Greece Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras Interview.

Posted on February 14, 2015 by Jerry Alatalo


(Cross-posted from / Website of Jacobin Magazine / The interview took place shortly before the historic Greek election)

A Historic Opportunity

With victory in sight, Alexis Tsipras discusses Europe’s political landscape and the formation of a left government in Greece.

Izquierda Unida / Flickr

Izquierda Unida / Flickr

On Sunday, Greece will hold a pivotal election. Opinion polls still have Syriza ahead of New Democracy by 3 percent and the old party of the center-left, PASOK, behind even the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

Syriza’s platform has no doubt moderated over the past months, and much debate can be had about how much the party can accomplish in power so long as Greece remains tied to the eurozone. How a government of the Left would relate to the movements that paved the way for its election also remains to be seen.

There’s no one better to answer these questions than Alexis Tsipras, the person who looks destined to be the next Greek prime minister. Tsipras spoke to Haris Golemis a few months ago for the first annual edition of Transform!, which is available now from Merlin Press, the longstanding publisher of Socialist Register.

The conversation below was translated into English by Maria Choupres and has been edited for clarity.

Just three years ago, Syriza’s presence in Greece’s political landscape was quite small. Today, Syriza is predicted to be the frontrunner in the next elections — making you the next prime minister of Greece.

What factors do you believe have led to Syriza’s meteoric rise in popularity, and do you believe that similar results are possible in the near future, elsewhere in Europe?

The effects of the crisis on Greek society have been truly devastating. It comes as no surprise that there have been major changes in the political scene. Syriza has always offered a detailed analysis of the crisis and the underlying causes.

While the mainstream parties led people on — rather brazenly, I might add — we were vehement that austerity would have severe negative consequences and lead to recession; these policies simply weren’t sustainable. We supported grassroots initiatives, including major demonstrations and the social solidarity movement. Lastly, our political emphasis has been on uniting the Left. This was critical — and it really resonated with people.

The response from the Greek people was immediate and clear: during the May 2012 elections, Syriza captured 17 percent of the vote, and during the second round of elections the following month, Syriza’s numbers increased to 27 percent — just three percentage points less than the center-right party.

It’s important to note that we achieved these numbers despite the mainstream media’s relentless fearmongering. While we did our best to address these scare tactics, we weren’t able to overcome them to the extent needed to be placed first in the elections. We didn’t rest on our laurels after the elections, though. We diligently worked to develop a detailed program outlining how to exit the crisis, including ending austerity and renegotiating the terms of the debt.

Today, we have a fully comprehensive program to address the debt. Key aspects include renegotiating the terms with our European partners, along with a detailed plan to spur economic growth, address unemployment, strengthen the welfare state, and provide relief to the members of society hit hardest by the crisis. It is imperative that we implement these changes; austerity and budget cuts are not sustainable and only serve to further destroy social cohesion.

Syriza’s rise is not about a “protest vote” against the mainstream parties responsible for Greece’s demise in the wake of the economic crisis. Syriza is winning over voters because it’s the only party that offers a viable alternative solution.

In the recent European elections, we came in first in Greece with a four percentage-point lead; since then, we’ve been polling at even higher numbers, well ahead of the parties in the ruling coalition government. We’ll see a major shift in the political landscape soon, but this isn’t making us complacent. We remain committed to the work ahead, both on the political and social levels.

We’re under no illusions about the challenges we’ll be facing when we first come to power — a historical first for us, as well as for postwar Europe. We’re determined to see this through, with the support of the people, building consensus but not shying away from conflicts when they arise. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear is . . . fear itself.”

To answer the second part of your question, I’d like to point out that while we witnessed a rather dramatic political shift in Greece, similar shifts have also been occurring elsewhere in southern Europe. United Left and Podemos captured 18 percent of the vote in Spain in the European elections, very close to the Socialists and the Popular Party, whose popularity has since plummeted.

These numbers represent an increase of two and a half times from the results of the 2011 national elections. We hope that the United Left and Podemos will have even stronger results in the upcoming 2015 elections. Also, Sinn Féin’s success in the European elections was a significant development for Ireland, another country decimated by the Memoranda for bailing out the banks. Italy is showing signs of an uptick for the Left, a trend seen in many European countries, including Slovenia.

In the early 1990s, the European social democrats formed an alliance with the Right to promote neoliberalism across Europe — something they are now paying dearly for in the wake of the economic crisis. This is why I believe that the Left is Europe’s only hope for overcoming the crisis. The austerity policies implemented by conservative and social democratic governments have reached their tipping point, as have the fiscal targets assigned by the European Union (EU), which are unachievable for any country.

