Outside of Latin America, it has become exceedingly rare for left-wing radical organizations and political parties to transition from agitating in the streets to actually assuming power through elections in a few short years. That is only one of many reasons why the new government of Alexis Tsipras in Greece has captured the imagination of the global left.
They will have to leave the Euro zone to get out of austerity. They will have to find new allies to finance their debt. There will be short term suffering as conditions become even worse durring the transition. There will have to be the political to endure all this. Syriza will have to explain that it promised too much and toughen it's stand. Will it? Can it?
The real power is how contagious an alternative example happens to be. What Greece is doing is being mirrored in Spain, and this chain of change will continue. The Piketty Study, widely read proved that neo-liberal, Shock Doctrine Austerity tactics do one thing alone: reserve ALL perks and profits for the 1%; and the other 99% (apart from those too brainwashed to connect relevant dots) on the receiving end of its cruel policies is friggin over it.
I think this outcome was predicted some time ago. Surely those behind the Thatcher-Clinton-Reagan deregulatory craze so thoroughly paid for through campaign bribes here and abroad recognized that once all that wealth trickled UP (against gravity and morality!) to the top of the fiscal food chain, that people would react.
To offset THAT reaction, the false flag was planned so that through the rousing ruse of an omnipresent Terrorist threat, martial forces could be beefed up while Civil Liberties were simultaneously decimated.
I think it was all planned!
That's why surveillance is now an omnipresent feature of so many "free" Western nations, and why in the U.S. and elsewhere, the police have been morphed into the equivalent of a marching army in search of enemy targets. Thus far it's the Black community that's taken the hit; but the Force is in place to strike out at anyone that the empire's dictators deem as a threat to THEIR power and the unjust, immoral, war-addicted, and natural resource decimating status quo that THEY have put into place.
The crackdown on Journalists--which is to say any reporter, researcher or actual Truth teller is part of the calculus. By controlling the narrative of events, these same elites intend to control populations or keep them complacent and/or obedient.
That's why the radical example--an alternative to the Neo-liberal Capitalism-on-steroids model that Margaret Thatcher asserted (TINA) "There Is No Alternative" to, is so valuable and threatening to the 1%!
Fuels used most sparingly, help electrical systems develop. Smaller solar arrays match to hybrid drivetrains burning least fuel. Or, all-battery Tesla/Leaf type EVs on the grid. Calculate:
100 Tesla's vs 1700 Plugin Hybrid EVs of all vehicle classes.
(Most 'new' all-battery buses are 'old' buses unfit to go electric
and remain swerving roaring rattletraps.)
Save the Gulf. Direct KeystoneXL pipline to Dakota instead of Alberta forest/watershed abomination. Save the Columbia River from BNSF railway coal/oil/gas hauling a disastrous fire waiting to happen.
Reduce demand for off-shore drilling in the Gulf.
Dakota fuels serve more domestic uses.
Let's hope that the exploitocracy has real reason to fear the Greek example. What's transpired recently doesn't encourage confidence, in my mind.
And I wonder what Marx would make of the assertion that "the system" can be "adjust[ed]" to "to put human needs at the center".
Can you make capitalism good
Or merely - and marginally - better?
Unfortunately, the only serious offer of help that Greece has had has been from Russia, whose only global agenda seems to be destructive of others - in this to undermine the EU project.
It's strange that so many middle classers appear to be oblivious to the fact that the US has been implementing the austerity agenda for years. We just chose a different strategy, rolling it out slowly, from the bottom up -- all with the support of today's middle class. We created a job shortage by shipping out a massive number of jobs since the 1980s. Then, in the 1990s, we ended actual welfare aid. Surely people can figure out the consequences. My gosh, since Clinton, over 700 impoverished Americans die each year from hypothermia alone. This is treated as a non-issue, something not worth addressing (by media or pols). Currently, Dems in Congress are considering (or have already agreed to) extreme cuts in disability aid, a necessary step toward ending Social Security retirement. As a result of Clinton's smaller cuts, the disabled/seriously ill became the fastest-growing group of homeless Americans by 2000. They do very poorly on the streets.
Obviously, if done carefully, slowly, and from the bottom up, the "masses" remain unaware of what is happening until it's too late. This is what the US has been doing since the 1980s. This is an international corporate agenda.
We did have a better form of capitalism. From FDR to Reagan, the US had implemented policies and programs that took the country to its height of wealth and productivity. Then we chose to reverse course. The results speak for themselves. When Reagan was first elected, launching the long campaign against our poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, this had already plunged to #43. The US has fallen well behind the more advanced nations in virtually every respect, and can no longer adequately compete in the modern world market. Americans increasingly make the products to be sold in the more affluent countries. One area where we have excelled is in prisons, and utilizing prisoners as a source of cheaper replacement labor. America's prison system today makes the old Soviet prison gulag look puny in comparison.
For me, the issue is less about how good or how bad is the EU than about the tactics of the regime in Russia -- it circles like a vulture around countries or regions that are in distress and trying to work things out for the better and dives in ostensibly to offer help, like the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing.
