KOE: The Greek conflict & international contradictions

Kasama is publishing diverse articles on the crisis and revolutionary opportunities converging in Greece right now.

The following article was originally published in the Greek weekly “Dromos”, issue Nr 117, May 26, 2012. It was shared by Democracy and Class Struggle, and suggested by Land. It is written by a supporter of the KOE (the Communist Organization of Greece) -- a revolutionary organization that has been active both in the "movement of the Squares" and now in the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza).

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by Rudi Rinaldi

It is not only fears of the Domino Effect that might worry the various international centers and powerful countries. It is not simply a matter of economic turbulence or shocks that feeds world-wide interest. Our country has been at the epicentre of international rivalries and processes. It would therefore be a mistake to imagine that some autonomous process is driving the evolving situation, without considering the interference in terms of players' strategies, tactics, traps, rearrangements, new alliances, challenges and double games.

Objectively, the election result of May 6 has created a new environment. The failure of governance in Greece is a blow to the European political project under ‘Merkelism’. Greece is not Hungary (the geographic centre of Europe), but it is at the center of the grid of the international system’s central contradictions. It is a meeting and coupling point of these contradictions.

Controlling this situation is of particular importance for the manipulation of political developments. Greece is not just a guinea pig for policies that, after they have been tested on it, will be exported to other EU countries as well. It also has central importance as a site for the balancing of international relations. Thus, the role of governing in Greece is critical to the geostrategic plans made for both Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Popular force and political balances

The latest and new element (and perhaps unexpected by many) is the emergence of the ‘popular factor’ that, by selecting SYRIZA as its expression in the central political scene, has created a new situation and is forcing readjustments on all the already unstable scenarios. This being the case, it is useful to go behind the rhetoric to see what the real goals are. Does the U.S. want the strengthening of a ‘German’ Europe?

What is the impact of the rearranged alliances (in the broader Middle East and south-eastern Mediterranean) on the policies of the United States, Russia, Israel and the European powers? To what extent are the "markets" (and their disproportionate effects) influenced by the strategic goals of various key players? So, why are all these actors united against SYRIZA?

And what does this new hostile coalition mean? What are their objectives in relation to Greece, and especially against the popular movement and the Left? Under what scenarios would they direct their efforts towards annihilation of the popular movement? They have many levers and mechanisms to support their policies, and not just economic blackmail. It would be naive to think that everything will hinge on the use of financial levers. The political element, the political control, including the neutralization of the Left and of a possible government of the Left, is part of the enemy’s plans and of the unfolding scenarios of the current psy-war.

The coordinated barrage of attacks and pressures brought to bear on SYRIZA (seen as likely winner of the next election) is the prelude to the coming scenarios, which will unfold in the near future. SYRIZA threatens the internal political balance of forces that had been achieved by the Western powers in Greece.

For example, the tremors in the Eurozone, the political reorganization in Europe, the deepening of the crisis, the G8 gridlock, the unfolding US-German competition, and the ambitions of Russia and China, are all linked to the loss of political control in Greece at a critical moment. Halting SYRIZA at all costs is a key objective, as evidenced by the secretive traps, war-style propaganda, pressures and blackmail that have been employed.

Their first goal is for SYRIZA not to win the elections, so they can regenerate the policies of the ‘memorandum’ with the IMF-EU-ECB troika. This would facilitate the continuation of the political balance that existed in the previous two years. If this game plan does not play out, then pressure will be applied on SYRIZA to move within the boundaries of the Memorandum policy with some light touch corrections.

And if this cannot be done, then they will detonate in the hands of a leftist government such "political bombs" as open bankruptcy, expulsion from the Eurozone, exit from the euro, etc. All is with the aim of the rapid removal of that government, and then the destruction of the Left in Greece.

Acute conflict Re-establishing political equilibrium in Greece and the acceptance of a new political set-up, will come via the sharp conflict between the pro-memorandum and anti-memorandum camps. A repositioning of international forces will be based on the outcome of this conflict and the shock it will cause in Europe (especially in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans).

At this juncture, romantic/naïve political considerations or rigid dogmatism are not constructive.

