The Greek tragedy: Act Three

On Thursday night, EU leaders again failed to agree on how to provide proper fiscal support for hard-hit member states to cope with the health costs of the coronavirus pandemic and collapse of their economies from the lockdowns.

The EU leaders have already agreed to a €540bn package of emergency measures.  This sounds a lot but is really just a bunch of loans from the European Stability Mechanism, which lends only on strict conditions on spending and repayment by member states who borrow.  Only E38bn has been offered without conditions for health system support across the whole Eurozone.  The so-called coronavirus mutual bond where the debt is shared by all is a dead duck.

At Thursday’s meeting the countries hardest hit, backed by France, demanded a massive direct fiscal boost.  But the ‘frugal four’ of Germany, Austria, Netherlands and Finland again rejected straight grants in any proposed ‘recovery fund’.  While the EU Commission President von der Leyen talked about a E1trn fund, this would be mostly just more loans.  Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian prime minister, said piling more loans on embattled countries risked causing a “new sovereign debt crisis”. “Grants are like water in a fire fight while loans are the fuel,” he said.

Lucas Guttenberg of the Jacques Delors Centre said there was a temptation for the EU to come up with huge headline figures for the fund, but this needed to be backed with significant transfers of cash to the worst affected countries, not just guarantees for private investment projects and loans that added to their debts.  “The question is do we want to create an instrument that gives Italy and Spain significantly more fiscal space?” he said. “That requires a lot more real money on the table.” 

But Germany’s Merkel insisted that any funding borrowed on the markets must ultimately be paid back. There were “limits” on what kind of aid could be offered, she told leaders, adding that grants “do not belong in the category of what I can agree”. So the recovery plan looks like offering just more loans plus guarantees in return for increased investment by private sector companies.  But “we are at a moment where companies are not going to invest because there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Grégory Claeys, a research fellow at Bruegel, the think-tank. What economies needed was direct public spending, he added, because the private sector will do little.

The EU Commission is going to fund its plan by doubling the EU annual budget from 1% of EU GDP to 2% along with some borrowing in capital markets.  But as I argued in a previous post, this will be far too little to turn Europe’s weaker economies around once the lockdowns are over.  What Europe needs is an outright public investment programme, budgeted at around 20% of EU GDP.  This should by-pass the banks and launch directly employed public projects in health, education, renewable energy and technology across borders in Europe.  But there is no chance of that.

While the EU Commission ponders what to do and reports back next month, Europe as a whole, and the weaker economies of the south in particular, are spiralling into a slump that will exceed the depths of the Great Recession in 2008-9.  Much has been talked about the impact on relatively large economies like Italy and Spain.  But there is less talk about the country that was crushed by the Great Recession, the euro debt crisis and the actions of the Troika (the EU, ECB and IMF) – Greece.

I have followed the Greek drama in a dozen posts on this blog since 2012 (search for ‘Greece’).  Now the tragedy of the Greece has become a drama of three acts.  The first was the global financial crash and ensuing slump that exposed the faultlines in the so-called boom of the early years of Greece’s membership of the Eurozone.  The second was the terrible period of austerity imposed by the Troika to which the left Syriza government eventually capitulated, despite the referendum vote of the Greek people to reject the Troika’s draconian measures.

Since then, the Greek capitalist economy has struggled to recover.  By 2017, the deep depression ended and there was some limited growth.  But the real GDP level is still some 25% below its 2010 level.  And real GDP growth started to slow again (as it did in many countries) just before the pandemic hit. Productive investment has been flat for seven years, while employment is down by one-third because so many educated Greeks (half a million) have emigrated to find work.  Large parts of the capitalist sector are in a zombie state – over one-third of loans made by Greek banks are not being serviced and Greek banks have the highest level of non-performing loans in Europe

Above all, Greek capital has experienced low and falling profitability.  According to the Penn World Tables, the internal rate of return fell 23% from 1997 to 2012.  From then to 2017, it recovered by just 14%.  But in 2017, profitability was still 12% below 1997.  Since 2017, according to AMECO data, profitability improved, but was still 10% below the pre-crisis level of 2007.

