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

greece

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.

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Which road for Greece? (part 2)

Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Published: 2 April 2013
Author: Pat Byrne

In Part 1 of this two-part assessment we explained some of the factors behind the rise of the left-wing SYRIZA movement in Greece to the point where it is now the most popular party in the country and could lead a future government. Here Pat Byrne highlights some important weaknesses in SYRIZA’s programme and proposes constructive changes that could determine its success or failure.

But what programme are SYRIZA offering and is it capable of solving Greece?s economic crisis?

Certainly, the election manifesto that SYRIZA stood on last year was extremely radical. This was to be warmly welcomed and received mass support among the population. But there are already signs that the majority of the Party leadership are moderating their proposals under the heavy pressure of the mass media and capitalist society. This was evident at last December?s Party Congress debates over the Party?s programme and in various contributions from leading figures since.

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SYRIZA opens a window

SYRIZA's logo (source: WikiMedia)
SYRIZA’s logo (source: WikiMedia)

Referring to Greece, the Canadian left-wing activist John Riddell has theorized about different forms of workers? governments. There are possibilities, he claims, to actually be in government and at the same time challenge capitalist state institutions ?from within?. This can be done by dissolving those parts of the state that are hindering the growth of the workers? movement, and at the same time, outside of parliament, assisting the same movement.

In that way, workers councils and other working class organisations can co-exist during a time while a parliamentary governing party is trying to transfer as much power as possible to working people. This road offers a complement to Marxists who have traditionally not wanted to have anything to do with the state. These Marxists have at stretch been prepared to ?critically support? some party in elections, but never thought that they themselves would do anything but overthrowing the state immediately.

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