News Release

French and Greek Elections: End of “Pain-Is-Good” Politics?


ETHAN YOUNG ethanyoung at
Content manager for Economy Watch, a blog sponsored by the Brecht Forum, Young said today: “The defeat of Nicolas Sarkozy marks the end of ‘pain-is-good’ politics in France. The new Socialist president Francois Hollande is center-left to Sarkozy’s center-right, and shares Sarkozy’s commitment to the European Union. Unlike Sarkozy, Hollande campaigned to curtail the EU austerity policies of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and is not identified with demonizing immigrants, Muslims and other supposedly non-French’ French. Hollande is still challenged by the strong showing of the anti-immigrant, far right National Front in the first election round.”

COSTAS PANAYOTAKIS, [in NYC] cpanayotakis at
Panayotakis is associate professor of sociology at the New York City College of Technology at CUNY and author of the new book “Remaking Scarcity: From Capitalist Inefficiency to Economic Democracy.” He said today: “After two years Greek citizens have finally had their chance to express their views on the austerity program that has drastically increased unemployment and poverty, while plunging the Greek economy into a deep depression. The result of the election has been an unambiguous repudiation of this program, as the two parties supporting it, the Socialists and the Conservatives, have seen their support collapse. The two parties that used to get 80 percent of the vote have together received less than a third of the popular vote. Meanwhile, the support for the left has increased, especially for the Coalition of the Radical Left — SYRIZA — which advocates the formation of a government that would unite all the forces of the political left and which would repudiate the austerity program imposed by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. All in all, the Greek election result exemplifies the more general change in the balance of forces within the European continent, a change also reflected in Nicolas Sarkozy’s failure to be reelected to the French presidency. On a more sober note, the Greek election result also confirmed the rise of the extreme right in Europe, as the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party will, after having received 7 percent of the vote, enter for the
first time the Greek parliament.”

See Panayotakis’ pieces:

The Eurozone Fiasco

On the ‘Keynesian Neoliberalism’ of the New York Times

“Debunking the Greek (and European) Crisis Narrative”