But now Greece’s tragedy is in its third act with the pandemic.  The global economy has entered a slump in production, trade investment and employment that will outstrip the Great Recession of 2008-9, previously the deepest slump since the 1930s.  And Greece is right in the firing line.  Around 25% of its economy is in tourism and that is being decimated.

And the government is no financial position to spend to save industry, jobs and incomes.  For years, under the imposition of the Troika first, and later the EU, Greek governments have been forced to run large primary surpluses on their budgets – in other words the government must tax people much more than any spending on public services.

The difference has been used to pay the rising burden of interest on the astronomical level of public debt.  Every year, 3.6% of GDP is paid in interest on public debt that continued to mount to 180% of GDP.

Now the slump will drive down real GDP by 10% according to the IMF and send the debt level to 200% of GDP.  This year, the gross financing needs of the government will reach 25% of GDP (that’s the budget deficit and maturing debt repayments).  Unless fiscal support comes from the rest of the EU, the Greek people will be plunged into another long round of austerity once the lockdown is over.

And there is little sign that Greece will get any more help than it did in Act Two – except to absorb yet more debt.

The failure of the EU leaders to give fiscal support produced a frustrated reaction from former Syriza finance minister and ‘rockstar’ economist Yanis Varoufakis.  Now recently elected as an MP, Varoufakis took note of the EU leaders’ reaction to plight of Italy and Greece.  He thought that “the disintegration of the eurozone has begun. Austerity will be worse than in 2011″.  As he argued back in 2015 during Greek debt crisis, the northern states ought to see “common sense” as it was in their interest to help the likes of Italy and Greece to save the euro.  But if they will not,then Varoufakis reckoned that “the euro was a failed project” and all his work to save Greece and keep it in the euro had been wasted.

Back in 2015, Varoufakis, the self-styled ‘erratic Marxist’, as Syriza’s finance minister, had tried to persuade the Euro leaders of the need for unity.  He had argued that the long depression of the last ten years was “not an environment for radical socialist policies after all”. Instead “it is the Left’s historical duty, at this particular juncture, to stabilise capitalism; to save European capitalism from itself and from the inane handlers of the Eurozone’s inevitable crisis”. He said “we are just not ready to plug the chasm that a collapsing European capitalism will open up with a functioning socialist system”. So his solution at the time was that he should “work towards a broad coalition, even with right-wingers, the purpose of which ought to be the resolution of the Eurozone crisis and the stabilisation of the European Union… Ironically, those of us who loathe the Eurozone have a moral obligation to save it!”

In 2015, the role of Tsipras and the Syriza was even worse.  I’m singling out Varoufakis because he claims allegiance to Marxism, of a sort, and opposition to the capitulation by Syriza in Act Two.  But in his memoirs covering the period of his negotiations with the EU ‘right-wingers’ called Adults in the Room, Varoufakis shows that he went all the way and back to get a deal from the Troika that would not throw Greece into permanent penury – but failed.

In a new book, Capitulation between Adults, Eric Toussaint, scathingly exposes the wrongheaded approach of the ‘erratic marxist’.  Toussaint, who at the time acted as a consultant on debt for the Greek parliament, argues that there was an alternative policy that Syriza and Varoufakis could have adopted.

In a recent interview, Varoufakis was asked “what would I have done differently with the information I had at the time? I think I should have been far less conciliatory to the troika. I should have been far tougher. I should not have sought an interim agreement. I should have given them an ultimatum: “a restructure of debt, or we are out of the euro today”.

Too late for that change of view now.  Instead Act Three of the tragedy has begun.

35 Responses to “The Greek tragedy: Act Three”

  1. vk Says:

    “Back in 2015, Varoufakis, the self-styled ‘erratic Marxist’, as Syriza’s finance minister, had tried to persuade the Euro leaders of the need for unity. He had argued that the long depression of the last ten years was “not an environment for radical socialist policies after all”. Instead “it is the Left’s historical duty, at this particular juncture, to stabilise capitalism; to save European capitalism from itself and from the inane handlers of the Eurozone’s inevitable crisis”. He said “we are just not ready to plug the chasm that a collapsing European capitalism will open up with a functioning socialist system”. So his solution at the time was that he should “work towards a broad coalition, even with right-wingers, the purpose of which ought to be the resolution of the Eurozone crisis and the stabilisation of the European Union… Ironically, those of us who loathe the Eurozone have a moral obligation to save it!””

