In 1992, with quintessential neoliberal arrogance and pomposity, Francis Fukuyama declared the ‘End of History’, proclaiming the final victory of liberalism over every single other ideology ever.
On the 26th January this year, Syriza stormed to power, proving Fukuyama was talking out of his arse. Proving that Neoliberalism does not yet stand unchallenged. In taking a bold stance against Troika-imposed austerity, Alexis Tsipras has given the Greek people a second chance at prosperity, but his victory has profound implications far beyond the borders of his homeland. The Spanish left-wing party Podemos was founded only last year, but as I write is topping the opinion polls in the run-up to this year’s general election. And this is just the beginning.
What we are witnessing is the expression of mass disillusionment at the failings of a neoliberal elite who have dominated European politics for decades, to the detriment of the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies. The gradualism of the centre-left will no longer suffice – across Europe, we are demanding radical change, and at long last we are seeing it. The process has begun in those nations most damaged by EU austerity measures, but will surely spread as inequality continues to skyrocket. We have been sold a lie: that the wealth of the super-rich will trickle down; that if left alone the market will provide for us all. The financial crisis of 2008 exposed the cracks in this façade, and they have been growing wider ever since. The number of food banks across the UK has grown exponentially, battling to feed an underclass on the brink of collapse. All the while, the 1% get richer.
Syriza will face incredible hardship in the months to come, and will as likely as not be forced into concessions at the negotiating table that will make implementing their vision impossible. Faced with such a dire economic situation, success seems unlikely, but my argument does not hinge on the success of one party.
Neoliberalism has failed to provide security and contentment for the masses; the inevitable result of an ideology which incentivises greed and selfishness. It’s time to find an alternative. It’s time to start prioritising the collective. It’s time for revolution.
Jules Norman Reebok Jackson, 18