“It’s barbarism. I see it coming masqueraded under lawless alliances and predetermined enslavements. It may not be about Hitler’s furnaces, but about the methodical and quasi-scientific subjugation of Man. His absolute humiliation. His disgrace”
Odysseas Elytis, Greek poet, in a press conference on the occasion of receiving the Nobel Prize (1979)
By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
There is only one thing I don’t quite understand. How could Tsipras manage to sleep at nights, when almost all Greeks present a psychosomatic symptom of some sort?
A spectre of death hovers over Greece. It is in fact the death of the hope. The realization that you have been fooled, that your every single right has been violated and that in some perverted way you have been asked to be part of your own rape. The shock from the sudden capitulation and destruction of the two political subjects upon which the nation placed its hopes, rendered people completely powerless; it castrated them in a sense, depriving them of any strength, of the will even to react or do anything. They did not kill the Greeks, but they killed their hope. For the time being, at least.
By the way, Death is, in reality, the religion of this new “Empire of Finance”, the regime emerging from the process of “globalization”, reflecting the transition from neoliberal to “destructive” capitalism. It’s a different form of capitalism; one that does not merely use “creative destruction” in order to promote “development and progress”, but makes destruction its single and endless pursuit. As every other new socio-economic system, it too comes together with its distinct “ideology” and “religion”.
By the term “Empire of Finance” we mean that part of global financial capital which has the resources and the strategy to attempt imposing a global dictatorship, in alliance with the US military-industrial complex. Its ideological and political manifestation is structured around “neoliberal” and “neoconservative” political projects; its backbone is formed by a few big global banks and other financial institutions, its main tool is the tight grip it holds over media, European institutions and political elites and the US military-industrial complex, its strategic ally and complement. They are the “Leninists of the markets” (and of military interventions), who, mimicking the Athenian Alcibiades’ strategy, use in a systematic way shocks, coups and chaos to promote their agenda.
The outcome of the Greek summer crisis constitutes a triumph of this Empire.
The Big Losers
The Greek people. Greeks have witnessed their victorious “No”, the strong social front against financial dictatorship “decapitated”! Now this cut head remains alive and is used against them! A new, even harsher memorandum was imposed on an already devastated Greece. A regime of acute political anomaly and direct international “supervision” was installed.
Some positive elements still remain. First, the legacy of the 62 % NO referendum result, as a proof that, regardless of what will happen in the future, the Greek people is still alive and kicking, in the middle of a dark European and international night.
The Greek issue was internationalized. From now on the creditors will have to pay a price for what they are doing to Greece
No matter what the result of the formally legal but not legitimate elections called for the 20th of September, everybody understands that European governments, the EU and the IMF, have imposed a dictatorship in Greece.
2. Germany has suffered its biggest international political defeat since 1945. It lost every possibility to lead Europe for many years to come. Many Europeans see now Germany as a malign power, trying to achieve now, through other means, what it didn’t achieve in the past. Berlin will pay a high political price for advancing the interests of international financial capital in Europe. Goldman Sachs has undertaken the role of a European supra –government (ECB), while the Germans pay the hefty political bill that comes with it.
The idea of European integration also suffered a serious blow; particularly the idea of a prosperous, democratic, social and independent Europe.
It was also a serious defeat for France. It proves again that this state has been “kidnapped”, it became a mere tool of Washington, of the Finance and of the most extreme neoconservatives; just a shadow of the country once ruled by General De Gaulle. As in other European countries, there is no point anymore in asking who wins elections – the Left or the Right; it would be more appropriate to ask whether it’s the Rothschilds or the Rockefellers who win.
3. European Left has been proven unable or unwilling to lead the peaceful revolt of a European nation which was trying to save itself. The leadership of one of its parties betrayed. It became obvious that the European Left has no plan, no strategy beyond a list of well-wishes for an abstract notion of democracy. It lacks a strategy to realise its political aims, nor sufficient will to sustain to the end, if needed, the fight against financial totalitarianism.
These developments constitute also an indirect, but clear strategic loss for Russia (and to some extent for China and the rest of the BRICS members). The weakening – almost abolition – of Greek national sovereignty (and, by multiple default, of Cypriot) constitutes a major change in the regional geopolitical equilibrium in the Eastern Mediterranean area. It contributes significantly to the creation of a new Mediterranean link in a chain “encircling” Russia, in order to contain it (and increasing the possibility even of war against it). Of course it remains alive the huge “revolt potential” of Greek people in this region, but this “potential” has not now any political expression and leadership.
The big winners
1. Money, Finance, which, over and over again keeps winning at every big turn in the development of the crisis, using the crisis itself for realizing regime change. Not only it was able to avoid paying the cost for a crisis it has caused, it continues to destroy Greece, using its destruction and non-sustainable debt as tools for achieving its political pursuits. By destroying Greece it was able to keep the apparence of European economic and political stability. It seeks now to render bourgeois democracy empty of any real meaning (your vote doesn’t count), to demolish entirely any notion of social state, to destroy European nations as distinct political and cultural entities; trying to promote the domination of an amorphous “Homo Economicus”
2. The US managed to “detonate” the SYRIZA “bomb”, through the influence they exercised on the party’s leadership; a bomb, which would potentially threaten to question seriously European neoliberal order (and the anti-Russian unity of the EU). (**)
They managed to prevent Athens shift towards Moscow and they were able to transform the leadership of a political force, highly critical of US and Israel, into their best friend!
