Chronicles from our future present: greece

In the midst of the horrors of the First World War, Rosa Luxemburg, citing  Friedrich Engels’ statement that “Capitalist society faces a dilemma, either an advance to socialism or a reversion to barbarism”, posed the question, “What does a ‘reversion to barbarism’ mean at the present stage of European civilization?”.  For Luxemburg, the answer lay in the war itself.  For us, and abandoning provincial preoccupations with Europe, the answer is not so immediately obvious.  There is no global conflagration to magnify the violence of capitalism.  And yet it is everywhere, diffused and omnipresent, mobile and flexible, capable of quick concentration and retreat.  It is the civilization of the policed; words whose common etymology is made real in the present.

The points of tension in the fabric of civilization may shift, but they do so in a global regime.  At each point, itself born of resistance, means of civilizing are invented, tested, and upon success, spread, become contagious, as resistance can also spread; in sum, a state of generalized war.

To then speak of exceptions, as for instance greece, is to deceive.  “Greece is not an exception”, Slavoj Žižeck reminds us; “it is a testing ground for the imposition of a new socio-economic model with a universal claim: the depoliticized technocratic model wherein bankers and other experts are allowed to quash democracy.”  (Slavoj Žižeck, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, 13)  If it appears to be exceptional, it is in its excesses, excess of budget austerity that sacrifices a population for private debt, excess of political responses, street violence and most notably the fascist “Golden Dawn”.  The greeks are lazy, colonised by Brussels and Berlin, and when they get upset, they have the habit of throwing about Molotov cocktails and marching behind pseudo-Nazi flags.  The superficiality here is frightening, frightening because it is blinding and so often repeated.  “Golden Dawn” is collateral damage, tragic for those who are its victims, but marginal before the overwhelming violence of capitalism.

Žižeck sees Greece as “Europe’s singular universality: the nodal point at which the historical tendency that shapes its present appears at its purest.” (15)  The pity is that he cannot see beyond “parliamentary democracy” and Syriza (commenting, just before the last greek elections, he writes: “The Europe that will win if Syriza is outmaneuvered is a ‘Europe of Asian values’”). (15)  But resistance to capital in greece is not reducible to Syriza, nor to something as uncertain as representative forms of the sovereignty of the people.  It is rather to be found in the creative response of the peoples of this land to the violence hurled against them: protest, sabotage, occupations of houses, land, factories, networks of mutual aid, in sum, the embryonic autonomous communities of a future beyond capitalism.

From docu praxi

From Ross Domoney

From Brandon Jourdan

From Yiannis Vakrinos …

From Yiannis Biliris

From George

From Kostas Kallergis …


The struggle for autonomies …

From Portraits of greece in crisis


… and so much more …


Leonard Cohen, The Future

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions Won’t be nothing Nothing you can measure anymore The blizzard, the blizzard of the world has crossed the threshold and it has overturned the order of the soul


This entry was posted in Commentary, Film, News blog and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.