So the full circle is completed. The corrupt pro-business conservative New Democracy party in Greece that was ousted by the anti-capitalist Syriza party in 2015 has been returned to office in yesterday’s general election, with an outright majority over all other parties.
New Democracy party got just under 40% of the votes cast. Syriza under Alexis Tsipras got just under 32% of the vote. The voter turnout was just over 57%, the lowest rate since the end of military rule in 1974, suggesting huge disillusionment with all parties. The Syriza vote share was down only 3.5% from the last election in 2015, but the New Democracy share rose from 28% to 40%. The small parties (including the Syriza left breakaway parties) did poorly, although the former PASOK social democrats increased their share from 6.3% to 8% and the Communists were unchanged at 5%. Also a new party MeRa25, set up by former Syriza finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, got over the 3% threshold and will have MPs for the first time. The neo-fascist Golden Dawn failed to make it.
The last four years of the Syriza government have been both tumultuous and saddening. Elected to oppose the policies of the Troika (the ECB, IMF, and the EU) in imposing vicious austerity measures on Greeks in return for ‘bailing out’ its banks, foreign banks and government debt, Syriza at first resisted the Troika. Under Tsipras and Varoufakis, it searched for a deal with the Euro leaders that would not impose the austerity. When such a deal was rejected by the Troika and the Euro leaders led by Germany and the Netherlands, Tsipras called a referendum on the Troika ‘memorandum’: should Greeks accept the austerity or reject it? Despite a massive propaganda campaign by the pro-business media in Greece and internationally and lack lustre campaigning by Syriza, Greeks voted 60-40 to reject the Troika. Little more than one day later, the government ignored the vote and capitulated.
For the next four years, the Syriza government has duly attempted to implement every single demand of the Troika. Pensions have been slashed, public sector employees have been sacked and wage freezes imposed, state assets have been sold off, taxes have been raised sharply. Varoufakis resigned after the capitulation and toured Europe; and the left faction in Syriza split away to run its own electoral parties – to no avail. The Syriza government ploughed on in the hope and expectation that if it met the austerity measures imposed by the Troika, it would eventually be able to resume economic growth, gain some ‘fiscal space’ and ‘return to the market’ for government borrowing.
The first loans that the government had got from the Troika were used to pay off French and German banks which held billions on Greek government debt that was not virtually worthless. After this private sector bailout, the next loans were used to meet repayments to the IMF, the ECB and other governments from the first bailouts. In this never-ending circle more debt was raised to pay off previous debt! None of this money went to alleviate the depression being suffered by Greeks to their living standards. The Greek economy collapsed by 30%, pensions and wages fell 40%; thousands of young people emigrated for work and public services and jobs were decimated. And the biggest hit was to private sector jobs in tourism, industry and travel.
Did these sacrifices restore Greek capitalism and eventually reverse the calamitous decline in output, employment and incomes? The short answer is no. Greek unemployment rates remain very high, especially for young people.
Capital investment collapsed during the debt crisis but has not recovered. Greek business cannot invest.
Gross capital formation (Em)
Government spending has been driven down by the austerity measures.
Government spending to GDP
But this has not reduced government debt to GDP, which remains at a staggering 180% of GDP and will stay there for the foreseeable future. All the austerity measures have not dented the government debt built up to bail out the foreign banks, the Greek banks and other holders of Greek government debt. The failure of the private sector, Greek business and global capitalism has been shifted onto the books of the government and its people for generations to come.
Public debt to GDP (%)
The huge loans that the Greek government owes to the EU leaders (the IMF and the ECB have been paid off) do not have to be repaid for a decade or more and the interest cost on the loans is low. But the debt has not been written off; it must be repaid eventually and the Greek government must run a huge budget surplus in order to cover future payments, the interest on the debt and to obtain new loans from the global market.
The whole strategy of the Syriza government was that, as economic growth returned to the Eurozone, it would lift up the Greek boat with other European boats in the rising tide of economic recovery. ‘Fiscal space’ would be created and public services and pensions could then be improved while still meeting the repayment schedule of the creditors.
But it has not worked out like that. Eurozone economic growth since the debt crisis has been pathetic, hardly creeping above 2% a year and now slowing again fast. During the debt crisis and the eventual capitulation of the Syriza government, I estimated that Greek economic growth would have to average at least 3% a year in order to end austerity if the government continued its commitments to the Troika. Instead, the Greek growth rate has been averaged little more than 1% a year under the Syriza government. It’s currently slowing down from a short burst above 2% to just 1.3%
Greece: annual real GDP growth (%)
The new Conservative government takes over just as the Eurozone economies and much of the rest of the world face a slowdown in investment, trade and growth at best – and an outright recession at worst.
The Syriza leaders’ economic strategy of accepting the Troika programme, honouring the debt burden and staying in the EU has failed. The result has been total disillusionment with Syriza, particularly among the young. Many have left to find work; those who have not either did not vote in the election or voted for a change of government in the form of New Democracy. Anecdotes of these attitudes have been expressed in the media.
Like many young Greeks, Tasos Stavridis plans to leave the country once he finishes his degree in political science. “Our financial crisis has gone on much longer than we expected and we are so exhausted,” says the 22-year-old. “Most of my friends plan to leave too. In Greece the salaries are so low, and the economic situation is so bad,” What about New Democracy? “The truth is, I blame them [for the crisis] too,” admits Stavridis. “But I believe Mitsotakis has made a lot of changes. I agree with the economic plan this party has, and I believe it will help us escape this situation.” We must focus on the private sector in order to get better economically,” he believes. “Our public sector is inefficient and lazy.” Then “The last time my family supported something left, it turned out to be a lot worse,” says Zoe Babaolou, a 19 year old from Thessaloniki who voted for New Democracy in the European elections. “It seems better to return to something safer.” Babaolou adds: “We voted for ideology in 2015 and we didn’t see any changes. So I’m more interested in economic measures.”
Could there have been an alternative to the strategy of Tsripras and the Syriza leaders back in July 2015 when the referendum to oppose Troika austerity was supported by the majority of Greek people? I think there was. One option prominently pushed by the left faction of Syriza MPs was to break with the EU and the euro; revert to the Greek drachma, devalue the currency, impose capital controls on any flight of money, renege on the debt and revert to government spending programmes.
For example, this was the option presented by socialist economist and Syriza MP, Costas Lapavitsas, at the time. Lapavitsas took a principled stand against the capitulation and broke with Syriza. But he argued that: “the obvious solution for Greece right now, when I look at it as a political economist, the optimal solution, would be a negotiated exit. Not necessarily a contested exit, but a negotiated exit.” This would involve a 50% write-off the debt owed to the EU and protection of the new Greek currency (devalued by just 20%) with liquidity from the ECB.
My thought then was that even if the Troika were to agree to such a ‘negotiated exit’, which was a moot point; and even if the new Greek drachma only depreciated by 20% (extremely unlikely), the Greek economy would still be on its knees, unable to restore living standards for the majority. Devaluation and rising prices would eat into any gains made from cheaper exports. Lapavitsas seemed to recognise this when he said at the time:“Wages must rise, but even if they rise, you’re not going to go back to where you were. It’s just not feasible at the moment. We need a growth strategy for that.”
But Lapavitsas opposed a growth strategy based on socialist planning. “I don’t think that Syriza should come out with a broad and wide nationalization program right now. What is necessary is to nationalize the banks, of course. And to make sure that energy privatizations stop, electricity in particular. That stops. And privatization of other key assets stops. We need to put a growth and recovery strategy in place immediately outside of the euro, and later to have a medium-term development plan.” For me, the strategy that Greece leaves the euro and implements a broad Keynesian spending programme first, leaving any socialist measures to later could not work because the forces of capital internationally and domestically would be untouched.
In my view, there was another option: a broad and wide programme to replace capitalism. For me Greek capitalism needed to be replaced, in or out of the euro. That would mean public ownership of all big business and foreign capital in Greece; a democratic mobilisation of workers to control their workplaces and the economy with a plan of investment and production. A socialist Syriza could then appeal for support among the wider labour movement in Europe to force their governments to drop their imposition of austerity, cancel the debt and begin a Europe-wide programme of investment to include Greece.
Such a strategy would have more support from other European workers and at home than one that concentrated on condemning the euro as the problem. After all, there was always a majority of Greeks in favour of staying in the euro and the EU. Greece is a small and weak capitalist economy; it cannot succeed without success in the rest of Europe; and that applies to a socialist Greece too. But at least the Greek people would be in control of their own capital assets and labour allocation.
But whatever the merits of a Keynesian or Marxist option back in 2015, now we have the return of the pro-business, corrupt, dynastic-led New Democracy government which originally presided over the financial crash and recession back in 2010. The programme of the Mitsotakis government is to privatise, reduce taxes for the rich and encourage foreign investment, while keeping wages and pensions down and government services to the minimum – neoliberalism if you want to call it that.
The real aim is to boost the profitability of Greek capital as the economic solution and hope that capitalist then invest in Greece. According to the EU’s AMECO database, Greece’s net return on capital plummeted by 35% from 2007 to 2012. Under the Syriza government, profitability recovered 20% but is still some 15% below the 2007 peak. The aim of the new government will be to continue the work of Syriza to save capitalism but with extra energy and vengeance. Meanwhile a new global recession looms nearer.
91 thoughts on “Greece: completing the vicious circle”
An excellent analysis of the current situation. But surely the second sentence is a mistake. The New Democracy government was ousted in the election at the end of 2009 by the (social democratic) PASOK, and it was PASOK which presided over the austerity programme in 2010-2015, before being ousted in turn by Syriza in 2015.
Yep I’ll correct that
Checking again was not nd in power up to 2015?
Pasok ND coalitions ruled Greece from the introduction of the bailout programmes until 2015.
Also, I must confess to being a bit surprised that there is no mention in your post that the KKE, the Communist Party, was the only party to have warned that this would be the outcome of Greece experiment with the “radical left”, for precisely the reasons you have outlined above.
“That would mean public ownership of all big business and foreign capital in Greece; a democratic mobilisation of workers to control their workplaces and the economy with a plan of investment and production.”
Isn’t that the problem with social democratic parties such as Syriza (and Labour). Getting elected is the main aim, and then believing they can introduce socialism from above via parliament alone while their erstwhile supporters stay at home and watch?
Michael, how would the socialist option you mention have worked in Greece? Would It have included a market or not? How would prices have been determined, and how would the planners have known how much of each good to produce?
” A socialist Syriza could then appeal for support among the wider labour movement in Europe to force their governments to drop their imposition of austerity, cancel the debt and begin a Europe-wide programme of investment to include Greece.”
First of all.
A socialist SYRIZA? not a chance. SYRIZA isnt socialist and never was. They had embrace capitalism decades before they came to power. Even in the 90s they were voting pro europe and were a social democratic party.
Their actions when they were elected speaks volumes for their intentions.
Well workers in other countries cant mobilize in their own countries to stop the austerity measures that are applied to them. Not a chance that they will mobilize to support greek workers. At least in a big enough scale. There isnt enough motive or chance for your scenario.
I should add that i believe that in other countries in the absence of communist parties the political center moved so much to the right that parties like SYRIZA that have a vocabulary with words like “poor”, “taxes to the rich” etc seems like a call to revolution.
That is not the case for greece. For historical reasons we do have a communist party and that’s why I believe i can see that difference.
So there is a real question that limits your options when you seek solution for greece.
Can a revolution happen in greece? And Can socialism established in greece?
I dont think any of as can really answer that question. We can always just say that there is Cuba. (even if now are turning to capitalism).
But it wont be a solid argument.
We can enumerate the reasons that it is possible and we can enumerate the reasons why its not possible.
There are good reasons for both cases. The problem is that only real action can answer that question since reality is a dynamic state that constantly changes.
My opinion is that a revolution in Greece is possible. Not possible in 2015 or maybe not now but probably possible in the future.
The other question if socialism can be established cannot be answered today. It will be answered by the dynamic conditions when a revolution happens.
So whats the role of communist today?
1.Expand our base.
I do believe that keeping 5.3% is an achievement in the current polarized conditions. But there is more hidden behind the election result. Although the number remains stable i see the distribution of kke voters change. Most voters are in big greek cities. That was not the case before the crisis. Before the crisis KKE was almost evenly distributed across Greece(because of historical reasons). That has the potential to be really positive attribute in the future. There are other parameters that change in kke members.
We will see how they turn out.
2.Fight with workers for their rights and try to improve their condition.
ND is going to pass a lot of unpopular measures. KKE strategy was proven right until know. The rest of the left is devastated because of SYRIZA. If there going to be protest again then KKE will be in the front line. We will have to see how that turns out.
-Try to reorganize the communist movement in the rest of the world and europe.
KKE tries to reorganize the communist movement particularly in Europe. KKE help to Italy communist party in european elections is a good example.
Revolutions anyway dont happen often during peace.Wars are more likely to lead to a revolution.
A greek voter of the greek communist party.
Yes, but New Democracy won this time with a very far-right, “populist”, rhetoric. It essentially won because it was able to reabsorb Golden Dawn (as with the UK, where the Conservative Party managed to reabsorb UKIP with the Brexit Referendum of 2016).
Mitsotakis used a heavily anti-immigrant, ad hominem attacking and anti-austerity discourse to win. He essentially promised an end to austerity. As a center-right party, this is a huge problem.
A center-right government is not viable in Greece today. New Democracy’s government is stillborn.
As for Syriza, well, they achieved 30% of the valid votes; I’m sure Tsipras is very pleased by the results, since that will mean he will maintain his cushy parliamentarian job. His salary and privileges certainly won’t be affected by austerity.
At a macro level, that means Syriza is the new PASOK. Meet the new boss — same as the old boss.
unfortunately SYRIZA is responsible for a big hit at radicalization in greece. Every party with a social – socialist agenda every one of them was devasted in the last election. The only exception was KKE.(communist party).
Overall greek sociaty took a right wing turn.
You are right about alot of your observation but im not conviced yet that the system is stable. The sentimental ties between SYRIZA and its voters arent there yet. Also SYRIZA doesnt have people in unions etc. PASOK and ND power was based on prosperity. You should also consider that Greece will stay in poverty if it stays in the current framework.
So SYRIZA is definately more fragile than PASOK.
I would add that ND although now seems strong is very fragile.
