Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
What combination of positions would be required for a party to draw from many disaffected socialists and some disaffected conservatives? There would seem to be an opening. Stop the foreign looting? Purge domestic corruption. Make the government work for the people instead of corrupt insiders and their foreign cronies? And is there any possibility that such a party would be able to overcome the cynicism that must affect so many? And is there any sign of a potential leader who could lead and attract support for such a party? Else we may find out how you say Hitler or Mussolini in Greek.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 03:40:06 PM EST
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DoDo" Most polls show a larger preference for a National Unity government but all conceivable combinations are on the table
There was discussion about referenda, after both the Chairman of the Greek Industrialists, and EU Comissioner Maria Damanaki "threatened" people with a referendum on whether to stay in the Euro or leave the Eurozone. This was posturing and nonsense of course. IMHO at this stage if the government tables a referendum on any conceivable topic, a majority will form supporting whatever the government is not for.

ARGeezer There are I believe two political openings: One for a party that will run on four issues:

  1. Restablish sovereignty
  2. Default now
  3. leave the Euro
  4. Kick out the immigrants
  5. Wave the flag

Were not LAOS foolish enough to support the Memorandum initially they would be well placed to mix and match elements of a populist agenda. Thankfully they were. Otherwise this would have co-opted the conservatives base at minimum and possibly a lot of other people as well...

The other opening is for a coalition to the left of the socialists that will

  1. Renegotiate seriously, ready to move unilaterally where it must
  2. Promise two years of hell but a growth prospect after that
  3. Re-establish collective bargaining and labor protection laws
  4. Renationalize public utilities and strategic industries
  5. Tax the rich - to an unprecedented extent
  6. Tackle corruption (though this is something that every government over the last 20 years has promised)

The latter must include disaffected socialists (and they are more than the non-disaffected right now), the Coalition of the Left, the Greens and anyone that decides that it is Popular Front time...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 04:22:00 PM EST
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Are there any believable candidates for a leader of a coalition of the left such as you describe?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 04:38:00 PM EST
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I can think of a few possibilities, but first one has to make them all agree to a common platform, quite task but already being worked on. If the Communists weren't so damn chiliastic and negative towards every possible colaboration (they see all options as "strengthening capitalism"), this coalition thing would be workable already. As things stand I would only wager on abstention becoming the largest "party"...

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 05:11:01 PM EST
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I thought the communists were a splinter party, too small to stop anything. Chiliasm has amazingly broad appeal, from Christian millenarians and Nazis to wayward disciples of Karl Marx. Hard to know which was/is worst. "Come the Revolution!, while doing everything imaginable to prevent the possibility of same, unless it conforms to your own preconceptions. Well, obviously the brief span of the 1,000 year Reich did the most damage. Gotta wonder if Rev. Camping has any idea of the company he is keeping.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 09:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I see upthread that the Communists are estimated at 8.1%, so that is not quite a splinter. But if significant numbers of disaffected Socialists and some disaffected conservatives voted for a new party or a reformed old party and many fewer abstained it may be possible to get enough to form a government long enough to reject insanity, but that would leave any kind of viable democracy in a very precarious position.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 09:30:02 PM EST
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great diary, one can really feel the taut atmosphere.


If the Communists weren't so damn chiliastic and negative towards every possible colaboration (they see all options as "strengthening capitalism"), this coalition thing would be workable already.

i think that's what the collective hivemind of ET is trying to hammer out, between all the different angles.

the gradations are fluid and blurry, is socialism merely a refined, or muzzled communism? if communism makes use of currency and world markets, how is it not capitalistic, two apparently polarised PsOV that as we see in cuba and china are trying to coexist?

these damn ideological labels are so distracting, they sow divisions that are illusory, for the most part, yet they effectively castrate the left, leaving separate strands instead of twine.

politicians use extreme slogans, L or R, to gain power from their bases, then run to the centre to try and hoover up the swing voters, to consolidate power positioning. this renders labels even more meaningless and relativised.

at the end of the day, despair and hunger move societies out of stagnation, because only what we see in the arab spring, and now in the squares of europe, is too raw to be politicised in any cardinal way. ideologies seem remote, abstracted, bloodlessly conceptual, commentary before or after the narrative, but never during...