The actual power of the people’s anti-memorandum camp is found in the momentum and dynamic which it possesses. That is, the experience gained in two years of actual struggle in our country and its current transformation into a political centre of interest. This process is centred around SYRIZA as well as around the person of Alexis Tsipras.

At the same time, the pro-memorandum camp is finding itself fragmented and de-legitimized. Its supporters within the Greek bourgeoisie are divided and without serious political reserves. The dynamism of the people’s movement, the serious nature of current problems, and the upcoming election process, create a real possibility for the people’s movement to overcome in practice any weak preparation (through its dynamism), and any financial/economic weakness of the country (through an unevenly greater political power).

To put this into practice, for the benefit of the people’s movement, the policy of ruptures (which are a necessary precondition and a vitalising source) should be based on an assessment of the political balance of forces rather than a simplistic voluntarism. The gravity of the moment (and the stakes associated with the election result) demands an awareness of the international dimensions of this conflict.

That is, understanding the great importance this carries and that the external forces will not simply “do nothing”. They will be directly involved – but certainly not alongside, or in support of the people’s movement. Let us hear the message again The Memorandum was a policy of conquest under a German styled Europe. However, the destruction of the Eurozone is now closer than ever. From here on, it is an open question what is to remain of that something known as "Europe" or even how many "Europes" we will have (the North, the South, etc.). There are all the signs of plans being prepared for these scenarios.

Who will benefit from these developments, is also open to question. What political forces will be reinforced or emerge? The “Greek peculiarity” concerns first and foremost the emergence of a people’s movement that gets political characteristics:

A movement that is connected with the Left and constitutes a Red Wedge in the "soft underbelly" of Europe. All policies and all practices should now lead to the strengthening, and maturing of this progressive people’s bloc.

The slogan "For a different Greece - In a different Europe" must be given substance programmatically, politically, economically, and socially.

Only in this way is it possible to provide a safe escape for Greece and its people. A year after the Squares’ movement, let us hear their message:

True democracy, national independence, social emancipation – Take your Memorandum and get out of here!

The new day brings another perspective, and allows hopes to rise.

To do justice to these hopes we need to look globally, be open in our thinking, and realistically asses the contradictions that are sweeping this corner of Europe now hated by the marketeers:

A corner of Europe called Greece.

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  • Guest - Sardes Anatolia (@CommanderSar

    Long Live The KKE !!!
    Long Live Greek Working-class !!!

  • Guest - Maju

    "And if this cannot be done, then they will detonate in the hands of a leftist government such “political bombs” as open bankruptcy, expulsion from the Eurozone, exit from the euro, etc".

    Expulsion from the Eurozone and exit from the euro are the same thing. Neither can happen *legally*: a state cannot be legally expelled from the Eurozone, not even from EU itself. However it can be suspended (from EU). They would need to agree to ammend the treaties first in order to do what you say.

    Whatever the case, this is something that SYRIZA must know it will happen, just that they are not asking for it but allowing the EU to be the bad guy arising its internal contradictions maybe or at least letting very clear to the Greek public opinion how a policy of defense of the Greek economy and society is in contradiction with the euro, not because Greeks want it but because EU does. This is important pedagogy, something that revolutionary political activists should never ignore: pedagogy: letting people learn dynamically, not being too far ahead from the masses in the concrete political program (while being revolutionary in overall political stand): there lays the greatness of Lenin (and others) and the doom of so many small "pure" parties.

  • Guest - eric ribellarsi

    <blockquote>Long Live The KKE !!!
    Long Live Greek Working-class !!!</blockquote>

    Please, tell us more about these sophisticated theories.

    Seriously: is this supposed to convince any one? And slogans like "A Strong KKE." It is just hollow right-sectarianism and nostalgia for a time when the KKE was a revolutionary party. The worst of the form of our previous movement, and none of the content.

