The change of cycle in Greece, and in Europe, has already begun. Despite Syriza’s narrow defeat last Sunday, the fact that a supposedly minor party could, in less than a year, manage to obtain nearly 30% of the votes, double that of the social democratic party in power, PASOK, tells us something about the strength of the social mobilisation that has carried this coalition forward. Despite the vertiginous speed with which novel and important positions such as those of Syriza have spread, they still need a certain amount of time before they become those of the majority in Greece. In fact, as is the case with 15M, some of the matters, the more strategic ones, placed on the table by Syriza call for ways of practising politics and interpretative schemas that will be unavoidable for any kind of contestation that might be articulated in Europe in the coming years. This is the key revealed in the Greek elections: the proposals from Syriza for exiting the crisis, especially those that refer to the need for a confrontation with the financial sector and its European political delegates, in consonance with the slogan “we do not owe, we will not pay” from the indignados of Syntagma Square, will be the basis for a new common sense, in opposition to the complete submission to the diktats of financial actors on the part of the different European versions of bipartisanism. Read the rest of this entry »
Source of these statistics The right wing newspaper Eleutheros Typos evaluated at Unfollow
In contrast to the analysis of prominent Journalists, qualitative analysis of the Greek Election results demonstrate that Syriza was voted by the most productive part of society. The New Democracy party was voted by a more privileged sections of society. The voters who were more informed and were not terrorised by the greek tv voted for Syriza.
Ages from 18-54
New Democracy: 20%-24%
New Democracy: 26%
Private Sector Employees
New Democracy: 23%
New Democracy: 25%
New Democracy: 19%
New Democracy: 20%
New Democracy: 34%
New Democracy: 37%
New Democracy: 43%
And Then What?
So it appears that the governing coalition in Greece has pulled out a narrow victory — winning only a minority of votes, but getting a narrow majority in the parliament thanks to the 50-seat bonus New Democracy gets for coming in first.
So they will now have the ability to continue pursuing an unworkable policy. Yay!
Joe Wiesenthal tells us that there’s a meme in Greece to the effect that Syriza didn’t really want to win, because it would rather see the current government flail some more. Conversely, establishment types should actually be dismayed by this outcome: if current policies fail completely, which seems almost a given, and Greece exits the euro anyway, which seems highly likely, the entire Greek center will end up discredited; better, in a way, to be able to blame the radicals.
And I gather I’m not the only one thinking along these lines; Business Insider also reports hints that Pasok, which has suffered terribly from its identification with failing policies, might not continue in the coalition unless Syriza is also brought on board — which then raises the question, why would Syriza do that?
The debacle rolls on.
New democracy being the first party means that it is possible to have a pro-austerity government along the New Democracy – PASOK axis. However, it will not be a legitimized government. Even though it will start with the attempt to “renegotiate” the Memoranda , in the end it will be strong-armed into imposing austerity. This will lead to new social explosion. It is the responsibility of the of the movement to make sure that this government will face popular anger.
SYRIZA did not manage to take the first position. However, we still have an impressive result for the Left, the biggest total electoral presence in post-war elections. The reason SYRIZA lost is not because its political proposal was not realist enough. On the contrary the problem with SYRIZA was exactly that it ‘glided’ towards the ‘realism’ of renegotiating austerity. This meant that the tone and the stakes of the electoral debate was becoming more favorable to pro-austerity forces. SYRIZA did not manage to answer the ideological terrorism regarding a potential exit from the euro, exactly because it did not have a clear position against the euro.
The fact that the fascists maintain their electoral result is a reason for concern, especially if we take into consideration that people who voted for them now knew what they were voting for… Now it is the time to start fighting fascism: street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood.
The Communist Party, KKE, is facing the destructive results of its tactics and especially the undermining of popular unity. Let’s hope that we shall hear some form of self-criticism from the leadership of KKE.
ANTARSYA waged a difficult electoral battle. We knew from the beginning that many ANTARSYA voters would vote for SYRIZA. However, we chose, during the whole campaign, to avoid useless polemics and instead to focus on the question of the necessary left-wing program, beginning with the need to stop paying the debt and exit the euro and on to the need to form a United Front of struggle and solidarity. Now, we are facing the task of helping the movement and social mobilization that will eventually overthrow this government and open up new paths of hope.
The future lasts a long time and surely more than singular events. The protracted people’s war continues. With determination, unity in struggle and a radical program we can still win!
by Yanis Varoufakis, originally published at YanisVaroufakis.eu
The frenzy of reporting the Greek election is coming to a close. The world is now, quite understandably, swivelling its antennae toward Spain, Italy, Mexico and the G20. It is, therefore, a good moment to take stock of the main lesson the Greek crisis’ recent twist should teach a wary world: Beware of free riders paralysed by the fear of others’ free riding!
The Greek people voted in favour of a simple proposition: Bow to a loan agreement that is commonly known to be unsustainable but which Europe insists upon. Why? To buy time in the hope that the rest of Europe will, in the meantime, find some workable solution within which Greece may have a future. Read the rest of this entry »
by Stathis Gourgouris*
Writing a few days before the May 6 elections in Greece, I argued that these elections were the most important in Greece’s recent history and that, in its response to the commanding structures of global capital, Greek society found itself at the global forefront. Both are still in effect, except it turns out that the next elections on June 17th will be even more important than the ones conducted in May.
