FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Greece: Sound and Fury Signifying Much

by

All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and Canadians as well, are put on notice by  Syriza’s surrender to the agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be dismantled.

The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed to the One Percent’s looting of the Greek people of the advances in social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II 20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the way out. The One Percent needs the money.

The protected Greek islands, ports, water companies, airports, the entire panoply of national patrimony, is to be sold to the One Percent.  At bargain prices, of course, but the subsequent water bills will not be bargains.

This is the third round of austerity imposed on Greece, austerity that has required the complicity of the Greeks’ own governments.  The austerity agreements serve as a cover for the looting of the Greek people literally of everything.  The IMF is one member of the Troika that is imposing the austerity, despite the fact that the IMF’s economists have said that the austerity measures have proven to be a mistake.  The Greek economy has been driven down by the austerity.  Therefore, Greece’s indebtedness has increased as a burden.  Each round of austerity makes the debt less payable.

But when the One Percent is looting, facts are of no interest.  The austerity, that is the looting, has gone forward despite the fact that the IMF’s economists cannot justify it.

Greek democracy has proven itself to be impotent. The looting is going forward despite the vote one week ago by the Greek people rejecting it.  So what we observe in Alexis Tsipras is an elected prime minister representing not the Greek people but the One Percent.

The One Percent’s sigh of relief has been heard around the world.  The last European leftist party, or what passes as leftist, has been brought to heel, just like Britain’s Labour Party, the French Socialist Party, and all the rest.

Without an ideology to sustain it, the European left is dead, just as is the Democratic Party in the US. With the death of these political parties, the people no longer have any voice. A government in which the people have no voice is not a democracy.  We can see this clearly in Greece.  One week after the Greek people express themselves decisively in a referendum, their government ignores them and accommodates the One Percent.

The American Democratic Party died with jobs offshoring, which destroyed the party’s financial base in the manufacturing unions.  The European left died with the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union was a symbol that there existed a socialist alternative to capitalism. The Soviet collapse and “the end of history” deprived the left of an economic program and left the left-wing, at least in America, with “social issues” such as abortion, homosexual marriage, gender equality, and racism, which undermined the left-wing’s traditional support with the working class.  Class warfare disappeared in the warfare between heterosexuals and homosexuals, blacks and whites, men and women.

Today with the Western peoples facing re-enserfment and with the world facing nuclear war as a result of the American neoconservatives’ claim to be History’s chosen people entitled to world hegemony, the American left is busy hating the Confederate battle flag.

The collapse of Europe’s last left-wing party, Syrzia, means that unless more determined parties arise in Portugal, Spain, and Italy, the baton passes to the right-wing parties—to Nigel  Farage’s

UK Independence Party, to Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France, and to other fight-wing parties who stand for nationalism against national extermination in EU membership.

Syriza could not succeed once it failed to nationalize the Greek banks in response to the EU’s determination to make them fail.  The Greek One Percent have the banks and the media, and the Greek military shows no sign of standing with the people. What we see here is the impossibility of peaceful change, as Karl Marx and Lenin explained.

Revolutions and fundamental reforms are frustrated or overturned by the One Percent who are left alive. Marx, frustrated by the defeat of the Revolutions of 1848 and instructed by his materialist conception of history, concluded, as did Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot, that leaving the members of the old order alive meant counter-revolution and the return of the people to serfdom. In Latin America every reformist government is vulnerable to overthrow by US economic interests acting in conjunction with the Spanish elites.  We see this process underway today in Venezuela and Ecuador.

Duly instructed, Lenin and Mao eliminated the old order. The class holocaust was many times greater than anything the Jews experienced in the Nazi racial holocaust. But there is no memorial to it.

To this day Westerners do not understand why Pol Pot emptied Cambodia’s urban areas. The West dismisses Pol Pot as a psychopath and mass murderer, a psychiatric case, but Pol Pot was simply acting on the supposition that if he permitted representatives of the old order to remain his revolution would be overthrown. To use a legal concept enshrined by the George W. Bush regime, Pol Pot pre-empted counter-revolution by striking in advance of the act and eliminating the class inclined to counter-revolution.

