Archives‎ > ‎

Syriza capitulates to Troika; Golden Dawn is next

Syriza capitulates to Troika; Golden Dawn is next

(1) Syriza gives in to EU pressure re Sanctions on Russia
(2) Syriza capitulates ton Debt; "It chose capitalism and it will be
swept away by fascists". Golden Dawn is next.
(3) Syriza rebels, led by Mariolos Glezos, accuse leaders of Betrayal
(4) Syriza MEP Manolis Glezos calls on Greeks to rise up against Syriza
(5) Neoliberalism, the Killing Plague. Greece could look to Russia -
Peter Koenig
(6) Yanis Varoufakis says he's committed to Eurozone, to keep Golden
Dawn fascists at bay

(1) Syriza gives in to EU pressure re Sanctions on Russia

From: Willem Wolters <>
Subject: EU wins Greek backing to extend Russia sanctions, delays
decision on new steps | Reuters
Date: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 11:12:28 +0100


The latest news is that Greece does support the EU sanctions against
Russia. Apparently the new Syriza government could not resist the EU
pressure and gave in.

Willem Wolters, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

EU wins Greek backing to extend Russia sanctions, delays decision on new


BRUSSELS/KIEV Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:32pm EST

(Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers extended existing sanctions
against Russia on Thursday, holding off on tighter economic measures for
now but winning the support of the new left-leaning government of
Greece, whose position had been in doubt.

The ministers agreed to extend until September travel bans and asset
freezes imposed last year that had been due to expire. They also agreed
to list the names of additional people who could be targeted with
sanctions when they meet again on Feb. 9.

They dropped language, however, about drawing up "further restrictive
measures" that had appeared in a pre-meeting draft. The bloc's foreign
policy chief said a decision on such measures would be left to EU
leaders meeting next month. [...]

The run-up to the Brussels talks was dominated by Greece, whose new
prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, took power on Monday and complained that
his government had not been consulted before tighter sanctions were

But at the meeting, colleagues said new foreign minister Nikos Kotzias
had swiftly dispelled suggestions that Greece would automatically
torpedo any sanctions effort.

According to Italy's foreign minister, Kotzias announced to the meeting:
"I am not a Russian puppet."

He signed up to a sharply worded statement that declared Moscow
responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine and demanded it halt its
backing for the separatists.


While the Greeks did call for the decision on tighter sanctions to be
delayed, they were not alone: other countries such as Italy and Austria
also favored a delay, diplomats said, while Britain and the Baltic
states wanted a clearer commitment to imposing new sanctions quickly.

"We are not against every sanction," Kotzias said later. "We are in the
mainstream, we are not the bad boys."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed frustration
with the ambiguity of the Greek position before the talks: "It is no
secret that the new stance of the Greek government has not made today's
debate any easier," he said. After he met Kotzias in private, German
officials said he was less concerned. [...]

Tsipras has not made his position on Ukraine clear in public. His Syriza
party has its roots in leftist movements, some of which were sympathetic
to Moscow during the Cold War, and Russia's ambassador was the first
foreign official Tsipras met after taking office on Monday.

But Greece has also long treasured its membership of the Western NATO
alliance. It shares Orthodox Christianity with both Russia and Ukraine,
and many Greeks sympathize with both countries.

(2) Syriza capitulates ton Debt; "It chose capitalism and it will be
swept away by fascists". Golden Dawn is next.

A view from Athens: why the left shouldn't put all its faith in Syriza

A Greek schoolteacher describes the response in Greece to Syriza's
victory, and warns the European left to look closer at the triumphant
party's "peculiar socialism".


On 25 January, Syriza, the left-wing party of Alexis Tsipras, won the
national elections. That evening, my friend “Karma” (his nickname), a
Greek-American living in Athens, sent me this text message: “I went
downtown for the victory speech, and was blown away. We’re NOT in Kansas
any more! No more Carmina Burana: they played Pink Floyd, The Clash,
Bella Ciao, Springsteen and Patti Smith!”

I texted Karma back, saying how glad I was, but also expressed my fears
Syriza, an acronym that means “Coalition of the Radical Left”, would
backpedal on its pre-election promises. “Yup,” my friend soon replied.
“We’re all hoping for the best but Syriza’s proclaimed goal is not to
overthrow the status quo. Instead, it wants to bargain for a kinder,
gentler form of impalement.”

Ours were minority views. In the week immediately following the victory,
most people on the left rejoiced that better days had finally arrived
for long-suffering Greece. By contrast, those with right-of-centre
sympathies sounded the alarm that the new government would tax
businesses into oblivion (many even cried: “They’ll take our houses from
us!”) and that the country would unceremoniously be kicked out of the
European Union.

Similarly outside Greece: socialist voters across Europe are looking to
Syriza to provide hope in a continent with more than its fair share of
right-wing governments. For right-wingers, however, the pre-election
promises made to the Greek people by Tsipras are socialist, even
extremist – a view projected by Angela Merkel in Berlin and the troika
in Brussels and New York.

There are many things progressive people find endearing about Syriza and
its leaders. Like their vows to support the numerous grassroots
initiatives that have sprung up since 2010, when the troika put the
screws on Greece: soup kitchens, supermarket baskets where people can
donate canned food, various socialist Craigslists offering all manner of
goods and services free of charge. The laid-back dress code of Syriza
ministers has also been praised here, as has their refusal to travel
first class, or accept perks the ministers of previous governments
enjoyed, including limos, chauffeurs and bodyguards.

Syriza came to power on the pledge that it would renounce the country’s
?327bn debt, kick out the troika bailiffs and put an end to austerity
that has plagued the country for the last five years. Ever since 25
January, the government has pledged to stop taxing the very poor,
prohibit the confiscation of homes by banks, halt the privatisation of
two ports in Greece, increase the minimum wage and rehire some public
sector workers.

A wonderful, fresh new wind is blowing here. Just the other day, upon
returning to his office in the parliament building from a lightning trip
to Berlin to argue for kinder, gentler treatment, Prime Minister Tsipras
found an envelope on his desk with ?550 in it – reimbursement for his
airline ticket. “What’s this?” he asked his aides. When told, he
returned the cash to the government’s coffers and instructed his people
to put an end to such practices.

