Are we seeing a resurgence of the left?

by Ray_North on January 31, 2015

images-4Hold on – something a bit weird’s happening – the left is rousing itself.

The good people of Greece have elected what is described, depending on who you are reading or talking to, a disparate collection of Trotskyites, Maoists and weirdos, or a charismatic Prime Minister who together with his forward thinking radicals will challenge the accepted direction of Europe – I hope it’s the latter, and, thus far, based on everything I’ve heard, I’ve got lot of confidence in Mr Tsipras and his Syriza Party. But, the people of Greece have done more than just elect a new government, they’ve also managed to rattle the cage of latent lefties everywhere – crikey, even the Labour Party have managed to sound less than Conservative in their proclamations about the NHS and Legal Aid over the last couple of days.

But, my fear is that Labour like many others may miss the point of Syriza – Syriza are not a vagabond collection of reds who are hell-bent on introducing some kind of Stalinist elysium in the South of Europe, nor, are they the type of politically correct North European style Trots who would see a Marxist dialectic in everything, nor, are they your typical, Social Democrat or Christian Democrat liberals who will chuck a few spending pledges around here and there in the hope that they’ll attract the young and working class voters – Syriza are far, far more sophisticated, and, I would say, far more important than that.

At the heart of the argument proffered by Tsipras and accepted by at least a third of the Greek electorate is the assertion (correct assertion in my book), that austerity is socially wrong and economically wasteful. Tsipras has made the obvious connection that if you reduce people’s wages you reduce their power to spend and consume, and rather than growing your way out of trouble, you simply find yourself in a bigger mess as the economy implodes and social unrest becomes inevitable.

Whereas the likes of Cameron et al, talk about their fear of leaving behind a legacy of debt to the future generations, Tsipras is far more concerned about leaving a legacy or ignorance, ill-health and poverty to future generations.

For Tsipras therefore, his economic policy is all about redistributing wealth in a socially cohesive way – he doesn’t want to be shackled by the financial institutions of the ‘troika,’ he doesn’t want to see his country becoming increasingly riven and control ceded to others who have no mandate to control the policies that affect the people of Greece, and importantly he wants to do this whilst staying within the EU and the Eurozone and that is as significant as it is challenging. I hope that he succeeds, because if he does his success will have a huge impact upon Europe and perhaps the world.

And this is a very different ambition than a little bit of tinkering with the micro-management of public policy, whilst leaving the gears of capitalism as we know it untouched, which is the best we can hope for from our Labour Party; and it is far removed from the knee-jerk and irresponsible tokenism and posturing that is the picture painted by the right – no, this is intelligent and important political and economic change.

Our own politics with an election a few months away, is desperately crying out for a charismatic and intelligent leader like Alexis Tspiras, and a party that offers hope like Syriza – sadly, we have nothing that is akin to that, and that is a massive shame, because never before have we needed a proper and well-thought out alternative to the orthodox ‘trickle down’ policies under which we have toiled for the last three decades.

Come on, ‘rise like Lions from your slumber, come in unvanquishable number.’

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Fionauk512 January 31, 2015 at 6:07 pm

It does feel like a light of hope on the horizon. When I talk with my son, a twenty something politically and socially aware young man, he tells me that there is a slow understanding developing in his age group and that it is beginning to seep through music and film. To a large part the mainstream media is ignored by his demographic and social media is where awareness, resistance and argument is growing. Perhaps an encouraging sign for the future because his generation have been sold down the river by the three main parties.

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Mike Killingworth February 1, 2015 at 9:59 am

… by the three main parties and by their grandparents.

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