This way they were also able to finally use the betrayed Greek revolt to curtail both German hegemonic aspirations and the most basic requirements for European independence.
It was at the end Washington which imposed the final agreement on a reluctant Germany and a petrified Greece, using its influence on Paris, Rome, the Commission and the IMF. At the most critical moment in the course of the European crisis, Washington proved that it is making, after all, the law in Europe! Besides, the outcome of the Greek crisis represents a huge step towards ousting any European, independent geopolitical influence from the Eastern Mediterranean region and the Balkans.
In 2002-03 many Europeans accused USA for the wars in the Middle East and for attempting to split the EU, by supporting “New Europe” against Paris and Berlin. It now appears as a good force in the eyes of almost half of Europeans, especially in the eyes of Merkel’s victims.
3. European extreme, “radical” Right. After the near collapse of SYRIZA as a leftist party and a national democratic force, the far and radical Right appears as the main recipient of the feelings of resentment in European societies, especially in the richer Northern European countries.
It is true that the “angered”, who turn in the direction of the far right solutions, are probably in similar or even greater risk of suffering finally disappointments and defeats, similar to those suffered by Greek people with SYRIZA. But they don’t know it yet!
It is important, in this context, to remember that the Greek bankruptcy and havoc cannot be blamed alone on the leadership of the Greek Left. They should also be blamed on the “radical”, supposedly “nationalist”, “sovereignist” Right, which participated in the Greek government.
The “Empire” will try to use the “radical right” for its European “plan B”. If the attempt to impose the new European order with “liberal” packaging fails, or if things move towards an EU-dissolution crisis, then they will try probably to use extreme ‘radical’ Right in order to justify an authoritarian shift, to accommodate the feelings of social exasperation, to direct them in an anti-Islam direction, but without harming the most essential interests of European capital and the US, by the same mechanism which worked so efficiently in the intra-war years.
Every European nation will have to defend itself against the monstrous “market forces” and the huge geopolitical threats, should it want to continue to exist. But the way it will do that will determine the future of the continent. And none of them can succeed at the end, by relying solely on its own, distinct “nationalism”.
4. Israel has also managed to expand, in a spectacular way, its influence over the region and politics of Greece, a country traditionally the more sympathetic in Europe to the Palestinian cause and the Arab world. Under the Tsipras-Kammenos administration, the Greek government has signed the most advanced agreement of military co-operation with Tel-Aviv; a type of agreement that no other country in the world, except the U.S., has ever signed with Israel. The Greek armed forces have now extremely close ties with Israelis.
Strategically speaking, in the event of the dissolution of the European project, one of the Plans B of the American and Israelis could be the formation, under their auspices, of an integrated Mediterranean Union with an anti-Russian orientation.
A first conclusion we can draw, which is of critical, global importance and significance, is that it is impossible to deal with this “Empire”, in financial or in geopolitical terms, with half measures.
But in Greece, Europe, Russia, China and everywhere, on the “radical Left” and on the “radical Right”, powerful forces survive which seek to appease and reach a compromise with the “Empire”; at the same time, societies and nations remain passive and confused – mainly due to the media’s massive brainwashing- hoping that they will manage to retain their gains without suffering the risk of any “clash”, “conflict” or “battle”. Unfortunately, when our societies are awakened to the need to act, it is usually too late.
The combination of the above factors – together with the fact that the “Empire” has a clear strategy, in contrast to its opponents who have neither strategy nor a convincing vision has allowed it to triumph so far. The key to its triumph is more this strategy, less its considerable material power or the (non) appeal of its “plan” for the future of the world – a plan so revolting that it must remain as constantly hidden as the existence and structure of the Empire itself.
Only the development of national and international subjects with an iron will to confront the challenges this economic and geopolitical Empire is putting, disposing of a serious programme for the defence of humanity’s elementary achievements and of world peace, offering convincing and reliable alternatives and developing a new alternative vision, operating under serious leadership and in the context of a high degree of popular mobilization and very active popular participation may have a chance to resist and defeat the obvious, for whom wants to see them, totalitarian threats to our societies.
Athens, August 2015
(*) Translated from Greek by Maria Komninou
This article was published in Greek, in the newspaper “Paron” newspaper (editions of 14.9.2015 and 21.9.2015) under the title “Death of Hope, Triumph of the Empire (A first international assessment of the Greek / European crisis)”.
(**) This article was already published when the conservative Athens daily Kathimerini (27.9.2015) published an article based on a telegram of the Greek ambassador in Washington. From the report it became clear the degree to which the Athens government was all the way under the direct “guidance” of US administration in its negotiating, communication and international policy.