    This is textbook social-fascism.

  2. ralphiesmom Says:

    What revealed the erratic Marxist to me was his photo layout in Paris Match drinking and dancing with his partner while ordinary Greeks were suffering from his false promises of a cure.

  3. stevenjohnson Says:

    I am a little lost as to how the pleas for coronabonds truly differs from Varoufakis’ intense desire to save capitalism. Expecting the “EU” to be some sort of government that actually provides services and benefits to the majority of the member states, much less the majority of the people, denies the essential role of the state in defending property. Then it compounds the error by assuming the state can act as capital as some sort of whole of society and conduct a rational policy. States creating national markets and national currencies and free markets in capital were once capable of leading to better things. But the growth of productive forces have left capitalism entirely irrational now. Capital restricts growth, both sustainable and unsustainable. Social production requires planning and it prevents planning. It requires the reproduction of social ills to continue.

    Syriza did not reject the Troika’s demands. It proclaimed that the EU was the only way forward for the Greek people. That’s why Syriza’s number one enemy was the KKE. Then and only then did it pretend that the EU was somehow an incarnation of democracy and all good things. The notorious OXO referendum was not telling the EU to take a hike if it didn’t want to do right, it was a demand the EU should magically what it was not. When this empty bleat inevitably failed, the primary commitment of Syriza to capitalism of course required submission.

  4. Kostas K. Says:

    “Toussaint, who at the time acted as a consultant on debt for the Greek parliament, argues that there was an alternative policy that Syriza and Varoufakis could have adopted.”
    How could they ? Neither of them had a marxist perception or understanding of the situation and its perspective and no organised movement was ready to support them. Even the party of SYRIZA lacked experienced and gunpowder-smoked leadership for such a battle.In brief, the political subject was generally absent for a revolutionary alternative.

  5. behzad Says:

    I may be sounding way out of the context of this post by Mr. Roberts and following replies. But Why, are we talking about Greek?
    Isn’t what is going on here in the US, more influential on the world economy, and a more urgent need for left and Marxist and socialist solution.

    • michael roberts Says:

      Yes the us and world economy is more important and I have covered this in many posts so far. I shall be doing so again soon

    • Nuttula Says:

      “a more urgent need for left and Marxist and socialist solution.”

      I don’t know what you are expecting but unless socialists in America organize themselves and take the fight in real terms, there is no “Marxist” or even “socialist” solution but a revolution.

      We live in a world in which Bernie Sanders is now a two time democrat primary loser who twice capitulated and endorsed the very centrist establishment candidate he supposedly opposes. Sanders was of questionable utility for the left(and I mean actual socialists and not liberal democrats) in the US to begin with, but this outcome barely makes him a net positive over the past 4-5 years.

      The reality is the left in the US is in shatters as always, and again, without a proper revolutionary movement nothing is expected to change including in the next election that already favors Trump.

      Reform of any kind, as represented by Bernie, is now out of the books(one could argue it was never possible), realistically there should be no expectation on the short term that the US will do anything to weaken Capitalism at home, things like UBI or MMT are imo worthless gimmicks already debunked not only by Michael but elsewhere within Marxism.

      Honestly the latest “news” out of the US aren’t that interesting, history is repeating itself, only this time the president is telling the country to inject bleach.

  6. VN Gelis Says:

    The collapse of capitalism would inevitably continue only because Greece never broke away from the EU and restored a basic component of sovereignty to have the basics of a national economy. Greece was deindustrialised prior to adopting the Euro and now it is a shell of an economy based on the parasitism of mass tourism.
    Parallel to deindustrialisation the bosses alongside the importation of industrial goods from China and agricultural products from Africa and Asia local production was decimated to the point of no return. Labour was also replaced by migrants so labour history was decimated.
    The current bosses Lockdown aims to buy time to work out what to do when unemployment reaches 30% again…

  7. Raúl Bassaletti Says:

    Muchas gracias por el envío!. Thank´s a lot!