Many in Greece are equally impressed with Minister of Finance Yannis
Varoufakis. Last week, a liberal blogger spotted him at 1.30am, walking
alone on Amalias Avenue near Syntagma Square, pulling a wheeled travel
bag and talking on his hands-free kit. Social media immediately caught
fire: “Be careful Yannis, we don’t have many like you!” and “What are
you doing late at night with no security, man? Remember, you are our
Minister of Finance!”

Everyone here knows Varoufakis is the scion of an extremely wealthy
family (his father was president of Halivourgiki, Greece’s
second-largest steel producer). Few hold his background against him.
After all, as one blogger noted, “history is full of examples of rich
people who betrayed their class and sided with the less fortunate, and
Varoufakis has described himself as a Marxist.”

But let’s give Syriza a closer look. The first question that’s on the
lips of many on the left is why it chose ANEL, or the Party of
Independent Greeks, for its junior partner in government. ANEL includes
extreme right-wingers, with some members having been accused of making
anti-Semitic statements and expressing a wish for immigants in Greece to
“go back to their own countries”. Equally bizarre is Tsipras’ choice of
Panagiotis Pavlopoulos for President of the Republic, announced on 17
February, a center-right politician who served as Interior Minister
between 2004 and 2009.

The odd make-up of the government is reflected in the way the ministers
dress. While many refuse to wear ties, and some don’t even tuck their
shirts in, others don three-piece suits.

Varoufakis has been shuttling back and forth between Athens, Berlin and
Brussels, hands cupped asking for money. He’s prompted a great deal of
speculation about his untucked shirt and lack of a tie. The Cuban
revolutionaries wore combat fatigues, which was fine because they told
all their creditors to buzz off. That made sense. This does not.

Syriza swept to power on Greek nationalist and anti-German rhetoric. How
progressive is that? Not to mention that its demands – though laudable –
are actually quite modest. All these self-described “radical leftists”
have put on the European table is the request to spend less on interest
and more on things like healthcare and aid to the destitute. Great
stuff, but it isn’t socialism. If it is, then Barack Obama is a
socialist too.

For the past three years, Varoufakis has spoken to diverse audiences
ranging from anti-austerity demonstrators in Athens’ Syntagma Square,
staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Green parliamentarians in
the European parliament, Bloomberg analysts in London and New York, the
House of Commons in London, and hedge funds in Manhattan and London’s
City. The one group he has not spoken to are simple working people. This
is odd, to say the least, for a self-proclaimed Marxist, even an erratic

He also adopted Merkelist propaganda in a recent interview addressed to
the German public, when he said they, “paid so much money to Greeks”.
Quite the contrary, no money came to the Greek people; instead it went
to usurers and the bankocracy. The average Greek, whose monthly income
is well below that of most Europeans, was – and still is – compelled to
pay interest rates needed to service loans that save no one but German,
French, US, Chinese, and – yes – Greek bankers. Personally, my wife and
I, who are fortunate enough to have jobs (we are both teachers) have
been driven to the wall by all sorts of new taxes we can’t afford to
pay. Our two young children have long ago become accustomed to the fact
that their parents can’t buy them new clothes, or toys, or even go out
once in a while to a restaurant together.

Many people who are to the left of Syriza – the KKE, or Communist Party
of Greece, and Antarsia (this acronym spells “rebellion”), a
conglomeration of Trotskyists and other extreme Marxists – are highly
critical of Varoufakis’ declarations that he does not want to replace
capitalism with socialism. By his own admission, he is embarking upon a
campaign for stabilizing the European socio-economic system to avoid the
ascendency of right-wing Golden Dawn racist fanatics. He says he is
adamantly against the disintegration of the Eurozone. His critics to the
left accuse him of practising a modern-day form of appeasement. They
argue that fascism is born of capitalism in crisis and that you can’t
save the system from the fascists because fascists aren’t
anti-capitalists and pose no threat to capitalism.

Greece’s Minister of Finance has surprised supporters by saying he wants
alliances “even with right-wingers”. He describes as “genuinely radical”
his pursuit of a “modest agenda for stabilising a system that I
despise”, and admits to “running the risk of surreptitiously lessening
the sadness from ditching any hope of replacing capitalism in my
lifetime by indulging a feeling of having become agreeable to the
circles of polite society”.

Not surprisingly, many to the left of Syriza, but also increasing voices
from within the party, bemoan the fact that an increasing number of
mega-capitalists have recently come forward to say they support Tsipras’
new government – people like shipping and steel magnate George
Angelopoulos and petroleum and banking tycoon Spiros Latsis.

Varoufakis claims he wants to save capitalism for “strategic purposes”,
from itself. Nowhere does he mention what he, Tsipras and Syriza intend
to do once they have “saved” capitalism. How sweet this must all sound
to big businessmen and bankers in Athens, London, Berlin, Paris, Madrid
and New York.

Will the new government in Athens move dynamically against Berlin and
Brussels? Strange as it sounds, if Syriza has the guts to do so, it will
have the support of the ultra-nationalist bigots. This in turn will
blunt the neo-Nazis and sharpen the left. If Tsipras’ government does
not, the cannibals will return with a vengeance once it falls.

Is the real dilemma between capitalism and fascism, as Varoufakis
suggests? Or does Greece, indeed the planet, desperately need a more
humane, reasonable and responsible way of managing its human and natural

Many people here are praying Syriza has opened a door no one can shut;
they hope the new government in Athens will infect Europe with a new
democratic ethos that will wipe away the unfair trade relations between
southern Europe and the stronger powers in Berlin and Paris. But how
will this alter the reality that the world is in a deep depression? How
will this save us all from the sight of the smoke of our world burning,
from another world war, or – which is more likely – a move towards a
new, modern form of feudalism?

My friend Karma texted me yesterday: “Syriza,” he said, “was given the
choice between capitalism and socialism. It chose capitalism and it will
be swept away by fascists.” His words of wisdom confirmed to me I’d
voted the right way in January. It had crossed my mind to cast my ballot
for Syriza, but when I walked into the polling station (the local
primary school), I was set on either Antarsia or the KKE. In the end, I
chose the Communist Party for the simple reason that despite its
conservative, self-serving and sluggish leadership, this is the only
party in Greece with legions of simple working people in it, people who
are disciplined and operate as a cohesive group. Who else will stand up
effectively to the barbarians of Golden Dawn?

