The following article was written by Christakis Georgiou just before the European elections last May and formed the basis of his speech to the Historical Materialism Conference just finished in London. It analyses the driving forces behind the development of the European Union from a marxist standpoint and draws conclusions on what position socialists should take today towards the EU.
Mick Brooks is a lifelong socialist and activist in the labour movement and this commitment shows through in this book. He is no mere ranter, however, for this is a tightly-argued and coolly measured examination of the dynamics of capitalism and how a variety of conflicting forces create internal contradictions that lead to crises that ultimately it cannot avoid.
Brooks points out that even the most robust protagonists for capitalism do not understand the economic system they so vehemently advocate. These pundits were caught totally unawares by the onset of the Great Recession in 2007 for they had previously been arguing passionately that such events could never occur again. Other economists with disarming candour actually admit that they don’t know the first thing about economics and cannot explain what causes recessions under capitalism or the speculative bubble which was the obvious manifestation of deep-seated problems.
As the Greek governing coalition grows ever more unpopular, SYRIZA, the radical alternative, is poised to win any coming election. But does it have the programme and leadership to solve the crisis in favour of working people? Here ILIAS MILONAS, a member of the Party’s Central Committee and its left-wing faction Left Platform, questions the road down which SYRIZA’s leadership is trying to take the party. And raises warnings about the rising threat of the neo-fascist right.
Where does Syriza currently stand in public opinion?
SYRIZA has stabilized at around 30% in public opinion polls, after their 27% share in the last elections. The Greek people do not have an absolute trust in SYRIZA but they are suffering a lot from the hard measures of the government and the Troika (the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank – editor) and in the reality, they have no other political alternative. This support for SYRIZA should be better but the masses have not the enthusiasm of previous years and no trust in politics generally. Also, the political attitude of the SYRIZA leadership lately doesn’t help very much. Their public speeches have lost the radicalization of the period before the elections as they try to promote a more “realistic” program.
The Euro was bound to be a disaster for the weaker economies of the Eurozone. Without the ability to control their own fiscal policies these economies were catastrophically exposed to the vagaries of the world economic situation. As long as the going was good heavy borrowing could sustain their economies and provide a reasonable growth rate. This in turn provided near-full employment and a rising standard of living for the general population.