A SYRIZA win will unleash an earthquake on the Left

by Jehu

According to the most recent correspondence from Greece by Paul Mason, the thinking by influential people within SYRIZA is dangerously unrealistic about the troika, social democrats and greeceGreece’s isolation.

Says Mason,  Euclid Tsakalotos “has totally unrealistic expectations of the way the ECB negotiates, and the rationale from which it negotiates.” Far from thinking the current austerity regime in Greece has gone too far, the troika still believes wages have not fallen far enough. Thus, writes Mason, there is a dangerous mismatch of expectations between SYRIZA and the troika.

Second, Mason thinks SYRIZA has no support among the social democrats in Europe for undoing market reforms. Some, (for instance the present government in Italy), are sympathetic about debt forgiveness, but not the necessity for aggressive “restructuring” of European labor markets.

Moreover, Tsakalotos seems to think bond risk has to be transferred from Greece to Germany and northern Europe. Listening to this delusional talk from Tsakalotos while sitting among a crowd of bourgeois simpletons, Mason concluded,

“I was struck by the mismatch of expectations in the room between largely centrist, or centre-right mainstream economic thinkers, and a man prepared to say: end austerity, promote co-ops, rebuild the welfare state and workers’ rights, kick the IMF out of EU decision making and slash back the power of a political oligarchy that has gotten rich throughout every crisis.”

Clearly, Mason thinks SYRIZA is living in a dream world and will soon have a right-wing tsunami of cold water poured on its head. A SYRIZA government will be arrayed against the troika, almost every other government in the EU, and an “institutional culture” that is molded around aggressive market reform.

Mason’s article would make anyone wonder why SYRIZA ever imagined it wanted political power in the first place. What did SYRIZA really think it could accomplish within the social constraints of 21st century Europe? There is a subtext to this article that SYRIZA, like so many progressive political parties before it, is blind to an oncoming catastrophe. Guatemala, Chile, Cuba, Ghana, etc., are just some of the many instances were progressive idealists were ultimately crushed by the West.

To be blunt: You have to wonder whether Tsipras is a dead man walking. He is trying to radically change things in a long-standing NATO member. He is trying to alter an institution, the EU, that was deliberately designed from its inception to make national politics irrelevant. Anyone looking at the situation dispassionately knows Tsakalotos is insane to expect any compromise from the troika.

And. SYRIZA. Has. No. Plan. B.

Even if SYRIZA only experiences the sort of global capitalist offensive seen in Venezuela, we should expect multiple assassination attempts, economic strangulation, 2 or 3 attempted coups and a CIA-directed covert color revolution or two. Anyone looking at the situation dispassionately knows Tsakalotos is living in his own special dream world to expect any compromise from the troika.

Given the likely aggressive institutional, political, financial, military hostility a new SYRIZA government will face, it is no wonder that many on the Left have already thrown in the towel and declared SYRIZA will fail and will even ultimately fold under intense pressure to find a path consistent with neoliberal demands.

This pessimistic prediction from the Left is in large part a projection on SYRIZA of the lack of program offered by any Left party in Europe to the sorts of practical political challenges SYRIZA faces. In all honesty, parties that claim to be to the Left of SYRIZA would face even more strident opposition than SYRIZA and would have to deal with the sort of intense efforts SYRIZA is now facing on a scale of magnitude that would likely be higher.

Does anyone really seriously believe a KKE- or Antarsya-led government, committed to withdrawal both from the EU and NATO, would be any more welcomed in neoliberal Europe? Do these parties have any more resources, policy tools or guns to deal with the likely repercussions of their more-Left-than-thou positions?

If we calculate SYRIZA’s chances for success soberly, it has to begin by being realistic that the defect here is not in SYRIZA’s decision to stay in the EU and NATO; the problem is the radical Left itself: Neither the EU nor NATO can tolerate a radical Left presence in Europe. No matter what SYRIZA offers, it is unlikely the EU and NATO will accept a government by a motley collection of post-Third-International parties.

I am pretty sure the EU and NATO do not have the same assessment of SYRIZA that KKE and Antarsya do; which is to say, NATO likely is not operating on the assumption that SYRIZA will become just another neoliberal social democrat party like PASOK.

Frankly, the rest of the post-Third-International European Left is not ready for the social earthquake SYRIZA is about to unleash on them. The European Left will be forced to grow up overnight. No matter the consequences, SYRIZA is locked in on its present trajectory and it is going to be the governing party in Greece.

Which means, the rest of the Left is going to be forced to deal with the fallout. If SYRIZA is left hanging by the European Left and forced to face NATO and the EU alone …well, the consequences are unimaginable is what it means. The only way to keep SYRIZA from being crushed in Greece is to make sure the Coalition of the Radical Left is not confined to Greece and has spread across the EU.

Essentially, we need a radical Left with multiple mirrors in every country to ensure it can never go down again, as happened in the Egypt revolution. There is no reason why a Coalition of the Radical Left cannot be a directly EU-wide form.

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