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Congratulations to the Greek left! The movement against austerity.... watch

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    (Original post by Observatory)

    A good place to start is George Orwell's book Homage to Catalonia, in which he describes having to flee the country not because of the Nationalist victory but because the Soviet-backed Republican faction started purging all the others. Then move on to his essays, which give a good flavour of the intellectual climate of the time. The Lion and the Unicorn is particularly interesting; it is truly a window into a vanished world.
    I have read that. Which is what I am saying. The Communists crushed other socialist and communist movements in Spain they didn't like. They were more concerned about the CNT and POUM unions taking over the cities than they were of the Facists. These libertarian socialists were crushed by both the fascists and the Stalin backed lot. This Stalin backed faction had more guns on the streets of the anarchist infested cities than they did on the front that was fighting the Franco forces.

    That is my point. When I talk about socialism I refer to stuff like anarcho syndicalism and the general trend towards an organic bottom up way of running politics and economies. I do not support in any way the erecting of an authoritarian Marxist-leninist state with the aim to force the creating of a 'socialist utopia'.

    Other books related to that are stuff like Anarcho Syndicalism by Rudolph Rocker which is another anti USSR leftist handbook written in the 30s (I think)

    and on the blurb of Homage to Catalonia I am looking at right now it says

    "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism as I understand it." - George Orwell.

    He wrote that on the back of his time fighting in the Spanish civil war. Orwell was a socialist. He was a socialist that praised what he saw as the first signs of 'tolerable socialism' he experienced in Spain as well as the cynical betrayal and manipulation the Stalin backed faction you speak of inflicted on those he was fighting with.

    If the man that wrote Animal Farm can still be a socialist then so can I. I don't have to apologise for the Soviet Union and I'm sick to death of having to explain this...

    Then pre 1900s you have lots of anarchist philosophy saying things like 'socialism without freedom from the state is not socialism', there has always been socialist in-fighting and left wing opposition to authoritarianism. The collapse of popularity for authoritarian Leninist strands is a good thing for socialists or lefties who are against it.

    To come up with 'no true Scotsman fallacy' crud when facing a socialist who tries to explain socialists has never just been made up of authoritarian super statists just shows a complete ignorance of socialist history.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I edited in a load of ****

    I haven't done anything. My own preferred political ideology is on the fringe. Where is the worker cooperative movement? Lenin shut down the worker ran factorizes when he got in power. My side has always been loosing.

    I haven't even read Das Capitol. I'm not a marxist

    The Syriza government has marxists in it yes. But they are not enacting anything communist. They are just trying to do damage control to the version of capitalism being thrust on Greece.
    A left-wing Government that refuses to enact austerity and fiscal contraction is most damaging to a country who has an enormous structural budget deficit.

    I hope the Greeks screw themselves over again and don't get any bailouts from the EU - that'll teach them that socialism creates more problems than it solves.
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    I have read that. Which is what I am saying. The Communists crushed other socialist and communist movements in Spain they didn't like. They were more concerned about the CNT and POUM unions taking over the cities than they were of the Facists. These libertarian socialists were crushed by both the fascists and the Stalin backed lot. This Stalin backed faction had more guns on the streets of the anarchist infested cities than they did on the front that was fighting the Franco forces.

    That is my point. When I talk about socialism I refer to stuff like anarcho syndicalism and the general trend towards an organic bottom up way of running politics and economies. I do not support in any way the erecting of an authoritarian Marxist-leninist state with the aim to force the creating of a 'socialist utopia'.

    Other books related to that are stuff like Anarcho Syndicalism by Rudolph Rocker which is another anti USSR leftist handbook written in the 30s (I think)

    and on the blurb of Homage to Catalonia I am looking at right now it says

    "Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism as I understand it." - George Orwell.

    He wrote that on the back of his time fighting in the Spanish civil war. Orwell was a socialist. He was a socialist that praised what he saw as the first signs of 'tolerable socialism' he experienced in Spain as well as the cynical betrayal and manipulation the Stalin backed faction you speak of inflicted on those he was fighting with.

    If the man that wrote Animal Farm can still be a socialist then so can I. I don't have to apologist for the Soviet Union and I'm sick to death of having to explain this...
    He always was a socialist. He was probably a Marxist too. He also wasn't (at least consistently) opposed to violent revolution either.

    He pointed out that by any humane standard, the Soviet Union was a disaster. That in itself was enough to make him a revisionist and to some extent an outcast from the movement. Today of course his position is the left orthodoxy: because there's no other defensible position, not because this is what the Western left had said all along.

    edit: To my mind this is all encapsulated in the ending of Animal Farm. The animals look from the Soviet pigs to the capitalist men, "but already it was impossible to say which was which". Orwell's damning criticism of the Soviet Union - the most damning criticism of the left's most damning critic at that time - was that life there was just like in Britain or America! Stalin was so terrible, he was just as bad as Churchill or Roosevelt! Of course everyone at school, even today, is captivated by the subtle brilliance of this imagery. But a more reasonable reaction might be along the lines of, "Huh?" or, "Err, what?".
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    gains a clear win.