The May 6 electoral result demonstrated that the majority of the Greek people are refusing to accept the imposed dismantling of their social and economic infrastructure, the flash impoverishment across broad strata of society, the annihilation of the next generation’s future, and the vilification of an entire way of life. Even more important, Greek society showed that it will not accept being used as an experiment of global neoliberal economics. As argued in recent article in The Wall Street Journal, this was not merely an economic experiment. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted admitting that, in imposing such painful austerity measures, the troika singled out Greece for punishment as a lesson to any other European societies who might consider resisting its commands.
Nothing surprises us here, least of all the cynicism of both global financial power and the mainstream media in its service. It is, in many ways, an old story. This is not the first time in history where the fate of whole societies was held in the hands of bankers, although it may be dutiful for us to remember that when this is pushed to the extreme, societies unravel in extraordinary violence and international war. Given that the European Union as a political ideal was constituted in order to prevent such unraveling, it is remarkable that its political and economic leadership is most responsible for pursuing this catastrophic course against all sense of prudence and measure.
There are both general and particular dimensions to this situation that must be reiterated. Read the rest of this entry »
Coverage and Commentary tomorrow @GreekLeftReview
SYRIZA leads in final Greek poll: Tsipras firm on rejecting bailout
originally posted at http://www.drivebyplanet.com
A final poll before the Greek election on June 16 has the radical left SYRIZA in front of the pack. The poll came out earlier in the month. Greek law bans the publication of any new polls in the 2 weeks before elections.
The Public Issue poll for the Kathimerini newspaper places SYRIZA at 31.5, New Democracy at 26.5 and PASOK at 13.5. This is in-line with other polling. Recent Greek polls have been showing SYRIZA’ numbers between 25 and 31.5.
In other results – the poll placed Democratic Left at 7.5, Independent Greeks 5.5 and the Communist Party (KKE) at 5.5. The far-right Golden Dawn dropped to 4.5.
Golden Dawn spokesman, Ilias Kasidiaris, added to his party’s extremist image with a violent outburst on live TV last week. After taking exception to comments by other guests Kasidiaris threw a glass of water in the face of Syriza member Rena Dorou and viciously slapped Communist Party member Liana Kanelli.
Syriza said the attack showed “the real face of this criminal organization [Golden Dawn].”
SYRIZA leader, Alexis Tsipras, has pledged to reject the ‘catastrophic’ bailout conditions with the EU and the IMF. He said in its place he will implement “a national reconstruction program.” SYRIZA has signaled that it will nationalize the banks and put the brakes on privatization.
At a time of great challenges for Greece, Tsipras has a positive message: “We speak the language of hope where others speak the language of fear.” His message is getting through as he travels across Greece rallying support. Tellingly trade union leaders who formerly supported Pasok have switched their allegiance to SYRIZA.
Greece has been forced to the wall by the demands of the Troika – the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
Harsh criticism coming from IMF boss, Christine Lagrade, has only served to stoke resentment. In a condescending dressing down, Lagarde lectured the Greeks about paying their taxes. She was clearly unbothered by any perceptions of hypocrisy. A Guardian article reveals a few interesting details about her salary:
Christine Lagarde, the IMF boss who caused international outrage after she suggested in an interview with the Guardian on Friday that beleaguered Greeks might do well to pay their taxes, pays no taxes, it has emerged.
As an official of an international institution, her salary of $467,940 (£298,675) a year plus $83,760 additional allowance a year is not subject to any taxes.
Lagarde failed to draw a distinction between Greek workers who pay taxes and the wealthy and well-to-do professionals who found any number of dodges to minimize their tax liabilities.
Related Guardian article - here.
By Yanis Varoufakis. Originally posted At YanisVaroufakis.eu
When two sides bargain, their interaction reflects a potential mutual benefit but also a measure of conflict. For instance, when a firm and its supplier reach a deal, there is often more than one price where both will benefit. The high end of the range favours the supplier while the lower advantages the firm. So, when bargaining leads them to an agreement on the final price, they unlock a mutual benefit and resolve a potential conflict.
Now, bargaining only makes sense if both sides enjoy a modicum of bargaining power. And what determines that? The simple answer is: a readiness to draw a ‘line in the sand’ and credibly resolve to walk away from the negotiations if that ‘line’ is crossed. Thus, a buyer determines a maximum price, and the seller a minimum price, and commits to scuttle the deal if the opposite side refuses to grant at least this minimalist demand. If one of the two bargainers cannot envision circumstances under which she will prefer to reject the other’s offer, and this is transparent, negotiations are pointless. The party that cannot imagine saying ‘no’ should desist from bargaining and simply plead with the other side, appealing to its kindness, generosity and, in desperate cases like Greece’s, sense of mercy. Read the rest of this entry »
By William Wall
The Eight of May was the Fête de la Victoire in France. It was also the day of François Hollande’s first public appearance as president-elect. The right-wing Le Figaro featured photographs of ‘deux presidents sous l’Arc de Triomphe’, in which Sarkozy managed to look even more disgruntled than usual and Hollande looked as if he had just grasped a double-edge sword by the blade.
The public holiday commemorates the surrender of Germany at the end of WWII and the defeat of fascism in most of the states of Europe – Spain and Portugal being the exceptions. It was an interesting day as left-wing newspapers like Libération, L’Humanité and Le Monde expressed concern about the rise of the neo-nazi Golden Dawn in Greece and a near 20% support for Marine le Pen in France while at the same time noting left-wing advances. Without drawing any parallels, it is also worth remarking that the consensus is that no matter what François Hollande thinks about austerity, Germany rules. Read the rest of this entry »