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Edric O

The return of fascism

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And just a few days ago a couple was murdered by a Pakistani who 'd work for them at their home.

My opinion is, if you 're a journalist and don't want to see GD in power, then focus on why they 're unsuitable. Not their jokes but their genuinely dangerous ideas, such as private security companies to help police keep order (!!).
The anti-immigrant spiel is what's netting them votes in the first place. It's easy to class it as racist when you live far away in your nice place;it is hardly surprising that for people
 in areas of Athens overrun by foreigners, GD guys appear as heroes. These people are well past the point of filling "chilled".

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Yes, the anti-immigrant spiel is what's netting them votes in the first place, and if you accept their view of the world - if you accept to think of society in terms of "Greeks" and "immigrants" as two contending groups - you have already lost.

After all, it is true that immigrants live in large numbers in some parts of Athens. It is true that with so few jobs available, immigrants and Greeks are competing for the same jobs. And it is true that immigrants sometimes commit crimes against Greeks (even murder, as you pointed out). So why shouldn't you support an anti-immigrant party?

The way you answer this question determines whether or not you can be effective in fighting against Golden Dawn.

Do you answer by saying something along the lines of "immigrants are human beings too and you need to be nice to them"? That means you have surrendered to the fascist worldview, you agree that immigrants are an enemy, and your only disagreement is about whether it is ok to use violence against them. If this is what you are telling people - "We understand that immigrants are a problem, but let's not react with anger." - it will be very easy for Golden Dawn to come around and say "No, we SHOULD react with anger! The immigrant problem won't go away until we've taken up arms to drive them out of Greece!" And then what will you say, when people look at unemployment and crime, blame them on immigrants, and decide that Golden Dawn's approach is right after all? You will have nothing to say, and one day you will wake up in a fascist state.

The real answer is this: Golden Dawn should be opposed for the same reason why you would oppose a party that hates Macedonians even if a guy from Thessaloniki murdered an Athenian couple in their home. If a party started coming around and saying "Athens for Athenians! Let's kick out the scum from Macedonia, from Thrace, from Crete and all those other shitty uncivilized places!", and you saw that people from those others parts of Greece are competing with Athenians for jobs and committing crimes against Athenians, would you say this party has a point? No, of course not. Why not? Because you know that you're all in this together. You know that the lives of people from all over Greece are being destroyed by austerity, by the crisis of capitalism and by the policies of the government. You know that people from Thessaloniki are suffering just as much as you are, and if some of them are resorting to crime, that is out of desperation. They are desperate, because everyone is desperate. If Athenians and Macedonians fight each other, that means the victims of austerity are fighting among themselves, instead of fighting the cause of their suffering. It means the working class is divided and weak, which is exactly what the government, and Angela Merkel, and the IMF want.

It's the exact same thing with Greeks and immigrants. Greek workers and immigrant workers are not enemies. They are victims of the same capitalist system. They should not be rivals or competitors. They should stand together, on the same side, against austerity. Immigrants and Greeks are competing for jobs because austerity has destroyed employment opportunities for everyone. Street crime has increased because austerity is driving everyone desperate.

So it's not about tolerating or being nice to immigrants. That is not the answer. The answer is uniting with them, standing together with them, against the capitalists, against the government, and against austerity.

Supporting Golden Dawn and hating immigrants is wrong not because of some abstract liberal notions about human rights or tolerance or non-violence, but because fighting against immigrants right now is like fighting your cousin while the house is on fire. You may not like that cousin, but you need his help to put out the fire, and now is not the time to start an argument about who did what in the past.

There is only one effective answer to fascism, and that answer is encapsulated in the phrase, "Workers of all nations, unite!" Workers from all backgrounds must unite against their common enemies.

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I 'm sure that makes perfect sense for your worldview.

 

 

 

if some of them are resorting to crime, that is out of desperation. They are desperate, because everyone is desperate.

 

This is a common cheap argument. Not all react the same when desperate. Some endure it stoically, while others believe they 're entitled to take other people's lives.

People in Greece are not the same throughout either. There are varying degrees of emnity, primarily vented in football matches.

 

We know that immigrants are a problem. The question gd would like to raise is whether that means muscle bound guys should be governing the country. Most people have the good sense to answer in the negative, regardless of their left/right, pro/anti-memorandum stance.

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I'm sure that makes perfect sense for your worldview.

So I assume you disagree...? In that case, can you explain which part(s) of my worldview you think are wrong? Saying "I'm sure that makes sense to you" is not an argument.

This is a common cheap argument. Not all react the same when desperate. Some endure it stoically, while others believe they're entitled to take other people's lives.