The English conservative Edmund Burke said that the path of progress was reform, not revolution. The English elite, although they dragged their heels, accepted reform in place of revolution, thus vindicating Burke.  But today with the left so totally defeated, the One Percent does not have to agree to reforms.  Compliance with their power is the only alternative.

Greece is only the beginning. Greeks driven out of their country by the collapsed economy, demise of the  social welfare system, and extraordinary rate of unemployment will take their poverty to other EU countries. Members of the EU are not bound by national boundaries and can freely emigrate. Closing down the support system in Greece will drive Greeks into the support systems of other EU countries, which will be closed down in turn by the One Percent’s privatizations.

The 21st century Enclosures have begun.

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
January 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election
Andrew Levine
When Was America Great?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: This Ain’t a Dream No More, It’s the Real Thing
Yoav Litvin
Making Israel Greater Again: Justice for Palestinians in the Age of Trump
Linda Pentz Gunter
Nuclear Fiddling While the Planet Burns
Ruth Fowler
Standing With Standing Rock: Of Pipelines and Protests
David Green
Why Trump Won: the 50 Percenters Have Spoken
Dave Lindorff
Imagining a Sanders Presidency Beginning on Jan. 20
Pete Dolack
Eight People Own as Much as Half the World
Roger Harris
Too Many People in the World: Names Named
Steve Horn
Under Tillerson, Exxon Maintained Ties with Saudi Arabia, Despite Dismal Human Rights Record
John Berger
The Nature of Mass Demonstrations
Stephen Zielinski
It’s the End of the World as We Know It
David Swanson
Six Things We Should Do Better As Everything Gets Worse
Alci Rengifo
Trump Rex: Ancient Rome’s Shadow Over the Oval Office
Brian Cloughley
What Money Can Buy: the Quiet British-Israeli Scandal
Mel Gurtov
Donald Trump’s Lies And Team Trump’s Headaches
Kent Paterson
Mexico’s Great Winter of Discontent
Norman Solomon
Trump, the Democrats and the Logan Act
David Macaray
Attention, Feminists
Yves Engler
Demanding More From Our Media
James A Haught
Religious Madness in Ulster
Dean Baker
The Economics of the Affordable Care Act
Patrick Bond
Tripping Up Trumpism Through Global Boycott Divestment Sanctions
Robert Fisk
How a Trump Presidency Could Have Been Avoided
Robert Fantina
Trump: What Changes and What Remains the Same
David Rosen
Globalization vs. Empire: Can Trump Contain the Growing Split?
Elliot Sperber
Dystopia
Dan Bacher
New CA Carbon Trading Legislation Answers Big Oil’s Call to Continue Business As Usual
Wayne Clark
A Reset Button for Political America
Chris Welzenbach
“The Death Ship:” An Allegory for Today’s World
Uri Avnery
Being There
Peter Lee
The Deep State and the Sex Tape: Martin Luther King, J. Edgar Hoover, and Thurgood Marshall
Patrick Hiller
Guns Against Grizzlies at Schools or Peace Education as Resistance?
Randy Shields
The Devil’s Real Estate Dictionary
Ron Jacobs
Singing the Body Electric Across Time
Ann Garrison
Fifty-five Years After Lumumba’s Assassination, Congolese See No Relief
Christopher Brauchli
Swing Low Alabama
Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones
La Realidad: the Realities of Anti-Mexicanism
Jon Hochschartner
The Five Least Animal-Friendly Senate Democrats
Pauline Murphy
Fighting Fascism: the Irish at the Battle of Cordoba
Susan Block
#GoBonobos in 2017: Happy Year of the Cock!
Louis Proyect
Is Our Future That of “Sense8” or “Mr. Robot”?
Charles R. Larson
Review: Robert Coover’s “Huck out West”
David Yearsley
Manchester-by-the-Sea and the Present Catastrophe
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail