In an extraordinary act of democracy, Greeks brought Marxists to the core of the European fortress. Neo-liberals and neoconservatives (if there is a difference between the two) try to shake off Sunday, 25th January 2015, as a nightmare that won’t go away. There is no doubt that this day is to be written in the European political history as the game changer day. Forty years old Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party triumphed in the Greek legislative elections winning 149 out of 300 parliamentary seats.
Who are Syriza? It has been reported that revolutionary Marxist iconography covers the walls of Syriza’s party offices in Greece, that the employees and activists in the offices are young and energetic people with a deep conviction that this time, they control their own destiny.
Syriza is a party alliance of the “radical left” emerging in 2013. from the Greek tragedy that is being staged as an unprecedented socio – economic crisis caused by both, irresponsible governing from the inert center right New Democracy and a ruthlessness of “Troika” (International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission) which addressed Greeks with patronizing tones, demanding obedience in sticking with the austerity measures. In other words. All the money that Greeks were allowed to borrow from Troika were to be returned to troika in the form of interest payments for the previous debts while the Greek working class were expected to live on municipal water and fresh air of Athens. And it was nothing personal from the obedient, hard working, well eating Germans embodied in Angela Merkel, who may or may not, in the darkness of her bedroom, quietly think of her Greek “partners” as of irresponsible bastards who deserve to die from starvation. It’s simply the name of the game.
That’s why Syriza has emerged from the obscurity of intellectual leftism into an active game changer party, transforming itself through the nation’s discontent for current oligarchical structure of power, from a small political party on the margins of society into a leading political voice for the people of Greece.
Although Syriza’s majority consists of social democrats which are deemed to be the most moderate within the party, they are hardcore Marxists themselves. Other Syriza’s members are Maoists, Trotskyists, ecologists, along with many other distinguished groups with a wide spectrum of political issues and one common platform – the philosophy of a 19th century German philosopher and economist, a London resident, the author of Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie – Karl Marx.
In his first days in power, Alexis Tsipras stood up to the challenges. He has held his first meetings with the European partners, giving them firm assurances that, contrary to the reports on Tsipras’s intentions published by the mainstream western media before the 25th January elections, Greece is staying on the European course but his stand to Troika remains unshaken. That means YES to Europe but NO to the European (read German) hegemony.
There is this fear that the leftists of Spain and Greece are anti European forces, but in reality they are anti-austerity, pro-social equality, anti-capitalist proletarians who want European Union in their own hands!
The left wants a New Europe. Nobody is thinking of leaving, but Angela Merkel and her alike visionaries should be prepared for any scenario, including the one which prescribes her departure from the pedestal of the European throne.
No surprise - Alexis Tsipras's reputation in German circles of power and its controlled media is as notorious as the one of a 15th century Wallachian prince, Vlad Basarab – Dracula, who fought on two fronts; against the mighty sultan and the German aristocracy and its influence in Transylvania. As a result, the first ever printed texts after the Bible in Gutenberg prints were German propaganda pamphlets demonizing the Prince.
Syriza's historic victory were applauded by Podemos, its Spanish ideological sister, which is yet another popular sensation of a growing European left set to win upcoming election in Spain. The two parties work together. Their popularity outside Spain and Greece is on the rise, consequently their concrete powers to influence European policies are multiplying by the hour.
“Tick tock, tick tock,” chanted thousands as they occupied the broad avenues of central Madrid, counting down to a year packed with municipal, regional and general elections. Just a year since its creation, Podemos has vaulted to the top of opinion polls, threatening to bring an end to the bipartisan political system that has governed Spain since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975.-
Wrote Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian, on 31 January 2015. referring to the 100 000 flock rallying against austerity this Saturday in Madrid.
Although European leftist movements represent a fresh force that boasts success, claiming to be well prepared for the battle ahead, Syriza and Podemos are still only newcomers to the factual world of political powers where a fiscal approach to the value of life rather then the humanitarian (ethical) one is preferable.
