The combination of economic crisis, social devastation and open political crisis in ‘weak links’ of the European Project such as Greece has raised the possibility of social and political change. In Greece we have witnessed a sequence of social and political developments that are based on an extreme case of economic and consequently social crisis (and open economic aggression by the EU and IMF) have led to an open political crisis, to a realignment of social alliances and relations of representation, to a huge electoral loss for systemic political forces, to the de-legitimization of aspects of the neoliberal orthodoxy, and to the rise of the Left, a development that for the first time in many decades has opened the possibility (but not certainty...) of a government organized around the Left.
To me this brings a huge challenge for the Left. This forces us to think again in terms of revolutionary strategy, not in the sense of an abstract theoretical justification of radical political and social change, nor in the sense of simple anticapitalist rhetoric and verbalism, but in the sense of a set of highly original and necessarily uneven steps that will lead from the break with ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ to a new socialist alternative.
This is in sharp contrast to most Left wing politics since the 1980s. For a whole period, talking about Left-wing politics meant mainly organizing resistances (and gaining concessions from) a dominant neoliberalism and making sure the reproduction of communist (or communist oriented politics...) as some form of ideological interpellation. Besides, in the past decades the question of power, at least in Europe, meant participating or supporting mildly neoliberal ‘centre-left’ governments, usually with catastrophic results, exemplified in the experiences of France and Italy. Now the question of power, of affecting the actual balance of forces, of initiating sequences of radical social and political change comes again to the forefront. It catches us unprepared perhaps, but -- contrary to the metaphysics of a certain Marxism -- historical surprise always comes when conditions are unripe.
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