QOTD: Alex Andreou on Syriza, Greece and the death-knell of austerity

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.

QOTD: Michael Sheen on austerity and boldness

“Do we want to be a society that is supportive, that is inclusive and compassionate, where it is acknowledged that not all can prosper, where those who are most vulnerable, most in need of help, are not seen as lazy or scrounging or robbing the rest of us for whatever they can get? Where we do not turn our backs on those facing hard times, we do not abandon them or exploit their weakness, because they are us.

“We leave no one behind, we only say we have crossed the finished line when the last of us does, because no one is alone and there is such a thing as society.”

The whole article is well worth a read.