Thursday, March 12, 2015

Why Syriza and the battle Syriza is waging for the soul of Europe matters !

Why Syriza And Its War For The Soul Of Europe Matters !

By Fred Walton

     As a general rule , my concept as to blogging has been to pick a topic , scour through various sources on the subject , assemble what I think are representative news and viewpoints on the subject - and let the reader fend for himself or herself. We are intellectually curious , possess the ability to read and can form our own opinions. Tossing in my humble opinion , for what that might be worth , seemed an unnecessary additive , perhaps a distraction to the reader . For what it's worth , I'm diverging from my usual path to offer an opinion for consideration. Consider it while you sip your morning coffee.

     Who and what is Syriza ? For those reading with both an expert's range and  panoramic view of european politics , I apologize for this section. For those who have never heard of Syriza , perhaps  this section might be useful. As an overview , here is a link from Wikipedia on Syriza , which provides a nice Readers Digest overview on the Coalition of the Radical Left. The Prime Minister of Greece is Alexis Tsipras and Greece's  Finance Minister Vanis Varoufakis - both members of Syriza. Syriza swept into power after the snap election held on 2015.

     How did we get to such a place , when we  contemplate things , where Syriza could matter - not just to Greece and Europe at large , but to the greater societies of men and women globally ? In that regard , let's swiftly consider how we got to this particular point in time. After the Dot-Com bubble viciously  burst ( covering a period from March of 2000 through October of 2002 )  , massive losses were inflicted on investors , thereafter speculative fever took hold in real estate ( not just in the US , but also in Europe and Canada as well. Asia was not immune to this speculation. ) Like with all bubbles , the good times came to an end - we saw subprime come in the lexicon and the most ferocious collapse seen since the Great Depression was unleashed. Recklessness on the part of numerous Banks ( as well as Central Bankers ) , produced mass havoc , reduced much of the banking systems in the US and Europe to insolvency , unleashed unprecedented interventions by Central Banks to bail out the reckless Banks - to this day , the effects of those interventions still louddly and quietly resound ( consider the various interventions by  the Fed / Treasury / ECB / Bank of England / IMF et al , all attempting to place tourniquets on their gravely wounded Zombie Banks ! ) In 2015 , We still see QE being unleashed by the ECB , we see negative interest rates becoming much more a norm than an oddity , we see outrageously  low yields on debt throughout the Eurozone ( sans Greece and Cyprus ) and there is absolutely no real  sense as to when these interventions and abnormal conditions will end ( if ever. ) This should spark fear and panic - but it doesn't . Equities should not be rising as they have ( especially looking at the period from 2009 through the present - but they have ) , all seems calm on the pond - but it shouldn't be calm at all !

     While the Banks got bailouts , citizens in the US and Europe ( Greece , Cyprus , Ireland , Spain , Italy , Portugal in particular ) have received austerity. The level of austerity in Europe  has had a wide range - simplistically stated , the level of austerity imposed  has varied based upon the level of subordination to what has become known a the Troika . Where bailouts where necessary due to the implosions of financial systems in certain European nations , austerity was doled out and the citizens told essentially to suck it up. The  Banks have appeared to recover in many of the affected countries where bailouts occurred  ( in Europe and the US ) , happy times have returned for the Bankers - but the austerity bandwagons roll on. In Greece , the austerity imposed has been extremely draconian and frankly the end is not in sight. Whereas Ireland and Portugal have exited their bailout regimes ( and neither Spain nor Italy were actually formally subordinated to the dreaded Troika ) , the yoke still remains around the neck of Greece. All things being equal , it would either remain there for decades or the country would collapse out of the Eurozone. It still isn't clear what the endgame will be for Greece.

     After Greek governments led by first Pasok and later New Democracy failed to break the feverish state of Greece - dying under Troika imposed austerity , an unsustainable  debt burden , a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions and no hope for the future , Syriza was swept into power and formed its coalition with Independent  Greeks. Let's be frank - the start of the Coalition has been rocky - it's much more difficult to govern than campaign ! Both Tsipras and Varoufakis have made missteps , unforced errors and demonstrated their inexperience in dealing with intractable forces - not enemies per se ( much too simplistic to take that tack ) , but forces driven by a vastly different agenda. And both will continue to make mistakes - it is both human nature , their own nature as individuals , it's a function of the political fishbowl they are swimming in , its symbolic of the battle underway for europe's soul and future direction and there are a number of forces arrayed against this brazen attempt to break free from the norms imposed by the Troika led establishment. However , they are the only Government presently in power at least trying to release their nation from Troika imposed debt servitude. Pray that they succeed !

Syriza will become ( it hasn't reached the point yet ) , where it becomes 2015's version of the  " Dark Knight  " in real life . Regardless , because of what Syriza represents and why they were elected into power , we should embrace them ( even with their own goals , human frailties  and the tendency to drive you batty with inconsistent messaging / programs / agendas .) Like it or not , for the average citizen , they are the Dark Knight - pray they can handle the pressure applied not just to date , but that to come. Consider this passage :

GORDON: ...he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So, we'll hunt him, because he can take it.Because he's not our hero.