(3) Syriza rebels, led by Mariolos Glezos, accuse leaders of Betrayal

From: "Tom Mysiewicz [shamireaders]"
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 10:49:09 -0800
Subject: [shamireaders] Fw: [New post] OXI! SAYS MANIOLIS GLEZOS TO

NOTE: Most of the “Greek Debt” was incurred through bailing out private
“too big to fail” banking institutions after 2008. As such (like the
“Irish debt”) it should be repudiated. Tspiras and Varoufakis pulled a
fast one in the loan extension—they accepted the legitimacy of the debt.
Since they were a new government elected to repudiate the debt they were
given an opportunity to do so and waived it. Is it any wonder now as to
why Golden Dawn was jailed before the election? Perhaps the next Greek
government will exercise its right to repudiate the 90% of Greek debt
that is private-bank-bailout related.

Good analysis in the following article from Austria.

Oxi! says Maniolis Glezos to Bailout Betrayal. No!

by Jane Burgermeister

February 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm

The betrayal of the newly-minted Greek Prime Minister and Syriza leader
Alexis Tspiras and his side kick, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has
been complete.

One month after being elected to stop the Troika and banker-imposed
austerity, controlled opposition Tspiras and Varoufakis agreed to
continue the very same policies of debt enslavement with only minor
adjustments in a deal Brussels.

The theatrical negotiations were all in a days work for the pair of
actors and media darlings Tspiras and Varoufakis. Only now the Greek
people do not have time to hang around wait. They need relief from the
crushing debt burden today.

After pretending to go through painful and difficult negotiations, the
duo of Tspiras and Varoufakis thought up the ruse of renaming the
"Troika" as "Institutions" before they signed the new bailout deal with
a flourish on Friday. It is difficult to see how the Rock Stars -- as
they are called by the mainstream media -- could have thought the Greek
people would not notice the two words dented exactly the same thing. A
call to friends in the media to publish high fake poll ratings may have
seemed an easy option to cushion the drop in public support. Remember
German newspaper Bild's obviously fake poll ratings during the
Guttenberg plagiarism scandal?

But things have turned out differently.The fact is there is no support
for Tspiras and Varoufakis. They have no Rock Star appeal or charisma.
There is support for an end to austerity. If Tspiras and Varoufakis do
not deliver on their election promisses to end the banker debt slavery,
Tspiras and Varoufakis must go.

Syriza has started to revolt led by Mariolos Glezos.

After the shameless betrayal byTspiras and Varoufakis, Syriza must
should Manilos Glezos as their leader and constitute a new government.
An alternative to debt slavery in the crumbling eurozone is an exit. The
Drachma as a currency issued by the government can be the basis for
restoring prosperity if there are inflation controls and forgery proof
notes, as this blog has argued. The alternative to the Drachma is the
complete and utter impoverishment and, ultimately, extermination of the
Greek people.

(4) Syriza MEP Manolis Glezos calls on Greeks to rise up against Syriza

SYRIZA MEP Glezos Apologizes to Greek People for ‘Contributing to an

Manolis Glezos’ article is as follows

Renaming the Troika into “Institutions,” the Memorandum of Understanding
into “Agreement” and the lenders into “partners,” you do not change the
previous situations as in the case renaming “meat” to “fish.”

Of course, you cannot change the vote of the Greek people at the
elections of January 25, 2015.

The people voted in favor of what SYRIZA promised: to remove the
austerity which is not the only strategy of the oligarchic Germany and
the other EU countries, but also the strategy of the Greek oligarchy.

To remove the Memoranda and the Troika, abolish all laws of austerity.

The next day after the elections, we abolish per law the Troika and its

Now a month has passed and the promises have not turned into practice.

Pity. And pity, again.

On my part, I APOLOGIZE to the Greek people because I have contributed
to this illusion.

Before it is too late, though, we should react.

First of all, SYRIZA members, friends and supporters at all levels of
organizations should decide in extraordinary meetings whether they
accept this situation.

Some argue that to reach an agreement, you have to retreat. First: There
can be no compromise between the oppressor and oppressed. Between the
slave and the occupier the only solution is Freedom.

But even if we accept this absurdity, the concessions already made by
the previous pro-austerity governments in terms of unemployment,
austerity, poverty, suicides have gone beyond the limits.

Manolis Glezos, Brussels February 22, 2015

(5) Neoliberalism, the Killing Plague. Greece could look to Russia -
Peter Koenig

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 06:48:59 +0300
From: Debbie Menon <>

Greece has various options writes Peter Koenig.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a
former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the
fields of environment and water resources. He is the author of
Implosion: An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and
Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank
experience around the globe.

Greece — Syriza – Subservience to Neoliberalism – The Killing Plague
that Knows No Mercy?

by Peter Koenig

Global Research, February 24, 2015

To begin with, let’s be clear, neoliberalism is a criminal, murderous
plague that knows no mercy. Neoliberalism is the root of (almost) all
evil of the 21st Century. Neoliberalism is the cause for most current
wars, conflicts and civil strife around the globe. Neoliberalism is the
expression of abject greed for accumulation of resources by a few, for
which tens of millions of people have to die. Neoliberalism and its
feudal banking system, led by Wall Street and its intricate network of
international finance, steals public infrastructure, public safety nets
– public investments paid for by nations’ citizens – robs nations of
their resources (labor, physical resources above-and underground) – by
avid schemes of privatization, justified under the pretext of
‘structural reforms’ to ‘salvage’ poor but often resources-rich
countries from bankruptcy.

Rescue by structural reform or adjustment is synonymous with deceit.
Even IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, admitted that the model failed in
Greece, thereby admitting that the notion of ‘austerity’ for the poor as
a means for economic recovery is not working. – No news to most of us.

The neoliberal concept is no innovation of today. It was born in the
1930s in Europe as a response (sic) to the US depression of the 1930s.
It was initially thought of as a moderate form of giving the private
sector more liberty for initiatives and investments, while limiting
government control.

The concept was revamped after WWII in Washington rightwing think tanks
(sic), such as the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage
Foundation, Political Economy Research Centre and the like. In the UK
developing hard-core neoliberalism was mostly in the domain of the
Institute of Economic Affairs. Prominent, mostly Zionist ‘scholars’
elaborated the idea through the sixties and seventies into a market
fundamentalism which was launched in the 1980s in the United States
under President Reagan and in Europe under UK’s Prime Minister Thatcher.
The concept culminated in the so-called Washington Consensus in 1989,
depicting a series of ‘everything-goes’ market reform policies, to be
adopted by the Washington based financial institutions, World Bank, IDB,
IMF, FED, US Treasury.

