[Marxism] Fwd: Greek Elections and the dangers of Pyrrhic Victories

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Jan 24 17:08:40 MST 2015

What does SYRIZA’s programme not do?

There is no call for wholesale nationalisations, no call for a worker’s 
government, there is no call for abrogation of the debt (instead they 
are asking for renegotiation on 50% of the debt) or leaving the euro, 
and there is no call for socialism.  It appears to be a simple and 
reformist plan for national reconstruction of Greek capitalist economy. 
  So why are the European ruling classes so worried?

What is the fear of the European ruling class from a SYRIZA victory?

Unlike the last election in 2012, finance capitalism (both the 
individual European and multinational banks are mostly covered from 
disaster of debt abrogation, repudiation, or relief (the Greek debt has 
been purchased by European governments and the ECB; see also: 
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/…). So the issue of bank failures 
solidifying fears of a spike in the crisis is not the issue as much. 
Yet, international financial markets are reacting rather negatively to 
the strong possibility of a SYRIZA victory.  A Greek exit from the 
Eurozone and debt repudiation from the election of SYRIZA is not as 
worrying  for the European ruling class, but the question of how can 
that influence others in Europe is the issue.

Tsipras has not called for leaving the Euro and has asked instead for 
renegotiation of the debt to get 50% of an unserviceable debt relieved. 
So Greek exit is not a demand of SYRIZA, but that does not mean that the 
Eurozone will not ask them to leave. Also, if they get the renegotiation 
and still remain in the Eurozone, the question of the rules underlying 
the Euro come into play as they require caps on fiscal deficit and debt 
and hence limits to government spending. This is then compounded by 
economic fears of debt renegotiations affecting the financial markets as 
they find instability nerve-wracking and fears of what may happen lead 
to uncertainty.

The issue is one of a domino effect whereby Italy (on deflation and why 
financial markets are worried, see: http://uk.businessinsider.com/…), 
Spain and Portugal will the same thing following the election of a left 
that has raised the issue of a rejection of austerity and debt repayments.

That is the fear of the ruling classes, a popular rejection of austerity 
and neo-liberalism; that is a political fear of the ruling class in 
Europe and in the advanced capitalist world.

So should the left support SYRIZA?

Yes, it will represent a significant defeat of the austerity agenda 
which is essential for the fightback against neoliberalism and the 
attack on the working class since the crash in 2007-8.

Is this all that we on the left want? By no means, but it is a major 
first step.  The support of the left and support of the organs of the 
working class in Greece will force them further to the left and to keep 
their electoral promises. The end of the struggle is not the election 
with a victory (hopefully a majority one).

SYRIZA needs the support of the left inside and outside Greece if this 
is to be a real victory and to keep them on track. If they are not 
pushed, then this may turn into a Pyrrhic victory where a left party 
wins and is forced into more and more concessions by the ruling class 
rather than fulfill its potential and be the beginning of an electoral 
and mass fight-back against neoliberalism.


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