Friday, November 4, 2011

On Greece and Our Power

The most shocking thing about Greece has not been the way that the BBC has gone into overdrive in its criticism of the ‘madness’ of democracy, it has not been the way that Sarkozy and Merkel’s pressure on the ‘Greek political class’ has exposed the nature of the class contradictions in Greece, it is not even the continuing and real fear that many capitalists inside and outside Greece are currently preparing a coup.

No, the real shocking thing about Greece is that the entire world financial system, and by extension capitalism more generally, is currently quaking in utter fear about what the Greek Working Class will do next. The Papandreou Referendum Wobble (as I hope it will be called) has highlighted just how worried capitalists around the world are of ordinary people having their say on Austerity. Now we probably won’t know why Papandreou called the Referendum (and then backed off from it) – was it an attempt to save his skin? to protect the family name? to renegotiate the deal with Paris and Berlin? Or was it a De Gaulle style attempt to demobilise the movement, as French Capitalists successfully did in relation to the elections of 1968? Until he explains himself we won’t know.

What we do know, however, is it rammed a spear to the heart of that ‘band of warring brothers,’ the international capitalist class. It has exposed the contradictions between national states and international capital, while at the same time proving that democracy is simply an expediency to cloak the exploitation of workers in order to accumulate profit – the real heart of our current system. There will probably now be no choice about austerity for Greek workers within the confines of Capitalist democracy. Their only chance now is to take what the Greeks call ‘extra-Parliamentary measures’ – in this context that means an indefinite General Strike in order to bring about the end of Parliament. After that anything could happen.

For a relatively small and peripheral working class, their impact on the world system has been immense and for that I salute Greek workers. But imitation is, as always, the greatest compliment and it is now time for workers at the heart of capitalism in countries like the UK and USA to get their act together and ‘do a Greece’. Our call for the 30 November should be to catch Greece. For socialists, we have to make sure that as the decisive moment approaches, as it is in Greece, we have the organisation able to bring a new world into reality.

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