[...]

We know that immigrants are a problem.

You seem to contradict yourself right there. On the one hand you point out (correctly) that not everyone reacts the same way to desperation. Some desperate people resort to robbery and murder, but the majority do not. This is just as true for immigrants as it is for Greeks. So, why are immigrants-in-general a "problem", when you have yourself explained that not all react the same when desperate?

Immigrants are not a problem. Unemployment is a problem. Poverty is a problem. Inequality is a problem. Austerity is a problem. These are the problems that cause all the things which get blamed on immigrants.

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A people is a mob, and mobs react instinctively. They will protect their identity and territory. Period. In any group the newcomer is sacrificed in case of emergency. In a company he's layd off, in a community he's kicked out. It's wrong but this is the way it happens in a collective mental. And people like GD want to use that for their own benefits, again, that's wrong, but it's politics.

 

I think it matter how you look at things. Edric looks from the left of course haha. I mean look at the anti-dumping tax the EU imposed on chinese solar panels. The same way a society will impose restrictions on immigration. Because it has to save itself before it start saving people from far away. It's not right, but it's life. If a guv. will start helping immigrants before its own citizens they will be kicked out of office, because their first concern should be the people who entrusted them with power. Also, for an ailing country is basically impossible to save itself AND look after immigrants. Especially when it's doing such a lousy job of caring for its own. 

 

So immigrants get caught in the middle. It's a risk people should think about before they go anywhere. I repeat, it's not fair, but that's how things work. I work in China now, and if sh*t hits the fan economically I'll be the first laid off. We already had 20% salary cut off and the 10% annual bonus evaporated. Next step would naturally be to fire me and hire 3-4 more chinese guys for my money.

 

There is another issue here, on separating drifting unskilled and sometimes illigal immigrants (who can't find jobs but went to another country in the hope of asny job they can get) and skilled workers brought in by companies. If a company recruits you and brings you in, then the public should deal with the overall policies of the company and not the foreign employees.

 

Anyway, in other coutries they think about giving local voting rights to the foreign residents, because the policies of the local administration affect anyone living there. But that is in more stable countries where immigration and integration are very carefully implemented.

 

So I think I understand Spectral Paladin's point of view as well as Edric's. It's the basic difference between a "local community" point of view and a "global society" point of view. The problem is the first one might be accused of "fascism" and the second one of being "naive".

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...

 

 

 

In case it has not become clear, I do not share your conviction that it's a war of the working class vs government, the IMF and Merkel. So I 'm afraid I cannot see the problem in your terms.

 

"This is just as true for immigrants as it is for Greeks."

There's your fallacy. Greeks have been through tough times, yet our parents and grandparents could sleep with their windows open. Peoples as a whole react differently to desperation; although it could very well be said that among those who immigrate are some of the worst from their societies.

Crime is a problem. Sheer numbers and consequent unsanitary conditions are a problem. Diseases that appear for the first time in Greece are a problem. We 're a small country, even if we prospered it doesn't mean mean we could handle an additional population of several millions.

 

Davidu, needless to say the vast majority of immigrants in Greece are not company recruits.

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I know what you mean. Greece's bad luck is that it's on the migration route from the middle east, both by ship and by land.

 

Speaking geographically, I really hope Turkey will calm down soon. If they go crazy like the arabs did we're all in big trouble. Imagine how many refugees and emigration would a 75 million people country create. 

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In case it has not become clear, I do not share your conviction that it's a war of the working class vs government, the IMF and Merkel. So I'm afraid I cannot see the problem in your terms.

I understand that. But please stop telling me how you don't see the problem and start telling me how you do see it. Because, obviously, this is a very, very, VERY serious problem we are talking about. You can't just brush it aside and pretend it's no big deal. The economy of Greece has been devastated. Unemployment is off the scale, the younger generations have no hope of starting a career or even getting enough money to live, old people sometimes have to search for food in dumpsters... It's outrageous, it's insane, it's something that should never happen in a country as developed as Greece.

And it's not as if this was all caused by a hurricane or a volcano or some other natural disaster. Nature had nothing to do with it. This was a man-made disaster. It was caused by human beings. Which human beings? Whose fault do you think this is?

 

There's your fallacy. Greeks have been through tough times, yet our parents and grandparents could sleep with their windows open.

No, Greeks have NOT been through any times like these in at least 70 years. Greece isn't just going through some minor economic trouble, it is currently experiencing a Second Great Depression. There hasn't been anything like it since the 1930s. In fact, this may even be worse than the 1930s in Greece (I don't know very much about what happened in Greece during the original Great Depression, whether it was hit hard or not).

