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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 July 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 JULY 2015 25 GREECE of the Greek tragedy Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras being applauded by SYRIZA MPs in the Greek Parliament earlier this month. PHOTO: AP/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS. main problem for the Greek economy; the main problem is that most of them are unqualified, inexperienced and untrained. This generates the excessive bureaucracy we find in all encounters with the Greek state. All political parties gamble their election to office by using the fears and anxieties of this class. Thus, the main state ideology is right-wing or left-wing populism fused with an aggressive form of nineteenth century nationalism. Ethnopopulism is the central ideological axis that brings all political forces together and maintains the grip of the Balkanist ideology on the people to this day. Such ideological parochialism is exacerbated by the absence of modern capitalist structures (an understanding which is totally missing from the various analyses by Paul Mason, for example, or Paul Krugman). What pre- vails is a resale economy, with state monopolies, or private oligopolies, controlling implicitly or explicitly all financial institutions (the banks for example). It's hardly surprising that favouritism and nepotism, and clientelism, are the central practices. This model of economics bears close resemblance to the fascist corporatist economy in Mussolini's Italy; it is what Cornelios Castoriadis called 'bureaucratic' or 'state capitalism', a model of production which is completely obsolete under the current conditions of globalised and interconnected economies. Unfortunately, the SYRIZA government continues this model, centralising it even further; maximising the benefits of the public sector, ignoring the rights of private enterprises and implementing policies of heavy taxa- tion on the latter in order to protect the benefits of the former. After six months in power not a single measure has been taken by the Tsipras government for the protection of the 1.5 million unemployed people of the private SYRIZA continues to express the dominant conservative stream in political activity and has no other option but to continue corrupt and nepotistic traditions of previous governments. Culturally, it represents the reactionary Balkan-oriented elites who “The SYRIZA ideologues are supposedly Marxists, but they fail to provide a Marxist analysis of the administration of power and the social forces that resist change.” sector. All measures that do exist were taken by the previous, much-excoriated government. The main discussion was, and still is, about public servants and their rehabilitation in fully-paid positions. wish to isolate the country from the European project. Certainly the European Union is not a paradise; there are conflicting interests and competing agendas between its member states, with Germany having taken the he- A pensioner holds a queue ticket outside the National Bank of Greece in Athens after capital controls were introduced. PHOTO: AP/EMILIO MORENATTI. gemony and created a block of satellite nations. But the European project does not belong to Germany, and it will be a serious error with geopolitical consequences if we abandoned it to them. If you want to win a battle you must be on the battlefield - not behind the lines. Unfortunately, the current government expresses the statist elite which will fight until the death against all forms of modernisation. The idea that the state can be a single huge corporation - which extracts the surplus-value of its workforce in order to invest in further production - is pure and unadulterated utopian socialism. We know all too well how this experiment ended. Instead of enhancing the presence of the working class, the Greek government relies once again on its main enemy, the state-sponsored petit bourgeoisie. SYRIZA taxes people not to pay off debt, but to maintain the clientelist state. Wages are dependent on wealth, not the other way around. The good of the state is not always the good of the public. In order to invest capital you must first create and accumulate it - not simply borrow it from the 'infamous' creditors, or Russia, China, Iran or Goldman Sacks for that matter. Unfortunately, SYRIZA expresses the most distorted forms of left-wing ideology. Its policies are right-wing dressed up in left-wing phraseology. Despite its grand - though increasingly transparent - rhetoric, it will, like so many previous governments, destroy the public good in order to protect state power. The worst is still to come. * Professor Vrasidas Karalis teaches Modern Greek at the University of Sydney.
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