News Release

Anti-Austerity Left Wins in Greece: Saves Capitalism?

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, cpanayotakis at gmail.com
Panayotakis is professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology of the City University of New York and author of Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy. He said today: “The result of the Greek election is a resounding rejection of the austerity policies that have had devastating economic and social consequences. Having received over 35 percent of the vote, Syriza, Greece’s leading party of the anti-austerity left, is poised to form a government in coalition with a smaller party of the anti-austerity right and to challenge the austerity policies imposed throughout the eurozone. In so doing, the Greek election could prove an important turning point, further fueling the rise of anti-austerity forces of the left in Spain, Ireland and beyond.”

MARK WEISBROT, via Dan Beeton, beeton at cepr.net, @Dan_Beeton
Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. See their new statement “Syriza Victory in Greece Could Be a ‘Historic Turning Point’ for Eurozone Economic Policy, CEPR Co-Director Says.” Weisbrot recently co-wrote the report “The Greek Economy: Which Way Forward?

JAMES HENRY, jhenry at sagharbor.com, @submergingmkt
Available for a limited number of interviews, Henry is senior economic advisor for the Tax Justice Network and senior fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment. He is also managing partner at the Northern Environmental Law Center and former chief economist at the international consultancy firm McKinsey & Co.

He said today: The ironic story of the Greek election is the fact that it is the European ‘radical’ left that is standing up for reality-based capitalism — one that doesn’t try to live off unsustainable debt — one that doesn’t simply benefit BMW and Volkswagen and Deutsche Bank and BNP [France’s largest bank] — one that doesn’t tolerate corruption and tax evasion and Swiss private banking.

“In contrast, the ECB [European Central Bank] and the EU are insisting (a) that ordinary Greeks sustain more pain to service a foreign debt that stands at 175 percent of GDP; (b) that [Mario] Draghi and the ECB have nothing to offer other than printing more money; (c) that Greece must continue to service its unsustainable debts even though three years of extreme suffering have not restarted growth.

“This was politically unsustainable. It is equally unsustainable in Spain, where the left has surged; in Portugal; in Italy; in Eastern Europe. The left’s victory in Greece was essential — because the only alternative was the rise of Golden Dawn, the neofascist party.

“Elsewhere, all over Europe, the extreme right is on the march. Anti-immigrant feelings are at a high, from Hungary to Germany to the UK to the Netherlands, fueled by the EU’s incompetent austerity programs of the last seven years. The financial press is completely upside down about the left’s victory in Greece — it is to be celebrated, not bemoaned.”

ERIC LeCOMPTE, via Sophia Har, sophia at jubileeusa.org, @jubileeusa
LeCompte is executive director of Jubilee USA Network — “an alliance of more than 75 U.S. organizations and 400 faith communities working with 50 Jubilee global partners. Jubilee’s mission is to build an economy that serves, protects and promotes the participation of the most vulnerable.” See their statement on the Greek election.