Since then, neoliberalism has engulfed the world like brushfire. It
knows no boundaries. It is influencing world economies like no other
economic concept did before. If not by physical weapons and bloodletting
wars, neoliberalism is also devastating lives, causing misery,
destroying entire nations, by its financial instruments, chiefly
represented by the Bretton Woods institutions, World Bank and
International Monetary Fund – and lately also the European Central Bank
(ECB), the economic sledgehammer of the European Union’s 19 Eurozone
countries. The IMF, ECB and the European Commission (EC) have become
known as the infamous ‘troika’, the cause for economic strangulation of
the southern European nations – Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland – and
even Italy.

Case in point is Greece. Last Friday, 20 February, Greece’s newly
elected Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his Finance Minister, Yanis
Varoufakis, of Syriza, the alliance of so-called left-wing parties, went
through a marathon session of attempted negotiations with Brussels over
her ? 240 billion plus debt, due at the end of February 2015. They asked
for a 6-month extension without any strings attached, meaning – no more
socially debilitating austerity programs. Perhaps they were dreaming, or
simply not listening to the utter arrogant advance warnings of Brussels’
elitist neoliberal talking heads, especially Germany’s financial hawk,
Minister of Finance, Wolfgang Schäuble, and the ultra-neoliberal
chairman of the group of the 19 Eurozone finance chiefs, Jeroen

The latter said that Athens had given its “unequivocal commitment to
honour their financial obligations” to creditors, and he will hold her
to the promise. This commitment refers to Mr.Tsipras’ predecessor’s, Mr.
Alekos Alavanos, Letter of Agreement signed with the EU.

The result was predictable. Tsipras who campaigned under the radical but
noble stand of ‘no concessions’ to the lords of Brussels, and his
Finance Minister, caved in miserably. They did not get a six months
extension, but only 4 months – under the condition that Greece submits a
comprehensive list of reforms and reform mechanisms byMonday night, 23
February; basically the same list of austerity measures agreed upon by
Tsipras’ predecessor. Implementation of the reforms would be supervised
by the troika. At the outset, Tsipras-Varoufakis meekly accepted the EU

As James Petras puts it in “The Assassination of Greece”:

“Every major financial institution – the European Central Bank, the
European Commission and the IMF – toes the line: no dissent or deviation
is allowed. Greece must accept EU dictates or face major financial
reprisals. “Economic strangulation or perpetual debt peonage” is the
lesson which Brussels tends to all member states of the EU. While
ostensibly speaking to Greece – it is a message directed to all states,
opposition movements and trade unions who call into question the
dictates of the Brussels oligarchy and its Berlin overlords.”

During Friday, 20 February, while the financial marathon rambled on in
Brussels, one billion euros were withdrawn from Geek banks, in
anticipation of failed negotiations and possible expulsion of Greece
from the Eurozone – the so-called Grexit.

It is unclear how Tsipras-Varoufakis are going to explain the hapless
result brought back from Brussels to their electorate. It must remind
those who can still remember how Andreas Papandreou, member of the
Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party, elected as first PM after Greece was
admitted in 1980 to the EU, betrayed his constituency. He promised them
that Greece would exit NATO and the European Economic Community, that
Greece would develop her own economy with economic growth at her pace.
Soon after election he reneged on both promises. – Will the Greek people
buy the Tsipras-Varoufakis ‘explanations’ for not honoring Syriza’s
pre-election commitments?

Greece has various options. Tsipras-Varoufakis must know them. Perhaps
they keep them hidden away until “the last ditch” moment. To begin with,
they could have imposed and still can impose strict capital transfer
controls, to avoid the outflow of precious capital from Greek oligarchs,
capital that eventually is missing for rebuilding Greece’s economy and
would need to be replaced by new debt. Although, this is basically
against EU’s rule of free transfer of capital, Greece as a sovereign
country, can roll back its EU vassal status, take back its sovereignty
and do what every reasonable central bank would do in Greece’s situation
– impose capital transfer restrictions. After all, the Euro is also –
and still is – Greece’s currency.

The EU might not like it – nor would the Greek oligarchs – but it would
be a bold step in the right direction. And should it result in Jeroen
Dijsselbloem’s and Germany’s Wolfgang Schäuble’s boisterous threats of
‘sanctions’ – then so be it. – Why not call their bluff? – Submitting a
letter on Monday that says just that – we are happy to accept your
extension of 4 months, but are morally, socially and economically unable
to meet your conditions of austerity. Period.

The EU has no interest whatsoever in a Greek exit. In fact, they are
afraid of a Grexit, not only because of a potential default on the Greek
debt, but it could open a floodgate for other southern European
countries in distress to follow the Greek example. That would be the end
of the Euro as we know it. It might be the final blow to the dollar-euro
house of cards, house of casino money.

Tsipras–Varoufakis should stick to their promise – no more austerity
programs. No more privatizations of public property, no more cuts in
pensions and salaries; to the contrary, rolling back the cuts already
administered, bringing back decent life conditions to the Greek people,
gradually averting the illegal troika imposed misery.

Greece’s debt today stands at 175 % of her economic output. The best –
and only decent and socially as well as economically viable option – is
exiting the Eurozone by her own decision. Greece would be declared
bankrupt. The Anglo-Saxon rating agencies would be quick in down-grading
Greece financially to ‘junk’. The financial markets would shun her. No
more money, but utmost pressure to repay what they can. Greece would be
in the enviable position of negotiating debt repayment at HER own terms
– à la Argentina in 2001.

No country can be left to starve, especially when the debt was
contracted illegally or under coercion. International law allows
renegotiation of such contracts – contracts signed under pressure or by
corrupt governments.

