Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Greek tragedy — II


An example has been made out of Greece for the rest to curb their impetuousness of putting up any resistance to the troika

Dr Saulat Nagi

Dr Saulat Nagi August 05, 2015

The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) is not immune to a bureaucratic mindset. On many occasions, it did not hesitate to plunge into an abyss by choosing to tread the primrose path of disaster. Wasting the ballot by scribbling “no” twice, which meant invalidating and wasting one’s vote, was a step in this direction. Did the KKE bother to consider who would be the ultimate beneficiary of this uncounted vote? Instead of Anal, had it backed Tsipras, things if not altogether different might have reshaped and unfolded at least less dramatically. With the left in Syriza, the KKE, not any less fond of contesting the election than the bourgeois parties, might have provided less leverage to Tsipras to use the people’s reason for his personal benefit. The KKE considers Syriza a group of reactionary, opportunist politicians, and rightly so, and refuses to fight against the EU, declaring it an intra-capital antagonism. To get out of this quagmire, what is the way offered to the people? KKE finds this question too awkward to answer. This leaves the party completely irrelevant to the people. Adorno’s advice: “One needs to have a lot of strength or stupidity not to lose heart” would come in handy for all those willing to be persistent in their alliance with the KKE.

Yanis Varoufakis, the axed finance minister, knew the intentions of the ‘creditors’ from the beginning. Expressing the essence of the situation in his post-resignation statement, he said: “In the [1967] coup d'etat the choice of weapon used in order to bring down democracy then was the tanks. Well, this time it was the banks. The banks were used by foreign powers to take over the government.” Varoufakis, whose destiny seems to be identical that of Prometheus, complained that the European hierarchy did not respond to his argument with arguments. What a tragedy that such an enlightened man was conversing with the “financial terrorist”, as he himself declared the troika, on the basis of rationality and expecting concessions from the “executioners of death” on the basis of reason. Did he expect rationality or mercy from those who were the cause of this tragedy? Was he naïve about the intentions of his own premier? What kind of Marxist economist is he that he finds himself alienated from the very dynamics of capitalism? The world of capital, according to Horkhiemer, “belongs to the clever, and the devil take the hindmost”. This is true now more than ever. But was he not the one who, perhaps in his innocence, talked about saving European capitalism from Europe? What if Hemingway was right that “All things truly wicked start from innocence”?

In every class war, the resistance of the vanquisher, in this case the people, is completely crushed. Who rules the world is made blatantly clear to the latter. Syriza was punished for its hesitation and the people for their unyielding resistance. An example has been made out of Greece for the rest to curb their impetuousness of putting up any resistance to the troika. What a coincidence that Hitler’s dictum of enduring suffering and adversities in silence was imposed upon the Greeks by the modern neo-liberal fascists.

Within the hegemonic powers, an internal battle based on national and individual interests is already being waged. As always, it is German capitalism that is being alluded to as the most ruthless factor in this contest of predation. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has come out openly against the German policy “of disaster and immolation of Greek democracy”, which elucidates the sharp conflicts and contradictions even among the capitalists, inherent in this system. The appetite to join the EU is becoming feeble with every such venture. The brutal nature of capitalism is becoming too obvious to the people for them to embrace its former ‘ideals’ of liberty, equality and fraternity. The ideology has become inconsistent with reality.

Is there any immediate solution to this Greek imbroglio? Greek economist and Syriza’s left-wing Member of Parliament, Costa Lapavitsas believes that there is: Grexit (Greek withdrawal from the Eurozone) “through default on the loan and effective nationalization of banks will be the first step in this direction. Conversion of all money stocks at the rate of 1:1 to the new currency. And finally, decide how to take the pressure in the exchange rate. How to operate the exchange rate. The exchange rate's probably going to dip and going to rise again. That's typically what these things do. And it's going to stabilize to some kind of devalued rate. I'd expect 15-20 per cent devaluation...if we follow this path in a prepared way that we've been discussing, we're going to go into recession. That will be difficult. It will probably last several months, at least the downward slope would last several months. I don't think it will last more than six months judging by monetary experience. In Argentina the downslide lasted three months. Then the economy picked up again...There is no other strategy. I do not know if Greece is going to do that...nations take the road to wisdom. But only after trying every other road before that. And in the case of Greece I'm afraid that this is what we've got in front of us. The road of wisdom is the road of exit with social change.”

Whether the left in Europe in general, and Greece in particular, joins hands to confront this Caliban of capitalism or not, is yet to be seen. The solution, in any case, lies with the working class. The process of transition to a just and equitable society can be variable but its class basis cannot be debated. The revolution has to be the direct organised action of the workers as a class, else it is nothing but an attempt at a cosmetic change. The workers needs some form of organisation and division of labour, but it has to emerge from their inner self. This fact was clear to Marx when he stated that the “conquest of political power” can only be the result of a political movement of the working class, which, as a class, opposes the ruling classes. The class organises itself into a party, but this party has to develop straight out of the “soil of modern society itself”. Hence, neither Syriza nor the KKE, but the self-organised proletariat itself determines what course the ongoing class war takes.


The writer is based in Australia and has authored books on socialism and history. He can be reached at

The Greek tragedy — II