This simply can’t continue. If Europe does not turn towards the Left — embracing growth, decent work and the welfare state — its other choice will be right-wing extremism and Euroscepticism. The setbacks will have terrible consequences.

The rapid political changes across Europe spurred by the crisis have aided the Left, creating new opportunities. The social struggle for decent work and dignity is one of the most critical — and one that the left is deeply committed to. A stronger left increases the chances for major changes in Europe, shifting the balance in favor of labour. Syriza aspires to be the catalyst for these changes, creating a “domino effect.”

It is important to note that our work doesn’t just end with abolishing austerity. Our mission is not simply to carry out the unfinished work of postwar social democracy, but rather to enable the radical transformation of society across Europe, based on socialism and democracy.

This is our goal as we seek to form new social alliances that will unite the working and middle classes, the unemployed, the most disadvantaged members of society, intellectuals, and social movements, around a common struggle: the struggle to liberate society from the effects of cutthroat profiteering, and to foster social justice and democracy, an economy that will focus on people’s needs, and a welfare state that ensures education, health, and dignity for all.

To call a halt to the free-market policies responsible for miring Europe in the economic crisis, the European left must have a feasible and realistic political strategy, in addition to a unifying vision — these go together.

Your opponents, on both the Right and Left, claim that your position on abolishing the Memoranda and austerity, and renegotiating the debt will result in one of two possible outcomes since Greece is not a political heavyweight in the EU: you will either have to backtrack, recognizing that you can’t achieve your goals or you will be forced out of the eurozone and/or European Union.

What is your response to such claims?

First off, I think that we should be more worried about what will happen if Greece does not change course and continues being the guinea pig for the neoliberal policies that have been implemented to supposedly address the crisis.

There are many people in this country searching through the trash for food or whose homes no longer have electricity. The elderly are faced with the decision whether to spend their pension money on food or medicine — the money they receive isn’t enough for both. The real economy is in shambles, and unemployment has skyrocketed. Our young people consider emigrating their first option. And the possibility of being stuck living under these conditions for the foreseeable future is all too real — trapped by austerity and recession, without decent wages or work, without dignity.

We do have another choice, though — one where we can feel pride. The European Social Forum’s motto comes to mind: “If not us, then who? If not now, when?” Obviously, we don’t intend to run the ship into the ground. We are opposed to austerity, and we’re not alone in taking this position; there is growing resistance to these policies, not only in Greece, but across Europe.

We’re prepared for the challenges we’ll surely face, and we’re carefully preparing for these; we intend to honor our commitments. With the confidence and support of society, we’ll be building a future on solid foundations. Being forced out of the eurozone is no simple matter — first of all, it’s not allowed under the European treaties. A “voluntary” exit is extremely risky, with dangerous consequences for Greece and for Europe — especially given the fragile nature of the current economic, social, and geopolitical realities.

It’s in no country’s interest to further disrupt the continent’s already tenuous balance. Such a risk can be avoided altogether if governments and institutions in the EU accept that Greece and other smaller European countries are equal partners in the EU and that they have a democratic right to elect leftist governments. Given these circumstances, I’m personally optimistic about the developments we can expect.

In order to be fully transparent, we’ve been clear about our intention to renegotiate the terms of the debt. We will seek to have a large part of the debt waived, and the repayment of the balance subject to a growth clause. You can’t repay a debt if you’re not allowed to work — this was exactly the logic that was applied to Germany’s debts after the Second World War.

Without a similar compromise, Greece’s economy cannot achieve much-needed economic growth. We’ve also been forthcoming about having public investments excluded from the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), as well as having national bonds backed by the European Central Bank (ECB).

We strongly believe that the issue of the debt has to be dealt with at the European level. Additionally, a “European New Deal” is necessary, to allow for public investments funded by the ECB. Reparations due to Greece from the Second World War are also on the table. We’ve alerted our European partners that a left government will seek to recoup these, until now, outstanding funds.

As I said before, I’m optimistic about the developments — even though I’m sure that they won’t all come about smoothly. The insistence on strict budgetary discipline by the German government and a few smaller allies will undoubtedly add friction; however, there is a slow but growing dissent across Europe — including those whose dissent would have been unthinkable just a few months ago. For this reason, I believe that Syriza will be able to generate wider support for its political positions.