Finally – or perhaps refreshingly – Greece could look east, to the
Russia-China alliance. Their assistance under much more reasonable
conditions is virtually assured. – Why insisting on following a defunct
predatory system, when there are new promising development potentials
looming on the horizon?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a
former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the
fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for
Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik News, the Voice of Russia / Ria
Novosti, TeleSur, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet
sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War,
Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts
and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

(6) Yanis Varoufakis says he's committed to Eurozone, to keep Golden
Dawn fascists at bay

Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 18:45:00 +0900
Subject: Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist | News | The
From: chris lancenet <>

Wednesday 18 February 2015 17.00 AEDT Last modified on Wednesday 18
February 2015 22.54 AEDT

Yanis Varoufakis: How I became an erratic Marxist

Before he entered politics, Yanis Varoufakis, the iconoclastic Greek
finance minister at the centre of the latest eurozone standoff, wrote
this searing account of European capitalism and and how the left can
learn from Marx’s mistakes

In 2008, capitalism had its second global spasm. The financial crisis
set off a chain reaction that pushed Europe into a downward spiral that
continues to this day. Europe’s present situation is not merely a threat
for workers, for the dispossessed, for the bankers, for social classes
or, indeed, nations. No, Europe’s current posture poses a threat to
civilisation as we know it.

If my prognosis is correct, and we are not facing just another cyclical
slump soon to be overcome, the question that arises for radicals is
this: should we welcome this crisis of European capitalism as an
opportunity to replace it with a better system? Or should we be so
worried about it as to embark upon a campaign for stabilising European

To me, the answer is clear. Europe’s crisis is far less likely to give
birth to a better alternative to capitalism than it is to unleash
dangerously regressive forces that have the capacity to cause a
humanitarian bloodbath, while extinguishing the hope for any progressive
moves for generations to come.

For this view I have been accused, by well-meaning radical voices, of
being “defeatist” and of trying to save an indefensible European
socioeconomic system. This criticism, I confess, hurts. And it hurts
because it contains more than a kernel of truth.

I share the view that this European Union is typified by a large
democratic deficit that, in combination with the denial of the faulty
architecture of its monetary union, has put Europe’s peoples on a path
to permanent recession. And I also bow to the criticism that I have
campaigned on an agenda founded on the assumption that the left was, and
remains, squarely defeated. I confess I would much rather be promoting a
radical agenda, the raison d’être of which is to replace European
capitalism with a different system.

Yet my aim here is to offer a window into my view of a repugnant
European capitalism whose implosion, despite its many ills, should be
avoided at all costs. It is a confession intended to convince radicals
that we have a contradictory mission: to arrest the freefall of European
capitalism in order to buy the time we need to formulate its alternative.

Why a Marxist?

When I chose the subject of my doctoral thesis, back in 1982, I
deliberately focused on a highly mathematical topic within which Marx’s
thought was irrelevant. When, later on, I embarked on an academic
career, as a lecturer in mainstream economics departments, the implicit
contract between myself and the departments that offered me lectureships
was that I would be teaching the type of economic theory that left no
room for Marx. In the late 1980s, I was hired by the University of
Sydney’s school of economics in order to keep out a leftwing candidate
(although I did not know this at the time). Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Karl Marx
was responsible for framing my perspective of the world we live in, from
my childhood to this day.’ Photograph: PA

After I returned to Greece in 2000, I threw my lot in with the future
prime minister George Papandreou, hoping to help stem the return to
power of a resurgent right wing that wanted to push Greece towards
xenophobia both domestically and in its foreign policy. As the whole
world now knows, Papandreou’s party not only failed to stem xenophobia
but, in the end, presided over the most virulent neoliberal
macroeconomic policies that spearheaded the eurozone’s so-called
bailouts thus, unwittingly, causing the return of Nazis to the streets
of Athens. Even though I resigned as Papandreou’s adviser early in 2006,
and turned into his government’s staunchest critic during his
mishandling of the post-2009 Greek implosion, my public interventions in
the debate on Greece and Europe have carried no whiff of Marxism.

Given all this, you may be puzzled to hear me call myself a Marxist.
But, in truth, Karl Marx was responsible for framing my perspective of
the world we live in, from my childhood to this day. This is not
something that I often volunteer to talk about in “polite society”
because the very mention of the M-word switches audiences off. But I
never deny it either. After a few years of addressing audiences with
whom I do not share an ideology, a need has crept up on me to talk about
Marx’s imprint on my thinking. To explain why, while an unapologetic
Marxist, I think it is important to resist him passionately in a variety
of ways. To be, in other words, erratic in one’s Marxism.

If my whole academic career largely ignored Marx, and my current policy
recommendations are impossible to describe as Marxist, why bring up my
Marxism now? The answer is simple: Even my non-Marxist economics was
guided by a mindset influenced by Marx.

A radical social theorist can challenge the economic mainstream in two
different ways, I always thought. One way is by means of immanent
criticism. To accept the mainstream’s axioms and then expose its
internal contradictions. To say: “I shall not contest your assumptions
but here is why your own conclusions do not logically flow on from
them.” This was, indeed, Marx’s method of undermining British political
economics. He accepted every axiom by Adam Smith and David Ricardo in
order to demonstrate that, in the context of their assumptions,
capitalism was a contradictory system. The second avenue that a radical
theorist can pursue is, of course, the construction of alternative
theories to those of the establishment, hoping that they will be taken

My view on this dilemma has always been that the powers that be are
never perturbed by theories that embark from assumptions different to
their own. The only thing that can destabilise and genuinely challenge
mainstream, neoclassical economists is the demonstration of the internal
inconsistency of their own models. It was for this reason that, from the
very beginning, I chose to delve into the guts of neoclassical theory
and to spend next to no energy trying to develop alternative, Marxist
models of capitalism. My reasons, I submit, were quite Marxist.

When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no
alternative but to fall back on Marxist tradition

When called upon to comment on the world we live in, I had no
alternative but to fall back on the Marxist tradition which had shaped
my thinking ever since my metallurgist father impressed upon me, when I
was still a child, the effect of technological innovation on the
historical process. How, for instance, the passage from the bronze age
to the iron age sped up history; how the discovery of steel greatly
accelerated historical time; and how silicon-based IT technologies are
fast-tracking socioeconomic and historical discontinuities.

My first encounter with Marx’s writings came very early in life, as a
result of the strange times I grew up in, with Greece exiting the
nightmare of the neofascist dictatorship of 1967-74. What caught my eye
was Marx’s mesmerising gift for writing a dramatic script for human
history, indeed for human damnation, that was also laced with the
possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.

Marx created a narrative populated by workers, capitalists, officials
and scientists who were history’s dramatis personae. They struggled to
harness reason and science in the context of empowering humanity while,
contrary to their intentions, unleashing demonic forces that usurped and
subverted their own freedom and humanity.

