We are your crisis!

Interesting article over at opendemocracy from a fairly liberal writer. Takis Pappas, a politics professor, makes the case that the crisis is as much political as economic. The country is moving towards an ungovernable state with

  • Fairly generalised social unrest and disobedience.
  • A weak and squabbling government with barely any mandate.
  • A growing counter-power within parliament comprised of Leftist parties. I’m far more sceptical of this one.

Pappas points to the lack of law enforcement capacity as a key weakness of this government. It’s clear that when the economy is in crisis the state must resort to whatever methods necessary to restore order. However, the heavy hand of the Greek police force seems to be struggling to deal with the generalised levels of resistance.

With the likelihood of another financial package being tied to renewed austerity measures we seem to be moving towards an interesting position. If the people can resist the implementation of more cuts and make the state ungovernable then Greece may be forced to default (a partial default appears to be on the cards it seems), this could put the Euro in jeopardy. Would the Greek people be better off with a default? I certainly wouldn’t know how this would pan out and would be interested in seeing whether a default would be a platform around which to campaign on both in Greece and here in the UK. Anyone with a handle on the economical side of this care to help me out?
I’m planning to turn my head towards class composition and strategy ideas in the UK in the next few weeks (I promise to at least try and get something up on here). It’s certainly clear that the Greek model is where many of us are, consciously or not, aiming our sites for. Of course the UK context is very different. We lack the collective memory and organisational structures created in past (70’s) and especially recent (since the 2008 uprising) struggles. Part of our struggle will be to analyse the forms in which resistance is taking in Greece and work out in what ways in could be adapted to the UK context. The danger however, seems to be that we make the situation ungovernable for the tories who are duly replaced by Red Ed and a slicker implementation of the cuts…

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Posted on May 17, 2011, in Articles and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. OK, so I don’t know know how much you already know about defaults and I certainly don’t know that much, but here’s some vague pointers:

    There’s a recent Guardian CiF article advocating a debt default instead of bailouts. Argentina defaulted on hundreds of billions of dollars of debt in 2002 (see Wikipedia with some decent further reading) but I’m not totally up on it. I’m not aware of any other countries defaulting in the recent past.

    The situation in 1999-2002 Argentina has some similarities to Greece, and Argentina benefitted massively from defaulting. Something I found quite interesting in the Argentinian default is that foreign capital fled when it was declared, leading to many workplaces simply shutting down. However, a fair number of workers occupied them instead and set up co-operatives which have remained to the present day.

    Politically I think a Greek default makes sense because it’d be a declaration that the needs of people come before the needs of capital. It resists the idea that countries in deficit just more “market discipline” and fiscal control to fix them and that the solution is more private ownership.

    Economically it makes sense too, I think – mostly because the IMF medicine fails to produce even remotely socially just outcomes almost 100% of the time, so doing anything else has to be worth a shot. Keeping up with fixed repayments of large high-interest loans is sure to lead to selling off of state assets (which will not be reversed at any point) and continued and intense financial pressure on workers, all of which increase the state’s access to finance in the short-term and reduce it in the long-term.

    Any of that useful?

    • Hi Andi

      Thanks for taking the time to reply, there are certainly some interesting points to be taken from this. The political message of defaulting, particularly if this came about due to the impossibility of implementing markey discipline would be a huge political coup I reckon. How to get there though seems to be the question.

      Hmmmm lots to think about

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