So, getting back to my initial point: if we chose inaction, we can be certain that we’ll be missing a historic opportunity for change; we’re committed to using all of the resources at hand, and seeing the matter through to a solution.

You, along with other members of Syriza, have been in contact with individuals and organizations, including conservative politicians and executives from the private sector, who are not necessarily supporters of the Left.

You’ve met with Pope Francis, Wolfgang Schäuble, Mario Draghi, representatives of the International Monetary Fund, and even participated in the Ambrosetti Forum. What are you hoping to gain from these meetings, and how has your message been received?

Syriza’s rise was initially treated as a dangerous development by European leaders, as well as by the Greek political mainstream. There was talk of “extreme radicals” willing to risk a eurozone exit and widespread political turmoil in Europe, and the “theory of the two extremes” was used to lump Syriza with far-right and Eurosceptic parties.

This was done to portray Syriza as unfit to negotiate with the European partners, and unfit to run the country, bringing about Greece’s certain downfall if elected. Fortunately, this rhetoric has subsided; most people have come to terms with the likely fact that the next Greek government will be a government of the Left. And I think this is a positive development.

The international contacts we’ve made have helped bring about this shift. It’s understandable that many people are interested in meeting us, hearing our views, and exchanging ideas, to get a better sense of our goals. And we’re interested in learning the same about our contacts, as well.

As we’ve become better known, this has helped to dispel the myths and rumors that Syriza wants to create mayhem in Europe; we’re now viewed as a party that will be a reliable ally — or opponent — with a strategic plan, policy positions, and nuanced views. We are open to meeting with anyone, to discussing our policy positions, and exchanging views. This in no way means we will owe future favors or will make concessions in our program.

Of course, there has been some grumbling — that a left party should not be meeting representatives from the world of capital. While I understand these sentiments, I believe it’s important to be able to defend your views; regardless of whom you speak with, what’s key is being able to hold your ground, to express your views, rather than simply saying what the other person wants to hear. Our goal is to show that we can credibly debate the issues, as well as offer a viable alternative to the current political framework.

Our discussions, and the way that our views have been received, makes it even more clear to me that meeting with these contacts is absolutely the right thing to do — regardless of whether they hold opposing views.

Our international efforts and the contacts Syriza has made us highlight the contradictions and conflicts that exist in Europe, giving us greater insight — something which is exceedingly useful. For example, when Syriza was invited to participate in the Ambrosetti Forum, it was not because the organizers suddenly became fond of our views or because they wanted to coerce us in some way. To be frank, we were invited to help send a message to the German government; our position, that Europe must put an end to austerity and focus instead on growth, was met with applause.

Despite this, we are fully aware that we don’t share common views on the issues of decent work and the welfare state with many of those in attendance. However, on the points where we can agree, we intend to make the most of these alliances; we simply don’t have the luxury not to. I firmly believe that this is the right course of action.

We are in no way opposed to meeting with individuals where we have strong differences of opinion, like Wolfgang Schäuble. Our goal is not to catch anyone off guard with our views. We believe in being transparent. By holding these kinds of meetings we seek to foster dialogue, which may ultimately aid in the process of future negotiations.

The members of the current Greek government are the only ones not benefiting from our efforts abroad; they cannot continue with the usual scare tactics, trying to paint Syriza as an unwanted partner in Europe that is bent on bringing ruin to Greece.

I’d like to specifically call attention to my visit with Pope Francis, which was organized by Transform!. The pope has an impressive social justice agenda. The fact that this meeting took place is indicative of just how critical Greece’s position is considered, both symbolically and literally, given the extremely fragile social balance in Europe.

My country has suffered a humanitarian catastrophe that is unprecedented during peacetime, but we are also the country that is closest to reversing the policies that have brought us to this point. This will be significant for all of Europe, and especially for our peoples and societies. I believe that this is what caught the pope’s interest and led to our meeting.

This meeting truly illuminated the problems we face in Greece, given the pope’s global prestige; it helped raise awareness of the situation for people in Europe and beyond. The increase in solidarity positively affects Greece and the Greek people — and Europe, as well. With greater solidarity comes a greater chance for seeing change across all of Europe.

You’ve visited a number of countries in the past that no longer subscribe to neoliberalism, such as Venezuela, Brazil, and Argentina. Many of your adversaries consider these visits part of the “radical” days of Syriza, and that you’ve since changed your tune and stopped associating with “bad company” now that the party is on the verge of governing Greece.

What are your thoughts on this?