This dialectical perspective, where everything is pregnant with its
opposite, and the eager eye with which Marx discerned the potential for
change in what seemed to be the most unchanging of social structures,
helped me to grasp the great contradictions of the capitalist era. It
dissolved the paradox of an age that generated the most remarkable
wealth and, in the same breath, the most conspicuous poverty. Today,
turning to the European crisis, the crisis in the United States and the
long-term stagnation of Japanese capitalism, most commentators fail to
appreciate the dialectical process under their nose. They recognise the
mountain of debts and banking losses but neglect the opposite side of
the same coin: the mountain of idle savings that are “frozen” by fear
and thus fail to convert into productive investments. A Marxist
alertness to binary oppositions might have opened their eyes.

A major reason why established opinion fails to come to terms with
contemporary reality is that it never understood the dialectically tense
“joint production” of debts and surpluses, of growth and unemployment,
of wealth and poverty, indeed of good and evil. Marx’s script alerted us
these binary oppositions as the sources of history’s cunning.

 From my first steps of thinking like an economist, to this very day, it
occurred to me that Marx had made a discovery that must remain at the
heart of any useful analysis of capitalism. It was the discovery of
another binary opposition deep within human labour. Between labour’s two
quite different natures: i) labour as a value-creating activity that can
never be quantified in advance (and is therefore impossible to
commodify), and ii) labour as a quantity (eg, numbers of hours worked)
that is for sale and comes at a price. That is what distinguishes labour
from other productive inputs such as electricity: its twin,
contradictory, nature. A differentiation-cum-contradiction that
political economics neglected to make before Marx came along and that
mainstream economics is steadfastly refusing to acknowledge today.

Both electricity and labour can be thought of as commodities. Indeed,
both employers and workers struggle to commodify labour. Employers use
all their ingenuity, and that of their HR management minions, to
quantify, measure and homogenise labour. Meanwhile, prospective
employees go through the wringer in an anxious attempt to commodify
their labour power, to write and rewrite their CVs in order to portray
themselves as purveyors of quantifiable labour units. And there’s the
rub. If workers and employers ever succeed in commodifying labour fully,
capitalism will perish. This is an insight without which capitalism’s
tendency to generate crises can never be fully grasped and, also, an
insight that no one has access to without some exposure to Marx’s thought.

Science fiction becomes documentary

In the classic 1953 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the alien force
does not attack us head on, unlike in, say, HG Wells’s The War of the
Worlds. Instead, people are taken over from within, until nothing is
left of their human spirit and emotions. Their bodies are shells that
used to contain a free will and which now labour, go through the motions
of everyday “life”, and function as human simulacra “liberated” from the
unquantifiable essence of human nature. This is something like what
would have transpired if human labour had become perfectly reducible to
human capital and thus fit for insertion into the vulgar economists’
models. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Photograph: SNAP/REX

Every non-Marxist economic theory that treats human and non-human
productive inputs as interchangeable assumes that the dehumanisation of
human labour is complete. But if it could ever be completed, the result
would be the end of capitalism as a system capable of creating and
distributing value. For a start, a society of dehumanised automata would
resemble a mechanical watch full of cogs and springs, each with its own
unique function, together producing a “good”: timekeeping. Yet if that
society contained nothing but other automata, timekeeping would not be a
“good”. It would certainly be an “output” but why a “good”? Without real
humans to experience the clock’s function, there can be no such thing as
“good” or “bad”.

If capital ever succeeds in quantifying, and subsequently fully
commodifying, labour, as it is constantly trying to, it will also
squeeze that indeterminate, recalcitrant human freedom from within
labour that allows for the generation of value. Marx’s brilliant insight
into the essence of capitalist crises was precisely this: the greater
capitalism’s success in turning labour into a commodity the less the
value of each unit of output it generates, the lower the profit rate
and, ultimately, the nearer the next recession of the economy as a
system. The portrayal of human freedom as an economic category is unique
in Marx, making possible a distinctively dramatic and analytically
astute interpretation of capitalism’s propensity to snatch recession,
even depression, from the jaws of growth.

When Marx was writing that labour is the living, form-giving fire; the
transitoriness of things; their temporality; he was making the greatest
contribution any economist has ever made to our understanding of the
acute contradiction buried inside capitalism’s DNA. When he portrayed
capital as a “… force we must submit to … it develops a cosmopolitan,
universal energy which breaks through every limit and every bond and
posts itself as the only policy, the only universality the only limit
and the only bond”, he was highlighting the reality that labour can be
purchased by liquid capital (ie money), in its commodity form, but that
it will always carry with it a will hostile to the capitalist buyer. But
Marx was not just making a psychological, philosophical or political
statement. He was, rather, supplying a remarkable analysis of why the
moment that labour (as an unquantifiable activity) sheds this hostility,
it becomes sterile, incapable of producing value.

At a time when neoliberals have ensnared the majority in their
theoretical tentacles, incessantly regurgitating the ideology of
enhancing labour productivity in an effort to enhance competitiveness
with a view to creating growth etc, Marx’s analysis offers a powerful
antidote. Capital can never win in its struggle to turn labour into an
infinitely elastic, mechanised input, without destroying itself. That is
what neither the neoliberals nor the Keynesians will ever grasp. “If the
whole class of the wage-labourer were to be annihilated by machinery”,
wrote Marx “how terrible that would be for capital, which, without
wage-labour, ceases to be capital!”

What has Marx done for us?

Almost all schools of thought, including those of some progressive
economists, like to pretend that, though Marx was a powerful figure,
very little of his contribution remains relevant today. I beg to differ.
Besides having captured the basic drama of capitalist dynamics, Marx has
given me the tools with which to become immune to the toxic propaganda
of neoliberalism. For example, the idea that wealth is privately
produced and then appropriated by a quasi-illegitimate state, through
taxation, is easy to succumb to if one has not been exposed first to
Marx’s poignant argument that precisely the opposite applies: wealth is
collectively produced and then privately appropriated through social
relations of production and property rights that rely, for their
reproduction, almost exclusively on false consciousness.

