Greece is preparing to elect a new parliament. Syriza, the only party that represents the people, is leading in the polls. A coalition of leftist groups, Syriza has gained support because it opposed the devastating austerity program forced on the country by the banks and the two “mainstream” parties (the New Democracy Party and the Socialist Party). Austerity policies, the practice of reducing public spending during an economic downturn, have had the same brutal effects wherever they have been tried. They reached their sadistic nadir in Greece.
Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza (and, here’s hoping, Greece’s next prime minister) wrote a piece in 2013 explaining the need to end the banker-prescribed and politician-imposed attack on Greece.
In 2011, I wrote about austerity policies in both Greece and the U.S. I interviewed journalist and economic expert Greg Palast, who argued that the Greek government should follow the example of Argentina in 2002 and simply refuse to pay a significant portion of the debt. He also called for an end to Greece’s participation in the European Union’s transnational currency, the euro, which was devised to give the central banks effective control over fiscal policy.
Palast recently criticized Tsipras for stating that he wants Greece to stay with the euro. That would indeed be a mistake. But if Tsipras becomes prime minister, he will soon learn that remaining in the eurozone is incompatible with the return to sane economics that he wants to achieve.
The election in Greece is as clear-cut as any in history. Syriza versus the other parties translates to the people versus foreign bankers.