More on Syrzia (from Red Pepper)

Hillary Wainwright does good stuff over at Red Pepper, and she has an excellent in-depth article here on Syrzia that susses out some of the nuances of what is going on, nuances that the interview with a leading Syrzia intellectual (that I posted recently) did not bring out.  The piece argues that Syrzia is more than a party, that it is also a broad movement that not only aims to control State power, but also to maintain strong autonomous organizations and popular mobilizations.  While there is clearly a desire to take State power in order to dictate a policy agenda, there also seems to be some idea that one can also use that power to democratize the State itself.  There also seems to be some commitment to remaining connected to (and even guided by) the mobilized mass of people.

Of course there is always danger: that the agenda of reforming the State is abandoned to concentrate on consolidating the party’s power, that the mobilized population comes to rest and lets the party take up the baton, that the autonomous organizations are subjected to party discipline in the name of ‘getting things done.’  But at least, it seems, there is awareness among some in the movement that these pitfalls exist (probably those in the younger generation).  Here’s hoping that, should Syrzia continue to have success, that those who see the dangers are able to ward off the temptation to give in to the terror of sovereign State power (that coldest of all cold monsters), and remain resolute in their commitment to self-management by an active network of mobilized and hopeful people all over Greece, and all over Europe as well.

Syriza and Podemos: I would prefer not to

While there are certainly some very real and very possible benefits to pursuing a party strategy, still I worry about the current tendency on the Left to become re-enchanted with the “machinery of the State” (and to use those very words with a straight face).  The idea that we need to seize the State to make real change, to fight for democracy, to give real power to the people…I think this is a truly dangerous path they are heading down.

Should Syriza and Podemos become “successful,” I feel certain we already know what the outcome will be.  In the short term, they will produce some policies that are more favorable to the mass of people.  In the long term, they will consolidate their power and use it to dominate society, including, without doubt, the same mass of people they claim to represent.

Greece, SYRIZA, and the coming election

At Lenin’s Tomb, a very rich analysis of the potential left victory at the polls in Greece.  This is undoubtedly a hope-inducing development that is nevertheless fraught with potential difficulties.  Whatever the eventual outcome, it is certainly good to see an anti-austerity line drawn in the sand, even if it is only rhetorical at this point.

For those who read French, here is some of the history of the SYRIZA phenomenon from Stathis Kouvélakis.