Yes, there have been wars more recently, but wars and depressions are different things, and they have different effects on people. Wars tend to bring people together, because they feel they are fighting for a common cause. Depressions tend to divide people and push them apart, because people are made to compete with each other for jobs, basic necessities, sometimes even scraps of food.

So let's be clear: The last time something like this happened in Greece, your grandparents were small children, or maybe not even born yet.

Crime is a problem. Sheer numbers and consequent unsanitary conditions are a problem. Diseases that appear for the first time in Greece are a problem.

Yeah, all those things tend to happen when a country is plunged into one of the worst economic crises in recorded history. You're talking as if everything else is just fine and normal except for crime and disease. I seem to remember that, among other things, Greece's health care system was decimated by austerity.

We're a small country, even if we prospered it doesn't mean mean we could handle an additional population of several millions.

No need to worry about that any more! The crisis took care of it... You can be quite certain that no immigrants want to come to Greece these days, except maybe as a transit point before they go somewhere else.

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Davidu, you make good points, but I think there is one fundamental error in your perspective:

 

If a guv. will start helping immigrants before its own citizens they will be kicked out of office, because their first concern should be the people who entrusted them with power. Also, for an ailing country is basically impossible to save itself AND look after immigrants. Especially when it's doing such a lousy job of caring for its own.

That is looking at the issue backwards. A country doesn't take care of its people. The people take care of the country. Who grows the food, who builds the houses and the roads, who keeps electricity running, who treats patients in hospitals and educates children in schools, who delivers letters and packages, who maintains and repairs the phone system, the water and sewage pipes, and everything else? The working people of that country. The working people who live in that country, both native-born and immigrants.

There is no question of a country "looking after" immigrants, or "looking after" its own people for that matter. The money that you get in your paycheck is not charity from the company or from the government or from any other authority. It is the fruit of your own labour (well, it's actually only part of the fruit of your labour, because the rest is taken from you, but let's not get into that). Working people support the rest of society, not the other way around.

So, if immigrants are coming to your country to work, it is absurd to say that you have no place for them or you can't "take care" of them. How can there not be room for more workers? Are things so perfect that there is no work to be done? No, that's ridiculous. There is always more work that needs to be done, so there is always room for more immigrant workers.

There may not be jobs for them, but that's a different story. That is the fault of capitalism - it is, in fact, one of the most absurd, illogical, and inefficient things about capitalism. Just think about it: In capitalism, you have work that needs to be done, and people who want to do it, yet somehow there are no jobs for them! You can have roads that need to be paved, and immigrant workers willing to pave them, yet the immigrants remain unemployed and the roads don't get paved. The problem is not that we "don't have room" for immigrants, the problem is that we have a bad economic system that can't organize things properly. We literally have millions of people who are willing to work and a system that won't allow them to work!

If we had an economic system that allowed everyone to work, there would always be room for all immigrants who wanted to work.

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Well, there's 2 types of immigration as I pointed out earlier: educated, proffesional or simply skilled workers that find job OR are brought in by recruitment companies. They most often speak the language of the country as well, they supply themselves, they pay tax, they are part of the system and of society.

 

And illiegal immigrants, refugees, people who look for a better country out of desperation, or newly social benefits tourists/immigrants as is the case in the EU. Some don't have papers, most are unskilled, none speak the language but they ask for asylum. Until they at least learn a bit of the language they have to be supported by the state. Also language courses paid by the state. Rents, food, etc. It's humane to do this for refugees and asylum seekers but no system can cope with unlimited ammount of people seeking help. Especially if the system fails to provide the most basic things to its own taxpayers. And here we're talking about access to healthcare and education, not to speak about unemployment help in money. 

 

I was just reading on Spiegel that Germany is drafting a law so they can deport social benefit tourists, even if they are form the EU.

 

You're right when you say that people who want to work SHOULD be able to get jobs, but what happens to people who are unwilling to work? I mean unemployment social pay for immigrants in some cases might offer them an infinite better life than in their home countries, discouraging people to look for work. Actually social benefits in Germany were so high (rumoured) that even germans themselves were taking advantage of it.

 

So when I was saying the state has to take care I mean to provide social benefits for people in need. And if you cannot provide for your own citizens who paid their taxes, how can you provide for immigrants? Actually it kinda' falls into a "I paid all my life for those benefits" moment. What then? This goddamn crysis leaves no escape routes :(

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"Social benefits tourists" who can't speak the language of the country are, for the most part, a myth. I mean, it's not as if the state will go out looking for people to give social benefits to. If you want social benefits, you have to fill out paperwork (in many countries it's very extensive paperwork). Usually, it requires you to give your place of residence, what your last job was, how long you've been unemployed, etc. How can you fill out the paperwork if you don't speak the language of the country?

