What are the duties of a bottom up movement in the (new) Memorandum years?
So, habemus Memorandum 3! Are we talking about capitulation? Submission? Sell off? Treason? Or necessity?
If you read, coo-headed, the course of events since the beginning of the crisis, in 2010, until today, you realise that this has been a rather predetermined and unavoidable development.
And for that development, all fractions of the Movement are responsible; the Left of all hues, the Anarchists of all hues, the independent, commonalty, everyone.
It is obvious that the Left Government and the Left in general have no equal share of responsibility. However, everyone must realise its mistakes, omissions, obsessions and move towards a new prospect, in light of the new circumstances.
Since the official beginning of the crisis, in 2010, the Left dealt with the problem “technically”. Through an endless chain of analysis, Varoufakis, Lapavitsas, Kazakis and other “national economists” – but also politicians (Tsakalotos, Stathakis, Dragasakis, etc) – have become the new superstars.
On one hand, the “European” SYRIZA has, light hearted, promised that it would abolish MoUs with just one law, while staying in the EU and the Eurozone. They claimed that they would negotiate using the “tricks” to startle, scare and finally beat their opponents. As a result, we have lived 5 months of “game theory”, “creative vagueness”, a referendum that the winning No was turned into a YES, etc.
On the other hand, the extra-parliamentary Left focused – almost exclusively – on the exit from the EU and the Eurozone, as if capitalism exploits people only in these boundaries, as if people in countries with a national currency, never suffer.
The Communist Party, played once again the role of Pontius Pilate, secluded in its socialist paradise dialectic, made itself completely “harmless” and offered its best services to the bourgeoisie.
The same path was followed by the majority of the Anarchists, who while chose a different methodology (escalation of street fights, create mayhem etc,) suggest nothing tangible to the people who suffered.
All hues, Left and Anarchist, contributed nothing new and followed the usual beaten tracks. SYRIZA, while confronted with election victory since 2012, spent these 2,5 years on election campaign instead of allocating more time and resources to prepare and handle victory and its consequences.
SYRIZA prepared for the 25th of January but not for the 26th. Didn’t they know what they had to face? Is it possible that what we all knew and openly discussed about it, while SYRIZA had no idea? On the other hand, the Grexit devotees, what have they done to prepare for a bottom up organised confrontation? You don’t start a revolution with just revolutionary rhetoric.
The clashes, the battles, the social change need organisation and preparation not verbalism and marches from Propylaia to Syntagma. Not property destructions in every march or weekend clashes around Exarhia Sq.
The brightest moment of the Memorandum years, the so called “Movement of the Squares” was either discredited or criticized from the Left and the Anarchists or used for political expediency by others. SYRIZA managed to appreciate it.
Few were the political forces that believed in the proceedings set from the basis as practised in the squares. Those who were the most involved in these proceeding, were primarily the independent or members of political parties/organisations that acted independently, even against their collectivities.
Instead of claiming that the only choice is to sign a MoU, Alexis Tsipras should instead explain why he and his party didn’t do anything to avoid reaching this point.
1,300 € per each SYRIZA MP’s salary are supposed to fund solidarity structures. Which means that since June 2012 a sum of 3,776,500 € (according to my calculations) would be now available. Are you aware, my SYRIZA comrades, how much investment in self-organised business could have been done with all that money? Where have they been spend? In food, clothes and medicines? And if so, then why we struggle to collect all these staff by volunteers in their neighbourhoods?
Wouldn’t we be in a different situation if we had a cooperative and solidarity based economy, which could be robust and sustainable? What if we had developed agricultural cooperatives of a new type, so we can be self-sufficient somehow? A “grassroot bank” could have also produced a sort of currency, provided this was well planned.
What kind of confrontation did you have in the back of your head when negotiating? A confrontation you couldn’t do because you were not prepared in advance? And why is the left wing SYRIZA complaining now? What did they do to prepare the clash? Just writing articles in iskra and rproject?
“There are alternatives” says Lafazanis. Which ones? What happened with our contacts with Russia, China, the BRICS? Did they fail or not? And if the failed which are now the alternatives? The same questions apply for the extra-parliamentary Left and the Anarchists.
What are the duties of a bottom up movement in the Memorandum years though, because well said dear author, but what now?
First of all, we fight the measures. Yes, through the beaten track, that is strikes, marches, riots, etc. but through a new perspective. We should think of new ways. No more Syntagma Sq trap. If our mobilisation is unpredictable, it would be more effective and difficult to suppress. Neighbourhood gatherings, people’s assembly, people from the country coming into towns and so much more that the author cannot think of.An “attack” of such a magnitude will be difficult to deal with.
Secondly, the “clash” or the “revolution” or whatever you want to name it, would still mean nothing, if we don’t provide for the next day. Ensure that there is bread, milk and petrol.Be prepared for the battle; strengthen self-organised cooperatives; Bottom-up co-ordination and management of the agricultural production in order to become self-sufficient; self -organised “banks” and “insurance bodies”.
Thirdly, we should create counter-structures in all operating levels, through open democracy, without hierarchy and bureaucracy. In the future we want to stop paying taxes to the state; instead, the communities will collect this amount of money and dispose it in support of social needs. However utopian it may sound, even schools and hospitals could work this way.
Of course, I don’t believe I have the magic recipe. I am just brainstorming. My point is that no Left government can do the great productive reconstruction and restart the economy; we need to do it ourselves by self-organising the land and the factories.
If no Left government can redistribute wealth, we should to do it by confiscating businesses, when they don’t pay our salaries, and operate them ourselves.
If the Left cannot save us, let us save ourselves! If you can’t do it, we can. The solution is after all in our hands.
Costas Legakis is a member of a cooperative
Translated by Caterina Drossopoulou