February 2, 2015
The genie of political anti-imperialist rebellion in Europe is out of the bottle & cannot be repressed.
Last month I wrote a BFP exclusive report on the upcoming presidential elections in Croatia and Greece. I claimed that in each of these elections there were political candidates and options taking a clear stand of resistance to the hegemonic US-NATO Empire in the Balkans. I predicted that these forces will gain significant political support and suggested that this should be interpreted as a sign of the weakening of the Empire’s hold on the region.
Now, more than a month later, it is time to examine the actual election results and discuss their importance for the future course of action both by the forces supporting the Empire and those opposed to it.
As predicted, the Croatian presidential elections was not decided in the first round of voting on December 28. Neither of the four candidates – the incumbent Ivo Josipović and three challengers Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Milan Kujundžić, and Ivan Vilibor Sinčić – received the necessary 50% of the vote to win outright. The two highest placed candidates, Ivo Josipović with 38.5% of the vote and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović with 37% of the vote, went into the runoff scheduled for January 11. The readers will recall that I characterized Grabar-Kitarović as the Empire’s favorite. She is a former Croatian foreign minister and ambassador to the US, former NATO Assistant Secretary General and a member of the Trilateral Commision.
This outcome has been expected and is nothing to write home about. However, the result of Ivan Vilibor Sinčić, the representative of the anti-imperialist organization “Živi zid”, whom I had described in my previous report as the most progressive and humanist candidate, positively surprised even the most optimistic observers (including myself). Even though most pre-election opinion polls had predicted that he would receive no more than 10% of the vote (and some even put his support below 5%), Sinčić got the amazing16.5%.[i]
This means that a sizable portion of the Croatian citizens share his goal of resistance to the US-NATO Empire’s control and its neoliberal policy goals. In a Balkan country that, in addition to Albania and the status problematic Kosovo, is the most beholden to the Empire due to its financial, military and media assistance in the war for independence, including the persecution and ethnic cleansing of the Serbian minority in the Gladio-type Operation “Storm” in 1995, this is a fantastic result.
It is clear that Sinčić and the political organization he leads have an excellent head-start for the next parliamentary elections. There is little doubt that they may have close to one fifth of the parliamentary deputies and hence a great chance to be represented at the ministerial level in any future government. In this way, the anti-imperialist discourse will become a part of the Croatian political mainstream, and the calls for the Croatia’s exit from NATO will be more and more prominent in the public sphere.
Sinčić decided to instruct his supporters not to vote for any of the two candidates in the runoff. He claimed that they were both very much the same in serving the goals of the US-NATO Empire and the corrupt capitalist oligarchy and that therefore it was irrelevant which “puppet” would win the presidency.[ii]
In my previous report, I stated that it would be wise for the incumbent president Josipović to modify some of his geopolitical positions and social policy proposals and try to get Sinčić on his side. Otherwise, I predicted that he would lose the presidency to the Empire’s favorite: Grabar-Kitarović.
Josipović was either unwilling or unable (due perhaps to some publicly unknown Empire’s blackmail) to mollify Sinčić, and he became the first Croatian presidential incumbent not to get the second term. On January 11, he received 49.5% of the vote, while his opponent got 50.5%.[iii] Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović became the president of Croatia for the next five year period.
Although it may appear that the US-NATO Empire has a great deal to celebrate because, after all, the candidate they favored got to be the president, in essence this is a Pyrrhic victory. Very soon Sinčić and his fellow activists will be elected to the Parliament and they will be able to seriously curtail the course charted by Grabar-Kitarović and her imperial mentors.
In contrast to Croatia, the president in Greece is not elected directly by the people but by the deputies in the Parliament. However, if the candidate proposed by the prime minister is not elected in the three rounds of voting (three ballots), the government falls and the immediate parliamentary elections are held.
In my previous report, I explained why I thought that the US-NATO Empire favorite Stavros Dimas, former foreign minister and EU Commissioner, proposed as the candidate by the prime minister Antonis Samaras, will not get the necessary votes to get elected. I expressed some concern that perhaps certain corrupt vote manipulations might take place on the final ballot on December 29 in order to prevent the snap parliamentary elections.
This concern arose from the fact that the likely winner of the parliamentary elections would be SYRIZA, the coalition of anti-imperialist left forces, whose political platform included the measures that would spell the end of neoliberal economic policies not only in Greece, but also in the rest of the European Union. SYRIZA and its leader Alexis Tsipras did not mince words in criticizing the policies of the Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) and vowed to stop what they saw as punitive measures against the Greek people as a whole. In fact, Tsipras’ economic adviser, Yanis Varoufakis, a well-known maverick economic theory professor and the author of The Global Minotaur , the best-selling book on the 2008 financial crisis, called these policies “fiscal waterboarding”.[iv]
My concern turned out to be unfounded, and when the president failed to be elected on the third ballot, the prime minister Samaras scheduled the new elections for January 25.
In the run-up to the elections, it was clear that SYRIZA would win the majority, the only questions that remained to be answered were how large that majority would be and whether SYRIZA would be able to govern alone or would need a coalition partner.
SYRIZA’s political program contained a radical break with the US-NATO Empire policies imposed on Greece not only from the economic, but also from the geopolitical perspective. SYRIZA called for the emancipatory re-orientation of the Greek foreign policy from the slavish following of the US-NATO interests to the articulation of autonomous policies contributing to global peace, solidarity, and cooperation among different nations. The concrete steps included in the political program dealt with the recall of the Greek soldiers from the current NATO mission in Afghanistan, the closing of all foreign bases on the Greek territory, and the exit from NATO. The economic sanctions against Russia also elicited SYRIZA’s critique.
It was clear that, the victory of SYRIZA, if it were to take place, would represent the most significant ideological shift away from neoliberal imperialism since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappearance of the Soviet bloc.
And, then, on January 25, something that, from the viewpoint of the US-NATO Empire seemed nearly impossible, actually took place. SYRIZA won an overwhelming number of parliamentary seats, two short of the absolute majority (149 seats out of 300).[v] Already in the morning of the next day, they signed a coalition agreement with the rightist, anti-austerity Independent Greeks party (ANEL) which has 13 deputies. Tsipras became the new prime minister, and Varoufakis the new finance minister. Varoufakis paraphrased the words of the poet Dylan Thomas: “Greek democracy today chose to stop going gently into the night. Greek democracy resolved to rage against the dying of the light”.[vi]
This entirely logical and rational “rage” is an unmistakable nightmare scenario for the US-NATO Empire. No wonder then that all the corporate-controlled media (from Bloomberg and CNN to the Wall Street Journal and the Economist) as well as the credit rating agencies went into the high gear finding all kinds of faults with SYRIZA and its first political moves. The next line of fire will be the Washington, London, and Brussels think tanks and then, unfortunately but very likely, also the Gladio operatives. It is worth recalling that Greece already went through a bloody NATO-supported, Gladio-run military junta government from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s. Might the same happen again?
Still, the genie of political anti-imperialist rebellion in Europe is out of the bottle and cannot be repressed. The electoral success of SYRIZA will motivate like-minded political movements to spring up elsewhere in the European Union and take a stand against the unjust and corrupt militarist Empire, which tries to transform its twilight into a new dawn over dead bodies.
Source: BFP, 29.01.2015.