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Greece

Greece: 'Why we must support a SYRIZA government'

“Their struggle is your struggle too! Everyone to the streets!”

By Andrew Burgin

December 10, 2014 -- Left Unity (Britain), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has called a presidential election, which will take place this month. It’s the parliament that elects the president in Greece but if the electoral sums don’t add up – which so far they don’t – and no president is elected, then the government must call a general election. In the event of a general election, it is likely that SYRIZA – the party of the radical left – will be the largest party and will form the government.

Concerns about a SYRIZA victory are expressed clearly by the stock market: the Athens exchange closed 12.8% down the day the presidential election was announced. The markets may be down, but there is great popular enthusiasm for a SYRIZA victory. Support for the party has grown hugely over the last few years because it rejects the austerity policies that have brought Greece to crisis point and will it break with neoliberalism.

Greece: What a SYRIZA government will do

December 20, 2014 -- Transform! Network, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Below is the governmental program of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) announced by Alexis Tsipras at the Thessaloniki International Fair, September 15, 2014. According to the latest opinion poll, SYRIZA is at 36.5%, with a seven percentage point lead over the conservative New Democracy. The current contest for the presidency of Greece looks likely to lead to a new parliamentary election.

In a first round of voting in parliament on December 17, Stavros Dimas, the government's candidate, won only 160 votes, short of the necessary 200 out of 300 members of parliament.

There will be two more rounds, with the last on December 29, when the threshold for Dimas to win the presidency drops to 180 votes. It is unlikely that the right-wing, pro-austerity New Democracy and its once social-democratic junior partner PASOK can find enough support.

If the government can't get someone elected it will trigger new a parliamentary election, probably in February 2015. SYRIZA won the most votes in the May election for the European Parliament, and for months, it has led the opinion polls.

European economic stagnation: diagnoses and treatments

Trade unions in Greece have announced a general strike against austerity to take place on November 27, 2014.

By Dick Nichols

November 4, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- For 48 hours it looked as if Thursday, October 16, 2014 might join similar October Thursdays in 1907, 1929 and 1979 as another dramatic moment when share market panic triggered economic downturn.

However, it was not to be. The three trillion dollar slump in world share market values in the first two-and-half-weeks of October has so far been partially reversed by a coordinated effort of “calm engineering” by central bankers. But how long can that treatment—whose message to the gambling fund managers is that interest rates will stay low—succeed?

European elections: Hope in the gloom as left gains in Greece, Spain, Ireland

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras (centre). Syriza outpolled all other parties in Greece.
For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing all the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties at the end of the article.] 

By Dick Nichols

May 30, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly, an earlier version of this article appeared at Green Left Weekly -- The result of the May 25 European parliamentary poll was dominated by the victories of the xenophobic and racist National Front (FN) in France (26%, 24 MEPs, Members of the European Parliament) and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Britain (26.8%, 24 MEPs). It has set off a wave of mainstream media angst across the old continent.

Greece: Syriza's historic European election result

For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]

By Ntina Tzouvala

May 31, 2014 -- Transform! Network -- The result of the European election in Greece must be read and interpreted under the light of the ongoing harsh austerity measures imposed by the Troika and successive Greek governments post-2009.

Hence, the victory of the radical left was not particularly surprising, although undeniably historic. The Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is now the biggest party in Greece having received 26.56% of the vote and winning six members of the European Parliament (MEPs), whereas the leading governmental right-wing party, New Democracy, received 22.73%.

The neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, is now the third-biggest party in Greece (9.40%) electing three MEPs for the first time in modern Greek political history.

Britain: Behind the strong vote for far-right UKIP

Anti-UKIP protest.

For more coverage of the 2014 European elections, click HERE.

[See a table containing the results for the European left, Green and left nationalist parties HERE.]

By Dave Kellaway

May 26, 2014 -- Socialist Resistance -- Despite a strong support for the far right, the radical anti-austerity left maintained and increased its votes in some countries such as Greece, but also Spain and Portugal.

Eyewitness Greece: 'They are stealing everything, even our homes'

Protest against Sunday trading.

By Afrodity Giannakis, Thessaloniki

May 12, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “I wish I could leave Greece. I can’t go on living here. I work very long hours and live more frugally than ever, but I still can’t pay the bills, the income tax or the other taxes like the property poll tax. My tax debt keeps building up. I’ll end up losing my home. They are stealing our homes and they are not communists. And people are getting sadder and madder every day. I can’t go on like this.”

