TSIPRAS 2.0

Does this mean that the battle for Greece’s future is over and that those who claimed that there was no alternative to prolonged depression, mass unemployment and a more unequal and, frankly, uglier society have won?
Mark Weisbrot, Al Jazeera, 22 Sept 2015
A

s in January, Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras is back in power. But this time around, Syriza has committed to a harsh austerity program that is guaranteed to keep Greece in a depression for several more years. It is not surprising, however, that Syriza was able to win. Greek voters were faced with the “fact” that there was nothing they could do but submit to the will of the European authorities. Syriza was elected because it is more likely to use its power to attempt to soften the blow of austerity on the poorest of Greeks and to make the rich pay more of the taxes that they owe the public treasury. But don’t expect Syriza’s new agenda to solve the nation’s most pressing issues: the conditions the party signed onto will not allow the Greek economy to recover. Unemployment remains at about 25% and the International Monetary Fund has publicly acknowledged that Greece’s debt remains unsustainable. To expect the depression to be over by 2017 is considered optimistic. This depression is not only the result of economic incompetence by European authorities but also a certain amount of political calculation and ill will. As ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said in a recent interview: “They needed a demonstration effect for other countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, even France… that will demonstrate to those peoples that if you dare vote in a government that turns against us, you will be crushed.” European authorities have shown how little democracy there is left in Greece –but there is always a practical alternative to prolonged economic failure and depression: saying no to harsh austerity. This is what Syriza was originally elected to do. It remains the discussion that the Greeks –and Syriza— must have in the upcoming future.

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Tsipras must now implement a fiscal consolidation and reform programme that was designed to fail… Week in week out, the troika will be demanding more recessionary, antisocial policies: pension cuts, lower child benefits, more foreclosures.Yanis Varoufakis, The Guardian, 21 Sept 2015

[Syriza doesn’t] need to create the masterpiece heralded by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras…in which he vowed to transform Europe and make Greeks rich, but the more mundane and pragmatic task of rebuilding an economy that has been dealt a serious blow…Paschos Mandravelis, Ekathimerini, 00 Month 2015

Like earlier Greek leaders in trouble, Mr Tsipras has executed an ideological kolotoumba, or somersault. The question now is whether the rest of Syriza can flip over as well.The Economist, 26 Sept 2015
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TSIPRAS 2.0

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