The Real Movement

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Tag: Greece

The historical context of Greece’s election

No matter the outcome of Greece’s election circus, the capitalists are losing the war. Can the Left take advantage of this?


Kevin Ovenden has a very interesting post to Counterfire, Dispatches from hope: a primer on the Greek election, in which he places the SYRIZA election campaign in the historical context of a long struggle against the neoliberalist political forces that emerged out of the 1970s depression. The present developments in Greece echo the struggles of the 1980s, says, Ovenden, but while the tune is familiar, the words have changed:

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Greece and the long awaited collapse of the Marxist underconsumptionist school

No Grexit

Tank-Top---€With SYRIZA now appearing to be a lock for forming the next government in Greece, some Marxist writers are suggesting there is a serious problem with the party’s commitment to staying in the European Union and the euro common currency.

In a post to Left Flank, Thanasis Kampagiannis, argues that leaving the common currency is a precondition for an effective revolutionary politics today:

“There is an analogy between the question of the Euro and the Left’s approach to the First World War. The decision to break with the war effort — and, even more, to break with it unilaterally — became central to the realignment of the Left. This does not mean that everyone who was in favour of peace was a Marxist. The same goes today: not everyone in favour of breaking with the euro is a revolutionary socialist. For example, Costas Lapavitsas’ proposed “Grexit” program, which Richard refers to, is a radical anti-neoliberal program for restoring Greek capitalism’s competitiveness outside the straightjacket of the Euro through depreciation of a national currency. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that breaking with the Euro is the necessary step for any anti-capitalist politics that wants to end austerity and start imposing a pro-working class agenda.”

But why is it revolutionary to pull Greece out of the euro and EU? I get the distinct feeling people think SYRIZA is to be faulted for its refusal to leave the EU and I am not sure why that would be. From reading Kampagiannis’s article I feel I have a much better grasp of some of the forces at work within the Left in Greece, but I have a lot of questions about his anti-euro, anti-EU, argument.

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SYRIZA cannot save Greece’s social welfare state

Here is an essay by Costas Lapavistas in which he tries to explain why the anti-austerity struggle as it is currently being waged makes sense — it doesn’t.

According to Costas Lapavitsas:

“Syriza’s anti-austerity programme is more sensible than radical, and what Greece needs. But the EU is far from convinced”

In his essay, Costas Lapavistas never explains why what we refer to as austerity may be far more historically significant than the capitalists simply trying to starve the working class once again.

There is definitely the element of a crisis wherein the capitalists are trying to pass the costs of the crisis along to the working class inGreece; and so far, it has succeeded, with the working class

With is desire for Grexit, the Left is flirting with the fascists and this will backfire

With its desire for Grexit, the Left is flirting with the euro-fascists and this will backfire

incurring staggering social costs. However, to put this simply: the Greece social welfare state is dead and has to go away. Nothing can save the European social welfare state and no amount of anti-austerity struggle by the working class will reconstitute Greece as a sovereign state with the means to direct economic development.

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IT AIN’T YOUR FUCKING STATE: So stop whining about the GOP shutting Washington down!

If you look at the whole of the world market, the ruling classes of nearly every nation now is locked in deep political crisis and paralysis. The shutdown in Washington is not exceptional in this regard; it simply means that crisis has reached the core of the fascist world.

shutdownOne of the things the US had going for it in its “fight against deflation”, according to Bernanke, is that it had no political crisis. His argument was that Japan was unable to implement good monetary policy to prevent deflation because it also suffered a political crisis. This turned out to be untrue, once the depression began to be fully expressed in the US, a crisis in the ruling class emerged along with it just as had been the case in Japan.

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Facing Down A Gangster: Four measures a small country can take against the United States

I’ve been brain-storming about what a small state can do in an era where the US clearly can dictate terms within the world market. This thinking has been triggered by such recent events as the complete humiliation of the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, in pursuit of the whistle-blower Edward Snowden; the coup in Egypt to overthrow the democratically elected government there through tactics not unlike those employed against the democratically elected government of Chile in 1972; and by the ongoing events in Greece, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and the so-called periphery of the euro-zone.

soldierA small country like Bolivia, or Egypt or Greece can hardly expect to stand toe to toe with the US and its allies and trade blows. They typically do not have the economic, political or military power to confront the United States. This has led to the United States routinely ignoring their sovereignty, overthrowing their governments and sabotaging their economies.

These activities were perfectly captured by John Pilger, who argued the Morales incident was nothing but blatant gangsterism:

“The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to “inspect” his aircraft for the “fugitive” Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.”

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