Anyway global events like a new crisis etc are going to be critical about what happens in greece.
Syriza was never anti-capitalist. There isn’t one party document that calls for the abolition of capitalism. It wasn’t anti-capitalist, it was never socialist; it was a party of capitulation from the getgo.
Syriza was a sham left grouping, exactly like PASOK was at its founding, full of bluff and bluster without any real program.
In 2015, people were comparing Syriza to the Unidad Popular in Chile (forgetting I guess how that one turned out); comparing Tsipras to Allende, etc etc. The only thing Allende and Tsipras had in common was a commitment to the institutions of bourgeois rule. Allende, at least, claimed to be a socialist from a socialist party. Tsipras never even got that far.
Leaving the euro was not the “solution.” Renouncing the debt piled on the government by the bourgeoisie; debt accrued to buy inoperative submarines from Germany, etc. that was the key, and Syriza never entertained that.
I wonder how your plan could be implemented inside EU, and with the public opinion in most imperialist EU countries thinking of the Greeks as lazy, corrupted etc…
And of course, their thinking is not just a propaganda issue, but also a consequence of the relationships of imperialist exploitation between let’s say Germany and Greece (see also your previous post on transfers of value in EU).
I think you would agree that EU is an imperialist union. So, how can anybody apply socialist measures inside EU and Eurozone????
You have some difficulty to admit that breaking with EU is a precondition for any socialist measures, and this is even more true for a weak capitalistic economy that cannot influence EU politics and suffers all kinds of value transfers towards EU leaders…
Would you suggest Cuba to try to build socialism being in a union with US and using the dollar?
Finally, to apply a full socialist program with nationalizations of big and foreign business etc is not something that can be done just like that, peacefully, and certainly not anything that any of the SYRIZA cadets would even dream of (if you just knew them a bit better).
Even if someone else had attempted something like that, let’s say the Communist Party, which has such a program and which appeared in public opinion polls to be ahead of SYRIZA 1 week before the first elections of 2012 (Spring), until their General Secretary declared that they “don’t want to govern in capitalism”… opening the way for SYRIZA…, so, even in such a situation, we would have only two possible short-/mid-term outcomes:
a. either the revolution spreads around EU (how likely was that back then???), or
b. the EU and IMF(=US) do to Greece what they have been doing to Cuba… Therefore, Greece would have been practically outside EU anyway.
It is for these reasons that there is no left (anticapitalist, communist etc) party in Greece anymore that doesn’t assume a fierce break with EU and an exit from it, sooner or later, if any radical program is to be even starting to be applied…
And mind that communist/radical/anticapitalist left in Greece (SYRIZA is not considered to be such a party anymore), amounts about 10% of public opinion, and is underrepresented in the last elections. Adding democratic, anti-imperialist, relatively radical, left we would reach easily 20%. I don’t know if there is any other European country more radicalised than Greece, even if now, the historical moment is really negative, due to SYRIZA’s capitulation…
Therefore, we would expect more solidarity from Marxist citizens of imperialist EU countries. Greece is evidently a weak link for the EU imperialist union, and we hope to start breaking it sooner or later while you discuss Corbin politics and Brexit, French vote for Le Pen, and Germans re-elect Merkel…
Syrizas colapse was based on continuing the 3rd Memorandum privatisarions of airports, ports, allowing mass unfettered immigration and the Prespes Agreement ie NATO expansion into W Balkans. They increased their vote in relation to the Euroelections as Greeks wanted Syriza out but were concerned of what is coming next.
As for Lapavitsas he didnt break with the Troika or 2nd Memorandum as Varoufakis signed its extension on Feb 20th 2015 nor call for the Drachma during the imposition of Capital Controls. He only left after Tsipras refused to have him on the electoral lists. His ‘departure’ from Syriza was in name only.
Syriza brought ND from a historic low in 2012 of 18% and doubled their vote with their neoliberal policies which the British ‘solidarity’ movement had wet dreams over in particular presstiutes like Paul Mason who have moved onto bigger and better things campaigning for the EU and gushing over Corbyn.
Now its about privatising the Electricity Company and Water Company and bringing in Peivate Universities continuing where Syriza left off..
what the writer doesnt understand about Greece is his history.
In greece the communist party KKE was the main resistance against the germans. Thousands of its members fought in the mountains. in 1945 KKE was controling most of country
When nazis left greece we had a civil war. The new greek government with the help of former nazi collaborators robbed shot and rapped all over the country. That caused the civil war.
The communist(mens, women and children) that werent killed etc were captured and send to prisons or exiled to islands were they were tortuned.
There were families that suffered alot from the right.
As greece started to developed a big proportion of its people could benefit from it. They could benefit from it if they adopt a capitalist way of living.(beliefs etc.)
These people could not say they belonged to the right. They didnt feel right to admit that they belong to the same political wing with the people that shot, tortune etc their family.
So what happened?
A party with socialistic retoric but capitalist governance came to power. PASOK.
People keep saying they were socialist but acted as capitalist.
Thats what SYRIZA always was.
The input here in this comment section is very interesting, but I still stick to my opinion that this Syriza debacle had a much more mundane cause.
I think that, when Syriza was founded, its leadership really wanted to do what it takes to end austerity in Greece — including exiting the Eurozone.
However, when they took the government, they saw the books and realized that to exit the Euro would mean the destruction of the EU: the Deutsche and the Société Générale were neck deep with Greek rotten papers, and would require massive bail outs from Germany and France, respectively, to survive. That would probably mean a Carolingian version of 2008 and, therefore, the virtual end of the EU.
Western European Communism was already degenerating since the 1970s. In the 1980s, they morphed into a new doctrine, called Eurocommunism, which was basically Communism capitulating to social-democracy: accepting the bourgeois institutions of Western Europe were the best one possible; trying to advance the welfare state within its limits. Tsipras and co. are at least spiritual successors (late manifestations) of Eurocommunism. Greece has a significant communist post-war past, so it is not that crazy to think that way.
At the end of the day, Syriza had to choose between saving an idea of united Europe (even if, in the real world, it is an imperialist, neoliberal union) or doing a socialist revolution in Greece. His “Eurocommunist” blood decided to preserve the institutions and an abstract idea of united Europe over the welfare and dignity of its own people.
“At the end of the day, Syriza had to choose between saving an idea of united Europe (even if, in the real world, it is an imperialist, neoliberal union) or doing a socialist revolution in Greece.”
Dont you see the contradiction to the paragraph above?
You saying that syriza choosed to save a imperalist neoliberal union and avoid doing a socialist revolution in greece. And that somehow is eurocommunism?
Well eurocommunism sounds alot like pro-capitalism
Anyway some actions before they come to power speak volumes for someones intentions
Lets suppose you are right about your assumption that SYRIZA wanted to end austerity at all cost.
If they are honest you must explain why in the unions long before they came to power they choose to cooperate with ND and PASOK instead cooperate with KKE. (communist party)
SYRIZA had supported EU and its policy long before they came to power.
“However, when they took the government, they saw the books and realized that to exit the Euro would mean the destruction of the EU: the Deutsche and the Société Générale were neck deep with Greek rotten papers, and would require massive bail outs from Germany and France, respectively, to survive. That would probably mean a Carolingian version of 2008 and, therefore, the virtual end of the EU.”
Just not so. Syriza came to power in 2015, by which time the haircuts had been given, the paper held by the private German banks and private French banks had been redeemed, sold off, or transferred, and the ESM, soon to be ESFS,
Syriza “didn’t have to choose” between a social revolution or the EU, the Greek working class was facing the path of either social revolution or intensified attacks on living standards. In the face of those attacks, the working class was paralyzed by Syriza’s dissembling.
Your “history” of the Western CPs is off by more than half a century. Those CPs ” accepted the bourgeois institutions of Western Europe were the best one possible” in the 1930s with the popular fronts, maintained that alliance through WW2, and persisted in that “acceptance” throughout the 50s and 60s. Have we all forgotten the role of the CP and the CGT in May 1968 in France, or the reactionary role played by the CP of Chile in 1970-1973 period, denouncing the workers movement that alone,through the cordones, broke the capitalists’ lock out?
“Official” big C “communism” was “degenerating” even before the death of Lenin– look at the role the ECCI played in the extended period 1919-1923 in Germany; and after that it only gets worse– subordinating the Chinese Communist Party to the KMT, subordinating the workers struggle in Spain to a battle for “liberal democracy.”
Anyway, regardless what those who looked to Syriza for relief thought, Syriza itself never contemplated the critical first step towards breaking the power of the Troika, which was to renounce the debt.
Mr. Roberts’ own posts about the issue clearly state the Troika bailout went directly to the private creditors. If there was a haircut, it was minimal.
Western Europeans communists must stop blaming the world for their own failures. Ever since the post-war period, Western Marxism has been an abject failure. You don’t have any authority to call what is and what isn’t socialism for the simple reason you degenerated into a pseudo-science (with mr. Roberts and some others being the exception that proves the rule).
It’s true that the the private sector bailout was before Syriza took office. The PSI as it was called did have a headline ‘haircut’ that looked large but the German and French banks got lots of sweeteners in cash and other ESM bonds in return and have gained much from new Greek govt bond holdings. None of this bailout was used to help sustain social spending.
The point being that the private banks were off the hook by 2013, sweeteners or not; Syriza did not enter office until 2015 and face the prospect of bankrupting Deutsche Bank or BNP or Soc Gen.
Of course none of the bailout money was used for social spending. The whole point of the bailout was to reduce the standard of living, drive down the wage, reduce social costs, and return the money fronted to keep the government from collapsing and a social movement from forming that would simply renounce the debt; the first necessary step to “righting” the so-called economy.
To talk about leaving the eurozone and substituting the drachma without renouncing a debt that was DENOMINATED in euros; to talk about nationalizing banks or any sector of the economy without canceling the international debt was a non-starter. The only route open for the workers of Greece was to insist on canceling the debt. Everything else was nonsense.
Now we come to more of VK’s silliness:
“Western Europeans communists must stop blaming the world for their own failures. Ever since the post-war period, Western Marxism has been an abject failure. You don’t have any authority to call what is and what isn’t socialism for the simple reason you degenerated into a pseudo-science.”
I am not Western European, and have never been associated with Western European communism.
“Ever since the post-war period, Western Marxism has been an abject failure”? You simply don’t know what you are talking about. The official CPs have been a failure, but they were a failure well before WW2; failed in Germany (remember “Nach Hitler, uns”??); they failed in France, they failed in Spain.
The “Marxism” spouted by the official Communist Party has nothing in common with Marx’s critique of capitalism.
I have yet to meet a “Western Marxist” who “blames the world” for “their own failures.” Met plenty of Stalinists who blame everybody but themselves for their own failures, and their eagerness to prop up the capitalist order.
The article offers food for thaught and conversation, so its a good one without doubt. Of course we can see a revolution in Greece in the future. Not socialism. Socialism cannot be founded on a national level when capitalism has already internationalised productive powers and relations. That is why a European socialist movement and plan is needed. Socialism should begin at the point where capitalism ends. If capitalism can deliver a united Europe of the plutocracy of 1%, the socialist movement should take over and revolutionise its society by nationalising its continental economy. Not by dividing Europe to its old national states. Grexit is not a socialist plan, but a keynesian one with very destructive results due to the dependent condition of a very weak economy and the geopolitical exposure of Greece to external conflicts and antagonisms.
And a last remark. It is very convenient for communists to explain their failure by the treason of the reformists. Can anyone explain to me KKE’s evolution: 10,9% (1981), 10,3% (1990), 8,2% (2007), 5,6% (2015) and 5,3% (2019). Is it PASOK’s or SYRIZA’s fault this historical decline of the communist party ?
You missed a lot of dates between that show that communist party goes up and down.
Revolution is not dependent on will. It’s based on the conditions in each country. With a GDP growing the growth of kke was based in different reasons that dont apply today.
Syriza I believe was unavoidable with pasok legacy in this country.
Take a look here.
Your ideology also falls victim to your logic: by the time Schäuble issued his ultimatum (get out of the Euro or accept austerity), Syriza’s strategy was gone. Tsipras raionalized exactly the same way as you: better to continue inside a united Europe than try to do the revolution “alone”. The problem is, you’re waiting for Godot.
It’s very unlikely a world revolution the way most people visualize today (as an heroic single event) will ever happen; the most probable scenario is that capitalism will die by “a thousand cuts”: multiple socialist revolutions across the globe in different circumstances and in different time periods until socialism is completely built. It will probably be a 150-300 years time frame. Future historians may call this period a “world revolution”, but that would be a simplification of a very complex period of History.
Yes, the KKE has been doing abismally (as are doing other extant Communist parties in Western Europe). But it’s not like the European Left is doing any better in the European Parliamente either: it will never govern the EU and we know that.
‘’And a last remark. It is very convenient for communists to explain their failure by the treason of the reformists. Can anyone explain to me KKE’s evolution: 10,9% (1981), 10,3% (1990), 8,2% (2007), 5,6% (2015) and 5,3% (2019). Is it PASOK’s or SYRIZA’s fault this historical decline of the communist party ?’’
The best and most complete explanation that I know is called Revolutionary Cycle Class struggle cycle, clico of ownership of productive capital, and even Kondratiev cycle … are other names allowed. In the regressive, reactionary phase of this cycle, ALL PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES carry out right-wing, regressive policies. Regressive equal to privatization. Equal to return to the capitalist mode of production. Some (Syriza) do it more smoothly and slowly and others (ND, PP, Vox, Marie Lepen, etc …) more quickly and violently. Only the speed of the recoil changes. The return to the 19th century. It is the retreat of the 1st socialist impulse of 1.917. The impulse (Ragnar Frisch, Rosa Luxemburg) is the dominant scientific paradigm that today more and better explains the economic and … political fluctuations. It is little or nothing debatable.
Has the KKE descended into the electoral market since 1981? OK.. The same thing happens to the PCE (Spain), the PCF (France), and to the entire left “that has turned to the right” since the 80s. The beginning of the 80s is the beginning of the regressive phase, retreat of the revolutionary cycle driven in 1.917 (and 19.49).
I do not know the policies proposed by the KKE in Greece, but are they really so different from the Syriza proposals? Are they really more socialists?
