Sarah Leonard reports on the election of Syriza for the Nation:
“Hope is coming!”
That’s the slogan that Syriza, the left-wing Greek coalition party, used throughout the campaign to distinguish itself from its fear-mongering opponents on the right. But on the night of January 25, as Syriza won almost 36 percent of the vote and ascended to power, the slogan could have spoken for all of Europe. In a tent in Athen’s Klafthmonos Square, a marble plaza dotted with Coca-Cola kiosks, banners from all the rising left parties in Europe—Podemos of Spain, Die Linke of Germany, the Left Bloc of Portugal, as well as various social movements, including the rainbow LGBT flag—waved proudly. Greek leftists and their European allies broke into a riotous rendition of “Bandiera Rossa,” the Italian socialist anthem. Die Linke members carried signs reading “Change in Europe Begins in Greece.” The international left seemed raised from the dead. Athens was celebrating a miracle.
This time a year ago, Occupy camps across the country found themselves dismantled, handcuffed, and power-washed away in a move coordinated by several city administrations, forcing the network of activists and anti-capitalists who once gathered in those public spaces to find alternative modes of protest.
A year later, at least here in New York, that network is leaping into action with a speed and force that's caused even the apparatus of the state -- FEMA and the National Guard, most notably -- to recognize Occupy Sandy and on some occasions seek its aid. Its a testament, at the very least, to the organizational prowess of a movement that has been continuously churning out projects, if not media-mandated spectacle, throughout 2012.
Sarah Leonard, one of the editors of last year's Verso title Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America and a member of the Dissent Magazine team, recently surveyed the post-election landscape.