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The Implications of SYRIZA and the Greek Elections

Greece’s Fight Against European Austerity

by TARIQ ALI

Tariq Ali was interviewed by Kostas Vlahopoulos and Thomas Giourgas for www.nostimonimar.gr.

1. For the first time in Greek political history, a radical left party, SYRIZA, is the strong favorite to win the general elections taking place in January the 25th. What kind of reaction do you expect from the neo-liberal Europe and in particular from Germany?

Tariq Ali: If SYRIZA wins it will mark the beginnings of a fightback against austerity and neo-liberalism in Europe. Two concurrent processes will be in motion from the beginning of the victory. There will be a strong attempt by the EU elite led by Germany to try and tame SYRIZA via a combination of threats and concessions. The aim of this operation is simple. To try and split SYRIZA at a very early stage.

Secondly there will be a high level of expectation from SYRIZA’s electorate and beyond. Mass mobilizations will be extremely important to sustain the new government and push it to carry through the first necessary measures. The debt and the readjustment measures must be repudiated immediately before moving on to implement a plan that restores the social gains that have been achieved and are being dismantled by the Troika-led governments. The first three months will be decisive in terms of revealing the contours of the political and economic landscape envisaged by SYRIZA. Neo-liberalism can not be dismantled overnight but the will to do so must be paramount. Bandwagon careerists must not be allowed to sabotage what can and should be done

2. Do you believe that -inside this tight European framework- a SYRIZA government will be able to put forward its political agenda and to implement the promised reforms as a first remedy to the growing humanitarian crisis? Which should be the main priorities and the style of governance by a SYRIZA government? Do you think that SYRIZA, and Alexis Tsipras as their leader, could reshape and redefine the sociopolitical conditions and direction of the country?

Tariq Ali: Implementation will take time. We know this from the South American experience, but a start has to be made and the leaders have to make sure that all that is being done is in the open. Transparency is a vital ingredient to mass mobilisation and politicization. The more public support that is seen on the streets the more citizens in other EU countries will be inclined to support the Greek demands. Ultimately, in my opinion, if the EU elite/Troika refuse to make meaningful concessions then the only alternative is to defy them and if, as a result, Greece is expelled from the EU (something that would be unconstitutional) then Plan B has to be implemented. A SYRIZA government that allows itself to be effectively blackmailed by...

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