The democratic sovereignty of European citizens and the reopening of political options

Next Sunday, an election of critical importance for the future of Europe will be held. No, dear French readers, this is not our “élections législatives”, it is the parliamentary election in Greece. This post aims at highlighting how offensive to democracy is the present pressure exerted on Greek voters in order to dissuade them to put in first position 1 the Syriza radical left party that has announced that it would block and renegotiate the “rescue” plan whose application is suspended until Sunday’s vote. The stakes of this vote are great. What can we observe: the policy makers in Europe and its member states, who are responsible for the disastrous resignation in face of the power of financial speculation, as well as their relays in media, threaten the Greek voters to convince them to abstain from voting for the only party that represents a non-nationalist alternative to the wreckage of politics. This includes the French presidency and government, all obsessed on their quest for an absolute majority in parliament and busy convincing Angela Merkel that the French socialism is a good pupil of market fundamentalism in order to convince her to soften it a bit. When I discuss this with members of the Frenc socialist party they tell me “wait for the 18th of June”. Too bad, the Greek elections are on the 17th.

One of the most revolting aspects of this blackmail is that it pretends to prevent the resurgence of nationalism, while it is actually paving the way for its triumph by supporting a policy that destroys the social fabric in all fragile countries, whose list will not stop at Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy as those who earlier said that Greece was an isolated case now affirm. Syriza was born out of one of the Greek communist parties. It includes radical anti-capitalist components. But it also was the refuge for all voters who want neither a nationalist fallback nor the total destruction of the social fabric. Syriza is certainly not a perfect alternative to the disastrous present European policies towards Greece.2 It opens an alternative which is not without danger if the European citizens are not able to force solidarity towards a new Greek government which Syriza would lead. But it is the one alternative that exists to the certainty of catastrophy. One must state it firmly: the freedom of the Greek voters to reopen the possible paths of policy new Sunday is a major democratic stake for all European citizens, not just for Greece.

This post is also available in: French

  1. Greece has a proportional electoral system with a significant bonus to the leading party. []
  2. For French readers see a remarkable interview of Stathis Kouvélakis by Philippe Marlière on his Mediapart blog. For details on the programme of Syriza, one can also refer to the analysis by Fondation Robert Schumann. []

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