Monday, January 21, 2013

Greece's Anticapitalist Turn

by Pavlos Eleftheriadis

Wall Street Journal

January 21, 2013

Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece's Syriza party—the Alliance of the Radical Left—is currently visiting the United States. It will be an interesting experience for both sides.

Syriza is a political party committed to overthrowing capitalism. It says so in its most recent policy document, a declaration approved last month by a congress of 3,000 party delegates. This declaration invites the Greek people to fight against an immensely powerful enemy, "globalized large capital," which supposedly drives peoples to total destitution both in Europe and the developing world. "Capital" is also seeking to destroy the welfare state, drag labor rights back to the 19th century, bring wages to third-world levels and maximize unemployment.

But why are the peoples of Europe not resisting the appalling march of capital? They would be, except parliamentary institutions are a sham, not real democracy, per Syriza's declaration. So the party is promising a "radical transformation of society" toward socialism. It clearly and unequivocally rejects any attempt at improving capitalism with what it calls "cosmetic changes."

Syriza vows that its view of socialism is not "the replication of other models, which sought to rely on the same ideas, but misinterpreted them, failed to remain faithful to them and finally, for many complex reasons, self-destructed." Syriza hopes to succeed where other socialist experiments failed. The declaration says that "we ought . . . to learn as much as we can and as fully as we can from this great venture and this great historical experience, with its novel achievements and its transforming failures."


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