“Where this justification of Antarsya begins to fall down is with the assumption that the best alternative to a programme of reform is to offer a rival, programme of greater reforms. In this revolutionaries are different from reformists principally in that they ask for more. So Syriza offered Greek nationality to the children of all migrants; and, like a poker player, Antarsya “raised” them, by offering to legalise all immigrants in Greece. Syriza said that it would stop all the planned privatisations; Antarsya’s reply was to say that it would undo every privatisation in Greek history.
Using elections to make revolutionaries is not about out-bidding your rival, it involves an explanation of both any government under capitalism has only limited power, and how those limits can be overcome (only through a direct conflict with the international capitalist class). It is at this point that Syriza comes over as politically more sophisticated than Antarsya, because it had an analysis of its own limits as a reforming government (the European powers will not allow us to write off more than a small portion of our debt), and an idea of how to get beyond that limit (on the basis of agitation from outside parliament keeping pressure on the government, and on the basis of support from the left outside Greece).”
image: Giorgos Panagakis
For those of us who were until recently more sympathetic to Antarsya, the “other” left-wing coalition on Greece’s radical left, it is salutary to reflect on how well Syriza has done in the last month, and how poorly Antarsya has done by comparison.
The justification for Antarsya’s separate existence goes something like the following: Antarsya, unlike Syriza, is a coalition of the parties that believe that Greece can only be saved by a revolutionary transformation of the state. Syriza, unlike Antarsya, equivocates on this issue, and on the connected questions of whether the Greek government should remain in Europe or whether it should agree to pay any of the debt to its international creditors. Those who vote for Antarsya are voting for a revolutionary alternative to capitalism and, in so doing, they keep alive the possibility of a revolutionary politics. Syriza by contrast is merely reformist; and…
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