Latin America has also been subject to the IMF’s “adjustment programs” — the same ones that we’ve become subject to in Europe post-2008, from the IMF and others. These programs were implemented through the use of military force in some cases, with devastating results for society. Today, these countries have cast aside neoliberalism and have developed their economies as they’ve seen fit, putting emphasis on growth.

They have broad support from their citizens despite the challenges they face, as they pursue new methods of wealth distribution and productive reconstruction, universal access to health care, education, and social security, and the strengthening of their democratic institutions.

And it certainly seems that the efforts are paying off. This greatly interests the Left across Europe, as we intend to challenge neoliberalism on the continent. We can certainly benefit from cooperating with Latin America through the exchange of best practices on key matters, such as our shared views on economic crises, debt, or international trade agreements. The Left has been following the developments there for quite some time, long before the consequences of the crisis resulted in the historic opportunities that are now before us.

The supporters of neoliberalism are averse to these kinds of developments that are not in line with their views, and would have us believe that only those who support their doctrines are “democratic,” regardless of the level of coercion or corruption involved; politicians or social movements that don’t value markets over people are considered populist. It’s time for our adversaries to make peace with the fact that the Left is creating an alternative program for governing in Europe, as well as new alliances.

A close working relationship with our European partners does not preclude us from drawing on certain examples or experiences from Latin America. As we form our political and social strategies, it’s important to monitor how developments are unfolding in Latin America.

Syriza’s chance to govern and implement new policies is a matter of great importance to the Left, trade unions, and social movements across Europe.

In what ways can these supporters and progressive European citizens help during the pre-election period and after your much-anticipated win?

This is a really important issue, because the Left derives its strength from society.

The dire situation in Greece brought about the opportunity for Syriza to create change. Our efforts will gain momentum when we form our government. We realize there will be many challenges, and the real work will begin once we’ve been elected.

We’re not just fighting for change in Greece — ours is a struggle for political change across Europe, a struggle against the current system that allows speculators and the world of capital to hold people hostage. We believe politics and economics should be centered around people’s needs, decent work, a thriving welfare state, environmental protections, democracy.

The Left’s success in Greece could create new opportunities across Europe. The Left stands together with the various grassroots movements, and all people — be it in the North or the South — who realize that our common future depends on a democratic and social Europe. We’ve received, and continue to receive, so many messages of solidarity and peace from across the globe. Solidarity isn’t something that’s simply an emotional boost — it’s also an important factor in the social and political struggle to change things in other countries.

To give you an example from the European elections — our comrades in Italy chose to name their party “L’Altra Europa con Tsipras” (“The Other Europe with Tsipras”). It’s not the name that’s significant actually but the message that the party wanted to convey. They explained that they too wanted to “feel Greek,” to create momentum for change in Italy, similar to what was happening in Greece.

And that boosted momentum for all of us. We both reached the goals we had set out for our respective countries, while sending messages of unity and solidarity.

I truly can’t express just how we felt upon seeing the word, “Syriza” on the walls in Taksim Square during the uprising in Istanbul. We very much rely on the help and support of the Left, progressive parties, social movements — of all those who are involved. If we are in fact elected, our government will have the task of putting new policies on the European agenda. To this end, public support from across the European Union, putting pressure on governments, strengthening movements that call for progressive changes, will be our biggest ally.

We don’t think of ourselves as existing in a separate sphere — we’re a part of the European left, and together with all the parties of the Left, we face a common struggle. We’re interested in the success of all these parties; our joint successes will be the only way to achieve the results we hope for, both in the medium and long term. Each step taken forward, each small or big victory, in Europe and beyond, is important because our struggles are shared.

A win for Syriza, and the formation of a left government in Greece, will be a first major step for all of us. The assistance and support from other countries will be critical; it will be a message of hope to the Greek people, fortifying people’s resolve and determination to take matters into their hands.

In today’s highly connected world, every initiative, every show of solidarity, every poster, every message of support that reaches our country from abroad, gives us energy to forge ahead and work toward our goals.

The Left is here to create change, to foster new social partnerships, to stand up to business as usual. And we will do so, with integrity, with a new approach to international relations, with unity and action across the board.



Greece: (Re)Birthplace Of Democracy?

Posted on January 10, 2015

by Jerry Alatalo

aaa-25Alphabet Recent polls in Greece show Syriza as the leading party to win elections in two weeks on January 25. University of Missouri – Kansas City Associate Professor of Economics and Law Bill Black talks about the situation in Greece on The Real News.

