Thursday, July 16, 2015

What a Difference a Year Makes

                                                        Mix and Match


 "This is not our Europe. This is only the Europe we want to change.  In place of a Europe of fear of unemployment, disability, old-age and poverty; in the place of the current Europe that redistributes income to the rich and fear to the poor; in place of a Europe in the service of bankers’ needs, we want a Europe in the service of human needs."

"Finally, the real issue facing the Greek left is how to unite people on a class basis against a ruling class that is tightly coupled to the German bourgeoisie. Syriza offers a framework for revolutionaries that will enable them to connect with millions of Greeks who have not yet achieved a revolutionary consciousness. Unlike the Greek Communist Party, Syriza is relatively open and transparent—a function of the “reformism” that Callinicos disdains. The alternative to the CP and Syriza is the tiny and inconsequential Antarsya that is united around the need for revolution but a “reformist” party that can begin to serve as a pole of attraction for revolutionaries. In the event that Syriza is elected and fails to carry out its mandate, it will be up to its left wing to push the agenda for overcoming austerity in the only way possible: overthrowing Greek capitalism."

"The fact is that the leaders of erstwhile socialist parties have been talking the talk of responsible capitalism for a very long time. It was how they covered their tracks as they retreated from offering people a way out of the rat race of capitalism – rather than compensation for being losers in it – even in the postwar era. Those who imagine that the progressive reforms achieved in that era stand as proof today that a responsible capitalism is possible are sorely mistaken. On the contrary, the undoing of those reforms after just a few decades shows that a responsible capitalism is indeed a contradiction in terms.

"On the basis of the massive defeat of the forces behind the Yes vote in the referendum, and the opposition party leaders resignation, the other mainstream party leaders joined with Syriza in backing the plan the Institutions had rejected before and coupled that with support for Syriza's position. This was that once the plug had been pulled on the extension of the old government's memorandum, they would all support coupling fiscal restraint and structural reforms with substantial debt restructuring and investment funds in immediate negotiations on a new three year memorandum..

The hope that this might be pulled off was enhanced by indications that the U.S. government was putting pressure both on the IMF and the Merkel government. This was fed by IMF signals on the importance of very significant debt restructuring in a new three year deal...

What Alexis Tsipras and (the new Finance Minister) Euclid Tsakalotos took to the final negotiations last Saturday, as passed by the Greek parliament, was not all that different than the plan that has been forwarded to the Institutions and rejected before the referendum. And they took courage from the fact that the negotiations were now about a new three year deal rather than continuing the drip-feeding from the old memorandum with which they had been strangled from February to June. There was now even a clear split on the side of the European interlocutors over whether to accommodate what Tsipras was bringing to the table. "  

"I am long past the point when I expect anything different.  I never had an(y) expectations that Syriza would be victorious...I take everything in stride."                        
"I acknowledge the fiscal measures are harsh, that they won't benefit the Greek economy, but I'm forced to accept them."


Full disclosure:  Even I get sick of my sarcasm at times.  I acknowledge what a harsh, severe, relentless, abrasive bastard I am, when it comes to these things.   Really.  But how else can you deal with the selective memory loss, the cognitive dissonance, that is so essential to the pathology that is repetitive leftism?

July 16, 2015


  1. Anonymous4:09 PM

    (Matt) Here, let take up your heavy sarcastic load for ya, because this is the last straw with Proyect, for whom Principle #1 is that It's Always All About Moi:

    "Like most left movements for the past 98 years, starting with the
    Bolshevik revolution, Syriza failed. This is the norm, isn't it?"

    That's because "I have been involved with failed projects since the age of 22 when I joined the SWP to build the antiwar movement. 10 years after the Vietnamese
    overthrew the puppet government, it carried out reforms called 'doi moi'
    that differed little from the economic program of the puppets."

    "And only 5 years after the fall of Saigon, the SWP began to turn into a
    cult-sect making me feel like I had wasted 11 years of my life and 10s
    of thousands of dollars."

    Oh, the petite-bourgeois HOWL of anguish over having wasted the best years of their lives in a useless demented sect! "I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender.", mutters our would be Marlin Brando. He coulda got into movies, he coulda got rich... How the revolutionary socialist left has let MOI down!

    Stop the juvenile whining and dry your eyes.

