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Will Syriza in Greece Be a Sell Out ? The Signs Are Not Looking Good.

category international | politics / elections | opinion/analysis author Wednesday January 28, 2015 00:45author by T Report this post to the editors

After the election victory of Syriza in Greece on Sunday 25th Jan, what are the chances they will implement their new anti-austerity programme and does this mean we can all follow their path. Is this a return of democracy -i.e. the will of the people. And can the rest of us follow them?

The short answer is seems to be no.

Sunday 25th delivered election victory for the new far-Left political party, Syriza in Greece. Syriza are still a very young party and full of young people, many of whom are undoubtedly relatively new to politics at least since the financial crisis.

They have raised the hopes of millions of Greeks and the hopes of many more millions throughout Europe who have also suffered at the hands of austerity. The effects of the Greek crisis have been particularly severe and hit many very harshly, youth unemployment is running at 60 percent, massive cuts to health, millions below the poverty line, thousands and thousands homeless, soaring suicide rate and so on. For many people they are still in disbelief as to how life has turned for them. The main stream media has tended to portray Syriza as a very radical turn of politics which it is in that they rose so quickly to become the party with the largest share of the vote, and they have sort of presented it as a dangerous threat to the established order with some reporting it will trigger a new financial crisis and lead to Greece exiting the Euro. We had also announcements from the German central bank warning of dire problems along with a steady stream of ominous messages from like minded pro-austerity institutes and political centres.

But is it really true and what is it that Syriza has been threatening to do that has made them so popular. According to their anti-austerity plan before the election, they promised to stop austerity by introducing a €16 billion approx programme to increase the minimum wage, restore collective bargaining agreements, bring in a €5 billion worth of incentives for firms to hire workers, raise pensions, provide free electricity probably up to a certain amount of usage, cutting oil heating prices, free food for the very poor, freeze public sector layoffs, scrap unpopular austerity taxes, crack down on tax evasion, take on big business people, stopping the sale of state assets and renegotiate the debt.

So what's the problem? They announced their plan; they've been elected so now all they have to do is implement the will of the people. And if Greece can do it then surely we in Ireland can vote in like minded individuals and do the same here and the Spanish, Italians and Portuguese can do the same too.

Unfortunately the omens are not good and it looks like the Greeks are going to get their own form of a Labour Party election betrayal. In an article on the WSWS website here ( ) it reports:

In a victory speech delivered at Athens University, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said he would find a "new viable solution" for Greece and Europe. "The troika, that is the past," Tsipras said, referring to the EU, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which together arranged austerity policies with governments in Athens.

However, Tsipras promptly promised to work with Greece’s lenders, the most important of which are the agencies making up the "troika." He said that the Greek government would be "ready to negotiate with our lenders a mutually acceptable solution" and would "prove all Cassandras wrong. There will be no conflict with partners."

And further on in the same article they report:

In the run-up to the elections, Syriza officials were busy behind the scenes reassuring journalists, economists and politicians that an election victory posed no danger to the banks. European news site EurActiv wrote: "Key to Syriza’s ascent, party officials say privately, is a calculated effort to moderate the radical leftist rhetoric that prompted Der Spiegel to name Tsipras among the most dangerous men in Europe in 2012."

Former Syriza leader Alekos Alavanos stressed that the party would pose no threat to the banks in an interview with the Financial Times of London two days ago. "Even Mr Tsipras’ predecessor as Syriza chief, Alekos Alavanos, questions whether the party’s rhetoric matches its intentions," the FT concluded, citing Alavanos’s remark that Syriza "now is a moderate party."

Economist Jean-Marc Daniel reassured France’s 20 Minutes that Syriza would do no long-term harm to the stock portfolios of the affluent and the super-rich. "The stock market does not usually like the beginning of ‘left’ governments, but it picks up gradually as they abandon their program. What is most striking about Alexis Tsipras, is that he is already diluting his program," Daniel said.

If representatives of finance capital state so openly and with such confidence that Syriza is no threat to them, this is because Syriza has been thoroughly vetted by the banks and intelligence agencies. Since Syriza emerged as a major electoral force in Greece in 2012, Tsipras has met publicly with the Greek army and repeatedly traveled to the major capitals of the euro zone and to Washington - after declaring himself an admirer of President Barack Obama’s economic policies.