Bill Black starts out speaking to a few problems he had with a recent Wall Street Journal article on Greece titled “The Triumph of Austerity”. With Greece economic conditions including unemployment near 25% for the general population and 50-60% for youths, Mr. Black – in contrast to the Wall Street Journal – compares that to the Great Depression, but worse.

Austerity measures are exacerbating negative economic conditions due to the simple fact that average Greeks have less money to spend, hence demand has plummeted, slowing the economy. According to Black, the so-called “Stability and Growth Package” the Greek government has become forced to adhere to by the “Troika” – the European Commission, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund – has resulted in the exact opposite: instability and decline.

Black compares what has occurred in the belt-tightening steps, which Troika high officials claim will help the Greek economy rebound, to the ancient medical practices used by doctors of old of drawing blood, then, when the patient’s health fails to improve, the doctor prescribes more bloodletting. What has led many to believe Syriza will win the elections coming quickly in a few weeks is the people’s growing opposition to economic and financial “solutions” which offer more of the same highly negative results they’ve experienced for years.

Syriza is the only party in Greece which has said “enough is enough”. While the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and other media groups try to paint a rosy picture of Greece under harsh austerity measures, it seems the men and women of Greece aren’t buying it anymore. All they have to do is look around at their neighbors cutting down trees for firewood, scavenging for food, or without electricity, to understand that Syriza offers a path out of the economic darkness.

When Syriza wins the upcoming elections, the question which analysts are asking the most is whether they’ll take Greece out of the Eurozone or if Greece will remain. Apparently, leader Alexis Tsipras and Syriza party’s current stance on the Eurozone is Greece will remain. Some have suggested the best choice for Greece is to leave the Eurozone and the Euro, set up a state-owned central bank in charge of monetary policy with the return of the drachma (the Greek currency before adopting the Euro), and cutting ties with the Troika. With a state-owned central bank Greeks will have complete control of their monetary system, with the ability to increase or decrease the money supply according to economic conditions and financial indicators.

Perhaps the Greek people will seek to do business with the newest investment/development bank “in town” just started by the BRICS group of nations. If Greece takes the option of leaving the Eurozone, some nations including Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and other European Union member states may soon reconsider and follow in a domino-style that will transform the EU and the global financial/economic scenario in a way very rarely seen.

Austerity is on trial now in Greece, and, in that nation where democracy was born over twenty centuries ago, the Greek people and the world may well see democracy “born again”.


(Thank you to therealnews at YouTube)

All Eyes Are On Greece.

Posted on January 6, 2015

by Jerry Alatalo

ocean222Alphabet So, what will happen if the Syriza party and its leader Alexis Tsipras win Greece’s snap elections on January 25? This is the question men and women around the world are asking while the days to the Greek elections wind down. Recent polls show Syriza holding a lead from 3-9%, and this has led to pushing the Euro down to a nine year low. Many wonder if a Syriza win will lead Greece to leave the Eurozone and the Euro currency, returning to sovereignty and a sovereign currency – the drachma, which was the primary Greek currency before adoption of the Euro.

Greek debt has risen to 175% of its gross domestic product, far above the level which makes those debts impossible to repay. The unemployment rate in Greece isnear 25% with youth joblessness at 50%. Compiled negative economic statistics result in real-life consequences for the people of Greece, who have become strongly opposed to the Troika’s belt-tightening demands on their government. This increasingly depressing, multi-year set of conditions in Greece has many political/economic analysts predicting an election victory for Syriza.

Syriza has expressed its intention of remaining in the European Union if victorious at the election polls, but holds firm on its anti-austerity stance and renegotiation of the nation’s debt to the so-called ‘Troika” – the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank. Many see such renegotiations as a very strong possibility if Syriza gains political power, which could then lead to some or all Eurozone states to demand the same re-do of their national debts.

Although Syriza has pronounced its plan to stay in the Eurozone, if that decision became reversed and the country did leave, some believe other European Union states would follow suit.

Of more concern are massive derivatives “bets” linked to economic and financial conditions in Greece which would become payable should Syriza choose options that created the conditions which set those financial instruments off. Some analysts have gone so far as to predict a worldwide economic/financial crisis should the Greek situation move in ways that stimulate derivatives contracts. Whether the “Citigroup Provision” inserted into the United States “Cromnibus” spending bill recently, which put the American taxpayer back on the hook for multi-trillions of dollars worth of derivatives losses by the world’s largest banks, became written by bankers then passed by Congress with the situation in Greece (and the Eurozone) clearly in focus is uncertain.

