State Harder! Jacobin’s despicable, dishonest take on the “European project”

In an laughably dishonest and unprincipled article by Cédric Durand, “The End of Europe”, Jacobin demands the Left double down on its impotence.

“Uneven and combined developmental dynamics in the European periphery highlights the need for the Left to move from a defensive fight against austerity toward a positive agenda of systemic alternatives. The Greek experiment demonstrates that, on this path, there is no other choice than breaking with neoliberal European institutions and regaining democratic sovereignty on domestic currencies.”

fc8205e257e092365e142da72c149b47Jacobin has thrown all in with those who argue the European Union, the largest free trade zone in history, is a failure. Fascist management of national economies, which emerged after the Great Depression is dying and Jacobin is not amused. Jacobin calls what is happening in Europe, the “disintegration of the European project”, when obviously we are witnessing fascism’s demise.

What is their evidence for ‘disintegration’ of the European project? Well, actually, Jacobin offers no evidence at all, but the the victory for No in the July 5 Greek referendum. We are, in other words, suppose to interpret the outcome of the referendum as a rejection of the so-called “European project”.

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What do you call it when history does a three-peat?

A brief post-mortem for post-Keynesianism and the Left

Is it too early for a post-mortem on the radical Keynesian model of politics? After all the patient is still breathing on the operating table, albeit with great difficulty. With its last dying breath, the Greece nation state, the sacred idol of all Left politics, begged for a few more months of life support.

Is this a too brutal and rude retelling of outcome of months of negotiations? After all, the patient is not dead yet, right? Well, pardon me, but I felt it best to state clearly, while SYRIZA still breathes, that this catastrophe is not all its fault alone. I would hate to see SYRIZA carried to its grave, while the charlatans who first gave life to it, place all the blame for its failure on Tsipras and the SYRIZA majority.

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What happens ‘when something has to give”, but nothing likely will?

There is an interesting and much retweeted article today from Paul Mason, “Greece: why something has to give”. According to Mason, pressure is growing for a split in SYRIZA:

“So there is pressure growing, from within and without, to force a split in Syriza, with the Left Platform leaving the parliamentary group, and Tsipras now forced to rely on centre-left and Karamanlis-wing conservative votes to get any deal through the Hellenic parliament.”

Singularity-Brain-2Mind you, this is all over a debt that everyone knows cannot be repaid, no matter who is in power. It is not just that the EU is using the debt to beat SYRIZA down, SYRIZA seems intent on using the debt against itself.

Of course, a split in SYRIZA cannot fix Greece’s debt problem, as bondholders and anyone with an ounce of common sense knows:

“Let’s start by considering the raw numbers. Greece can’t borrow big money on the global markets, because its €320bn debt is – rightly, I think – seen as unpayable. No level of austerity bearable by Greek society could pay down the debt.”

The previous government lied about the state’s finances, capital is fleeing, the ECB is waging economic warfare against SYRIZA; and the ECB and Eurogroup have no desire to come to an agreement with SYRIZA. As the EU adds pressure from the outside, Mason argues, the Left Platform is organizing for a split from the inside.

This can’t go on, explains Mason. At some point, something somewhere has to give.

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Will someone please tell Lapavitsas to shut the fuck up!

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.

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Grexit is not the alternative the Left is looking for

The problem of the mass line

The first problem is raised by Grexit itself and its relation to the principles of a revolutionary or radical Left party. Stathis Kouvelakis makes a pretty good point in the video “Syriza and socialist strategy” at 43:00-46:00: a party may win an election not on its complete platform, but on one or two basic critical demands of the working class.

brazaletesnegro01bNo matter what those working class demands are — and if even those demands may be based on conditions that are fundamentally at odds with what the party considers necessary — the party has won on them and not on its complete program.

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If SYRIZA-EU negotiations break down: two views on what Grexit means for Greece

kick-outThings don’t look very promising for those who hoped Germany would give in to pressure and accept a write down or delay of Greece debt obligations. With that in mind I decided to look at the most likely outcome of a collapse of negotiation: Greece’s voluntary or forced exit from the euro and European Union.

Of course this post is highly speculative and not to be taken as a prediction.

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Stop kidding yourself: SYRIZA is an unlikely model for the U.S. Left

Since SYRIZA has won in Greece many activists have wondered whether it offers a model that can be applied to other countries in the EU and even in the United States.

One essay by Laurence Cox and Alf Gunvald Nilsen offered their take on this possibility. The writers suggest that the SYRIZA model can be exported to other countries and that it can offer an alternative to neoliberalism:

“Across the continent, there is quite rightly a huge wave of hope at seeing that there is an alternative to simply taking our neoliberal medicine and watching as work, education, health, democracy and common decency are hacked to pieces by our increasingly-indistinguishable rulers.

David_Cameron_and_Barack_Obama_at_G8_summit,_2013The argument is fascinating, not because people are thinking about what it takes to move the Left beyond its current position on the margins of political life in most countries, but because it is not at all clear to me why the writers believe SYRIZA is an alternative to neoliberalism. (See important note below in the comments.)

Briefly stated, any serious examination of SYRIZA’s victory will show that victory was a triumph for many of the principles on which neoliberalism is founded.

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Is the working class now neoliberal too?

According to Spyros Dapergolas, (“Syriza at the gates”), here is the moral of SYRIZA’s victory in the Greece election:

“As before with PASOK, once again with SYRIZA…”

In other words, SYRIZA is doomed to follow in PASOK’s footsteps and end up as just another neoliberal social democrat party.

The writer wraps up his article with the big question:

“What should happen?”

by-tiago-hoiselWhich is to say, he ends by describing his anarchistic fantasy of, “a new militant and horizontal syndicalism, through self-organization in neighborhoods and a radical political engagement in libertarian/anarchist ideas and practices.”

This fantasy is, of course, the purest ideology, a recipe for new society jumping full blown from his head and, therefore, not covered in the shit and muck of countless political compromises. In the fantasy world Dapergolas inhabits, there are no insolvent banks, no NATO bases, no foreign trade and no capital flows. Since all of this filthy real world stuff has been cleared from the scene, we are now free to dream as if no such considerations press on our radical agenda for society.

Of course, it has taken Greece five years of brutal austerity just to get Greece voters to the point where they will even consider a radical government that basically promises no more than to be the next PASOK. Yet, in Dapergolas’s head, we can already dream of “a new militant and horizontal syndicalism”; Because, obviously, the 36% of voters who, after a half decade of austerity, bothered to vote for SYRIZA, really wished “a new militant and horizontal syndicalism” was on the ballot.

But here’s the problem: If the working class of Greece wanted “a new militant and horizontal syndicalism”; they did not need an election. Clearly the working class of Greece still wanted the illusion that, the writer argues, SYRIZA constitutes.

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Greece is already a failed state: SYRIZA must let it die

By the time you read this, SYRIZA will likely be the governing party in Greece. That said, Laurel & Hardy3SYRIZA will find its desk filled with a large number of pressing problem, the most important of which — according to common wisdom — is what to do about the debt. Here is my suggestion: Tell Greece’s creditors to screw and let the state go bankrupt. The only path for SYRIZA out of the crisis is to let the already failed Greece state fail officially as well.

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A SYRIZA win will unleash an earthquake on the Left

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.

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