In his recent book Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste, the historian
of economic thought, Philip Mirowski, has highlighted the neoliberals’
success in convincing a large array of people that markets are not just
a useful means to an end but also an end in themselves. According to
this view, while collective action and public institutions are never
able to “get it right”, the unfettered operations of decentralised
private interest are guaranteed to produce not only the right outcomes
but also the right desires, character, ethos even. The best example of
this form of neoliberal crassness is, of course, the debate on how to
deal with climate change. Neoliberals have rushed in to argue that, if
anything is to be done, it must take the form of creating a quasi-market
for “bads” (eg an emissions trading scheme), since only markets “know”
how to price goods and bads appropriately. To understand why such a
quasi-market solution is bound to fail and, more importantly, where the
motivation comes from for such “solutions”, one can do much worse than
to become acquainted with the logic of capital accumulation that Marx
outlined and the Polish economist Michal Kalecki adapted to a world
ruled by networked oligopolies. Neoliberals have rushed in with
quasi-market responses to climate change, such as emissions trading
schemes. Photograph: Jon Woo/Reuters

In the 20th century, the two political movements that sought their roots
in Marx’s thought were the communist and social democratic parties. Both
of them, in addition to their other errors (and, indeed, crimes) failed,
to their detriment, to follow Marx’s lead in a crucial regard: instead
of embracing liberty and rationality as their rallying cries and
organising concepts, they opted for equality and justice, bequeathing
the concept of freedom to the neoliberals. Marx was adamant: The problem
with capitalism is not that it is unfair but that it is irrational, as
it habitually condemns whole generations to deprivation and unemployment
and even turns capitalists into angst-ridden automata, living in
permanent fear that unless they commodify their fellow humans fully so
as to serve capital accumulation more efficiently, they will cease to be
capitalists. So, if capitalism appears unjust this is because it
enslaves everyone; it wastes human and natural resources; the same
production line that pumps out remarkable gizmos and untold wealth, also
produces deep unhappiness and crises.

Having failed to couch a critique of capitalism in terms of freedom and
rationality, as Marx thought essential, social democracy and the left in
general allowed the neoliberals to usurp the mantle of freedom and to
win a spectacular triumph in the contest of ideologies.

Perhaps the most significant dimension of the neoliberal triumph is what
has come to be known as the “democratic deficit”. Rivers of crocodile
tears have flowed over the decline of our great democracies during the
past three decades of financialisation and globalisation. Marx would
have laughed long and hard at those who seem surprised, or upset, by the
“democratic deficit”. What was the great objective behind 19th-century
liberalism? It was, as Marx never tired of pointing out, to separate the
economic sphere from the political sphere and to confine politics to the
latter while leaving the economic sphere to capital. It is liberalism’s
splendid success in achieving this long-held goal that we are now
observing. Take a look at South Africa today, more than two decades
after Nelson Mandela was freed and the political sphere, at long last,
embraced the whole population. The ANC’s predicament was that, in order
to be allowed to dominate the political sphere, it had to give up power
over the economic one. And if you think otherwise, I suggest that you
talk to the dozens of miners gunned down by armed guards paid by their
employers after they dared demand a wage rise.

Why erratic?

Having explained why I owe whatever understanding of our social world I
may possess largely to Karl Marx, I now want to explain why I remain
terribly angry with him. In other words, I shall outline why I am by
choice an erratic, inconsistent Marxist. Marx committed two spectacular
mistakes, one of them an error of omission, the other one of commission.
Even today, these mistakes still hamper the left’s effectiveness,
especially in Europe.

Marx’s first error – the error of omission was that he failed to give
sufficient thought to the impact of his own theorising on the world that
he was theorising about. His theory is discursively exceptionally
powerful, and Marx had a sense of its power. So how come he showed no
concern that his disciples, people with a better grasp of these powerful
ideas than the average worker, might use the power bestowed upon them,
via Marx’s own ideas, in order to abuse other comrades, to build their
own power base, to gain positions of influence?

Marx’s second error, the one I ascribe to commission, was worse. It was
his assumption that truth about capitalism could be discovered in the
mathematics of his models. This was the worst disservice he could have
delivered to his own theoretical system. The man who equipped us with
human freedom as a first-order economic concept; the scholar who
elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political
economics; he was the same person who ended up toying around with
simplistic algebraic models, in which labour units were, naturally,
fully quantified, hoping against hope to evince from these equations
some additional insights about capitalism. After his death, Marxist
economists wasted long careers indulging a similar type of scholastic
mechanism. Fully immersed in irrelevant debates on “the transformation
problem” and what to do about it, they eventually became an almost
extinct species, as the neoliberal juggernaut crushed all dissent in its

How could Marx be so deluded? Why did he not recognise that no truth
about capitalism can ever spring out of any mathematical model, however
brilliant the modeller may be? Did he not have the intellectual tools to
realise that capitalist dynamics spring from the unquantifiable part of
human labour; ie from a variable that can never be well-defined
mathematically? Of course he did, since he forged these tools! No, the
reason for his error is a little more sinister: just like the vulgar
economists that he so brilliantly admonished (and who continue to
dominate the departments of economics today), he coveted the power that
mathematical “proof” afforded him.

Why did Marx not recognise that no truth about capitalism can ever
spring out of any mathematical model?

If I am right, Marx knew what he was doing. He understood, or had the
capacity to know, that a comprehensive theory of value cannot be
accommodated within a mathematical model of a dynamic capitalist
economy. He was, I have no doubt, aware that a proper economic theory
must respect the idea that the rules of the undetermined are themselves
undetermined. In economic terms this meant a recognition that the market
power, and thus the profitability, of capitalists was not necessarily
reducible to their capacity to extract labour from employees; that some
capitalists can extract more from a given pool of labour or from a given
community of consumers for reasons that are external to Marx’s own theory.

Alas, that recognition would be tantamount to accepting that his “laws”
were not immutable. He would have to concede to competing voices in the
trades union movement that his theory was indeterminate and, therefore,
that his pronouncements could not be uniquely and unambiguously correct.
That they were permanently provisional. This determination to have the
complete, closed story, or model, the final word, is something I cannot
forgive Marx for. It proved, after all, responsible for a great deal of
error and, more significantly, authoritarianism. Errors and
authoritarianism that are largely responsible for the left’s current
impotence as a force of good and as a check on the abuses of reason and
liberty that the neoliberal crew are overseeing today.

