Thursday, April 30, 2015

Of Nationalists and Socialists, and of Authoritarians

Those who are subsribers to the WSF can access this article by Greek journalist Takis Michas by searching its title (“Greece’s Far Left against the world”) in Google. Critics will, of course, say that the WSJ is the epitome of capitalist and neoliberal interests and cannot be trusted but I suggest to judge the comment (and particularly the quotes!) instead of the medium in which it is published. 

“Panagiotis Lafazanis declared that Greece faces a life-or-death struggle against ‘neocolonial foreign centers’. ‘We cannot have an agreement with the neocolonial centers that dominate the EU and the IMF if Greece is not able to really threaten their basic economic political and geostrategic interests’”.

“Bailouts are an attempt to exploit Greece for nefarious ends. In a recently published book called ‘Colonies of Debt’, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias purports to reveal a satanic plan by Germany aiming to subjugate Greece. This plan, according to Mr. Kotzias, involves turning Greece into a ‘colony of debt’ so that the Germans can acquire Greece’s wealth. ‘Just like under the Nazi Occupation’, he writes, ‘Germany aims to control the mineral wealth of the country’. Mr. Kotzias in his book accuses the Greek political forces that supported the bailout agreements of acting as servants of foreign powers, especially Berlin”. 

“At home, the rhetoric directed at the domestic audience is less and less democratic. Instead, Syriza deploys an authoritarian narrative according to which the country is involved in a titanic struggle against the dark forces of international capitalism and their local servants. This combination of authoritarianism with nationalism explains to a large extent Syriza’s continuing popularity (recent declines notwithstanding), despite the growing danger that Syriza would trigger an undesired exit from the euro. Syriza has been able to manipulate in a masterly way the collective mindset of Greece, where conspiracy theories and feelings of victimization abound. Whatever happens, Syriza has hurt the quality of economic and political debates in Greece in ways that could have serious consequences”.

I remember hearing similar themes before, except they then came from the Far Right instead of the Far Left. I heard these themes when I took a semester course at my US College about the political developments in Germany from the late 1920s onwards. Then, it was not the 'neocolonial centers' which had to be feared but the 'Jewish world conspiracy'. Foreign powers did not treat Germany as a 'debt colony' but Versailles had turned Germany into a 'colony of slaves'. Yes, the narrative was authoritarian in those days of German history. Yes, there was a titanic struggle against all those who had taken advantage of Germany. And yes, authoritarianism was combined with nationalism which drove Germans to frenzy. Put differently: the words 'national' and 'socialism' were combined in the party's name.

The combination of 'nationalists' and 'socialists' can become an explosive mix. Even if they are not combined in a party's name, those forces, when combined, are good for trouble. "Socialists cry 'Power to the people', and raise the clenched fist as they say it. We all know what they really mean: power over people, power to the State" (a former British politician). Nationalists can drive those people to frenzy.


  1. Those who cannot, like me, pay a subscription for WSJ via the link above, can try this link to the same article, that I found:
    Greece’s Far Left Against the World
    By: Takis Michas
    Published: 29 April 2015

    Yes, indeed, an open, straight, fair, direct speech to all of us.
    To realize what is going on, without trying anymore to cover Syriza's and the Greek government's politics with danger creating politeness by keeping possible hard sounding words inside. It must be said and written as it is. Sharp as a knife, sharp as only truth can be.

    1. As I said, you can open the article if you google for its title. I am not a subscriber to the WSJ, either.

  2. Paranoia, what is it?

    Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality and delusion.

    Paranoid thinking typically includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself (e.g. "Everyone is out to get me"). Paranoia is distinct from phobias, which also involve irrational fear, but usually no blame. Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia. For example, an incident most people would view as an accident or coincidence, a paranoid person might believe was intentional.

    The word paranoia comes from the Greek παράνοια (paranoia), "madness", and that from παρά (para), "beside, by" and νόος (noos), "mind". The term was used to describe a mental illness in which a delusional belief is the sole or most prominent feature.

  3. The text of "Paranoia" was taken from wiki:

    When reading what Lafazanis' (Syriza's) thoughts/ideas are, it happened: the word paranoia appeared in my mind. Tried to be more sure about the word and found in wiki too many important details to keep them for myself.

    1. Given that it's a fairly standard analysis across the globe that the rest of the EU is determined to suppress any leftist opposition to their crass austerity plans, then the psychological term paranoia is not a suitable description of what is going on.

      Perhaps you should try reading some US and other views of the European mess, rather than stating your own amateur psychology theories about a country and government in serious crisis. That is assuming that these are your own views, rather than something that you are paid to do.

  4. Well, remember that the German Nazi party was the NSDAP, i.e. NationalSOZIALISTISCHE Deutsche ARBEITERPARTEI. It thus was a socialist workers party. Lafazanis, Kotzias and many of the other Syrizas are of the same serious stuff as many of the German Nazis were.

    I don't know about Tsipras. He's more of a "spiv" - as the English say. Many noticed that during his performance in the latest TV-interview. Would you buy a used car from him?

    1. OK, this is just anti-Syriza propaganda. We have discussed the childish Nazi slur elsewhere here, so don't bother repeating it. And the character assassination attempt is pitiful. Let's be clear: only an idiot would buy a used car from a politician -- be it Merkel, Schaeuble, Tsipras, Cameron, or any of them.