skip to Main Content

As you were Greece – remain in permanent depression – commitments are commitments!

I thought the most interesting aspect of last weekend’s Greek election was the post election response of the European Commission. I had thought prior to the election, when it was obvious that Syriza would lose office to the New Democracy Party, that the European Commission would perhaps turn a blind eye for a time to the new Greek government and allow them to break some of the ridiculous fiscal shackles that the Greek colony is enduring. Just like the Commission ignored the rule breaking by the Spanish conservative government in the lead-up to the December 2015 general election to ensure the Government could stimulate the economy and restore growth and retain office. I was wrong. Spain is not yet a colony. Greece is. It is to be spared no quarter by the sociopaths. Within hours of gaining office, the New Democracy leaders were confronted with news from the Eurogroup President, Mario Centeno – “Commitments are commitments” – the fiscal surpluses will continue and the “strict budget targets that were agreed” will not be relaxed (Source). As you were Greece – remain in permanent depression.

The Dutch finance minister told the press on Monday (July 8, 2019) that:

… clear long-term agreements were made about setting its budgetary house in order and push through reforms. It is based on a whole package, and I assume that will stay intact.

Let’s just remind ourselves of what some of those fiscal commitments are – I outlined them in this blog post – Greece – the next bailout is just around the corner (January 23, 2019):

1. Syriza agreed to Eurogroup demands that it would generate a primary fiscal surplus of 3.5 per cent of GDP by 2022 and a permanent 2 per cent surplus by 2060, irrespective of what is going on in the non-government sector.

2. €50bn in public assets were forced into an independent trust based and when they were privatised the funds would overwhelmingly go to the creditors. The property assets are beyond the control of Greek politicians until 2114.

3. Privatisations have been extensive – ports, shorelines, utilities, airports, significant archaeological assets, public buildings and more – mostly for small returns.

4. Massive pension cuts, tax hikes, and spending cuts generally.

and much more.

I provided a recent update on conditions in Greece in this blog post – The Greek colony remains in depression (June 25, 2019).

The summary was that:

1. Real GDP has shrunk by 23.9 per cent since the crisis began and has been stuck around that mark since 2012. There has been virtually no growth at all since the trough was reached in the December-quarter 2013.

2. Private consumption spending is now by 24 per cent lower than it was when Greece entered the crisis. It remains below the level of the June-quarter 2012 and has been static for the best part of two years.

3. The decimation of Greece’s productive capacity is on-going.

4. In the September-quarter 2008 (the peak employment quarter before the crisis), the ratio was 49.2 per cent. In the March-quarter 2019, the ratio was at 41.8 per cent. Had the ratio remained at 49.2 per cent, total employment would be 669 thousand larger than it currently is – that is, 17.5 per cent higher.

5. Total employment has fallen by 825.6 thousand (17.8 per cent) since the September-quarter 2008 peak.

6. Greece’s working age population has declined over the period from the September-quarter 2008 to the March-quarter 2019 by some 314.4 thousand (or 3.4 per cent) – this includes the massive ‘brain drain’ where skilled workers have left for other nations.

7. Unemployment rate is still at 19.2 per cent.

8. This is a massive demand-side induced Depression that Greece has been dealing with – deliberately inflicted and persisted with by the Troika using the so-called socialist party, Syriza as its puppet.

9. There is no way that a unilateral exit would have been as costly as this catastrophe.

The 2019 Greek election

We have to see the Greek election in that context.

I saw a Tweet (July 7, 2019) from the Bloomberg Brussels-based journalist Nikos Chrysoloras:

Tsipras’s era in Greece, an obituary: political scientists in the future will be studying the Syriza phenomenon as one of the rare cases of an “empty signifier” party. Contrary to common misunderstandings, Tsipras isn’t partisan. In fact, ideological emptiness is his key trait …

The ’empty signifier’ or – Floating signifier – is a term introduced by the Belgiam anthropologist, Claude Lévi-Strauss to denote something that has “symbolic value zero”.

In semiotics, a signifier is something that is intended to convey some meaning independent of the sign itself.

