Matt Taibbi has replaced his toothy smirk with a grimace. The hundredth dull autopsy of American financial genius was enough but when Matt realized that America would soon be ready for do-gooder socialists like M. Toussaint, the replacement suited his foreboding. Though he found their desire for “a democratic, self-managed socialism of the 21st century” absurd, Matt told himself, “I don’t have the capitalist grit to mock these earnest fools.” Their idealism was more unfounded than that of American commies and hippies combined.
Perhaps nihilistic ex-Reagan-Democrats, themselves now traumatized by the master class’ war, still cannot summon enough optimism of will to join M. Toussaint and his counter-revolutionaries. This fellow traveler, however, meditates on a pessimism of her intellect: Western proletarians have yet to formulate the ruthlessness of their capitalists.
Today’s capitalist revolution openly, violently transgresses once-proclaimed “rules of right” yet most bread and circus attendees will not blaspheme capitalist moralism. Their job-centrism and the country’s fantastic xenophobia obscures the work of homefront mercenaries and biopoliticians. America was born an internal subjugator but their expertise grew with capitalism’s demographic explosion. The hysterically indignant circus attendee must be cut short.
US proletarians’ grief-anger may be warranted, but why are the European left caught so off-balance? According to Costas Douzinas, they too suffer but what Walter Benjamin described as a left melancholy (@13:46):
the attitude of a militant who is attached to past political analysis or ideas even to their failure and their loss [...] and misses the chance for radical change in the present.
Douzinas explains that their left also failed to comprehend the severity of this long-running crisis (@12:40):
The state we are in, this right-wing revolution that has restructured life in the last thirty years, and of course is now culminating in austerity, because I think there is a sequence there, neoliberalism into austerity, [...] they are more or less the same kind of scenario, that kind of restructuring is partly the consequence of the left’s failure to apprehend the character of late capitalism and to develop appropriate analysis and strategy
Greece is a test-bed for the global capitalist revolution and a crucible for Syriza’s counter-revolution. As the Syriza strategists see it, from Greece either austerity or liberation from capitalists spreads. Thus their call to join the counter-revolution!
Helena Sheehan, an American-Irish Marxist-humanist, denounces the passivity of Ireland’s response to austerity and began engaging with the Greek Left, recently publishing a long survey of her experience since August of last year. She is encouraged by the breadth of Syriza’s appeal:
For me, Syriza is synthesis. It [...] is a convergence of diverse old left traditions, which were once so divergent, as well as various new left forces. Gathered up into Syriza are ex-CP communists, trotskyists, maoists and left social democrats as well as independent leftists, feminists, ecologists, alter globalisation activists and indignados.
Yet she’s therefore worried by those more recently estranged by capitalism, “The influx into Syriza, while a source of optimism, is a source of danger too, as some of the newer elements have been infected with neoliberalism and clientalism [a patronage system].” The more immediate problem for Syriza is wresting power from their colonized government. Syriza’s left antagonist, the Kommounistikó Kómma Elládas, founded shortly after Russia’s October Revolution, seems to believe that only an October Revolution in Greece will be effective. Syriza instead hopes to organize the colony’s resistance to achieve electoral success.
The old reform-revolution debate is irrelevant now, Aristides claimed. The space for a social democratic solution is closed now. It is capitalism v the people. While it is not possible to do everything they want as soon as they want, the socialist perspective remains firm, he underlined. It is only Syriza, Aristides insisted, who are doing the transitional thinking.
Would this mass party be more effective than a vanguard one? Syriza’s late transitional thinking follows thirty years of right-wing revolution. The majority of the colonized may now be awakened to the “character of late capitalism”, but can the scrambling Syriza organizers be trusted to understand their opponents’ accelerating depravity?
To put a sharper edge on this question:
Syriza is the last hope for Greece, as they see it. After that, it’s Golden Dawn.
Are you as dubious as I?