No doubt angry and frustrated with the latest developments in the ongoing Greek crisis, as many of us are, Paul Murphy – the Socialist/Anti-Austerity Alliance TD for Dublin South-West – yesterday lashed out at Greece’s beleaguered Syriza government on social media, calling Greece’s leaders ‘donkeys’ who are leading ‘lions.’ Murphy, along with much of the commentariat of Ireland’s left, want to see Greece hold out – perhaps indefinitely – for some mythical better deal from the European Union. Paul Murphy and the hardliners of Europe’s Anti-Austerity Movement are somehow envisioning themselves in the rôle of a very seventeenth century resistance force chanting the mantra of No Surrender, and this is easy for them because they are not in solidarity with the people of Greece. They are not sharing the true extent of the suffering being endured by the real human beings in the country they profess to be championing. When Murphy was in Athens last week enjoying his latte in the sun whilst reading Nicos Paulantzas on his E-Reader I happened to be on the phone to the director of Caritas Hellas (a resident and native of Athens) who was upset that his foodbank had no more food.
Please do not imagine that I am not sympathetic to Murphy’s cause. I am, and deeply so, but the showdown between Greece and the EU has reached the limit over which it would be murder to cross. Alexis Tsipras knows this, and the people of Greece know this – because they are the ones who can now no longer feed their children or care for their sick. Does Paul Murphy know this? Is he sharing this self-same misery? No he is not, and in spite of all of his noble posturing his words and his high political ideals cannot put food on their tables. It is all very well for a well-educated, well-heeled middle class chap from Ireland to pontificate the glories of Marxism to the poor and the hungry. Yet it is quite another thing to be poor and hungry, and hundreds of thousands of poor Greeks are on the brink of starvation. Now is not the time for some quasi-Stalinist five year economic plan! Our struggle against the barbarism of Capitalism and the market economy is a process, and not a diktat pandering to the populist requirements of Irish politicians. This entire struggle counts for nothing if the people we are collaborating with are starved to death. What Paul Murphy cannot see is that the donkeys he is decrying are busy trying to feed their starving lions.