The concept of a floating signifier evolved in the post modern era to be:

… a signifier with a vague, highly variable, unspecifiable or non-existent signified. Such signifiers mean different things to different people: they may stand for many or even any signifieds; they may mean whatever their interpreters want them to mean.

In other words a “complete disconnection of the signifier and the signified”.

(Reference: Chandler, D. (2007) Semiotics: The Basics, Routledge).

Before we get too far ahead of this though, an example often used to denote this concept is the American national flag – what does it signify? Good or bad? Positive or Negative? It is the eyes of the beholder.

I thought about this when I was listening to the radio on Monday and the commentator said that the Greek election result marked the end of Greece’s (and perhaps Europe’s) experiment with a “far left government”.

I had to laugh.

The revisionism had begun, even before the votes were fully counted.

I guess the commentator had fallen for the Greek Party name Syriza or in its full version “Συνασπισμός Ριζοσπαστικής Αριστεράς” – the Coalition of the Radical Left.

Eyes of the beholder.

Or perhaps he was color struck – the red of the Left, the green of the environment and purple (feminism and other social movements) – make up the official Syriza colours.

Another empty signifier.

Perhaps he might have thought a little more deeply about it before embarrassing himself with this sort of invention.

While all manner of justifications are being pumped out by leftists in Europe, social democrats and others to defend Syriza, the fact is obvious – it abandoned the people who voted for it, became a pawn for the neoliberals, and embraced that role with a zeal that even the previous conservative governments in Greece could never muster.

In the end, they stood for nothing more than wanting to hold onto power and be part of the EU political elite irrespective of what that meant for the Greek people.

The ‘socialist’, ‘radical’, ‘left’ designators were as empty as empty can be.

But, the signifiers were not floating at all – it was obvious that Tsipras and his rats inflicted neoliberal punishment on the people – damaged the lives of tens of thousands, destroyed public infrastructure, caused Greek citizens to take their own lives, killed off the future for many young Greeks, forced the highest skills to abandon their country in order to survive.

The signal was very clear!

Syriza became a neoliberal outfit of the worst type – gaining power on one promise to end austerity and then inflicting worse austerity once in power.

Attempts to explain away the European election disaster in May, where Syriza gained just 15.3 per cent of the vote (compared to 33.9 per cent for New Democracy), as being a response to concessions made to Macedonia, were pathetic distractions.

Syriza lost last Sunday because they lied to the people and then punished them. Syriza stood for nothing other than maintaining power and they demonstrated every day that they would do anything to achieve that aim.

They became agents of the European Commission and the IMF, rather than standing for the Greek people against these external agencies intent of causing damage to the living standards of the Greek citizens.

The pre-election analysis by political science academic Alexander Kazamias (July 5, 2019) – Syriza betrayed its principles – and the Greek people. Its days are numbered – concluded that:

The painful truth about Syriza is that it has ruled Greece for four years as a party suffering from identity loss and diminishing credibility. Its record in government has been so full of compromises and retreats that it now hovers across the political spectrum like an amorphous haze – a phantom of its old self, without much shape or substance. Tsipras’s cabinet includes ministers who have defected from almost every other party in parliament, even several hard-right populists from the Independent Greeks.

Anything to get their hands on power and keep them there!

It was never going to turn out well, when on July 5, 2015, after 61.31 per cent of Greek voters cast No ballots in the Referendum to scrap the Troika deal, Tsipras told the people via a TV address:

We proved that even under very difficult circumstances, democracy cannot be blackmailed.

Today, considering last week’s very difficult circumstances, you made a very brave choice.

However, I am fully aware that the mandate here is not one to break with Europe, but a mandate to strengthen our negotiating position to seek a viable solution.

The Greek people had been asked to vote on the following proposition (Source):

Should the agreement plan submitted by the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund to the Eurogroup of 25 June 2015, and comprised of two parts which make up their joint proposal, be accepted?

Two accompanying documents outlining the ‘bailout’ deal were provided to the people.

