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October 6, 2013
October 6, 2013

Greece: NAZI? Nah… not yet! We can manage better on our own.

Author: Kyriakos Makromallis Translator: Eleni Nicolaou
Categories: Antifascism, On the crisis
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Greece: NAZI? Nah… not yet! We can manage better on our own.

The political debate around the arrests of the leading officers of Golden Dawn remained in the question of whether this move is constitutionally solid, or whether it was the right time to do it, since the evidence linking Golden Dawn to criminal acts already has been there for several years. Of course, what happened has helped open up a very important dialogue hitherto confined within the Left and not generalised to the rest of the society. This is the issue of the ties of Golden Dawn with the police and the state on one side and the underworld on the other. It has become quite clear to the society that Golden Dawn is not fighting against the status quo but is an integral part of it.

However, this move of the Greek government has a deeper political meaning that transcends this discussion. Essentially, the reduction of Golden Dawn into a criminal organisation and the impressively fast arrest operation οf its leadership are taking place in a time when there is a dire need for the Greek state to be changed so as to become consistent with the needs of the global capital for better profitability of investments [1]. With this move, the neoliberal government of Antonis Samaras wanted to send a clear message that the transition to this new form of state takes place in stable political environment. It is therefore necessary to associate the political Memorandum [2] with the current attempt to dismantle Golden Dawn. In order to make this connection one should also understand the momentum in which capitalism is found, especially since the 2008 crisis.

What we saw happening in Greece with the implementation of the Memorandum, is the gradual replacement of the post-dictatorial form of state [3], as this has been conformed was by the successive social-democrat governments and which in fact expressed somehow the institutionalised power of the Greek working class. Already, since the early 80s, the power of the working class to influence the economic and social policy of the state was shrinking and increasingly started to concentrate in the hands of its more privileged sections, leading this form of state to its gradual disintegration. This was primarily due to the crisis of global capital and its inability to satisfy, on one side, the need for better profitability on one hand, and on the other side the increased demands of the working class for higher wages and pensions, full employment, more opportunities, etc. [4]

Globally, since the outbreak of the crisis in 2008, we are probably in front of the most comprehensive attack of capital against the gains of the working class, since the 80s. This new attack has recorded significant victories, victories that were not achieved by capitalism even during the most aggressive neoliberal governments, as was that of Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the United States. Since 2008 capitalism, having no more alternatives, has entered a phase of frontal clash with the working class in order to break its resistance and restore as much of the lost profitability as possible in the arena of production. On a global level, further expansion of financial capital at the expense of productive capital will result in a new historical reprieve of the inevitable conflict between capital and labour, with even more unpredictable consequences for capitalism in the future [5]. Productive and profitable waged labour is the precondition for the reproduction of capitalism, more than the speculation that results the various financial bubbles as they have been the stock market and real estate bubbles [6]. The extraction of profit almost entirely by the financial sector illustrates the failure of capital to have sufficient gains from mass commodity production. Such a failure it’s mainly attributable to the enduring resistance of the working class, in other words, due to the class struggle [7]. Notwithstanding, this forms part of the natural process of over-accumulation and crisis in capitalism. The cruelty with which the austerity is being imposed in Europe at least attests the will of capital to get over the current crisis, that the financial capital decisively contributes in its perpetuation [8]. Facilitating exploitation in the productive economy it is expected that capital will rely less on financial speculation to realise profits.

Within this context the neoliberal government of Samaras has brought historic victories for global capital, having managed to hit almost fatally the last remnants of the old social democratic form of the capitalist state in Greece. The closure of ERT was perhaps the most notorious example of the neoliberal attack against anything considered as a social acquis, or as having a content referring to the power of society to define the roles of the state. So now the government of Samaras feels strong enough to implement the capitalist barbarity, the way is being decided at the European and global level, without huge losses, meaning; without sky-rocketing the power of the Left and without the immediate danger of collapse of the coalition government and call for new elections. In these circumstances, and using the constitution and the law, neoliberals can consistently control the impoverishment of society, which is a prerequisite for overcoming the recurring crisis of capitalism.