Final forecast: The voter from Greece and the rest of Europe will turn around (4/8 years) from the right to his extreme right, seeking and proving among the rest of the political offers of the electoral market a solution to his monetary problems. You will not find that solution (it is impossible: the capitalist mode melts the social majority of the countries), and, yes, a socialist party must appear that offers socialist solutions. And with access to power outside the via-parliament.
“I do not know the policies proposed by the KKE in Greece, but are they really so different from the Syriza proposals? Are they really more socialists?”
KKE is a communist party.
Basically is calling for revolution and taking over the factories etc.
SYRIZA when he was elected was saying that he will renegotiate the previous agreements.
Indeed, the KKE calls for revolution; the KKE called for opposition to the Syriza government, opposition to the now ND government; and even for exiting the EU– all of which are important positions.
However, if you look closely at the political resolution of the 20th Congress of the KKE, you won’t find even a reference to the debt, much less the call for unilaterally annulling the debt. Why is that? What’s the point of “calling for” a “revolution” when you don’t set out practically what the concrete goals of that revolution, or the concrete transitions to that revolution are? (https://inter.kke.gr/en/articles/POLITICAL-RESOLUTION-OF-THE-20th-CONGRESS-OF-THE-KKE/)
Why the timidity among not just Syriza– which is easily understood given Syriza’s stated goal of “saving capitalism from itself”– but also among the left MPs who departed Syriza, who actually did NOT call for annulling the debt even though a parliamentary committee found that the debt had been accrued illegally– and the KKE?
I’d ask the same of Michael: why the hesitancy in focusing on the debt and calling for its immediate abolition?
KKE calls the revolution and occupation of factories as you say ?. So, in my opinion, if it’s a socialist party. However, and despite the fact that I am not in day-to-day politics, the PCE (now I.U.) in Spain does not call for revolution today. He has never done it. And I doubt he will do it soon. And in other European countries, the communists, from Eurocommunism, have stopped wanting to occupy factories.
If the thesis of the revolutionary cycle is true (and it is) the KKE, then, must have patience. And wait for the electoral pendulum and its voters, pendulum that now tilts to the right and far right (4/8 years) in Greece and all of Europe, turn to the left. Towards the KKE. Elites and banking determine the current electoral offer and the KKE must wait. The commentator ‘Greek Voter’ also recalls that the Bolshevik party never had more than 5% of the votes … …
Kke is saying that we should not pay the debt.
20 Congress has different theme. I dont have access to PC these days so it’s not easy for me to search and send you link but you are looking to the wrong place.
Until the workers are conscious of the fact that they produce the wealth of Greece, outside of what’s contained in natural resources, in exchange for wages, there will be no move toward socialism, just more argument over who would be the best political faction to run the government under the rule of Capital.
Here’s Labour Party’s extraofficial opinion about Syriza’s most recent defeat:
“The Greek election – Syriza goes down, but so do the nazis”
I disagree that the nazis “went down”. New Democracy won because they were able to reabsorb almost all of the Golden Dawn voter base. It doesn’t mean those neonazis are now center-right liberals: it just means there are now neonazis inside a center-right liberal party.
Golden Down will be able to impose its agenda in a way it wouldn’t be able to if it kept hitting the wall of parliamentarian democracy with their heads. They achieved their aim of infiltrating into the heart of the right-wing politics — the same way that happened in the UK.
‘You missed a lot of dates between that show that communist party goes up and down. Revolution is not dependent on will. It’s based on the conditions in each country. With a GDP growing the growth of kke was based in different reasons that dont apply today.’
You are half right. Revolution is not dependent on will. But revolution’s success is. Without the will to organise the socialist movement in order to lead, no revolution can obtain the establishment of a new social order. I didn’t understand the link you make between GDP growth and KKE’s electoral fluctuations. Anyway, KKE is losing its base electorate during both periods of growth and recession. And you are also right about missing dates, since during the 40’s KKE had the majority of people’s full support …
‘Syriza I believe was unavoidable with pasok legacy in this country’
I would add, also with KKE’s legacy…
‘Your ideology also falls victim to your logic: by the time Schäuble issued his ultimatum (get out of the Euro or accept austerity), Syriza’s strategy was gone. Tsipras raionalized exactly the same way as you: better to continue inside a united Europe than try to do the revolution “alone”. The problem is, you’re waiting for Godot.’
I don’t know if I am waiting for Godot, but I can assure you it never was Tsipras intention to try to do the revolution by himself or with European contribution.
‘It’s very unlikely a world revolution the way most people visualize today (as an heroic single event) will ever happen; the most probable scenario is that capitalism will die by “a thousand cuts”: multiple socialist revolutions across the globe in different circumstances and in different time periods until socialism is completely built. It will probably be a 150-300 years time frame.’
20th century saw lots of cuts, but capitalism didn’t die because of its privilege to face them one by one separately. I don’t visualize a simultaneous world revolution, but a revolution that could expand from one country to another in short periods of time thanks to mature material conditions and the help of an organised socialist movement. As for the time frame, I wish I knew, but in any case I am more optimist than you.
‘In the regressive, reactionary phase of this cycle, ALL PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES carry out right-wing, regressive policies. Regressive equal to privatization. Equal to return to the capitalist mode of production…The beginning of the 80s is the beginning of the regressive phase, retreat of the revolutionary cycle driven in 1.917 (and 19.49).’
If that is so, then the period we now live in is the progressive, revolutionary phase of this cycle and at least SOME – PARLIAMENTARY PARTIES – are supposed to carry out left-wing policies, no? So how do you explain KKE’s decline? This is a very schematic and mechanistic analysis that leads to over-simplifications IMHO.
“If that is the case, then the period in which we live now is the progressive and revolutionary phase of this cycle.”
Nooo, it’s just the other way around. I have said: “The beginning of the 80s is the beginning of the regressive phase, the withdrawal of the revolutionary cycle promoted in 1.917 (and 1949). ” What do you not understand from the simple previous sentence? I repeat, the regressive and reactionary phase (from Miterrand, T.Blair, Craxi, F. González, Eurocommunism, etc …) EMPLIEZA in the eighties and continues until today. I can be less mechanical or simplistic in my comment, but the explanation would be too long and I do not know if you would understand it!
Some final words.
Here the thing. No matter the kke percentage there is something to consider.
If kke made mistakes during the crisis im sure it did. I have some critic about some tactics but not about the main points.
I do feel that it made the right decisions.
-It warned that SYRIZA was going to betray the people years before it came to power.
-It denied to collaborate with SYRIZA even when most left people wanted to collaborate.
-It warned after SYRIZA it came to power that SYRIZA will betray.
-It warned in the referendum that SYRIZA was going to betray NO and suggested blank instead.
All the above points were critical moments that we took the right decision. Each wrong decision could devastate us.
All this time the last 10 years its members were trying to organize strikes and protests. Alot of its member got fired from their jobs or beaten by thugs. This is still happening now and will only intensify with the new government.
It calls for revolution and exit euro while taking control of factories etc.
Show me another communist party that gets above 5% in the world and has this kind day to day action?
Im not trying to block every critic for kke with the above sentence but i would expect real criticism. Not projections of ideas of how crisis and communist parties should mix together.
Election results cant be the only criteria for criticism to a communist party. Bolsheviks never got over 5 percent before the revolution anyway.
If we judge that our fight was right until now then election results arent that important.
Dont forget that all other communist or socialist parties ANTARSYA, LAE, M-L-KKE and OKDE fell by -36%, -49%, -77%, -65%.
KKE fell only -0.05%
The greek society after SYRIZA turned to conservatism. SYRIZA managed this when he voted and applied austerity. It has to be expected that KKE wont raise its percentage. Staying the same number sometimes its a win.
Anyway after 10 years of crisis we are still here and more determined than ever and ready to fight.
We will see what happens.
This is an excellent analysis of the KKE and … the revolution.
”multiple socialist revolutions across the globe in different circumstances and in different time periods until socialism is completely built. It will probably be a 150-300 years time frame”’
”As for the time frame, I wish I knew, but in any case I am more optimist than you”.
On when a socialist revolution can take place, I, a good follower of the thesis of the revolutionary cycle-Rosa Luxemburg-which is the thesis and current scientific-economic paradigm of impulse-Ragnar Frisch-as the engine of economic and political fluctuations, I am more in favor (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) of a more technical formulation. I am in favor of the formula with which Lenin defined a PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION: 1.- Extreme misery 2.- Civil mobilization of the masses 3.- Weak government and 4.- Existence of a revolutionary party. A very useful exercise for the users and followers of this blog of M. Roberts who have the time necessary for this may be to check the increase, or not, of these 4 political factors anywhere in the world today. As a guide for this analysis of empirical evidence, a small study recently conducted on the evolution of the 3rd factor (governments increasingly weak, ie more unstable and shorter) in Europe, concludes that in Europe the pre-revolutionary situation will be between 2033 and 2050. Failing to know the evolution of the other 3 factors, I insist that I do not think it is an optimistic calculation at all.
The ‘mechanics’ of revolution ara too complicate to try making any forecasts. Furthermore, it seems to me that at least two of the preconditions maintionned (to have a PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION) are lacking today and I am referring to extreme misery and the existence of a revolutionary party.
I do not deny the KKE members’ militancy in protests and strikes. However, the role of the KKE is not simply to warn SYRIZA’s concessions and compromises, but to provide an alternative solution with conviction. Declaring a revolutionist does not make me a rebel. The KKE has historically failed to implement a socialist revolutionary program and this is not due to the lack of loyalty or militancy of its members, but to the absence of a similar program and a regular implementation plan (tactics).
The following paragraphs belong to KKE’s program and they emphasize the development of the existent capitalist Greek economy, not its reconstruction on a socialist basis:
‘Defending and expanding the country’s production base and its development potential. Claiming national independence and defending the territorial integrity of the country from the imperialist “new order of things”… The release from the European Union, as a basic prerequisite for the exploitation of the country’s domestic development potential, for the real improvement of the standard of living of the workers… Action against agreements that jeopardize the country’s development potential.’ (KKE program)
Leaving apart all that, KKE lost 5.4% (not 0.05%) of its electorate between September 2015 and July 2019 while SYRIZA lost 11,3% despite its so-called betrayal. How could a KKE member be happy with this outcome? How can he consider SYRIZA’s defeat as betrayal and KKE’s losses as successful resistance to the crisis impact? How can he compare the 5% of KKE to the Bolsheviks minority knowing that KKE enjoys parliamentary democratic conditions while the Bolsheviks had to be political active under the totalitarianism of the Tsar?
The KKE’s stance was/is quite revolutionary given the context: SYRIZA’s successful posturing as a revolutionary party and the misery- escape-valve the EU provided for many Greek youth that might have run to the KKE instead.
Dont know the origin or the context of the above text.
You can find kke program on the above link.
It clearly speak about socialist transformation.
If you want more information about aparticular sector you can search more on the website or rizospastis.
0.05 loss is compared with European elections not 2015 elections
Am I happy with the loss? Of course not. No communist is happy losing votes. What I am saying is that it could be a lot worse if you see what is happening now in Greece. The Greek society is taking a right wing turn more precisely a neoliberal.
Yes we today have democratic conditions but it’s not the same situation with bolsheviks.
Like it or not we are not in prerevolution conditions.
People in elections choosed the lesser of 2 evils. That’s why syriza got that percentage.
The percentage doesn’t show kke true influence in society. A lot of people that votes syriza are kke sympathizers.
They agree with a lot of things you are saying and are really positive to you. That wasn’t happening before 2015. It is a problem that it wasn’t expressed in the elections.
The next best is to try these people to come closer to you in the next strikes etc. I would be really puzzled if in the next years we have protests and kke doesn’t increase in percentage.
Sorry for the small comments. I dont have access to PC these days and ita difficult to write through smartphone.
Ps.if you have any objections to kke you are welcome to publish your critic in rizospastis in future Congress
Antonio you consider each 40- to 65-year Kondratiev cycle as a revolutionary or regressive phase where a revolutionary one is being followed by a regressive phase. But that is wrong. It is called a cycle because it entails the two phases. So if we have a long cycle of let’s say 50 years, the first 25 constitute the revolutionary phase and the following 25 years the regressive phase or vice versa. So if you believe that the regressive phase begun at the 80’s, then we should be crossing the revolutionary phase right now.
All this according to your own view. You see I also believe there are long waves and cycles in capitalism history, but I dont connect them strictly to revolution or counterrevolution.
Let’s see, a more complete explanation to clarify dates and phases of a revolutionary cycle and its relation with the Kondratiev cycles, for the reason that in your comment you are not identifying the cycles well.
1.- If, of course, the cycles have 2 phases. The initial revolutionary / class struggle that I identify is the cycle of socialist revolution. He is the initiate in the impulse of 1917 in Russia (with a 2nd impulse-replica in 1949-China). OKAY. This cycle “socialist” if it has a progressive phase (political and economic) from 1917 to the eighties and a regressive phase from the 80s to today. The total duration of this cycle is to be resolved today. That is all. It is a single revolutionary cycle in the twentieth century and describes and explains the construction of the socialist mode of production. Yes, certainly, the regressive phase of the cycle should not last much longer (I said between 2.033 and 2.050) and a new cycle should be initiated caused by a revolution. Revolution that I estimate should be the 2nd and definitive impulse of construction of socialism.
2.- Cycles Kondratiev. He did not call them revolutionary cycles. That definition as a revolutionary cycle is only made in view of the fact that Kondratiev with his “cycles of capitalism” is identifying, in his dates, and with much empirical evidence (economic data), TWO revolutionary cycles in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries . Two cycles that are the building cycles of the capitalist mode of production. The 1st Kondrativev cycle began in 1789 with a phase of growth and progress until 1815 (European Restoration) and a phase of economic regression and decline to 1,848. This 1st cycle lasts, therefore, 59 years. The wave of liberal revolutions of 1948 begins the 2nd Kondratiev cycle of the nineteenth century, with a progressive-growth phase until 1873 and a regressive phase until 1917. The second Kondratiev cycle of the 19th century has a total of 69 years.