  • Guest - Neither SYRIZA nor KKE

    Gee, Ribellarsi, are you so well-informed on the Greek situation so as to bash anyone who is not in favor of the group you THINK is heading the resistance of the working class in Greece?

    how can you take at face value from such a distance everything KOE says and actually be sure that KOE is a creative-maoist-revolutionary group? if i remember correct when there was criticism against Battharai and Prachanda from around the world about the developments in Nepal the operators of this website lashed at everyone who wasn't seeing the "creative" line applied by the maoists in nepal, who, as this was this website's opinion, pretended to make compromises so as to surprise the class enemy. now you are silent about your group's position and criticize the mainstream nepali maoists' line.

    so i suggest you to back off from anyone not supporting your reformist Greek sister group, on which you are speculating in order to create in the USA the appearance of Kasama being part of a "new" international revolutionary movement that is on the verge of grabbing guns, and be more moderate in your estimates about greece. and also to stop playing the shameful reactionary postmodern game of "dead ideologies and dead people" (Zizek).

    (I'm not in any way a supporter of KKE)

  • <a href="/http://kasamaproject.org/2012/06/11/a-common-communist-language-seeing-and-describing-possibilities-within-extreme-crisis/" rel="nofollow">[note: this comment was expanded into its own post.]</a>

    <em></em>What happens when truly radical politics starts to win in crisis elections? An Allende moment? A Kornilov moment? The emergence of right coup vs. left insurrection dynamics? Or the slow withering and demoralization of a Kathmandu stalemate?

    I don't believe in peaceful transitions to radical societies. I just don't think they happen. I think people hope for them. I think large numbers of people want to give it a try (both give radical new societies a try, but also attempts at peaceful transition by numbers).

    But what happens when people push their way down that road and run into obstacles? And what does it take to force those obstacles out of the way? And if the framework of the old state (parliament, party spectrums, current army, golden dawn police) prove to be those obstacles -- then what changes do we all make (conceptually) in that radical society we are demanding/creating?

    I think we should develop a common language and use terms for particular contradictions and possible outcomes in such deep crisis:

    <strong>* Allende possibility </strong>(i.e. fascist military coup backed by major imperialists -- named after the overthrow of Chilean socialist president Salvador Allende in 1973, and facilitated by the fact that the highly engaged people of the lower classes were not armed, while the middle classes were mobilized to support a rightward purge.)

    <strong>* Kornilov event: </strong>In Russia 1917, the hunted underground Bolsheviks mobilized their mass support to defeat an attempt by General Kornilov to carry out a rather fascist/tsarist overthrow of the existing liberal/socdem government (which the Bolsheviks did not support). The revolutionaries emerged as the saviors of the revolution and of the people, and reemerged on the national stage. Within two months, they had themselves overthrown Kerensky in the October revolution.

    <strong>* Kathmandu stalemate: </strong>Nepal's armed struggle reached a stalemate: Maoist armed guerrillas and early peoples government controlled much of the country, but proved unable to defeat the central army in direct battle. They chose to enter a political process, help reformist allies overthrow the King, and get an opening to reach/mobilize urban classes. Ironically, they won elections, and the state they wanted to overthrow was put in their hands. They came to government power, without having the institutional strength to carry through the radical changes that are needed. There was a stalemate within the state, within the people, and (ironically) within the ranks of the Maoists.

    <strong>* revolutionary situation: </strong>When the old politics is discredited even among its old supporters, when the people cannot live the old way and demand basic changes, when the rulers of the old system cannot grant those changes but are wedded to a different and brutal course (and deeply divided amongst themselves), and when there increasingly emerge/congeal fresh determined organized and highly revolutionary political forces with deep ties among the people capable of leading an uprising and envisioning a new allignment of power.

    * Transitional demands: In an extreme crisis, some demands around crucial faultlines mobilize millions of people to confront the central defenders of the old order. In words these demands are for relieve and key changes ("give us food," or "end the war," or "land to the peasants," or "drop the brutal austerity agreements") -- but in the context of a specific crisis (and a deadlock within previous mainstream politics) such demands can form a specific transitional role -- from capitalism to socialism, as the banners under which forces gather for an actual revolution.

  • Guest - Maju

  • Guest - SYRIZA is a party who can't ge

    Yes, "develop a common language and use terms for particular contradictions and possible outcomes in such deep crisis". This is fine, but what is our concrete class-position on SYRIZA and Tsipras. Are they friends or enemies of the proletariat and Greece, of the global proletariat and other oppressed classes? "Neither SYRIZA nor KKE" raises valid criticisms that need to be addressed directly rather than reflected. Is the task in Greece to build a revolutionary movement for the overthrow of the bourgeois state in service of transition to communism, or not?