Sunday, 11 January 2015

Why Syriza Cannot Buckle - Part 1 of 7

I am giving over all of my posts for this week to a discussion of the situation in Greece, and the position of Syriza.  The continuation of the other series of posts will continue after that.

The right-wing media, and conservative pundits are making an assumption that a Syriza government, in Greece, will buckle and compromise, as previous opportunist governments have done. All of their propaganda, as with the Der Spiegel article, suggesting that Merkel is happy for Greece to leave the Eurozone, is designed to push a future Syriza government in that direction. But, if Syriza is elected as the government in Greece, in two weeks time, it cannot buckle, it cannot enter a coalition with other parties, as a cover for any backtracking. Were it to do so, it would spell the death of Syriza, and send the Greek masses spiralling into the waiting arms of Golden Dawn. Frau Merkel, and others might want to consider that in framing their policy towards Greece. It is not the possibility of Syriza implementing its Keynesian, left-social-democratic agenda that opens up the possibility of a fascistic reaction in Greece, but the possibility that it will not!

Across Europe, the parties of the extreme nationalistic right have gathered up votes from all those who have become disillusioned in the traditional conservative and social-democratic parties. The failure of social democracy to push forward the logical development of capital, towards a United States of Europe, and to have avoided the kind of political struggle necessary to bring it about, in favour of typical Lassallean/Fabian, top down, statist and bureaucratic manipulation, has added grist to the mill of those conservative forces, who fool the masses with a populist message that the quickest route to their salvation resides in beggar thy neighbour, nationalism and regionalism. It is also behind the survival of the ideological relics of mediaevalism in other forms too. In parts of Europe, the bourgeois democratic revolution, even on a national scale, was never fully completed. In Britain it is most visible in the continuation of the monarchy, and the House of Lords.

Throughout Europe, it is manifest in the continuation of the privileged role of religion, a factor in itself which has played into the tragic events in France during the last week, which itself then adds grist to the mill of the extreme right. In Britain, religious mysticism and mediaevalism is written into the unwritten Constitution, by the role given to the Monarch, as Head of the established Church, in the automatic right of clergy to seats in the House of Lords, and is reflected in the fawning of the media to religion, which continues to invite these unelected witchdoctors on to its screens and into its pages to provide us with their views.

In France, Hollande performed the usual trick of talking left, and immediately turning right, when elected. The support for the French Socialists then deservedly cratered, just as it had done previously for PASOK in Greece (which has gone from being the ruling party to having only 3% support in recent polls), for the PSOE in Spain, and so on. In France, there was a large reservoir for discontent to flow over into, just as it always does within essentially two-party, bourgeois social democratic states. Just as discontent in Britain flows over between Labour and Tories, so in France it flows over between the Socialists and the Gaullists. Nevertheless, just as in Britain a large amount of discontent has been picked up by UKIP, so in France it has been picked up, not by the Gaullists, but by the FN.

In a sense, this may simply be a reflection of the degree of economic crisis within the particular country. Both UKIP and the FN have picked up a large protest vote, magnified by low polls, but neither are likely to win a General Election. The battle between conservatism and social democracy will continue to be fought out in these countries between the main parties. But, in Greece, just as in Spain, where the economic crisis has been far more intense, as the political crisis within Europe has caused them to suffer huge amounts of austerity, this is reflected in a sharper political divide. For now, in both cases, it is the forces of social democracy represented by Syriza and Podemos that are the main beneficiaries of this process, though the far right have also benefited, and that far right is much closer to traditional fascism than the extreme nationalism of UKIP or the FN. It takes the form of overt paramilitary activity, and infiltration of the state's bodies of armed men.

Forward To Part 2

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