Just three days after the Oxi vote dominated, the Greek finance minister wrote to the European Stability Mechanism – (Source):

On behalf of the Hellenic Republic (“the Republic” or “Greece”), I hereby present a request for stability support within the meaning of Articles 12 and 16 of the ESM Treaty given the risk to the financial stability of Greece as a member state and of the euro area as a whole …

Consistent with the principles of this medium to long term Programme, the Republic is committed to a comprehensive set of reforms and measures to be implemented in the areas of fiscal sustainability, financial stability, and long-term economic growth. Within the framework of the Programme, we propose to immediately implement a set of measures as early as the beginning of next week including:

– Tax reform related measures

– Pension related measures

We will also include additional actions that the Republic will undertake to further strengthen and modernize its economy. The Greek government will on Thursday 9 July at the latest set out in detail its proposals for a comprehensive and specific reform agenda for assessment by the three Institutions to be presented to the Euro Group …

We reiterate the Greece’s commitment to remain a member of the Eurozone and to respect the rules and regulations as a member state.

It is interesting that the European Council’s own site – Greece: the third economic adjustment programme – still provides a link to this letter but the link no longer delivers the letter but takes one to a general site at the ESM.

So three days after the Oxi vote, Syriza betrayed their own people.

You cannot come back from that and Sunday’s result was never in doubt.

But it was no simple betrayal.

Tsipras and others in the government became enthusiastic about their role as Wolfgang Streeck wrote in his (excellent) recent article (May 30, 2019) – Four Reasons the European Left Lost.

He said that Tsipras “as Greek prime minister, he became Angela Merkel’s favorite disciple in the art of treason.”

Far from being a ‘populist’ government resisting the status quo, Syriza became an aggressive partner in the neoliberal assault on democracy and working class prosperity being pursued by the Troika.

Alexander Kazamios wrote that Syriza:

… chose a very particular path: not populism, but one with an equally well-known name in the history of ideas – opportunism. That is a nihilist politics of survival, based on short-term tactics and manoeuvres and an inexhaustible willingness to be all things to all people.

Once identity and mission is abandoned, it becomes easy then to wine-and-dine with the likes of “Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia” – as Syriza did.

The points I am making are not novel.

But my continued advocacy of Greek leaving the Eurozone is rather novel. Not many people are thinking that would deliver net benefits.

But when we put together scenarios for the future – the Greek colony will continue to wallow in a protracted depression – with little private investment, static production and appalling decline in standards of living.

Conclusion

When it came to Spain, the European Commission knew they had to relax the austerity in order to engender some growth in the lead up to the 2015 election to ensure that the conservatives remained in power.

But, Greece is a different matter altogether.

It is obvious that it has become a token – a whole nation is being forced to endure more or less permanent depression – as a token for other Eurozone nations.

The signal from that token is that if a Member States tries to defy the dictates and ‘rules’ of the Eurozone they will be severely punished and put into colony status.

Greece has become a signal itself rather than a nation.

It is an appalling demonstration of the ruthless neoliberalism of the European Union. How any progressive person can see anything good in the structures that administer this ruthlessness is beyond me.

The former president of the Hellenic parliament Zoe Konstantopoulou summarised it perfectly this time last year (Source):

Syriza is not the leftwing party it claims to be. It has become a political zombie, crushing every progressive value as it sleepwalks to its electoral demise. Its removal from power is the first step towards restoring democracy in Greece.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2019 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Spread the word ...
    This Post Has 18 Comments
    1. The anti-progressive movement is now more than 40 years old. An infant in terms of history. The neoliberal (orthodox) economics has failed in almost every metric that means anything in political economy. It is an ideological construct of libertarians, masquerading as economics: The most recent example of the ageless abuse by the ruling class of everyone else. It is marvelous that state money, which is more than 4,000 years old, once more becomes the weapon to overturn the minority rules applecart!

    2. @Christopher Herbert
      “The neoliberal (orthodox) economics has failed in almost every metric that means anything in political economy.”

      I think it worked remarkably well for those it was supposed to work for. In fact, would the farce that was the orchestrated destruction of the Greek economy be seen as a failure, they wouldn’t have rewarded the chief of the IMF during that time, the non-economist (and prosecuted criminal) Christine Lagarde, with the presidency of the ECB.

