Sunday, July 12, 2015

Twits and Tweets

Leo Panitch, "Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science and Canada Research" or so it says on his business card ("available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, IPOs, and reality TV shows" it says on the flip side) has published this gem on Syriza where he demonstrates that nothing is more distinguished when conducting research than the disavowal of reality.

Distinguished Professor Panitch, mainstay of Left Forums, World Social Forums, and in-line skating contests,  thinks he's skewering Richard Seymour, and all others, who regard the Hellenic Parliament's approval of Syriza's latest pleadings to the Troika, as a "world-historic" defeat.

Distinguished Professor, never having previously expressed critical opposition to Syriza's "programs" (which hardly merit the label) or to its "strategy"(which was anything but) is miffed that Seymour has rushed to judgement before the day is out, the sun has set, thereby casting a pall over cocktail hour in Athens, Frankfurt, and Brussels. "What a brute, a vulgarian, that Seymour is.  Pass the Roditys, and the crackers with that pink fish stuff on it, what's it called?" bemoans our Distinguished Professor Panitch

Says our Distinguished Professor Panitch (among other things):

The real situation is this, as we await the outcome of what will in fact be a momentous day.  If there is in fact some significant debt restructuring and investment funds in a deal today and this is not effectively tied to further conditionality, this would offset many times over the four year $12 billion plan for fiscal surpluses in the plan just passed by the Greek parliament.  Of course, even if this the effective outcome of this weekend's final maneouvres, this will require some political sophistication to discern since it will be concealed somewhat so that other European leaders can disquiese this from their electorates, whose attitudes the Northern and Central European labour movements have done little or nothing to change.  Tsipras would need to explain this well to get people to understand the significance of the victory he--and they with their support in the referendum--would have pulled off.  

It will not be a "world historic" victory, for those who like such language, since it will still involve tying the revival of the Greek economy to the fate of what remains a very much capitalist Europe, but this would not mean that the Syriza government would exclude itself from the continuing struggle to challenge and change that.

Distinguished Research Professor Panitich is awaiting the outcome of today's (12 July 2015) negotiations between Greece and the European Union.  "The outcome of a momentous day," awaits he, the Distinguished Research Professor, detecting sings of life in the pithed frog government that is Syriza.   

Seymour of Lenin's Tomb was an enthusiastic supporter of Syriza, projecting his own wishes for "victory" over austerity unto that party.  Seymour embraced the illogic of attempting to separate austerity from debt, debt from membership in the EU, and the EU from capitalism.  So it's understandable that he's heartbroken and confuses his despair with "world-historic" events, just as he confused his own magical thinking with Syriza as a force for socialism.

Seymour at least recognizes that something has gone not exactly well in the course of events, even if he doesn't yet recognize that went badly from the getgo. Seymour is as VIB, and not yet a PhD not to mention Distinguished Research Professor, which probably explains why he's not looking on the bright side of life like professor Panitch.  Difference between those tenured and those not, I suppose.

So what about this momentous day?  Going well, is it?  Not according to the Guardian.  "Mental waterboarding was how they described the treatment of Tsipras.  Demands upon demands to cede financial authority to the EU.

A correspondent for the same Guardian tweeted that the EU placed the following demands on the table:

1. Streamlining VAT
2. Broadening the tax base
3. Sustainability of the pension system
4. Adopt a code of civil procedure
5. Safeguarding of legal independence for Greece ELSTAT-- the statistical office
6. Full implementation of automatic spending cuts
7. Meet bank recovery and resolution directive
8. Privatize electricity transmission grid
9. Take decisive action on non-performing loans
10. Ensure independence of privatization body TAIPED
11. De-Politicize the Greek administration
12. Return of the Troika to Athens

These proposals themselves represent a compromise on the part of the Troika, tweeted Wolfgang  Schäuble, #wolfslair, Germany's Minister of Finance, in that they did not include: 

13. demand for the beheading of Yannis Varoufakis
14. display of the severed head in the Hellenic Parliament for 30 days
15. leasing of the Parthenon in perpetuity to EuroDisney
16.that the Greek government officially change the names of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle to Johann, Adolph, and Friedrich
17. did not require the chaining of Tsipras to Kazbek Mountain in the Caucasus where his liver was to be pecked out by Imperial eagles (but only because the Caucasus is controlled by Russia, and Putin wouldn't agree to terms)

There is indeed an important defeat going on here-- a defeat based on Syriza's success in muffling class struggle, in demoralizing workers, in frittering away time as the economy slips back into recession. Only a very distinguished research professor could be so comfortable in his self-importance as to so boldly display his complete ignorance, his total disregard for reality, his disdain for the class struggle, the class war of the bourgeoisie, of bourgeois property against the needs of and for the emancipation of labor.

Dear Leo, you haven't been paying attention to current events, but you just got the shit kicked out of you back there in Athens, Brussels, and Frankfurt, even if you're too stupid to notice the size 14 boot sticking out of your ass. 

Advice for making a revolution:  exclude those with graduate degrees in political science, political economy, economy, philosophy, political philosophy, political economic philosophy, from providing advice, or participating in the struggle.  Exclude all of themTheir loss, and loss of them, is our gain.

July 12, 2015


  1. Anonymous8:23 AM

    Can't agree more with that last paragraph. I'd also favour a moratorium on classical/mythological allusions and other assorted pseudo-poeticisms from Professor Panglitch and co.

  2. Anonymous2:10 PM

    (Matt) Was knee-deep in my own Distinguished Not-a-Professor paper on US capitalist development, starring Charlie Post, his nemesis Daniel Gaido, and sidekicks Panitch & Gindin (The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire), and can hardly keep up here with the postings. However this post comes in handy for my own effort, and some references may get honorary mention if I can find the time and space.


  3. Anonymous3:13 PM

    (Matt) The Professor didn't bother to research the text of the Greek referendum. It stated "Should the plan of agreement be accepted, *which was submitted by* the European Commission, the European Central bank and the International Monetary Fund, in the Eurogroup of 25.06.2015, and comprises of two parts, which constitute *their* proposal?" (OXI or NAI), the last line is boilerplate. Note the sneering, smearing tone of this disgusting bullhorn for capitalism and imperialism.

    It did not say, "Are you for or against the Troika's rejection of Syriza's latest offer". Syriza's latest offer got no mention.

    So too this, "it was the other way around, one that looks more like what Gramsci meant by a hegemonic strategy" - sure, Syriza has managed to hegemonize an austerian, pro-capitalist united front (note: certainly not a *popular* front, given the OXI vote). So of course they "crossed over" to the new, leading bourgeois party - they had nothing to fear for their class! What the Professor can't - or doesn't want to see - is that Syriza ain't a working class party. You could smell its eau d'classe 6 months away!

    No wonder the Eurocentric, awestruck fetishism of the almighty Great American Empire. Shudder the thought that it could crack up.

    But more likely it's just a conscious and cynical falsification of the facts of the referendum and Syriza itself. The Panitch School of Falsification (cough, cough). The hell with what the people think! Elect a new people or, if you can't do that, stuff new words in the old people's mouths!

  4. Anonymous3:19 PM

    One more thing, the Professor needs to re-read his mentor, Nicos Poulantzas. Syriza is a classic case of the political *displacement* of the mainstream bourgeois parties, the direct representatives of the dominant bourgeois sectors inside and outside of Greece, by an outlier petit-bourgeois fraction who enters to manage the crisis. The classic case was the France of Louis Bonaparte after 1848. This one happened to have a "radical left" label. The next displacement may be labeled Golden Dawn.