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Syriza in Power: Reflections of an Accidental Politician

ISBN: 978-1-5095-1157-0
180 pages
August 2017, Polity
Syriza in Power: Reflections of an Accidental Politician (1509511571) cover image

Description

Amid the turmoil of economic crisis, Greece has become the first European experiment of left rule in a sea of neoliberalism. What happens when a government of the Left, committed to social justice and the reversal of austerity, is blackmailed into following policies it has fought against and strongly opposes? What can the experience of the Syriza government tell us about the prospects for the Left in the twenty-first century?

In this engaging and provocative book, Costas Douzinas uses his position as an 'accidental politician', unexpectedly propelled from academia into the world of Greek politics as a Syriza MP, to answer these urgent questions. He examines the challenges facing Syriza since its ascent to power in 2015 and draws out the theoretical and political lessons from one of the boldest and most difficult experiments in governing from the Left in an age of neoliberalism and austerity.

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Table of Contents

  • Prologue: The Accidental Politician
  • A. Resistance Rising
  • 1. From Utopia to Dystopia and Resistance, a Short Run
  • 2. Hunger Strikers and Hunger Artists
  • 3. Radical Philosophy Encounters Syriza
  • 4. A Philosophy of Resistance
  • B. Syriza Agonistes
  • 5. A Very European Coup
  • 6. Contradiction is the Name of the Governing Left
  • C. Reflections on Life as Politician
  • 7. Welcome To The Desert Of Disorderly Order
  • 8. Learning from Ideology
  • 9. The Curious Incident of the Missing TV Licenses
  • D. The Moral Advantage of the Left
  • 10. The Ethos of the Left
  • 11. Greeks or Europeans?
  • 12. The Euro, the Sacred and the Holy
  • E. Left History
  • 13. The Left and the Philosophy Of History
  • 14. 1949, 1969, 1989: The Cycles of History
  • F. From Grexit to Brexit
  • 15. Putting the Demos On Stage
  • 16. Grexit and Brexit, Oxi and Leave
  • 17. Brexit and Euroscepticism
  • G. Finis Europae
  • 18. Finis Europae?
  • 19. The Left and the Future of Europe
  • H. Cities of Refuge
  • 20. Europe Between Two Infant Deaths
  • 21. Human Rights For Martians
  • Notes
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Author Information

Costas Douzinas is Professor of Law and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London as well as the Syriza member of the Hellenic parliament for Piraeus.
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Reviews

"What a rare and wonderful book! Douzinas reflects with searing honesty on the challenges facing left parties trying to govern and protect embattled nations in an age of financialization and globalization. Because he is one of the most perspicacious critical legal and political theorists of our time, he has also offered a brilliant set of political theoretical meditations. By turns ironic, tragic, caustic and moving, Syriza in Power is essential reading for serious leftists everywhere."
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

"While the Syriza government, elected in 2015 in Greece, was teaching the world a lesson of courage and fidelity, Costas Douzinas, its "professor elect", was teaching a lesson of lucidity, intelligence and imagination. Above all, he makes plain that, in the darkest hour, history is not finished, because the resistance is rooted in the life and ideals of the people itself. Whether one entirely agrees or not with Douzinas' "left Euroscepticism that can save Europe", his politics of truth will prove immensely helpful."
Étienne Balibar, Kingston University
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