3.- They would be, then, 2 revolutionary cycles (also called Kondratiev cycles?- I do not know) in the 19th century and 1 cycle in the 20th century. I have not identified more cycles, simply because even though I’m an economist, I do not work professionally in the macro-economy and I do not have time for it because of my professional activity. But the economic historian Walter Scheidel of Stanford University in California does a superficial description, not systematic and unofficial but masterful of several of these cycles since the Neolithic. He does this in his work ” The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century. “(Princeton University Press, Jan. 24, 2017.) Other authors, among others, who have studied the class struggle cycles are .- Ernesto Screpanti ” Long economic cycles and recurrent proletarian insurrections ” .- B. Silver Class Struggle and Kondratieff waves, 1870 to the present
4.- Yes, there are other economic cycles in capitalism (Juglar cycles, Kitchin cycles, real estate bubble cycles, etc …). Mr. Roberts is an expert with publications about them, but that is another very different topic. They are cycles with motors and impulses very different from the revolutionary impulse, which is an exogenous impulse to the economic system, of political-social character, that affects the whole system, of longer duration, … and of much more power and effects .
My last two comments concern Michael’s article to whom I have great respect owing to his research which helps a lot my understanding of capitalism. Michael stresses:
‘For the next four years, the Syriza government has duly attempted to implement every single demand of the Troika. Pensions have been slashed, public sector employees have been sacked and wage freezes imposed, state assets have been sold off, taxes have been raised sharply.’
Well, that’s not exactly how things happened under SYRIZA governance. For example, public sector employees have not been sacked (on the contrary SYRIZA is accused of growing public employment) and pension cuts were considerably less than previous cuts by ND-PASOK governments. But the real difference, which contradicts Michael’s belief that SYRIZA capitulated to all Troika’s demands, has to do with its employment and distributive policies in favour of the poor. These policies explain why after 4 years of austerity policies SYRIZA lost only 4 pp of its electorate base. Michael also underlines:
‘The Syriza leaders’ economic strategy of accepting the Troika programme, honouring the debt burden and staying in the EU has failed. The result has been total disillusionment with Syriza, particularly among the young. Many have left to find work; those who have not either did not vote in the election or voted for a change of government in the form of New Democracy.’
But that’s not accurate. According to ALCO’s CEO and exit polls 38% of young people (17-24 years old) voted for SYRIZA vs 30% for ND. Also 37% of public employees voter for SYRIZA vs 33% for ND.
“For example, public sector employees have not been sacked (on the contrary SYRIZA is accused of growing public employment”
Not exactly. The number increased but they are not hired with the same legislation as public employees. Usually they are hired on a specific timeframe. Alot of the number also corresponds to private companies that took over public sector jobs.
Syriza did cut pensions but not as much as nd.
The cuts are not the same to all categories. Some pensions were cut more than others. Pensions were reduce from 12% to 46% depending from the category
Kostas is right and wrong about weather syriza accept all the terms of troika.
Syriza accepted all of them. There is not a doubt about it. What it also did is to tax more than what troika said.
They indeed taxed middle class more than the troika suggestions. That lead to 2 things.
1.the 37billion pillar so we can borrow again.
2.with the extra taxes from middle class syriza supported some of the lower classes.
The problem with that is that middle class has so high taxes that started to see lower class as the enemy. That’s how society turned to neoliberalism.
Take a look here.
Greek voter Says:
“For example, public sector employees have not been sacked (on the contrary SYRIZA is accused of growing public employment”
Not exactly. The number increased but they are not hired with the same legislation as public employees. Usually they are hired on a specific timeframe. A lot of the number also corresponds to private companies that took over public sector jobs.
Greek voter, it would be useful if you supported your arguments with the corresponding data and their source. As an economist I know very well there are no such official statistics supporting what you are saying. The only stats covering the period 2014-2018 (ELSTAT) certifiy an increase of public sector employees by 33.000.
According to Greek voter :
‘Syriza did cut pensions but not as much as nd.
The cuts are not the same to all categories. Some pensions were cut more than others. Pensions were reduced from 12% to 46% depending from the category. Kostas is right and wrong about weather syriza accept all the terms of troika.
Syriza accepted all of them. There is not a doubt about it.‘
So, how many were the losses in the two controversial periods?
For the restoration of the truth, reductions in pensions paid out exceeded € 45 billion in 2010-2014, compared with € 2.4 billion in total reductions launched after the 3rd Program agreement of 2015. It should be noted that in the period 2015-2018 the reductions made in the main pensions do not exceed the two percentage points for the vast majority of pensioners (sickness and sickness contribution).
In addition, it should be taken into account that cuts of up to 57% were prevented, which would result in the application of the zero-deficit clause, which was legislated and was going to be applied by the ND- PASOK government, to all supplementary pensions.
Auxiliary pensions were subjected to a sickness contribution, while the cuts were made for 10% of the total number of pensioners in the country with a sum of main and auxiliary pension over € 1,300.
Two conclusionσ from the above:
(a) SYRIZA’s pension cuts were only 5% of the total (2010-2018) and
(b) SYRIZA didn’t accept all the terms of troika.
Syriza most explicitly accepted all the terms of the troika. It was not able to fulfill all the terms of the troika, but that’s not for lack of effort or willingness. That’s because fulfilling all the terms is an impossibility.
Come on, get real. Look at the decline in the Greek economy from 2009 on; the decline in employment; the decline in labor force participation; the number of young people not in school, not in training, not employed (“NEETS”); the decline in health care, etc.
Syriza “didn’t accept all the terms of the troika”? Right. That’s true, Tsipras didn’t deliver Varafoukis’ head on a platter at the Eurozone’s meeting of Prime Ministers. Shame on him.
But Greek voter continues:
‘What it also did is to tax more than what troika said.
They indeed taxed middle class more than the troika suggestions. That lead to 2 things.
1. the 37 billion pillar so we can borrow again.
2. with the extra taxes from middle class syriza supported some of the lower classes.
The problem with that is that middle class has so high taxes that started to see lower class as the enemy. That’s how society turned to neoliberalism.‘
You are right about the pillar, but its creation was not created exclusively by tax increases since there were also government expenses cuts. But since it seems to me you are adopting ND-PASOK claims that SYRIZA overtaxed and destroyed the middle class, let me tell you this:
According to the official data of the AADΕ (Independent Public Revenue Authority), the number of taxpayers with income from 20,000 to 60,000 (definition of the middle class by income criteria) decreased 10.3 times more during the period of the NDP-PASOK Governments (2009-2014) compared to the SYRIZA government period (2014-2017). In the first period, the number of middle-class taxpayers fell by around 425,000 (from 1,458,000 to 1,033,000), while in the second period the reduction was limited to about 41,000 (down to 992,000). Also, while in the first period the tax per taxpayer increased 14.4%, over the second period it increased 5.9%.
These data confirm that the large-scale shrinking of the middle class took place over the ND-PASOK governments, while on SYRIZA there was a tendency to stabilize the levels of the middle class. In addition, the difference in policy vis-a-vis the middle class between SYRIZA and ND. is not only recorded in the absolute numbers but also in the distribution of their change. In particular, while about 60 per cent of the middle-class reduction over the ND-PASOK governments concerns the poorest middle class (20-40,000 incomes), the corresponding 60 per cent of its reduction over the SYRIZA government concerns the richest part of the middle class (income 40-60,000).
The above findings are also confirmed by the recent SEV (Association of Greek Industries) Special Report on Overtaxing (http://www.sev.org.gr/vivliothiki-tekmiriosi/special-report/stoichima-epiviosis-gia-ti-chora-i-antagonistiki-forologia -se-ergasia-kai-paragogi /), which reveals, without commenting, that the contraction of the middle class was made during ND-PASOK governments.
And a last comment. Society didn’t turn to neoliberalism. It turned to false ND promises of better living conditions due to lower taxes, investment boom, strong growth, new and massive well paid jobs and social safety (law and order). That’s a big difference…
Antonio you keep mixing Kondratieff to revolutionary cycles. I don’t know about the later on which I would like to hear from Michael. But bibliography on Kondratieff cycles is concrete and speaks about 5-6 cycles, not three as you are suggesting.
A Kondratieff cycle is a long-term economic cycle believed to result from technological innovation and produce a long period of prosperity. Kondratieff believed that these cycles involved periods of evolution and self-correction. Economists have identified five Kondratieff Waves since the 18th century. The first resulted from the invention of the steam engine and ran from 1780 to 1830. The second cycle arose because of the steel industry and the spread of railroads. It ran from 1830 to 1880. The third cycle resulted from electrification and innovation in the chemical industry, and ran from 1880 to 1930. The fourth cycle was fueled by autos and petrochemicals and lasted from 1930 to 1970. The fifth cycle was based on information technology and began in 1970 and ran through the present. Some economists believe we are at the start of a sixth wave and that this one will be driven by biotechnology and healthcare.
Anyway, the main characteristic of a cycle is its regularity (ups and downs, duration). And Kondratieff cycle lasts from 40 to 60 years. So your third cycle of approximately 120 years – with a progressive phase of 63 years (1917-1980) and a reactionary phase of 53-70 years (1980-2033 or 2050) – has nothing to do with Kondratieff cycles.
Mitsotakis will try to govern like Syriza. Pro Soros pro Bilderberg MPs in his cabinet. Problem he will have is he is more Merkel tgan Salvini despite being elected on a mild Salvini ticket. Syriza KKE will do everything in their power to prop em up as they did in 2012 when Syriza allowed them the elections and KKE sold out the Steelworkers strike alongside GD.
Mitsotakis was brought to power to crash and burn. Its the last of the Greek political dynasties….
You have a little bit of vision (that is, it is not that it has zero vision, for the reason that you say you are an economist and if you seem to know something about economics) about the cycles, but, I fear, that vision is something superficial and, all, influenced ONLY by mainstream economists. That is, liberal economists or, at best, social democrats. A tip: if you want to deepen the theory and economic practice study and practice also socialist economy. Why? Simply put: because the socialist economy, like the socialist mode of production, is a step forward (a very considerable step, eg in terms of GDP / year, is 5 times higher) with respect to the liberal economy. You will learn much more. Just some ideas, quick and summarized, about your comment for a talk that I must finish for lack of time.
1.- I did not say that the revolutionary cycle of the twentieth century (since 1917) is a Kondrativev cycle. Therefore, his criticism is not valid. Review what I said.
2.- The mainstream economists that you mentions and those who follow and study, forget, actually HIDE, that behind the technological impulses of the nineteenth century (the two industrial revolutions) there are two political impulses. Political impulse of a revolutionary nature. They are the impulses of 1,789 in the French Revolution and 1,848 in the European Liberal Revolutions. For there to be relevant and strong technological innovation such as the two Industrial Revolutions, there must first be a competitive impulse that allows and widens the competition between companies, products, goods and services, that is, there can not be a monopolistic / oligopolistic situation (such as today and as in Feudalism). As a counter-factual example, the technological innovations of today in the World-System that is in an oligopolistic situation in almost all economic sectors, is almost of irrelevant value. And so, the misnamed and alleged robotics, Internet, digital products, etc … have not prevented the productivity (Total Productivity and the marginal Total Productivity of Factors) of the economy from declining since the eighties. It is just that competitive impulse (in expansion of competition) that provided the Revolutions of the XVIII and XIX. Peje The French Revolution, in addition to the slogan equality, fraternity and freedom, has the motto of Free Enterprise. Free enterprise that meant the end of the monopolistic privileges of the feudal lords and allowed an explosion in the creation of mercantile societies by the bourgeois of the nineteenth century. This explosion of mercantile societies is documented and demonstrated in France and England. Explosion that ended the monopolistic situation of Feudalism. That is to say, what he has to ask himself and solve is precisely because in the nineteenth century those two Revol. Industrialists and they did not do it in the two previous millennia of Feudalism. The real and nuclear explanation (the basic and nuclear impulse-Ragnar Frisch and Rosa Luxemburg) are the Liberal Revolutions, the two revolutions that EXPANDED THE PROPERTY OF THE MEANS OF PROCEDURE, those that liquidated Feudalism and those that created capitalism. If this expansion of the ownership of the companies would not exist the Industrial Revolutions. They never existed in the millennia of Feudalism. That is the background and real origin of technological innovations (steam engine, steel, railroads, electricity, etc.). It is a political origin, and is the origin of the cycles of Kondgivingv. True, neither the nor almost nobody, until now, calls them revolutionary cycles, but I do, because if they have a revolutionary origin. To finish, socialism is, in reality, the next step in the expansion of ownership of capital productive, and that is precisely, and as happened in the nineteenth century, Capitalism ensures its success. Ownership of (productive) capital is the problem. The rest, it matters, but it’s secondary. Do you understand?
3.- It is not the subject of my debate with you, but I will tell you something about your comments about the economic data that you. mentions of Greece in the period of Syriza. These data only confirm that Syriza (and Podemos, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Corbyn, etc … and almost all the left parties since the eighties starting with F. Miterrrand) is not savage neoliberalism, true, but only because it is a regression, a setback (for the social majority, 80% of the country, the working classes) of character only something softer, something slower, something more moderate, than that provoked by a neoliberal party. Only change the speed. Weight if it is a hard, pure and brutal setback that, 1st, erases and dilutes all the economic and social rights gains that the working class achieved in the progressive phase of the cycle and that, 2nd, will lead European working classes to extreme misery .Or to a war. Read the historian Walter Scheidel that I already mentioned. And, moreover, comes from a party that called itself socialist. Yes, Greece, do not doubt it, is also, with the rest of Europe, in the last of a regressive phase of a revolutionary cycle. Well, do not call it Kondratiev cycle (I do not do it), but do not forget to call it a revolutionary cycle
My data came from various newspapers like the link above. Not elstat. So yes they might be wrong.
About the pensions syriza cuts were less compared to nd but some categories were hit hard.
The numbers I gave was about particular categories.
About the pillar didn’t say it was exclusive from taxes.
I have to search the number when I return from vacations.
A final precision on technological innovations and their effect on the growth of a country. Precision that is motivated because that is his only and main argument to justify that the growth detected by Kondratiev (his cycles) comes derived from the Industrial Revolutions of the XIX. It is ‘their’ reason and it is the argument of the mainstream economy, basically neoliberal. And it is a radically false argument, such as a minimal argument and a simple look at economic facts prove it. Said in a simple way (but not simple, but synthetic and summarized. I am an excellent professional economist but, I repeat, I have little time for these occupations). The question is: if Amazon (or Google, any other producer) innovate in any area of your company, and / or products and services that will mean the economic growth (annual GDP) of ¿Usa? Of the World-System ?. I guess you should not need to answer it, or know much about economics, to know that Amazon innovation will only cause YOUR growth and not the growth of other competing producers in your country or the world. It is well known that the actual practice today of innovations from Amazon, innovations that if you have made them in terms of commercial logistics have caused the collapse and liquidation of thousands (or millions) of small and medium enterprises in Usa and the rest of the world. Liquidation of small and medium enterprises equal to NO GROWTH. The best possible result of innovation in the growth of a country will be that growth remains the same.
