Greece: Sound and Fury Signifying Much
By Paul Craig Roberts
July 15, 2015 "Information
All of Europe, and insouciant Americans and
Canadians as well, are put on notice by Syriza’s surrender to the
agents of the One Percent. The message from the collapse of Syriza
is that the social welfare system throughout the West will be
The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has agreed
to the One Percent’s looting of the Greek people of the advances in
social welfare that the Greeks achieved in the post-World War II
20th century. Pensions and health care for the elderly are on the
way out. The One Percent needs the money.
The protected Greek islands, ports, water
companies, airports, the entire panoply of national patrimony, is to
be sold to the One Percent. At bargain prices, of course, but the
subsequent water bills will not be bargains.
This is the third round of austerity imposed on
Greece, austerity that has required the complicity of the Greeks’
own governments. The austerity agreements serve as a cover for the
looting of the Greek people literally of everything. The IMF is one
member of the Troika that is imposing the austerity, despite the
fact that the IMF’s economists have said that the austerity measures
have proven to be a mistake. The Greek economy has been driven down
by the austerity. Therefore, Greece’s indebtedness has increased as
a burden. Each round of austerity makes the debt less payable.
But when the One Percent is looting, facts are of
no interest. The austerity, that is the looting, has gone forward
despite the fact that the IMF’s economists cannot justify it.
Greek democracy has proven itself to be impotent.
The looting is going forward despite the vote one week ago by the
Greek people rejecting it. So what we observe in Alexis Tsipras is
an elected prime minister representing not the Greek people but the
The One Percent’s sigh of relief has been heard
around the world. The last European leftist party, or what passes as
leftist, has been brought to heel, just like Britain’s Labour Party,
the French Socialist Party, and all the rest.
Without an ideology to sustain it, the European
left is dead, just as is the Democratic Party in the US. With the
death of these political parties, the people no longer have any
voice. A government in which the people have no voice is not a
democracy. We can see this clearly in Greece. One week after the
Greek people express themselves decisively in a referendum, their
government ignores them and accommodates the One Percent.
The American Democratic Party died with jobs
offshoring, which destroyed the party’s financial base in the
manufacturing unions. The European left died with the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union was a symbol that there existed a
socialist alternative to capitalism. The Soviet collapse and “the
end of history” deprived the left of an economic program and left
the left-wing, at least in America, with “social issues” such as
abortion, homosexual marriage, gender equality, and racism, which
undermined the left-wing’s traditional support with the working
class. Class warfare disappeared in the warfare between
heterosexuals and homosexuals, blacks and whites, men and women.
Today with the Western peoples facing re-enserfment
and with the world facing nuclear war as a result of the American
neoconservatives’ claim to be History’s chosen people entitled to
world hegemony, the American left is busy hating the Confederate
The collapse of Europe’s last left-wing party,
Syrzia, means that unless more determined parties arise in Portugal,
Spain, and Italy, the baton passes to the right-wing parties—-to
Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party, to Marine Le Pen’s National
Front in France, and to other right-wing parties who stand for
nationalism against national extermination in EU membership.
Syriza could not succeed once it failed to
nationalize the Greek banks in response to the EU’s determination to
make them fail. The Greek One Percent have the banks and the media,
and the Greek military shows no sign of standing with the people.
What we see here is the impossibility of peaceful change, as Karl
Marx and Lenin explained.
Revolutions and fundamental reforms are frustrated
or overturned by the One Percent who are left alive. Marx,
frustrated by the defeat of the Revolutions of 1848 and instructed
by his materialist conception of history, concluded, as did Lenin,
Mao, and Pol Pot, that leaving the members of the old order alive
meant counter-revolution and the return of the people to serfdom. In
Latin America every reformist government is vulnerable to overthrow
by US economic interests acting in conjunction with the Spanish
elites. We see this process underway today in Venezuela and Ecuador.
Duly instructed, Lenin and Mao eliminated the old
order. The class holocaust was many times greater than anything the
Jews experienced in the Nazi racial holocaust. But there is no
memorial to it.
To this day Westerners do not understand why Pol
Pot emptied Cambodia’s urban areas. The West dismisses Pol Pot as a
psychopath and mass murderer, a psychiatric case, but Pol Pot was
simply acting on the supposition that if he permitted
representatives of the old order to remain his revolution would be
overthrown. To use a legal concept enshrined by the George W. Bush
regime, Pol Pot pre-empted counter-revolution by striking in advance
of the act and eliminating the class inclined to counter-revolution.
The English conservative Edmund Burke said that
the path of progress was reform, not revolution. The English elite,
although they dragged their heels, accepted reform in place of
revolution, thus vindicating Burke. But today with the left so
totally defeated, the One Percent does not have to agree to reforms.
Compliance with their power is the only alternative.
Greece is only the beginning. Greeks driven out of
their country by the collapsed economy, demise of the social welfare
system, and extraordinary rate of unemployment will take their
poverty to other EU countries. Members of the EU are not bound by
national boundaries and can freely emigrate. Closing down the
support system in Greece will drive Greeks into the support systems
of other EU countries, which will be closed down in turn by the One
The 21st century Enclosures have begun.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of
the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall
Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard
News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university
appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide
following. Roberts' latest books are
The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and
Economic Dissolution of the West
How America Was Lost.