[P2P-F] [NetworkedLabour] Gindin and Panitch (from Athens): A Real Plan B

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Mon Jul 20 17:02:30 CEST 2015

so what I find interesting in Leo Panich is not the analysis itself, but a
narrative that allows commoners to work with all political forces that
support the commons.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 9:18 PM, Theodoros Karyotis <tkaryotis at gmail.com>

> This is a terribly misguided article. It is just an attempt of the
> traditional left to cling on to what it stands for, while wrapping it up in
> a funky new vocabulary.
> For years I have been writing, in this list and in various articles, that
> the project of Syriza has nothing to do with the commons or with overcoming
> capitalism. On the contrary, it is a project of modernising and
> rationalising capitalism in a country that "lags behind" the other european
> countries in terms of opportunities for capital accumulation. I know that
> this opinion has been very unpopular, and that we had to wait and see how
> Syriza's plan plays out. But now we have enough data, so insisting on the
> same mistakes cannot be justified.
> The idea that society, under the guidance of a 'progressive' Syriza
> government can advance towards the plan C, is a dangerous fiction.
> Syriza is a governmental force that is now implementing an extreme
> structural adjustment that will further compress the lower classes and will
> attack the commons.
> Reluctantly, unwillingly? What difference does it make? The previous
> governments also hammered us with arguments that this is for the country's
> long-term benefit and that there is really no choice. Why should the same
> arguments be true if they are now uttered by the left-wing?
> In my hometown we spend 4 years mobilising the people against the
> privatisation of the water company. It was a hard and unequal fight, which
> had a big personal cost for the people who waged it. We managed to freeze
> the privatization process and oust -temporarily- transnational giant Suez
> from our city.
> Syriza is now obliged under the terms of the new memorandum to restart the
> privatization process. It has the judiciary to prosecute us, and the riot
> police -which it never reformed despite electoral promises- to throw
> teargas at us.
> What do you think our response should be? "Ok, dear Syriza govt, we know
> that you really don't want to sell off our water, but its is better that it
> is done by you rather than by those right-wingers."
> Oh come on people! Time to wake up from the dream!
> It cannot be overstated: By signing a new harsh memorandum and staying in
> power to implement it, Syriza has passed to the other side. It is now the
> enemy.
> It is a government that now subscribes to the TINA doctrine. Reluctantly?
> Unwillingly? What difference does it make?
> Syriza, with its charismatic leader and its reserves of political capital,
> has made possible an unprecedented attack on the people and the commons,
> which would be impossible under the previous government, which was isolated
> and fragile. It has made us believe that there is no other option, that
> resistance is futile.
> And the idea that it can somehow pass "positive" laws to counter the
> effects of the structural adjustment is preposterous. Signing this
> agreement, Syriza gave up the capacity of the Greek government to
> legislate. Laws will now again be written in Brussels or Berlin -same as it
> has been in the past 5 years- and voted in be Greek MPs without even being
> read.
> I have to reiterate that the commons movements should be radically
> independent from the state and political parties.
> The state's function will always be to ensure growth, attract investment,
> make the economy competitive, monetize everything. Otherwise it is a
> "failed state".
> These goals are synonymous to austerity, compression of the forces of work
> vis-a-vis capital, and an attack on the commons.
> And that is why the Plan B of a national productive reconstruction outside
> the eurozone is not a real solution either. Because it does not challenge
> the underlying assumptions of "return to growth" and the expansion of
> production, consumption and credit.
> The only place the commons have in Syriza's plan is as a "safety net", a
> method of social containment which will prevent social eruptions and will
> give the government an inexpensive instrument to exercise social policy,
> while at the same time dismantling the welfare state. This has already
> started, with the instrumentalisation of the social solidarity clinics.
> The Plan C should have an antagonistic edge, it should aim at creating new
> institutions and educate people for direct democracy and people's power. It
> cannot be an accessory to a program of lukewarm reforms that only aim to
> save capitalism from itself.
> And Syriza cheerleaders like Panitch should wake up to the new reality
> that emerges after Syriza's unconditional surrender.
