Starry-eyed gushing over Syriza

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S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2015 02:50

Never met the man, but I believe you.

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Foristaruso
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Jul 14 2015 07:11

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Entdinglichung
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Jul 14 2015 09:00

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bakuninja
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Jul 14 2015 14:33

http://www.brooklynrail.org/2015/07/field-notes/changing-of-the-guard

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There is really no other way to explain the latest stage of “negotiations” than as a veritable piece of theatre, meant to convince both sides (and the public glued to the screens) that there is such a thing as a “negotiation”—even though its exact characteristics are somewhat slippery. The roles were interchangeable: sometimes it was Syriza who raised the flag of no-compromise; in another case, the “negotiations” were torpedoed by the IMF, which curiously echoed Syriza’s (long-abandoned) demand for a debt restructuring as a prerequisite for any deal. And when in May Syriza came up with a forty-seven page proposal officially declaring their will to continue with austerity, the negotiations collapsed after Eurogroup counter-proposals demanded further cuts at a level not ever demanded in the last five years of non-negotiated austerity. Notions like irrationality and absurdity were hard to keep contained.

boomerang
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Jul 15 2015 18:55

Thanks Joseph Kay and Pennoid for the explanations! smile

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Chilli Sauce
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Jul 14 2015 20:02
Joseph Kay wrote:
edit: crossed with Pennoid

boomerang wrote:
Can anyone give a quick summary explanation?

Best I've heard is:

  • In the 90s when the Euro was being planned, European banks heavily invested in Greek bonds.
  • They did this because they got returns on investments reflecting the risk on Greek Drachma bonds (higher risk, higher returns), but knew that since Greece was going to join the Euro, these were effectively as good as German securities.
  • This was compounded by the usual moral hazard - if the big banks fail, capitalism fails, so losses will generally be socialised.
  • Greece could keep doing what every growing economy does, paying off bonds as they came due with new bond issues.
  • Then the economic crisis hit, Greek growth stalled like it did everywhere else, and investors in Greek bonds (and other loans) stood to lose billions.
  • The holders of these securities were bailed out. This is known as 'the bailout of Greece', but 90% of the money went to European banks.
  • The associated conditionality has forced possibly the worst economic contraction of any developed capitalist state, making it even more impossible for Greece to repay the additional 'bailout' loans (which mostly never went to 'Greece' anyway).
  • So essentially financial profits are privatised, financial losses are socialised, and Greek pensioners, workers, unemployed people etc are being literally starved to do so.
  • There's also now a fuckton of additional vindictive and openly anti-(parliamentary) democracy conditions coming from the Troika (Eurogroup, the ECB, and the IMF) because Greece elected some soft leftist Keynesians and called a referendum.

Needless to say 'lazy Greeks' is bullshit propaganda; Greek working hours are among the longest in Europe, development indicators (malnutrition etc) are in free-fall, and the recipients of bailouts haven't been imaginary Greek workers living it up, but European financial institutions benefiting from moral hazard. But Germany (in particular) needs to spin this line domestically to sell its own policies of wage repression: 'Good German workers, we'd love to pay you more, but these feckless Greeks are taking all your hard-earned money, so we'll have to freeze your wages again!'

Blog post!

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Joseph Kay
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Jul 14 2015 20:41

I'm just summarising this: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/greece/2015-07-07/pain-athens and this: http://novaramedia.com/2015/07/oxi-crisis-in-greece/ tbh (and probably a few other things I've forgotten, but those are the main sources)

S. Artesian
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Jul 15 2015 00:02

This one's about the supposed "new agreement" and who's obligated to do what.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2015 02:44

I don't even know how to describe this one

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Jul 16 2015 03:12
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I just think capitalism gets worse without getting better.

That's how you can describe it.

Anti War
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Jul 19 2015 15:19

Of all the post-mortems on the Syriza debacle, the interview with Stathis Kouvelakis, a Syriza Central Committee member friendly to the UK’s SWP, is the most revealing.

In the interview he acknowledges that Syriza’s strategy really was to treat the negotiations like 'an academic conference' and that Syriza's ‘whole negotiation process by itself triggered passivity and anxiety among the people and the most combative sectors of society, leading them to exhaustion.’

For more on this, see my Libcom comments HERE

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Jul 19 2015 16:17

I don't think "acknowledge" is the right verb there as that would imply that he'd been denying it before.

This is from February 25, summing up the February 20 agreement with the "Institutions".

Stathis Kouvelakis wrote:
The answer is simple: what collapsed in the last two weeks is a specific strategic option that has underlaid the entire approach of SYRIZA, particularly after 2012: the strategy that excluded “unilateral moves” such as suspension of payments and, even more so, exit from the euro, and argued that:

Even in his first article in Jacobin, published the day after the January 25 election, he acknowledges that things might turn out very badly: After Syriza's Victory, Confrontation or Capitulation?

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Jul 21 2015 16:07
Joseph Kay wrote:
boomerang wrote:
Can anyone give a quick summary explanation?

Best I've heard is:

  • In the 90s when the Euro was being planned, European banks heavily invested in Greek bonds.
  • They did this because they got returns on investments reflecting the risk on Greek Drachma bonds (higher risk, higher returns), but knew that since Greece was going to join the Euro, these were effectively as good as German securities.
  • This was compounded by the usual moral hazard - if the big banks fail, capitalism fails, so losses will generally be socialised.
  • Greece could keep doing what every growing economy does, paying off bonds as they came due with new bond issues.
  • Then the economic crisis hit, Greek growth stalled like it did everywhere else, and investors in Greek bonds (and other loans) stood to lose billions.
  • [...]

