|Syriza leader Alexis Tspiras|
Greece is likely to have a left wing and anti-austerity government by the end of the weekend.
WITH SYRIZA leading in the polls (the latest poll says the lead is 4.2 percent) it is likely that Greece will vote for a left wing and anti austerity government on January 25.
The ruling right wing Democratic Party has desperately claimed that the election of Syriza would see Greece descend into chaos. The fear mongering has reached such a level that the Prime Minister recently claimed that Syriza would turn Greece into North Korea.
But, having enforced the austerity polices demanded by the European Union, the Democratic Party has little credibility with the Greek people. Meanwhile support for the social democratic Pasok Party has effectively collapsed - it too is seen as a docile servant of the European Union having first implemented the austerity regime.
Earlier this month the party split with former Prime Minister and Pasok leader George Papandreou forming a new party to contest the election. He is very much a discredited figure and has little chance of success.
The European Union has waded into the Greek election with the European commissioner, Jean-Claude Juncker, commenting he “would not like extreme forces to come to power” in Athens. In Germany, Finance minister Wolfgang Schaüble has repeated the fatuous claim that there is “no alternative” to the current reforms in Greece.
But such is the level of anger that Syriza’s candidates in urban areas heavily affected by austerity have been besieged by voters demanding the arrest of former ministers for crimes against the Greek people. Pasok politicians have found themselves being roundly booed at public meetings.
Despite the warnings of 'apocalypse now' from the Greek and European ruling class, the immediate economic program of Syriza could be characterised as being broadly left keynesian
Syriza leader Alexis Tspiras has committed the party to bring back wages and pensions to their level before the crisis; a return to collective bargaining agreements as they existed; a return to a minimum level of income and an abolition of tax on heating oil. For the poorest of Greek's population immediate emergency measures will be implemented such as free water and electricity.
Syriza also plans to root out corruption and says that the corporate sector has been the only benefactor of Greece's privatisation program.
Tspiras has pointedly emphasised that water, electricity, energy and telecommunications are of‘strategic importance’ to Greece. While the nationalisation of the banks and the recapture of assets sold into private hands is not on the immediate agenda it is not off the agenda either.
The importance of an Syriza election victory is the message that it sends to the rest of Europe and beyond; austerity driven policies not only do not have to be accepted - they can be overturned. The neoliberal consensus can be broken.
In Greece itself a Syriza victory will represent a significant shift of power in favour of the Greek working class and open up new opportunities of struggle that have been denied by neoliberalism.
Such is the interest in Syriza that a question and and answer with Tsipras on Twitter last week ago trended at number three globally. Over 32,000 tweets were submitted with the hashtag #askTsipras in the space of a few hours.
In Spain the left wing Podemos Party, also consistently leading in the polls, has been working closely with Syriza.
A recent declaration by Podemos was signed by over 6,000 people In part, it said :
The situation of the Greek people is not the product of immutable laws but of specific decisions and interests. The electoral rise of Syriza is the proof that an ample social majority is saying ’enough!’ to corruption and to the looting to which they were subjected during the last years. Syriza is a political force that has been in contact with the struggles taking place on the streets and that is ready to bring political change to the institutions. A change that will only be possible if the Greek people maintain the mobilisations in the streets, self-organise on all possible levels of society and count with the international solidarity of the European citizenship.
We are convinced that the Greek people will sack the thieves using the voting polls.