social welfare is dismantled and privatised, the pressure to drive through further attacks in Germany and other countries which have hitherto been spared from the euro crisis will also increase.
Die Linke from the very beginning opposed the rescue package policy.
Now the question is whether Die Linke will be able to transform this into an active mobilisation against the euro crisis.