The Espace Leopold, the seat of the European Parliament in Brussels, 2007 © Alina Zienowicz | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismEssaysFascism: Old and NewFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

The End of Europe

The process of European unification is undergoing a deep crisis, certainly the deepest since it started at the beginning of the 1950s. In less than a year, the EU faced two major tests—first the Greek quarrel, then the refugee crisis — that revealed its true face: a mixture of impotence, unwillingness, egoism, arrogance and cynicism. It is not a pretty spectacle.  …

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"NO" demonstration in Athens © Ggia | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

Democracy or Immaturity?

Interpretations of the Greek referendum in the Euro Zone

The referendum that Alexis Tsipras announced in the early hours of June 27, just days before the expiration of Greece’s rescue program, was from the very beginning a dangerous gamble with little chance of success. His main objective was to strengthen his position as far as his internal rivals are concerned — mainly the hardliners within Syriza who opposed a solution that would entail austerity measures — and his government’s negotiation tactics abroad. The referendum, announced hastily and featuring a fuzzily-worded question on the approval or dismissal of a text that was no longer under negotiation, divided the Greek people deeply and became the subject of heated debates. The clamorous 61% in favor of a “No” vote more accurately reflects people’s accumulated frustration over the ongoing hardship of five consecutive years, rather than an outright rejection of the common currency, as interpreted by the vast majority of the European leadership. …

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Painting of Pheidippides as he gave word of the Greek victory over Persia at the Battle of Marathon to the people of Athens. Luc-Olivier Merson, 1869 © Public Domain | Wikimedia Commons
CapitalismEssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The Greek Referendum: A New Battle of Marathon

The historical resonance, significance and challenges of 'no' on July 5th

Some commentators have compared the victory of the “Oxi” at the Greek referendum of July 5th to a Pyrrhic victory, implying that while the anti-austerity camp won this battle, it is doomed to lose the war, strangled by the insurmountable economic difficulties caused by the lack of liquidity. Others have suggested that the referendum looked like the Thermopylae battle of 480 BCE, where three hundred Spartans valiantly fought the Persian army and lost. A better comparison, however, in my judgment is that with the Battle of Marathon. …

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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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