You can't. So you don't. The vast majority of immigrants don't get social benefits. The vast majority of refugees and low-skilled and illegal immigrants end up working in manual labour jobs. Or looking for work in such jobs. In fact, they are often victimized by criminals and businesses who know that these immigrants can't ask the police for help, so they can't do anything if they are treated inhumanely.

The myth of the "social benefits tourist" is based on a few rare exceptions, and it's used by nationalist politicians and demagogues to cause panic. Then they use that panic to ask for anti-immigrant laws, like the ones being considered in Germany now.

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...and speaking of the "very, very, VERY serious problem we are talking about", this is what happened in Greece yesterday:

The public television and radio broadcaster was completely shut down by the government with a single day's notice.

This is how extreme the situation is. This is the kind of insane austerity we are talking about. And whose fault is it? Did immigrants shut down public TV? I don't think so.

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Surely you mean this is one of the good things of austerity. To be sure, it is embarassing to be without public tv but for what it had become, every sane Greek rejoiced at the news. Good riddance.

 

That is looking at the issue backwards. A country doesn't take care of its people. The people take care of the country. Who grows the food, who builds the houses and the roads, who keeps electricity running, who treats patients in hospitals and educates children in schools, who delivers letters and packages, who maintains and repairs the phone system, the water and sewage pipes, and everything else? The working people of that country. The working people who live in that country, both native-born and immigrants.

There is no question of a country "looking after" immigrants, or "looking after" its own people for that matter. The money that you get in your paycheck is not charity from the company or from the government or from any other authority. It is the fruit of your own labour (well, it's actually only part of the fruit of your labour, because the rest is taken from you, but let's not get into that). Working people support the rest of society, not the other way around.

So, if immigrants are coming to your country to work, it is absurd to say that you have no place for them or you can't "take care" of them. How can there not be room for more workers? Are things so perfect that there is no work to be done? No, that's ridiculous. There is always more work that needs to be done, so there is always room for more immigrant workers.

There may not be jobs for them, but that's a different story. That is the fault of capitalism - it is, in fact, one of the most absurd, illogical, and inefficient things about capitalism. Just think about it: In capitalism, you have work that needs to be done, and people who want to do it, yet somehow there are no jobs for them! You can have roads that need to be paved, and immigrant workers willing to pave them, yet the immigrants remain unemployed and the roads don't get paved. The problem is not that we "don't have room" for immigrants, the problem is that we have a bad economic system that can't organize things properly. We literally have millions of people who are willing to work and a system that won't allow them to work!

If we had an economic system that allowed everyone to work, there would always be room for all immigrants who wanted to work.

 

In the real world, someone has to do the organizing you speak of. Greece had lots of construction jobs in preparation of the 2004 olympics. Then what? This is why capitalism rewards the enterpreneur with part of your fruit of labor - he takes the risks and responsibilities.

 

Do you genuinely want to spark a debate between capitalism and whatever ideal system is in your head? Or do you just feel it's your duty to spout communist drivel whenever you can? And of all the topics, you feel this is the right one to polarize into a left-right one?

 

How can you fill out the paperwork if you don't speak the language of the country?

You can't. So you don't.

 

Except when you got anarchist do-gooders to assist. You 're really not helping your cause here.

 

And it's not as if this was all caused by a hurricane or a volcano or some other natural disaster. Nature had nothing to do with it. This was a man-made disaster. It was caused by human beings. Which human beings? Whose fault do you think this is?

 

I 've stayed out of discussions on Greece's crisis here precisely because I 'm not into self-whipping. Davidu remarked in the superheroes topic

 

Spending a lot of time at work, is very different from working hard. You cannot say you're working hard and doing so much overtime if you use that overtime to watch movies at work. You cannot say you're such a hard worker if you spend your weekend at the office but you play computer games with your collegues those 2 days.

 

Guess who else this applies to? I don't care if you cite numbers that Greeks work as long or even longer than Germans and the rest of Europe. I grew up there, I know exactly what the prevailing attitude is. Work is a challenge - to get away with doing as little as possible. And guess what the means for the public sector with the famous "can't be fired" clause. People hired for positions they never work at; using any public service a bureaucratic nightmare with dozens of useless employees fluffing about.

 

When last year Syriza's scored high on the election and PASOK bombed, do you think that people's view geuinely shifted to the left? Or that they just did what they 've always done - vote for the one who told them what they wanted to hear? Just as they were voting for the "socialist" PASOK and its outrageous promises - which it could not fulfill except by gobbling up the eu funds to hire its voters.