  8. Varouflakis Says:

    If Tsipras had implemented Toussaint’s strategy of unilateral haircuts on ECB bonds, Greece would have been kicked out of the Euro and Tsipras would have lost a no-confidence vote in parliament since Grexit is a very unpopular position in Greece embraced by only KKE, Golden Dawn, and the left MPs of SYRIZA who split and formed Popular Unity. Popular Unity ran against their former comrades in the September 2015 elections on outright debt cancellation and failed to win the 3% of the vote necessary to get into parliament, effectively ending the project.

    Capitulation to the Troika in some form was inevitable so long as the SYRIZA government remained isolated internationally, with no governmental allies abroad (esp. inside the EU). There was and is no purely national Greek solution to their debt crisis and it is the international left that failed SYRIZA, Tsipras, Varoufakis, and the Greek people, not the other way around.

    • michael roberts Says:

      Grexit was a stupid policy to run on, I agree. I argued at the time that Syriza should have said we are going to carry out the mandate of the referendum and not agree to the Troika memorandum, not talk about leaving the EU as the leftists did. Instead the govt should say we are taking control of the banks and major multinationals operating in Greece and mobilising the workers to occupy and take control. If the ECB blocks funds to our banks, then Greece would default on all its debts to foreign sources. Syriza should have appealed to support within Europe for the Greeks plight and demand that the Euro leaders and the ECB back down. If they went ahead with throwing Greece out of the EU (illegal by the way) because of this, then the government should fight it and if still thrown out, that would have been seen by Greeks to be down to the Troika and other EU govts, not a Grexit policy of the government. Of course, as you say, Greece was isolated but the only way to break that isolation was to appeal to workers in Europe to force their governments to back down. It may not have worked but it would be way better than the capitulation that assumes ‘there is no alternative’.

      • stevenjohnson Says:

        The point in supporting the EU under the cloak of democracy is that Syriza rejected such Communist crimes as expropriation of property, or worse, central planning to cope with the economic war from the EU. A soft Grexit was not wanted by Syriza, which wanted an irrelevant international left take control of the EU. What Syriza sold was always a bill of goods.

        On a larger point, no international left that upholds the EU is really much of a left. The KKE had a much stronger claim to be the left. Syriza was against the left.

    • Anti-Capital Says:

      Of course, “Grexit” wasn’t the issue. Nor was democracy. Schauble couldn’t give a rat’s ass about democracy. The debt was the issue. What was needed was a movement, a class-based movement, to renounce the debt. This required a working class in Greece appealing to the working class in France, Spain, Ireland, etc. to organize against, and resist, austerity, with the abolition of the debt the main focus. Could Tsipras “demand” or “impose” a renunciation of the debt? Of course not. Tsipras and Syriza derived strength and currency from their opposition, made explicit any number of times, to a class-based movement.

      Would the EU have expelled Greece for cancelling the debt? Maybe. Probably, which would have required that same movement to seize the banks to prevent the capital flight that the ECB was financing all through the negotiations, (by supplying liquidity to the Greek National Bank, but refusing to accept government debt instruments as collateral).

      And of course, there’s always the military in Greece, willing to step in again as it did before; that military had to be dismantled and the surest way to do that was to dismiss the officer corps and agitate for the election of officers by the rank and file, perish the thought. Not going to happen with Tsipras giving the defense porfolio to the coalition partner.

      In short, the “economic condition” of Greece required a social revolution to achieve a remedy, and Syriza was committed, like PASOK before it in 1980 (another contraction), to no-revolution.

      • Anti-Capital Says:

        The KKE is a bit problematic, given its history, recent and otherwise.

        The issue however, the “class line” was drawn through the debt. The agitational slogan, and programmatic issue should have been cancel the debt in its entirety. Forget about the euro or the EU– just cancel the debt. The same slogan as was used in the 1990s when countries in Africa staggered under the debt load; in the 1980s, a decade considered “lost” due to the debt burden.

        Why everybody avoids that basic, essential, necessary step is simply beyond comprehension. Or not.

      • YK Says:

        @anti-capital
        KKE proposed a unilateral renunciation of the debt and the restructuring of the economy along planned lines. It has also called on the working classes of Europe to rise up umpteen times. I am not sure what you find problematic in this, given what you wrote.