So what's going on since if what is being said here is true and it would appear to be then why is their such a contrast before in the run-up to the election and what is likely to come after. We can only conclude that they feel threatened and as the WSWS article says it actually requires mass movement pressure to keep things on track because without it austerity is not going to be beaten on it's own. The simple truth of the matter is that there is a real threat of violence from the 1% and their enforcing agents & thugs and on the other power of private capital in the economy both nationally and internationally could within days if so desired plunge the entire country and thereby social order into complete chaos if it so wished.

In many ways for the Labour Party in Ireland they went through a micro version of the same thing here. If they dug in too hard they would have brought down the Lab-FG government and then a new election probably would have resulted. But in the very act of pulling the plug, big capital would have picked up the signal that Labour were not going to help smooth austerity for capitalism, and they would have been a media attack on us about irresponsibility with right-wing pundits and politicians saying we were in crisis and the stock market would have done its thing, and bond rates would go the wrong way and big capital would threaten to pull the plug. The resulting political chaos would easily have whipped us back into line and scared the crap out of people into voting some combination like say FG & FF back in. So for Labour they felt they were fighting for their survival by staying in government, but then by staying in government they ended up anyhow of destroying any credibility they had and setting themselves back by at least a decade.

So if people voted for the Socialist Party and People Before Profit and other Left wing candidates in really serious numbers so that they had a real chance at government just like Syriza has in Greece then maybe it could be different. Unfortunately though it should be clear that even with all their will in the World that it won't. At a minimum it requires the constant will, pressure and participation of all their voters to make it happen. It can't end when you drop the ballot in the box. It must continue and continue every day. In other words we need a radical change in the way we do politics and it has to happen everywhere otherwise such a thing happening in any isolated place will get snuffed out. The problem though is the probability of a simultaneous arising of the people has got to be increasingly smaller the more one expects to occur at the same time in multiple places and the more places.

Update: There is a similar and probably better and more comprehensive article written by WSM called: "After the election of Syriza - Power is not in Parliament" which can be found here:

And some further commentary on WSWS in

The significance of the election of Syriza in Greece

Syriza forms coalition government with right-wing Independent Greeks

author by Mike Novackpublication date Wed Jan 28, 2015 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The "problem" is that although they promised "no austerity" that isn't one of the options. Not really.

Now don't take this the wrong way. I think the Greek people have made the right choice. Don't let outsiders decide upon whom the pain of austerity measures fall but decide among themselves how that pain is to be shared. Because the reality is that there is going to be pain, going to be austerity, one way or another.

Greece is a sovereign entity, the creditors can't foreclose. So one option for Greece is to repudiate the debt, let the bankers whistle for their money. But there are consequences associated with that. Surely the bankers will then decide to loan no money to them for a while, a decade or two perhaps. But it gets really expensive trying to conduct foreign trade on a cash basis or by barter (whoever you are trying to buy from might not particularly ant the goods you have to barter, so will accept those only at a steep discount to make up for the bother of trying to find a customer. All those stimulus programs sound nice, but from where comes the funds to carry those things out?

So what I expect to see FIRST is an attempt to renegotiate the debt. That's not stupid nor does it mean they are abandoning what they were elected to do. Keep your focus on THAT -- the Greek people said "less austerity". But WHAT would result in the least amount of austerity? It is not comparing the austerity measures imposed by the agreements of the previous government that need to be compared with the austerity of "going it alone" but the austerity measures of the best deal they could get that needs to be compared. So they SHOULD find out if a better deal is a possibility. Who knows, bankers don't like to have to write off bad loans all at once and MIGHT offer a better deal than the previous one. On the other hand, the bankers could be stubborn figuring playing hard ball with Greece will keep other debtors in line.

