Wednesday, 14 January 2015


The radical Left party Syriza may win the forthcoming Greek parliamentary elections on 25 January or at least play a decisive role in the formation of Greece’s next government.  This would undoubtedly be a good thing.  What is especially interesting about this looming possibility is that it has forced a spectrum of commentators both inside and outside Greece to take their alternative programme seriously.  The hollow rhetoric of doom issued by the European President Jean-Claude Juncker and the German chancellor Angela Merkel has been replaced by a sense of quiet trepidation.  If Syriza wins power they intend to not only renegotiate the terms of Greece’s financial settlement but also carry out the real structural reforms of Greek society that not even the EU dared suggest.  The Greek oligarchs and their powerful friends, who have been busy squirrelling money away in Swiss bank accounts and overseas property in London and elsewhere, will find themselves under intense scrutiny.  The so-called Lagarde list of tax evaders and their fellow travellers, people who have in effect been betting against their own country, will have to pay up.1  If Greece does ultimately stay within the Euro under Syriza it will emerge as a better and fairer country as a result.  The powerful interests who have most to gain from a Greek exit form part of a mendacious establishment with links to the military junta of 1967–1974.  It is no wonder that figures such as Juncker are worried by the prospects of real reform: this discredited politician has himself been a facilitator of vast tax evasion practices within the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg: a shadowy entity exemplified by its nefarious monarchy parading in the pages of Hello magazine.2  If Syriza were to take a decisive role in governing Greece a huge amount would be at stake since their failure would usher in an intensified wave of cynicism and strengthen the murderous xenophobia of Golden Dawn.  

1          Kerin Hope, “Syriza to crack down on Greece’s oligarchs if it wins election,” Financial Times (6 January).

2          Susan Watkins, “The political state of the union,” New Left Review 90 (November/December 2014) pp. 5–25.

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