Speech of Tsipras in the IV Congress of the Party of the European Left
Comrades and Friends,
I am not here to give you a conventional speech.
Because we don’t live at conventional times.
I am here, among you, to make a case for change.
I am here, along with you, to remind the peoples of Europe.
That Europe is at a critical crossroads.
And there are two ways to go.
The alternatives are clear:
Either we stand still.
Or we move forward.
Either we consent to the neoliberal status quo.
And pretend that the crisis can be resolved with the policies that have recycled it.
Or we march into the future with the European Left.
Because peoples of Europe are in danger , democracy itself is in danger.
Neoliberalism is a threat to the peoples of Europe.
The extreme right is a danger to democracy.
And the only alternative is the resistance of the peoples and the strengthening of the European Left
Dear comrades in the years of the crisis unfortunately we have been vindicated.
It was us – the European Left – that even before Eurozone actually came into life we were pointing out the flaws, the deficiencies, and the destabilizing asymmetries of the project.
We have been saying and proven right, that there can be no monetary union divided by a wall of money.
We have been saying and proven right, that a monetary union, indifferent to society and responsive only to the needs of finance capital, is a Eurozone prone to uncertainty, instability and crisis – a Eurozone with a short deadline.
We have been saying and proven right, that no monetary union can function without a central bank, acting as such.
That is, acting as lender of last resort for member-states and not only for member-banks.
We have been saying and proven right, that Europe needs its own Glass-Steagall Act, to separate commercial and investment banking activities and prevent such a dangerous merge of risks into one uncontrolled entity.
We have been saying and proven right, that Europe needs effective European legislation to tax offshore economic and entrepreneurial activities.
We have been saying and proven right that the European political establishment saw the debt crisis as an opportunity to rewrite Europe’s postwar political economy.
It is for that reason that they reject our proposal for a European Debt Conference, modelled on the London Debt Conference in 1953, to give a definite and viable collective solution to the problem.
It is for that reason that the European political establishment – a voluntary hostage to Ms Merkel – insists to impose on the entire Eurozone South policies that have deteriorated the initial problem.
We have been saying and proven right, that Europe needs a “New Deal” to fight unemployment and to finance its future.
We have been saying and proven right, that if Europe is to survive it needs redistribution and solidarity.
Those are the foundations of the totally new Europe that we are fighting for.
In the place of a Europe that redistributes income to the rich and fear to the poor.
Day by day, the so-called Memoranda are proven to be detailed guides to poverty and economic control by the lenders.
In Greece, the Memorandum has caused a humanitarian crisis – unprecedented in the postwar years.
It is a stain to European civilization that:
- Two million Greeks cannot cover their basic needs, such as meal with meat and adequate heating.
- A little girl died, recently in Thessaloniki, because her family couldn’t afford electricity and were using a brazier for heating.
- It is an everyday picture in Athens and the main cities of Greece, well-dressed men and women, looking for food in the garbage cans.
Comrades and Friends,
A monetary union which divides its member-states, divides the societies of its member-states, increases unemployment, poverty and social polarization would either be reconstructed or collapse.
Reconstruction means change.
And change for Europe is now more than a mature demand.
It is an existential question.
The process of change has started in Greece.
SYRIZA is a step away from coming to power.
But 2014 is an election year.
And change will come.
The SYRIZA government will inspire change in Europe.
We count on each and everyone of you.
We count on the solidarity of the peoples of Europe in the first difficult steps of our government.
This is why, we need the Left to grow stronger and become a decisive force for the future of Europe.
Because with the SYRIZA government, Greece will abandon austerity and put on the table a viable plan for the Greek economy, but most of all, a viable plan for Europe as a whole.
With the active solidarity of a broad European anti-austerity movement, we shall win that fight.
Because, for the European Left to grow and influence in a decisive way the everyday lives of ordinary people, it needs the broadest possible social and political alliances.
Dear Comrades and Friends,
I heard yesterday Pierre’s warm words for my candidacy on behalf of each and all of you – on behalf of the European Left – for the Presidency of the European Commission.
I thank him from my heart.
But, more than a candidacy, it is mandate for hope and change in Europe.
It is a roll call for Democracy, in which every generation deserves to participate, which every generation is entitled to live.
The European election next May provides a historic opportunity for the peoples of Europe to make change possible.
To reject those who are recycling a world crisis in Europe.
And, against common logic, insist that a recipe that has failed is a recipe to be continued.
And, allow me to repeat:
The European Left is the alternative to neoliberalism.
Comrades and Friends.
This is our time.
When the wheel of History turns back, it is the Left’s moment to move Europe forward.
Thank you all so much.