Strictly speaking, the above title is incorrect. The real elephant in the room is not so much Podemos but neoliberalism itself. Give in to the wholly reasonable demands of Syriza and every anti-austerity party across Europe and beyond will take heart. The battle lines are crystal clear. Itís the exponents of monetarism and neoliberalism versus those at the receiving end. The ruling establishmentís narrative is that there is no alternative, yet one after another leading economists; including Nobel Prize winning economists, are telling us that neoliberalism and its attendant inhuman austerity policies are a busted flush. What they are telling us and what bitter experience is teaching us is that the policies of neoliberalism as practised acrossEurope are creating ever greater levels of inequality and making global recessionary pressures even worse. Just ask the Greeks. Of course you donít need to be a Nobel Prize winning economist to tell you this. Any high school economics student will tell you: spend your way out of recession and then trim the deficits during the boom years. Itís basic Keynesianism.

Iíve always been an enthusiastic supporter of the European unity project. Whateverlegitimate democratic reservations there were, the alternative seemed so much worse. But with neoliberalism in ascendancy over the past three decades, the current elites are slowly but surely destroying the European dream of ever closer social democratic cooperation. No sooner had the once influential European Social-Democratic parties been squeezed out of government, the path for the free-marketeers was wide open. And even when the social democrats made a brief return, they too were only too ready to mindlessly adopt the neo-liberal agenda. The Blair New labour Government was a classic example of social democracy falling for the myths of deregulation, privatisation and trickle-down economics. What we got instead was soup kitchens, food banks and pay day loan sharks whilst the millionaires suddenly became billionaires. The free-market proved to be anything but free, with billions of tax payerís money going to bail out busted banks and corporations across the capitalist globe. But when the citizens of the poorest European nations needed bailing out, all they got was chronic indebtedness and endless austerity. Just as individuals were being forced into the clutches of the loan sharks, so whole nations were being forced into the monetarist clutches of the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission. And once you fall into the clutches of these vampires there is little or no hope. Except that the Greek people have finally decided otherwise.

The statistics coming out of Greece are truly diabolical. 25% unemployment with youth unemployment at 50%. A whopping 25% of the Greek economy has evaporated since the banking collapse in 2008. Greece is being pauperised right in front of our eyes. Yet what does the Troika offer as a solution? Privatization, pension cuts and tax rises for those that can least afford it. Meanwhile the Greek oligarchs continue to get off scot-free. I suspect the IMF and its European counterparts recognise the absurdity of their policies but they are determined to humiliate the Greek nation as a warning to others. In particular, Spain, with its own recession hit economy, must not be tempted to vote for the anti-austerity Podemos Party in the forthcoming Spanish elections. A rebellious Greece is one thing, but rebellion throughout the Iberian Peninsula is altogether another. Contagion is the fear and huge swathes of Europe are susceptible to the anti-austerity message. The officials of the Troika must lay awake at night forever fearing that the PIGS might finally rebel.

When the Scottish people resoundly rejected the pro-austerity Labour Party it was a great day for democracy. When the Greek people gave an equally resounding NO to more austerity it was another majestic day in the battle against the banks and the global corporations that they serve. We are witnessing rebellion at the periphery of the empire. But Spain can no longer be considered at the periphery of Europe. It is the fourth largest economy in the Eurozone. If it says No to the failed policies of the Troika then the whole neoliberal project will start to unravel. That is why the ECB, the IMF and the European Commission will not relent in its failed, terroristic policies towards Greece.

Here in Britain the flame of anti-austerity is still relatively weak. Jeremy Corbin has forced his way onto the Labour Party leadership race but there is not yet a mass movement to support him. Some trade unions have promised their support but it is not enough. Opposition to neoliberalism, as personified by the imminent TTIP agreement, must come from below. Britain desperately needs its own Podemos. A further £12 billion in welfare cuts and a growing housing crisis may just trigger such a movement. Just donít expect the British Labour Party to be leading it any time soon. It is, like the policies it has been supporting for the past two decades, a busted flush. But to be honest, I doubt if there can be a national victory against the social and economic tyranny of neoliberalism. What we are up against is a global ideology and it will take a global response to defeat it. But the Greeks have certainly given us all an inspiring shot of defiance. More are sure to follow.

End JPK Copyright 7/6/15

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 July 2015 18:04 )