On the contrary, is it necessary to explain and provide empirical evidence that an extension of the ownership of productive capital (companies), yes will it imply an expansion of the joint growth of a country? And that this extension of property could only be made socially through political changes? Disruptive political changes, that is, revolutions, such as the Nineteenth Century Liberal Revolutions, and such as the Socialist Revolutions of 1917 and 1949. I will not, but it is this extension of property, precisely and solely, the reason that justifies the growth of Capitalism in the nineteenth century (and the cycles of Kondratiev, which, in reality, are revolutionary cycles) and the growth of socialism ‘of the twentieth century. Growth of the last century that has a strong dose of socialism (the Urss and socialist countries with 90% / 100% of social ownership of companies) and the West with 60% state social ownership.
Thanks for the lecture Antonio and forgive my difficulty to understand your analysis of ‘socialist economy’ by which I believe you mean ‘sociaist economics’. But I have not heard of ‘socialist economics’, only of marxist economics. So I guess you will enlighten me once more. For example, I would like you to inform me where did Rosa Luvemburg analyse this revolutionary cycle you keep talking about. You say:
‘It is a political origin, and is the origin of the cycles of Kondgivingv. True, neither the nor almost nobody, until now, calls them revolutionary cycles, but I do, because if they have a revolutionary origin.’
I guess by ‘Kondgivingv’ you mean Kondratiev. So it is you who make the connection among Kondratiev and revolutionary cycles and there is no need to deny it (‘Well, do not call it Kondratiev cycle (I do not do it)’) because it was crystal clear the connection you made among them in your note of July 12, 2019 at 2:40 pm.
It was not my intention to analyse Kondratiev cycles, only to see if they coincide with the so called revolutionary cycles. That doesn’t mean there aren’t radical socioeconomic changes or revolutions during these cycles.
And by the way, I didn’t mention any mainstream economist (dont put words in my mouth please).
I only answer your question about Rosa Luxemburg. Your rest of the comment I do not read it, due to lack of time, and, therefore, I neither refute it nor confirm it.
Says Rosa Luxemburg. In his work ” Reformation or Revolution ”. In the chapter ” The conquest of political power ”. It is his contribution to the theory of revolutionary cycles. In addition to other texts that you should look for yourself.
” Each legal constitution is the product of a revolution. In the history of classes, the revolution is an act of political creation, while legislation is the political expression of the life of a society that already exists. The reform does not have a force of its own, independent of the revolution. In each historical period the reformist work is carried out only in the direction that gives it the impetus of the last revolution, and continues as long as the IMPULSE of the last revolution is felt. More specifically, the reformist work of each historical period is carried out only within the framework of the social form created by the revolution. Here is the core of the problem. ”
Rosa exposes in her text, text that is not a mathematical-political formula but that is quite similar. Or everything. – 1º Human societies are created by impulses. I add: a) by impulses / schoks created by the subjects that are losing in the distribution of wealth, and social impulses that will always occur as long as there are inequitable wealth inequalities and inequalities that cause social collapse. and b) this happens since the Neolithic, according to Walter Scheidel, and has happened in all known modes of production. 2 º The revolutionary impulse is what creates the period of reforms. The reforms do not occur by themselves and have a single previous cause: a revolution. Said the other way around, without revolution there is no reformist period-progressive period and 3º The progressive phase lasts as long as the force of the impulse lasts. The greater the force of the impulse (revolution), the longer its temporal effect will be. I add a territorial and spatial effect: the revolution has more effect in countries near the place of its action. The example of the Nordic countries and their ‘near-socialism’ and the different degrees of development of the European Welfare States as the ” focus-Urss ” are moving away is evident.
4º Rosa makes a brilliant, but perhaps non-systematic and scientific definition of the impulse phenomenon to explain socio-political fluctuations and movements. But Rosa’s contribution is confirmed scientifically and 100% by the Norwegian economist and Nobel Prize winner Ragnar Frisch in his book ” Propagation and Impulse Problems in Dynamic Economics (1933) ”
The paradigm of the impulse (its propagation and regression) is the dominant scientific paradigm and accepted today by all the current economic schools (Neoclassical, Neo-Keynesian, Marxist, etc.) to explain the economic fluctuations. Today nobody knows more about the economic and political fluctuations, and, in my opinion, Ragnar Frisch and his theory completely validate Rosa Luxemburg’s definition.
For an excellent professional economist who has little time for these occupations you write a lot of things you that it seems to me you master not.
Of course my company’s innovation will cause my growth and probably the destruction of some of my competitors and if there is extensive liquidation of SME’s then the outcome on the level of the economy would probably be an outright recession.
But that is the way the ‘extension of the ownership of productive capital (companies)’ takes place. These are the two sides of the same coin.
Of course it takes time, the time of a socioeconomic crisis and a massive destruction of productive capacity probably through war (which by the way promotes technology innovation), to see a new phase of capitalistic development. So it’s not a simple antithesis as you think it is (‘On the contrary’..).
Marx explained how capitalism, in its early, progressive phase, gave a huge impetus to the development of the productive forces. Competition between different capitalists, in the pursuit of increased profits and greater markets, led not only to extensive growth – through accumulation and reproduction – but also to intensive growth, as the capitalists reinvested profits into the development of new machinery, technologies, and productive techniques. Those who could not keep up with the application of the latest technology and technique produced at a higher cost were undercut by their competitors. The weak went under and were consumed by the strong, leading over time to a concentration and centralisation of capital in the hands of the few, as Marx describes in Capital.
Marx and Engels themselves spoke in the Communist Manifesto of how capitalism “has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals.” The invention and application of the steam engine was, without exaggeration, an “industrial revolution”.
Many other qualitative leaps have followed under capitalism, from the invention of trains and telegrams, to the application and generation of electricity. But by the early 20th century, such leaps were few and far between. By this stage, the productive forces had far outgrown the market; the imperialist nations could expand no further without re-dividing up the world. Thus began a period of two world wars, with the Great Depression in-between.
It is notable that the main development in technology and innovation from this period came not from capitalism and the competition of the free market, but from the state control over industry and the planning that capitalist nations were forced to adopt for the purposes of war.
Nationalisation and public control of the key sectors of research and development were introduced in the advanced capitalist countries during the Second World War in order to innovate and develop new technologies. Aircraft, plastics, synthetic rubber, medicines, telecommunications, nuclear energy, etc., all of these technologies and many more were either invented or given an enormous boost due to WW2, alongside a general development of industry and the introduction of new production techniques for the purpose of the war.
This rapid period of development in terms of the research and application of new technologies and techniques, along with the destruction caused during the war itself and the expansion of world trade that followed, in turn led to the post-war economic boom – the so-called “Golden Age” of capitalism.
So you are right. The individual capitalists invest in research and technology to improve their company’s productivity and undercut their rivals, reducing wages and replacing workers with machinery in the process. But each capitalist is pursuing the same “rational” aim, and in doing so the capitalist class as a whole cuts away at the very market that it is trying to sell to. With commodities unable to be sold, the crisis of overproduction reveals itself and production stops. The individual capitalist benefits, in the short term, from technological innovation; but the capitalist class as a whole ends up generating unemployment and crisis.
With a glut of excess capacity in the system and no effective demand for further goods and services, there is no incentive for any capitalist to invest in the development and implementation of new technologies. Innovation and productivity, in turn, therefore slow down also. Capitalism, in other words, cuts away at the very branch it is sitting on: competition drives investment; investment creates unemployment; and unemployment leads to a vicious cycle of no demand, no investment, and further unemployment.
The crisis forces capitalism to eat away at the very source of its own growth. But that shows us that capitalism is a system in which progress and development of the productive forces can only occur in an extremely chaotic and destructive way.
Remarkably, the capitalists do not deny the destructiveness of their system – rather they revel in it, coining phrases such as “creative destruction” to make the boom-and-slump of capitalism seem not just necessary, but desirable. According to such theories, crises are needed to rid society of old industries and obsolete jobs, which must first be destroyed before new-and-improved – i.e. more efficient and productive – industries and technologies can be created.
In this respect, the ruling class – and in particular the monetarist, neo-liberal wing of the capitalists – consistently pushes for “supply-side” measures, e.g. the abolition of trade unions, the elimination of the minimum wage, “labour market flexibility”, etc.
None of these policies were adopted by SYRIZA government and that is why the whole system fought to overthrown it.
That was my final comment.
Thanks for the hospitality.
‘Come on, get real. Look at the decline in the Greek economy from 2009 on; the decline in employment; the decline in labor force participation; the number of young people not in school, not in training, not employed (“NEETS”); the decline in health care, etc.’
Let’s get real then Anti-Capital.
Apart from Varoufaki’s program and any objections to it, his polemic that SYRIZA allegedly provoked the ‘desolation of the country’ is unacceptable and equates with that of ND-PASOK, ignoring the exercise of an essential social policy by SYRIZA.
One should be blind to not distinguish that over SYRIZA’s governance:
● the unemployed declined by 360,000 (compared with an increase of 790,000 in 2009-2014),
● people at risk of poverty and social exclusion decreased by 540,000 (compared with an increase of 870,000 respectively in 2009-2014),
● people with material deprivation decreased by 560,000 (compared with an increase of 1,124,000 respectively),
● income inequality decreased from 6.5% (Gini) to 25.5% (S80 / S20) and
● the minimum wage increased 11% (down 22% earlier).
You don’t want me to continue..
“● the unemployed declined by 360,000 (compared with an increase of 790,000 in 2009-2014),
● people at risk of poverty and social exclusion decreased by 540,000 (compared with an increase of 870,000 respectively in 2009-2014),
● people with material deprivation decreased by 560,000 (compared with an increase of 1,124,000 respectively),
● income inequality decreased from 6.5% (Gini) to 25.5% (S80 / S20) and
● the minimum wage increased 11% (down 22% earlier).
You don’t want me to continue.”
Sure do. As someone once said, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.” To that we can add, “and then there are statistics as wielded by Kosta K.”
K’s statistics mean nothing. The questions was whether or not Syriza accepted the all terms of the Troika’s diktat, not whether or not conditions became worse because of that capitulation. Using K.’s statistics we could “prove” that the Troika’s progrma actually caused the Greek economy to improve because unemployment declined, etc. “See, I was right,” says Schauble, dancing a jig, if he could dance.
That conditions improved says nothing about Syriza’s acceptance of terms. One might as well argue that Spain’s government didn’t accept all the terms of the EU’s bailout, because conditions have improved. After all, unemployment for young people in Spain several years ago was close to 50%, much greater than the official figure for unemployment for young people in Spain today. Spain too exited EU oversight, and it’s economy has actually grown, although household wealth has remain depressed.
Or we could argue that Ireland’s government didn’t accept all the terms as that economy has marginally improved. Don’t work about those emigres, right? We’re not worried about those from Greece.
K attributes the “moderating” of conditions from the very trough of the economic contraction to Syriza’s non-acceptance. I’m sure that every OECD economist will tell you exactly the opposite.
To see what Syriza explicitly agreed to, see: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/financial-assistance-eurozone-members/greece-programme/
But the MOU doesn’t have it all. There were a priori conditions Syriza had to fulfill before the Troika would open negotiations
“Following the assessment of risk, financing needs and debt sustainability, on 13 July 2015 the leaders of the euro area countries reached an agreement with Greece on a set of prior actions that needed to be implemented in order for negotiations to start on the conditions to be set out in the memorandum of understanding.
The agreed priori actions included:
VAT and pension reform measures
transposition of the Bank recovery and resolution directive (banking union rules)
safeguarding the independence of Greek statistical authority (ELSTAT)
adoption of a Code of Civil Procedure
Greece implemented these agreed prior actions by 14 August 2015.”
Did Greece really implement these agreed upon procedures. Enough to satisfy the ESM is the answer, and it’s the only answer that counts.
The argument is not about how much more pain Syriza accepted as compared to the already institutionalized pain, but rather that the pain was in fact institutionalized and made a permanent (at least for the next 40 years) function by Syriza’s agreement. .
‘Sure do (want me to continue). As someone once said, “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.” To that we can add, “and then there are statistics as wielded by Kosta K.” K’s statistics mean nothing. The questions was whether or not Syriza accepted the all terms of the Troika’s diktat, not whether or not conditions became worse because of that capitulation.’
Someone who offends his interlocutor certainly does not deserve any answer Anti-Capital. And your own comment is insulting because you more or less characterised lies and meaningless the statistics I presented without bothering to say what the lies are and why the statistics I quote are rubbish.
But because the discussion is not only about the two of us but everyone involved, I will remind you that behind figures are people and I will quote you not only quantitative but also qualitative elements, ie events that were the product of SYRIZA’s policy and not of troika’s. So let me continue:
What did SYRIZA do for 4 years apart applying the Memorandum?
1. Free treatment for 2,500,000 uninsured.
2. Remission of the debts certified to the tax office by the uninsured persons hospitalized in a public hospital during ND governance.
3. Cancellation of € 5 entry ticket in hospitals for all insured persons.
4. Free movement with means of massive transportation for all unemployed.
5. Rent and housing allowance.
6. Social Solidarity Income.
7. Increase of children’s allowance by 80%.
8. Increase of the minimum wage by 11%.
9. Abolition of the sub-minimum wage.
10. Payment of insurance contributions by self-employed persons according to their income.
11. One hundred and twenty installments to tax collectors and insurance funds for freelancers and natural persons with write-offs of up to 100% surcharges and entitlement to retirement.
12. Reinstatement of VAT on focus from 24% to 13%.
13. Reduction of VAT on food from 24% to 13%.
14. Reduction of VAT on energy and gas from 13% to 6%.
15. Exemption from the social solidarity levy for incomes up to € 20,000.
16. Reduction of social solidarity contribution from 6% to 2% for income from 20,000 to 30,000 euro.
17. 13th pension (proportional) to pensioners.
