Two Strands in Syriza, the Euro, and the Dictatorship of Capital

Karel Ludenhoff

Karel Ludenhoff assesses the climbdown of the Tsipras government in the Brussels bailout negotiations days after the Greek people voted down the EU’s austerity demands — Editors.

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Vanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras before the split in Syriza

(Persian Translation)

Thomas Sablowski strikes the right note concerning Greece after the capitulation of Tsirpas to the sharks of capital, when he remarks:

“That is why the austerity politics deal not only with the consolidation of the national economy— in the contemporary situation this happens not even to be primary — but above all with the so-called structural reforms of aiming to increase the ‘competitiveness.’ The purpose of the austerity politics in the EU is to cut down wages, to increase profitability and to alter the position of the German and European capital in the competitive sphere of the world market” (Neues Deutschland, July 18, 2015).

Thus, it is very clear what is at stake in the Greek tragedy. The purpose of the attack by European capital on Greece is to demolish the forces of resistance against ravaging austerity politics . This attack does not concern only the Greek people, but it is at the same time a warning to the peoples of Spain and Portugal, countries where there will be elections later in the year.

But to win elections and to change social relations are, as Greece shows, not identical processes.

I think we can state that Tsipras, or rather the Tsipras strand within Syriza, completely underestimates and discards the role of the labour movement in this process. The onerous conditions to which Tsipras has agreed (see http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/15/the-euro-summit-agreement-on-greece-annotated-by-yanis-varoufakis/ ) will bring about an enormous defeat for the working class and the layers of the Greek people connected with it. If one reads the Euro Summit agreement carefully, there can be no other conclusion than that the fetishism of Europe and the euro is a reflection of the dictatorship of capital. The Greek people know, of course, from their history what the dictatorship of German capital means.

The other strand in Syriza is represented by the so-called majority in the Central Committee of Syriza. This strand opposes the European Summit agreement and is prepared to leave the euro. But the overall vision of this strand is not so clear and the question is whether only leaving the euro is enough. For as Michael Roberts states in his Blog Greece: Keynes or Marx? (see https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2015/03/14/greece-keynes-or-marx/ ):

“The issue for Syriza and the Greek labour movement in June is not whether to break with the euro as such, but to break with capitalist policies and implement social measures to reverse austerity and launch a pan-European campaign for change.”

The Tsipras strand is, of course, miles away from this notion.

Costas Lapavistas, not a member of Syriza but a socialist who has been involved for a long time with monetary issues, also offers no perspective on the situation for Greece. For, as cited by Roberts, Lapavistas’s solution is Keynes and not Marx:

“Keynes and Keynesianism, unfortunately remain the most powerful tools we’ve got, even as Marxists, for dealing with issues of policy in the here and now.”

A reversal of the current harshly exploitative labor and property relations in Greece will depend on the working class and its allies in Greece itself and on the solidarity left and progressive forces elsewhere can develop.

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1 Comment

  1. Charles Reitz

    Neoliberal politicians, whether in Europe or Wisconsin or Kansas will not negotiate on other than their own terms. They are mobilizing bias of every sort, racist, sexist, nationalist, anti-immigrant, –and they will not give up until they are materially defeated. Still, their actions flow from political-economic weakness and desperation. There is No Future except capitalist barbarism — anywhere — without a Socialist/CommonWealth Alternative: a new way of holding wealth, not as capital, but as the product of society as a whole, socially produced, and which may be owned and put to work only by society as a whole. This CommonWealth Alternative is the latent strength within the antiausterity, antiracist, proiimmigrant, and antisexist movements; its power is the power of a re-humanized laborforce which must come to animate political-economic revolution around the globe. This is the attainable future of human freedom!

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