Friday, January 30, 2015

Syriza's victory in Greece might not be the radical revolution you were hoping for

by James Bloodworth


January 30, 2015

Syriza’s victory in the Greek elections last weekend wasn’t just a triumph for the radical left but a victory for common sense. In accepting the establishment narrative of an "extreme" or "hard left" party coming to power, most commentators have been getting things entirely the wrong way round: in austerity-ravaged Europe the real extremists sit at desks in Brussels and Berlin and peddle economic homeopathy.

Put another way, it would be a mistake to assume that the people of Greece shifted decisively to the left in electing Syriza. In reality economic orthodoxy has moved so far to the right that an unwillingness to let a generation of young Greeks wither on the vine is now considered utopian.

The Troika (the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank) offered Greece a brutal Hobson’s Choice: reduce your country to penury or be booted out of Europe. Successive Greek governments supinely accepted this twisted logic and as a consequence Greece has lost around a quarter of its economic output and 26 per cent of the country’s labour force are unemployed.


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