A rising political star is Alexis Tsipras (born in 1974), the young leader of the SYRIZA coalition of small leftist groups. Referred to as the most dangerous man in Europe, he wants to cancel the €240 billion bailout agreement with the Troika and stop cuts to social programs. He stated in 2012, “The rotten and reliant establishment is making its last stand. Their dominance is ending after they looted the country and saddled it with debt.”[i] He explains, “Our political plan is to effect alternative policies that will efficiently address the crisis and kickstart the economy by supporting the weak, creating new employment and supporting basic incomes. Greece’s reconstruction will come from a fresh developmental plan, one that is aimed at income redistribution, decent jobs and the enhancement of public goods.”[ii]
As a high school student (age 16) he led student protests against education reforms, appearing on TV as a spokesman and he has a photo of Che Guevara on his office wall. He was a member of Communist Youth where he met his partner and mother of his sons. Unlike many other Greek politicians he isn’t a member of an elite family and is rarely seen wearing a tie. He campaigned to be head of the European Commission in 2014, causing some leftist philosophers who opposed participating in meaningless elections to support Tsipra. Philosophers Antonio Negri and Sandro Mezzadra explained essential issues can “only be addressed at a European level. Outside of this sphere there is no such thing as political realism.”[iii] While French philosopher Alain Badiou advocated “subtraction” from the state and denigrated the uprisings in Egypt and Greece as “communist invariants,” Negri believes It’s possible to create a “new political grammar” working with European organizations.
[i] “Meet Alexis Tsipras,” Business Insider, June 11, 2012.
[ii] Lynn Stuart Parramore, “Exclusive Interview: Meet Alexis Tsipras,” AlterNet, February 12, 2013.
[iii] Srecko Horvat, “President Alexis Tsipras: Is that a Joke?” The Guardian, January 21, 2014.