OK, what's missing in the above is the impact of stagnation in Germany (and by knock on France, i.e. between the two of them, the economic motor of the EZ core) brought on by German re-unification and the political decision by the Kohl government to re-unify at parity between the DM and the Ostmark. This (and the example of Japan's long stagnation) eventually led to the major neoliberal "Agenda 2010" onslaught of 2003-2007 led by Schröder's SDP/Green coalition. This effectively slashed social welfare, youth and precarious wages, marginal labour costs etc. After an initial surge of unemployment, which peaked in 2005, the German economy started to recover strongly, until the crisis.

This sequence, viewed one-sidedly, is the "rationale" behind the current German right-wing consensus - "we suffered economically from currency union at unaffordable prices, but then we implemented savage austerity and recovered, now you - Greece and PIIGS - must do the same". This, together with a wash of bullshit propaganda about Greeks retiring 7 years before Germans and generally living it up on the hog, is the main thrust of the world according to the Bildzeitung (underpinned by the usual racist stereotypes of lazy feckless Mediterraneans, etc).

The other side of the equation was this. Recessions leave the investment and finance industry sat on a massive pile of liquidity which they can't see any profitable investment opportunities for - locally. But given the Eurozone, German capital was able to flow to the high-growth bubbles already inflated by EMU in the PIIGS periphery. Surplus cash flowing to the periphery then allowed them to purchase German goods, which enabled a German recovery that would otherwise have never occured given the shock to internal aggregate demand imposed by the Hartz "reforms" and other components of Agenda 2010.

In a sense Greece, and the rest of the PIIGS are paying for the restoration of German productivity after the fall of the Berlin Wall. "I don't wanna a holiday in the sun..."

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Jul 22 2015 13:30

Greece: 2008 to the present

“…the independent “new left” party SYRIZA (Coalition of the Left and Progress) has sought to position itself—by extending a kind of critical support to the protest movement—so as to be able to co-opt the discontent for its own electoral ends.”–

Collective Reinventions, December 20th 2008....................
....................... 18/7/15:

Athens: call out for further assemblies of workers and unemployed

For English translation see Greece: 2008 to the present .

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Entdinglichung
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Jul 23 2015 20:10

S. Artesian
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Jul 23 2015 22:32

But only children and fools believed that

S. Artesian
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Jul 26 2015 18:28

Greece, by way of Britain

Spikymike
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Jul 27 2015 16:24

S.Artesian. No time for Richard Seymour and no objections to your 'taking the piss' at his expense but was curious at the dig at 'Insurgent Notes' who I have some critical respect for, so had a quick look at it here: http://www.insurgentnotes.com/2015/07/syriza-and-sanders-just-say-no-to-... . The article isn't all wrong but in it's obvious USA angled priority is certainly too broad brush and open to criticism in it's belated generalisations about Greece, so you were entitled to make the criticism you did, but in your stridency failed it seems to get your point across to MR until perhaps with help from others later in the follow up discussion. If any others were curious like me best to read it for yourselves.

S. Artesian
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Jul 27 2015 21:33

Well, that's ok; I think I only became strident after MR proclaimed that the events in Greece did not amount to a reversal for the working class and that I obviously had "expectations" or "hopes" for Syriza. That tends to piss me off.

I used to be on the editorial board of IN, and I consider Loren a friend. We meet and talk regularly. I left IN because I can't see the point of an epublication that won't put itself on a schedule. I wanted monthly, but agreed to quarterly and then we couldn't keep to the quarterly schedule.

In January, I began urging IN to pay attention to Greece as that struggle was, to me, the crucible for the bourgeoisie's attempt to melt down for scrap the living breathing human beings who make up the "v" for variable capital. No luck. For any number of reasons.

The 1/2 an article that was published after 5 months was worse the perfunctory; it was dismissive. I also think for the same reason that the article was worse than wrong. That seems to me to warrant a criticism.

Now on the IN comments, things quickly escalated (and you should see the private emails Mr. Rectenwald sent me), and not really to anyone's benefit. Still the salient points are, IMO, that Greece is a reversal, as foregone a conclusion as it might have been; that to say it isn't misses the real target of the Troika's attack; and the real resistance that did emerge, and is continuing to emerge; a resistance that puts the lie to all those who a)dismiss the struggle as peripheral or not significant or b) think "things will be worse if Greece repudiates the debt and leaves the eurozone."

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Jul 29 2015 05:54

http://www.okde.org/index.php/en/announcement/83-uncategoried1/280-they-...

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Jul 29 2015 10:55

http://dialectical-delinquents.com/greece-a-reader/#comment-204002

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GerryK
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Aug 1 2015 08:15

greece: the big deception - written by the TPTG

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Sep 1 2015 09:22

from https://www.facebook.com/stathis.kouvelakis?fref=nf:

Quote:
A clear majority of its leading body, the central council, has declared the organization to be "over as we knew it". They dissociate themselves completely from Syriza and support the rupture with the eurozone in a socialist perspective.
They call for a "recomposition of the forces of the radical and anticapitalist Left" and for new forms of organizing, less hierarchical and closed. They also engage a dialog with all the forces leaving Syriza, and those who were external to it, and more particularly with allo those who have contributed to the massive NO of the youth in the referendum of July 5.

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Entdinglichung
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Sep 17 2015 16:16

also the KKE loses support: http://spartacist.org/english/leaflets/open-letter-kke-2015.html wink

S. Artesian
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Sep 17 2015 21:16
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They call for a "recomposition of the forces of the radical and anticapitalist Left" and for new forms of organizing, less hierarchical and closed. They also engage a dialog with all the forces leaving Syriza, and those who were external to it, and more particularly with allo those who have contributed to the massive NO of the youth in the referendum of July 5.

That's just great. Syriza's dead, long live the new Syriza. Recomposition....radical....anticapitalist..., blabblahblahblahmoreofthesamemoreofthesamebullshit.