> autonomias.net
> twitter.com/TebeoTeo
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ...buscar y saber reconocer quién y qué, en medio del infierno, no es
> infierno, y hacer que dure, y dejarle espacio...
> On 17 July 2015 at 12:04, peter waterman <peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>  [image: Socialist Project - home] <http://www.socialistproject.ca/>
>> *The   B u l l e t* <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/>
>> Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 1145
>> July 17, 2015
>>  [image: Socialist Project - home] <http://www.socialistproject.ca/>
>>   The Real Plan B:
>> The New Greek Marathon
>>  Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch
>> In the face of being excluded from desperately needed funds and the
>> threat of being kicked out of the European Union, the Greek parliament has
>> now voted to accept the Troika memorandum
>> <http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2015/07/12-euro-summit-statement-greece/>.
>> The Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras acknowledged – unlike social
>> democrats *choosing* to implement neoliberalism as part of their
>> ‘modernization‘ – that this was ‘a bad deal’ forced on the Greeks. Syriza's
>> MPs were divided although three quarters of them followed Tsipras and voted
>> yes. Outside in Syntagma Square thousands of angry demonstrators gathered
>> and then marched through downtown Athens, this time the ‘NO’ being reserved
>> for rejecting the memorandum. There is a strong current of dissent in the
>> Syriza party Central Committee, which has yet to meet. Yet there is also a
>> general sense we get from party members and supporters at all levels we
>> have talked with here that the government should be supported and continue
>> in office.
>> In the face of these divisions and frustrations, what if anything might
>> be done to revive and continue Syriza's struggle against neoliberalism? And
>> since neoliberalism is what capitalism *is* today – there is no other
>> kind – what can be done to lay the basis for ending capitalism? This is not
>> just a question for Greeks, though crucial aspects of this dilemma are of
>> course specific to Greece, but for how the left everywhere thinks about and
>> responds to the challenges of coming to power in a hostile environment to
>> try to protect people from the worst depredations of neoliberalism, and
>> tries to embark on ‘really-existing transitions’ to a more egalitarian,
>> solidaristic, substantively more democratic world.
>> Sections of the Greek left and a good part of the international left have
>> argued that the deal should have been rejected, and Grexit embraced
>> instead. This opens up a number of scenarios but the most likely would be
>> the government resigning, calling new elections, and Syriza running on a
>> program that reversed its former support for staying in the eurozone.
>> Whether or not the party would win its credibility would, according to this
>> argument, be maintained and it would at least live to fight another day.
>> Exiting the Euro, Leaving the State
>> We would not dismiss the above argument out of hand. It reflects
>> legitimate emotional sentiments and strategic orientations. Until recently,
>> however, three of four Greeks opposed Grexit, and even if this has shifted
>> dramatically with the referendum and its aftermath, there is no clear and
>> deep consensus on leaving. Tsipras and a good part of the leadership is, in
>> this regard, not simply ‘tailing’ the public but deeply committed to Europe
>> on both economic and cultural grounds. For those of us who have long argued
>> that eventual exit is essential, especially from a socialist perspective,
>> the challenge is not so much to condemn this but to ask: When is the right
>> moment to take this on? What practical steps, ideological and in terms of
>> state capacities, might be argued for now to move the party and its base
>> toward a consensus?
>> As for counselling Syriza to risk losing its governing status, it needs
>> to be noted that Syriza already faced this question in the run up to the
>> 2012 elections, and concluded that the responsible decision was to enter
>> the state and do everything it could to restrain the neoliberal assault
>> from *within* the state. Its electoral breakthrough that year was based
>> on Tsipras's declaration that Syriza was not just campaigning to register a
>> higher percentage of the vote but determined to form a government with any
>> others who would join with it in stopping the economic torture while
>> remaining within Europe. It was only when it came close to winning on this
>> basis, that Syriza vaunted to the forefront of the international left's
>> attention, and by the following summer, Tsipras was chosen by the European
>> Left Parties to lead their campaign in the 2014 European Parliament
>> elections. Syriza's subsequent clear victory in Greece in this election
>> foretold its victory in the Greek national election of January 2015, when
>> it became the first and only one of all the European left parties to
>> challenge neoliberalism and win national office.
