STANISLAWSKI: The current situation in Greece reveals the political plight of the international left

A few days ago another political documentary about Greece struck the internet. All social forums are on fire again. Another wave of cheap excitement and pathetic lamentation is reaching its peak.

The title of the movie is ?Greece on the brink? and it has been produced by people I know from my past political activity. But, in fact, it does not matter. All movies regarding Greece I had seen before I came across that one are just the same. Bombastic, catastrophic atmosphere borrowed from cheap horror scenarios and a few dramatic monologues (background voice and interviews). And this is it. So far, I learned nothing new: the situation is tragic, Greece is (or is approaching it) a Third-World economy, the population drowns in poverty, the international financial elite exploits the poor people, not a single cent of the gigantic borrowings stays in the real Greek economy — everything is being immediately transferred to German, French and American banks as paybacks, the rate of suicides is growing, the social services are being completely dismantled, rampant privatization of everything you can imagine is going on… I know.

I knew it all long before you put your movies together. All of them: ?Catastroika?, ?Greece on the brink? and all other. And you are lying to yourself if you think that I am more conscious in this respect than an average European, Asian or American citizen. They know the facts as well. Not all maybe as the palette of pathological ideas and phenomenons being currently executed in Greece is really rich and various, but people do know what the quality of the situation is and are more or less conscious of the general context. And they know very well (even if they cannot sometimes argue with concrete and specific arguments) that the Greek people are being brutally exploited by the IMF, the ECB and the rest of the gang. What regular people, who are not left political activists, might not know is what alternatives to this inferno are available.

But hey, if you had really thought you might actually influence the general consciousness when you were putting the cadres of your movie together — you were wrong. You cannot. Not because it is not possible, but because the international left has nothing to say. The situation in Greece, the overwhelming nightmare of the current crisis, the ongoing mobilization and all its other aspects revealed the complete intellectual and political bankruptcy of the left around the world (similar to the one on the occasion of the Arab Spring, only much more spectacular now).

I saw dozens of videos and read hundred of pages about Greece and how bad things are there. If I paid just a bit more attention I might have remembered all the terrifying stats which the left ?analysts? and ?experts? shuffle all the time. They mastered that so that the cover the simple fact that they have nothing to suggest as an alternative. When pressed to the wall they come up with the most worn out and most empty phrases: ?the labour movement has to take the lead?, ?top bureaucrats prevent the movement from developing in the right direction?, ?Lenin explained long ago that the history of the social movements is history of failed leaderships?, ?soviets should be set up?, ?had our organization been there socialism would have been on the agenda?… I could fill a whole page just quoting from memory.

I am asking a straight question: What do you have to offer? In Greece we have seen everything we need. Throughout the 16 years of my political activism I have not seen any better ?objective situation? (this is the Marxist term for the simple word ?circumstances? which left ?experts? like to use to prove their superiority to what they call ?bourgeois semi-scientific speculation?). We have been witnessing strikes, general strikes, massive demonstrations, political renewal on the left (eg. SYRIZA), occupations, clashes with police… Yet, the only thing we have to say is that the workers should see if they can take power and they should abolish capitalism. A major civil war would be welcomed so that it all fits into the old model. And this is it. I have not heard any serious, substantial political proposal.

And if you (we!) do not have it we should be clear about it and it is the highest time to admit it. It might inspire a debate which could actually result in some meaningful conclusions. It does not have to, but it could. Otherwise we are producing materials aimed to convince the convinced. We can make hundreds of tours presenting movies or speaking at various forums, but it is all for us and for our political instincts to be satisfied. I would love to see a most primitive movie, recorded with a simple lap-top camera or a smartphone which will last for two or five minutes where the basic question would be answered, namely: what now?

Bojan Stanislawski

Leave a comment