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Capitalism’s Self-Revealing Practices

Don’t cry for me Argentina (although you might be next), because Greece is at the head of the line. Its mortal sin? Not only the billions owed international creditors, though that infuriates others in the European Union, the European Commission, and the IMF, all shock troops for global capitalism, behind which in each particular as well as the general framework stands the United States; but also, possibly more or as important, the rampaging elephant in the room no one mentions: that the plea for European unity voiced by critics of the Greek vote, who perceive the EU monolith as now being threatened, is code for the military organization, NATO, which perfectly complements and gives weight to the political-structural order knitting together—beyond banking and trade—the resolute anti-Russian alliance, again with America’s blessing. The EU should be seen as everyone’s favorite stalking horse. For those in favor, it reflects counterrevolutionary power which must be stopped in its tracks, not just Putin and Russia under the umbrella of a re-started Cold War (which never in truth ended), but of course China, even though both have already made significant concessions to capitalism, and, more perilous, the Great Beyond, third world nations which are fighting to maintain indeterminate developmental patterns not subject to the dictates of the US, assisted by the IMF, World Bank, and imposed (“negotiated”) trade partnerships, i.e., globalization in the form of unilateral hegemony.

I would like to embrace everyone who made up the 61% No vote in Greece, courage in facing down the propagandistic barrage mounted by a cowardly Europe and its financial-industrial-militaristic elites who feared above all the idea of an alternative, an alternative which openly proclaims societal dignity and self-determination in its repudiation of the EU economic diktat of conformity to market fundamentalism and the rejection of Left governments and democratization of wealth distribution, and in their place the preservation of a rigid, unequal class system—intended natural fruits of austerity.

If Syriza and Tsipras were not involved, bailout would have proceeded long since. We see no hesitation on the part of the troika to providing relief to Italy, Spain, and Ireland, each having a government of the right sort. Europe has not appeared this right-wing in years, almost as though Greece were being punished after World War II for ELAS, decades of US scare-mongering, military assistance, and absorption of NATO forces in the US’s many interventions. Listen to the punitive voices of the EU foreign ministers and finance ministers following the referendum! Greece had no right to call a vote, no right to question the sacred demand for unity, no right other than that of obedience, submission, sacrifice—once more the logic of austerity, as it applies especially to the weaker members of the alliance.

And what of our rampaging elephant? Despite, or perhaps because of the serious issues raised by Greece’s vote rejecting an advanced-capitalist paradigm of growth in the name of austerity (plummeting gnp, staggering unemployment, and political turmoil with quasi-fascist groups becoming vocal), the wider thrust of US-EU policy goes largely unnoticed. Simultaneous with the political-financial uproar, there is the rather eerie escalation of military activity right up to the Russian border as well as the further encouragement of Kiev’s right-wing agenda in the Ukraine. Of the first, the Baltic countries are to all intents a staging area with the prepositioning of heavy military equipment, military exercises which now include the appearance of B-52s, and, Latvia in particular, belligerent statements coming from leadership that focuses on Greece but aimed in reality at Russia, as if the two were somehow confused as a single threat to the West, the only solution for which would be war.

In the minds of European leaders, encouraged—like the case with Ukraine—to think of Russia as an expansionist power, unrepentant in its hostility to capitalism (Putin as Stalin without the bushy mustache), confrontation founded on unanimous assent is an ideological-moral imperative, this week Greece but the darkened future Russia, with China, perhaps more an American than EU obsession, targeted as already in the TPP, for containment, isolation, dismemberment—goals equally meant applicable to Russia. For the moment, Greece and Ukraine become intertwined in the confused if not psychopathic mindset committed to arresting the dynamics of world history. Of the two, Ukraine is the better long-term candidate for stirring up war fever in that it carries less economic baggage of selective discrimination at the hands of the West than does Greece and more the flagrant overthrow of a legitimate government as the model for further action on the international scene. The coup can never be admitted so that Ukraine becomes a festering wound requiring protests of innocence and the successive cover-ups, which together rationalize the motivation toward war. As for Greece, its turn to experience a coup may come soon. Brussels at this point thinks that extreme economic pressure would be sufficient to yield the desirable results, an end to the idea of alternative in the social vision of humanity.

Norman Pollack has written on Populism. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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Norman Pollack Ph.D. Harvard, Guggenheim Fellow, early writings on American Populism as a radical movement, prof., activist.. His interests are social theory and the structural analysis of capitalism and fascism. He can be reached at pollackn@msu.edu.

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