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.

Read more

BRANDON: ?Most robust protagonists for capitalism do not understand the economic system they so vehemently advocate?

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.

Read more

“The police behave like nazis” and other shocking facts from Greece

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.

Read more

Which road for Greece? (part 2)

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Which road for Greece? (part 1)

SYRIZA-logoPublished: 13 Feb 2013
Author: Pat Byrne

In many EU countries, the economic debt crisis and the austerity measures introduced by the main parties have provoked large scale strikes, mass street protests and significant shifts in electoral support. In particular, the tendency of the social democratic parties to go along with the shifting of the debts of the banks on to working people has opened up a vacuum to the left. Thus we have seen rising support for the Left Bloc of Portugal, the Front Gauche of France and most dramatically for the Coalition of the Radical Left in Greece, more commonly known by its initials SYRIZA.

The following is a two-part examination of this Greek phenomenon and its potential. Part 1 examines how the crisis has helped the rise of SYRIZA. Part Two looks more closely at SYRIZA?s programme and organisation and discusses what measures are needed to overcome the crisis in Greece in favour of working people.

Read more

What future for Greece and Cyprus?

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.

Read more

Translate »