        As an aside, all of the above necessarily involves a withdrawal from the EU. The notion that you can sidestep the issue seems to me the height of arm chair tactician foolishness. If you havent neutralized the ideological terror of Grexit, then your opponents will just point out that you can’t set up a gosplan and still remain in the EU. A class based movement can only be built on the understanding that withdrawing from the EU is a necessary step of the socialist transformation of a country. At the same time, it should also be made clear that leaving the eu/eurozone WITHOUT a socialist transformation will lead to an even crappier form of bankrupt capitalism.

        The KKE is the only party to have put things in these terms. Nothing problematic with that afaics.

    • stevenjohnson Says:

      Not sure how this is different from what I wrote above (“The notorious OXO referendum was not telling the EU to take a hike if it didn’t want to do right, it was a demand the EU should magically what it was not. When this empty bleat inevitably failed, the primary commitment of Syriza to capitalism of course required submission.”)

      Your comment amounts then to pretty much saying that you too supported submission, because your first priority was staying in the EU no matter what. Saying that Grexit was unpopular doesn’t change the fact your preferred policy was surrender. The EU is not controlled by the international left. The EU’s core principles are not “left.” An international left that pretended it could make EU capitalism work is the larger version of Syriza. Thus, like Syriza the international left you’re whining about wasn’t failing when it didn’t stop the Troika, it was doing what Syriza did: Standing up for the EU.

      • Anti-Capital Says:

        You talkin’ to me?

      • stevenjohnson Says:

        My response here was to Varouflakis. (Insert “flake” joke.)

        As to your comment, not sure what to make of the talk about “social revolution” as a hypothetical alternative to anything to do with the KKE? Sharing Syriza’s determination to have nothing to do with the KKE in any fashion suggests a fundamental agreement that would in real politics lead to submission as well. Syriza could include ANEL, if I remember the name of the coalition partner correctly, but it couldn’t unite in any way with the KKE either.

    • VN Gelis Says:

      There was no capitulation to the Troika. Syriza was a globalist neoliberal outfit from day one and remained thus four years after. Now they are in lockstep with a Lockdown for an alleged virus for as long as possible. They want tourism to collapse so they can demand the 200-300k migrants are housed in the newly bankrupt hotels.

      • stevenjohnson Says:

        The idea it’s about Greek sovereignty is trumped by the sovereignty of German democracy a la Blissex, so your whole approach is just nationalist special pleading, no matter what the conscious intentions might have been. But even if you want to reduce it to mean German bankers screwing over the Greek people, the idea that the virus is a conspiracy to crush the people rests on two grotesque premises.

        First, quarantine/lockdown measures are public health, not tyranny. The idea they are is anarchist nonsense. Anarchism is fundamentally right-wing reaction, either from the start, as in libertarian versions. Or in the end. You know the popular image of socialism as a crazy doctrine which only fringe crackpots who sat in libraries and cobbled up elaborate myths, but will never do any of the supposedly revolutionary things it thinks it stands for? That’s not socialism…but it sure is anarchism

        Second, of course, capitalism naturally restricts production to what is profitable as best it can. But when a general glut of commodities strikes most capitalists lose money. Trying to picture C19 as a conspiracy is downright crazy. But trying to pretend it is profitable is grossly incompetent thinking. Too many capitalists are going to the wall. It’s like my poor sharpie sniffing sister thinking the news networks are hyping the pandemic for ratings (which somehow is supposed to justify Trump) without bothering to notice the networks are losing money by the suspension of sports! The old story of the Chinese man burning down the house to have roast pig was not a story about how clever capitalists are!

      • MICHELLE BERRY Says:

        There is no such thing as blanket quarantines never have been never existed. This is a Bosses Lockout pure and simple. You may choose to believe its a health virus not a virus of collapsing capitalism as after all the MSM run the line, just as previously they run the line that the collapse of the Greek economy wasn’t related to the EU and the IMF but because the Greek plumber didn’t issue invoices…

        Covid-1984 so far has affected one city in China, and four other countries Italy, Spain, UK, USA predominantly. Everywhere else its a total circus when for instance the number one killer in Afrca apart from malnutrition is malaria or in India apart from malnutrition is TB. There is no Pandemic, its a globalist coup via the WHO and Governments or agencies within Governments.

