Will someone please tell Lapavitsas to shut the fuck up!

by Jehu

Costas Lapavitsas latest interview reminds me of that scene from 007, where the bad guy has an elaborate plan to kill off Bond that you know is going to fail. Bond is tied down, helpless, handcuffed to an atomic bomb or sharks with lasers on their heads or some shit.

i2NncpcCDoctor Evil parodies the scene in one of the Austin Powers movies:

Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy’s nemesis, Austin Powers
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don’t you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

According to Lapavitsas, the European monetary union is a major historical failure, so SYRIZA needs to exit the euro to save capitalism:

“[The] monetary union in my judgement is a major historical failure. It’s Europe’s biggest failure in decades. And it will not last. But obviously it might last long enough for Greece to be dead. Of course the EZ proponents believe it is going to last forever. It is a historical delusion. Monetary unions don’t last this long. Let them believe it. Fine.”

The interviewer never asks why SYRIZA should not take advantage of this “major historical failure” to bury a dagger in the heart of European capitalism. Isn’t that what one does when one’s enemy experiences a “major historical failure”? Take advantage of the failure to finish him off?

It seems Lapavitsas, like almost all Marxists and non-Marxist Leftists, has no killer instinct – he want to help capitalism recover from its “major historical failure”. And he thinks Greece can do this by starting a general panic to find an exit from the burning theatre that is the eurozone today.

Costas admits he wants to exit in order to begin a recovery of the mode of production:

“There are three stages. First, as I said, is the negotiated, consensual, orderly exit.

Second stage is recovery and that would depend very much on recovery of domestic demand which is very heavily repressed in this country. There are vast resources lying unused. Small and medium enterprises would be reactivated, that’s what would really restart the Greek economy. Not exports – this worship of exports is nonsense.

But obviously that is not really a path for sustainable growth. What Greece would need after that would be an industrial policy to restructure its productive base, to integrate itself in the world economy on a different basis. That would take a few years.”

The “vast resources lying unused” are, of course, capital that has been rendered superfluous within the world market. Although this capital has no productive use — it cannot be employed profitably, i.e., to create surplus value — Lapavitsas wants to put it to work. Which means Lapavitsas wants to go back to the days when the fascist state managed the national capital.

But didn’t that fail? Isn’t Greece where it is today because fascist state management of the national capital ultimately failed? Wasn’t Greece capital is too small and scattered to compete against international capital? What has changed, asks the interviewers, Greece is still too small to compete on its own against its bigger trading partners:

“But Greece would be still part of a common market, as a member of the EU. So it is not so easy to go back to domestic demand and to the SMEs, because it would have to kick out the big companies that could still sell cheaper.”

Lapavitsas explains that this problem could be fixed if only Greece workers’ wages were devalued just a little bit more!

“I believe that Greece could out-compete imports very easily. Unfortunately, wages have been destroyed during the last 5 years due to bailout policies. A devaluation of 15-20% (but no more since as I said the ECB would defend the exchange rate) would give a tremendous competitive advantage. Wages would then gradually rise again.”

In other words, after all the Greek working class has been through, this asshole wants to cut wages another 15-20%!

You fight as you trained. For the last 30 years the Left has been training for a return to a Keynesian past that no longer exists. People will blame SYRIZA for this failure and accuse it of not being revolutionary enough. But this is a Left failure — all of the Left; everybody from the KKE to Varoufakis own this complete fucking disaster.

All the Left has at its disposal after 30 years is a choice between known failed Soviet policies and known failed Keynesian policies. I lived through the 70s — I know Keynesian policies failed miserably. I remember history. It was the failed Keynesian policies of the 70s that gave us Reagan and Thatcher. Just like the failed Soviet policies of the 70s gave Russia Yeltsin and Putin.

Why would you, after making the argument that capitalism has suffered a major historical failure, propose to rescue it from this failure? Really, what the fuck is wrong with the Left? Are all of you fucking morons? It really doesn’t even matter whether some of you Leftists are pro-euro or anti-euro, you all have the same fucking plan: save capitalism!

I mean, who in their right mind suggests the way to get out of five years of 1930s-level depression is to cut wages by 15-20%? Who does this? How is it possible anyone can suggest this and not be called a fucking fascist? Much less routinely be referred to as being on the “Left” of SYRIZA? I am just astonished that no one on the Left has opened her/his mouth to call Lapavitsas out on this shit. The silence is inexplicable. (And by “no one” I mean anyone with more mainstream Left credibility than me, of course.)

SYRIZA is in power today precisely because of the flaws in the European Union — precisely because Keynesian policies don’t work in the euro. Which means, the neoliberals have no way to exit from this crisis, folks. They are trapped and can be killed off.

Whatever happened to “Capitalism has suffered a major historical failure; so, let’s try to kill it, starting in Greece.”

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