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Tag: Thanasis Kampagiannis

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?

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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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Are Marxists calling for a return to fascist state management in Greece?

Anyone who thinks Greece should leave the euro might want to revisit the Argentina depression of 1998-2002. According to Wikipedia, at the height of the depression almost 60% of the country lived below the poverty line. Argentina was forced to default on its debt, unemployment rose to 25% and the state froze all bank accounts for 12 months.

golden-dawn-greece-730The parallel to Greece is significant because although Argentina never was a member of a common currency, at the outset of the crisis, its currency, the peso, was fixed 1-1 to the dollar. The parallel between Greece and Argentina is that the euro also acts like a fixed exchange among many different national currencies. Thus, if Greece were to exit the euro common currency system, it would essentially be like floating the drachma against the mark, franc, and so forth. If this is true, at least in theory, the exit of Argentina from its fixed exchange with the dollar at the beginning of its own 1998 crisis may throw light on what Grexit would mean for the Greece working class.

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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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