Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

February 1, 2015

Yanis Varoufakis versus reptilian BBC interviewer

Filed under: Greece — louisproyect @ 3:47 pm


  1. I was disappointed with Varoufakis not because of the content of what he said but for his failure to “take command” of the interview. He did restrain her a bit, noting her interruptions, for example. Near the end of the interview when she was raising the issues of “trust” and distrust among the participating parties, Varoufakis should have cut in, pointed out the inveterate habit of the media to always up the ante emotionally, and told her, point blank, that what is central are the POLICIES which result from the process, not her attempt to raise phony issues. I really did appreciate Varoufakis’ constant invocation of the Eurozone as the area whose publics are in need of relief, not just the Greek public alone.

    Comment by uh...clem — February 1, 2015 @ 4:44 pm

  2. It’s probably best that he restrained himself. Losing your temper with a female interviewer never looks good. But basically, you’re screwed either way.

    Comment by jay — February 1, 2015 @ 8:52 pm

  3. Are there any “mammalian” media functionaries at the BBC? Doubt any have evolved to that level.

    The big bourgeois media in Europe is still groping for a “general line” to make all out propaganda war on the Syriza government if necessary. Their “sources” in NATO/EU are very busy right now furiously digging for anything to tie Syriza to the evil Putin monster. That will manufacture a “general line” forthwith. It is surprising that they weren’t prepared beforehand, the Syriza win was in the cards for some weeks now. I think they were surprised at the extent of the win, and therefore the extent that this is a direct repudiation of their “economic” policies (can these really be conceived as “economic” in any rational measure?).

    Therefore their underlying fear is that the Syriza example could trigger falling dominoes elsewhere, starting with Spain. This fuels their hysteria. It is certainly not a concern that the Greek events “open up a new front for Putin”, though that will be the line if they can’t arm-twist Syriza to sell out.

    By sheer coincidence, Syriza emerges precisely as I am in the midst of a close reading of Nicos Poulantzas’ political theories in his earliest work, Political Power and Social Classes (1967-68, later in English in the 1978 via Verso). By the date of the Verso publication, the Althusser-inspired Poulantzas had moved rather decidedly in a “new” reformist direction around Euro-communism, but the elements were already there, particularly in Poulantzas’ theory of the “general function of the state” as well as his theory of ideology. “[The dominant] ideology cements the articulation of the various levels of a formation; it expresses in a coherent universe the type of articulation specifying the ‘unity’ of that formation” (‘Marxist Political Theory in Great Britain’, NLR I/43, May-June 1967, pg. 67).

    The dominant ideology is cement, glue for the expression in a coherent universe of the unity of the social formation. But generally, Althusser-Poulantzas’ structural-functionalism precludes the concept of a structural *dysfunctionalism*, because its methodological tendency is to tack on contradiction (a concept essential to the analysis of class-divided society) as an afterthought to considerations of unity. Simple unity, rather than the dialectical concept of unity-in-contradiction.

    Hence there is no explanation for the “function” of (what I regard as) the dominant American ideology of neo-conservativism, with its anchor in the idea of American exceptionalism (as recently affirmed by Barak Obama, and as theoretically perfected by the arch-Weberian Talcott Parsons in the 1950’s), and for which neo-liberalism is its “economic” coda, in acting more like a plastic explosive rather than glue or cement. Yesterday’s cement can become today’s explosive charge.

    In any case, Syriza appears to be the state power realization of Poulantzas’ euro-communist program in his own mother country. Critical review of Poulantzas would be in appropriate order here.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — February 1, 2015 @ 11:53 pm

  4. Richard Seymour on Poulantzas: http://www.leninology.co.uk/2011/10/poulantzas-and-socialist-strategy-part.html

    Comment by louisproyect — February 2, 2015 @ 12:11 am

  5. Shall a poor righteous reptile go on with the self-destructive show or starve?

    Comment by IndianJones — February 2, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

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