>> Even apart from the humanitarian measures it immediately introduced
>> without allowing the Troika's representatives to vet the legislation, the
>> very attempt by the new government to challenge the Troika has helped
>> expose the neoliberal essence of the EU and to generate discussions on what
>> alternatives, however difficult to imagine, might be. It strikes us as
>> premature to conclude from the denouement to this five month challenge that
>> was finally reached this week, however sobering it has been, that it is
>> better for Syriza to leave the state to its bourgeois opponents. It seems
>> better to move beyond outrage and protest, let alone resignation, and
>> instead struggle with what kinds of changes remain possible in the state to
>> support the needs of the majority of Greek people who voted OXI in the
>> referendum and to contribute to the much-needed further development of
>> their already powerfully demonstrated capacities for solidarity and
>> innovation. Without this a productive path out of the eurozone, and perhaps
>> even the EU, to escape neoliberalism would be inconceivable. It is this,
>> not just surreptitiously making plans for a new currency, that properly
>> preparing for Grexit would really need to be about.
>> Those advocating an exit from the euro acknowledge that there will be
>> costs. Yet they also tend to understate, sometimes rather glibly, the chaos
>> this would entail especially for a state steeped in two centuries of
>> clientalist practices. Along with this comes an exaggeration of what
>> exiting the euro would, in itself, achieve. The economics of a new devalued
>> currency are sure to lead to high inflation and further dramatic reductions
>> in living standards, nor can it of itself produce new competitive
>> industries. Where the depth of the crisis is as severe as it is in Greece
>> and partly rooted in the very restructuring of its economy that came with
>> its deeper integration into Europe, changes in the currency are unlikely to
>> restore old industries or develop new ones. It is worth remembering how
>> many states with their own currencies are unable to withstand the ravages
>> of neoliberalism.
>> That the options open to the Syriza government are even more limited by
>> the way the new memorandum is structured to cruelly discipline Greece's
>> integration into neoliberal Europe is obvious enough. It should also be
>> increasingly obvious to those in the party whose commitment to the EU was
>> foundational that staying in the eurozone is inconsistent with restraining
>> neoliberalism's negative impact on most Greeks. It is much to be hoped that
>> Syriza, and the European Left Parties in general, will abandon the notion
>> that an even more centralized transnational European state would be more
>> progressive. But it does not follow from any of this that it would be
>> correct for Syriza to lead a Grexit right now, without a much deeper
>> preparation for dealing with the consequences.
>> What about resigning from office to free itself from administering the
>> memorandum? It would be highly irresponsible, having entered the state in
>> the first place promising to try to at least ameliorate the effects of
>> neoliberalism in Greece, to step down now after what has been imposed on
>> the Syriza government for its anti-neoliberal orientation and its
>> democratic temerity in calling the referendum. This only deepens its
>> responsibility to do all it still can to restrain the impact of
>> neoliberalism. To do otherwise would be to acquiesce in the goal of those
>> who tried to use the negotiations as a way to bring this government down.
>> Toward a Real Plan B
>> The point we are getting at is that framing the issue in terms of an
>> exhausted Plan A (negotiating with Europe) and a rejection of the euro
>> (Plan B) is too limited a way to frame the dilemmas confronting Syriza.
>> What the deeper preparation for leaving the eurozone and possibly also the
>> EU, actually entails is *to build on the solidarity networks that have
>> developed in society to cope with the crisis as the basis for starting to
>> transform social relations within Greece*. That is the real plan B, the
>> terrain on which both Syriza and the social movements might re-invigorate
>> now. What, more concretely, might this mean?
>> The recent years of struggle have developed the famous grassroots
>> solidarity movement that began – as all organizing must – by addressing the
>> needs of people. Out of this grew the some 400 solidarity groups
>> <http://www.solidarity4all.gr/> all across Greece addressing basic
>> community needs through self-organized democratically run collectives which
>> provide support for people's health, food, housing and other needs. Syriza
>> members were among those deeply involved in establishing and maintaining
>> the solidarity networks and its MPs elected in 2012 contributed 20 per cent
>> of their salaries to them. But since the Syriza government was elected this
>> year it has done very little to change and use the state so as to sustain
>> and broaden this remarkable movement.
