A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of austerity. For almost a decade now the elites – and by elites I mean everyone who is steering the system of capitalism and profiting from it – force an unprecedented scale of austerity on the countries and the people of Europe. They call it politics of sound budgets but in truth it is the dismantlement of our social, economic and democratic rights. It is a simple but most effective plan to preserve and expand power and wealth of the elites.
Our politicians, who should be out there to fight for the people, for all those who cannot afford lobbyists or bribes to influence politics, have long ago arranged themselves with the economical elites. They get their well paid jobs and in return they offered their silent obedient consent. And we, the people, watch as bystanders stunned and unbelieving what is happening. Feeling powerless given the immense speed and complexity of this changing reality.
But only powerless because we forgot what we had and how we got it. Powerless because we cannot imagine what could be. Peace, social security, fair wages, public pensions, free public education and much more were never gifts from the elites. Generations before us fought and suffered for these achievements. In the streets, in the media, in companies and in parliament. Our wealth was built on their shoulders but instead of fighting for more or just to keep the status quo we took it all for granted and enjoyed the alleged good life. The elites were not that lazy and started their counterattack. And now, after years of neoliberal policy, we get check for our snugness.
We, the people in Europe, feel that we are moving in the wrong direction. Away from equality, freedom, solidarity and even basic humanity. In their despair, fear and desire for change people turn to the right as they seem to be the only credible hope against this system. Not realizing that their true ideology is of even more hate, elitism and coldness.
In Greece, like in no other country in Europe, the people had an alternative: Syriza, a movement, party and network that is not part of the economic elite. The people took this chance to break with a not working system and at the same time not opposing everything and everyone else. Syriza won the snap elections in January with a landslide victory and ever since tried everything to change the course of history. The panic was written all over the faces of the elites and the politcaste not only in Europe. From day one the European politcaste and the media used every mean imaginable to discredit the people´s choice and force the new Greek government to continue the policies for which they were founded to end.
After five months of pressure and extortion by the Troika, the undemocratic decisionmakers of the Eurozone, it is clear that they never intended to accept the vote of the Greeks against austerity. It has never been a negotiation over the best ideas to help Greece back on its feet. It was and is a power struggle with the elites on the one side and people on the other and they want to make an example out of Greece: Either cave or go down. This should be a warning for everyone else in Europe questioning the Alternativelessness of our economic and political system.
But despite all the pressure and threats Syriza did not back down. The final offer from the Troika on the table would cross the red lines that Syriza were elected for. Not accepting it would keep their promises but would lead to massive changes most likely including the pullout from the Eurozone. This is where the mandate from the people ends and Tsipras and his government made the only right and honest decision: a referendum.
If the people of Greece after all their suffering and humiliation they went through still don´t feel strong enough to say “No” to austerity than there is also no government that can do it for them. But if the people are ready to set aside their fears because they are not willing to keep moving towards a light at the end of the tunnel that is moving away from them, austerity can end. It won´t be an easy road but it is the only way where the future is not predetermined.
One week from today the Greek people will make this decision and everyone in Europe and many other parts of the world craving for change is hoping that the Greeks have the courage that we all did not have so far.