[Marxism] Hilary Wainwright on Syriza

Manuel Barrera mtomas3 at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 13 11:23:39 MST 2012

Hello, I made the following commentary to a left unity group regarding Wainright's otherwise very good work on the example of Syriza. I wonder if revolutionary Marxists in "America" and Europe can overcome "our" Euro-centrism as we search for accomplishing left unity.

My comments on Wainright's article:

I think it important that despite the importance of the rise of Syriza, we understand that the "starting point" for transformation of the left ought at least to include the Arab Spring. This article, as good as it is, remains Euro-centric in its perspective "draw[ing] particularly on the experience of the radical left of the Labour Party in governing London in 1982-86; and that of the Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT) in opening up decisions about new municipal investment to a citywide process of popular participation in Porto Alegre from 1989 until 2004." 

To be sure, most on this list are more "attuned" to Euro-centric examples--even if they may genuflect to some Latin American ones as is the case above. I really believe our greatest task as revolutionaries in "America" (and Europe) is to make links with revolutionaries outside our countries and INSIDE our countries who represent those places where the battles against despotism and imperialism are at the highest pitch. In the U.S., this means connecting with revolutionaries and potential revolutionaries in the communities of the oppressed. There are specific groups and people--like Black Agenda Report for example--and distinct populations like Middle Eastern (including Jewish anti-Zionists) and African as well as Asian activists who are engaging in solidarity work for their comrades, relatives, and friends in their respective countries as well as leftists within the communities of undocumented workers engaged in the fight of their lives for civil rights in "America". We can help launch a truly united campaign against "American" austerity. Such a campaign will by its nature become an internationally effective campaign against imperialism as well as against the nationalistic austerity facing our entire class.

Left unity, to be effective in accomplishing our historic tasks, cannot be about more "immediate" tasks to discuss "among ourselves" (read mostly White and older radicals). If we are to make a difference, we need to think beyond ourselves; as we did when we (or at least some of "we") were younger. The issues of capitalist economy, understanding the classics of revolutionary politics or even the nature of current (and/or former) workers states must become secondary--they will work themselves out if we are truly committed to a democratic framework for collaboration--to the issues that help us formulate how revolutionaries engaged in more advanced forms of struggle can help us understand how to formulate unity while at the same time forging alliances that inevitably will provide real sources of strength and solidarity as we begin to become much bigger and more effective ourselves. 

This is not the time (it really never was) to think that "making a revolution in our own country"--by ourselves and under our own "steam"--is somehow the necessary ingredient to helping others. It is a time when we must recognize that we have not really learned, yet, how to unite and become effective in presenting a united revolutionary force that can contribute to the growing mass movements (note the avoidance of the term "intervention"). Yes, we can and must learn from Syriza in Greece, but that is because Syriza in Greece has learned from others and there are revolutionaries in each of the fragmented portions of this world (aka, other countries) who have accomplished real unity and near unity who recognize that such a process really never ends. 

In short, we cannot afford to be Euro-centric anymore than the revolutionaries in oppressed countries--like Palestine, Syria, Venezuela, Honduras, among so many others--can afford simply to "make revolution" in their own countries. Most of us here have learned the important lesson that there can be no "socialism in one country" or peaceful coexistence with capitalism. I wonder if we can also learn that there can be no revolution in one country or somehow "peacefully coexisting" with each other as we go it alone in our respective countries so that somehow we will meet together "on the other side"? Our fate is bound up with the fate of each one of our respective histories. We cannot escape the nationalistic framework that dictate our common struggles. But we can escape the nationalistic philosophy that so insidiously permeates our individual efforts worldwide. We don't have to let finance capital be the only effective internationalist force in politics (and our enemy is effective). Perhaps we can learn better to disagree without eschewing our revolutionary unity for the sake of mounting the only real campaign of struggle that can overpower the rule of the few; the campaign for the rule of All for All.  		 	   		  

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