Greece: Open war against the majority in favour of the rich

Police attack protesting Greek shipyard workers in 2012.

By Afrodity Giannakis, Thessaloniki

April 7, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- New austerity measures were passed by the Greek parliament, albeit by a narrow majority, on March 30. The bill contained just three articles, which seem to give the final blow to remaining workers’ and pension rights, the country’s economy and public ownership of land and services.

Legislation usually passes by a narrow majority in Greece. In the current parliament, this majority has been mostly ensured by a change in the electoral law before the last election, according to which the winning political party gets a bonus of 50 extra parliamentary seats. As a result, New Democracy, the major party in the governing coalition, has a number of MPs quite disproportionate to the vote it got.

Europe: 'United we can win' -- interview with Alexis Tsipras

February 23, 2014 -- Green Left Weekly -- In December 2013, Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Greek Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), was elected as lead candidate of the Party of the European Left for the May 25, 2014, European elections.

The Party of the European Left unites many left parties from across the continent. The program of Tsipras’s campaign can be found on the website of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

Tsipras’s candidacy is seen as symbolic of the fight for a different Europe — one that is ecological, peaceful, democratic and based on social justice. This is due to the Greek people’s resistance to the austerity policies that the “troika” (European Union, European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund) have imposed on them and Syriza’s near-victory in the 2012 Greek elections on an anti-austerity platform.

Tsipras's candidacy has become especially symbolic of this fight in Italy, where a very divided left is looking for ways to come together. Tsipras was interviewed by Italian left daily Il Manifesto. It has been translated by Dick Nichols.

* * *

Alexis Tsipras: End austerity to regain democracy! For a democratic, social and ecological Europe!

Left.gr -- Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA and candidate of the European Left party for the precidency of the European Commission, spoke on January 18, 2014, in a debate organised by the Dutch Socialist Party in Amersfoort. Here's the full text of his speech.

* * *

Your invitation, which I appreciate a lot, came at the right moment. Not because, as you might know, I am candidate of the European Left for the presidency of the European Commission. But because, yes indeed, democracy in Europe is in retreat. And this is the reason, the purpose and the real meaning of my candidacy: to end austerity to regain democracy.

Democracy is in retreat. And the reason is neoliberalism.

1. It is neoliberal austerity that causes recession, zero or low and jobless growth. With the Netherlands expected to reach in 2017 the real economic output level of 2008. Austerity brought youth unemployment in the Eurozone to the unprecedented 25%.

2. It is, also, the lack of transparency, lack of legitimacy and lack of accountability and credibility of the European institutions. The European Union is distant from the peoples of Europe in all respects. It has alienated its citizens. That’s why the people react with apathy, distrust and euroscepticism.

'Left reformism' and socialist strategy

Syriza supporters march. "Left reformists"?

By Ed Rooksby

October 7, 2013 -- International Socialism -- There has been a significant revival of interest among the radical left in “big picture” questions of socialist strategy that, as Mark L. Thomas has pointed out, represents a return to “important debates of the left largely absent over the last three decades”.1

It is not difficult to identify the major factors driving this. Several years of deep capitalist crisis together with the almost total capitulation of social-democratic parties across Europe to the austerity agenda have opened up a clear space to the left of these organisations—a development that has reinvigorated the radical left, but which has also forced it to confront fundamental questions of strategic orientation.

Greece: Political resolution of the first congress of SYRIZA

Over July 10-15, 2013, congress delegates of SYRIZA, the coalition of radical left parties in Greece, voted to form itself into a unitary party. This is the political resolution from the congress. Translation by Left.gr. For more coverage of the congress, click HERE. Read Alexis Tsipras' speeches to the the congress HERE..

1. The conference of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) is a continuity and a breakthrough in its course, which started in 2000, continued with its official founding in 2004, and was sealed when it took on the historic responsibility to deliver the Greek people from the catastrophic neoliberal memoranda policies that have turned our country into a debt colony and led its creative, social, and productive forces to marginalization.

Greece: Syriza after its founding congress -- views from the party's left

Alexis Tsipras addresses the SYRIZA congress.