      Oligarchy is not enough. Only the reestablishment of an aristocracy and a neo-feudal regime will suffice and I fear that our “institutions” will not only not save us, but will be instrumental for the transition.

    3. What is striking is if a state say whithin the “republic” of the USA would be treated the way Greece is people in the US would be protesting loudly I think. If an american state would be bankrupt I doubt the IMF is coming in telling them what to do and how to pay off bondholders! ;);) incl bankers. Doing all this dirtywork with the President and a few members of the Senate from other states.

    4. I think this is a case of being Stockholm syndrome a la Grec, the hard place next to the rock of institutionalised austerity of the instability and stagnation pact that crushed Greek democracy, in the mistaken belief that they had to stay in the Eurozone.

    5. I have no right to complain about my problems when I see what is happening in Greece to the Greek people.

      Unbelievable cruelty.

    6. Just want to say that this blog offers analysis from an economic (MMT no less!) standpoint that I cannot find anywhere on the internet.

      Thanks for doing this, Professor.

      Truly wonderful education that I get from this blog.

      Not trying to blow smoke up your tail but I share the stuff I learn here with my family too and it is solid knowledge.

      Now, my father would NEVER think fiscal deficit is automatically a bad thing like he used to, it all depends on the rest of the economy!

    7. TOM. Welcome Aboard.

      Adam Smith had something for everybody. I think he knew enough to help his books sell. Here’s something that stuck with me. Paraphrased.

      “The Slogan of the Wealthy and the Powerful through all the ages, has always been the same: Everything for me. Nothing for everyone else.”

    8. Hi Yok,

      Here’s another beautiful quote from Adam Smith:

      “How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortune of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.”

      It’s from his “Theory of Moral Sentiments”, which I don’t pretend to have read; I lifted it from Jesse Norman’s biography.

      I think of those words when I hear Right-wingers claim Smith as one of their own.

    9. How clever of Varoufakis to have quit Syriza when he did, but so sad he couldn’t bring himself to helping Greece quit the EU.

      I wonder if he still feels the costs of bailing out were worse than staying in?

    10. The EU has a distraction with the Cyprus feud between Greece and Turkey as Exxon Mobil discovered a field full of natural gas.

      A natural resource that would be a strategic interest for the entire EU, so what might happen to Greece’s budget issues?

    11. John Armour: In spite of his confusing subsequent positions and activities, Varoufakis did try to persuade Tsipras to not betray the result of the referendum. So he voted against the third memorandum in the Greek Parliament, for which he was booed by Tsipras loyalists. His position was consistent with what he had said years before, which was Grexit (“we will wave them goodbye”) if it came to what it did come to.

      True, he (& Zizek) have an irrational fear of leaving the Euro cult and imagine fanciful negative consequences. It is Stockholm syndrome as Will Richardson said. But his position was essentially pro Grexit when it counted. He has said he considered that that was that the people of Greece were saying in the referendum. That’s probably why his new party just got enough votes to be represented in Parliament (unfortunately Popular Unity and Antarsya, natural allies which have more of an organization, did not) I’ve posted most of the relevant links here in the past.

    12. @Some Guy & John:

      Varoufakis and the Syriza leadership had originally commited to try and negotiate a debt restructuring and aquiesce to some of the troikas demands, but considered it imperative to not rule out the option to leave the Eurozone alltogether if negotiations were not fruitful. Not only is this essential in any negotiation (without options it is not a negotiation), but he also saw it as his democratic responsibility. Despite the highly technocratic options he offered the troika in the most mainstream of terms, e,g privatizations were to follow, but buyers had to commit a minimum in investments. The troika wouldn’t budge even a little bit making it clear that it was never about the economics and always a power play. So him leaving was not only consistent with what he had said before but with what almost everyone in the party had and was more of an integrity matter than one of smartness.

