Corona-crisis: the West, Germany and the European left

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
April 25, 2020

Humanity is facing one of the most serious and complex crises in its history. It is not only a health crisis, it is also an economic, ecological and a geopolitical one. In Europe, it is opening a new chapter in the deep and potentially terminal crisis of the European Union. However, nobody in Europe or anywhere else in the world (or to be exact very few people and forces) seems to be able to formulate any sound ideas on what to do when confronted with such a monumental challenge (the only exception being the neo-totalitarian tendency of western Capitalism and Imperialism).

“Neoliberal Globalizers” do not want to change anything in the system. The fact that they have proposed Joe Biden as a US presidential candidate is more than enough proof they have nothing to propose. They want to put their broken machine back to work once again, changing as little as possible. However, even if they manage to make the system work, it will only work until the next crisis, and the next crisis will be much more serious and difficult than the coronavirus. The present economic, social, international, ecological order is impossible to sustain,  is not viable in the middle term and ultimately poses the very real danger of the extinction of human life.

The other, supposedly anti-globalization faction inside the dominant capitalist – Imperialist system is Pompeo, Thiel and Netanyahu. This faction practictically influences Trump’s policies on all major fronts (Iran, China, Climate). We don’t know if the US President is really conscious of the implications of his policies, but that is not important. As we already know from ancient Greek tragedy, sometimes one can be even more effective when not fully conscious of his actions.

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There can be no serious doubt that this faction wants to replace the present neoliberal globalization world order with a kind of sui generis fascist and neo-feudal capitalism and with the policies of generalized War (against China, against Islam, against the western popular classes, against what remains of democracy, against the climate). With the technologies present in our world, this faction’s rise to power at the top of the Western world will increase the probability of the end not of civilization, but also of all life on Earth exponentially.  It is as simple as that.

This second faction is trying to pretend they are friends of Russia and exploit various needs of the post-Soviet elites. They are not and cannot be friends of Russia. They are friends of Russia as much as Hitler or Thatcher and Reagan were friends of Stalin and Gorbachev respectively. By the inner logic of their demarche, they are resolutely hostile to any entity with the degree of autonomy and power of Russia. In the long run they can accept Russia only as a vassal state, the way it was under Yeltsin. They would like to dissolve Russia to smaller entities, the way Brzezinski describes in his famous book “The Grand Chessboard.” But they know only too well from History that a frontal attack on Russia is impossible. They can defeat and conquer Russia only by pretending to be its friends. This method almost succeeded in 1941 by leaving the USSR unprepared to face Hitler’s attack, and did succeed in 1985-91.

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In theory, the present global situation would be an enormous opportunity for an authentic Left, for any political force not controlled by world finance, for a serious social, anti-imperialist (multipolar) and ecological way out of the impasse.  When the lockdown ends, we will most likely see an enormous upsurge of class struggle, given the offensive of the crisis, in both health and economic terms, against popular classes all over the world. In Europe, such a situation will very likely prevail at least in Southern Europe, including France, while contradictions between member states of the EU will be exacerbated. Unfortunately, however, up to now, we aren’t seeing the appearance of anything serious, and, if we do see some leftist movements trying to shape an answer, it is mainly in the South, Latin America and Africa (for example: this article, also this one). In Europe nothing is moving, the radical left being a shadow of itself after the Greek fiasco of 2015. In spite of their rhetoric, most radical leftist organizations in Europe are rather conservative sui generis Social Democratic forces. In fact, something deeper is happening here. The crisis of the left is a reflection of the crisis of European civilization.


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