My thoughts on the Greek election

I hope that SYRIZA wins today. I have a lot of doubts and reservations about what they will do once in power but I believe their election is a necessary (if imperfect, partial, full of potential pitfalls) step forward. I hope that SYRIZA wins and I hope that the Left and the masses of people are prepared to hold them accountable.

I believe that, ultimately, Greece will need to leave the EU and the Eurozone if they’re ever going to reestablish any real economic or political self-determination, and it disappoints me that SYRIZA (or rather its “leadership”) has removed this from their rhetoric of possibilities, among many other rightward shifts. But that doesn’t mean that the chain of events following a SYRIZA victory might not lead to a Grexit anyway (via expulsion from above or via pressure from below). And of course an exit from the Euro would be merely the beginning of a long process of rebuilding democracy and moving towards revolution, as is true for so many of the decisions that would face a SYRIZA government. In other words, we are along way from where we need to be. The devastation of the past 7 years of “austerity” and economic terrorism on the people of Greece cannot be overstated.

I give SYRIZA my critical, qualified support because I understand that they are the only viable option right now with any intention to ease the suffering of the Greek people and provide an opening for further progress. But this support is qualified, with criticisms, because there is indeed much to criticize and much that could go wrong and the fate of the people of Greece is what truly hangs in the balance. SYRIZA is far from a tried and true tribune of the people. SYRIZA is a necessary and promising experiment in rebuilding the Left, in challenging neo-liberal capitalism, and it is an encouraging development, a positive response to the economic crisis. But the contradictions of the current period are too great to expect that things will go smoothly after a SYRIZA victory. This is a critical juncture in Greece’s history and I believe that no matter what happens tomorrow, there will be a lot of volatility in the coming period.

So I will hold my breath, as I hope for a SYRIZA win and the kind of volatility that precedes a flower bursting from its bud.