>> Two leaders of the ‘Solidarity for All’ assembly of these groups told us
>> how frustrated they were that they could not even get from the Ministry of
>> Agriculture the information they need on the locations of specific crops so
>> they might approach a broader range of farmers and develop more direct
>> links between them and people in need. Only 12 people in total are employed
>> in working for Solidarity for All – their numbers should be multiplied with
>> the state's help. The military trucks sitting idle between demonstrations
>> could be used to facilitate the distribution of food through the solidarity
>> networks as a way of offsetting some of the cuts to the poorest pensioners,
>> and of compensating for the increased VAT on food imposed by the latest
>> memorandum. Various state departments could be engaged in identifying idle
>> land – of which there is plenty in the countryside and in light of the
>> crisis also in urban areas – which could be be given over to community
>> co-ops to create work in growing food, and coordinating this across
>> sub-regions.
>> The Ministry of Education should be actively engaged in promoting the use
>> of schools as community hubs that provide spaces for the social movements
>> organizing around food and health services, and also to provide technical
>> education appropriate to this. We talked with many students who were
>> clearly enthusiastic about working in the community but were also quick to
>> admit that while they were adept at competing in student union elections
>> and good at distributing pamphlets and organizing demonstrations, their
>> skills for longer-term community organizing were very limited. The Ministry
>> of Education could help overcome this by setting up special programs to
>> prepare students to spend periods of time in communities, contributing to
>> adult education and working on community projects.
>> Similarly, the privatizations forced on the Greek state should be
>> accompanied by requirements that the new owners make a compensating
>> commitment to establish industrial parks where new jobs might be created.
>> Privatized firms might be required to source inputs inside Greece, while
>> the state's own purchases of furniture, materials and supplies (including
>> for schools and hospitals) might be sourced from new production units set
>> up his way. With so many structures standing idle and under-used (like the
>> Olympic sports facilities), all manners of co-ops and small businesses
>> should be supported in setting up operations in them, aided by groups of
>> young architects and engineers recruited to reconfigure these spaces. The
>> U.S. New Deal Work Projects Administration
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Works_Progress_Administration> could
>> serve as an example not only in this respect, but especially in respect to
>> the broad range of artistic, theatrical and cultural activities in which so
>> many unemployed young people are already engaged.
>> We do not want to overstate this. These experiments would not themselves
>> be 'solutions’. And they would no doubt lead to objections that they negate
>> the intent of the new memorandum's structural adjustment demands. But seen
>> strategically, they invite a constructive approach to linking the state to
>> communities in new ways that would offset the black and grey markets which
>> might otherwise overwhelm an economy that moved out of the eurozone. And it
>> helps lay the foundation for a new stage in addressing the domestic
>> barriers imposed by the inequalities of wealth and private property, and
>> concretizes the need for investment planning and public ownership so as
>> circulate society's social surplus to local, regional and sectoral
>> institutions.
>> Conclusion: Leadership of a New Kind
>> The Syriza government currently retains a store of good will, even if
>> this has been damaged by the memorandum. To prevent the further erosion of
>> that popular support it will need to concretely counter the Troika-imposed
>> legislation. For every negative bill it puts forth it should creatively put
>> forth a positive bill that confirms its continuing commitment to the fight
>> against neoliberalism. Syriza's ministers must never depart from treating
>> the negative impositions as something positive, and indeed be expected to
>> act as socialist educators, helping people grasp the barriers to improving
>> their lives and raising rather than lowering long term expectations by
>> continuing to attack neoliberalism and speak to a socialist vision of
>> solidarity and democracy. And it is this that should inspire and guide the
>> transformation of state structures away from the old clientalism.
>> None of this can happen unless Syriza as a party develops the orientation
>> and capacities to lead the Greek state and society in this direction. We
>> have met with people in the party and social movements, as well as the
>> state, who are concerned that Syriza falls well short in this respect.
