Wednesday 7th June, 7-10pm
Public meeting: Solidarity with the Greek people
Harry Polycarpou [AKEL]
Costas Douzinas [Syriza]
Paul Mackney [Greece Solidarity Campaign]
Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Road, London N12 9RU
Meeting sponsored by: Barnet Alliance for Public Services, Barnet trades council (TUC), AKEL
“If they win, we all win!”
The political philosopher Slavoj Žižek published a short article in the London Review of Books about the situation in Greece. He says:
“The next round of Greek elections will be held on 17 June. The European establishment warns us that these elections are crucial: not only the fate of Greece, but maybe the fate of the whole of Europe is in the balance. One outcome – the right one, they argue – would allow the painful but necessary process of recovery through austerity to continue. The alternative – if the ‘extreme leftist’ Syriza party wins – would be a vote for chaos, the end of the (European) world as we know it.
“[…] Critics of our current democratic arrangements complain that elections don’t offer a true choice: what we get instead is the choice between a centre-right and a centre-left party whose programmes are almost indistinguishable. On 17 June, there will be a real choice: the establishment (New Democracy and Pasok) on one side, Syriza on the other. And, as is usually the case when a real choice is on offer, the establishment is in a panic: chaos, poverty and violence will follow, they say, if the wrong choice is made. The mere possibility of a Syriza victory is said to have sent ripples of fear through global markets. [the markets] expressing their ‘worry’ at what will happen if the elections fail to produce a government with a mandate to persist with the EU-IMF programme of fiscal austerity and structural reform. The citizens of Greece have no time to worry about these prospects: they have enough to worry about in their everyday lives, which are becoming miserable to a degree unseen in Europe for decades.”
But when we look at that “wrong choice”, at what Syriza is about, we find that there is not a lot of difference between what Syriza is seeking to achieve in Greece and BAPS in Barnet. Both are against the frenzy of privatisation, of handing out the commons to profiteers, both are for accountability of our elected representatives, both demand that the banks will turn into an engine of growth, not an engine of austerity, both are for societies of social justice. The difference is that Syriza seems much closer to have the power to achieve that then us in Barnet.
It is therefore important for us, though we are merely one borough in the outskirts of London, to understand the situation in Greece, and to express our solidarity with the Greek people. BAPS, alongside Barnet Trade Council and AKEL, Greek Cypriot left party, will hold a meeting with open discussion about the situation there.