Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why young rural Greeks are set to embrace Syriza

by Paul Mason

BBC News

June 14, 2012

We drive north from Athens into Thessaly, where once you leave the sea road, the mountains hide a vast alluvial inland plain.

This is green Greece. Fertile with wheat, nuts, olives and cattle. The cow bells and the steep mountain roads make if feel like Switzerland, albeit a Switzerland with 40 degree heat and crazy drivers.

I have come to the village of Anavra because it has got a reputation for economic success. They are doing eco-farming. They have got young people moving there because of the economic crisis in other regions - in fact they are having to fend off incomers.

We sit in the taverna in the main square, the young farmers in their bib-and-brace overalls, already by 12 noon the plastic tables are littered with beer bottles and cigarette ash. These are the good-old-boys of Greece in the making, their battered, hay-plastered SUVs at the roadside.

Their complaint is that governments have done nothing for farmers. That foreign imports are destroying their livelihoods. These are the normal complaints about farming. Then I ask them about politics and they come out with the normal complaints as well:

"The politicians are corrupt," says 30-year-old Stathis Mithroleos. "We're the generation that should be peaking now. I have two children and I am worried about them. If I knew things would be like this I would not have got married."


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