You are looking at this from the point of view of view of ideological purity. But that's a luxury you can only afford when in opposition and your proposed policies are just posturing. Once in power the game is for real, your decisions count, and in making the decisions, you get all information possible (in this case, CAN they get a better deal on offer). The reason that "leftist governments moderate once in power" is that this is a game where both sides get to make moves. The anit-left forces CAN choose to make offers good enough that leftist purity turns out to be more costly to the people. The only times you will see the newly empowered left party sticking tight to the program is when the other side chooses not to do that (so sticking with the program remains the least costly alternative).

author by Rational Ecologistpublication date Thu Jan 29, 2015 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Reality, of course, has to be taken into account. Syriza used to have a very strong position on Climate Change; however, this all-by their own admission-has been dropped because of the recession.
Let's wait and see; however, as regards the environment, syriza, like most parties, are in blissful denial.
The problem is HUGE!

author by derfpublication date Thu Jan 29, 2015 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The reality mike speaks of is the fact that all countries are systematically held to ransom by a mysterious group of people known as "the bondholders" who steer governments to behave in certain ways that are in line with neoliberal systems and policies. When the countries inevitably fall behind in their payments or a corrupt bank fails, the people are on the hook for the cost and will require a loan from the likes of the IMF which inevitably comes with neoliberal terms and conditions such as privatisation of water and other public utilities or introduction of GM crops etc. The money loaned is summoned into existence by printing presses and given to banks etc (i.e. the bondholders) at 0% interest rates. It's a lovely system of financial colonisation and forced serfdom without the need for an army. But there is an army too. A big one. Paid for by free money, the perks of being global reserve currency.

The only way out of this process is if other countries reject the process itself at the same time. It will result in great hardship at first during the adjustment, but freedom will follow. Iceland is still there and better off than if it had rolled over.

Similarly we need alternatives to the swift payment system as this is also used to control countries as Russia have recently found. Politically driven sanctions are brazenly pushed at the first sign of dissent.

And we need our own communication networks so we are not constantly spied on.

We also need to get engaged in nuclear non proliferation, because that is the fist that resides in
the silken glove used to control us

Ultimately, the only way out in the longer term is to destroy the dollar as reserve currency and replace it with a system not controlled by any one nation. Perhaps a series of bilateral arrangements

All these systems of control of nations need to be rejected in order for alternative futures to be even possible to the dystopian future planned for all of us by an insane American elite.

author by Tpublication date Thu Jan 29, 2015 23:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Syriza are only in power a few days and they had spoken out how they were against sanctions on Russia which of course do more harm to Europe anyhow and the sanctions themselves are under a false pretext and which Washington has arm-twisted the EU into implementing.

Anyhow it is reported that the EU has not got the backing of Greece to extend the sanctions.

So if they gave in that quick, what chance is there of them doing anything useful?

author by Llwydpublication date Sat Jan 31, 2015 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The newly elected Syriza coalition have given themselves the duties of being the servants of the Greek people and not the servile serfs of the EU, ECB and IMF that we have in Ireland.

author by Mike Novackpublication date Sat Jan 31, 2015 22:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

HOW did you manage to interpret that as saying I was in favor of compromise? What is there in your own ideology that causes you to interpret somebody saying "IF you can get a better deal by compromising then you do that, OTHERWISE you go it alone if that is the better alternative". In other words, what is there about YOU (not me) that says compromise is bad EVEN in the situations where that is your better option?

The deal the previous government negotiated clearly a terrible deal, clearly better to tell the bankers to whistle for tyheir money that THAT (and accept the pain of not being able to borrow for a good while). But we don't know (and more importantly the new Greek government doesn't know) IF that is the best the bankers will offer. So what I was saying is that FINDING OUT is not SELLING OUT. Now I don't expect the bankers to offer enough so that compromise would be the best option, but they'd be idiots not to find out for sure.

They are in power. NOW their decisions are for real, so they can't afford ideological posturing. I''ll repeat, that'ds a luxury only parties in opposition can afford.

Hey, can I add something that might make you even angrier at me and that you will really choose to misinterpret? I will suggest that IF they choose the option of Greece going it alone they will need to form a government of national unity. Do you understand WHY Iceland was able to do what it did without a risk of civil war? (what is different between Icelandic society and Greek society in terms of sociio-political solidarity). Going it alone WILL involve pain and so there will be a need for unity how that pain wiould be fairly shared.

