Part 2: Thoughts on Greece, Syriza, and its left critics

This is part two of a three-part series. See part one here.

“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” – Karl Marx

“What childish innocence it is to present one’s own impatience as a theoretically convincing argument!” – Frederick Engels

If any of us wants to judge the conduct of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Syriza in their negotiations with the Eurogroup (the finance ministers and heads of state that make up the Eurozone) in July, a close look at the concrete situation in Greece and Europe is necessary. At the core of any analysis is an examination of the distribution of power among contending class and social forces, the larger socio-economic matrix in which these forces collide, and the parameters and limits of social change.

That may seem obvious and not require mentioning, but I’m afraid it’s a method some on the left seem averse to and thus avoid.

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Thoughts on Greek crisis and in defense of Syriza, Part 1

This is part one of a three-part series. Originally written for People’s World – check out the original article here.

The current crisis in Greece and the Eurozone is fluid and far from settled. The latest clash last month between Greece and its elite adversaries in Europe – Germany in the first place – is provoking a wide-ranging debate. I can’t claim to be an expert so what follows is offered in a provisional spirit.

Reflections on Socialism

“Reflections on Socialism” first appeared on on June 4, 2005. Read it on

The main political task at this moment is to assemble the necessary social forces to defeat Bush and his counterparts in Congress and elsewhere.

The urgency of that task, however, should not be converted into a rationale for socialists and communists to push the mute button on the socialist alternative. To the contrary, we should bring our vision of socialism into the public square; we are, after all, the Communist Party and socialism is at the core of our identity.

Party of socialism in the 21st century: What it looks like, What is says, and What it does

“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” — Martin Luther King Jr.

“The time of surprise attacks, of revolutions carried through by small conscious minorities at the head of unconscious masses, is past. Where it is a question of the complete transformation of the social organization, the masses themselves must also be in it, must themselves already have grasped what is at stake, what they are going for, body and soul. But … long, persistent work is required.

A thought on the Republican debate

The Republican presidential debate last night makes hollow the endlessly repeated claim by too many people on the left that there are no differences between the two parties at the level of policy. Hopefully some of those same people are rethinking their position this morning. After all; self deception is never a good practice in politics (or in any other field of human endeavor). But what makes it worse in this case is that it becomes the main framing argument employed by these same people for the elaboration of their strategic and tactical approach to politics in general and electoral politics in particular. We can do better. We can – and must, I would argue – (dialectically) breathe political realism and soberness into our politics of substantive equality, democratic and ecological transformation, and a people driven and people centered socialism. And in doing we will set the stage for the left to become a major player in U.S. politics and bring a step closer the just, peaceful, democratic, and sustainable society that we and many millions desire – not to mention – and this is no small thing – be a part of the massive campaign to defeat the right wing’s plans to gain full spectrum dominance of the federal government in next year’s election.

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