Richard Fidler and Leo Panitch discussed and debated the recent events in Greece at a public forum in Ottawa on Aug. 13. The video is broadcast on Left Streamed and also posted on Links. You can view the debate here on YouTube.
The forum was hosted by Solidarity Against Austerity Ottawa and moderated by Susan Spronk of the Socialist Project in Ottawa. The two presentations lasted 45 minutes, followed by 45 minutes of q&a.
Leo Panitch is a lifetime socialist, longtime professor of political science at York University in Toronto and a frequent traveler to Greece. Among his published books is The Making of Global Capitalism, co-authored with Sam Gindin and published in October 2015. Richard Fidler is a lifetime socialist and lawyer by profession. He has authored many articles and several books on the history of Quebec and its relations with the rest of Canada. He lives in Ottawa and publishes a blog of political commentary, ‘Life On The Left‘.
Leo Panitch argued in the forum that the Syriza-led government had little alternative but to accept the draconian austerity diktats of the German-led European Union last month. He considers advocacy of possible alternatives to the Syriza-led course to be exercises in ultraleftism, considering the weak solidarity coming from the working classes of the more developed capitalist countries of the European Union.
Richard Fidler criticizes that view, saying that Syriza should have and could have fought for an alternative to the straitjacket of the European Union and euro currency from the time of its election. Fidler explores such ideas in a lengthy article dated August 7. The article is published here on his blog, ‘Life on the Left’, and is highly recommended.
A new article by Dick Nichols in Green Left Weekly was published yesterday and is informative: ‘Greece: SYRIZA on brink of split over new bailout‘. He reports on the $86 billion austerity deal reached between the Greek government and European financial institutions this month and approved by the Greek Parliament on August 14. Nichols is the European correspondent of GLW. A report on the August 14 vote in the Greek Parliament approving this deal is here in Forbes.
Similar to the people of Greece, the people of Ukraine are suffering an austerity attack led and directed by the European Union. That attack is all the more serious because the EU, U.S. and NATO governments are backing a civil war by the governing regime in Kyiv against those Ukrainians choosing to resist austerity. As well, the civil conflict in Ukraine has been seized upon by the aforementioned governments to deepen their historic drive to weaken and ultimately dismember the Russian nation and federation, including the historic echos of the Russian Revolution of 1917 still present. All this is not necessarily understood or accepted by many of those sympathetic to the Greek people.