Saturday, June 16, 2012



"Today, I want to hear a new song all around Europe, "all we are saying is give Greece a chance. " -Slavoj Zizek

The Nightmare that Capitalism has Wrought

For a generation, we have been told that history had ended. Capitalism and liberal democracy were proclaimed to be the only horizon for humanity. Our rulers told us that all dreams of a better world were just Utopian fancies. Capitalism, the system of supposed 'enlightened self-interest' was promised as able to provide for the benefit of all.

Then came the crash of 2008. Workers and poor people suffered the most. Millions in the United States, Europe and around the world have lost their jobs, facing abject misery as a result. Homes have been foreclosed while the homeless sleep in the streets. There is seemingly no future in an old world that was dying. The only solution is to 'give the market time' to figure it out.

One of the countries hardest hit by capitalism's crisis is Greece. The ruling class and its government has decided to turn Greece into a laboratory for austerity. For the past decade, the Greece wracked up debt from the banks and found itself unable to pay when the financial crash came. The resulting debt crisis has decimated the country's economy, shattered legitimacy in the government, and unleashed fierce struggles from the working class.

Greek and European banks were bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. In turn, the Greek government has slashed government spending, gutted wages and benefits to workers and imposed major tax increases on those least able to

The state and its representatives are fast losing legitimacy in Greece. The ruling parties, whether the conservative New Democracy or the "Socialist" Party have proven themselves to be able custodians of the ruling class while assaulting any who dare to resist.

The Greek people have valiantly fought back. They have staged general strike upon general strike. They have occupied spaces and raised the spectre of a new world from a dying nightmare. They imagine a world where there are no hungry people and the right to life is not subject to the whim of bankers. No bank bailouts. No exploitation. They demand a world where the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. All of this is something the current system can not and will not grant.
The ruling class can no longer rule in the old way. Their parties have lost legitimacy and confidence among workers and the poor. On the elections of May 6, it was clear that a new force had emerged among the working class by name of SYRIZA. SYRIZA or the Coalition of the Radical Left (composed of socialists and revolutionary communists) came in second in the elections with more than 18% of the vote.

The elections of May 6 were supposed to form a government that would carry out more draconian austerity measures. Instead, the elections revealed the fracturing of.the rulers. New elections are scheduled for June 17 and SYRIZA is posed to win more than 30% of the vote. The potential exists for SYRIZAto take power.

The ruling classes of Greece, Europe and the United States urge the Greeks to reject SYRIZA. They cast SYRIZA as the harbinger of financial collapse which will plunge Greece into misery. Yet it is the ruling classes of the world and the system they protect which has bankrupted Greece and the world.

What does SYRIZA propose that is considered so extreme?

^ Raise income tax to 75% for all incomes over 500,000 euros.

^ Cut drastically military expenditures.

^ Use buildings of the government, banks and the Church for the homeless.

^ Nationalization of banks.

These are the planks of a program that will benefit the working class of Greece, not their rulers. Some in SYRIZA no doubt want to use this program to stabilize the system and restore rights taken away by austerity.
Yet it is becoming increasingly clear that capitalism cannot be reformed. Not only is the ruling class unable to govern in the old way, the people don't want to live in a world of bailouts and austerity. They have shed the illusions that history is over and are ready to blaze the way to a socialists future.

Even if SYRIZA wins in the elections, it is only the beginning. The ruling class may be bloodied , but it is far from beaten. SYRIZA in government would find itself confronting institutions like parliament, the army and police that have historically been used against the people.
From Wisconsin to Washington DC, the hard won benefits of workers on the chopping block while Wall Street grows richer. It is time to make our stand alongside the Greeks in their struggle because it is our struggle too. Their victories are the victories of workers everywhere.


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