 

Want a car? A house? Sure, take a loan. Want to go holidays? Sure, here's another. Of course it's the evil bankers' fault but it takes two to tango. Why this need to live beyond one's means?

 

Now, does all of this do injustice to the hard-working Greeks that do exist? Yes it does. Does all of this compare to the amounts pocketed by corrupt politicians? Maybe not. I do believe though that the government reflects its people - when the latter have such a poor attitude it's only natural that slime will assume power.

 

Fittingly, it was PASOK leader who assumed power back in 08 with the famous promise "there is money" - and then rushed to the IMF as soon as he was elected. But I 'm not going to chronicle the crisis and what could have been done. As things stand now, austerity is to be endured.

 

No need to worry about that any more! The crisis took care of it... You can be quite certain that no immigrants want to come to Greece these days, except maybe as a transit point before they go somewhere else.

 

Of course, but it doesn't matter. Everyone from the middle east who dreams of a better life in Europe gets to Greece first. Turkey won't take them back needless to say. And if they do get elsewhere, thanks to the Dublin regulation they get sent back to the point of entry in Europe - Greece.

 

 

 

 

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Surely you mean this is one of the good things of austerity. To be sure, it is embarassing to be without public tv but for what it had become, every sane Greek rejoiced at the news. Good riddance.

In the time since you wrote that, Greeks have gone on general strike to protest the closing of their public TV, one of the three parties in government left the coalition and joined the opposition, and a court of justice decided the closure was illegal and ordered public TV broadcasts to be resumed.

So, in fact, every sane Greek was outraged at the news. As they should have been, since public television is an essential pillar of democracy. And since Greek public TV was being asked to pay for economic problems that it did not cause.

But you don't seem to be able to see anything wrong with that.

In the real world, someone has to do the organizing you speak of. Greece had lots of construction jobs in preparation of the 2004 olympics. Then what? This is why capitalism rewards the enterpreneur with part of your fruit of labor - he takes the risks and responsibilities.

He takes the risks? Really? It is the workers that get fired when companies fail. It is the workers that get punished with austerity and wage cuts when the economy collapses. It is the WORKERS of Greece who are suffering the most as a result of the risks taken by Greek capitalists. When capitalists gamble and lose, it is always the workers who get punished. So don't give me any of that nonsense about the "risks" and "responsibilities" taken by the poor misunderstood "entrepreneurs". They are not the ones whose families will starve if they lose their jobs.

As for organizing, of course it is true that organizing work is a type of work. So the people who do organizing work deserve to be paid for it.

What they do not deserve, however, is to be paid hundreds of times more than others, to control the entire profit of the company, and to have absolute power over hirings and firings.

Do you genuinely want to spark a debate between capitalism and whatever ideal system is in your head? Or do you just feel it's your duty to spout communist drivel whenever you can? And of all the topics, you feel this is the right one to polarize into a left-right one?

I was talking about the relatively moderate (and very realistic) goal of having zero unemployment. You call that some kind of "ideal"? Do you realize how easy it is to achieve? Every planned economy in history achieved it. The Soviet Union, and other countries following its model, had massive flaws and I don't consider them socialist... but they successfully eliminated unemployment. That is how easy it is.

And by the way, this topic became polarized between left and right the moment you began spouting your racist anti-immigrant bullshit. I didn't call it what it was - until now - because I prefer to calmly respond to arguments rather than throw around insults. But you keep refusing to provide arguments or even to explain your beliefs, while constantly complaining about the fact that I dare to actually argue my points. Does it shock you that a communist will actually (gasp!) argue against capitalism? In a political thread directly related to an economic crisis? What precisely did you expect?

I will argue in favour of the ideas I support. If you don't like it, argue against me. Or leave. But don't complain that I refuse to play nice with your right-wing crap.

Now, did you notice how we got here? You accused immigrants of causing problems for Greeks. I argued that the problems are caused by the capitalist system, not by the immigrants. I argued that capitalism makes workers fight each other for scraps - Greeks competing with immigrants for jobs, for example - when they should be uniting against their real enemy: the ruling class.

This debate between you and me is the same debate that always happens every time there is a great crisis of capitalism. This is the debate that took place in Germany between 1929 and 1933. This is why opinions become polarized in a time of crisis between the "far left" and the "far right". Everyone must answer the one fundamental question: Whose fault is it that society is collapsing and our lives are terrible? One side (the right) blames various scapegoat minorities - such as Jews or immigrants. Another side (the left) points to the capitalist system, and explains that it is the system's fault.