18. Economic scandals (eg Novartis, HCDCP etc.) in the courts.
19. School meals to 153,244 students, 950 schools, 63 municipalities.
20. Canceling pension cuts from 1/1/2019 and raising 620,000 pensions from the beginning of 2019.
21. Reduction of unemployment by 9 percentage points with the help of active employment policies.
22. Reduction of youth unemployment by 23 percentage points.
23. Reduction of undeclared work from 20% to 8% through the re-establishment of the Labor Inspectors’ Corps.
24. Reinstatement of collective agreements.
25. Platform for adoption and sponsorship, absolute transparency. Establishment and operation of dead people incinerators.
26. Covenant for cohabiting couples, who can also be foster parents.
27. Increase in public expenditures of the Ministry of National Education in the three years 2016-2018, reaching 2.9% of GDP, while in the five years 2009-2015 they decreased by 34% and with the medium-term plan 2014-2018, they would decrease to 1.9% of GDP in 2018).
28. Restoration of 2500 EPAL Professors (Vocational High School) who were in the availability.
29. Two-year pre-school education.
30. One-day Kindergarten and Full-Day Primary School and Special Education and Training.
31. Participation of students and all categories of employees in the Institutions of Administration of Universities.
32. Uniform and meritocratic criteria for all positions of Education Executives.
33. Resumption of control and supervision of Private Schools by the Ministry of Education and protection of the labor rights of teachers working there.
34. Receiving more than 8000 refugees in the School, Host Houses or Receptionist Structures for the Education of Refugee Families (ADIC) from the school year 2017-2018.
35. Permanent Nominations of Teachers in General, Vocational and Special Education (4500 Teachers in Special Education and Education, school year 2019 – 2020, 5250 Teachers, school year 2020 – 2021, 5250 teachers, school year 2021 – 2022).
36. Reset of school guards, municipal police officers, universities personnel.
37. Opening of ERT.
38. Citizenship to the children of migrants.
39. Remove the special police force of DELTA team.
40. Resetting Errikos Dynnan Hospital to the State.
41. Repeal of the recruitment law in case of strike.
42. Increase of the hospital expenditure limit from EUR 1.5 billion in 2015 to EUR 1.9 billion in 2018.
43. Reduction of EOPY liability
44. A cash surplus of EUR 260 million for Public Hospitals which in 2014 owed EUR 735 million.
45. 19.500 recruitment to Public Health structures to date, with another 4,500 in recruitment and appointment procedures.
46. Abolition of type C prisons.
47. Institution of educational structures in ALL prisons in the country.
48. Vote at 17.
49. Starting the constitutional review process, abolishing the scandalous provision on ministers’ responsibility, securing the religious neutrality of the state, limiting parliamentary immunity, decoupling the election of the President of the Republic from early elections, revising Article 3 on the relations between the State and the Church, the securing of the political oath, the safeguarding of social rights and social goods, the obligatory parliamentary status of the Prime Minister, etc.
50. Establishment of Cleisthenes and the simple proportional as electoral system, but also institutions of direct democracy in local government.
These are not statistical lies. These are facts. They are the result of the social policy that has been pursued, apart Troika;s terms. Now if you want to pretend you do not see them, this is your right of course. But at the end that is something that counts for people. SYRIZA never spoke of a revolution. It is a reformist party and had a left Keynesian program with the ambition to get Greece out of the Memorandum and austerity policies. It failed in the negotiations and compromised with Troika without doubt. It overtaxed the middle class, cut high pensions and paid the price in these elections. But that was not all. SYRIZA didn’t just apply Troika’s terms and certainly not all of them. It is because of SYRIZA’s social policies that its electoral loss was so limited.
So the problem is not if SYRIZA applied Troika terms after a battle he gave and lost, but if his policies helped Greeks to finally get rid of austerity policies and start ameliorating their standard of living. The alternatives (revolution, Grexit) were inexistant due to the lack of preparation (revolution) and the high cost (Grexit). That is my opinion at least.
Two areas of replies: First from the Troika’s “Enhanced Surveillance Report – Greece, June 2019” (https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/economy-finance/ip103_en.pdf)
Couple of comments: a) the terms of agreement with the MFFA under the third MOU ended on August 20, 2018. This report, agreed to by Syriza as part of ONGOING EU surveillance of the Greek government policies addresses many actions taken after that August 2018 date. b)the question is not as K. would like it to be either one of compliance,or execution, but what Syriza agreed to, and has accepted for the entire country for the forseeable future.
1. “Economic developments and policies in Greece are monitored under the European Semester for economic
policy co-ordination and under the enhanced surveillance framework according to Regulation (EU) No
. The activation of enhanced surveillance for Greece (2) acknowledges the fact that over the medium
term, Greece needs to continue adopting measures to address the sources or potential sources of economic and
financial difficulties, while implementing structural reforms to support robust and sustainable economic growth. ”
2.”Greece over-achieved the agreed primary surplus target of 3.5% of GDP in 2018, largely due to continued under-execution of spending ceilings, notably on public investment. The general government headline balance recorded a surplus (1.1% of GDP) for the third year in a row, while the primary surplus monitored under
enhanced surveillance reached 4.3% of GDP, well above target. The primary surplus would have been even larger, but the emerging fiscal space allowed the authorities to clear unforeseen liabilities following from a Court decision and pay a means-tested benefit to households at the end of 2018.
For the most part, the under-execution
of expenditure arises due to setting budget ceilings above the actual spending capacity of budgetary units and
underlines the need for proper assessments of the state of play on major spending projects and realistic estimates
of costs of new policies. These issues have occurred for a number of past years. The European institutions are
supporting the authorities to address the reasons of the systematic underspending in order to improve budgetary
practices and to fully utilise the resources available for public investment from both the EU and national sources
to support growth”
3. “On 15 May 2019, and thus after the submission of the Stability Programme, the authorities adopted a
package of permanent fiscal measures which the European institutions estimate will have a fiscal cost of
more than 1% of GDP in 2019 and beyond. The measures include new instalment schemes for debts on taxes
and to social security funds and municipalities, reductions in selected VAT rates, the introduction of a 13th
pension, and a reversal of an earlier reform of survivors’ pensions. Projections by the European institutions show
that the adoption of the fiscal measures on 15 May 2019 poses a risk for the achievement of the agreed primary
surplus target of 3.5% of GDP in 2019 and beyond. The magnitude will depend on the take up of the new
instalment schemes and their impact on existing ones. Moreover, and as outlined in the assessment of the Greek
Stability Programme, the measures also raise concerns on the achievement of the medium-term budgetary
objective (MTO) in structural terms in 2020. A re-assessment of compliance with the requirements of the
preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact will be carried out in autumn 2019, including a revision of the
applicable benchmark for net expenditure growth in 2020.”
4.”The quality of the fiscal measures adopted on 15 May 2019 is of concern given the objective to make
public finances more growth-friendly and to direct a higher share of social spending towards groups who
face the highest incidence of poverty. For example, the duration of the new instalment schemes is very long
(120 monthly payments), and the schemes contain only limited provisions to assess the ability to pay; it is
recalled that a key reform enacted in 2013 replaced all former settlement schemes by a single ‘basic’ scheme
accessible under strict eligibility criteria. Lower VAT rates for food products, restaurants and food services,
electricity and gas contrast with an important measure adopted in July 2015, while leaving in place the very high
24% standard rate and further increase the VAT gap, which is already the 2nd highest in the EU. Furthermore, the
introduction of a permanent 13th pension and relaxation of the eligibility criteria for survivors’ pensions partially
alter measures adopted in 2012 and 2016 respectively. These reforms will increase public spending on pensions,
which is already the highest as a share of GDP in the EU, and is in contrast to measures adopted in the 2019
budget which directs a higher share of spending on social benefits towards the young people and working-age
population who face much higher risks of poverty. Overall, the adopted measures on pensions and VAT are
targeted at consumption and will absorb a considerable amount of fiscal space that was envisaged in legislation
adopted in 2017 for growth-enhancing reductions in labour and corporate tax rates.”
Note– the pension measures were adopted in May 2019 and represent the reversal of measures Syriza had adopted in 2016 when the 3rd agreement was still in effect.
5. “The Greek authorities continue monitoring labour market and wage developments and intend to conduct
an ex-post assessment of the recent increase in the minimum wage. To this end, the Ministry of Labour has
been developing a monitoring tool based on administrative data. According to preliminary data, employment
growth in the private sector was robust in the first months following the increase in the minimum wage
(February-April 2019), with a large increase in the number of registered contracts. The use and integration of
additional data sources should enable a more robust estimation of the effects of recent policy changes, and
technical support to this effect from the World Bank is expected to start in June 2019”
Note: The increase in minimum wage takes place after the end of the 3rd agreement
6. Privatizations– “Greece made commitments to European partners in June 2018 to continue and complete the important
work of HCAP, which gathers under a single institutional structure a significant portfolio of assets and
shareholdings in public enterprises. The Eurogroup statement of June 2018 foresees that the strategic plan of
HCAP will be implemented on a continuous basis. In addition, the authorities committed to complete the review,
and replacement if required, of Board members of all state-owned enterprises (SOEs) by mid-2019. The
implementation of the strategic plan has proceeded as planned and the Board review is progressing well. Up to
the present, HCAP has appointed 39 Board members (executive and non-executive) in its direct and other
subsidiaries. That said, in order to ensure that the process can be sustained over time in an effective manner, it is
necessary to ensure competitive remuneration of professional Board members. ”
7. Public administration– “Overall, progress has been made with the specific mid-2019 commitments in the area of public sector
In general: “Greece made a general commitment at the Eurogroup of 22 June 2018 to continue and complete reforms adopted under the ESM programme and to ensure that the objectives of the important
reforms adopted under the financial assistance programmes are safeguarded.
In addition, Greece made specific commitments to complete key structural reforms started under the programme in six key
areas by agreed deadlines up to mid-2022, namely (i) fiscal and fiscal-structural policies, (ii) social welfare, (iii) financial stability, (iv) labour and product markets, (v) privatisation and (vi) the modernisation of public administration (12). Greece reiterated these commitments given to European partners in the Eurogroup statement of 5 April 2019 (13). In this context, 15 specific commitments were made with a deadline of mid-2019, progress on which is assessed in this report. ”
If you read the whole report, clearly, Greece did agree with the terms of the 3rd MFFA agreement and was rewarded with 61 billion in funds. Progress in reaching the goals of the 3rd bailout has been uneven, at best, with changes to pensions and other areas taking place after the August 2018 expiration date.
That’s one part of the answer to K. Since K likes statistics and numbers, I thought I’d give him some, from the World Bank database:
Adjusted net national income: 2010,242 billion; 2018, 210 billion
(above it’s low point, as is generally the trend post 2014
Net national income per capita: 2010 21,801 2018, 19,527
Employment in industry as % total: 2010 19.6, 2018 15.3
Employment to population ratio, females age 15 and up:
2010 37.4 2018 34.4
males: 2010 58.0, 2018 513
GDP 2010 299 billion, 2018 218 billion
Household Final Consumption 2010 157 billion, 2018 125.6 billion
And finally, two stats that say a lot about where Greece is, and where it’s headed:
Measles immunization rates, infants 2010 99%, 2017 97%
Infant mortality rates (# per 1000 live births)
2010 3.2 2017 4.3, a 34% increase and greater than the rate recorded at the low point of the economy
I apologize if K is offended by my reluctance to be manipulated by statistics that document some restoration of benefits when a) the economy marginally improved, and b) after the expiration of the MOU, but let’s not pretend that Syriza’s “strategy” for escaping the MFFA and the rule of the Troika actually succeeded. Tsipras himself acknowledged the defeat and his submission to the agreement.
That Syriza resisted, or was incapable of, complete compliance has never been the issue, especially for those of us who knew that the structure of capitalism itself would make full compliance impossible.
“So the problem is not if SYRIZA applied Troika terms after a battle he gave and lost, but if his policies helped Greeks to finally get rid of austerity policies and start ameliorating their standard of living. The alternatives (revolution, Grexit) were inexistant due to the lack of preparation (revolution) and the high cost (Grexit). That is my opinion at least.”
Yeah, that is the problem– agreeing to the Troika’s terms and preserving the dominion of the debt, as Syriza campaigned directly against the MFFA.
Did Syriza’s policies cause an end to austerity? Or did the marginal improvement of the economy allow Syriza to make those individual improvements, while the SYSTEM that imposed austerity, and will impose it again, was preserved? I think the latter. The issue is exactly if committing Greece to an agreement with the Troika will reproduce the conditions that brought about the crisis in the first place?
Everyone gets an opinion on this, but opinions don’t matter. Class rule does. The bourgeoisie rule. Syriza preserved those class relations. The debt weighs like a nightmare, or an Alp, on the brains of the living.
Thanks for your answer. You saved me a lot of time!
Thanks for the reply Anti-Capital, now we are talking. You will have soon my answer.
IMy first response goes like this.
n their recent report, the European institutions estimate that the package of permanent fiscal measures adopted by the Greek authorities on 15 May 2019 will have a budgetary cost of more than 1% of GDP in 2019 onwards. The forecasts of the European Institutions show that these measures pose a potential risk to the agreed target for a primary surplus of 3.5% of GDP in 2019 onwards. In fact, the Institutions do not question the cost of all measures, but that of 120 doses.
In general, the Commission considers that the adopted measures for pensions and VAT are aimed at consumption and will absorb a considerable amount of the fiscal space envisaged by the legislation adopted in 2017 for reductions in labor and corporate tax rates that would boost growth.
It should be said, however, that in recent years the Commission has systematically underestimated the ability of the Greek government to achieve a satisfactory budgetary space in order to take compensatory social aid measures and has been systematically discouraged by the results. Consequently, nor generalized is Commission’s estimate deviation from the one of Greek authorities, nor is it final.
Evidence that the Greek authorities’ estimation of not deviating from the primary surplus target is that even with the new government of ND, which is supposed to change the economic policy mix, the assessment remains that the target will be met.
In any case, all of these excerpts of the report show some commitments of the Greek government for goals, but at the same time demonstrate the Greek government’s self-reliance on choosing the policy instruments to achieve them.
