Dominoes of Democracy? Europe's Left Finds Hope in Anti-Austerity Vote

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Irish observer says vote is 'potentially the most important political event since the collapse of the Berlin Wall'

Published on Monday, July 06, 2015 byCommon Dreams by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

While many in the mainstream media focus on the nitty-gritty economic implications of Sunday's landslide anti-austerity vote in Greece, leaders of Europe's left are hopeful that the outcome, a repudiation of harsh Troika-imposed policies, will start a long-awaited domino effect of democracy across the continent.

"Our deeply unequal global economy relies on ordinary people having no real voice over economic decisions, so this 'no' vote  strengthens the battle for a fairer, more humane, people-centred Europe," Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said on Sunday.

In a column for Ireland's Journal Media, anti-austerity activist Paul Murphy described Sunday's vote as "potentially the most important political event since the collapse of the Berlin Wall."

Noting that the win relied on an "overwhelming mobilization" of both the working class and young people, Murphy—who works with the Irish Anti-Austerity Alliance but was in Athens for the vote—said that "[d]epending on what happens next, it can represent a turning point towards a challenge to the rule of the 1% in Europe and the dominance of Thatcherite neo-liberalism."

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Grexit: end of the illusion

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Flickr/taesos greq. Some rights reserved.

JOHN WEEKS 10 June 2015

The negotiations between the Troika and Greece are a sham. Greek submission to the neoliberal EU project or forced exit was the Troika game plan from the moment Syriza formed a government.

 

Appearance and reality

For five months we have watched the attempt by the government of Greece to renegotiate its debt with the notorious Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, with the German government very much the 500 pound cliché in the room).

Or, so it appeared. We can now know that the reality was and is quite different from appearances. The Syriza government and its creditors are not and were not in conflict over debt servicing, but something much more fundamental in which there could be no compromise. Greece has the only EU government that opposes the alarmingly successful project to solidify a neoliberal Europe.

Because of that opposition there will be no "agreement" between the Greek government and the Troika. Indeed, from the moment Syriza formed a government only two outcomes were possible: 1) the replacement of the Syriza government with one again obedient to the neoliberal project, or 2) or expulsion from the euro zone and the European Union.  With the Greek government enjoying overwhelming support, expulsion becomes the only possibility.

The question for the Troika is, how? The absence of any formal mechanism for expulsion of a member country from either the euro zone or the EU quickly became the central problem of the Troika. This problem would be and will be solved by creating conditions such that it appears that the Syriza government chooses the outcome the Troika desires.

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Rebuilding democracy in Iceland: an interview with Birgitta Jonsdottir

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Birgitta Jonsdottir. Flickr/Steve Rhodes. Some rights reserved.

In the first of a series of interviews by Phil England examining the situation in Iceland and the possible relevance of developments there to the UK, Phil talks to Pirate Party MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

Published by PHIL ENGLAND 29 June 2015 in Open Democracy

Birgitta Jonsdottir is a co-founder of the Icelandic Pirate Party and one of three Pirate Party MPs in the Icelandic government. Since March the Pirates have been polling as the most popular party in Iceland. Their core policies focus on direct democracy, civil rights and access to information. A former Wikileaks volunteer, Jonsdottir describes herself as an anarchist and a poetician. She is also founder and Chair of the International Modern Media Inititative (IMMI) which aims to strengthen democracy through transparency of information.

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Could the right to information clauses in the draft constitution along with the IMMI (International Modern Media Initiative) proposals to protect journalists, their sources and whistleblowers help prevent a second crash from happening?

Absolutely. It’s not enough to have a big [Wikileaks-style] data dump. You have to have people interested in it that can analyse it and simplify it for the general public to understand. So if we had this type of legislation before the banking crisis it might not have prevented it completely but it would have been a lot less severe.

We have legislation that is not very clear in Iceland about when public workers, the bureaucrats in the system, have a duty to report or a duty to be silent. It’s not clear right now because there are so many different regulations about it. Many people have been waiting for a clarification in law. So now the trend is for whistleblowers to stay silent.

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