>> Among the various reasons for being critical of Syriza, this is the most
>> significant. •
>> Sam Gindin is adjunct professor and Leo Panitch is distinguished research
>> professor at York University, Canada. They co-authored The Making of
>> Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire
>> <http://www.versobooks.com/books/1145-the-making-of-global-capitalism>
>> (Verso). Both are currently in Athens, Greece.
>>   « Previous <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1144.php>
>> Home <http://www.socialistproject.ca/>
>> Today <http://www.socialistproject.ca/today/>
>>   Next <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/> »
>> Comments
>> *Be the first to post a comment: *
>> Display Name:
>> E-mail:
>> Subject:
>> Comment:
>> enter your comment here...
>> What is this text?: [image: Prove you're not a robot] :
>>   « Previous <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1144.php>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( The   B u l l e t ))))~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> • ISSN 1923-7871 •
>> Next » <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/>
>>  Share: [image: Delicious]
>> <http://delicious.com/post?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&title=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: Digg]
>> <http://digg.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&title=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: Facebook]
>> <http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&t=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: Google bookmark]
>> <http://www.google.com/bookmarks/mark?op=add&bkmk=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&title=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon&annotation=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: MySpace]
>> <http://www.myspace.com/Modules/PostTo/Pages/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&t=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon&c=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: Reddit]
>> <http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&title=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: StumbleUpon]
>> <http://www.stumbleupon.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca%2Fbullet%2F1145.php&title=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon>
>> [image: Twitter]
>> <http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=Currently+reading+Bullet+No.+1145+about+The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1145.php&via=socialism21>
>> [image: UnionBook]
>> <http://www.unionbook.org/profiles/blog/new?post_title=Bullet+No.+1145+The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon&post_body=The%20Real%20Plan%20B%3A%20The%20New%20Greek%20Marathon+full+at+http%3A%2F%2Fwww.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1145.php>
>> [image: RSS] <http://www.socialistproject.ca/rss>
>> ^ Back to Top ^ <http://www.socialistproject.ca/bullet/1145.php#top>
>> --
>> *Recent publications*
>> 1. 2014. From Coldwar Communism to the Global Justice Movement:
>> Itinerary of a Long-Distance Internationalist.
>> http://www.into-ebooks.com/book/from_coldwar_communism
>> _to_the_global_emancipatory_movement/ (Free). 2. 2014. Interface Journal
>> Special (Co-Editor), December 2014. 'Social Movement Internationalisms'.
>> (Free).3. 2014. with Laurence Cox, ‘Movement Internationalism/s’,
>> Interface: a Journal for and about Social Movements. (Editorial), Vol. 6
>> (2), pp. 1–12. 4. 2014. ‘The International Labour Movement in, Against
>> and Beyond, the Globalized and Informatized Cage of Capitalism and
>> Bureaucracy. (Interview). Interface: a Journal for and about Social
>> Movements. Vol. 6 (2), pp. 35-58. 5. 2014. 'The Networked
>> Internationalism of Labour's Others', in Jai Sen (ed), Peter Waterman
>> (co-ed), The Movement of Movements: Struggles for Other Worlds  (Part I).
>> (10 Euros). 6. 2015. Waterman, Peter. ‘Beyond Labourism, Development and
>> Decent Work’.
>> <https://escarpmentpress.org/globallabour/article/download/2338/2433>
>> Global Labour Journal, 2015, 6(2), pp. 246-50.
>> *More publications, click [////]*
>> _______________________________________________
>> NetworkedLabour mailing list
>> NetworkedLabour at lists.contrast.org
>> http://lists.contrast.org/mailman/listinfo/networkedlabour
> _______________________________________________
> NetworkedLabour mailing list
> NetworkedLabour at lists.contrast.org
> http://lists.contrast.org/mailman/listinfo/networkedlabour

Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at: http://commonstransition.org

P2P Foundation: http://p2pfoundation.net  - http://blog.p2pfoundation.net

http://twitter.com/mbauwens; http://www.facebook.com/mbauwens

#82 on the (En)Rich list: http://enrichlist.org/the-complete-list/
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: https://lists.ourproject.org/pipermail/p2p-foundation/attachments/20150720/3e9f40d7/attachment-0001.htm 

More information about the P2P-Foundation mailing list