        Capitalism may be collapsing like any human who is on their death bed, but someone has to bury them….

      • stevenjohnson Says:

        Since Michelle Berry below tried to repeat this nonsense about the ruling class trying to solve a crisis with a global lockdown, I’ll also note that this ignores the real effort to save capitalism, which is the enormous direct subsidies to business. In the US it’s not just the stimulus packages, of which maybe two thirds goes to businesses. But the Fed, which is still the “government.” The direct role of private banks in such a critical government function is too sacred for public criticism by so-called serious thinkers. But it’s still the US government using MMT to service private capitalists, not just here but world wide. (MMT by the way is strictly a theory for imperialist governments, as near as I can tell. Ordinary bourgeois governments like most need not apply.) That is how the ruling class is trying to save itself, not a lockout.

      • Anti-Capital Says:

        Michelle Berry: “so far has affected one city in China, and four other countries Italy, Spain, UK, USA predominantly.”

        First, that’s not accurate. Russia, Turkey, Brazil, Japan, South Africa are dealing with serious infection rates. But maybe that’s just more of the “conspiracy” of the bourgeoisie and the mainstream media. Welcome to Donald Trump’s world Michelle. What’s next? It will all disappear with the heat? Like a miracle.

        Secondly, re Greece, no MSM in the US, including the NYTimes, the Wall Street Journal, or official pronouncements from the US government ever claimed that what was going on in Greece “wasn’t related to the EU and the IMF…” In fact, the media and the government were both quick to point out the danger Greece presented because it represented structural problems throughout Europe in a concentrated, and more acute expression.

        “Globalist coup”??? Against whom? Themselves? They already are the ruling class, right?

        Getting comfortable in Donald Trump’s world as related by Steven Bannon where the nefarious globalists have corrupted the pure blooded rugged individualism of Americans? Welcome to the world of Alex Jones.

        Next up: How George Soros and the globalist international Bolshevik rootless bankers financed the spread of Covid 19.

        Now I know being paranoid doesn’t mean the world isn’t out to get you, and paranoiacs have real enemies, but the real enemies exist in the real world, doing real things, with real power, based on real social relations.

      • MICHELLE BERRY Says:

        Serious infection and alleged deaths are two different things unrelated.
        You can continue to believe the virus is the cause not the response to the capitalist crisis and that there is no Covid Coup occurring only because you believe in the cartel of global monopolies that rule the world which dont seek a break with the umbilical cord that is China (ie the Trilaterals Commission and Kissingers creation).

        For whilst de-industrialisation became the norm in the advanced West and bullshit jobs and debt took over you can crack all the jokes you want. Bottom line is capitalism is collapsing and the globalists have no answers other than permanent Lockdowns to support one wing of capital against another. After all one catches the virus in a restaurant but not a multinational supermarket, one catches the virus sitting along on a beach but not when talking bullshit in Parliament.

  9. Blissex Says:

    «The failure of the EU leaders to give fiscal support»

    Is the product of a fundamental democratic principle: no taxation without representation.
    The EU already donates around 4% of greek GDP in the form of development grants, mostly paid for by Germany, France, Italy.

    More won’t happen because it is deeply undemocratic that taxes raised on german, french, italian voters are spent by politicians accountable only to greek voters.

    The german constitutional court has ruled that their constitution guarantees the democratic nature of the state and in particular of fiscal policy, and that fiscal spending can only be done on a democratic, one-person-one-vote, style, and if german taxpayer funds are spent in Greece, german voters must have an equal say, one-person-one-vote, as greek voters on how they are spent.

    In the current EU voting structure a german citizens gets around 60% of the vote of a greek citizen, and that’s not one-person-one-vote; also the funds raised at the EU level should be spent by EU institutions accountable to all EU voters, not handed over to greek institutions accountable only to greek voters, that would not be one-person-one-vote either.

    Finally as usual I am disgusted by the usual malevolent dog-whistle anti-german campaign centred on the case of Greece, a rich country, while the usual fake “concerned opinionists” never talk about Bulgaria and Romania, which have 1/4 of the GDP per person of Greece and much bigger problems.

