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PostSyriza Triumphs in Greek Elections (Paul Levine, Denmark, 01/26/15 4:10 pm)
The initial WAIS reactions to the resounding victory of Syriza in the Greek elections have been less than enthusiastic. We will have to wait for a definitive evaluation from our colleague in Athens, Harry Papasotiriou. But I urge readers to look at this article from The Nation that was published just before the election. The central argument is hardly controversial:
"Syriza's core argument, though, has remained the same: austerity has proved catastrophic; Greece's debt is insurmountable and must be written down; the EU (and especially Germany) must change its approach and respect the sovereignty of its member states. Syriza, said leader Alexis Tsipras in his barnstorming speech kicking off the election campaign, is the Europe that is changing. The growing consensus among financial and political analysts that there's no way out of Europe's crisis without debt forgiveness and investment for growth makes this much more than a slogan.
"In September, Tsipras laid out his party's first priority: to alleviate Greece's humanitarian crisis. A Syriza government would provide free electricity and food stamps for 300,000 poor families, housing subsidies, extra support for pensioners, and access to healthcare for everyone. It would also cancel an outrageous tax on heating oil that not only had people burning furniture to keep warm but also hurt state income by cutting down consumption."
Since my wife, Lily, is Greek, we have followed the country's catastrophic fall more closely than most. Whatever his shortcomings, Tsipris can't do worse for the Greeks than his catastrophic predecessors from PASOK and New Democracy, who combined to bankrupt the economy and the political system over the past forty years. At least, these corrupt dynastic dinosaurs have been sidelined . . . at least for the moment.
What we heard today from friends and family were cautious signs of hope, not so different from those we heard in the United States in 2008.
So let's not rush to judgment as many Greeks celebrate what they hope will be a new beginning after years of deepening hopelessness.
JE commments: Austerity is good medicine that makes fiscal sense--as long as you don't have to actually live through it. Paul Levine sends an important reality check. Mr Tsipras may be a Utopian, but his predecessors haven't done any better.
Oh, I almost forgot to attach the link. Tsipras looks like a wholesome and friendly guy. I see a resemblance to Sen. Marco Rubio (R, FL).