[Marxism] Not about Greece, but, well y'know...

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 18 16:40:21 MDT 2015

The terrible defeat in Greece has left us all confused, angry, resentful
and desperate.  Those of us who like myself have rejected the sects
approach and pinned all our faith on broad formations have been most
effected.  For the sects this must seem like a true historical
justification.  "We told you so" has been either whispered or strongly

We on the pro broad front strategy have tried various maneuvers to cope
with what is really deep grief.  My old friend of over 20 years standing,
the moderator of the list, Comrade Lou seems to have taken refuge in "It
can't be done" particularly with reference to a return to the Drachma.  I
have no doubt Lou is correct about the difficulties. It is all so far above
my head.

But I am reminded forcibly of two scenes from the bourgeois side.  The
Malvinas have just been restored to Argentinian sovereignty. Thatcher
convenes a meeting of the Chiefs of the Armed Forces.  They tell her in
effect "It can't be done".  She snarls at them "Don't tell me what you
can't do. Tell me what you can do".  The rest is history.  The legend of
the Iron Lady is born.  Her gospel of TINA spreads around the world and
infects even the brains of some Canadian Marxists.

The second scene is from a movie or a mini series, I don't recall which.
Roosevelt has convened a meeting of his Chiefs of staff to plot revenge for
Pearl Harbor.  He wants Tokyo bombed.  They tell him "It can't be done".
He struggles to his feet, something which his polio induced paralysis makes
very difficult.  An adjutant hurries to help him.  Roosevelt snaps at him
":Stand aside". He stands and then looks at the Chiefs of Staff and says
"Don't tell me it can't be done!". Again the rest is history.

In all sincerity, I think we could learn more than a little from "Don't
tell me, it can't be done".

What precisely can be done in the Greek situation is of course a matter for
debate and primarily the comrades and people of Greece. But I have no doubt
at all that our sympathy and solidarity should be with the men and women of
honor, who rejected the new memorandum.  I will not have a bar of any
attempt to resuscitate the reputation of Alexis Tsipras.  He has chosen his
path and he no longer has anything of good to offer the people he

But I want to say now with considerable force to those comrades who
supported the broad front conception, 'All is not lost'.  We do not have to
resort to denial or resort to TINA or to abuse of comrades who do not agree
with us. The majority of the Central Committee of Syriza oppose the new
memorandum.  There is something to build on there.  We do not have to
resort to Panitch and Gindin's Plan B  They, beautiful souls that they now
are, would have the Left in Greece morph into a Leftist version of the
Salvation Army or St Vincent De Paul  Within this schema, Alexis Tsipras,
would emerge as the Mother Theresa of Athens.  Every time his government
shafted the people he would do something nice for them as a compensation.
Oh Joy!

Finally, I will put my cards on the table, yet again.  My age and personal
situation prevent me from the kind of political activity I used to exhibit
in days gone by.  But I want desperately before the close to see broad
front anti-austerity politics take root in Australia.  Comrade John from
Canberra asked what was in all probability for him a rhetorical question
"Do we need a Syriza in Australia?".  My answer is still, despite Alexis
Tsipras and Yannis Dragasakis et al,, 'Yes, very much so, Yes."

If I get round to another "Not about Greece post" I will try and address
more of the specifics of my response.  In particular, I hope to do a post
on the Callinicos-Kouvelakis debate in London.



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