by John Imani
Though it is a question and an important one at that “whether Greece will stay in the EU?” is not addressed here, as there is a larger issue that is at stake. Where Greece is cited, it serves only as an example: “De te Fabula Narratur”.
‘Combined and uneven development’ exists not only in the imperialistic world that is endemic to capitalism but also in its opposite: the resistance to capital’s sway.
In capitalist ‘combined and uneven development,’ the natural course of events in a less-developed area is interrupted, altered, bent and shaped in manners that are beneficial to the more advanced, the imperial country.
Because of such malformations, such an area coming into resistance and then seeking to free itself of the imperial system (here international capitalism) finds itself locked into economic relations and inter-relationships with its oppressor.
This is so at the institutional, the cultural, and at the individual levels. Minds, traditions, as well as the forms and functions of the political government, the economic system and the social institutions, as well as the prevailing mores and prejudices are intricately bound up with those of the imperialists: Such ties, in so many ways reinforce the supposition that the existing state of affairs not only is the way it is but it is also the way it ought to be. Or can be.
The inability of, in this case, the Greek nation essentially having no control over its currency to keep its banks open, while major, is but one of these ties. They are legion. International ownership of local area lands, factories, etc. is another. Machine-tools, the prime necessity of manufacturing and farming, fishing and mining are, to the greatest extent, produced elsewhere. The bourgeoisie, indeed, “creates a world after its own imageî and enmeshes such a world in spider-like webs with itself.
In order for an area to turn socialist on its own, it seems rational, that the area in question needs to be self-sufficient. ‘Self-sufficient’ here means being able to economically reproduce itself through its own efforts. This can take two forms: ‘In-kind’ or ‘direct’ sufficiency where an area is able to produce directly all the economic wherewithal it requires; and ‘indirect’ where an area is able to produce the trade-able commodity-equivalent of all the wherewithal required that it does not directly produce.
It must be self-sufficient, for if the area pursuing socialism cannot sustain itself then:
-There will be rationing and all the problems that brings with it: queues, black markets, hoarding, competing currencies (Gresham’s law), etc.
-Economic sanctions such as tariffs on such an area’s, e.g. Greece’s, exports of commodities will be imposed in response to any nationalizations of internationally owned properties and/or renunciations of debts. The less-developed area will also face restrictions on its imports of machine tools, materials and fuels (where these are not produced at home).
-Aid, investment, credit, etc. from abroad will cease thus implying a further drop in living standards that such inflows had helped enable, e.g. IMF or ECB funds used to pay state employees, etc.
-Area-based companies operating abroad will cease to repatriate profits.
-Many of the areas’ best and its brightest’ will flee abroad where their work would be paid more.
-Politicians, political economists, producers and priests, will all caution that the area’s break from international capital power will spell economic peril and social unrest, all of these things inimical to the ‘proper order’ of things.
-Lockouts will occur, especially at foreign-owned firms. While these can be seized, the provision of the necessary spare parts, materials, fuels, etc. via international supply chains will be disrupted.
-There will be national and international capitalist agents and functionaries whose purpose is to create, support, finance and arm the right wing counter-revolution. And alongside this will be the danger that the area’s existing military will intervene. Almost certainly on the side of the right.
All of these barriers can be (to a greater or lesser extent) mitigated by the rise of a thoroughgoing class consciousness–and commitment to socialism–obtainable by the calling for and participation in working classes’ communes throughout that area. Communes that would discuss, inspire, organize.
This conundrum of a non-self-sufficient area being the first to move in these directions–but economically unable on its own to build socialism–means that these first examples are almost doomed to fail..
There are measures that might help mitigate such things:
-Nationalization of the areas industries and mines and farms; etc
-A ìpro-î campaign in other areas, especially amongst the working class of the imperial areas.
-A campaign in other areas to, e.g. “Buy Greek” nationalized production.
-Direct donated aid from people in these other areas.
-Emigration of ‘best and brightest’ of other areas who go there with the expressed intention of ‘helping to build socialism (communism)’.
If it survives long enough, other areas will follow the lead and may even save a faltering first area revolution.
All of these things makes our discussion and examination of the international nature of the class struggle that much more important; for, if not Greece, then perhaps, Spain. If not Spain, then… somewhere. The open struggle for socialism will begin sometime and somewhere. And, in all probability, it will do so in an area or areas still dependent upon the existing supra-national capitalist network.
But it will begin. It may already have.