Tariq Ali: The single-formula approach on the currency union is dead in the waters of the Mediterrenean

SYRIZA will be the first party in Europe elected to power that has done so by challenging the extreme centre that rules Europe and its favoured economic system: a financialised neo-liberalism.

Interview by Kostas Vlahopoulos and Thomas Giourgas for www.nostimonimar.gr

 

1. For the first time in Greek political history, a radical left party, SYRIZA, is the strong favorite to win the general elections taking place in January the 25th. What kind of reaction do you expect from the neo-liberal Europe and in particular from Germany?

If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions.  The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Secondly there will be a  high level of expectation from SYRIZA’s electorate and beyond.  Mass mobilizations will be extremely important to sustain the new government and push it to carry through the first necessary measures. The debt and the readjustment  measures must be repudiated immediately  before moving on to implement a plan that restores the social gains that have been achieved and are being dismantled by the Troika-led governments. The first three months will be decisive in terms of revealing the contours of the political and economic landscape envisaged by SYRIZA. Neo-liberalism can not be dismantled  overnight but the will to do so must be paramount. Bandwagon careerists must not be allowed to sabotage what can and should be done

2. Do you believe that -inside this tight European framework- a SYRIZA government will be able to put forward its political agenda and to implement the promised reforms as a first remedy to the growing humanitarian crisis? Which should be the main priorities and the style of governance by a SYRIZA government? Do you think that SYRIZA, and Alexis Tsipras as their leader, could reshape and redefine the sociopolitical conditions and direction of the country?

Implementation will take time. We know this from the South American experience, but a start has to be made and the leaders have to make sure that all that is being done is in the open. Transparency is a vital ingredient to mass mobilisation and politicization. The more public support that  is seen on the streets the more citizens in other EU countries will be inclined to support the Greek demands. Ultimately, in my opinion, if the EU elite/Troika refuse to make meaningful concessions then the only alternative is to defy them and if, as a result, Greece is expelled from the EU (something that would be unconstitutional) then Plan B has to be implemented. A SYRIZA government that allows itself to be effectively blackmailed by the EU will run the danger of being Pasok  Mark 2 and that would be a huge disaster for Greece and  Spain.  I don’t think this will happen and I think Alexis Tsipras will resist the EU apologists within his own ranks, but the pressure will be huge especially from the Germans  for whom the Monetary Union has acquired supernatural status. As the EMU is obviously not working it needs to be carefully dumped. The rise of German nationalism must be of concern to the elite and PEGIDA  is a clear warning.

Originally appeared on http://www.nostimonimar.gr/tariq-ali-the-single-formula-approach-on-the-currency-union-is-dead-in-the-waters-of-the-mediterrenean/