Graphic with dots representing seats in the Greek Parliament as of Jan. 25, 2015. Syriza in pink with 149. © JackWilfred | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionThe Left

Hope and its Discontents in Greece

The impressive victory of Syriza in the January 25th Greek elections was the direct result of increasing popular discontent with the Greek political elites and years of self-defeating austerity. The party, which symbolized a break with the past, ran on a platform based on hope, in contrast to the campaign of fear waged by the center-right government of New Democracy. “Hope is under way” was the main slogan, reverberating the famous Chilean “La alegria ya viene” from the referendum on Pinochet in the mid-1980s. Syriza played well on that terrain, promising to the people radical change, including the drastic restructuring of the debt through a 1953-style international conference, and the rejection of the memorandum of agreement with the “troika” of bailout monitors.

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