SYRIZA

It had been planned to be a lavish celebration on the Pnyx hill next to the Acropolis in Athens where the citizenry would hold popular assemblies in the ancient democratic period.

The angry aftermath of the forest fires last month put paid to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hosting European Union and other luminaries in such a way. The event was to mark the formal end of the country’s subordination to the austerity memorandums enforced on it by the “troika” of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund.

Nearly 2000 retired workers and Social Security department workers gathered in Athens on October 3 to protest “inhumane” cuts to pensions.

An army of 1500 senior citizens marched behind banners, chanting “shame on you” and calling for the government to cancel the memorandum that has led to ongoing cuts since 2010, with further cuts set for 2019.

It has taken only nine months for the third memorandum between the near-bankrupt Greek state and its creditors — the “Quartet” of the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) — to lurch to the brink of crisis.

That deal, which the Syriza-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras felt forced to swallow despite the Greek people rejecting an earlier version by over 60% in a referendum last July, will provide the country with €86 billion. About 90% of this will go to paying off debt.

A 24-hour general strike in Greece against the “odious plan to dismantle the country’s social security system” shut down transportation, schools, courts, pharmacies and non-emergency hospital services on February 4.

Up to 100,000 people attended, according to organisers, while police estimated 50,000 hit the Athens streets. The strike is the largest since the leftist Syriza party took power in January last year on a platform of opposing the type of austerity measures the strike targetted.


Greek pensioners rally in Athens on January 21.

Thousands of Greek white-collar professionals, including doctors, lawyers and engineers, took to the streets on January 21, protesting against major tax and pension reforms required by the country’s creditors.

SYRIZA pulled off a remarkable victory at the September‭ ‬20‭ ‬Greek election.‭ ‬Although burdened by its acceptance of the draconian austerity measures in the third memorandum imposed by Greece's creditors and eight months of rule in the midst of recession,‭ ‬closed banks and capital controls,‭ ‬SYRIZA's vote fell by only‭ ‬0.88%‭ ‬and its parliamentary seats by just four.

Fifty-three members out of SYRIZA's 201-strong central committee, have resigned on August 26 in protest at the new bail-out deal SYRIZA signed that agrees to the type of brutal austerity measures SYRIZA was elected in January to oppose, Enikos.gr said that day.

Most have joined the Popular Unity movement, supported by former members of SYRIZA's Left Platform that will run on an anti-austerity platform in new elections called when SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras resigned recently.

Socialist Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn looks set to win the party’s leadership in the coming weeks — sending shock waves through the British establishment.

He has generated huge enthusiasm among young people with his ultra-radical concepts like “maybe don't start pointless wars so poor people die for economic elites” and “let’s ensure we can all access health care and basic services”.

But surely Corbyn is cheating. The whole concept of “democracy” seems rigged in his favour due to his dangerous approach of advocating policies that are actually in the interests of the majority.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced Thursday that he will step down and call snap elections for September 20, after facing strong resistance from within his own SYRIZA party.

“I will ask the Greek people if they think we have made achievements,” said the prime minister. “You will decide how we will recuperate the Greek economy, with your vote you will decide the future of Greece.”

By any logic, Greece's SYRIZA-led government should be sinking in the opinion polls.

At the Brussels Eurosummit of Eurozone leaders on July 12, SYRIZA Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras agreed to a set of draconian preconditions for obtaining a third €86 billion bailout. The decision effectively reversed the opposition to austerity on which SYRIZA was elected in January.

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