Ignore the Troika?s Blackmail, Vote No to Austerity and Start Building a Democratic Socialist Greece

Vote No 2Published: 30 June 2015.
Author: Michael Roberts.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

 The following is the first of a two-part article in which Michael Roberts examines the brutal austerity measures that the IMF and the EU leaders are trying to impose on Greece, and points the way towards an alternative democratic socialist economic plan for Greece and Europe.

Syriza, the Troika and the ironies

The ?impossible triangle? for the Syriza government was 1) reversing austerity 2) staying the Eurozone; and 3) Syriza staying in power (see my post: ‘Syriza, the economists and the impossible triangle‘). The Troika prepared to break that triangle. What the Troika wanted was a Greek government carrying out a full programme of austerity (running a government budget surplus in the middle of a depression) and ?structural reforms? (ending labour rights, deregulating services and finance and privatising state assets). The previous Samaras government got bailout funds in return for such ?conditionalities?. When Syriza wanted to change those conditions, not only did the Troika not concede, it actually tried to impose even harsher ones on Syriza.

Read moreIgnore the Troika?s Blackmail, Vote No to Austerity and Start Building a Democratic Socialist Greece

Debate: What Way Forward For Greece?

Greek Debt editedPublished: April – June 2015
Authors: Jonathan Clyne, Themos Demetriou and Sotiris Vlachos
Intro by: TSN Editor

The crunch is now here for the Syriza-led Greek government and the debate over what they should do next is ranging far and wide. Below are some contributions to the debate from members of The Socialist Network alongside a contribution from marxist economist Michael Roberts.




Contributions Index:
+ ‘Syriza ? From Defensive Tactics to Offensive Strategy’ by Jonathan Clyne (Swedish Socialist Network)
+ Comment from Themos Demetriou (from Socialist Expression Cyprus)
+ ‘Understanding the present situation in Greece’ by Themos Demetriou
+ Jonathan?s response to Themos?s comment and article
+ Themos’s Reply
+ ‘Debt – The absolute defeat of the market economy’ by Sotiris Vlachos (Socialist Expression Cyprus)
+ ‘The Case Against a “Grexit?” – a follow up contribution by Sotiris Vlachos
+ ‘Syriza, the Troika and the ironies’ by Michael Roberts (thenextrecession.wordpress.com)
+ A Comment on Michael’s Article by Pat Byrne (TSN Editor)

Read moreDebate: What Way Forward For Greece?

Debate: As the Greek Crisis Nears the End Game would a ‘Grexit’ Help or Hinder?

EPSON scanner imagePublished: 18 June 2015.
Author: Soteris Vlachos.
Intro by: TSN Editor.

The long and torturous negotiations between the Syriza-led Government and the IMF and EU institutions are now drawing to a close. Unless a last-minute compromise emerges, it would appear that the prospect of a deal has broken down and that the next six weeks will see crisis measures forced upon the government of Greece. In this situation there is an intensifying debate among the Greek Left on whether to Exit from the Euro. Below is a contribution to the debate from a Cypriot comrade who is a member of Socialist Expression, a group affiliated to The Socialist Network. It is part of ongoing debate we have been organising on this website – see ‘Debate: What Way Forward for Greece?‘ for earlier material.

The Case Against a ?Grexit?

Exiting the Euro is not the way out for the Greek economy or its people.

In these years of austerity Europe found itself in the worst economic position since the end of the 2nd World War. In Greece this policy has caused an economic catastrophe similar to the one that the crash of 1929 inflicted on the United States.

Read moreDebate: As the Greek Crisis Nears the End Game would a ‘Grexit’ Help or Hinder?

Is There a Economic Bubble in China About to Burst?

urlPublished: 15 June 2015
Author: Michael Roberts

China announced a cut in its benchmark interest rate to just over 5%. This was the third rate cut since last November. The government is clearly worried that the powerhouse Chinese economy is slowing down so much that it is threatening its ability to provide enough jobs and incomes for the people still flooding into the teeming cities. A failure to deliver on growth and jobs would put into jeopardy the rule of the Chinese elite.

China?s economy is now growing at its slowest rate since the end of the global financial crisis and the great recession in 2009. On official figures, first-quarter growth has slowed to 7% year on year from 7.3% last quarter, and most unofficial estimates reckon growth is really even slower. And it used to be a benchmark that China had to grow at 8% a year to absorb the expansion of the labour force from rural areas into the factories and cities. For behind China?s impressive economic rise has been the biggest human migration in history. By 2013, some 269 million rural residents had become migrant workers in cities, offering cheap labour and sustaining urban growth.

Read moreIs There a Economic Bubble in China About to Burst?

Video: The Thinking Behind ’21st Century Socialism’ is Evolving in a Positive Direction

Published: 12 June 2015
Interviewee: Marta Harnecker

Marta Harnecker is a well-known figure on the Latin American Left, first becoming active in the Chilean struggle under Allende?s left-wing government in the early 1970s. Since based in Cuba, Marta has played a significant role in many left-wing movements in the continent including as an adviser to Chavez?s government in Venezuela and a supporter of the struggles around Morales in Bolivia. Author of over 60 books, her most recent ? A World To Build ? demonstrates that she is moving towards a more participatory vision of socialism especially with regard to state institutions in a socialist society.
?Here she is interviewed by Greg Wilpert (a commentator coming from an anarchist tradition) who is based in Caracas and a mainstay of the excellent venezuelanalysis.com which provides in-depth news and supportive yet critical opinion about the Venezuelan revolution.

World Economic Outlook: Bubbles, Profits & Debt ? Look Out!

Stock market bubblePublished: 5 June 2015
Author: Michael Roberts

Stock markets in the major economies continue to hit new highs. At the same time, economic growth in the major economies is either slowing down or already at a relatively low level. The UN now forecasts that the global economy, including fast-growing India and high rate China, will expand in real terms (after inflation) by just 2.8% this year. Thus the UN joins the IMF and the World Bank in reducing its growth forecast for this year to around 3% for the world.

And in its semi-annual economic outlook released this week, the OECD has also reduced its forecast for global economic growth. It warned that weak investment and disappointing productivity growth risk keeping the world economy stuck in a ?low-level? equilibrium.

Read moreWorld Economic Outlook: Bubbles, Profits & Debt ? Look Out!