When it comes to the numbers and financial rules, new finance minister of Greece - the one that most EU ladies would prefer to take on a date - Yanis Varoufakis, has learned them well. A British student once, a professor of economy, Varoufakis perhaps, already reminded his French and UK counterparts how, in the most recent years, their businesses and banks were rescued from bankruptcy. He probably, remembered to mention 1953, a year in which media's new darling Varoufakis was not even born or even conceived for many years after; a year of the London conference, also known as London Agreement on German External Debt. Beside West Germany, the parties involved were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa, the United States, Yugoslavia.
Under the London Debts Agreement of 1953, the repayable amount was reduced by 50% to about 15 billion marks and stretched out over 30 years, and compared to the fast-growing German economy were of minor impact. – Wikipedia
So is there a hope for the Europeans and its union? Not yet.
"And only where there are graves are there resurrections."
Thus spoke Zarathustra - Nietzsche
The European technocrats of today, mostly conservative, neoliberal forces will not give up without a struggle. It could be anticipated that Angela Merkel and her followers will try to deflect the left in the way gods from Olympus distracted the powerful Titans by cutting them in two, thus diminishing their power. The worst nightmare for the actual rulers of Europe would be a success story for Syriza and Podemos. If their methods were to be proven efficient in dealing with domestic economies, that would bring the austerity advocates and their politics to the grave point. Furthermore, proclaimed desire as well as a presumed capacity of the left to bring an end to various conflicts around the globe could be another reason for the rulers of Europe to raise alarm, as they are incapable to do it themselves and stop the factory of war.
After a systematic destruction of my country, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, succeeded after the Berlin Wall went down, Fukuyama announced the end of our journey and the end of history. Of course, Fukuyama thought that Western liberal values and its mechanisms will prevail globally, bringing us to the end of socio-cultural revolution as well as to the final form of government. This dialectically unsustainable totalitarian idea which sleeps in the hearts of the European rulers is what could bring them to the endpoint of their own.
Consequently, in order to survive, the EU needs a new vision which will bring more inclusive democracy to its citizens, with linear structure of power. That model could be the closest to the one of free citizens of the ancient Greek polis, excluding the existence of slaves.
With the old political establishment rejecting to admit the failure in bringing the European states together under the safety of one strong economy umbrella, with the Ukrainian war hanging above Europe, with racism and religious hatred in expansion, EU is facing a prospect of civil disorder and chaos. Huge discrepancies between the economies as well as ever growing gap between the poor and the rich can only lead to further divisions and conflicts without an end.
When will the continental European nations learn a simple lesson – Anglo economy model of free market without rules of protection is a Darwinian jungle where only the strongest (most flexible) survive?! Once you step into this jungle, you become the jungle.
In socialist Yugoslavia, my hometown Zenica played a strategic industrial role. My parents were employed in an Iron factory, which produced iron for export. Working class in my town lived decently in 70's and 80's. We were careless and free, we could travel the world with our Yugoslavian passport and be proud.
Our Iron factory was once ruled by workers. My parents laugh if I try to insinuate that this was an illusion for my father remembers well how a project in management that his team worked on for a year was simply denied license for implementation by workers' direct vote against it. At the time, 25 000 workers were employed at the factory. This factory is now ruled by a foreign corporation Arcelor Mittal and 2 500 employed workers are now on wages under the European minimum. Our engineers, once a respected kind, are complaining of being rudely mistreated by foreign management, while the pollution hits all time highs.
I have not been to Zenica or Bosnia for 21 years, but I do occasionally get a feedback from friends and family members who are still going there for holidays. Depressing stories of defeated people, narratives without hope are in contradiction with happy, energetic sound/images of a young, anti establishment - anti capitalist band Dubioza Kolektiv. In the lyrics of their song "Vratice se Valter", Dubioza threaten the corrupted, nationalistic government and local oligarchs with the return of Valter, Sarajevo's revolutionary communist hero from World War II.
In a cult film "Valter Brani Sarajevo" (Valter Defends Sarajevo) Valter, otherwise a historical figure, was promoted as an invincible hero. As Nazi Germans try to find out in vain who Valter is, at the end of the war, while fleeing the city, an officer standing on the hill above Sarajevo says to another German with high military ranks: "All this time I was looking for Valter and I could not find him. Now I know who he is." Shocked, visibly disturbed, the other officer asks: "Who is he?" The German officer points at Sarajevo and says:
"Das ist Valter!"