For years, Putin played a very helpful role on the world stage by calling out Western hypocrisy whenever it showed itself (even if his policies domestically were ruthlessly corrupt and intolerant of dissent). Recently, he's emerged as one of the more Machiavellian characters on the world stage in the last century and any "helping hand" from him, can only be a poisoned chalice that folks should run away from as fast as they can .... I don't see the present regime in Russia doing anything in the way of "helping" anybody. Instead of working on that country's very real problems and ensuring some economic security by diversifying their economy, it seems intent on disrupting existing friendships between nations and stirring up discord and discontent everywhere but at home where dissent is quickly silenced. Its alleged concern to ensure self-determination for the people of Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Russian minorities in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and elsewhere are laughable in the context of its vicious and brutal suppression of Chechen aspirations for independence.
As for what I think of the EU, I would say that it's a great improvement on what went before it (centuries of petty feuding and antagonism between nation states) but it has its own weaknesses, the main one being that its decisions tend to be adhoc and lack thoughtful or clear planning. Its culture of "compromise" which it cherishes has some utility given the diverse cultures that it's composed of, but it creates inequities that breed resentment (e.g., some countries are part of the Schengen common borders agreement while others are not; some countries use the Euro while others were granted an "opt-out"). As an outsider, I'd think requiring all members to abide by these and other major agreements would create less discord. The UK is one of the worst members in that it drags its feet on just about every EU proposal and repeatedly engages in behavior guaranteed to undermine the credibility of the EU and then stands back ridicules the EU as an institution. The UK needs to "shit or get off the pot" by which I mean it needs to act like a responsible and full member, leave, or be kicked out with no special 'post-membership' deals on trade or anything else. If it wants to go it alone, let it go it alone ... absolutely alone. There are certainly more reasons to kick the UK out of the EU than for Greece to leave.
To function effectively, it needs more EU institutions to implement policy. As it is, it leaves member states to implement policy which not all members do and even those that do, have varying interpretations as to how best to implement any policy. For example, it could use a border control agency that is funded by, and operates out of, Brussels. This would reduce the tragedies in the Mediterranean which are left up to a beleagured Italian coast guard. It also needs to have a single, common monetary policy implemented by an EU agency.
On other matters, the EU has taken strong stands on the right to privacy and the European Court of Human Rights (not strictly an EU body but I think EU members are required to abide by its rulings, tho' I may wrong on this one) has had a positive impact on civil rights in European countries.
If you're arguing for the destruction of the EU, how good or bad an idea that would be would depend entirely on what replaced the EU.
The larger issue for me is that political entities such the EU, national governments within the EU and outside it (including the US government)
are increasingly irrelevant as they now seem to answer to the same master, rather than to their respective electorates. In some case, that master has sufficient influence of the an electorate that the electorate is fooled into believe that it's confronted with real choice and that it still has power over policy. But the way in which NAFTA was passed and now the Pacific equivalent and EU-US equivalent are the same route -- where nobody, not even elected officials, much less the public at large, is privy to the terms of these treaties until they're agreed upon when it's too late either to modify the treaty or even provide input. Representives of global corporations may have full access to this information throughout the negotiating process. This make it pretty clear to me who actually has power over policy around the world .....
My 2 cents' worth ...
One key difference between the U.S. and Greece, is that Greece is at least a functioning democracy. because the U.S. electoral system doesn't permit "outside players" to enter the political arena, all the protests in the country will amount to nothing. 'Occupy' was an excellent example of how the 1% can ignore protesters through heir control of the MSM. Soon after 'Occupy' began, the news networks talked about how 'destabilizing' this was for the 'average American' and were quite successful at demonizing the movement while they waited for it to fizzle out. In Greece voters can change their government, something we can't do here in the U.S. This is a primary reason as well that Americans are much more influenced by propaganda, than their Greek contemporaries.
It will be interesting now to see how Europe's elite begin dismantling the credibility of Syriza and socialism in general.
The US has taken a far more successful approach to implementing the austerity agenda, something I'm sure that other world powers must now be comparing to Greece's situation. We've been rolling out the austerity agenda slowly, from the bottom up, while remaining focused on keeping the poor and middle class pitted against each other. Look at the results to date: When Reagan was first elected, launching the campaign against the poor, the overall quality of life in the US was rated at #1. By the time Obama was elected, this had already plunged to #43. That's a stunning degree of deterioration. The rich are now doing to the middle class what the middle class already did to the poor. It appears that there's nothing we can or will do about it.
I would argue that the media marketed to libs played a powerful role in the divisive reframing of Occupy. What began as an extraordinary people's movement that could have changed the course we're on was quickly redefined (by Dem pols and lib media) as a middle class movement alone. Since then, virtually all lib media have promoted middle class elitism (with an occasional pat on the head to the working poor). This killed off Occupy as a movement and as a base from which to build a legitimately progressive agenda. This time, the "masses," the poor and middle class, have been deeply divided and pitted against each other.