No. Bread. No Job. No. House. No. Water. No. Hopes.

they set fire to themselves, they stand in front of tanks and bulldozers, they expose themselves to brutality, they suffer censorship, they have had enough, and gathering together with precious little to lose, they do what terrorists fail to do with their near-random cruelties.

they sweep away cobwebs and make space for the new ideas that can take over as the old institutions crumble.

perhaps a progressive dispensationalism instead of the chialism... ;)

hammering out these intellectual distinctions has its valence, just as any thoughtful doctrine or theory, but it is these flesh and blood confrontations that are where the rubber meets the road; it is immensely tragic how many times history has to repeat itself because the forces of evil can bundle in fasces, while the forces for good annul their own potency by their own otherwise commendable political biodiversity.


this practically ensures that pragmatic change cannot be enacted from the left, leaving the only other alternative of what we see now, the right uranically destroying its own progeny to reveal its psychosis, its -literally terminal- lack of affect, transferred as it is to its soulless icons of short term profit for the few at the expense of long term suffering for the many. these protesters may not have memorised tomes of political history or mastered the canons of political science, they may not have prepared platforms for future enaction, but they do know when enough is enough, and that is enough for them to risk pain, death and imprisonment rather than continue to cower in denial.

i think within the next year or so the energy/climate dramas will eclipse much of what passes for politics today. the energy issue alone will continue to marvellously concentrate our minds beyond the useless factionalising.

in between the floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, plagues, hurricanes, typhoons, wildfires, volcanic eruptions and 26 extinctions a day that is! what else will stop them fracking us all into species oblivion?

debates about '-isms' are an interesting luxury, and attachments to ideological tribalities assume their appropriate contextual proportions in the face of global weather systems going medieval on our collective asses.

i can't believe after all these centuries of democracy, baton-mashing the innocent remains the SOP.

as early men banded together and took down huge woolly mammoths with nets, we can smarten up and do the same with the zero-sum predatory capitalism goliath using the internets, we need to be nimble, multitudinous, and focused as lasers and perhaps we can effect change some more emotionally intelligent way than being thugbait.

till then, regrettably, it's the barricades where push comes to shove.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jun 4th, 2011 at 10:02:13 PM EST
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At one time I described my own political philosophy as "radical pragmatism". I didn't care if it was necessary to tear the whole damned thing down to a pile of parts and start again, but the criteria had to be that what was built works. I still hold that general attitude, but have realized that it is more complicated than that. Our social order has to function at a fairly high minimum level or lots of people start dying. So we do not have the luxury of tearing society down and rebuilding, and, especially, of doing so repeatedly, unless we can keep people alive meanwhile.

But we are always in process with reordering of our societies, even if very few people are involved in bringing this about. Many more realize that things are changing, but have no idea why, or have ideas that they cannot substantiate or justify. Most don't have time to be bothered with such questions. But the problem is that the process of change has been controlled, typically, by sociopaths and psychopaths who are utterly ruthless and without conscience in the use of what ever power they can access and, apparently, equally facile at convincing themselves and others that they are only doing what is "best".

It has to be a positive sign that so many ordinary people in so many countries have realized that the existing order of things is not working, that the direction is towards even greater dysfunction and that they have to risk their very lives to protest the ongoing process. I can only hope that they, and we, if/when it comes to that, can sell our lives very dearly, for the direction in which social change proceeds MUST be governed by the needs of sustainable survival of the greatest number of the population that is possible. If we cannot do that we are likely to see world population decline by one or more orders of magnitude over the next century, and not by any orderly or planned process.

The Greeks, especially the Athenians, effectively ruled themselves, especially on the local level, for the better part of a millennium by participative democracy and are the leading example of democracy in history. Let us hope that they can rise to do justice to their heritage and that the rest of us can follow suit.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 5th, 2011 at 12:27:21 AM EST
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As usual, your free verse covers many topics succinctly, connectedly, and insightfully. Well said.

I started to write a diary a week ago on my approach to 'organizing', but decided it was too self-congratulatory and has shown too little support data. I will, however, offer the synopsis.

I have a fairly consistent 'ism', which I discuss with many friends and acquaintances in contexts of projects and 'single-issue' groups. These discussions are civil, because we are all working on the points of convergence between my beliefs and their perceived interests - and because that's my style. I recommend this approach, because, if nothing else, one has an 'affinity group'/community when trouble comes.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (paulgspencer@gmail.com) on Sun Jun 5th, 2011 at 11:39:20 AM EST
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