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Jacobin: Greece: The Struggle Continues (Sebastian Budgen interview of Stathis Kouvelakis, 14 July 2015)
They were also afraid about the dynamic from below that would be released by this initiative. On the other hand, the Left Platform's leader and minister of energy and productive reconstruction, Panagiotis Lafazanis said that the referendum was the right decision, albeit one that came too late, but he also warned that this amounted to a declaration of war, that the other side would cut off the liquidity and we should expect within days to have the banks closed. Most of those present just laughed at this suggestion.


The position of the Left Platform was significantly debated internally, specifically inside the major component of the platform, which is the Left Current led by Panagiotis Lafazanis. The majority opinion was that we should go for a differentiated vote at that stage, which meant some people had to vote "present" in the vote itself -- which practically amounts to the same as a "no" vote, though perhaps with a lesser symbolic meaning--


So we can see that this line -- with which I personally disagreed, I am among those who favored a homogenous "no" vote or "present" vote -- failed because actually with the seven Left Platform MPs who voted present plus some Syriza MPs who also voted present (most significantly Zoe Konstantopoulou, the president of the parliament, and Rachel Makri, a former ANEL MP who is now very close to her) the government had already lost its own majority.


I have to add that the two most important ministers and figures of the Left Platform, Lafazanis himself and the deputy minister of social affairs, Dimitris Stratoulis voted "no" in order to make it clear. Lafazanis also issued a statement saying that while that was the political position of the Platform, they were not trying to overthrow the government.


At this stage, what I can say is that the decision of the Left Platform is to reclaim the party and demand a party congress. I think it's quite clear that this U-turn of Syriza has only minority support within the party.


The four ministers of the Left Platform will leave the cabinet this week and tomorrow's vote in parliament on the agreement will validate the existence of a new pro-austerity majority, regrouping most of the Syriza's MPs and all other parties, with the exception of the KKE and the Nazis. It is expected that as many as forty Syriza MPs will reject the agreement and they might be followed by some from the Independent Greeks. Already the leader of To Potami behaves like a minister in waiting and the Right discusses quite openly the possibility of joining the government, although no such decision has been taken yet.


There are all kinds of initiatives from beyond the ranks of Left Platform to react to what is happening. Already we know that the tendency of the so-called Fifty-Three (the left wing of the majority) has disintegrated, and there will be major realignments on that side. The key thing is for us to act as the legitimate representation of the No camp, the anti-austerity camp, which is the majority in Greek society and which has been objectively betrayed by what is happening.


And, aside from them, there is the Left Platform. Greek people know, and the media constantly repeat that, that for Tsipras, the main thorn is Lafazanis and the Left Platform. We can add Zoe Kostantopoulou to this. I think that's what we've gained from that situation. We have a basis from which to start a new cycle, a force that has been at the forefront of that political battle and carries this unprecedented experience.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 12:58:39 PM EST
When Mason asked him about the euro, Tsakalotos said that exit would be an absolute catastrophe and that Europe would relive the 1930s with the return of competition between national currencies and the rise of various nationalisms and fascism.

So for these people the choice is between two things: either being "European" and accepting the existing framework, which somehow objectively represents a step forward compared the old reality of nation-states, or being "anti-European" which is equated with a falling back into nationalism, a reactionary, regressive move.

This is a weak way in which the European Union is legitimated -- it might not be ideal but it's better than anything else on the table.

I think that in this case we can clearly see what the ideology at work here is. Although you don't positively sign up to the project and you have serious doubts about the neoliberal orientation and top-down structure of European institutions, nevertheless you move within its coordinates and can't imagine anything better outside of its framework.

This is the meaning of the kind of denunciations of Grexit as a kind of return to the 1930s or Grexit as a kind of apocalypse. This is the symptom of the leadership's own entrapment in the ideology of left-Europeanism.

It's easier to imagine the end of capitalism than the end of the European Union or even of the euro?

Exactly, I wrote as much a few years ago.


And you confirm there were initial preparations for Grexit put on the table and rejected?

Very vaguely. In restricted cabinet meetings, the so-called government council, where only the ten main ministers take part, Varoufakis had mentioned the necessity in the spring to consider Grexit as a possible action and prepare for that. I think there were some elaborations about parallel currency, but all this remained quite vague and poorly prepared.

Now, as I said before, in his New Statesman interview, Varoufakis presents a narrative according to which he prepared an alternative plan during the lineup to the referendum. But this is also a confession on how belated all this came.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Jul 15th, 2015 at 11:06:35 PM EST
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