      Varoufakis and some other Syriza members sticked to their “covenant” and left the party that “betrayed” their democratic mission and became “Merkel’s favorite lapdog”, as Tspiras came to be known, instead. I highly sympathized with him back then and resent that the more anarcho-capitalist, libertarian of his tendencies have dictated his more recent political action.

    13. Herman: “So him leaving was not only consistent with what he had said before but with what almost everyone in the party had and was more of an integrity matter than one of smartness.”

      I was happy when I found Varoufakis explicitly say “we will Grexit if …” for I had also looked pretty hard for anything from Tsipras saying “we will Grexit if” but couldn’t find anything. So I don’t think it was what everything in the party had said. I thought at the time Tsipras was just speaking like a politician, but in retrospect, his silence was more meaningful.

      I think Varoufakis and Lapavitsas and Lafazanis are all smarter and have more integrity than Tsipras, but even more than integrity the difference is Tsipras’s sheer stupidity and self-deceit. It really is Stockholm Syndrome.

      I would trace this ideology that is so fanatical that it appears to its followers to be observable fact – back to ancient and crazy Marxist debates. Trotsky’s tragically very influential idea that “Socialism in One Country” (Stalin’s policy – like Lenin, he noticed he had only one country to play around with) is for mystical reasons impossible, covered up with nonsense about trade that MMT & Lerner’s FF has ably refuted.. Some of his crazier followers (Posada) took this to the logical conclusion that “Socialism in One Planet” is impossible – but that’s OK because the extraterrestrial Communist UFOs visiting Earth will help us. I’m not kidding.

      Again from these ancient fights, though it was a silly term – an empty signifier – back then referring to social democrats – Life has imitated the art of lurid propaganda – Tsipras and the Eurocrats are the very model of “Social Fascists”.

    14. @Some Guy

      “I was happy when I found Varoufakis explicitly say “we will Grexit if …” for I had also looked pretty hard for anything from Tsipras saying “we will Grexit if” but couldn’t find anything.”

      I admit that I’m going by Varoufakis memoires here. If I remember correctly he was unaware of any wish to fold prematurely by Tspiras, thus his resentment when hi finally did. In retrospect, it’s plausible that Tspiras was speculating that the referendum would allow him to fold and not be held responsible for it. Ironically, it’s V who is now decried as a “game theorist” whose bet just went sour. I don’t throw the term “treason” around with ease, but what the Tspiras-led Syriza have done to the credibility of left-leaning governments and parties around the world eclipses any amount of propaganda and viciousness spilled by neoliberal and rightist politicians and media.

      My interpretation of the Stalin-Trotsky fallout had always been the commitment of the latter to the concept of “permanent revolution”. He correctly recognized that when an old opressor is deposed, a new one almost always takes his place. It’s easy to recognize why this was a threat to Stalin’s power.

      “Trotsky’s tragically very influential idea that “Socialism in One Country” (Stalin’s policy – like Lenin, he noticed he had only one country to play around with) is for mystical reasons impossible”

      If kept to a very strict theoretical and ideological level, I can see how one would think it impossible. If one requires of socialism that the production of goods and the delivery of services is to happen in the absence of exploitation, simply removing the exploitation from a country but tolerating or even enabling it in other places means that even the “socialist” country is indirectly an instrument of this very exploitation. Like saying there is no slavery in Europe, while a lot of the products we consume and that enhance our standard of living rely on slavery-like working conditions far down the supply chain. I find this a coherent argument, even if I would avoid to die my political death on this hill. However, I also happen to believe in pragmatism and incremental progress. In this particular case, Just because the world is not “saved” by restoring dignity to the Greek people, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done regardless.

      This is mostly interpretation of what I vaguely remember, so I think I’ll delve a bit into Trotsky again now that I have my MMT glasses on. Thanks for the food for thought!

    15. In the 1920s, Trotsky’s doubts about the possibility of “Socialism in One Country” had a certain logic to them. But later events showed that the skepticism was overblown.

      To demonstrate Trotsky’s logic, consider the predicament faced by a worker-owned commune, for example. If it can produce directly for itself everything that the commune wants and needs, then the commune is free to set its own policies with regards to hours of work, working conditions, etc., constrained only by the physical requirements of production. (I.e. they cannot expect to work only 1 hour per day and have everything they want; but at least they get to weigh and decide on these trade-offs).

