All signs point to a Syriza victory today, with the very real possibility of an overall majority, depending on the vote for smaller parties. Since our last round up, even more has been written about Greece, and what it means. Dan Swain continues the coverage.
As the reality of a Syriza victory gets closer, the voices of mainstream British media and politicians have got louder. The Guardian’s Jon Henley interviewed people at the Peristeri health centre, one of 40 volunteer health centres that have sprung up to support Greeks without health insurance, part of a wider network of social solidarity developing in the country:
As well as helping people in difficulty… Greece’s solidarity movement is fostering “almost a different sense of what politics should be – a politics from the bottom up, that starts with real people’s needs. It’s a practical critique of the empty, top-down, representational politics our traditional parties practise. It’s kind of a whole new model, actually. And it’s working.”
It also looks set to play a more formalised role in Greece’s future under what polls predict will be a Syriza-led government from next week. When they were first elected in 2012 the radical left party’s 72 MPs voted to give 20% of their monthly salary to a solidarity fund that would help finance Solidarity for All.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Labour affiliated TSSA union, called for Labour to support cancelling Greece’s debt in an article for LabourList. In a particularly eyebrow raising article, Daily Telegraph columnist Charles Moore suggested he might vote for Syriza if he could:
The eurozone is run colonially – with Greece as a troublesome outlying territory and Germany as the dominant and most exacting power. Syriza is the logical, desperate response to this. If I were a Greek, I might well think: “Why not vote for it and see what happens? I have little to lose.”
Paul Mason’s blog before the election offered 5 final thoughts, ranging from the question of how Syriza will deal with the old, corrupt institutions of state to the likelihood of the debt write-off they hope for.
Following on from the articles we highlighted yesterday, Verso Books have produced an instant ebook, written by Heiner Flassbeck and Syriza economist Costas Lapavitsas, with a preface from Paul Mason.
Stathis Kouvelakis gave this interview with Tariq Ali:
[vimeo 117606762 w=500 h=281]
Portuguese social movement activist Catarina Principe offered a thorough presentation of the programme Syriza will attempt to implement:
Some of the immediate measures to be applied by a government of the left:
- Employment program for three hundred thousand new jobs;
- Free electricity to three hundred thousand households currently under the poverty line;
- Program of meal subsidies to three hundred thousand families without income;
- Program of housing guarantee;
- Restitution of the Christmas bonus, as 13th pension, to 1,262,920 pensioners with a pension up to €700;
- Free medical and pharmaceutical care for the uninsured unemployed;
- Special public transport card for the long-term unemployed and those who are under the poverty line;
- Restoration of the minimum wage to €751.
Syriza’s success is often spoken of in the same breath as Podemos, the insurgent party in the Spanish state. Their leading figure, Pablo Iglesias, has spoken strongly in support of Syriza. A translation of one of his speeches is available here:
Winning elections is far from winning power. That’s why we must bring together everyone who is committed to change and decency, which is nothing more than turning the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into a manual for government.
Finally, there has been a flood of British activists arriving into Athens in the past few days, and whilst it’s easy to poke fun at this phenomenon, they are producing a range of valuable insights and interviews: Kevin Ovenden continues his dispatches with voices from Syriza’s left, while Jonathon Shafi interviewed people in Syriza’s main organising hub for the Scottish Left Project.