And then the two sides fight...

I've stayed out of discussions on Greece's crisis here precisely because I'm not into self-whipping.

You still haven't answered my question. This economic collapse was a man-made disaster. It was caused by human beings. Which human beings? Whose fault do you think this is?

It sounds like you want to blame the Greek people, the Greek working class. Is that it? Do you think it is their fault? Are you blaming the victims for everything that was done to them? Are you a "self-hating Greek"? It's hard to tell precisely what you believe when you refuse to say it.

Guess who else this applies to? I don't care if you cite numbers that Greeks work as long or even longer than Germans and the rest of Europe. I grew up there, I know exactly what the prevailing attitude is. Work is a challenge - to get away with doing as little as possible.

I've lived in several different countries, and I've seen people like that in all of them. In fact, let me tell you a secret: MOST people all across the world don't like their jobs. Most people try to get away with doing as little as possible, for all sorts of reasons (because they're underpaid, because they hate the boss, because they hate the job, or, sometimes, because they're lazy). This has always been the case and will probably always be the case. Yet many economies are doing just fine, in spite of it. Sometimes it's even an engine of innovation - a lot of inventions were created by people who were lazy and wanted something to make their job easier.

I've never seen any evidence that Greeks are working any less hard than Germans, on average. Oh, I've heard people say it, but never with any evidence. It's always just "well, the Greek economy collapsed, so they must be doing something wrong..." That is called blaming the victim, and it's despicable.

Want a car? A house? Sure, take a loan. Want to go holidays? Sure, here's another. Of course it's the evil bankers' fault but it takes two to tango. Why this need to live beyond one's means?

Why? Because that is what capitalism and the EU promised. They promised higher living standards for all. Do you think people would continue to support the capitalist system, or EU integration, if politicians came out and said "you lives will not get any better; in fact, they might get worse. Sorry... But you'll still support the system, right?"

Of course not. If they told the truth - if they explained that capitalism is no longer able to develop the forces of production in the industrialized countries (i.e. it can no longer make ordinary people's living standards rise) - then 90% of people would turn anti-capitalist, and the two main parties after the next election would be SYRIZA and the KKE.

So in order to avoid popular discontent and a possible revolution, the capitalist ruling class must feed people a steady diet of consumerism. It must give them better cars, bigger houses and nice holidays. How can they do this when the capitalist economy isn't producing much any more? Through borrowing. Either the government, or individual people, or both, must take loans.

In more rigorous economic terms, those loans are necessary to enable a growing demand while wages are stagnating. People MUST "live beyond their means" so that companies will have someone to buy their products. That is how modern Western capitalism works. Is it sustainable? Of course not. We are facing the collapse of this model right now. Of course, it's always possible that capitalism could reinvent itself in a different form that does not rely so much on loans, thus ending the crisis and living another day. It's also possible that it will not do that, and the current crisis will simply continue until some kind of socialist revolution happens somewhere in the world. We will have to wait and see.

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In the time since you wrote that, Greeks have gone on general strike to protest the closing of their public TV, one of the three parties in government left the coalition and joined the opposition, and a court of justice decided the closure was illegal and ordered public TV broadcasts to be resumed.

So, in fact, every sane Greek was outraged at the news. As they should have been, since public television is an essential pillar of democracy. And since Greek public TV was being asked to pay for economic problems that it did not cause.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And who is it who is protesting? Could is be all the syndicates looking out for their own? Where were they when people in the private sector lost their jobs? As a matter of fact, this public tv was part of the media that keeps reassuring people austerity works. And suddenly it bit them in the ass.

 

 

This debate between you and me is the same debate that always happens every time there is a great crisis of capitalism. This is the debate that took place in Germany between 1929 and 1933. This is why opinions become polarized in a time of crisis between the "far left" and the "far right". Everyone must answer the one fundamental question: Whose fault is it that society is collapsing and our lives are terrible? One side (the right) blames various scapegoat minorities - such as Jews or immigrants. Another side (the left) points to the capitalist system, and explains that it is the system's fault.

 

 

Quit daydreaming eh? I am acknowledging that immigrants are a problem, a far more sensible approach than nice-sounding-but-useless-in-reality theories that most people have no time for.

 

 

You still haven't answered my question. This economic collapse was a man-made disaster. It was caused by human beings. Which human beings? Whose fault do you think this is?

It sounds like you want to blame the Greek people, the Greek working class. Is that it? Do you think it is their fault? Are you blaming the victims for everything that was done to them? Are you a "self-hating Greek"? It's hard to tell precisely what you believe when you refuse to say it.

