by Upstate NY
Sun Mar 15th, 2015 at 03:03:23 AM EST
Greece: Phase Two | Costas Lapavitsas | Jacobin
Schäuble is on record, or at least Greek ministers are on record, stating that Schäuble offered an aided exit to the Greeks already back in 2011. I can see, from the perspective of the German power structure, why they might be tempted by this idea, and I can see it as an objective worth fighting for by a Greek left government, for obvious reasons.
Whether there are divisions within the German establishment on it, I don't really know, because I don't understand the details of the German political debate. But the argument can be so compelling at the general level that I can be reasonably optimistic.
If the Greek side fought for it, and indicated that they wished to accept it, I think that a compromise could be reached that would be in the interests of Greek working people as well, not just the Greek elite, because you would avoid the difficulties of the contested exit.
That is definitely worth fighting for. And I would argue that this is what the Syriza government should be gearing itself for in the coming period. But, I repeat, if that proves impossible, even contested exit is better than a continuation of the current program.
While I accept his implied criticism of Varoufakis and Tsipras is likely right on target (bad strategy, personality clash with EU), this critique and reading of Syriza's strategy is based on the very idea that the EU is at all amenable to a soft Grexit.
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Lapavitsas is reading the Greek clashes with Europe as a matter of different ideologies. Neoliberal versus whatever Greece is.
I think he fails to see that personality and general misanthropy is at the root of it, and that once Greece accedes or willingly asks for a Grexit, the anger leveled at it will not end. There will be no soft exit. And not only will the exit be contested, the eurozone will do everything in its power to cause Greece to fail--to discourage all others.
We are talking about enemies here. Lapavitsas is imagining a break based on differing ideologies.
Seen through another lens, Varoufakis' and Tsipras' strategy--though it may indeed be naive--becomes more explicable. Greece must be forced from the eurozone, and even then (the event of a default) it should adopt measures to keep inside the zone, until the pressure to kick it out becomes absolute. Only then can Greece negotiate the terms of a contested exit. To make preparations now or to cede willingly is essentially to abandon your leverage in the negotiations of a Grexit.
Lapavitsas imagines a much too nice interlocutor. He thinks the disagreements are based in ideology.