Six months after promising the end of austerity, the Syriza leadership had to sign an agreement which not just imposes an extreme neoliberal impoverishment of its people, but actually suspends democracy, since the agreement explicitely states that no laws can be voted without agreement of the European institutions.
The radicality of this defeat is not just a defeat for the Greek left, but for the European left. Signs of this are the popular majorities in most western countries which blame Greece for the crisis, and the lack of solidarity from any mainstream left parties throughout the continent.
The debate for the last ten or even twenty years was one between those that argue for ‘changing the world without taking power’ and those that argued for ‘changing the workd by taking power’. The first camp is arguing now very strongly that the second camp’s strategy has been shown to be a dead end. We will intervene on this issue ourselves on this issue later on, but this video here below, is quite representative for the way in which progressive political forces are debating the issue. I’ve listened already to the first thirty minutes and highly recommend this quality dialogue.
However, from a specific P2P Foundation perspective, one thing becomes very clear. If the transition to capitalism was market by a cultural transition from formulating dissent theologically, to one formulating dissent ‘ideologically’, then we can clearly see the radical left presented in this video is still in this paradigm. When they talk about reconstructing the movement, they talk about reconstructing social and political movements, i.e. people who join together ideologically to struggle ‘against’. What they don’t talk about, and should be talking about, is reconstructing economic power, i.e. actually constructing social power by instituting a commons and a new mode of production. When they talk commons, they do not talk about production. However, at minute 33 and following, Jerome Roos clearly point in the direction of exploring this new paradigm, and developing a Plan C for Greece, i.e. a commons-centric political strategy.
This then is the specific nature of the P2P Foundation and its role as ‘collective intellectual’, to insist that the time of a new transition has come, not a continuation of ‘ideological’ struggles, but a real reconstruction of economic, social and political power, based on the co-construction of productive commons, i.e. shared resources, material and immaterial, and the creation of real livelihoods around them. This is not a debate about changing the world without taking power or by taking power, this is a debate about constructing new power, a new civil society, a new (ethical) market, and a new form of (partner) state; and on the basis of this power, to institute a new mode of production and society.
Watch the video here: