Does the Left Have Life?

In the United States, with our moribund and corrupt two-party system, the foreseeable future says “no” (Sen. Elizabeth Warren, you could help change this!) In Greece, ΣΥΡΙΖΑ‘s electoral success and success in extending its bailout struck a chord in the Eurozone. The fear of Greece exiting said zone (“Grexit”) rattled the EU and EU investors; the familiar route (to me) between Frankfurt am Main and Berlin could aptly have been termed the Bridge of Sighs. Yet, at least in the U.S., ΣΥΡΙΖΑ’s success was viewed in the mainstream media largely as an aberration, wishful thinking on the part of an irresponsible public looking to freeload on the rest of the so-called developed world. Neglecting the fact that taking on debt irresponsibly likewise involves lenders lending irresponsibly, of course.

But it’s just Greece, right? A European issue, nothing to worry about on Wall Street or K Street. No one here who doesn’t read/watch progressive or European media probably has never even heard of ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, and if they have, only in a passing reference on CNN or a passing glimpse at a headline at Walgreen’s. I will always be a print gentleman, and despite a greater degree of fragmentation in the press since before… the press, newspapers still drive much of the national and international conversation. In the U.S., it’s the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and when one of them starts to wonder if the resurgence of the European left might not be an isolated incident, it’s worth noticing. The Times did so just today, looking at the growing strength of Podemos in Spain.

Led by self-proclaimed Marxist Pablo Iglesias, Podemos has done something relatively rare in recent years on the left — built on a popular movement (Los Indignados) to create a genuine political force. Iglesias Speaks more eloquently than I ever could on the issues facing Spain (by extension, Greece, but also Portugal, Italy, and the global 99.9%), and thankfully Democracy Now! and CUNY Graduate Center gave him the forum here to do so. Is it way too early to pronounce a rebirth and reconfiguring of a politically potent global left? Yes. But neoliberalism’s paragons and media cheerleaders are at least noticing.

~ by Benji on March 11, 2015.

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