Anti-austerity party’s failure threatens Greek crisis


Syriza [previously], the young Greek party that took power two years ago with promises to end the harsh austerity imposed by the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, failed to carry out its mandate, and the party and its leader have lost credibility.

But rather than opting for an alternative to the Left, most Greeks seem to want a return to the neoliberalism that brought the nation to its knees after Wall Street and London banksters crashed the global economy eight years ago, precipitating the crisis that lead to Syriza’s takeover.

In the years since, wages have been slashed, pensions cut, healthcare defunded, and an ever-greater portion of the nation’s resources have been sold off, while unemployment remains at staggering levels, especially for the young [42.7 percent].

Lethal poll numbers for Syrixa

First, the grim numbers for Syriza from eKathimerini:

A new poll published Tuesday suggested that the government’s popularity is drying up, as it gave opposition New Democracy a 24-point lead over ruling SYRIZA.

In the phone poll conducted by Public Issue between October 20 and 27, 42 percent of people surveyed said they would vote for the conservatives in the event of a general election as opposed to 18 percent backing the leftist party.

Democratic Alignment and the extreme-right Golden Dawn were level in third place on 8 percent, ahead of the Communist party (KKE) on 7.5 percent.

Potami, the Union of Centrists and Independent Greeks (ANEL) all polled near the 3 percent threshold to enter Parliament, while former speaker Zoe Constantopoulou’s Sailing for Freedom party garnered 2.5 percent.

Thirty percent of those surveyed didn’t reveal who they intend to vote for.

Forty-two percent said ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis was best suited to be prime minister while 21 percent said the same for incumbent Alexis Tsipras, a drop of 2 points compared to a poll conducted by the same company in September on behalf of the pro-government Avgi newspaper.

Alexis Tspiras becomes the target of rage

Tsipras, a man of movie star looks and demeanor, has become the special target of anger from many of the same groups who voted him into office, outraged at his failure to carry out his campaign promises, even though he controlled a majority alliance in the national parliament.

From Der Spiegel:

The people’s love of Tsipras has turned into anger. Because of their diminishing salaries, air-traffic controllers, doctors and teachers are standing up to the government. About four weeks ago, retirees tried to topple the police buses, their faces full of anger and disappointment. When police officers drove the seniors back with tear gas, an outcry swept across the country: Hadn’t Tsipras promised that things like this would never happen again, they asked?

Alexis Tsipras, the rebel, and his left-wing Syriza Party took power in January 2015 with the purpose of ending the austerity program and giving the Greeks their dignity back. He wanted to negotiate a reduction in Greece’s debts and he called for an end to austerity policies. After his election, people danced in the streets.

In the time that has lapsed since, however, Tsipras has broken most of his promises. In August 2015, he accepted a third relief program from the creditors, and received billions in exchange for Greek spending cuts. Now he’s raising taxes, cutting pensions, selling airports and ports. The Greek economy is still in dire straits, the unemployment rate is at 24 percent and further savings measures are still to come.

At the last EU summit in late October, Tsipras sought to obtain debt-relief measures, though didn’t succeed. But on the domestic front, he desperately needs a success.

The same phenomenon — leftist governments taking power, only to find themselves stymied by the power of corporations and finance, followed by a rise of the neoliberal opposition — is taking place across the globe, whether in Brazil, where the government of Dilma Rousseff has fallen in a neoliberal coup and a rightist, homophobic bishop mayor has been elected mayor in Rio de Janeiro, or in France where the socialist-in-name-only government of François Hollande may soon fall.

Clearly, it’s hard for only one nation to stand against the forces of international finance and corporate power, especially when governments are elected on the basis of promises they can’t keep, and only through the rise of a truly international movement can the deadly accumulation of power the by financial giants of the world be brought to its knees.

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