Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/763/16613

From The Socialist newspaper, 1 May 2013

Cyprus economic meltdown: Build a socialist alternative to austerity

Although the media circus has moved on, the economic situation facing the population of Greek-speaking Cyprus is now even more dire.

Niall Mulholland, who has recently visited the island, reports on the challenges facing the working class and the Left organisations in particular.

The weather in Cyprus at this time of year is warm, with a refreshing breeze blowing over the island. The same pleasant balance cannot be said about the economy, which is in meltdown.

Last March, the Cypriot government, led by President Nicos Anastasiades, agreed to a 10 billion bailout package with the 'Troika' (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and the European Union).

In return, Cyprus was told it must raise 5.8 billion. The agreement saw bank depositors with more than 100,000 face big levies, hitting many small businesses.

The country's second largest bank, Laiki Bank, was closed down and its 9 billion worth of debts taken on by the Bank of Cyprus.

After a two-week closure, banks reopened on 28 March but with strict controls on the amount people can withdraw each day.

But, as if this was not bad enough, last week the already stunned and angry Greek Cypriots were told that the bailout had ballooned from 17 billion to 23 billion.

Cyprus has to find 6 billion more than the 7 billion mooted when the preliminary agreement was reached on 25 March.

President Anastasiades' right-wing government had already decided to impose swingeing austerity measures, bank closures, property taxes, privatisations of the three most profitable semi-state sector companies (electricity, telecommunications, and ports), and many sector job losses.

They are even considering selling part of the gold supplies of the Central Bank, worth 400 million.

Political scandal surrounds the government. Anastasiades has been forced to strenuously deny that he knew a legislative bill was being prepared for the deeply unpopular 'haircut' of all bank depositors prior to the European Group meeting in March.

Popular anger is aroused by reports that insider information enabled the rich to take out millions of euros from bank deposits before 15 March.

Officially the Cypriot economy is due to fall by 8.7% this year and by 3.9% in 2014. But many economists believe there will be a 10% fall in 2013, and a plummet of anything between 15-25% by the end of next year.

The government tries to dampen popular opposition to austerity by claiming the measures will not be as harsh as previously planned because some privatisations will be pushed back to 2018, there will be fewer cuts in education and the repayment of the bailout loans will start after ten years and will take 12 more years (in total, Cyprus will, in effect, be under the control of Troika for the next 22 years).

But this is cold comfort to the working class and middle classes who face years of austerity, job losses or emigration.

Unemployment is already sitting at 14%. 'Social markets' (modern soup kitchens) are springing up everywhere.

Working people also expect that, like Greece, the Troika will be in Nicosia every few months, demanding a new wave of cuts in return for bailout conditions.

The newspapers are full of despair. It is generally felt that the crisis is the worst since the 1974 Turkish army invasion.

The trade unions and Left need to ensure they lead mass struggles against austerity or there is a danger that nationalist forces and even the far right will gain the initiative.

This needs to include deepening relations with working people in North Cyprus, who have suffered their own austerity cuts for years, as well as developing common struggle with the working people in other countries of southern Europe that are hit by the Troika's austerity policies.

Class battles

So far, apart from organising some protests during the March crisis, the unions have given no real lead.

The right-wing unions are in talks with the government about 'managing' the crisis. The Left unions, linked to Akel (Greek Cypriot communist party), rhetorically oppose cuts but do not call for any firm action.

Members of New Internationalist Left (CWI, Cyprus) participate in a broad campaign against austerity initiated mainly by forces affiliated to Akel, the 'Movement Against Privatisation and Austerity', but criticise its lack of a fighting programme.

The economic crisis is deep and will only get worse. A radical alternative must therefore be posed.

If the unions and Left fail to resist effectively, other populist, nationalist 'anti-austerity' campaigns can make headway.

Unlike Greece, which, in effect, has suffered 28 years of austerity, many Cypriots are unprepared for the very hard landing ahead after years of economic boom.

But looming class battles will radicalise more and more Cypriots in the next months and years.

In anticipation of coming struggles, the New Internationalist Left puts forward a socialist alternative.

This includes repudiating the debt, nationalisation of the banks under democratic public control and management, opposing privatisations, breaking with the bosses' euro, and for the public ownership of the key industries and major utilities, to enable the economy to be democratically planned to serve the needs of the majority, not the profits of bankers and the speculator minority.

A new powerful Left needs to be built in Cyprus, with the aim of forming a government based on the needs of working people.

The situation facing Cypriot society is desperate; only a bold, socialist, internationalist programme can resolve the crisis in the interests of the majority.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 1 May 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Give us jobs not cuts

IDS' 'wealthy pensioners' smoke screen

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

The 'precariat': fighting for real jobs


Socialist Party review

Review of 'South Africa: The Massacre that Changed a Nation', BBC2 April 24th


International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus economic meltdown: Build a socialist alternative to austerity

Bangladesh building collapse - casualties of a rotten profit system


Socialist Party workplace news

Local government: fight for decent pay, terms and conditions

Justice for 'the 33' sacked tube workers

Saying no to blacklisting in Southampton

Unison health conference

Land Registry: Fight Con-Dems' privatisation plans

Unison: Defend the Four

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Liverpool rally marks 30 years since election of socialist council

Scotland: Anti-bedroom tax federation launched

Council Tax: Con-Dems turn screw on poorest

Southampton Labour council leader quits as anti-cuts pressure grows

Doncaster: For a mayor that would really stop the bedroom tax!

Thatcher's funeral day in Newbridge


 

Home   |   The Socialist 1 May 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Cyprus:

triangleGreece crisis - please vote Leave

triangleSolidarity with Cypriot workers

triangleTransport workers' international meeting

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Cyprus economic meltdown and what it means for Europe

Socialist:

triangleTamil Solidarity AGM & public meeting

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangleSocialist Students national conference

triangleSocialism 2018

Austerity:

triangleTUSC conference to debate 2018 elections

triangleEnd Tory war on poor

triangleLabour council Blairites deselected

Europe:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Populism in Eastern Europe

International

International

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

8/11/17

Spain

Spain: Madrid rally celebrates October revolution

8/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Minneapolis Socialist chimes with voters

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: rail workers demand share of 'recovery'

8/11/17

Ireland

Ireland: dangerous ideas for the ruling class

31/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic

25/10/17

Kurdistan

Kurdish referendum declared illegal

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle12 Dec Birmingham South East Socialist Party: Can the Labour Party be changed?

triangle12 Dec Liverpool Socialist Party: Fighting council cuts

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2