What Do Greeks Think About Tsipras Now?

Source: In These Times

We asked Athenians on the street how they feel about the Syriza leader’s acceptance of the EU’s terms and the lean times ahead.

In January, the Greeks elected Alexis Tsipras and his radical Syriza party on a wave of defiance and hope. Since then, as the anti-austerity party fought for debt relief from the European Union, the hardline negotiations between Syriza and the financial institutions of the EU made weekly international headlines. On July 5, an overwhelming majority of the Greek electorate voted “no” to the conditions demanded by the European institutions in exchange for a third bailout. Yet, two weeks later, Tsipras pushed the same conditions through the Greek Parliament over the opposition of many members of his own party.

Nothing has provoked more global opining in recent weeks than the referendum and Tsipras’s apparent aboutface. But most of the speculation has been happening far from the shores of Greece. I traveled to Athens in late July to find out how the Greeks felt at a moment when their leaders, after bringing the country to the brink of an unprecedented, unpredictable economic revolution and a possible Grexit from the EU, pulled back from the edge. Walking around the streets of Athens, I talked to office workers and shop owners, anarchists and dog-walkers, students and rank-and-file Syriza members, about their hopes and fears for the future.

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