Faster growth can be achieved by different means. The SYRIZA government chose to stimulate demand through benefits, pensions increase and some mild tax relief.
The government of ND seeks to stimulate supply by reducing non-wage costs (taxes and levies) on businesses, privatizations and pension cuts (insurance reform).
The fact that the Commission chooses to coincide with ND’s policy of stimulating supply explains why SYRIZA’s policy cannot be identified as neo-liberalism, especially now that Greece is outside the memorandum.
With the exit from the Memorandum, the country is not exempted from the obligations of the new rules of economic and fiscal policy and collective oversight of the European Union, which concern all member countries and provide for:
• limiting the structural budget deficit to 0.5% of the golden rule, ie the possibility of committing to new debts,
• reducing the excess debt by 1/20 each year for countries with a debt-to-GDP ratio of over 60%
• continuing the reforms with the necessary corrections, notably for the aging of the insurance system (Ageing report) and
• overseeing the (macro) macroeconomic imbalances where each Member State is assessed on the basis of a scoreboard.
These obligations require among other indicative or binding targets for general government deficits or surpluses, which should be compatible with the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines of the European Council.
The big difference with regard to budgetary obligations is that the government has achieved the right to take balancing measures by the end of the memoranda so that it can strengthen the most vulnerable groups of the population. This is the concept of the fiscal space. That is, the fiscal area will be used to adopt permanent tax cuts, which will help to increase household disposable income and business competitiveness, as well as targeted increase of primary spending aid, aiming at a sustainable reduction in unemployment, the fight against child poverty and investing in human capital.
I have to remind you that initially, according to the Memorandum, SYRIZA had committed to an extra cut of pensions and reduce the tax-free limit on incomes. None of these measures was finally implemented because SYRIZA chose to catch the budgetary targets by other means. It also sought to harness public property by limiting privatizations while imposing taxes mainly on middle and high incomes, aiming at reallocating the fiscal burden in favor of low incomes. Finally, he reduced the level of primary surpluses (from 4.5% to 3.5% and later to 2.2%), while succeeding in debt restructuring (which is to be continued by a third phase) and significantly reducing borrowing costs. All of this, together with active employment policies and poverty reduction measures, was achieved during the Memorandum.
Surely, this policy implemented by SYRIZA was a reformist policy that did not exempt the country from the slack of debt, as perhaps it would cancelling most of its debt. I say “maybe” because even the Bolshevik revolution, which unilaterally canceled the Tsar’s debts, caused the war against the USSR (the great foreign forces contributed to the civil war), its isolation for many years and eventually the partial payment of these debts in 1996.
But as it was previously confessed, in 2015 there were no pre-revolutionary conditions in Greece, nor a comprehensive program with a cost-benefit analysis for even a capitalist exit from the EU, which would be disastrous in these circumstances. So, what other choice was there? Unless this question is answered first, the “revolutionary” criticism of SYRIZA makes no sense.
I forgot to mention that SYRIZA did not apply the Troika’s requirement for a gradual de-escalation of the ratio of 5 redundancies to 1 recruitment in the public sector.
I will continue with a second answer on the statistics.
“But as it was previously confessed, in 2015 there were no pre-revolutionary conditions in Greece, nor a comprehensive program with a cost-benefit analysis for even a capitalist exit from the EU, which would be disastrous in these circumstances. So, what other choice was there? Unless this question is answered first, the “revolutionary” criticism of SYRIZA makes no sense.”
I never confessed anything like that. First, and in general, there always exist “pre-revolutionary” conditions prior to a revolution. Right now in the US, in Greece, in France, in the UK, in Italy, there exist pre-revolutionary conditions. The issue is how do we advance those, and in those, pre-revolutionary conditions.
I think your question is imprecise and is better phrased by this: “Did conditions in Greece represent a breakdown in the normal means and methods of capital accumulation, and present both an opportunity and a necessity for breaking with previously established political and economic order as fashioned by the capitalism and its representatives over the years?”
I think the answer to those questions is a simple, and resounding “Yes.” The economic contraction was so acute that it placed the continued viability of capitalism in question. The contraction certainly placed the needs of capital in sustained opposition with the welfare of the population. Therefore the contraction placed the very existence of bourgeois rule, which is acceptance of the domination of capital, and its doppelganger, debt, into question.
That means precisely Greece was in a “pre-revolutionary” situation, and not in the generic sense identified above that all pre-revolutionary situations are pre-revolutionary, but in the specific sense that the issue of power– of which class rules– was posed by the condition of the economy.
Was the proletariat “ready to rule?” Were there working class organs of power already functioning? The answer to that is usually “no” and ALWAYS IRRELEVANT. History doesn’t bide its time, doesn’t wait for a class to be “ready.” The conflict between means and relations of production bursts through the bourgeois institutions of domination without first checking with any political organization, any party of any class to see if the class is “ready.”
Syriza recognized these fundamental issues, this stark conflict that had broken through the institutions of consensus, of parliament, of submission to debt, when it opposed the MFFA, when it opposed an extension of the MOU, and any new MOU. However, Syriza’s strategy was to SEPARATE the issue of domination of debt, of the MFFA, of the MOUs, from the conditions of their very origin in capitalism.
Successful in presenting the instruments of capital as separate and apart from capital; successful in questioning the instruments, but not questioning capital, Syriza was on the road to capitulation from the getgo, and would affirm,numerous times, its obligation to fulfill the terms of the previous MOUs; to request an additional MOU from the Troika.
So the questions really are, in this environment of an acute breakdown in the means and methods of capital accumulation, in this environment when that breakdown called into question the power of the ruling class, in this environment where the rule of debt could not be overturned without attacking its origin in the social relations that define capital, did Syriza maintain, support, reinforce those archaic social relations; preserve the rule of debt; preserve the conditions that created the acute breakdown, or did Syriza oppose those social relations, that domination, those indissoluble bonds of capital with debt with austerity with general impoverishment of the population?
The answer to those questions is painfully clear to the most casual observer. Syriza did preserve the rule of debt, the MFFA, the MOUs and the system impoverishing the people.
If you want to justify that by the ameliorating of some of the worst aspects of the MFFA agreements, you can do that, but you shouldn’t excuse that by creating the false narrative that says, “Oh, there was no ‘pre-revolutionary’ condition.”
Anti-Capital you say:
‘I apologize if K is offended by my reluctance to be manipulated by statistics that document some restoration of benefits when a) the economy marginally improved, and b) after the expiration of the MOU, but let’s not pretend that Syriza’s “strategy” for escaping the MFFA and the rule of the Troika actually succeeded. Tsipras himself acknowledged the defeat and his submission to the agreement.’
Well,Tsipras admitted the defeat of the first half of 2015 about leaving the Memorandum at the time, not for 2018 when Greece actually exited the Memorandum. However, SYRIZA’s success was not so much the delayed exit from the Memorandum, as the situation in which the Greek society was at 2018 despite the Memorandum and the war received by the domestic capital and its representatives (who in the beginning tried to make “left bracketing” the SYRIZA governance, also causing capital flight).
As I explained in detail and did not hear any criticism in this respect, SYRIZA’s social policy was not limited to the post-Memorandum allowances and measures (see my previous comments).
A marginal improvement in the economy was only in terms of GDP growth and domestic investment (industrialists have parked 14 billion in investments waiting for ND to implement them).The increase in the volume of employment (4.5%), of exports of goods and services (17.5%), of foreign direct investment (80%), the reduction of net public and private debts and the almost zeroing of the twin deficits during the SYRIZA governance period, do not advocate a marginal improvement of the economy..
So, Anti-Capital, what is the manipulation of the statistics you are referring to? I wonder, is there any manipulation when judging SYRIZA by comparing 2018 (last year of SYRIZA) to 2010 (first year of PASOK)? Is there a manipulation when selecting a secondary source (World Bank) rather than a primary source of data (ELSTAT, Eurostat)?
Because, if you chose to compare SYRIZA’s last year (2018) with the last year of the ND (2014) from which he took over the economy, you would see that there is indeed an improvement rather a deterioration as shown in the stats you have posted. Specifically for the period 2014-2018:
Net national income rose 5.4%.
Per capita national income rose 4.2%.
Compensation for employees increased 4.4%.
Employment in Industry as a percentage of total employment increased from 8.9% to 9.4%.
Employment as a percentage of the total population increased from 32.4% to 35.6%.
Final consumption of households increased 1.8%.
Child mortality declined from 3.8% in 2010 to 3.7% in 2014 and 3.5% in 2017.
I’m sorry to say, Anti-Capital, the real statistics are these and their sources are undisputed. Consequently, the manipulation talking must stop.
I wasn’t referring to you Anti-Capital but to Antonio’s remark of July 10, 2019 at 11:55 pm
‘I am more in favor (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) of a more technical formulation. I am in favor of the formula with which Lenin defined a PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION: 1.- Extreme misery 2.- Civil mobilization of the masses 3.- Weak government and 4.- Existence of a revolutionary party’.
and also to my answer of July 11, 2019 at 1:13 pm
‘The ‘mechanics’ of revolution ara too complicate to try making any forecasts. Furthermore, it seems to me that at least two of the preconditions maintionned (to have a PRE-REVOLUTIONARY SITUATION) are lacking today and I am referring to extreme misery and the existence of a revolutionary party’.
But when you say
‘there always exist “pre-revolutionary” conditions prior to a revolution. Right now in the US, in Greece, in France, in the UK, in Italy, there exist pre-revolutionary conditions.’
do you really believe we are before a revolution in these countries???
“do you really believe we are before a revolution in these countries???”
I believe I have explained that in general and specifically for Greece.
You can produce all the statistics you care to showing how “things” improved in Greece under Syriza compared to Pasok-ND rule, and still you fail to answer the fundamental question: Did Syriza strengthen, support, bolster the conditions that produced the austerity, and will unravel those “gains”?
That’s why I refer to “manipulation” by statistics. Conditions have improved in Spain compared to 2012, and so what?
The task of the Left and even more of Marxism is to improve the working conditions of workers within capitalism, and since capitalism is an obstacle – as it is obviously in our time – through socialism. But the success of claims in capitalism is important because successful struggles strengthen the self-confidence and unity of the working people and that is a prerequisite for any social change. This is the answer to your question “and so what?”
And something else. For anyone who knows how to put selection criteria there is no question of ‘producing’ or manipulating statistics. Only a subject of interpretation can exist and this is the subject of discussion. Everything else is pretentious.
“The task of the Left and even more of Marxism is to improve the working conditions of workers within capitalism..”
The programs of the New Deal were an attempt to improve conditions for workers, while maintaining capitalist relations. Was it the obligation of Marxists to support US New Deal policies?
Post WW2 programs in the US objectively lead to the improvement of living standards among (most) workers in the US in the 1950s and 1960s. Was it the obligation of Marxists then to support the measures of the US government
The programs of the Unidad Popular government in Chile 1970-1973 claimed to improve the working conditions of workers within the framework of the bourgeoisie’s political institutions. Was it the obligation of Marxists to support Allende despite the fact that adherence to the framework of bourgeois institutions set the table for Pinochet, positively DISORGANIZED the working class in the face of the emerging counter-revolution?
You think the policies of Syriza led to increased unity and self-confidence on the part of the working class? Really? How exactly, and what exactly, are you measuring ?.
The acceptance of the MFFA was a defeat for workers. The mitigation of the miserable conditions by 5 or 10% doesn’t not translate into workers self-confidence when the overriding context is submission to the ECB, the ESM, and the IMF, no more than the moments of improvements of conditions in Spain under Zapatero, Roy, Sanchez amounts to an “improvement” in the unity or self-confidence of the working class.
I love it when those so partisan to providing statistics use the statistics to disavow reality and prove that defeats are actually victories. A few more victories like Syriza, or the Unidad Popular, and the bourgeoisie will have nothing to worry about.
“But as it was previously confessed, in 2015 there were no pre-revolutionary conditions in Greece, nor a complete program with a cost-benefit analysis, even for a capitalist exit from the EU, which would be disastrous in these circumstances. So, what other option was there? Unless this question is answered first, the “revolutionary” criticism of SYRIZA makes no sense. ”
That is a key, core question: What other options did Syriza have? Pay attention to this answer. Answer given by someone who although he knows something about praise, is someone who only dedicates a maximum of 3 hours / week to the political economy. This scarce dedication is worth mentioning because a) it serves as an excuse for a somewhat sketchy and summarized comment and b) it also means that an economist with only a little more complete dedication to macroeconomics (eg Michael Roberts) would knock down his arguments ” pro-Syriza ” without blinking and in only 2 minutes. My answer is several questions, empirical evidence of the last European revolutionary cycle in its European progressive phase until the 1980s and a conclusion: 1? Tsipras and Syriza, did not have, in 2015, the option of implementing and developing a policy of progressive nationalization of Greek companies? Progressive, little by little, and supported by the broad mass of voters, unions and other popular organizations that in 2015 gave their full support to almost any political measure taken? The question is simple and easy to answer: CLEAR THAT YES IT COULD. There was no legal, financial or technical impediment in 2015 (nor does it exist today) for this. Nor does it exist in the Greek Constitution (it is even possible that this constitution, which I do not know, and like other European constitutions (the Spanish one allows it), encourages and regulates the possible nationalization in case of ‘necessary for the country’s wealth and interests’ There are also no regulations in the European Treaties that prevent this, and no one in the EU and its executive bodies (Jean-Claude Juncker, Merkel, Macron, etc …) can prevent a progressive nationalization of companies in a EU country Nobody, except that person willing to go to jail 2nd Question: Does that nationalization, providing it with mechanisms of command and control for workers, and equipping it with Labor-Guaranteed mechanisms, would improve the conditions of life of the Greek working classes or would they not? No need to answer this question, I suppose.
Syriza could not do it in 2015. We can, Melenchon, Corbyn, or any other European social democracy also ” will not have options ”. in the next few years when they come to power, if they get it. Margaret Tatcher said in the eighties ‘There is no alternative.’ “That is, M. Tatcher said exactly the same as his Syriza today. Neither had F. Miterrand (Miterrand, at 2 years of his presidential term, retirement and liquidation plans nationalizations already prepared and publicly announced), etc … The final tip to this question is this: do you know that European parties if they have been able to implement nationalization policies in Europe in the 20th century? Take a look: they have been able to do it, in addition to all the social democratic parties, the majority of their conservative parties! From De Gaulle (a lot) in France to K. Adenauer (little, but with an implantation of his Social Market Economy-Ordoliberalism) in Germany. Does it seem miraculous?
