Following on from our previous coverage of the Greek crisis, Left Flank is pleased to publish this analysis — by Thanasis Kampagiannis — of the balance of forces within the Greek Left and the question of what kind of politics can take the resistance movements forward. Thanasis has previously written for Left Flank on Greek politics, and is a member of the Greek Socialist Workers’ Party (SEK) and the ANTARSYA electoral coalition.
In International Socialism 136 (Autumn 2012) Richard Seymour and Panos Garganas gave two different assessments of the political strategy the Left should adopt in Greece. It is an important debate for revolutionaries in Greece and elsewhere. Panos puts forward an argument that the anti-capitalist left should intervene in the ongoing social and political struggle through ANTARSYA, outside the political formation SYRIZA. Richard, on the other hand, proposes a strategy of a “critical support” to SYRIZA, and “wholehearted” support for the slogan a “Government of the Left”. Furthermore, Richard criticises the conception of “Left reformism” that Alex Callinicos has argued in his discussions of SYRIZA, saying that this term might “gloss over some important details”. I think the stress on concrete details is correct. The purpose of this note is to provide some of the details that need to be taken into consideration if international comrades are to make informed assessments on the Greek situation.
Today is the international day of action against fascism, an initiative called from Athens where the thugs of Golden Dawn have been trying to capitalise on their electoral breakthrough in the country feeling the sharpest edge of Eurozone austerity. Left Flank extends its best wishes to the ordinary Greek people fighting the twin horrors of economic catastrophe and the rise of Golden Dawn.
As we noted in a recent post, there have been and will be solidarity actions across the world. Sydney was first with a small but lively protest outside the Greek consulate in stifling 45°C heat. It is worth having a look at the protest’s Facebook page, especially to watch the video of NSW Greens MP John Kaye’s passionate speech condemning the Greek state’s collusion with the fascists, and linking the rise of the neo-Nazis to the crisis of capitalism.
There will also be a solidarity protest in Canberra tomorrow, outside the Greek embassy from 1pm. More details can be found here.
For ease of reference I have copied and pasted a debate on the connections between women’s oppression and the capitalist mode of production that started with a blog post by Richard Seymour at Lenin’s Tomb. I have copied that opening post as well as my reply, Richard’s rejoinder and a further reply from myself. The debate ranged more widely on some Facebook threads, with some fascinating contributions, but I’ve limited myself to mine and Richard’s direct exchange here.
Seymour: Patriarchy and the capitalist state
I have recently had cause to invoke the concept of ‘patriarchy’ a few times, in the context of the Saville scandal, and the Iowa supreme court’s decision to back sexist employers. At first, I suggested that marxists should annexe the concept of patriarchy as a regional theory of which historical materialism is a general theory. Subsequently, I modified the concept by referring to ‘capitalist patriarchy’. This is in the spirit of bell hooks’ coining of the concept of ‘white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’, which is a way of acknowledging the tremendous variety of historical forms that patriarchy has taken, and the fact that it is already articulated with, intersecting with and overdetermined by the other types of social relationship that it emerges alongside. In this case of the Iowa Supreme Court, I was indicating that the relationship between traditional patriarchal types of authority, in the church and family, and capitalist and state power, was not merely incidental. I want to take this process of refining and modifying the concept further still, to some extent prompted by the ‘Damina’ case.
Call for day of international solidarity with anti-fascist Athens
SYDNEY ANTI-FASCIST DEMONSTRATION IN SOLIDARITY WITH GREECE
12:30pm Friday 18 January, Greek Consulate, 219-223 Castlereagh Street, Sydney
Event Facebook page / Initiated by Solidarity & endorsed by We Are All Greeks Sydney / To endorse the demonstration, get more information or media call Amy on 0430 554 263
One of the key political developments of the past year has been the growth of far Right and fascist organisations across Europe. Preying on the long-term crisis of authority of traditional political establishments and linking this to growing bitterness against austerity, several of these parties have consolidated past gains and at least one — Greece’s Golden Dawn — has made a major electoral breakthrough in two consecutive elections. This experience has not been uniform, with fascists doing poorly in recent elections in Spain and the English Defence League falling into disarray in the face of consistent anti-Nazi campaigning (with a particularly strong role being played by Unite Against Fascism).
The rise in Golden Dawn associated violence against immigrants, the Left and other minority groups — often with more-or-less open backing from sections of the police — has provoked some hysterical media coverage implying that the neo-Nazis are unstoppable in the context of the deep social crisis being inflicted on the Greek people. Yet reports from activists on the ground suggest that despair is not warranted, and the radical Left has been central to working with migrant communities to build opposition to the fascists. While it is early days, it is clear that there is a very large groundswell of resistance to the threat posed by the far Right, and that this is seen as a central part of taking on the austerity agenda of the Samaras government and the Troika.
As part of this, a call has come from Athens for an international day of action against fascism, next Saturday 19 January. Already protests are planned across a range of cities, as the poster above indicates. You can see Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism sending solidarity to Athens in the video below. Left Flank is not aware of any specific actions being planned here in Australia — but if there are, we would love to publicise them here.