    • ucanbpolitical Says:

      You have a point. The slogan should have been: German and French workers, Greek workers are being sacrificed to protect German and French banks. You must not sit on the sidelines because once they get away with it in Greece they will come for you. Just a quick aside, never trust politicians who send their children to private schools like the syriza

  10. Underground Anthropology (@Tyrus3squared) Says:

    Interesting interview with Thanasis Antoniou : “Greek government boasts hide reality” . One doctor from Athens and his view of things.
    April 23, 2020
    https://nobordersnews.org/2020/04/23/thanasis-antoniou-greek-government-boasts-hide-reality/

  11. rogeriomaestri Says:

    If there were a statesman on the southern side of Europe, he would have an answer and a quick solution to the problem. First he spoke to Putin and guaranteed non-intervention then asked the ‘frugal four’:
    How big are your armies in relation to the sum of French, Italian, Spanish and Greek. We are leaving the European Union tomorrow and come to collect our debts.
    The old European policy that was used for two thousand years. Outside modernisms.

  12. rogeriomaestri Says:

    “Between two equal and opposite rights, what prevails is strength!”

  13. Kostas K. Says:

    ” Of course, as you say, Greece was isolated but the only way to break that isolation was to appeal to workers in Europe to force their governments to back down. It may not have worked but it would be way better than the capitulation that assumes ‘there is no alternative’. ”
    Of course Michael there is this alternative you describe. But since the Greek economy is completely dependent on the EU and there was no subjective factor for revolutionary change, an exogenously imposed Grexit would lead to the economic strangulation of Greece (mostly as a politically negative paradigm) and most likely a counter-revolutionary restoration of the Right. Is this an acceptable alternative based on the Marxist conception and approach?

  14. Newan Oriwij N. Says:

    Hey, Mikey boy! My main man!

    I have a question. Since we are witnessing unparalleled levels of unemployment, foodstuffs being unable to be sold and hence destroyed, and hotels and restaurants and airports and whatnot going bankrupt as right as we speak in the US YET the green line in the market keeps climbing up steadily, isn’t it time that we entertained the question that Marx’s theory of the falling rate of profit was correct, only he got it the wrong way around?

    I explain it here in more detail: https://i.imgur.com/BwP40Fo.png

    I really wonder what you think!

  15. Antonio Says:

    The controversy between whether or not to support Syriza, and whether or not to support the Blocking of anti-coronavirus companies, is the controversial Reforma or Revolución. And it is a controversy resolved more than a century ago by Rosa Luxemburg. He solves it on the 1st page (below) of his work Reforma or Revolución. It is not a mild or easy controversy to resolve, judging by some comments on the blog. Being more concrete, some commentator (on the other hand, very intelligent, profound and even humorous in his Marxist analyzes of capitalism) falls into the following flagrant and contradictory error: if he gives his support to the Blocking of companies and to Public Health against Covid- 19, but does not endorse Syiriza at all. Faced with this position, a question: if I am in favor of the reform (blockade and anti-Covid health) when those reforms favor MY OWN HEALTH and my c / c therefore, but I am not in favor of the reform when those reforms ( Syriza and its state subsidies, public housing programs, etc.) favor the HEALTH OF OTHERS (the Greek working class, who are “others and far removed from me”? One answer: the revolution is supported (more and better) in the reform to reach your goal. Otherwise: the solution is R + R at the same time and in the same place.
    R. Luxemburg’s text,
    At first glance, the title of this work may cause surprise. Is it possible that the
    Social Democracy to oppose the reforms? Can we oppose the social revolution, the
    transformation from the prevailing order, our ultimate goal, to social reform? No way
    way. The daily struggle for reforms, for the improvement of the situation of
    workers within the framework of the prevailing social order and by democratic institutions offers the
    37
    social democracy the only way to participate in the struggle of the working class and to engage
    in the sense of its final objective: the conquest of political power and the suppression of work
    salaried. Between social reform and revolution there is, for social democracy, a
    indissoluble bond. The fight for reform is the means; the social revolution, the end.

  16. Nadim Mahjoub Says:

    I suggest you review Michael Moore’s just-released documentary. It incoportae a few important theses.

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