Reading „The Thessaloniki Programme1”
Had I been a left-wing, mildly anti-capitalist statist, such a program would gain my unconditional applause. Even being who I really am, I like it and wish Syriza success – for the time being at least.
The Greece now is a genuine case of foreign aggression and (economical) colonization, led by an international alliance of transnational (mostly financial) corporations and some governments (especially German one). Their co-conspirators became several Greek governments, while Greek oligarchy was more than happy to have a cut as well.
As I described recently2, the outcome of a seven-year-long struggle was the emergence of Greek “solidarity society” – huge movement focused on self-organization and economic cooperation. That was the social foundation for Syriza’s success in January. And it is the source of orders for Syriza. Orders to win the war and to regain the country’s independence. It is one of these rare cases, when a political party builds the program upon real needs of the society, has massive support to implement it and has no other option – but to win.
It will change, of course, as soon as the war is won and both the government and citizens decide that the normality is back. My Greek friends keep reminding themselves that Syriza has not only to be watched constantly, but being continuously pushed ahead – to prevent it from getting into trade-offs with enemies. And even the mildest of them say “it’s good that it is Syriza government now – it will be easier to fight with them later”. So, the Greek revolution is far from being done. But, as they say in America – it is a good start.
When I learned more about Greek situation and understood the “Greek crisis” better, it also changed my view on the way the capitalist civilization works.
Widely popular among neoliberals honking “the deal is the deal”, “the debt must be paid” etc., lost – to my mind – all moral ground. Capitalist financial markets, especially on the international level, are nothing else than a gambling house, where professionals and cheaters skim amateurs and suckers. Sometimes they cheat, but usually they just know the rules and tools well enough to win. The gambling house was made by them, after all. And to their benefit.
The tragedy is that the gambling there is mandatory for all of us. If a company refuses to use “financial leverage” – its competitor will use it and the result is easy to guess. If a government refuses to draw debts or to sell-out the country’s economy to the global gamblers, sooner or later there will be a war, famine, riots or recession. Then they will have to ask for help – and they will receive it, under certain conditions.
Global casino is doing well. Allied with governments – allied so closely that you have a problem to see who rules whom – it swallows the wealth of nations, spitting out dropouts. As the most respectable capitalist magazine Forbes reports, 737 financial companies owns practically all capital assets of the world3. How many people own these 737 companies? Who are they? This is the most painstakingly guarded secret and a rich soil to grow various theories. But one goes without saying: these people are The Big Winners. They get all gains from the Global Casino; they own – mostly via intermediaries, sometimes not even aware of it – every patch of land, every device, every human thought the capitalism put its paws on. And they are the authors of the “Greek Crisis” case.
There is no moral cause, transcending arbitrary adopted rules of the game, behind contemporary global financial capitalism. There is no higher reason for us to believe that money makes money (through the compound interest, for example), that the value of money changes in time, or that the ownership of land is enough of entitlement to get a rent (property, by the way, is also an arbitrary convention). All that is as much arbitrary, as the rules of any other game – chess for example.
But we don’t have to play chess, if we don’t like the rules. Unfortunately, the global gamblers found a way to force us all – people, companies, governments – to play in their casino. This way is the “international community” for governments and for the rest of us – the state and it’s law. The state and the law, both founded upon naked power and violence. Every time we talk to a nice state bureaucrat or to a friendly financial adviser, our compliance is guaranteed by the existence of armed, trained people in black uniforms. They are somewhere, far away, in restricted areas. But they are there. Training, learning and waiting for anyone of us being disobedient, to become their target. This is their sense of life, their path of career. To get any disobedient one. They are the foundation of the state. Not politicians. Not lawyers. Not the “social contract”. The state is founded on professionals in black uniforms. As long as they are there, we are forced to bet our meager money, our lives; to bet them daily in the global casino of capitalism.
The Greek state is no different. Syriza will not change it, either. And it is not their job. Syriza is designated to regain Greek sovereignty; sovereignty, taken from it by other governments and by the global gamblers. This is an example, by the way, how false is a hope to gain freedom by replacing the state with international institutions. International institutions will gladly suck both the economy and society dry, leaving the state as an empty shell. No freedom gained this way, sorry.
That is why I support Syriza at the moment. Their “Thessaloniki Programme” – if they implement it – will cut Greece out of the hangman’s noose, prepared by its previous governments and their international co-conspirators. If we are lucky enough, in this process Greek people will not loose too much of their solidarity and cooperation habits, acquired the hard way.
Because some time down the road, sooner or later, the alliance between Syriza and the society will expire. This is how the state goes. Greek professionals in black uniforms again will target everyone not obedient enough. Then may the time will come for a next step of permanent revolution – perhaps Rojava-style.
Until then, let’s keep pushing Syriza to do what they are designated to do. And let us do what black-clad professionals do: learn, train, get prepared.
Full article in PDF: greece-and-the-global-casino