We actually wanted to speak about the possibility of a European Spring.
We wanted to speak about Syriza, the elections in Greece, and what we can do here. The goal was not to simply state our solidarity with the struggles, but to consider ourselves, our possibilities. Then came the religious-fundamentalist attacks in Paris, then came the response from millions of demonstrators not only in Paris. And now we want to speak to all of these things together, because the one thing cannot be separated from the other. What we have to say is inevitably tentative and fragmentary. This will be with us for a while. The European Spring does not come in a simpler form.
The attacks in Paris were an attack on everything that has become possible, in Europe and in the world, since 1789 and 1968. This was the assassins’ front. The shots in the offices of Charlie Hebdo and in a Jewish supermarket were aimed at the possibility of our freedoms. Let’s not be mistaken here. There is nothing about it to relativize. No reference to the ravages of the Western War on Terror, no pointing to the institutional and everyday forms of lived racism in European societies. Millions of people understood this immediately. Many also thought about the great numbers of persons killed in Nigeria and Syria, they thought about the fate of the Yezidis and the Kurdish struggle for Rojava. Maybe it was clearer for more people than we thought that there are fundamentalisms beyond Islam, beyond religion. Many of the demonstrators were unmistakably clear about not wanting to be mistaken for the Front National in France or Pegida (the new rightwing-populist movement in Saxony) in Germany.
But that is not all. The millions from Paris and the many thousands in other places also convened behind the party of order: behind the caste
of the French, German and other participating governments. Behind all those who shamelessly placed themselves at the head of the countless
many gathered. And thus the demonstrators were made part of a confrontation in which Western liberalism, its political economy and its
allies were set against fundamentalism, including all White fundamentalisms. A large part of the crowd saw this for what it was. For
many this was a conscious decision - they would not want it to be otherwise. Others think there is nothing exceptional about this, and
therefore do not ask themselves whether they could even desire it to be otherwise. This is our problem.
Since long before the Paris attacks it has appeared to be the case that the “principal contradiction” in the world divides order (liberalism) from chaos (mostly the various fundamentalisms). The reason for this is that for a long time now, there has been no visible third alternative. The reactionary violence of the Islamic “holy warriors” meets the almost God-given monopoly of a hegemonic cynical rationality. The destructive potential of this rationality and the totalitarian concentration of power of its technological apparatuses have no historical comparison, yet they continue to suggest - and successfully! - that they make available an achievable maximum of individual happiness. The parties of Western liberal-capitalist order thus continue to repeat at every opportunity that there is no alternative. This is how the rationality of a report written by a state security apparatus can become the general political principle of a fear-driven society. Because religious and ethnic conflicts really do threaten to explode in our societies, the desire for order does not initially and in every case appear to be misinformed.
Because of this, all other crises and social struggles of the present belong, for very many people, to the side of chaos, to the opposite side of the actually existing capitalist order. Here in Europe this includes the “debt crisis” that has now been ongoing for seven years. This is why, in Germany and in France, “the Greeks” are considered part of the European banlieue. It’s not that they are mistaken for the religious jihadists of Paris. But Syriza, and a Syriza-led government: this too would be chaos, a breakdown of order. But there is no alternative, so it is bad. So many continue to hold out for the party of order. They do it even as they know that this order has taken away the possibilities of a worthy survival and rights struggled for in the past. And that it certainly does not want to allow for any new possibilities of social life or rights.
But in Greece, and also in Spain, things are somewhat different. Many people, perhaps even an electoral majority, see a chance in Syriza, or Podemos. Their only chance. They see a third possibility, a left possibility, the possibility of a social alternative beyond the disgraceful austerity policies imposed by the EU. And this path of hope leads not only - and not primarily - through the parties and parliaments. Those taking it are following a subjective and social desire for a real break, a flight out of the labyrinth of the debt regime. In this sense Syriza and Podemos are placeholders for the social desires that wrote history in the movement of the indignant in Spain and at Syntagma Square in the heart of Athens: “Party politics are over, long live the politics of the common!” This new sociality is being yet carried by Syriza as electoral party. Solidarity with migrants and refugees has a place in this party, as does the revolutionary passion of the anti-authoritarian revolts that supported the hunger strike of the imprisoned anarchist Nikos Romanos last fall. Syriza makes the election on January 25 a real referendum. To bet on Syriza is to vote out of
power the Greek parties of order and to deselect the fascism of Golden Dawn. The point is not the institutional limits of an election.
Everything that comes after election day remains a venture that can fail, just like other left projects of the past century. But this does not put off the will to break with order. Herein lies the political meaning of January 25. This is what makes the national election in Athens a social referendum on the limits of the Berlin commando.
Now we have reached the point with which we actually wanted to start. We wanted to speak of Syriza (and Podemos) as the beginning of a European
Spring. We wanted to call for ourselves and others to begin this spring here. We still want this - even and especially after Paris. Against the German parties of order, against the Pegida camaraderie. Against the attractiveness of Islamic fundamentalism within and outside of Germany,
against the War on Terror and its security regime. There are daily demonstrations against the attacks in Paris and against Pegida in Germany. They are called for by the parties of order, and the cast of representatives constantly speaks. Again: this is our problem. How can we open up here a third option beyond the capitalist order and the fundamentalist chaos? Beyond the crisis regime of impoverishment and degradation, beyond the idiocy of austerity. Beyond our self-referntial milieu. What does it mean today to be a radical social left? We want to play a part in answering this question, because it is being posed to everyone. This is what we have to do. Otherwise there would be no need for an IL. It is this simple.
We are not in Athens, but we are not starting at point-zero. We have called to blockade the ECB in Frankfurt. With this we have given a first answer. Thousands of people joined us in Frankfurt in 2012, 2013, 2014. The many who asserted themselves for hours and hours against the police violence received the encouragement of many who had not been there. On March 18 the moment will come: The ECB will celebrate its move to new headquarters in Frankfurt. It will celebrate itself. The parties of order will be there. They will conjure the option between order and chaos to be an either-or, to which there is no alternative. They will point to Pegida as part of the chaos and Blockupy as a leftwing counterpart of this. They will take the repulsion so many people feel against Pegida as points of victory for the parties of order. We are called and we are calling to prevent this from happening and to make a difference. To be in solidarity with the movement in Greece and the possibility of an electoral victory for Szriza means to make such a break possible here: in movement, radically, with many and invasive. But let’s be modest. Let’s block the ECB, let’s block Frankfurt: with symbolic thickness and material effectivity. Let’s choose the third option. Let’s live creative reason in antagonism to capitalist irrationality. #18M
January 18, 2015