A default manifesto – Vassilis K. Fouskas on the alternative to austerity in Greece

Vassilis K. Fouskas

Writing in Open Democracy, Vassilis K. Fouskas, co-author of Cyprus: The Post-Imperial Constitution and the forthcoming The Fall of the US Empire: Global Fault-Lines and the Shifting Imperial Order, provides a must-read analysis of why Greece doesn’t have to accept the politics of austerity, and how a progressive movement could lead a default ‘from below’:

It is as clear as dawn that the current ruling elites cannot deliver economic growth. As a consequence, they cannot reverse the plight of Greek society. All these austerity measures they have taken, and no doubt will continue to take at the behest of the ‘troika’, have sawed off the branch upon which they themselves sit, that is the middle and lower middle classes of Greece – what Marx used to call ‘the classes-pillars of a regime’. That is why in the forthcoming election these elites will be voted down: already opinion polls indicate the collapse of PASOK (11%) and ND (28%), disabling them from forming a majority government. In their stead, the parties of the left are forecast to poll more than 40%. The Greek people cannot vote for those who are responsible for the creation of the debt and the international humiliation of their country. Moreover, they cannot accept this insult to their intelligence, inasmuch as the ruling elites are asking the people to pay for the debt the elites created.

Fouskas provides the outline of a programme for the Greek left:

The radical political programme of democratic forces must be clear, unambiguous and realistic. Any united front of a radical left in Greece, which is not yet a political reality, should be formed on the following key premises:

Auditing of the debt and immediate default on the country’s debt obligations, especially of the so-called ‘odious debt’.

Immediate exit from the euro-zone and denomination of debt into new drachma

Nationalisation of banks and imposition of capital controls to avoid hard currencies entering the new Greek economy buying assets indiscriminately, while encouraging FDI from abroad in the productive sectors of the economy in order to promote export-led growth

Investment in solar energy and green projects, especially reviving organic farming in order to boost exports

State intervention into aggregate demand management by boosting wages and purchasing power, thus offsetting the negative impact of devaluation on households, especially the poor ones

Taxing large estates, especially those held by the Church, as well as Greek shipping capital

Drastic cuts in the country’s defence budget and the re-orientation of Greek foreign policy towards its Balkan neighbours, Turkey, Cyprus, NATO, Russia, China and the Arab world. The key aim here must be the demilitarisation of the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean and the development of regional organisations and NGOs promoting the fraternity and solidarity of all peoples of the former Ottoman and Soviet spaces

Visit Open Democracy to read the article in full.

The Fall of the US Empire

Global Fault-Lines and the Shifting Imperial Order

Vassilis K. Fouskas and Bülent Gökay

Looks at the debates amongst critical theorists about the decline of US power.

“A major addition to the literature on the decline of US hegemony. Avoids cheap polemics and shows balanced, even prudent, judgement. In addition, it offers a sophisticated survey of grand theories of capitalism including those of Fernand Braudel, Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi, and Robert Brenner.” – Professor Donald Sassoon, Comparative European History, Queen Mary University of London

“It is widely agreed that the current crisis in the capitalist economies is the worst since the 1930s. But in this timely book, Fouskas and Gokay suggest that the financial disarray reflects the beginning of the end of the US Empire and a decisive shift of power to the ‘Global East’. Their argument is both stimulating and challenging.” – Michael Newman

£17.99 only £16.00 on the Pluto site

Cyprus

The Post-Imperial Constitution

Vassilis K. Fouskas and Alex O. Tackie

Convincing case for a united, democratic and independent Cyprus

“This study offers a new intellectual ethos to uncover the complex historical facts and explain the current deadlock in Cyprus.” – Bülent Aras, Professor of International Relations, Isik University, Istanbul

“A provocative account placing the evolution of the well-known history of the Cyprus problem in the context of competing great power politics and strategic considerations in the Eastern Mediterranean.” – Van Coufoudakis, Professor Emeritus, Indiana, University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne

£7.99 only £7.00 on the Pluto site

Zones of Conflict

US Foreign Policy in the Balkans and the Greater Middle East

Vassilis K. Fouskas

Radical interpretation of US policy in Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East.
“Written with verve and intelligence.” Donald Sassoon, University of London.

£18.99 only £17.00 on the Pluto site

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