Mrs Thatcher’s lesson

I moved to England to attend university in September 1978, six months or
so before Margaret Thatcher’s victory changed Britain forever. Watching
the Labour government disintegrate, under the weight of its degenerate
social democratic programme, led me to a serious error: to the thought
that Thatcher’s victory could be a good thing, delivering to Britain’s
working and middle classes the short, sharp shock necessary to
reinvigorate progressive politics; to give the left a chance to create a
fresh, radical agenda for a new type of effective, progressive politics.

Even as unemployment doubled and then trebled, under Thatcher’s radical
neoliberal interventions, I continued to harbour hope that Lenin was
right: “Things have to get worse before they get better.” As life became
nastier, more brutish and, for many, shorter, it occurred to me that I
was tragically in error: things could get worse in perpetuity, without
ever getting better. The hope that the deterioration of public goods,
the diminution of the lives of the majority, the spread of deprivation
to every corner of the land would, automatically, lead to a renaissance
of the left was just that: hope.

The reality was, however, painfully different. With every turn of the
recession’s screw, the left became more introverted, less capable of
producing a convincing progressive agenda and, meanwhile, the working
class was being divided between those who dropped out of society and
those co-opted into the neoliberal mindset. My hope that Thatcher would
inadvertently bring about a new political revolution was well and truly
bogus. All that sprang out of Thatcherism were extreme financialisation,
the triumph of the shopping mall over the corner store, the
fetishisation of housing and Tony Blair. Margaret Thatcher at the
Conservative party conference in 1982. Photograph: Nils Jorgensen/Rex

Instead of radicalising British society, the recession that Thatcher’s
government so carefully engineered, as part of its class war against
organised labour and against the public institutions of social security
and redistribution that had been established after the war, permanently
destroyed the very possibility of radical, progressive politics in
Britain. Indeed, it rendered impossible the very notion of values that
transcended what the market determined as the “right” price.

The lesson Thatcher taught me about the capacity of a long?lasting
recession to undermine progressive politics, is one that I carry with me
into today’s European crisis. It is, indeed, the most important
determinant of my stance in relation to the crisis. It is the reason I
am happy to confess to the sin I am accused of by some of my critics on
the left: the sin of choosing not to propose radical political programs
that seek to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to overthrow European
capitalism, to dismantle the awful eurozone, and to undermine the
European Union of the cartels and the bankrupt bankers.

Yes, I would love to put forward such a radical agenda. But, no, I am
not prepared to commit the same error twice. What good did we achieve in
Britain in the early 1980s by promoting an agenda of socialist change
that British society scorned while falling headlong into Thatcher’s
neoliberal trap? Precisely none. What good will it do today to call for
a dismantling of the eurozone, of the European Union itself, when
European capitalism is doing its utmost to undermine the eurozone, the
European Union, indeed itself?

A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the eurozone would soon
lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously
recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps,
while the rest of Europe is would be in the grip of vicious stagflation.
Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive
left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public
institutions? Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the
xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the
two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone.

I, for one, am not prepared to blow fresh wind into the sails of this
postmodern version of the 1930s. If this means that it is we, the
suitably erratic Marxists, who must try to save European capitalism from
itself, so be it. Not out of love for European capitalism, for the
eurozone, for Brussels, or for the European Central Bank, but just
because we want to minimise the unnecessary human toll from this crisis.

What should Marxists do?

Europe’s elites are behaving today as if they understand neither the
nature of the crisis that they are presiding over, nor its implications
for the future of European civilisation. Atavistically, they are
choosing to plunder the diminishing stocks of the weak and the
dispossessed in order to plug the gaping holes of the financial sector,
refusing to come to terms with the unsustainability of the task.

Yet with Europe’s elites deep in denial and disarray, the left must
admit that we are just not ready to plug the chasm that a collapse of
European capitalism would open up with a functioning socialist system.
Our task should then be twofold. First, to put forward an analysis of
the current state of play that non-Marxist, well meaning Europeans who
have been lured by the sirens of neoliberalism, find insightful. Second,
to follow this sound analysis up with proposals for stabilising Europe –
for ending the downward spiral that, in the end, reinforces only the bigots.

Let me now conclude with two confessions. First, while I am happy to
defend as genuinely radical the pursuit of a modest agenda for
stabilising a system that I criticise, I shall not pretend to be
enthusiastic about it. This may be what we must do, under the present
circumstances, but I am sad that I shall probably not be around to see a
more radical agenda being adopted.

Europe’s elites are behaving as if they understand neither the nature of
the crisis, nor its implications for the future

My final confession is of a highly personal nature: I know that I run
the risk of, surreptitiously, lessening the sadness from ditching any
hope of replacing capitalism in my lifetime by indulging a feeling of
having become agreeable to the circles of polite society. The sense of
self-satisfaction from being feted by the high and mighty did begin, on
occasion, to creep up on me. And what a non-radical, ugly, corruptive
and corrosive sense it was.

My personal nadir came at an airport. Some moneyed outfit had invited me
to give a keynote speech on the European crisis and had forked out the
ludicrous sum necessary to buy me a first-class ticket. On my way back
home, tired and with several flights under my belt, I was making my way
past the long queue of economy passengers, to get to my gate. Suddenly I
noticed, with horror, how easy it was for my mind to be infected with
the sense that I was entitled to bypass the hoi polloi. I realised how
readily I could forget that which my leftwing mind had always known:
that nothing succeeds in reproducing itself better than a false sense of
entitlement. Forging alliances with reactionary forces, as I think we
should do to stabilise Europe today, brings us up against the risk of
becoming co-opted, of shedding our radicalism through the warm glow of
having “arrived” in the corridors of power.

Radical confessions, like the one I have attempted here, are perhaps the
only programmatic antidote to ideological slippage that threatens to
turn us into cogs of the machine. If we are to forge alliances with our
political adversaries we must avoid becoming like the socialists who
failed to change the world but succeeded in improving their private
circumstances. The trick is to avoid the revolutionary maximalism that,
in the end, helps the neoliberals bypass all opposition to their
self-defeating policies and to retain in our sights capitalism’s
inherent failures while trying to save it, for strategic purposes, from

This article is adapted from a lecture originally delivered at the 6th
Subversive Festival in Zagreb in 2013

Follow the Long Read on Twitter: @gdnlongread

Evel Masten Economakis has been living in a town 25km east of Athens
since 2005. He teaches history, and also works in construction to
supplement his family's income. His wife is also a teacher, and he has
two children, aged 14 and ten

Peter Myers