    Owen Jones writes brilliantly about it. This was a victory of hope against the lies of the post-cold war 'consensus' that only neoliberal capitalism can solve our problems and the lie that we have to destroy our public services, the incomes of more than half the population and the lifestyles we've been used to, because capitalism demands it.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentis...-cynicism-hope

    Syriza's victory in Greece should be a role model for us here in the UK. We do not need to accept the Tory/neoliberal/New Labour line that there is no alternative to massive cuts in public services.
    You're an idiot OP. It would be wonderful to live in a fantasy world where Greece could spend copious amounts of money and improve the lives of everyone, but it can't. Why? BECAUSE IT DOESNT HAVE ANY MONEY. Syriza is plain right stupid. The country is broke. Austerity is necessary to cut levels of government debt. You can't just spend money you don't have...
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    (Original post by billyfisher100)
    Yes, because socialism will solve a completely screwed Greece, won't it?

    They need to stick to austerity and invest tax revenue properly.
    As you've said, Greece is already screwed. Why not try another tack?

    Hardly like austerity has gone to plan.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    As you've said, Greece is already screwed. Why not try another tack?

    Hardly like austerity has gone to plan.
    Yes, when you're in so much debt already, why not turn to socialism and rack up even more debt?
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    (Original post by billyfisher100)
    Yes, when you're in so much debt already, why not turn to socialism and rack up even more debt?
    Why would they rack up more debt?

    Why wouldn't they default?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    Why would they rack up more debt?

    Why wouldn't they default?
    If they don't implement a full austerity programme and attempt to rebalance their service economy as a matter of urgency, then they will keep racking up more debt.

    If they do default, they'll never see a penny in an EU bailout ever again and their credit rating would be reduced even more, so more fool them if they do.
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    (Original post by billyfisher100)
    If they don't implement a full austerity programme and attempt to rebalance their service economy as a matter of urgency, then they will keep racking up more debt.

    If they do default, they'll never see a penny in an EU bailout ever again and their credit rating would be reduced even more, so more fool them if they do.
    Do you think Iceland is regretting defaulting then?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    Do you think Iceland is regretting defaulting then?
    They have a completely different economy with a significant financial sector, whereas the Greeks are waiters and waitresses for tourists to eat dinner.
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    (Original post by billyfisher100)
    They have a completely different economy with a significant financial sector, whereas the Greeks are waiters and waitresses for tourists to eat dinner.
    So which default do you think is comparable?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    As you've said, Greece is already screwed. Why not try another tack?

    Hardly like austerity has gone to plan.
    I think there is a slight misconception here which is that Greece wants to borrow more money but the EU is stopping it.

    The bond markets have long since stopped lending Greece money at anything resembling an affordable rate. A return to deficit spending on the open bond market would mean a debt spiral into bankruptcy within a short period, possibly years but likely months. This would almost certainly be accompanied by an exit from the Euro.

    The EU and IMF have been lending Greece money at a reduced rate, in exchange for commitments by Greece to reform its economy to make the debt affordable. What Greece is complaining about is that this gift isn't big enough, the wrapping paper isn't colourful enough, and the bow isn't pretty enough.

    The left dream that Greece can spend its way out of debt died many years ago. That's exactly what they tried already.

    And bear in mind that in some years the UK's deficits have been comparable to those of Greece and Ireland's have been worse. Those countries have escaped Greece's fate not by inherent superior financial position but in their response to credibly commit to repayment, which not only reduced the deficit in the medium term, but reduced borrowing costs immediately.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    Do you think Iceland is regretting defaulting then?
    Iceland never defaulted on its national debt and successfully implemented austerity, reducing its government deficit from 13.5% of GDP in 2008 to 2.1% this year. Source.

    Iceland defaulted on guarantees it made to depositors in private banks.

    The biggest difference between Iceland and Greece is that Iceland was able to devalue its currency due to not being a Euro member. Unfortunately, the Euro is the one sacred cow that SYRIZA is not willing to threaten to slaughter!
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    (Original post by Observatory)
    He always was a socialist. He was probably a Marxist too. He also wasn't (at least consistently) opposed to violent revolution either.