Finished. Why did all these economic-political miracles happen, political events that your admired Tsipras-Syriza could not carry out in 2015? That miracle, again, and I insist, only comes from one cause: THE REVOLUTIONARY CYCLE. Being exact, they leave the 1917 cycle initiated in Russia and expanded in 1949 in China. The cycle, its momentum (Ragnar Fisch, Rosa Luxemburg) in its progressive phase, in its phase of progress, of reforms. The cycle and THE FEAR, is the correct answer. That fear that Tspiras and everyone else have lost since the 80s. You get it, right?
When someone cuts the other’s phrase in the middle and shows the half of it, he does nothing more than distort it. And this was the standard method of the Stalinists. That’s exactly what you did with what I wrote:
‘The task of the Left and even more of Marxism is to improve the working conditions of workers within capitalism, and since capitalism is an obstacle – as it is obviously in our time – through socialism.’
Saying that, I only wanted to stress the Marxist guided transition from reformist to socialist struggles.
But you didn’t like the connection to socialism, so you disregard it. This way of thinking though has nothing to do with the Marxist approach according to which, in times of crisis of capitalism, reformist demands become revolutionary because the system can not satisfy them. That is why Marxists support them as an intermediate step in the awareness of workers about the need to overthrow capitalism. If you read the history of the Russian revolution (the cries for “Bread!” were transformed into slogans “Down the Tsar!” And “stop the War!”) and the transition program, perhaps you may understand.
As for SYRIZA you do not want to understand two basic things. First, it is not a revolutionary party. Secondly, it was unable, through a memorandum (only in the end and in part), to implement its own reform program. Obviously SYRIZA was defeated for this in the elections. But it remained the main party of the working class, retaining much of its power. The stats you hate so much explain the reason.
Beyond that and the easy criticism, it would be good to tell us at some point what the alternative was and is in your opinion.
“The task of the Left and even more of Marxism is to improve the working conditions of workers within capitalism, and since capitalism is an obstacle – as it is obviously in our time – through socialism.’
Saying that, I only wanted to stress the Marxist guided transition from reformist to socialist struggles.
But you didn’t like the connection to socialism, so you disregard it.”
Again nonsense. Total nonsense. You call it “Marxist guided transition from reformist to socialist struggles.” but what it is is the apologetic for capitalism, for never moving beyond the preservation of the bourgeoisie’s institutions.
You don’t provide a single shred of analysis of how support for Syriza’s so-called reforms morph into revolution. Your fidelity to the notion that no pre-revolutionary conditions existed in Greece, despite the 30% decline in GDP, despite the intense misery caused by unemployment and the decline in municipal services, despite the popular ferment, precludes even the slightest movement from subservience to the myth of “reform, ” fails to show how the “self-confidence” of the working class is improved by accepting the MFFA, by the momentary lessening of the conditions of exploitation.
So is it necessary to break with the institutions of the bourgeoisie, economic and political, to make a transition from reform to revolution? If yes, how does support for Syriza, and the catalog of “improvements” lead to that break. You said that that happens because “in times of crisis of capitalism, reformist demands become revolutionary because the system can not satisfy them” BUT that is contradicted and self-contradicted by the various “improvements” you yourself list. So clearly, capitalism is able to satisfy the meager reformist demands that you claim will lead to revolution. How do we ever then get to your “pre-revolutionary” situation? Magic? Magical thinking?
No, “guiding” a “transition” from reformism to revolution is not the task of Marxists, because in essence, that turns the historical process upside down and ass backwards.
Your reading of the history of the Russian Revolution is more than flawed. It’s demonstrably incorrect. No, the cries for “bread” did not precede the slogans of “down with the Czar” and “Stop the War.”
Actually the agitation against the war the precedes the demand for bread, and down with the Czar. The Bolsheviks began that agitation in 1914 and persisted, despite in 1914 being chased out of factories and threatened with lynching by patriotic workers.
Moreover the critical juncture is not in the transformation of slogans from “bread” to “stop the war,” but in the creation of organs of dual power, and the transformation of the slogans into the critical slogan that definitely did not begin or end with “guiding” reformist demands, and that slogan was the revolutionary slogan “All Power to the Soviets” which of course meant NO SUPPORT to the “reformist” government of Kerensky.
What demand had to be raised in Greece to distinguish “reform” of capitalism from the needs of the Greek people? Simply this: “Renounce the Debt.” Did you raise that demand in Greece, K? Did you support that demand then or now? I suspect not. I suspect you would have found it “too extreme,” too radical, too divisive, because after all, “reform” had not exhausted itself, and there was no revolutionary party, and there was no pre-revolutionary situation, and a hundred other reasons you’ll produce for maintaining the dominion of debt and capital.
Believe me, I knew from the getgo that Syriza was not a revolutionary party, was not a socialist party, and represented maintaining the rule of capital in Greece. And Syriza was unable to implement its reform program because of the MOUs? Exactly so why not break with the MOUs as it promised in its campaign? Why not? Precisely because it was a party of capital.
What should have been done? Not easy, not simple, but necessary. No support to Syriza; demand cancelling the debt; creation of independent councils of workers and poor to administer local services, expropriating local banks and government offices when necessary.
That’s call socialism, unlike this wishful, and false, consciousness that says “Oh we’re going to guide a transition from reform to revolution.”
Correction, should read: : Did you raise that demand IN REGARD To Greece, K?
Antonio what you say, doesn’t make sense.
Your admired ‘revolutionary cycle’, I mean the new progessive phase, begins according to you at 2033 and despite that, you believe SYRIZA had a revolutionary option in 2015 ?
What happened to the 4 conditions of a revolutionary situation you mentionned ? Did they exist in 2015 ?
You are talking about a progressive nationalisation. Who says that’s a revolutionary policy ?
Finally, you say ‘Syriza could not do it in 2015. We can.’ Who are you ? If you can, why dont you do it ?
Anti-Capital you make a lot of assessment errors, but I’m not willing to discuss them anymore with you.
You are offensive when you make this conversation personal while you know nothing about me and vice versa.
There is a saying that says:
when you do not talk to people who are listening, you lose the people
but when you talk to people who do not listen, you lose your words.
In this dialogue I tried for the first, but I ended up in the second.
Have a nice day..
It pains me greatly that I have offended you and that you feel I have made the conversation personal…
But truth be told, I’ve been having these sorts of arguments with people who think there’s an inexorable connection between reform and revolution, and then use that misconception to support parties, organizations, movements that inexorably lead to counterrevolution, defeat, disorganization of the prospects, and the class, for revolution, for 60 years.
And for 60 years the believers in “reform” as the necessary preliminary condition for revolution have denied the responsibility for those defeats.
In that sense, and at my age, the conversation is personal, and is not a battle of statistics, or philosophies, or tactics. It’s a question of supporting, justifying, and IMPOSING, the dictatorship of capital, whether that dictatorship is in its more malignant, less malignant, or most malignant phase.
Syriza was never a socialist movement, agreed. It was always a pro-capitalist reform party. As early as 2012, Syriza was proclaiming its fidelity to the Eurozone and advertising itself to the bourgeoisie as the “only party that can bring economic stability to Greece.”
Painfully clear to the most casual observer is the intentional lack of content to the claim of “economic stability.” Nazis proclaimed their ability to bring economic stability. The Chicago Boys proclaimed the need for economic stability.
You proclaim that reform, because it cannot be accommodated by capitalism, leads to socialism. However, you also state that Syriza was not able to institute its reforms due to the MFFA and the power of the Troika. So what happened? Why no revolution? Why in fact did not Syriza break with the MFFA, and institute its own policy of reforms?
The answers to that are obvious: 1) that would have required the mobilization of the working class independently of and against the institutions of capitalism, against capitalist property, 2) Syriza itself had every intention of becoming one of those institutions of capital, and establishing for itself a stream of income from capitalist property.
You support that, clearly. I do not. I oppose that. I think that puts you, personally, on the other side of the barricades, so to speak; on the capitalist side.
Sorry, that should be “50 years.” See what old age does to you?
His brief and scant response only tells me one thing: it is confirming my analysis of the nationalizations that Syriza did not want to carry out in 2015.
” You are talking about a progressive nationalization. Who says it’s a revolutionary policy? ”
By not hesitating or refuting in your reply that Syriza, or any other party, if you could have made a nationalization in Greece 2015 as I said, you are already accepting the argument. That is, you lose the debate. You only ask a collateral question that is not relevant to the case. Is a nationalization a revolutionary policy? 1 º What matters if it is revolutionary or not if it achieves the ultimate goal of increasing the welfare of the Greeks? I do not want the revolution in itself, I want Greeks, Europeans and other System-World to increase their economic welfare. What do you wish?. 2º Without being a Marxist expert (percent, by another comment of yours about the existence of socialist or Marxist economists, I recommend, rather better, the qualification of socialist for being an adjective less fetishistic, individualistic, and even with fewer idolatries. or no, Mar did not want to be considered a Marxist, you and others, do not you?) Socialist revolutions, the main ones in 1917 and 1949, have not gone any further in the economic field of nationalization of companies. That is to say, the State as the main economic agent. The passage of private property (suy elimination) to the Social Property of the companies. I do not need to explain more because a nationalization if it is a revolutionary measure, or if?
”You. He says. What happened to the 4 conditions of a revolutionary situation that you mentioned? Did they exist in 2015? “This question of yours answers with the previous one. It does not matter if there were revolutionary conditions in 2015 or not, because if in actual political practice the Government of Syriza (and any other European government today as I explained) could do the nationalizations (and give its command, control and domination) Do not ever forget this little socialist detail, a socialist detail that is being “forgotten” since Lenin himself), then the revolution was over. I repeat: the socialist revolutions, until today, have not gone beyond nationalizing the means of production .. Nationalizations and their powerful and brutal effects on the economic growth and equality of a country) are the star measure of a socialist revolution . This is basic economics and that you. must know …
” Finally, you say that I said: ” Syriza could not do it in 2015. We can ”. Who are you? If you can, why do not you do it? ” This (wrong) reading comes from a Google translator problem. The last word (Podemos) refers to the Spanish party Podemos. Which, in other words, neither wants nor can do much. You can not do anything, they say (remember that it is like the ‘No options’ of your Syriza, and the ‘No Alternatives’ of Margaret Tatcher). Except that you can make private and impressive residential villas in the area of luxury of Madrid for its current leader Pablo Iglesias. I ask you a question, which is not irrelevant because although politics is a collective issue, it is also composed of individuals and their economic and biological needs to increase their personal wealth, as soon as the personal wealth of Tspiras and other positions of Sryza in his stage in the Greek Government ?.
Okay, Antonio, I understand what you’re telling me and here are my thoughts.
The largest nationalizations in Greece took place in the 1970s during the right-wing Karamanlis government. Also, with the 2008 crisis in Europe several banks were nationalized in Britain, Ireland and elsewhere. None of these nationalizations though can be described as a socialist policy. The socialization of losses and the privatization of profits are classical capitalist practices. In order a nationalization to have a socialist character, it must be accompanied by workers control, and a central plan of production on the national economy level. As for what I want, I agree with you, it is the well-being of people I want, ie to see people with their stomach full and a smile on the lips. But when these are absent, the revolution becomes a necessity.
Yes, true, a socialist nationalization must grant the command and control to the workers. With central planning, of course. I have said this in an earlier comment (and in others) like this: ” In actual political practice the Syriza government (and any other European government today as I explained it) could make the nationalizations (and grant their command, control and domination to the workers). Never forget this little socialist detail, a socialist detail that is “forgotten” from Lenin himself ”
” But when these are absent, the revolution becomes a necessity. ”
Well, if you assumes that the revolution is necessary, I have nothing more to say in this debate than I give up, because that is precisely my point of view. And I’m glad that Syriza and Tsipras lose support (if only a little) from one of the Greek recipients of their lie in 2015 that ” There are no options.”. We will see if in the next years, the lie, deception and massive extraction of income to the population of the rest of European parties is revealed. That is, we will check whether it is true or not that the revolutionary cycle of 1917 is reaching the end of its regressive phase.
With all due respect, I cannot really come to believe that the article’s author believes that Greek capitalism might be possibly replaced in, and not out of, the euro. I prefer to think it was just a slip of the pen, and he does not really mean that Greece, or any other country for that matter, might possibly exit capitalism without exiting the eurozone.
It is how you pose it. Should we start be saying the most important thing is to get out of the euro and deal with getting rid of the capitalist system after we have left? This is the view of many radicals (Lapavitsas, for example). Or should we start with saying we must get rid of capitalist control of the Greek economy. If that leads to expulsion from the EU, so be it. But the latter approach explains clearly to the Greek people that capitalism is the enemy and not ‘Europe’.
What practically does ” we start with saying we must get rid of capitalist control of the Greek economy” mean?
What is the direct manifestation of capitalist control of the Greek economy? It’s the debt, and the MOUs. So the first steps in getting rid of capitalist control has to be annulling the debt and throwing the MOUs into the garbage.
Why was, and is, everyone so afraid to call for canceling the debt? Not radical enough?
I agree with Michael. The problem is that you cannot get rid of capitalism in Greece without getting rid of capitalism in Europe [73% of Greek economy is globalized (2018, World Bank)]. Otherwise, the new socialist state will suffocate by European and international capitalism, have no doubt. History of 21st century has taught us a lot and the globalisation of the capitalist economy today is more than ever advanced. So the fight for a socialist Greece should be promoted in parallel with the fight for a socialist Europe. And that cannot be done on a anti-european spirit and program. Euro is not the enemy, capitalism is.
Sorry, I meant history of the 20th century
”But the latter approach explains clearly to the Greek people that capitalism is the enemy and not ‘Europe’.”
”Otherwise, the new socialist state will suffocate by European and international capitalism, have no doubt.”
”So the fight for a socialist Greece should be promoted in parallel with the fight for a socialist”
Ok, the European Union (and that of the planet) is just a ‘major transition’, according to evolutionary biology. John Maynard Smith, Szathmáry in his work “Major Transitions in Evolution”.
No, Europe is not the problem.