ETERNAL CANARY OF THE WEST: endless parties, Greek style

by Daycaf Magazine

ETERNAL CANARY OF THE WEST

endless parties, Greek style

Merry Crisis Happy New Fear Exarchia Athens 2010 

Only a new ‘heresy’ – represented at this moment by Syriza – can save what is worth saving of the European legacy: democracy, trust in people, egalitarian solidarity etc.

-Slavoj Žižek

We don’t believe that a government, even if it is this left, can deal with this [crisis].

  -Eliana Kanaveli

…I would not

die without delivering a stroke,

or die ingloriously, but in some action

memorable to men.

-Homer

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For its heroic pride, Greece suffered the pains of giving birth to, and experimenting with Democracy, Morality, and Courageous War. Today, Greece is still the European Canary, both for its seemingly impassable economic crisis, and the myriad ways that Greeks have adapted, from developing barter networks to self-sustaining, direct-democratic assemblages. The upcoming elections in May may prove to be more telling for the future of the EU than European Central Bank Technocratic policy. Perhaps the question is not whether the Greeks are following the German Neoliberal model, but rather, whether the rest of Europe will wind up following Greece.

The Past // The Future

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Greece has been devastated by EU-designed Austerity measures: welfare has been chopped; family income has dropped, and the jobless rate has soared. One means for addressing the crisis are the far-Left parties; and as a bell-weather, the stakes of the upcoming elections this Spring are extremely high for the international community. Greek Elections are often decided by a popular vote on parties wherein legislators are chosen by the parties themselves. Parties  areassigned proportional seats, which allows for multiple  parties to play powerful roles in Parliament

Party Scene

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For the futurally minded of us, the major party to look towards in the 2014 elections is, the Coalition for a Radical Left-Unity Social Front (SYRIZA), who, in 2012, became the largest opposition group. SYRIZA has recently gained traction as an assemblage of a 13 radical parties whose core ideology is anti-Austerity, post-Marxist, anti-Neoliberal and critical towards the EU. As of April 25th, less than a month away from the elections, SYRIZA is leading both the EU and Greek parliamentary polls. What SYRIZA can accomplish under these radical frameworks is another question, but it has allowed for the unification of the Left in very serious ways.

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Led by the young, savvy and sexy Alexis Tsipras, SYRIZA has become the main face of the New Left in Greece, garnering support from Slavoj Žižek. Much of the international Leftist, and even anarchist scene sees SYRIZA saving Greece from the dual threats of Fascism and Neoliberalism. If things move Leftwards in the wake of austerity, Tsipras could be Prime Minister—addressing the crisis by nationalizing the banks, raising corporate taxes, shielding the Greek workforce with benefits, distancing itself from the EU, and ending Fascist fear-mongering.

Radical in Name Only

If SYRIZA wins the election, they may be forced to join a larger coalition with the Neoliberal, Pro-EU and Austerity parties, the New Democracy and PASOK, in order to accomplish its goals. Some on the radical left argues, “In truth, a SYRIZA victory will do little to revolutionize Greek society and much less to free Greece from the neoliberal shackles of the eurozone…SYRIZA’s policies will do more to stabilize than to overthrow the discredited and dysfunctional system.” SYRIZA isn’t anti-Capitalist and has viewed to stay within the Eurozone. Tsipras is called ‘a radical in name only’ committed simply to reforming current political architectures.

Out of Proportional Representation and into the Fire

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There are a number of minor krypto-anarchist parties to the left of SYRIZA, such as ANTARSYA Party, (MUTINY, in English). ANTARSYA is made up of a coalition of parties that identify as the, “Front of the anti-capitalist, revolutionary, communist left and radical ecology.” Unlike SYRIZA, ANTARSYA adheres to radical principals of movement building, demonstrations and crafting parallel political structures as opposed to reform. While ANTARSYA doesn’t prioritize elections, it is developing a strategy of gaining support at the poles.

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The question to ask ourselves is, why do we, as anarchists, create a political party or vote at all. Elections open up community dialogue around how our electoral apparatus is structured, which could lead to greater political inclusivity. On the other hand, entire worlds can be cultivated out of a party that never wins.

 Beyond Burn it all Down

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We must follow the Canary, as she shows us signs of Political Futures we could not otherwise imagine. The Greek anarchist Eliana Kanaveli suggests, “I hope that the social relations will change; the society needs solidarity. Exarchia and Zapatistas can’t bring the Spring, but can bring to the surface a different model of leaving this universal Capitalistic system.”

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The question is, what is best for the Greeks, New Left stability in a time of crisis, or mustering the revolutionary potential of this crisis to further decentralize the Political Architecture? Tremendous anarchist potential exists, but maybe radicals should focus on destabilizing the EU, not Greece. How did Greece get to a point that a plurality of voters would want and need SYRIZA, one of the most radical major parties, to win? Ultimately, these questions are for the Greeks to decide themselves, both at the polls and beyond, in the streets and in Prefigurative Political Assemblages. 

Exarchia-Athens-February-2013

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