The organised fascist violence postponed

Interpreting the above we can draw the conclusion that the current conditions globally are very different from those of the interwar period. Fascism in the interwar period functioned as a catalyst for the politicisation and radicalisation of society. The difference now is that capitalism has developed such strong ideological mechanisms and the resistance of the working class is still so convulsive, that no further use of fascism is needed for the disruption of social and political struggles, at least for now. By contrast, the tolerance towards Golden Dawn even after the political assassination of the musician and antifascist activist P. Fyssas the 17 of September, may politicise society to levels threatening the continuation of the pan-European nirvana of neoliberal austerity. On the other side, the recent electoral win of Angela Merkel in Germany has contributed in strengthening the neoliberal discourse on a European level, something that we could say has helped neoliberal governments when it comes to take measures against everyone who challenges state power.

So, for now, the organised fascist onslaught is suspended since the state is becoming now strong enough to butcher society by itself, simply invoking the constitution, the law and order, the international obligations, the European law or the ‘common sense’ [9]. A decisive neoliberal government with the help of a strong police force seems to be enough for the moment to break the resistance of the people [10]. It appears that for now the capital does not need to make use of the mass weapon of fascism in order to control the insurrectionism of the working class. However, capitalism–as we very well know–is a perpetual adventure. Any stability is just temporary. As Marx had described in the Communist Manifesto the periodicity within which history happens: “Everything solid melts into air”. The arena of the class struggle is always open in capitalism. This stability that the government of Samaras alludes to could again become hell and uncertainty following the next plunge of the global economy or an event such as the assassination of P. Fyssas. Events like these can revive the popular resistance and reset the organised fascist violence as an absolute necessity for the survival of capitalism.

I would like to present my gratitude to Nuria Alvarez for reading the text and proposing significant changes.


[1] See ‘The Global Accumulation of Capital and the Periodization of the form of the capitalist state’ Werner Bonefeld, Richard Gunn, and Kosmas Psychopedis, Open Marxism, 3 vols.(London ; Concord, Mass.: Pluto Press, 1992).

[2] The Memorandum is the accord between the Greek government and Troika for the structural changes the Greek government has to undertake in order for it to continue receiving international loans.

[3] The Democratic transition in Greece takes place in 1974. Since 1981 to 2011 the majority of Greek governments have been of social democrat sign. The interactions of the social democratic mandate from right wing governments during this period has not been decisive in reorienting the form of the state towards a clearly neoliberal model.

[4] For an analysis of the consequences of the social democratic power over the labour movement and social struggles, see:Simon Clarke, Keynesianism, Monetarism and the Crisis of the State.(Aldershot: Elgar, 1988).

[5] For an analysis of the process by which money is converted into command over labour see: Christian Marazzi, ‘Money in the World crisis: The new basis of capitalist power’ Werner Bonefeld and John Holloway, Global Capital, National State, and the Politics of Money (New York: St. Martin’s, 1995).

[6] For an explanation of the role of wage labour in the reproduction of capitalism see: ‘Simon Clarke, Marx, Marginalism and Modern Sociology : From Adam Smith to Max Weber, 2nd ed.(Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, 1991).

[7] How the finacialization of the economy is related historically with the production crisis see: Werner Bonefeld, Alice Brown, and Peter Burnham, A Major Crisis? : The Politics of Economic Policy in Britain in the 1990s (Brookfield, VT: Dartmouth Pub. Co., 1995).

[8] Bonefeld,W. ‘On the state of money and law: European Integration and Ordo- liberal ideas’. Paper Presented at the Conference of Socialist Economics (CSE),University of York, 1 March , (2013)

[9] For a deep analysis on how neoliberalism is trying to depoliticize the process of the change of the political structures to the benefit of the capital, see: Peter Burnham, ‘’Towards a Political Theory of Crisis: Policy and resistance across Europe’’, New Political Science, 33.4 (2011), 493; Bonefeld,W. ‘On the state of money and law: European Integration and Ordo- liberal ideas’. Paper Presented at the Conference of Socialist Economics (CSE),University of York, 1 March , (2013)

[10] See: Simon Clarke ‘A neoliberal theory of Society’ in Alfredo Saad-Filho and Deborah Johnston, Neoliberalism : A Critical Reader(London ; Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press, 2005).

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“NikosMichaloliakos esposado”, Foto, 2013,www.protagon.gr http://www.protagon.gr/?i=protagon.el.article&id=28024 (consultado el 30 de septiembre de 2013)

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Greece: NAZI? Nah… not yet! We can manage better on our own. by Kyriakos Makromallis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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