Saturday, 24 January 2015

Greece is the Word

Yes, yes, Syriza is a bourgeois reformist party which has drifted to the right even in the last few years.  I know.  A Syriza victory will not bring full communism in Greece.  No, true.  A Syriza government will cave in and give up all over the place.  The way all bourgeois reformist parties always do, even quite Lefty ones.  Yes.  I know.

I knows and knows and knows. 

The point is that, as with all Left-wing reformist parties, it will be as strong or as weak as the movement among the working class.  It will be pushed to the Left by a genuine movement on the streets and in the workplaces.  Or to the Right by the absence of such a movement.

The anti-reformist gloom of writing off Syriza before it starts is, paradoxically, the gloom of the reformist.  It is the gloom of those who secretly expect (or want) elected governments to do it all for them.

A Syriza victory would create a space within Austerity neoliberalism for a challenge (however partial and bourgeois and reformist and imperfect) to the prevailing, even suffocating, orthodoxy.  The punishing flow of weath upwards may be slowed, just a bit, just for a change, somewhere.  And, with work and struggle, this could be exploited and built upon.  This would push the government further.  Which would expand the space for resistance, etc etc etc. 

Every victory - however partial - for the working class is to be chased and seized upon and celebrated (yes, critically celebrated, of course) because every victory for the working class, evey improvement in the position and confidence of the working class, strengthens the only force in the world that has the power, ultimately, to fundamentally change it for the better.

This isn't a fully worked out theoretical position.  There are plenty of better places you can go for that.

9 comments:

  1. Never thought I'd hear myself say this, but you are an optimist sir; may you be proved right.

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    1. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

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  2. I can't say I like the implications for the interest rate on my savings.

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    1. How nice for you that you have savings.

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  3. ”The point is that, as with all Left-wing reformist parties, it will be as strong or as weak as the movement among the working class. It will be pushed to the Left by a genuine movement on the streets and in the workplaces. Or to the Right by the absence of such a movement.”

    Thy speaks truly, sir, of course. But then it could be argued that this statement also sets itself up for the counter-argument – that a genuine popular movement could stymie a drift to the Right by a government of whichever stripe. The Tories accepting the advances of the post-war consensus almost immediately. Then, when working class self-organisation grew weaker, Labour supporting the undermining of those advances almost immediately. And all of that.

    Me, though, has found himself encouraged of late by the Brighton Greens stating their intention to pass an anti-austerity 'no cuts' budget. Perhaps we simply take what crumbs of comfort we can in such days.

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    1. "...a genuine popular movement could stymie a drift to the Right by a government of whichever stripe."

      With respect Gavin, that isn't a counter-argument but rather a corollary of what I said. It's just that a popular movement is more likely in the space provided by a left-leaning government. Of course, a left-leaning government is more likely to get elected in the presence of a popular movement. It's a chicken-and-egg thing, and as with most chicken-and-egg things the answer is that neither came first but rather both grew as a dialectical unity out of something else. As for the Greens, you can't trust them on anti-austerity or supporting workers, but while they're the only party espousing anything remotely resembling an agenda that isn't thoroughly neoliberal, I think they deserve critical support - especially in areas like mine where an anti-Tory vote of any kind will have no effect upon outcome.

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    2. It may be true in Britain that neoliberalism was unshered in with a turn to the Tories dominating politics. But I'm not sure that's always the case. For example, probably the highpoint of popular movements in post-war France was under De Gaulle. But of course I don't disagree with the overall point about it being more a chicken-and-egg thing.

      Agreed about the Greens. So far here in Brighton they've shown themselves to be hopelessly split between Green capitalists (let's have the world as it is with a bit more recycling) and social justice Greens. When the first lot provoked a strike by cutting the bin men's allowances the second lot went on the demonstrations in the workers' support. But if they do pass a 'no cuts' budget they should indeed be supported for that. And, while I've no real idea what our chances are, a 'no cuts' budget for Greece would be better still.

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    3. I didn't mean to imply that neoliberalism only gets started under conservative governments. :-)

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    4. Sorry if I was picking up your inference wrong!

      (At least we agreed about the Greens and the chickens…)

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