Some see it as fitting that Greece, the birthplace of democracy, is where people will begin to fight back against austerity and the Troika, in an election which answers the question: “Who is really running Greece (and states in the Eurozone)? Mega-sized international financial behemoths whose bankers/owners look after their own interests – or the people?” The upcoming elections in Greece, coming very shortly at the end of January, will have enormous, potentially world-record-setting consequences rarely seen in the entire history of money.

From what may become a truly historic election, humanity could see the building of an entirely new international financial system that serves the people – oiling all parts of the real national economies of the world – instead of serving a small group of “elites” in the financial sector whose fruits of production are digital/paper contract profits made while participating in the “casino economy”.

In a process which could be compared to reincarnation, the birthplace of democracy over 2,000 years ago may become precisely the same place where humanity sees democracy born again.

All eyes are on Greece.


(Thank you to Aee Europe at YouTube)

Greece’s Syriza Party: European Transformation?

Posted on May 26, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

People around the world may want to keep an eye on the Greek political party Syriza in the weeks and months ahead. Candidates belonging to the Syriza Party in Greece were in a celebratory mood today as the nation’s people voted big for them, prompting their leader Alexis Tsipras, who was a candidate for European Union (EU) president, to call for early elections.

What is significant about Syriza and its movement is that it directly confronts the financial industry which caused the economic crisis of 2007-8, a crisis still felt around the world today. With the discovery of this party in the last few days, the best way to describe its mission is to imagine men and women involved in America’s Occupy movement entering into politics through elections in a big way. Imagine the “Occupy Party” being the most popular party in America, and that may give one an idea how important this Greek party’s success has been.

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras was at the University of Austin in Texas to give a talk in November 2013, and that talk has been posted here thanks to Social Journal Europe’s YouTube channel. It is very possible that, because Greece has suffered more than other European Union states from austerity measures, Syriza came to exist and grow out of sheer necessity. The members of Syriza are uncompromising in their strong intent on ending austerity, first in Greece and then the entire EU.

Their recommendations for saving the Eurozone are a change in ideas, change of policies, and a change of institutions, most notably changes that separate the Eurozone from neoliberal models. Americans are familiar with the messages from Occupy that pointed the finger at the “1%” and Wall Street corruption – Syriza Party of Greece plans to decisively act and put an end to corruption that emanates from the banking/financial corporations.

For this reason, because Syriza is now in a solid position to greatly influence events in Greece and the EU, men and women who agree with the focus and ideas that came out of the Occupy Wall Street movement in America would do well to follow Syriza’s example, and learn more about Syriza’s story.

In Mr. Tsipras’ view, the other EU parties will now have to decide if the Eurozone experiment has been a success or not. Because of the Syriza party’s success in Greece, the issues of privatization, deregulation, private central banks, and diminishing social agreement at the EU level will become included as topics of debate and discussion in the European Parliament at higher levels. Syriza’s success will act as a type of catalyst for political debate, where ideas about change previously neglected or ignored will enter the public discussion.

Americans could imagine many more elected representatives in Washington, D.C. like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Dennis Kucinich and find an analogy to the future of Greece and the EU thanks to the efforts of men and women of the Syriza Party. The situation in Greece has been the same as many other nations, after the 2007-8 economic crisis falling into massive debt related to Wall Street corruption, then having their bankers bailed out, but without any money going toward improving the economy of most of the people on “Main Street.”

Syriza intends to implement cancellation of a large fraction of their national debt, call for an international conference on public debt, write off “odious” debt, eliminate interest payments on debt, and nationalize its central bank by turning it into a public utility. During this talk, Mr. Tsipras notes that there will be a battle with both old and new “kleptocrats”, that those kleptocrats know this battle was coming so will call members of Syriza dangerous extremists, as well as deliver smears of “radicals”. Tsipras wonders “why such venom?”.

“Because Syriza will end their hegemony.”

He suggests Americans can learn from the Greece situation that austerity is a suicidal, economic dead-end. “Basic incomes, public health provisions, public education, social cohesion, environmental protection. These are the public goods that, if depleted, will then undermine not only America’s ability but also its capacity to repay its debts. We must protect our public goods, not only in Europe, but in America.”

“The veil of silence must be lifted. Europe must stop pretending that it’s a ‘model prisoner’.”

In the coming weeks, months and years, political debate in Greece, the European Union – and the Earth – shall be very interesting indeed.


(Thank you to Social Europe Journal @ YouTube)