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SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

SYRIZA won 149 seats out of 300 in Greek parliament with more than 75 percent of voters already tallied. While the coalition did not gain the majority, it basically achieved a massive victory after the assault by European elites warning Greeks not to vote for SYRIZA.

Thirty-six percent of Greeks voted for the coalition compared to 28 percent who voted for New Democracy, the conservative party that will lose its majority in the Hellenic Parliament. Golden Dawn, the fascist organization where half of its members are jailed, received more than six percent of the vote and came in third.

Its success is obvious as the failure of austerity politics pushed for by the troika (the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) caused mass devastation in the country. Unemployment hovers around 26 percent and youth unemployment is around 50 percent. Two in five children in Greece live in poverty, suicide rates are higher than before the crisis and youths are leaving the country for better opportunities in countries also suffering from global stagnation.

In general, austerity failed and the votes for SYRIZA reinforced this. After some European officials, mostly German, warned devastation should SYRIZA win, Johan Van Overtveldt, the financial minister for Belgium, conceded talks can start on Greek debt.

Meanwhile, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the coalition, is likely to be the next prime minister of Greece. The leftist was profiled by The Guardian as “determined to jolt not only his own country but also Europe.” Earlier today, Tsipras told citizens there would be a lot of work ahead, but the future was bright for the country:

Today, the Greek people have written history. Hope has written history. Greece is turning a page. It is leaving behind the austerity of catastrophe.

Indeed, much of the discussion will shift to the next steps for SYRIZA. The coalition pushed for a program where they argue for a “New Deal” and writing off debt for example. Overall, the group pledges to work on four pillars, which include “confronting the humanitarian crisis, restarting the economy and promoting tax justice, regaining employment and transforming the political system to deepen democracy.”

Despite the comical and ultra-left rhetoric emanating from irrelevant groups, there is much to learn from the victory of SYRIZA and it is certainly inspiring for the left throughout the world. As film critic Louis Proyect wrote on the victory:

[T]o confront the capitalist system on a world scale, we need a new movement that reflects 21st century realities. New parties that combine street-level activism with bold electoral initiatives and that communicate electronically across borders without respect to narrow doctrinal questions on the USSR will become more and more the norm.

The victory is something even elites are viewing as a challenge to their dominion. The Jan. 26 edition of the Financial Times places the victory of SYRIZA on the front page with the headline as “Greek leftists’ victory throws down challenge to euro establishment.” If there is not any other sign indicating a step in resistance against the dominance of neo-liberal capitalism, then nothing will change. Thankfully, however, this victory gives inspiration and hope for a better world.

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SYRIZA Achieves Victory in Greek Elections

SYRIZA won 149 seats out of 300 in Greek parliament with more than 75 percent of voters already tallied. While the coalition did not gain the majority, it basically achieved a massive victory after the assault by European elites warning Greeks not to vote for SYRIZA.

Thirty-six percent of Greeks voted for the coalition compared to 28 percent who voted for New Democracy, the conservative party that will lose its majority in the Hellenic Parliament. Golden Dawn, the fascist organization where half of its members are jailed, received more than six percent of the vote and came in third.

Its success is obvious as the failure of austerity politics pushed for by the troika (the European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission) caused mass devastation in the country. Unemployment hovers around 26 percent and youth unemployment is around 50 percent. Two in five children in Greece live in poverty, suicide rates are higher than before the crisis and youths are leaving the country for better opportunities in countries also suffering from global stagnation.

In general, austerity failed and the votes for SYRIZA reinforced this. After some European officials, mostly German, warned devastation should SYRIZA win, Johan Van Overtveldt, the financial minister for Belgium, conceded talks can start on Greek debt.

Meanwhile, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the coalition, is likely to be the next prime minister of Greece. The leftist was profiled by The Guardian as “determined to jolt not only his own country but also Europe.” Earlier today, Tsipras told citizens there would be a lot of work ahead, but the future was bright for the country:

Today, the Greek people have written history. Hope has written history. Greece is turning a page. It is leaving behind the austerity of catastrophe.

Indeed, much of the discussion will shift to the next steps for SYRIZA. The coalition pushed for a program where they argue for a “New Deal” and writing off debt for example. Overall, the group pledges to work on four pillars, which include “confronting the humanitarian crisis, restarting the economy and promoting tax justice, regaining employment and transforming the political system to deepen democracy.”

Despite the comical and ultra-left rhetoric emanating from irrelevant groups, there is much to learn from the victory of SYRIZA and it is certainly inspiring for the left throughout the world. As film critic Louis Proyect wrote on the victory:

[T]o confront the capitalist system on a world scale, we need a new movement that reflects 21st century realities. New parties that combine street-level activism with bold electoral initiatives and that communicate electronically across borders without respect to narrow doctrinal questions on the USSR will become more and more the norm.

The victory is something even elites are viewing as a challenge to their dominion. The Jan. 26 edition of the Financial Times places the victory of SYRIZA on the front page with the headline as “Greek leftists’ victory throws down challenge to euro establishment.” If there is not any other sign indicating a step in resistance against the dominance of neo-liberal capitalism, then nothing will change. Thankfully, however, this victory gives inspiration and hope for a better world.

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.