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Andreas Kalyvas on the Critical Situation in Greece and Europe

A conversation with Jeffrey Goldfarb

Andreas Kalyvas and I sat down the other day to discuss the situation of Greece and Europe. He and I have been talking about politics for years, in Wroclaw, in Johannesburg, in New York. We understand each other as we differ. He is a leftist, committed to radical transformation. I feel a need to understand how transformations can be realized, and when it comes to revolutions, it’s the self- limiting kind that I saw up close in Poland that I think is most desirable. He is a political dreamer with his eyes on the utopian (this is not a criticism), while my dreams are more rooted in experience. Nonetheless, here Andreas informs, in a sober objective appraisal of the financial, constitutional, and cultural existential crises in Greece. His analysis illuminates: carefully considering the fundamental challenges for Greece and Europe, the specific tension between Brussels, Berlin and Athens, and the impossibility of successful negotiations. His critical judgments of the deeply problematic political culture of Europe and Greece’s position between Russia and the European Union are convincing. I listened and learned. His position on revolution and Syriza was also informative. A new social democratic party, with an internal communist opposition, that proposes rather conventional neo-Keynesian remedies for a depressed economy. We agreed on the contrast between Europe and the U.S. when it comes to austerity, more easily than I expected. It surprised me that the revolutionary transformation that he makes seem most likely is more nightmare than dream, i.e. of the fascist kind. He foresees dilemmas and even possibilities of civil war, and remarkably points to the forces of migration as a basis of hope. -J.G.

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Jeffrey Goldfarb

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