It is very widely believed that the establishment of universal suffrage marks the final outcome ofthe democratic process: any backward step would be impossible. Yet viewed at a worldwide level, the conquest of the right to vote has been far from linear in its progress: having suffered frequent retreats, attempts to shape our collective destiny have required ever more vigorous popular mobilisations.
Democracy is in crisis. A recent illustration of this is the gap between the Thessaloniki programme – on which basis Syriza won January’s parliamentary elections in Greece – and the cascade of concessions that the European Union has forced upon the resulting government. ‘It’s the logic of 70-30’, the European Economics Commissioner Mr. Pierre Moscovici earnestly explains. ‘70% of the measures [that Brussels wants] are non-negotiable, whereas 30% can be changed’. In the hierarchy of the political values of our time, popular sovereignty cuts a very pale figure indeed.
If the past few weeks are to be anything other than another reason to be depressed, they might at least serve as the starting point for a Lexit: a Left able, finally, to relinquish the euro. By Frédéric Lordon; translated from the French by David Broder.
1. The euro radically precludes any possibility of progressive policies.
2. If there was still any need for proof of this, the criminal treatment inflicted on Greece across six months of brutalisation (re-baptised as ‘negotiation’) has shown that any initiative at ‘transforming the euro’ – the argument that ‘another euro is possible’ – is a chimera that can only lead to political impasse and despair, through a series of successive disillusionments.
3. To leave any political perspective of breaking with the euro and its institutions to the far Right (who, as it happens, would not do anything of the kind …) is a political error that will condemn the European Lefts to an indefinite impotence.
4. If we are not to continue yearning for what can never come – ‘another euro’ and the ‘social Europe’ that goes with it – the re-armament of the European Lefts must, then, necessarily proceed by way of imagining what comes after the euro.
These four propositions set the terms for the future prospects of the Left.
By Alain Badiou, Athens, 7 July. Originally published in Liberation. Translated from the French by David Broder.
Copyright: Giovanni Tusa 2014.
It is urgently necessary to internationalise the Greek people’s cause. Only the total elimination of the debt would bring an "ideological blow" to the current European system.
1. The Greek people’s massive "No" does not mean a rejection of Europe. It means a rejection of the bankers’ Europe, of infinite debt and of globalised capitalism.
2. Isn’t it true that part of nationalist opinion, or even of the far Right, also voted "No" to the financial institutions’ demands – to the diktat from Europe’s reactionary governments? Well, yes, we know that any purely negative vote will be partly confused. It has always been the case that the far Right can reject certain things that the far Left also rejects. The only clear thing is the affirmation of what we want. But everyone knows that what Syriza wants is opposed to what the nationalists and the fascists want. So the vote is not just a generic vote against the anti-popular demands of globalised capitalism and its European servants. It is also, for the moment, a vote of confidence in the Tsipras government.
In view of the situation in Greece, and following the breakdown in the negotiations by the Eurogroup, Podemos wishes to communicate the following:
1.- Last Monday, the Greek government presented a proposal to the Eurogroup which included important concessions and was unanimously welcomed by the lenders as being reasonable and viable. In the following days, however, the international creditors led by the IMF did not accept the Greek government’s proposal to tax the wealthiest sectors of society, restructure the debt and launch an investment plan to revive the economy. Instead, they demanded to raise VAT on basic services and food and required further cuts on pensions and wages. In their effort to demonstrate that there is no alternative to austerity, the creditors only seem to accept the money of the poor, and insist on imposing the same logic and measures that led the country into a humanitarian disaster. The Greek economy is asphyxiated. To keep strangling it is the precise opposite of what must be done.