What are we to make of Syriza's victory in the Greek elections on Sunday? As of January, Syriza's Alexis Tsipras will be able to form a parliamentary majority in coalition with the right-wing populist Independent Greeks party. On the other hand, they are now committed to implementing a harsh, deeply unpopular austerity program that even its advocates among the European authorities acknowledge will keep the Greek economy in depression through the end of this year and next.
Does this mean that the battle for Greece's future is over, and that those who claimed that there was no alternative to prolonged depression, mass unemployment and a more unequal and frankly, uglier society have won?
There is no question that the European authorities -- the European Central Bank, the European Commission and Eurogroup of finance ministers (led by Germany) -- and the International Monetary Fund have for now succeeded in imposing their will on Greece. On July 5, the vast majority of Greeks voted to reject their economic plan, including further austerity. But the ECB did something that perhaps no central bank had ever done: It forced a shutdown of the Greek banking system. This caused economic havoc that pushed the economy back into recession, and threated to prolong and deepen the depression that Greeks had already suffered for six years. This act of financial terrorism worked: Syriza made a U-turn following the referendum, accepting the European officials' plan, and told the Greek people that there was no choice.