author by Michael Youlton - I A W Mpublication date Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:30author email myoulton at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The amazing speed with which Greece’s new elected coalition of Syriza and the Independent Greeks party expressed its opposition and discontent with the Troika and its rep and the Greek Prime Minister’s rebuke of how the EU Council rushed its decision to condemn Russia re: Ukraine was felt as a political Blitzkrieg., not only in Berlin but also in Brussels and everywhere else where politicians function under the German tutelage.
In this context, the Greek PM’s visit and presence at Greece’s national shrine to resistance against the fascists in Kaisariani last Sunday further annoyed the Germans as it highlighted the fact that sooner or later Greece will raise the implications of the German debt to Greece as a result of the war – as well as the way the then Allies confronted and helped the defeated and bankrupt Germany in the 1953 International Conference.
This Blitzkrieg assumed surprising dimensions as Handelsblatt felt that ‘a novel ghost was beginning to move over and haunt Europe with Tsipras as a revolutionary and a maestro leading a type of change able to shift opinions all over Europe”[1]. Such ‘ghosts’ do not augur well for Merkel, a fact also noted by Spiegel: «Tsipras’ victory is a defeat for Merkel» and there is now «a problem for all of us but especially for Merkel who has to be able to find a swift solution to it»[2]. With reference to the same events, but in reality much more apprehensive and mentioning this Marxist ghost, the Welt newspaper asserts that «Merkel will soon lose much of her authority in Europe as Tsipras’ victory in Greece changes fundamentally the foundations of the European Union», concluding that «left and right populists will now find the opportunity to fight against and possibly reverse the austerity policies imposed by the Chancellor»[3].
The German government has not yet responded with the same speed, adopting a more conciliatory ‘wait and see’ attitude. Welt’s position was: «let the Greeks come on to us – as it is, the money will run out by the end of the month». However, some of the commentary that came from the ‘yellow’ press was an unbelievable mixture of hate, enmity and blackmail against Greece and the new Prime Minister Tsipras A new element that appeared there was the contradiction between sectors of the European Union and Russia re: Ukraine.
Leading this new phase of the demonisation of Greece is not the ‘yellow’ Bild but the more so-called quality publication die Zeit, It states clearly that it hopes for a speedy and complete defeat of the newly elected Greek government because of «its internal contradictions and its foreign policy quasi-madness»[4] . The article conludes by stating that the Greek voters of Syriza deserve more and more poverty and unhappiness!!
A similar approach is taken by circles close to Josef Joffe,,the die Zeit,’ publisher and part owner, who in another article state that «the new Greek government constitutes a danger for Europe» not because that any decisions taken in Athens would hurt the circles that lent money to the Greeks but because its stance «particularly in the issue of Ukraine constitutes a threat to European consolidation and works against all the ethical and legal values that are sacred in Europe»!
We in Ireland, but in almost all European countries that have developed a strong peace and anti-war movement, know and understand pretty well the implications of these sacred ethical and legal European values. Should we be surprised that for most of the German media those values are not threatened when US planes with pilots or drones take off from Germany and attack and kill civilians in other countries. Those values are not threatened it appears, when American and German spies, in perfect collaboration with Nazis succeed in overthrowing democratically elected government Those values are not, it appears, threatened when innocents are flown secretly and tortured in places like Poland or Rumania. But these values demand ‘respect’ from Greece. In the name, of course, of European solidarityv[5]
The average German citizen knows now that the new Greek minister of Foreign Affairs is « a nationalist, a Putin fan, a friend of MaoTse Tung and China, an ideologue of hate and an enemy of Germany» [6]..I draw the conclusion from the above that the German State, and its ideologues, are using the media to prepare the country for a violent opposition to Greece. Threatening the destruction of the new Government, and by implication of its people, using its own economic Blitzkrieg which would lead Greece inexorably to bankruptcy The question that looms ahead is whether Greece will find itself isolated or if the USA, France, China and perhaps even Russia would stand behind it, attempting to reverse this almost godly penance for those who dared to resist
[1] Stefan Kreitewolf, «The Greek revolution», Handelsblatt, 31-1-2015.
[2] «The Angry Greek», Spiegel, 2-2-2015.
[3] Claus Christian Malzahn, Jan Dams, «Merkel will soon lose much of her authority in Europe;» die Welt, 2-2-2015.
[4] Jochen Bittner, «Putin’s Trojan Horse», die Zeit, 29-1-2015.
[5], 29.01.2015
[6] Michael Martens, «Tsipras forms a government in record time», Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 28.01.2015

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