victory in Greece is potentially a huge turning point.
Anti-austerity, pro-democracy and justice movements are rising in Spain, where tens of thousands marched yesterday chanting “Tick tock” to count down the time that could be remaining for the dominance of the country’s traditional ruling parties, and it seems also in Belgium.
We shouldn’t forget that these movements represent only the most recent wave of opposition to austerity programs. These protests have been going on around the world, receiving even less attention and respect from the corporate media than those in Europe, for literally decades. Their success in Europe will hopefully contribute to the renewal or construction of links of solidarity with the millions of people in countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean who’ve been defending their rights against Structural Adjustment for so long, often at great cost.
It’s also important to remember that these struggles are not just about policies and statistics but people’s lives, their pain and their possibilities. As Paul Mason reports from Greece:
The organiser [of a Syriza food bank] tells me: “This is the opposite of charity. We’re supporting 120 families in one area, and a lot of the work we do is about isolation, mental health and shame.” You cannot get more micro-political than sitting in a small room with desperate people and talking them out of suicide. Spin becomes impossible, the trust built hard to destroy.Austerity policies everywhere create suffering, despair, fear, and hopelessness,* and opposing them can mean healing and health. Reading about the refugees of the Spanish Civil War in Los últimos españoles de Mauthausen is a harsh reminder of what’s at stake. Victories of the Left don’t inevitably lead to perfect solutions, but victories of capital and the far Right lead to the ruin of everything good.
* And I’ll reiterate once more for the record: these are NOT failed policies. No reasonable person could possibly believe, given decades of evidence of their effects, that they represent anything other than successful attempts to achieve the real goals of finance capital and the IMF, and no one promoting or implementing them can claim otherwise in good faith.