Saturday, July 11, 2015

Zizek on Greece

Slavoj Žižek writes clearly and concisely about the Greek Crisis. He emphasizes that is is a political crisis:
The true goal of lending money to the debtor is not to get the debt reimbursed with a profit, but the indefinite continuation of the debt, keeping the debtor in permanent dependency and subordination. . . .

Greece would never have got so heavily indebted without the connivance of the western establishment. . . . What the EU bureaucracy should be blamed for is that, while it criticised Greece for its corruption and inefficiency, it supported the very political force (the New Democracy party) that embodied this corruption and inefficiency. . . .

Žižek quotes Varoufakis:
A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the eurozone would soon lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps, while the rest of Europe would be in the grip of vicious stagflation. Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public institutions? Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone. I, for one, am not prepared to blow fresh wind into the sails of this postmodern version of the 1930s. If this means that it is we, the suitably erratic Marxists, who must try to save European capitalism from itself, so be it. Not out of love for European capitalism, for the eurozone, for Brussels, or for the European Central Bank, but just because we want to minimise the unnecessary human toll from this crisis.

But Žižek does not believe that Varoufakis, modest and "moderate" as he might be, can be successful:
Syriza effectively is dangerous; it does pose a threat to the present orientation of the EU – today’s global capitalism cannot afford a return to the old welfare state.

Žižek argues that the European project is fundamentally anti-democratic:
An ideal is gradually emerging from the European establishment’s reaction to the Greek referendum, the ideal best rendered by the headline of a recent Gideon Rachman column in the Financial Times: “Eurozone’s weakest link is the voters”.

In this ideal world, Europe gets rid of this “weakest link” and experts gain the power to directly impose necessary economic measures – if elections take place at all, their function is just to confirm the consensus of experts.

2 comments:

  1. The Greek referendum was a strange one in that people across the entire political spectrum wanted a no result. Some wanted to flip the bird to EU bureaucracy and to stand up for democracy, while others wanted a no so Greece could be used as an example to other nations.

    It is my pet theory that the majority of improvements for ordinary workers are the result of communist fear in the West. I think if a communist uprising was a real threat in Greece, we would see debt relief and money pumped in almost overnight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think if a communist uprising was a real threat in Greece, we would see debt relief and money pumped in almost overnight.

      I agree. The threat of revolution has always been the only thing that impelled the ruling classes to do anything for the workers.

      Delete

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