No doubt the severity of the Eurozone crisis, the devastating social and economic effects of the successive structural adjustment programmes imposed by Greece’s creditors after 2010, and the usual corrosive effects of IMF involvement on domestic elites would all feature prominently in most accounts. But this leaves unanswered why the Left should be the main beneficiary. After all, elsewhere the beneficiaries from the effects of austerity have more often than not been parties, or movements, of the radical right. And more specifically, why SYRIZA? Our answer is essentially Gramscian2 in spirit. SYRIZA understood that it must engage in all forms of resistance to the policies of austerity if it was to create an effective opposition and promote a hegemonic project. […] If we can delineate a turning point, then it was surely the decision of Alexis Tsipras, and the leadership of the party, to publicly announce before the May elections of 2012 that SYRIZA had set its sights on forming the next government. This acted as a radical political catalyst, energising those who had participated in multiple forms of social resistance and social solidarity, that had achieved local victories, had brought down two previous austerity governments, but had been unable to change the relentless implementation of austerity policies. Having created multiple ruptures within civil society, the Left was seeking to take the challenge to the state itself. In this sense SYRIZA seemed to have an intuitive grasp of the concept of the “integral state”, and the fact that without a political challenge at the level of political society, the widespread forms of social resistance were likely, sooner or later, to dissipate. (Christos Laskos & Euclid Tsakalotos, “From Resistance to Transitional Programme: the Strange Rise of the Radical Left in Greece” in Panagiotis Sotiris, ed, Crisis, Movement, Strategy: The Greek Experience, Brill, 2018, p. 229-230)
Journal 2008-2012 was published for the first time in December 2012 as a personal project of understanding the recent past of class struggle; on this basis, it was an open call for theoretical discussion to anyone who shared the sense that something from the past has escaped our attention. Many years have passed since then. In the meanwhile, many contacts with comrades raising similar questions have took place, contributing to the creation of a space of discussion, or a milieu if you prefer, but also encounters that led nowhere. This is not the time or place for an assessment of this course. However, there also were encounters that lasted in time, producing mutual support. A product of those, among other things, was the creation of 2008-2012.net back in early 2016.
Since the beginning of 2014, some of us were co-administrators, and since early 2015 sole administrators, of communisation.espivblogs.net, which is not being updated since early 2016. However, the request for creation of a space of discussion about the content of communism an revolution, and certainly the proletariat’s relation to them, remains. Central to the creation of this much wanted milieu is communisation theory, with all its tendencies and implications, a theory which, as far as we know, belongs to those very few theorising attempts that nowadays continue to raise similar questions. Undoubtedly, the last crisis and its temporary overcoming, with the cycle of struggles that accompanied it, a cycle of struggles that seems to not been concluded yet, leave no space for a reaffirmation of the workers’ identity and the horizon of another society as was envisioned by the workers’ movement. In our view, the question of what would be the attributes of a theory of revolution, a theory not bypassing the questions of gender and race within the capitalist social formation, a theory which, in other words, would seek to investigate anew the relation between labour and capital, State and civil society, remains open.
If there’s something connecting the following texts, it’s an attempt to approach the condition of the stabilisation of Greek social formation and its exit from the conditions of recession of the previous period; a period coinciding with the rise and consolidation of SYRIZA to power, a period that seems to end now after the results of the recent European Parliament elections. The interception of the constant upward course of the political party that, in a few years, took the reins of the State after initially becoming a movement.
Athens, May 2019
To download a pdf of the journal, click here.
This issue is called “one minus” because there’s a text missing in the English version compared to the Greek one, since we haven’t had the time to translate it.