Alexis Tsipras Warns: Greek Crisis Also Europe's, World's

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Common Dreams

Alexis Tsipras Warns: Greek Crisis Also Europe's, World's

Austerity: "Neoliberal shock experiment"

by
Common Dreams staff

Alexis Tsipras (R), head of Greece's left SYRIZA party, and Jean-Luc Melenchon (L), leader of France's Parti de Gauche political party, attend a news conference at the National Assembly in Paris May 21, 2012. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The head of Greece's leftist party Syriza traveled to Paris on Monday to consolidate support from political allies for rejecting the radical austerity that is driving Greece to the brink of "collective suicide".

Alexis Tsipras, whose strong showing in Greece's May 6 elections shocked the financial establishment of Europe, is hoping to tap into shifting sentiment across the Continent that Europe should reject austerity policies.

"I am not here to blackmail, I am here to mobilize," he said. "Greece gave humanity democracy and today the Greek people will bring democracy back to Europe...The war we are fighting in Europe is not between people or nations, it is between the forces of work and the invisible forces of finance and banks."

Polls suggest Tsipras's party Syriza could be in a position to lead a coalition government in Greece after a second general election on June 17th.

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The Guardian/UK reports:

The rising star of Europe Alexis Tsipras, the radical left Greek leader, has arrived in Paris to warn EU countries that their turn would come if they failed to oppose the radical austerity that is driving Greece to the brink of "collective suicide".

Tsipras reiterated his belief that Greece was being subjected to an austerity program as part of a "neoliberal shock experiment"Tsipras, who is leading an austerity-backlash, said the future of Europe and the euro depended on the outcome of the Greece debt crisis. And he said he could feel a "wind of change" blowing across the continent that he hoped would lead to the "complete re-founding of Europe based on social cohesion and solidarity".

To continue down the path of austerity, he warned, would turn the Greek tragedy into an European catastrophe.

"Greece is a link in a chain. If it breaks it is not just the link that is broken but the whole chain. What people have to understand is that the Greek crisis concerns not just Greece but all European people so a common European solution has to be found," he told a press conference in Paris.

"The public debt crisis is hitting the south of Europe but it will soon hit central Europe. People have to realize that their own country could be threatened.

"We are here to explain to people in Europe that we have nothing against them. We are fighting the battle in Greece not just for the Greek people but for people in France, Germany and all European countries."

"I am not here to blackmail, I am here to mobilize," he said.

"Greece gave humanity democracy and today the Greek people will bring democracy back to Europe."

Opinion polls suggest Tsipras's party Syriza could be in a position to lead a coalition government in Greece after a second general election next month. He was in the French capital to meet members of France's far left, including Front de Gauche firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who stood as a presidential candidate in April.

The young and charismatic Greek politician will travel to Berlin to reiterate his message; this is that Greece wants no more austerity and is willing to tear up the country's €130bn (£105bn) bailout agreement if necessary.

His defiance appears to be catching. Before Greece held a general election on 6 May, the 37 year old and his Syriza party were widely mocked as a motley collection of ex-Trotskyists, Maoists, champagne socialists and greens, who appealed to fewer than 5% of voters. After polling more than 25%, the Greeks and the rest of Europe have been forced to take him and his party seriously. [...]

Talking through an interpreter, and using his hands to emphasize his points, he was forceful and determined to enlist France in his anti-capitalist crusade.

"We [Syriza] are very happy to discover that even if we are not in government we can feel a wind of change blowing everywhere. Things that were yesterday considered impossible are today being discussed. Today they are being discussed, tomorrow they will be accepted."

"The war we are fighting in Europe is not between people or nations, it is between the forces of work and the invisible forces of finance and banks."He said if the left in Greece won a victory in the June general election it would be the "start of change and upheaval across the whole of Europe". [...]

Tsipras also reiterated his belief, aired in an interview with the Guardian at the weekend, that Greece was being subjected to an austerity program as part of a "neoliberal shock experiment".

"This has driven my country to an unprecedented crisis and a humanitarian crisis. If this experiment is successful in Greece it will be exported to other European countries," he said.

He added: "The war we are fighting in Europe is not between people or nations, it is between the forces of work and the invisible forces of finance and banks.

"It is difficult to be victorious over an enemy when that enemy has no face, no program, no political party but who governs us even so. If we perfect our victory in Greece it will sent a great message of hope throughout Europe."

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