 

 

 

I 'm not sure what else you need me to spell out for you, but I 'm not going to say much more on that here. I have no sympathy for the guy who thinks it's normal to be "hired" in the public sector to spend his day at a cafe and who finally gets fired. And I really doubt that he needed that kind of job or else he would start a revolution. He 'd need to get off his ass first.

 

Maybe I 'm not arguing, just observing how things work in real life. Where people naturally form hierarchies, are lazy or ambitious, have ideas or just prefer to be told what to do, are capable of weilding power or not. A fascist model such as the soviet one  is the only way to squash such differences.

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I'd prefer to call the current system "consumerist" and not "capitalist". Makes more sense that way, because people are encouraged to consume. China whishes to move another 280 million people tot he cities in the next 10-15 years because they realised peasants are self-reliant, they don't consume anything, meaning they don't support the economy, while avaricious city-dwellers do.

 

Edric, you're asking who to blame. I have seen that back home so many times. People want TO KNOW and when they find out they do nothing about it. The ship is going down and everyone is looking for the culprit instead of doing something. I am sure a capitalist system based on small and medium enterprises with a healthy social security system imposed by the state is the way to go. Look at Scandinavia (minus Norway, they got petrodollars). Gorbachev himself wanted to turn the USSR into a scandinavian type country. He failed. Way too much inertia within the whole soviet block.

 

Spectral Paladin, immigrants are just people caught in between. They didn't come to your country to destroy it, they were sort of invited there and usually they do all the jobs natives are too lazy to do. I had some colleagues at the university that were form Athens and we talked a lot about this. They always said that no matter how much the immigrants were "a problem" or blamed for the country's problems nothing would be solved until the "natives" would actually do the shitty jobs they throw away for the immigrants. Immigrants are a consequence of a problem and not the problem itself. At least it is how I see it.

 

One of my friends at one time had 2 part-time jobs as an architect and a 3rd part-time job as a waitress. She didn't complain. But all my friends back home in Romania though they (mostly) have jobs complain all the time while spending every weekend at the seaside, the mountains or traveling regulary to the West. Every time I tell them their life ain't so bad because they can afford such luxury they look at me as if I'm mad. I've never seen so many people partying and complaining.

 

Back to Edric: communism is an utopia for the simple reason that people WANT PROPERTY. People want to own things. Everyone is happy when some rich dude shares his wealth with us but how happy are we to share our (hard-earned) wealth with someone else? I support progressive taxing to prevent inequality, but the hard-core communist system is a failure. You say about zero unemployment. That is a disaster. Anything under 5% unemployment blocks the jobs market because companies cannot find any professionals to hire. Anything under 5% stalls growth. Unemployment doesn't always mean people are out of jobs (for ages) but also people between jobs. Which is ok. Some of those people get motivated to start their own businesses.

 

The problem, as I see it, is that society forces us to live beyond our means. People THINK they need a car, latest telephone and so on. They don't. People think they HAVE to travel. They don't. (If you get a tour that shows you 10 countries in 7 days you can call that wasting your time because you won't learn anything from it) People have been told they can be anything they want, but the only way to get there is a loan. You'd say it's the system's fault. No, it's the people's fault because the system is made out of us people. I'm not blaming the victim. I'm blaming our own greed. If nobody would take those loans there would be no problem.

 

Also I could not blame Germany or the US for being smarter than us. If they tricked us into buying their sh*t, good for them! We have to get a bit smarter ourselves, enough not to fall into the same thing again. But the problem (at least back home in Romania) is the lack of trust. You'd say everything is built on money, wrong, everything is built on trust. You TRUST that 2$ are worth 2$. You TRUST the guvernment to do its job. You TRUST your taxes are used properly. And of course, you can only TRUST people you know. That's why more people must be involved in politics. That's why people have to rotate and new people must constantly come forward. Which doesn't happen.

 

Of course you cannot trust a politician that never worked a day in his life. I'd vote for someone who has a working company than for someone with a diploma. Because that's life: you have PROOF someone is up to the job and therefore you can TRUST that person to get it right.

 

Now, Edric, you said about managers having too high salaries. That is a problem of education. Now, they're also paid compared to the scarcity of their ... kind. There are not so many rocket scientists around, but there are a lot of people who can use a wrench. So, when you get assaulted by people wanting a job, the value of that job goes down, just regular inflation. I found that on my own looking for a job in China. I still get more than my chinese collegues but still, I get nothing compared to experienced people that are PAID by their home companies to relocate here for a while. The fact I was already here and I was looking for a job pushed by salary down. Also, if I'd be earning as much as my chinese colleagues, I'd have been on my first plane back home a long time ago.

