By Sumanasiri Liyanage –July 14, 2015
Events unfolded in Greece after Syriza coalition came to power in the Parliamentary election held on January 15 provides, in my view, interesting and useful lessons to small countries living under the domination of global finance capital. Syriza experience led us to contest some of the propositions advocated by the Sri Lankan so-called civil society. Many people belonging to Colombo civil society appear to think that every one, rich and poor, old and young, urban and rural wish to have good governance (yaha palanaya). Having mesmerized by the term and its anticipated popularity, new political coalition was formed to face the next Parliamentary election that is scheduled to be held in August 17, 2015. I have always been suspicious of these terms, especially they are being included in the lexicon of international financial institutions. I am aware that many civil society professionals love the term just because it is being widely used by the so-called international community and the international financial institutions. Recently, the European Union, European Central Bank and the IMF used a much improved phrase ‘better governance’. Had Hela Urumaya waited for a few more days they would have suggested this new phrase and called the new political formation, United National Front for Better Governance (UNFBG). Alternatively, their opponents would have renamed their coalition United Peoples Freedom Alliance for Better Governance (UPFABG). Since these days we are not much concerned about the content and substance, it is imperative to have long names.
My leanings towards Anarcho-Marxism invariably compels me to see a huge contradiction in the phrase good governance (or its improved European version “better governance”). Can governance be good? Can it be democratic? Well I will bracket these two related questions for a while as raising them may take us into a kind of philosophical muddle.
Greece economy was badly affected in the 2008 financial crisis. Around one million people lost their jobs. 30 per cent of business were forced to close down. Salaries have been reduced by 35 per cent while pensions was cut by 45 per cent. With that the gross domestic products decreased by 25 per cent and the country’s total debt has reached 180 percent of the GDP. This decline has also been reflected in human development indices. Child mortality rate increased by 42 per cent. The level of unemployment of young people is around 50 per cent. This abysmal situation arose as a direct corollary of economic prescription proposed by Troika that includes the European Union, European Central Bank and the IMF. They pumped money to Greece asking them to adopt more and more austerity measures affecting adversely the Greece economy and its people, especially lower classes. It was in this context and in the situation of the failure of two governments adopting policies prescribed by the Troika led Greece people to elect radical left coalition –Syriza- on anti-austerity platform at the Parliamentary election held on January 25, 2015.
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