      However, if the commune cannot produce everything it needs, it must trade for some of what it needs, and this introduces additional, non-physical constraints on the commune’s own democratic decision-making. Now the commune is constrained by the market. If the commune wants to be able to import anything, they will have to export what the world market wants, and the commune will have to do so at a competitive price. The commune loses some of its freedom it had to decide what it wants to produce, and how, and with what compensation to its workers. The commune will now be under pressure to have its workers slave-drive themselves to work at a faster pace, whereas before they had the option of trading off an easier work pace for less surplus output. Even if the commune remains nominally owned and controlled by its workers, its actions become extremely constrained by the world market. It’s kind of like, you might “own” your own business, but if it is based off a 15% loan from a bank that eats up your entire profit, you don’t really own your own business; the bank does. You are actually working for the bank rather than yourself.

      The same problem faced the entire Soviet economy in the late 1920s, writ-large. The Soviet Union did not have enough heavy industry. It would have to trade for machine tools, etc. However, whereas Trotsky expected that this would be a semi-permanent feature of the Soviet economy that would effectively subordinate it to the capitalist world market unless additional revolutions happened in Western Europe, Stalin’s line showed that this predicament could be made into a temporary one as long as the Soviet people (and especially some of its wealthier farmers) were willing to make gargantuan sacrifices while Soviet industry bootstrapped itself into self-sufficiency. So, for example, the Soviet government continued to tax, collect, and export grain for heavy machinery from the West (under VERY unfavorable terms of trade at the depth of the Great Depression when the world market was already relatively glutted with grain), even while a famine raged in the Ukraine. But, as brutal as this trade-off was, it had results. The USSR did become more or less self-sufficient. So any debate that is predicated on the dogmatic idea that it is impossible should be thrown out the window right off the bat. And when “Socialism in One Country” is debated nowadays (especially by Trotskyists), it tends to be discussed on this very abstract, theological level, as if the Soviet Union never happened, which is not helpful. In order to evaluate the strategy in modern circumstances, we just need to take a concrete look at what types of sacrifices each country would have to make when pursuing this strategy, especially at first as it is trying to bootstrap its own ability to produce and replace what it used to import, and compare that to the advantages and disadvantages of the Chinese export-led model, which is sort of the polar opposite approach.

      So, concretely, we need to be asking ourselves, what sorts of things will British workers have to go without, and for how long until a planned British economy can produce those things itself? And will the additional control that Britain gets over its own economic policies be worth these sacrifices?

      We also need to take a look at the concrete geographical reach of a particular polity to see if “Socialism in One Country” is practical there. Some countries might be geographically so small that they will never be self-sufficient in vital goods, and they will always have to come crawling back to the world market on whatever terms the world market dictates. Luxembourg is never going to be self-sufficient in oil, for example. A polity needs access to a fully array of raw materials in order to pull of “Socialism in One Country.” (Anything that is not a raw material can eventually be synthesized once the country bootstraps its own productive capacity, but if key raw materials are missing, the plan will never work). I think the United States would be big enough, geographically-speaking on its own. Ditto the USSR and China. Ditto the European Union.

      I happen to think that Britain by itself, especially without a world empire, is more questionable, which is why I am still more sympathetic to Varoufakis’s “Progressive EU” idea. But it is because of a concrete judgment of mine (which might be subject to change with additional concrete evidence), not some dogmatic assertion that “Socialism in One Country” can never work.

    16. I’m thankfull to professor Mitchell to remind us here, at least implicitely, that *some* commitments are made to be broken ! And i of course speaking of those (supposed) commitments a collective make to 1 guy/gal to the detriment of the common good.
      Besides, as leftist, aren’t we suppose to agree that *real* commitments are those made the other way around: each individual to the common good and not to some guy or some partisan sect ? I thought that we all learned our lesson about cult of personnality or partisan discipline ?
      “Not me, US !” as little Birdie would say. I wish the greek left, and the broader Greek people, didn’t forget that. They should have cut their losses w/ Tsipras and Syriza as soon as their treasonous capitulation in the summer of 2015 and i hope and pray they will ASAP.

