Greece is "on the final stretch to a deal" with its lenders, or so Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras announced this afternoon. Although European Commission insiders have since begged to differ, we should wonder whether Greece is heading toward the "honorable compromise" the Syriza government has been espousing of late. But for Stathis Kouvelakis, there is no such thing as an "honorable compromise" here—only capitulation. In the article we re-publish from the Jacobin below, Kouvelakis outlines the way the notion of compromise represents an abandonment of the agenda on which Syriza was elected, and a veil for defeat.
"If one side, obviously the stronger, is not offering the slightest concession, then what is involved cannot be called a compromise. The term becomes just a figleaf to provide cover for the pursuit of total subjection."
Translated by Wayne Hall.
Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP / Getty Images
Ahead of Alexis Tsipras’ meeting with Angela Merkel tonight on the sidelines of the EU summit in Riga, we share an interview given on Monday by Costas Lapavitsas, Syriza MP and co-author of Against the Troika, in which Lapavitsas urges a Greek exit from the Euro. "If one finds himself in a trap is it a disaster to try and get out of it? Is it better to wait until death comes?"
See the interview, with English interpretation after 40 minutes, here. A summary of the interview, by ThePressProject, is below.
Below, we re-publish perspectives from three leading commentators on the situation in Greece. Stathis Kouvelakis, who teaches political theory at King’s College London and serves on Syriza's central committee; Luciana Castellina, a leading figure of the Italian left; and Costas Lapavitsas, Syriza MP, Professor of Economics at SOAS and co-author of Against the Troika: Crisis and Austerity in the Eurozone.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Yanis Varoufakis after a meeting in February. Source: Michael Kappeler/European Pressphoto Agency
Syriza coming to power in Greece at the end of January has finally disproven the argument that it is possible to implement an alternative to neoliberalism within the framework of the European Union. The EU treaties are neoliberal, in their very DNA. Since the 1986 Single European Act, or even before then, we have seen constant proof of the EU’s neoliberal DNA, and even its hardening. Up till now, the untrammeled hegemony of neoliberalism could have been blamed on this or that government coming into office: in this view, the reason why austerity policies reigned across Europe was that a François Hollande, a Matteo Renzi or some other social-liberal lacked courage or betrayed their campaign commitments to reorient European policies.
But with Syriza, that argument has collapsed. After all, Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis have clearly been working with some determination to try and bring about change at the continental level; but they have done so in vain. Since 4 February the European Central Bank has cut off the main source of financing for the Greek banking system, while the payments from Europe itself were broken off in summer of 2014. The noose is tightening, pushing the country toward a disorderly bankruptcy and chaos, unless of course it accepts the humiliating terms imposed by the EU.