Sunday, January 25, 2015

Syriza's Day

Today, the Syriza party won nearly half of the seats in the Greek Parliament.  This will likely set Greece on the path to an exit from the European Union, and on a path to a drastic reorganization of its internal economy toward a more equitable arrangement for its people.

The experience of Greece (and of Portugal, Italy, Spain and the Baltic states) in the European Union shows that it's not just the British and Americans who can play the game of "hierarchy of white privilege."  The EU has arranged itself so that flows of economic wealth enrich a few nations at the expense of many others.  Thus the enjoyment of the benefits of "European privilege" have been reserved for a few while the costs of that privilege have been borne by the many who are overwhelmingly non-Germanic, non-English, non-Scandinavian, and historically less industrialized.  Today that arrangement is in danger of coming apart.

The recent history of Greece has some interesting similarities to recent history in the United States, including neoliberal takeovers of political and economic processes and riots over police shootings of unarmed teenagers.  It will be interesting to see how the holders of privilege in the United States react to Syriza's victory.  A successful political revolt such as Syriza's has become less likely in the United States, due to the dismantling of the American political process.  (See this and this.)  Yet there are other ways for a healthy periphery to go "No Contact" with a pathological political center. 

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