In Why the battle between Athens and Brussels matters to all of you, noting some basic, obscured points about the Greek government’s negotiations with the EU and IMF, this delightful point:
There was a catastrophically widely held belief among the European establishment that, once elected, Tsipras would “play ball”. There is still palpable shock at his sticking to his election commitments, often expressed as the accusation that he is being unreasonable. Every statement out of EU institutions for the last five months has been practically underlined by the subtext “shit, he wasn’t bluffing”.
I have to admit, I thought there was a small possibility of Syriza backing down once it got into power – based on nothing more than cynicism and the fact that many an idealist has crapped themselves and sold out when faced with the complexity and entrenched power of global capitalism, and having to actually carry through on the bold pronouncements made on the barricades.
They haven’t. And as Andreou notes, the establishment’s complacency has put them in a hell of a position:
If this intransigence is played out, they force Greece into a new election, possible Grexit, instability, and plunge the entire continent back into recession. If they back down, Greece is seen as victorious, Podemos wins in Spain and they start the same negotiations with Iglecias, only the sums involved are larger and a resistance front in Southern Europe pushing back against imposed market liberalisation and austerity becomes a serious challenge.
May you live in interesting late-capitalist times.