Wed May 2nd, 2012 at 05:49:03 AM EST
I'll be putting up a diary on the upcoming Greek elections, both the most promising and the most ominous in recent history as well as the most unpredictable, shortly... The elections are scheduled for next Sunday, so they will coincide with the second round of the French presidential elections, and probably will be overshadowed by them... At least initially...
This here is an introductory diary that would like to open a discussion about the possibilities and prospects of an antiausteritarian policy starting from a single, small EU country. It's more of a call for a discussion really as it is not just about Greece, but in general about the possibilities and routes of escape from the straitjacket of ECB brand austerity... Something most of us here aim and wish for...
See this: Greek anti-bailout leftist wins over austerity-weary voters:
Alexis Tsipras says Greece's political elite are bluffing when they say harsh austerity cuts are required to keep the country in the euro zone. And he wants Greek voters to call them on it.
With Greece due to vote on May 6, the young leader of the Left Coalition party is urging Greeks to vote out austerity - and the two pro-bailout parties imposing it - arguing Europe cannot afford to kick Greece out of the monetary union.
"It's a pseudo-dilemma, a fabricated myth, that our future in the euro is at risk. It is blackmail by pro-bailout parties, a tool to pressure people to accept measures that bring misery," he told Reuters in this port city in central Greece.
"If any country left the euro under the pressure of markets, then as a herd they would seek the next one to speculate on. The cost for the zone, for Germany, would be huge," he said.
The rhetoric may find little sympathy among Greece's international lenders, but it is winning him voters at home. The 38-year-old leftist's party is one of four vying for third place in national elections on May 6.
frontpaged - Nomad
Full disclosure: I am a member of SYRIZA and am campaigning for it currently: Yet, although for a variety of reasons I am fiercely for sending the troika home, declaring that the official ECB/IMF policy on Greece has failed miserably, and that on humanitarian grounds alone, the disaster suffered and that planned (as Greece is supposed to cut an extra 15 billion Euro from its budget in the next 3 years, and lower private salaries by decree, yet again, after a 22% cut suffered already) should not be voluntarily accepted by any people in the world... I'm not as confident as Tsipras that things will go exactly as planned (to be fair, neither is he, there are Plan Bs that have been considered in any case). So let me raise three issues, that really affect most of the EU periphery in one form or another:
- Is euro membership secure? Isn't there a significant faction in the German government that supports "kicking Greece out of the euro" already?
- Wouldn't an act of rebellion (such as reversing the ban on collective bargaining, or resetting the private sector minimum wage back to the dizzying levels of <700 Euros per month, or deciding that teachers need more than 600-1000 Euros to live on per month, or refusing to privatize the public companies that Greece has agreed to privatize) cause an all-out war by the powers that be in the EU against a "rebel" Greek government (or Portuguese, or Irish, or even Spanish), on many fronts inside the EU, starting from EU convergence funds etc? Wouldn't there be some sort of domino-theory desire to avert the "bad example" from spreading?
- What would the inability to form a government in Greece coupled with a very strong "left of the left" showing in the coming elections precipitate in the EU and how would it affect the crisis? Would a Hollande victory have any effect?
IMHO the third is the most crucial question. I think that the markets' reaction to a "problematic", from the Greek lenders' perspective, electoral result might act as a bomb in the current atmosphere of impending doom, coupled with Spanish problems, a French socialist victory and anti-austerity protests around the EU. Would such a result trigger then a critical point that would decide the fate of the Euro earlier than expected? Weariness is evident already
in the markets, and the IMF is worried
I note that SYRIZA is the only political party in Greece that informed all of the relevant stakeholders that it does not accept the legitimacy of the Papademos government and is not bound by its signature...
Now there are is a ban on publicizing electoral opinion polls in Greeve 15 days before the elections (an insane rule IMHO), but I do know the results of one of the unpublished recent polls and "vying for third place" is an understatement. In reality SYRIZA is aiming for second place with a large enough percentage to block a stable pro-austerity government from forming. The combined forces of various shades of anti-troika left (including the Greens) in Greece are around 39%, and the anti-troika right (not counting the Nazis) is at 10%. Pro-memorandum parties are at 42%... But more about the elections soon...
[No-one would in SYRIZA would officially admit to so high a goal BTW, because the Melenchon campaign has taught everyone that an evident victory can be turned into a perceived defeat by high expectations alone....]