We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Syriza rep. on historic responsibility of the left in Greece

Click here to access article from Green Left in which the authors Jody Betzien & Sibylle Kaczorek from the Australian Socialist Alliance organization interview Yiannis Bournous, a leading activist from the Syriza party in Greece. 
Syriza came close to winning elections in June on the basis of rejecting the brutal austerity being enforced on the people of Greece. Instead, a coalition of three parties (Greece's tradition conservative party, New Democracy, its tradition social democratic party, PASOK, and and a right-wing split from Syriza, Democratic Left) was formed, committed to greater austerity measures.
First, let me say that I think this article is very important for all activists to read. Initially, I found parts of this difficult to read because of the awkward use of English, and in the earlier parts my attention faded probably because of an overdose of austerity details that I have read about for several years. However, as I entered about half-way into the article my interest started to pick up as I became increasingly impressed with the strategies of the Syriza party as explained by Bournous. As I understand them, they are formulated to deal with three major problems confronting Greek society: 1) limitations posed by national solutions; 2) confronting neo-liberal austerity policies within Greece; 3) dealing with the rise of the fascist party known as Golden Dawn. 

I gradually became aware that these problems and Syriza's strategies for dealing with them had nearly universal relevance, and certainly for the US in the future. I say in the future because the effects of neo-liberal policies have not fully developed here, but are in process; and that it will take much more debilitating effects on our society before a sufficient number of people begin to seriously question information sourced from ideological agencies that have interpreted the world for them 24/7 and from the cradle to the grave. I have little doubt that Greek-like conditions lie ahead for us.  

Hence, the importance of the Greek experience and the excellent strategies of the Syriza party in confronting their crisis which are explained mostly in the last half of this article. As I see it, they consist of two basic organizational principles: think globally or, at least, European and act locally; and construct new, collaborative, politicized social networks from the ground up.