• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Little Oedipus and the Troika

Whatever happened to Syriza? Was it a good party that came to a bad end or a bad party that came to a bad end? It’s the difference between tragedy and farce.

With 86 billion euro, the Eurogroup bought itself Greece. Last August, the Troika (the European Central Bank, the European Economic Council, and the International Monetary Fund) released10 billion euro for immediate use to recapitalize the banks. In the first week of December, the Greek parliament approved the “Stabilization Plan” for 2016 (153 votes in favor; 145 against), in order to secure 16 billion euro of the 26 billion total of the first tranche to be released upon successful “privatization” of Greek assets to the tune of 50 billion by the end of 2015.

The Greek parliament’s approved plan reduces public expenses by 5.7 billion euro (1,8 billion slashed from pensions; 500 million from defense) and increases taxes by 2 billion. In the next three years, 80% of the “rescue” plan of 86 billion euro will be disbursed to refinance the old debt (53%) and to recapitalize the banks (30%). The Greek government will be left with 10 billion euro to manage the state, while its investments for re-launching the economy will be mortgaged against the success of the so-called privatizations.

Thus, Greece’s sovereignty is burnt offerings. Additionally, its defense policies are subordinated to NATO’s, for Greece is virtually a US military base. This status quo enforced by a party elected with the promise of untying the Troika’s economic noose deserves a session with a psychologist, for it seems to have lost its mind.

Since we’re talking about Greece, we can begin with the Oedipus complex. Has Syriza’s leader, Alexis Tsipras, given up the idea of justice in return for appeasing the autocratic Fathers of financial Olympus in Brussels, Frankfurt, and Berlin? Has this impotence to cross the threshold of adolescence into manhood reduced him to a servile neoliberal errand boy?

If so, Alexei Tsipras has chosen opportunism over justice. Unlike Sophocles’ Oedipus, he has taken the priest-prophet Tiresias’s advice: don’t search for truth, knowledge, or justice because this quest will personally destroy you and your family. By contrast, Oedipus accuses Tiresias of treason, for it is treasonous to tell a ruler to put his self-interest before the interests of the people. The greatness of Oedipus rests with choosing to act for the greater good; the smallness of Tsipras in the opposite.

Alexei Tsipras should have learned from his Greek education that the Delphic Oracle’s injunction, “Know Thyself,” was the bedrock of justice. Self-knowledge means empathy. To know oneself is to know flawed humanity. Tsipras’ actions, however, suggest that he took all this high-minded literature as a crock—which is perfectly consistent with the amoral politics of our neoliberal age: selfishness is the greatest good. He took from Sophocles a pragmatic lesson that ambitious prime ministers do not meet the Troika at the crossroads of Brussels and slay it—unless they long to suicide their wives, pierce their own eyes with their wife’s broach, lose their premiership, and go groping about blind in the wilderness of exile, for the price of ending the Troika’s pestilence mowing down the people and their sheep.

Psychological interpretations of political events have their entertainment value. They are the preferred method of analysis for selecting the individual bad apple to save the cart. But Syriza’s cart, bubbling in Keynesian applesauce, flavored with the forlorn hope of returning socially responsible democracy to the European Union, shared Tsipras’ flawed political judgment. The time for a return to Keynesian economics is out of joint.

We live in a time of kleptocracy and naked autocracy by finance capital. This hegemony requires the forward thrust of global imperialist aggression. This onslaught cannot be “improved.” It is a run-away train two inches away from dragging humanity into the abyss. Trying to reverse its course by applying the rusted brakes of a kinder, gentler capitalism is delusional. Nor do we live in a time of peaceful capitalism: wartime chauvinism is rampant and rabid; the bleating appeal for reforms is drowned by the cacophony of mind-numbing lies and mind-abusive propaganda in officialdom and its media.

The European Union is led by a trust of financial monopolists. The Troika’s goal is domination, not equality and self-determination. It is denial of democracy and freedom; it is unequal development and subordination of periphery to center. In a word, monopoly financial capitalism is imperialist. Syriza’s now apparent failure to grasp the nature of this intractable authoritarianism thought it could deal with the Troika’s usurers on level political grounds. That was a fatal mistake. The Troika wrung Syriza’s political neck as neatly as if it were a chicken’s. Having thus neutralized political power, it annexed Greece economically. To update Rosa Luxemburg WW I-era famous quotation, we can only conclude that today “Greek social democracy is a putrid corpse.”

All eyes on Spain’s Podemos now after the elections of 20 December. Another farce?

More articles by:

Luciana Bohne is co-founder of Film Criticism, a journal of cinema studies, and teaches at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania. She can be reached at: lbohne@edinboro.edu

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
Jonathan Cook
Israel Prepares to Turn Bedouin Citizens into Refugees in Their Own Country
Stan Cox
Healing the Rift Between Political Reality and Ecological Reality
Jeff Klein
Syria, the Kurds, Turkey and the U.S.: Why Progressives Should Not Support a New Imperial Partition in the Middle East
George Ochenski
The Governor, the Mining Company and the Future of a Montana Wilderness
Charles Pierson
Bret Stephens’ American Fantasy
Ted Rall
The First Thing We Do, Let’s Fire All the Cops
Jon Rynn
Saving the Green New Deal
Ajamu Baraka
Syria: Exposing Western Radical Collaboration with Imperialism
Binoy Kampmark
A Coalition of Support: Parliamentarians for Julian Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Down Side of Impeachment
Harvey Wasserman
What Really Happened to American Socialism?
Tom Engelhardt
American Brexit
October 16, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
How Turkey’s Invasion of Syria Backfired on Erdogan
Chitrangada Choudhury – Aniket Aga
How Cotton Became a Headache in the Age of Climate Chaos
Jack Rasmus
US-China Mini-Trade Deal: Trump Takes the Money and Runs
Michael Welton
Communist Dictatorship in Our Midst
Robert Hunziker
Extinction Rebellion Sweeps the World
Peter A. Coclanis
Donald Trump as Artist
Chris Floyd
Byzantium Now: Time-Warping From Justinian to Trump
Steve Klinger
In For a Dime, in For a Dollar
Gary Leupp
The Maria Ramirez Story
Kim C. Domenico
It Serves Us Right To Suffer: Breaking Down Neoliberal Complacency
Kiley Blackman
Wildlife Killing Contests are Unethical
Colin Todhunter
Bayer Shareholders: Put Health and Nature First and Stop Funding This Company!
Andrés Castro
Looking Normal in Kew Gardens
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail