Tag Archives: Syriza

Minority Rules

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Billboard for António Costa, leader of the PS. Photo by El-Kelaa-des-Sraghna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

On October 4, Portugal had a general election. The results were mixed, with the center-right Forward Portugal alliance (PAF) winning the most seats, but losing its actual majority in parliament. The majority of the seats were won by left of center parties, the largest of which is the Socialists (PS) followed by the Left Bloc (BE) and Communist (PCP) parties.

Thursday night, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said that he would not allow a coalition of the PS, BE and PCP to form a government, arguing that it was too risky to let the Left Bloc or Communists come close to power. He said:

“In 40 years of democracy, no government in Portugal has ever depended on the support of anti-European forces, that is to say forces that campaigned to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro, in addition to wanting the dissolution of NATO.

“This is the worst moment for a radical change to the foundations of our democracy.” Continue reading

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Right-Wing soft power, the refugee crisis and Europe’s failure

The fact that Syriza was crucified more often and with more intensity than Viktor Orbán speaks volumes in itself. It is just that most people do not want to listen.

By Srdjan M. Jovanovic. Published 9-20-2015 on openDemocracy

Austrian foreign minister meets Serbian finance minister and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.

Austrian foreign minister meets Serbian finance minister and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić. Wikicommons. Some rights reserved.

By the very end of the twentieth century, in the late 1980s, Joseph Nye coined the term ’soft power’. Little did we know that he had hit an ontological political jackpot. Oculus tauri. Nye wrote that ’the dictionary tells us that power means an ability to do things and control others, to get others to do what they otherwise would not’, giving the very definition of power as it is, an almost proverbial potestas per se. Traditionally, power was seen as brute force, an almost strictly military instance. ’Today, however, the definition of power is losing its emphasis on military force and conquest that marked earlier eras’, he wrote. ’Soft power lies in the ability to attract and persuade’.

No matter how much we try to convince ourselves otherwise, today’s Europe (and much of the rest of the world) is a willing slave to the Right-Wing’s soft power. This power is so strong that it has persuaded us that the Right Wing is not even Right-Wing. Until it becomes ’extreme’, such as the case of Viktor Orbán. Soft power is the Right-Wing’s bread and butter. And it works. Continue reading

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Reports: Greek Prime Minister To Resign, Announce Snap Elections

Resignation seen as attempt to forestall political revolt following approval of new bailout package and austerity measures in economically-battered nation

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-20-2015

Alexis Tsipras at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, 2013. Photo by Robert Crc (Subversive festival media) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Alexis Tsipras at the Subversive Festival in Zagreb, 2013. Photo by Robert Crc (Subversive festival media) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

In a move that came as a surprise to many, sources have told Reuters that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will announce Thursday that he will ‘step down’ from his post as soon as this evening and that new elections for control of the government will be held next month.

“The aim is to hold elections on Sept. 20,” the government official reportedly said after Tsipras met with senior party officials and ministers to discuss the government’s next move.

Though a call for snap elections was ultimately expected, many assumed they would not be held until after a confidence vote in Parliament. Tsipras’ preemptive resignation was not widely foreseen, though the ruling government is compelled to give over power once the election is officially announced. Media outlets report that Tsipras will address the nation tonight to make his resignation official and make clear his reasons for doing so. Continue reading

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On Brink of ‘Irreparable Split’ Between Rich and Poor Nations, European Leaders Scramble

Emboldened by anti-austerity referendum, Tsipras to address European Parliament on Wednesday

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published July 7, 2015

Experts say the onus is now on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back an "ethical approach," and ease Greece's debt burden. (Photo: NumberTen/cc/flickr)

Experts say the onus is now on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to back an “ethical approach,” and ease Greece’s debt burden. (Photo: NumberTen/cc/flickr)

In the wake of Greece’s historic ‘No’ vote this weekend, European leaders are scrambling to cement a new deal after the resounding rejection of the austerity program that has heretofore dominated fiscal policy and conversation.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz confirmed that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will address parliament plenary on Wednesday morning. Tsipras is expected to put forth a new written proposal for financial aid, one that reflects the wishes of the people—who on Sunday voted overwhelmingly against the latest bailout offer, which would have imposed further austerity and economic hardship.

On Tuesday, European heads of state are meeting in Brussels to discuss the pending economic crisis. According to reports, Tsipras will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande ahead of the evening’s leaders’ summit to discuss his plan. Tsipras is expected to call for the country’s €323bn ($356bn) debt to be reduced by up to 30 percent, with a 20-year grace period, BBC reports. Continue reading

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Greece needs a Plan C: for the commons and communality

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, tough times are ahead. To survive, Greek society will need to reinvigorate the commons and communal solidarity.

By Jerome Roos. Published July 4, 2015 at ROAR Magazine.

Post image for Greece needs a Plan C: for the commons and communality

A solidarity kitchen in Greece. The poster in the back reads “Free Food for All” (by Marko Djurika).

As the Greek debt crisis enters its dramatic apotheosis — with an unprecedented default on the IMF last Tuesday, hundreds of thousands of anti-austerity protesters taking to the streets on Friday, and a historic referendum scheduled for Sunday — concerns are growing over the state of the Greek economy.

The decision by the European creditors and the European Central Bank to basically cut off Greece’s banking system from continued emergency support has forced the government to close all private banks and impose far-reaching capital controls. As a result, Greek companies can no longer pay foreign suppliers and are already starting to run short on food, pharmaceuticals and other key imports. Some pensioners are struggling to obtain their much-needed cash. Continue reading

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A turning point for Greece and Europe

There is still some space to avoid this worst-case scenario. And to listen to the reasons of Alexis Tsipras and of Greece – that are the reasons of democracy, in Athens as in Europe.

By Mario Pianta. Published June 21, 2015 on openDemocracy.

Alexis Tsipras. Photo by Joanna (Flickr: Επίσκεψη Αλέξη Τσίπρα στην Κομοτηνή) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Alexis Tsipras. Photo by Joanna (Flickr: Επίσκεψη Αλέξη Τσίπρα στην Κομοτηνή) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Relations between Greece and Europe are at key turning point. Between Friday 19 June and Monday afternoon, 22 June, when the European Council meets in an unexpected summit, four things may happen. An agreement, a temporary compromise, a break-up between Athens and Brussels, or a deepening of the crisis.

The first possibility – the most desirable – is an agreement based on the proposal of the Greek leader Alexis Tsipras: end austerity, release the 7.2 bn.euros of planned European aid, start a radical debt restructuring. But even the most pliable EU leader, Jean-Claude Juncker, said on Friday: “I do not understand Tsipras” and “I have warned Mr. Tsipras many times he shouldn’t depend on me being able to prevent a failure of the talks”. This is not exactly the way you would prepare an agreement.

The second possibility is that the talks this weekend will lead to an intermediate compromise: an agreement to drag along the talks, with bridging EU funds for repaying the 1.6 bn. euros owed to the IMF at the end of June. In the meantime, on Friday ECB’s Mario Draghi has provided 2 bn. euros in emergency liquidity assistance to Greek banks where the massive capital flight of past months has left no liquidity. Continue reading

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‘This Is Not A Game,’ Declares Greek Minister as Talks Collapse in Brussels

Image via Twitter.

Image via Twitter.

‘Europe must cut its lossses with a program that is not working,’ declares Syriza’s finance minister Yanis Varoufakis

By Jon Queally, Published February 16, 2015 by Common Dreams 

Without any apparent progress, talks in Brussels between the Syriza-led government of Greece and finance ministers of the Eurogroup collapsed on Monday just hours after negotiations began.

An official with the Greek delegation first told Reuters that talks were called off after finance minister Yanis Varoufakis rejected a proposal put forth by the Eurogroup ministers which essentially called for an extension of the current bailout scheme with no alterations to the terms.

“Some people’s insistence on the Greek government implementing the bailout is unreasonable and cannot be accepted,” the Greek official reportedly said. “Those who keep returning to this issue are wasting their time. Under such circumstances, there cannot be a deal today.” Continue reading

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