Describing the results of the Greek austerity measures, Paul Mason explained on the Guardian website on Sunday:
Instead, the economy has shrunk by 25%. Wages are down by the same amount.
Youth unemployment stands at 60% – and that is among those who are still in the country."
(ref 1 - see below))
But the Greek story of the last five years is not only one of disempowerment, dispossession and despair. Witnessing neighbours and family members going hungry; afraid to visit the doctor or dentist because of impossible bills; pushed into homelessness; or watching their chances of finding a job or collecting a pension disappearing, many Greek people started to find ways of supporting one another directly, creating food cooperatives, free health clinics, legal advice services and many other projects based upon principals of solidarity, autonomy and sustainability.
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates."
As the charismatic leader of Spain's Podemos party, Pablo Inglesias, said on Newsnight on Monday night:
Yes they have ridden a tide of anger at the ever worsening situation in the country, but it has also been a tide of hope and humanity and solidarity. That they won seems less surprising to me than that they are considered radical by the European political classes.
On Monday the satirical website, the Daily Mash summed up the election of Syriza much better than I have managed above:
Offered the choice between another half-decade of soaring unemployment and plummeting household incomes or a bit of a change, the Greek electorate has stunned Europe by making the wrong decision.
The ruling New Democracy party is still wondering how its platform of Endless Suffering For Everyone was defeated by Syriza’s competing message of Maybe Not That." (Ref 4)
1) Paul Mason on Syriza - http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/25/greece-shows-what-can-happen-when-young-revolt-against-corrupt-elites?CMP=share_btn_fb
2) Jon Heley on the Solidarity Movement - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/23/greece-solidarity-movement-cooperatives-syriza
3) A breakdown of Syriza's main policies - http://links.org.au/node/2888
4) Daily Mash 26 Jan 15 - http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/greeks-vote-to-stop-having-shit-kicked-out-of-them-2015012694755