    For starters: The Bolshevik revolution, for all of its obvious limitations and defects, was nevertheless a HISTORIC ADVANCE for the global working class. There would have been no postwar social democratic "golden age" without its results, for one example. In other words, it was historically PROGRESSIVE.

    However In Greece, or anywhere else one might look today, we a fighting a DEFENSIVE struggle - not immediately yet a struggle towards socialism - against an unrelenting PERMANENT CAPITALIST COUNTERREVOLUTION, aka "neoliberialism" (the capitalist reading in reverse of Trotsky if you will) with the immediate aim of inflicting a significant reversal upon this counterrevolution, a reversal that may open up the possibility of moving from defense to offense, to getting back on track to a socialist transition. That is specifically what the Bolshevik revolution accomplished - from the defensive struggle against the counterrevolutionary inter-imperialist war and breakup of the 2nd Int'l, to putting the imperialist and capitalist would on the defensive.


  2. Anonymous4:10 PM

    (continued) Second, Proyect continues his strange approach on US imperialism, consistent with his weirdly one-sided, abstract, "binary" methodology: "The hope that this might be pulled off was enhanced by indications that the U.S. government was putting pressure both on the IMF and the Merkel government. This was fed by IMF signals on the importance of very significant debt restructuring in a new three year deal..."

    In lining up behind the rotten Panitch line that represents the deal as some kind of "reversal" of the counterrevolution mentioned above, Proyect also throw in U.S. imperialism as a "progressive" force in this case. This follows his more or less implicit approach to events in Syria, Libya and Ukraine. An obvious test case here would be Kobane , where the US has flown some airstrikes against IS forces arrayed against the ultra-leftist guerrilla Kurdish YPG. Sounds "objectively progressive" doesn't it? Except that it isn't doing much good, is it, as IS is again on the offensive on that front. Couldn't mighty, progressive Uncle Sam try a little bit harder?

    A socialist left that pins its hopes on the "accidental progressive" Uncle Sam has really circled into the last lowest ring of despairing Hell. The US is clearly only concerned in Greece with its geopolitical strategery vis a vis its interimperialist rivalry with Putin's Russia. The last thing it wants is to see a dynamic that sends NATO member Greece spinning off in that direction. That could happen under either the far Left OR - more likely now - the far RIGHT. Just as Proyect's politics objectively promote conditions favorable for the far Right in Ukraine and Syria, such a result makes it easier to also promote (back handedly of course, usually by studied analytical omission) US imperialism in a "progressive" role, since the USA will oppose ANY force acting to pull apart the EU and NATO.

    As was said in the old days, nothing but demoralized [X] and 1/2 centrist internationalists here. And both the centrist Kautskyian and right wings of German Social Democracy ultimately pinned all their strategic hopes on "progressive Wilsonian" US imperialism.

    Proyect: Learn to detect the difference between an objectively PROGRESSIVE and REGRESSIVE situation. We're in the latter, and are trying to get (back) to the former. Not advocating an immediate move to socialism, though a change from the former to the latter will combined with such a move.

  3. Anonymous2:56 PM

    (Matt) No more commentary nibbles? Well here's Costas Lapavitsas explicitly refuting the famed "Brest-Litovsk Analogy":

    "To me this deal as it stands represents a disastrous capitulation. This is not Brest-Litovsk. Those of you who think that this is Brest-Litovsk are making a mistake. This is not gaining time to establish Bolshevik power in Moscow and Leningrad. This is not--this is not gaining time. There is no time to be gained. Time works in favor of the enemy in this context, and this is not a tactical maneuver. This is putting the country down a path which has only one exit. And that exit is not in the interest of people's rights."

    "The real winner of this deal is obvious. It's staring you in the face. The real winner is the Greek oligarchy expressed in the mass media. That's why the mass media are thriving and celebrating [a win]".


    "Sometimes reality is what it appears to be. You don't have to look beyond the surface. If you read the big Greek press and if you listen to the media you know who has won." Yep, sometimes reality is...exactly what it is.

    We await with bated breath the next installment in that epic of narcissism, "How the Socialist Revolution Failed Louis Proyect".

  4. Well, think it's a process of summing the event to this date; at least, until the big demonstrations begin, the seizure of government offices, start.

    Would be great to write a Class Struggles in Greece, 2009--??. Even better if it doesn't lead to an 18th Brumaire.