January 25, 2015 was a historic day: the people of Greece chose to break with austerity policies. They elected SYRIZA—the Coalition of the Radical Left—as the largest party in parliament, Alexis Tsipras will become prime minister. The importance of this victory for the left in Greece, Europe, and indeed the world should not be underestimated.
But now the hard work of actually governing begins. SYRIZA is entering government facing enormous economic, social, and environmental challenges. In addition, the party fell just short of the absolute majority (149 out of 300 seats) and will form a coalition government with the anti-austerity right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL).
What practical programs can the new government implement now that will advance the party’s commitment to the “ecological transformation of the economy?” In this Trade Unions for Energy Democracy working paper, Sean Sweeney proposes a bold energy democracy agenda that is consistent with SYRIZA’s commitments. This paper analyzes the present neoliberal approach to energy policy and climate change in Greece and the European Union and proposes a clear path by which the Greek people can take control of their energy system and transition to a renewables-based energy economy that puts the needs of people and the environment ahead of corporate profits.
Gustavo Sanchez and Charlotte Swasey