    He pointed out that by any humane standard, the Soviet Union was a disaster. That in itself was enough to make him a revisionist and to some extent an outcast from the movement. Today of course his position is the left orthodoxy: because there's no other defensible position, not because this is what the Western left had said all along.

    edit: To my mind this is all encapsulated in the ending of Animal Farm. The animals look from the Soviet pigs to the capitalist men, "but already it was impossible to say which was which". Orwell's damning criticism of the Soviet Union - the most damning criticism of the left's most damning critic at that time - was that life there was just like in Britain or America! Stalin was so terrible, he was just as bad as Churchill or Roosevelt! Of course everyone at school, even today, is captivated by the subtle brilliance of this imagery. But a more reasonable reaction might be along the lines of, "Huh?" or, "Err, what?".
    I disagree with that interpretation of the ending. I read it as the leadership class of Soviet communism betraying the principles of communism by their very being.
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    (Original post by KingStannis)
    I disagree with that interpretation of the ending. I read it as the leadership class of Soviet communism betraying the principles of communism by their very being.
    Betraying those principles by acting like US, UK, France, etc. - when in reality they acted far, far worse. Orwell's point, which was considered rightist at the time, is the present-day left's lame apologia: the USSR wasn't socialist, in fact, it was basically capitalist, so the fact it was so awful is just even more reason people should hate capitalism and love socialism!

    A more honest critique would be that socialism is simply a worse system than capitalism, both at producing stuff and at fighting wars, but also in terms of providing humane treatment of the people who inevitably lack real political power; that the left (including the Western left) bears moral responsibility for the devastation endured by the world in proving that; and that the proper response to socialism is, "Never again!", with intense scepticism and distrust due to supposed "moderate" socialist movements in Western countries.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    As you've said, Greece is already screwed. Why not try another tack?

    Hardly like austerity has gone to plan.
    Greece actually has a primary surplus so austerity has done it's job, it's just the debt interest strangling them now. It's economy has also started to grow and unemployment fall which is why i think Syriza will end up getting credit for the last governments hard word.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Cut them some slack. They've been fighting Al Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and a few others. Yes, they can do more, but at least they're doing something!
    Al Qaeda's main source of funding, as has been said, is Saudi Arabia. When you continue to allow Saudi Arabia to fund one of the worlds largest and most dangerous terror groups, as well as export their islamist ideolgy around the world then any effort you make is going to be peicemeal. The same is true of Qatar and others, if our aim was to fight terrorism then this is where we'd start, but that is not our aim.

    (Original post by felamaslen)
    Yes, even though the Shah was also a tyrant. It's such a shame that the disgusting revolution happened.

    It wouldn't have if the British and American governments hadn't overthrown their secular, moderate, democratic leader and brought the Shah to power for trying to nationalise an Iranian oil company.
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    (Original post by DaveSmith99)
    Al Qaeda's main source of funding, as has been said, is Saudi Arabia. When you continue to allow Saudi Arabia to fund one of the worlds largest and most dangerous terror groups, as well as export their islamist ideolgy around the world then any effort you make is going to be peicemeal. The same is true of Qatar and others, if our aim was to fight terrorism then this is where we'd start, but that is not our aim.
    It's a fair point, but what do you suggest - invading Saudi Arabia?

    It wouldn't have if the British and American governments hadn't overthrown their secular, moderate, democratic leader and brought the Shah to power for trying to nationalise an Iranian oil company.
    Who knows. What you can't do is attribute blame for the disgusting 1979 revolution to US and UK bureaucrats of the 1950s who had no idea such a thing would occur and were only protecting the West's economic interests by helping get rid of Mossadegh. The intention there was never to create an Islamic dictatorship.
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    (Original post by felamaslen)
    It's a fair point, but what do you suggest - invading Saudi Arabia?
    No, I suggest that we stop the pretence that we are some humanitarian peace force fighting across the world for freedom.



    Who knows. What you can't do is attribute blame for the disgusting 1979 revolution to US and UK bureaucrats of the 1950s who had no idea such a thing would occur and were only protecting the West's economic interests by helping get rid of Mossadegh. The intention there was never to create an Islamic dictatorship.
    Why can't we be blamed? We forced a brutal dictator upon tens of millions of people purely because we wanted to continue to pillage the natural resources of their land. Not only is that a fundamentally evil and unjustifiable thing to do, we would have understood the possibility that of the Shah being replaced by a despot less friendly to the West. These 'bureaucrats' as you call them are responsible for the deaths and the torture of thousands of people.
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    (Original post by DaveSmith99)
    It wouldn't have if the British and American governments hadn't overthrown their secular, moderate, democratic leader and brought the Shah to power for trying to nationalise an Iranian oil company.
    Without necessarily making the argument that overthrowing Mosaddegh was a good idea for us just in selfish terms - it probably wasn't - I don't accept the moral idea that property rights stop at national borders. What Mosaddegh was trying to do was steal stuff from foreigners because he didn't care about the rights of foreigners, especially when they didn't even vote for him or anything. This property could then be used to pay off internal clients.

    Mosaddegh's ideology, like that of most of the third world, was national socialism. It was self-interested but ultimately self-defeating. Iran would have been much better off adopting British or American-style economic policies, retaining the friendship of the maritime powers, and developing a diversified economy, rather than trying to live off state oil revenues, adopting socialist economic policies, and alienating the world.
 
 
 
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