      But it’s easier said than done because this is a never about 1 guy/gal imho as the tragic history of leftist government teaches us. And this is my small critic of prof Mitchell understanding of ~”Tsipras betrayal of its own people”.
      Of course Tsipras, and the Syriza’s cadres that stick w/ him, are treasonous bast***. And i won’t dismiss the tiny, but courageous, few like Lapvitsas, Konstantopoulou and the anonymous one’s still organising the resistance today (amid widespread indifference, which is telling imho).
      My point here is not that Greece, or the Greek government, capitulated (betrayed/whatever…) but that Greece collaborated. Like Vichy France (1940-44), the issue is not Greece defeat[1] (2015-??) and the capitulation (by the few) but the collaboration (of the many, often so-called “left”(ish). And this tells us that there’s a deeper problem about the (greek) left structure in particular and the Greek nation more broadly.
      It never takes one duplicious guy, or even a few opportunist cadres, to compromise a whole nation into collaboration with the ennemy. The recent parlementary election in Greece and the fact that Syriza remained the dominant force on the left (amid 50% + abstention though) is a sober reminder that there’s a substential majority among Greece’s elite (taken broadly as the upper 20% to 30% of the population) to which the current neoliberal regime is bearable if not outright beneficial (Temin – https://www.ineteconomics.org/uploads/papers/The-American-Dual-Economy-Race-Globalization-and-the-Politics-of-Exclusion.pdf)

      Likewise in France, my own country, i would argue ! Let’s not forget that the imposition of the current dictatorship of Kapital that is the €U onto continental europe nations is first and foremost a socio-democratic cabal (Mitterand’s Parti Socialist, Schroëder’s SPD…) and that the most fundamental divide on the €U question is not one between left vs right but top (upper class) vs bottom (lower class) (see Brexit referendum).
      We, the (common) people, have the same ennemy: it’s not the apparent one (The “Germans”, the “Others”…) facing us and it’s way bigger than the “1%” (vs the “99%”). The upper 20% class (the professional/managerial class…): voilà notre véritable ennemi !
      For some, their talent, their intellect and professionalism placed them at the head of so many of our collective public and private structures, and we of course need their ability to create, build and manage our infrastructure in a modern society. But we our mistake has been to think that democracy meant that they should also had the right to ru(i)n our lives.

      Nonna Mayer, renown scholar of the french neo-fascist “National Front” party (“Le Front National”), showed long ago than the most fanatic supporter of the dictatorship by one marshall are those barely middle class voters “who have a little something to loose (read capital)” (home owners w/ a stable working class job…but scared to death all to be taken away). Let’s called them l’arrière-garde.
      But i’m wondering if by focusing on those “loosers”, on those proto-fascist, we’re not loosing sight of another kind of proto-fascist, otherwise known as the “winners”. They are the “avant-guarde” of our societies, they have increasingly nothing in common w/ the “loosers” except that, like them, they also “have a little somethin’ to loose (read capital)” and that’s why they are the most fanatic supporter of the current dictatorship of capital rebranded as the EU (see the petit-bourgeois hysteria on “second referendum” in GB)
      I might certainly be not ready to risk anything to fight them but “yes i know my ennemy” – Rage Against The Machine – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4smim2MNvF8

      They’ll called that resentment politics for sure but thanks to the copernician revolution in economics operated by prof Mitchell and fellow MMT scholars, we now know that we may need the *service* of their professional talent but we don’t need their money and we sure don’t need them bossing us around (P. Tchernova – MMT is already helping – https://www.jacobinmag.com/2019/02/mmt-modern-monetary-theory-doug-henwood-overton-window).
      They can keep their money, we’ll only take our power back: win/win !

      [1] Which is a fact of life for most…and a way of life for (so)me :) More seriously, i don’t want to give the impression that petit-bourgeois me would have resisted (quite the contrary according to probability)

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Back To Top