[lbo-talk] [pen-l] Varoufakis' new memoir

Marv Gandall marvgand2 at gmail.com
Thu Feb 22 14:59:56 PST 2018

> On Feb 22, 2018, at 12:05 PM, James Creegan <turbulo at aol.com> wrote:
> I read both Varoufakis's memoir and the LRB review. What strikes me is that, just as Tsipras prolonged negotiations in the vain hope that the Troika would make concessions, so Varoufakis clung to Tsipras in the equally vain hope that he would begin show some backbone, after it became more than clear that he had none. There is throughout the book almost no mention of any effort to mobilize the Greek people against the Eurocrats, mainly I think because there was none.
> Jim Creegan

According to Varoufakis, Tsipras balked because he felt he didn’t think the Greek masses would support leaving the eurozone. Of course, majorities don’t come ready-made; they have to be built. It’s unfortunately true that the far left often exaggerates its potential to mobilize the masses, but in the Greek case there already was a majority prepared to deepen the struggle.

This was demonstrated when Greek voters decisively opted to reject the new austerity memorandum in the July referendum. Many of them understood that the rejection necessarily implied charting their own course outside the eurozone. Shauble even suggested the NATO powers would assist in a Grexit because they didn’t want to see a failed Greek state on Europe’s southern border.

This is why the charge of “betrayal” levelled against Tsipras was as justified as that against a trade union leadership which abruptly signs a sweetheart deal with the boss after their members have rejected a tentative agreement.

My sense is that Varoufakis resigned because he could not stomach this about face, but was not willing to risk political isolation by leading a fight against the Tsipras faction or even joining Lafazanis and Popular Unity and other far left forces which did. He vacillated between the two poles.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Marv Gandall <marvgand2 at gmail.com>
> To: Socialist Project <SocialistProject at yahoogroups.ca>; Pen-L Economics <pen-l at mail.csuchico.edu>; LBO <lbo-talk at lbo-talk.org>
> Sent: Thu, Feb 22, 2018 2:48 pm
> Subject: [pen-l] Varoufakis' new memoir
> Worth reading in the latest New York Review of Books - economic historian Adam Tooze on Yanis Varoufakis’ account of Syriza’s capitulation to the troika.
> As Tooze notes, “it was clear that the creditors had no intention of making the least concession. Why did the Greek government not simply walk away?
> “Why did it stay at the table in a doomed attempt to reason with the Eurogroup?
> “Given his identification with the left, Varoufakis is haunted by these questions.
> “It is the struggle to answer them that makes his frank memoir not only engrossing but an important contribution to the library of modern politics, as a case study in the limits of radicalism and the forces that hold the status quo in place.”
> http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/03/08/yanis-varoufakis-modern-greek-tragedy/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NYR%20Varoufakis%20Carrington%20Black%20Panther&utm_content=NYR%20Varoufakis%20Carrington%20Black%20Panther+CID_caf75038ff25213c0caf63226b4f932a&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_term=A%20Modern%20Greek%20Tragedy
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