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What to do next is the policy question every government must face. In Canada, like elsewhere, more of the same -- a.k.a. nothing at all -- is a popular answer. Radical change is seldom a preferred course of action. And yet, for over 30 years, neoliberal radical change is what has been on the world agenda. We are now grappling with the unhappy results. The bleak outlook for the future is unlikely to improve unless a new and equally radical policy orientation is chosen.
Today's general election in Greece has turned out to be a historic turning point in Greek politics, with implications for the whole of Europe.
Combined with the ousting of President Sarkozy in France - and this week's UK local election results and the poor showing for Merkel's Conservatives in German regional elections today - it indicates the political crisis generated by austerity.
Since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974, Greek politics has been dominated by two parties: the centre-left PASOK and the centre-right New Democracy. Since 1981, these two parties have consistently scored at least 77 per cent between them in general elections. Yet they have a combined total of around 35 per cent today - an extraordinary collapse.
Europe is in crisis because it has been hijacked by neo-liberalism and finance. In the last 20 years -- with a persistent democratic deficit -- the meaning of the European Union has increasingly been reduced to a narrow view of a single market and single currency, leading to liberalizations and speculative bubbles, loss of rights and the explosion of inequalities.
This is not the Europe that was imagined decades ago as a space of economic and political integration free from war. This is not the Europe that was built through economic and social progress, the extension of democracy and welfare rights.