Yesterday, The Coalition of the Radical Left (ΣΥΡΙΖΑ) won a stunning victory in Greece. Despite falling just short of an absolute majority, this election marks, in the words of Paul Mason, ‘The first true Left government since 1936 in Spain.’ Now the hurly-burly is done, here are a few key things to watch out for:
- Sudden exposés of the private lives of leading Syriza figures. Expect the press to root around as much as they can to find any dirt on anyone linked to the group.
- An ‘in-depth report’ linking Syriza to marginalised hate groups. Once again, the press will try and smear the group through guilt by association. Particularly watch out for tenuous reports linking donors or members to ‘shady’ far left groups, groups campaigning for the rights of migrants and minorities and, a favourite of the right, radical Islam.
- Shocking footage and reports of poverty and unemployment in Greece. It is in the interest of those in power to portray Syriza’s policies as leading the country to ruin, whatever the reality. Doubtless they will point to the shockingly high levels of joblessness and deprivation already in existence and present this as evidence leftist policies do not work rather than as a hangover from austerity.
- The EU and IMF showing their true colours. As I mentioned in my post on David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism, supranational institutions such as the IMF and EU are well-acquainted with enforcing their economic models through the means of debt and threats. This is the first time a left government has been elected in Europe rather than in Latin America or South East Asia since the foundation of these institutions. It is outside the US sphere of influence and within the EU, so some of the more overt measures of aggression used previously cannot be used here. It will be very instructive to see how the EU and IMF react; we will see how far they are prepared to obstruct and overrule democracy when it is closer to home.