- By electing Syriza the Greek people have grasped the neo liberal nettle by the throat and taken a punt on a future of hope and progress.
|Future generations deserve a glimpse of the bright sunny uplands in which they can build lives worth living|
Politically the victory of Syriza ranks as one of the best days of my life, it stands alongside Mandela's release from prison, the fall of Saigon which brought an end to the Vietnam war and the victory of the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua.
If anything the victory of Syriza is more important than these aforementioned historic events as it places in power within the EU a new left party which has the potential to halt the forward march of neoliberal capital.
History teaches radical politics cannot operate in a vacuum, or be restricted to borders, hence the Bolshevik experiment was bound to fail when Stalin confined it philosophically to socialism in one country. Radical socialist politics are internationalist or they are knowt.
Thus what happened in Greece on Sunday was the birth pangs of a new world order, whether it turns out to be a stillbirth history will judge, but what is unstoppable is the inspirational echo of Syriza's historic victory spreading across the western world.
The question many are asking is why Greece, why Syriza, why Now?
The answer is clear firstly Greece is a small country with a long history of a corrupt oligarchy and political class whose greed and incompetence were bound to provoke a revolutionary upsurge if the catalysts were there to set it off. The economic crash of 2008 proved to be just that; true to form the Greek oligarchy with its control of the State chose to deal with it in their usual arrogant, ignorant and self interested way, thus a confrontation between them and the people was bound to explode.
The marvel of the last six years is despite much provocation from the political right, both parliamentary and extra parliamentary, it has not exploded into civil war, the traditional fallback position of the Greek ruling classes.
Credit for this is due to solely to the good sense of Syriza's leadership who have played the long game, confident they could win power by democratic means. On Sunday they were proven right.
Indeed Syriza has charted a way forward for the European new left to follow, Alexis Tsipras the party leader and his comrades understood the key to parliamentary power was to offer an alternative to the mainstream and in the process convince enough Greeks they are a party of power not permanent opposition. Public feuding between factions was kept to a minimum and slapped down when they played into the enemies' hands. Which given Syriza is a coalition of the radical Left, consisting of democratic socialists, left-wing populist, green left groups, Maoist, Trotskyist, and eurocommunist is a remarkable achievement. The more so when one considers the penchant the radical left has always had historically for feuding amongst themselves along with having the patience of a Gnat.
As Pablo Iglesias of Podemos, the new party of the Spanish left so astutely put it:
The key to success is to achieve a connection between the reality you have diagnosed and what the majority actually feels.
Indeed and once this has been achieved there is little need to continually harp on about how god awful life is under the establishment parties. People already understand this as they live it every day, what people wish to hear is a viable alternative which gives them hope.
As Zoe Williams wrote:
First of all, is that they [Syriza and party's like them] reject the prevailing economic verities. Conventional political debate has parties thrashing out positions, which they then justify and defend with reference to the International Monetary Fund or the Office for Budget Responsibility or the Bank of England. Economic projections, or rather the bodies who make them, stand as the final authority on what constitutes a good decision.
Grant Shapps, the Tory party chairman, provided a bland but elegant example of this on Sunday, when touting the election message – “Conservatives or chaos” – around the BBC. “The IMF says we can be the biggest economy in Europe in 15 years, but only if we stay on the road to growth.” Here, the IMF is presented as authority, godhead and visionary. It can see into the future. It cannot be questioned. In this worldview, party differences are simply practical, problem-solving ones: who can best do what the IMF wants? Who understands growth and how to deliver it? It is ironic that this has become the burning question for democracy, when history shows that growth is pretty unrelated to which party is in government.
Millions of us have concluded organisations like the IMF are part of the problem not the solution as they represent the interest of the banksters and their political gophers whose greed and criminal negligence caused the 2008 economic crash and whose austerity measures have pushed millions of us into penury.
As Paul Mason pointed out:
As Paul Mason pointed out:
The IMF predicted Greece would grow as the result of its aid package in 2010. Instead, the economy has shrunk by 25%. Wages are down by the same amount. Youth unemployment stands at 60% – and that is among those who are still in the country.
So the economic collapse – about which all Greeks, both right and leftwing, are bitter – is not just seen as a material collapse. It demonstrated complete myopia among the European policy elite. In all of drama and comedy there is no figure more laughable as a rich man who does not know what he is doing. For the past four years the troika – the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank – has provided Greeks with just such a spectacle.
Through Syriza the Greek people have cried enough, austerity is not the way, there must be and is another way. If we too wish to dig ourselves out of the dreadful economic mess we have allowed the ruling elites to create, whether they be Tories, Lib Dem or New Labour. We too will have to grasp the neo liberal nettle by the throat and take a punt on a future of hope and progress which allows future generations a glimpse of the bright sunny uplands in which they can build lives worth living.