 

To conclude my rant, you can't apply communism because as it was applied before it was an utter failure and also kicking out the immigrants won't solve the problem.

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Spectral Paladin, immigrants are just people caught in between.

I don't disagree and what you desribe is true. Greeks feel they 're entitled to an office job and won't stoop so low as to do construction or work in the fields.

 

The rest I agree with. In fact Edric, wasn't that topic in your signature "Communism and human nature" about how communism is actually impossible? What warrants going over it again?

 

edit: actually I found the topic and it wasn't quite as I remember it, heh. I could swear you had abandoned communism for a more realistic socialist vision.

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I was looking at countries that have it well (compared to others) and basically they all have the germanic community model. The country is made up of provinces made up of townships made out of towns and villages made out of the local communities where people know eachother for ages. Towna and cities are made out of local communities where people know eachother and kinda' self-administer.

 

That is 180 degrees away from what is home where besides the villages and really small towns, everything else is made up from all these modern communist-era neighborhoods where people DON'T WANT to know eachother. That is because in the same concrete apartment building they crammed together all sorts of people that started hating and distrusting eachother. School teachers and workers, townspeople and recently arrived peasants, low income and high income, etc. The people had different lifestyles and income and education and started distrusting eachother. That is NOT a community that will stand united in times of hardship. That is not a community that will elect "the best of them" to administer the neighborhood. That is NOT a community. And this paranoia spread to the smaller towns and villages making the whole democratic system impossible to function. Who would you vote as mayor or MP if you don't trust your own neighbor?

 

In Greece and all over the Mediteranean I saw a greater community sense as people protested in large numbers, but I feel that community sense stops there because after 4-5 years of crisys neither Greece nor Spain produced a grass-roots movement to replace the established political scene. Iceland didn't even need grassroots movement: they just had some big protests against the people paying up the banks' bullsh*t and the government denied the banks a bailout. Banks collapsed and now Iceland is doing so well they don't want to enter the EU anymore. I understand small countries have small inertia to change and decision but seeing all the huge protests in Greece at least, I would've expected more people to get involved politically as in offering solutions and organising in order to offer a political alternative. Except the neonazis, of course. But nothing changed, or so I saw on the articles I read on the net.

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To conclude my rant, you can't apply communism because as it was applied before it was an utter failure

I'm afraid I'm a bit nit-picky here but IIRC technically no country had build a real Communist state, powered by a Communist economy. It is often said that the countries that are called "Communist states" have undermined the entire idea of Communism and thus Communism "doesn't work". However, in reality Communism as envisioned by Marx had not been achieved anywhere in the world, so there can be no evidence of whether it "works" or not. The question of whether it can be achieved, or by what means, is another matter entirely.

Sorry for this little digression guys :)

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Today, the GD leader and several of its MPs were arrested, with warrants for more:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24314319

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/28/golden-dawn-arrests-greece-uncharted-waters

 

 

 

I'm afraid I'm a bit nit-picky here but IIRC technically no country had build a real Communist state, powered by a Communist economy. It is often said that the countries that are called "Communist states" have undermined the entire idea of Communism and thus Communism "doesn't work". However, in reality Communism as envisioned by Marx had not been achieved anywhere in the world, so there can be no evidence of whether it "works" or not. The question of whether it can be achieved, or by what means, is another matter entirely.

Edric O (and others) have made that remark and I already answered it in this topic: you can't have communism unless you enforce it. As far as I 'm concerned, what we 've seen is the best you can get.

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I think communism in it's purest most ideological form can only work with exceptionally educated people who, at the same time, wish it. You cannot make communism with workers and peasants because given the chance these people will turn into brigands destroying in the name of their ideology just so they can amass some more fortune. For a simple person equality means he has to drag the rich to his level or simply take all that those have.

 

It would take extremely dedicated people to make a communist society work. And most people in the world aren't :) I mean if you carry out an experiment with volunteers it might very well work, because people who would volunteer for this not only know what this is all about but also wish it. If you have to impose it or to "enlighten" the masses, the basic message that would reach their ears is "raid the rich".

 

It's more about human nature than statehood.

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The only ones who have somewhat made that work were the Cubans, really.

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What about North Korea?

Which one is better?

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Not sure Cubans made it work. Most people that talked to ordinary cubans said the people complained about the lack of opportunities and that the state would dictate your proffession despite whichever training you got. Studied physics? So what, we need bartenders. You're assigned that job. Not such fun actually.

 

North Korea is f*cked up... i wouldn't know where to begin.

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