Syriza party leader Alexis Tsipras. Photograph: Xinhua News Agency/Rex
The new government being formed in Greece places people at the heart of its programme of change. The crippling bailout package imposed through the EU/IMF memorandum has created huge increases in unemployment – especially for the young. There is a consequent loss of health insurance and therefore access to health services for nearly one in five, as well as severe homelessness and energy disconnections. This has created what The Lancet has reported as a public-health tragedy. Wages and pensions have been drastically cut while living costs have soared. There has been an erosion of basic rights such as collective bargaining. As well as damaging society, these policies have failed to reboot the Greek economy, and the public debt in relation to GDP is now far greater than it was before the programme started in 2010.
The people of Greece have chosen a new path. They have chosen a government committed to ending the austerity programme. They have voted for immediate debt renegotiation. Repudiation of some and repayment of the rest linked to economic growth, to give creditors a stake in growing the economy. German postwar debt was managed like this in 1953. The Greeks have voted in a new sort of government that has placed addressing the humanitarian crisis at the top of its priorities. The government is taking immediate steps to support those suffering the most under the austerity programme.
The Greek election results have implications for the UK and the whole of Europe. Austerity policies have been a choice by those in power, and they have failed. Greece reminds us that different economics and politics are possible. Undoubtedly there will be pressure on the new Syriza government from the EU, the banks and their friends not to deliver their promises. We applaud the courage of the people of Greece in choosing hope – and a new direction in policy that can start to rebuild a sustainable Greek economy and faith in politics. It is in all of our interests to defend them. Solidarity with Greece at this time is an imperative.
Manuel Cortes President Greece Solidarity Campaign, Frances O’Grady General secretary, TUC, Ken Loach, Katy Clark MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Lesley Mercer Patron of Medical Aid for Greece, Len McCluskey, General secretary, Unite, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Matt Wrack General secretary, FBU, Paul Mackney Chair, GSC, Leslie Manasseh President, TUC, Peter Pinkney President, RMT, Ian Davidson MP, Diane Abbott MP, Kate Hudson National secretary, Left Unity, Rachel Newton Secretary, GSC, Steve Turner Assistant general secretary, Unite, Lutfur Rahman Mayor, Tower Hamlets, Salma Yaqoob, Imran Khan civil rights lawyer, John Hendy QC, Jude Woodward Stand Up To Racism, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Sam Fairbairn National secretary, People’s Assembly, Louise Irvine National Health Action party, John Rees Editor, Counterfire, Andrew Burgin Coalition of Resistance, Gerry Gable Editor, Searchlight magazine, Mike Davis, Editor,