Europe rises up against austerity

There is something really significant stirring in politics.  I think we will look back at this moment in the future and realise how important it was. In the Greek elections, the Syriza coalition triumphed. It is a very radical coalition and implacably opposed to the prevailing consensus on austerity. This changes everything.

And In Spain too, another anti-austerity party Podemos, that did not even exist 18 months ago, now leads the opinion polls. Suddenly people are realising that it is possible to oppose this TINA (There Is No Alternative) policy and still get elected. A similar process occurred a few years almost a decade ago in Latin America and radical parties swept to power.

Suddenly people are realising that it is possible to oppose this TINA (There Is No Alternative) policy and still get elected. 

Here in the UK too, people are losing their fear of voting for a party that is not Tory or Labour. With UKIP’s electoral successes they realise if you vote UKIP, you get UKIP. Here in Brighton and Hove, if you vote Green, you get Green.

More and more people are saying “Enough Is Enough”. Recent polls show half the public think there should be no more cuts to public services. And 60 per cent of Labour Party members think their party should promote more support for the NHS and public services, compared to only 15% who support the cuts to reduce the deficit.

George Monbiot put it very well in his blog today – partially reprinted below (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/28/convictions-politics-fear-syriza-podemos-snp-green): “Here is the first rule of politics: if you never vote for what you want, you never get it. We are told at every election to hold our noses, forget the deficiencies and betrayals and vote Labour yet again, for fear of something worse. And there will, of course, always be something worse. So at what point should we vote for what we want rather than keep choosing between two versions of market fundamentalism? Sometime this century? Or in the next? Follow the advice of the noseholders and we will be lost forever in Labour’s Bermuda triangulation.

If you never vote for what you want, you never get it.

“Perhaps there was a time when this counsel of despair made sense. No longer. The lamps are coming on all over Europe. As in South America, political shifts that seemed impossible a few years earlier are now shaking the continent. We knew that another world was possible. Now, it seems, another world is here: the sudden death of the neoliberal consensus. Any party that claims to belong to the left but does not grasp this is finished.

“Syriza, Podemios, Sinn Féin, the SNP; now a bright light is shining in England too, as the Green party stokes the radical flame that Labour left to gutter. On Tuesday morning, its membership in England and Wales passed 50,000; a year ago it was fewer than 15,000.

“A survey by the website Vote For Policies (http://voteforpolicies.org.uk/) reports that in blind tests (the 500,000 people it has polled were unaware of which positions belong to which parties), the Green party’s policies are more popular than those of any other.

If people voted for what they wanted, the Greens would be the party of government.

Change arises from conviction. Stop voting in fear. Start voting for hope.”

Join the #GreenSurge.

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