Greece's Syriza party, a small party that housed themselves in a small deteriorating building on the impoverish side of town, claimed victory last month. The leftist/former communist party members are taking their claim by completely ridding the country of the austerity measures that have literally claimed lives as well as a large portion of the public's wealth and future.
Austerity isn’t the only thing the party is looking to get rid of either. Syriza is also going after the EU/US trade deal, the TTP IP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership), saying they will never vote for it to pass. This is a huge blow to both US and EU governments that wanted to help relieve further restrictions on trade for business. The TTIP, similar in its secrecy, like the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is a deal that could strip countries and consumers of having a say on what happens to the environment, on what people consume, as well as weaken labor rights. While Syriza has become an important movement for its potential impact on the EU and international trade agreements, the question still stands on whether their impact will be enough and will other western countries allow it?
Within the first days of taking office, prime minister Alexis Tsipras pushed out bills that would grant all children of migrants in Greece Greek citizenship, cancel the privatization of its ports and energy production, as well as rehiring back the 600 government cleaners who were laid-off because of austerity. Tsipras is also hoping to reemploy 15,000 workers and raise the minimum wage and pension benefits.
Syriza is coming to the stage with many proactive and bold initiatives. But with their loan debt and financial assistance they’ll need to make the economy and middle class working again, it’s going to be an uphill battle. EU, the “troika,” and Germany being their biggest hurdles.
And to be honest, everyone is watching Greece. Whether they’re watching closely to expose any potential flaw and collapse in the party, or hoping that Syriza succeeds in riding the country of ever having to face austerity again. This is where Syriza becomes an insight to what happens next. Other European states are already looking to Syriza in awe of the potential of throwing off the shackles of austerity. But the EU, IMF, and Germany are worried about the pressures that Greece uncooperative behavior will have on its repaying its debt.
The hope is that Greece can manage a debt repayment with strings that will not be a burden to the citizens of the country and instead to those businesses and banks responsible for the debt. While countries like Spain have also faced years of austerity, they’re economy is attempting to shift toward a similar anti-austerity direction.
Syriza is energizing Europe and the West. And the trend of people getting tired of being treated unequal in a more unjust society. Croatia recently cancelled the debt from all its poor citizens. Chile recently voted to make all universities tuition free, and funding it through corporate taxes.
These actions point toward the collective frustration on how we operate our current system of economics throughout the world. People in the US is having its own breakthroughs with Utah housing all the homeless because its cheaper than the hospital bills they expense while living on the streets. Or Tennessee's recent voting for tuition free community colleges, or the growing cities that are raising their minimum wage to 15.
These are all steps into the right direction, but like Syriza, we need to push to change the way our economy operates if we want to have actual change. These movements can cause real action, but it can be limited by the passing of trade agreements, wage stagnation, new leaders, or the continued lack of banking regulations. We need to look at the whole picture and change the whole system. But just like Syriza, the whole world will be watching. We just have to make sure we do it right.