For more on Syriza, click HERE. Read Alexis Tsipras' speeches to the the congress HERE.]

By Stathis Kouvelakis

July 18, 2013 -- Contretemps via International Viewpoint -- This article reflects on the founding congress of Syriza as a political party, rather than a coalition of fourteen organisations, which took place on 10-15th July 2013.

Grecia: El congreso de Syriza une sus fuerzas para un gobierno de izquierda

Alexis Tsipras.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3446 and http://links.org.au/node/3448.]

Un Congreso que ha transformado a la izquierda griega Durante el fin de semana del 10-14 de julio, en el primer congreso de Syriza (Coalición de la Izquierda Radical), era obvio que la historia se estaba escribiendo continta indeleble. Este ha sido el congreso que cambió a la izquierda griega.

Ante el reto de sus perspectivas de crecimiento, que le abren la puerta de un futuro gobierno, la coalición de izquierda tomó la decisión de convertirse en un partido. Y ello explica la dinámica de este primer congreso, en el que todo se ha puesto sobre la mesa: desde los principios fundacionales hasta la orientación política y los estatutos. Y, por su puesto, en el que todo se ha discutido y clarificado las diferentes posiciones, siempre con una pasión típicamente griega.

Eyewitness report: 'Things have gone very quiet in Greece, haven’t they?'

Syriza congress: Alexis Tsipras (left), Manolis Glezos.

See also Helena Sheehan's "To the crucible: An Irish engagement with the Greek Left" published in January, 2013. For more on Syriza, click HERE.

By Helena Sheehan

July 29, 2013 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- “Things have gone very quiet in Greece, haven’t they?” So many people said that to me in the past six months or so. I responded that there was a lot going on, even if international media weren’t covering it. There were civil mobilisations of teachers and transport workers, as well as rising unemployment, emigration and impoverishment, being met with continuing protest, strikes, occupations.

Even so, I sensed a lull in the rhythm of resistance, since the big demonstrations opposing the passage of the third memorandum last autumn. Obviously people couldn’t keep going at that pitch all the time, but how many were succumbing to exhaustion, despair, defeat? How many were quietly going about their work in solidarity networks, policy development, political education?

Greece: Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras' call for a united left party (+ intro speech)

Alexis Tsipras addresses the congress.

The following speech was presented by party leader Alexis Tsipras to the Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left) first national congress on July 13, 2013. One of the major decisions to be made at the congress was the question of forming a single united left party from the many left organisations that to that point operated as part of the coalition. Click HERE for a report on the congress.

* * *

Comrades,

Do you know what the message from the outside is? The message from an agonising and fighting society, with all the things that are going on in it?

The message is: get done or we’re done for.

We’re watching you, we’re waiting for you, but we’re running out of time.

We’re sinking; we’re drowning.

The message is: it’s now or never.

The message is not just political: SYRIZA or memoranda.

The message is: SYRIZA or humanitarian catastrophe.

Because those shameless appointees of the lenders, those executors of the memoranda implementation, they have no shame at all.

They have no respect or pity for anything or anybody.

Greece: Syriza congress unites its forces for a left government

Syriza congress delegates vote.

By Pedro Filipe Soares (Left Bloc, Portugal), translated by Dick Nichols

July 19, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Over the July 10-14 weekend, at the first congress of Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left), it was obvious that history was being written in indelible ink. This was a congress that changed the Greek left.

Faced with the challenge of rising growth opening the door to future government, the left coalition took the step of becoming a party. Hence this first congress, where everything was spelled out — from founding principles to political orientation and statutes. And, of course, where everything was discussed and different positions clarified, always with typical Greek passion.

Attendance: 3430 delegates. This statistic reveals the enormous commitment that the party invested into building this congress. Its deliberations lasted from July 10 to July 14, when 3412 delegates participated in the election of the president. It was an extraordinary sensation to enter that hall and feel the energy of the delegates, the intensity of the discussion and the attention given to all points of detail.

Europe's 'lefts' and the capitalist crisis

Front de Gauche (France) leader Jean-Luc Melenchon with SYRIZA (Greece) leader Alexis Tspiras.

For more on the developments on Europe's far left, click HERE (see also the pink tabs and the end of the article)

By Francois Sabado

May 20, 2013 -- International Viewpoint -- The situation of the "lefts" in Europe cannot be understood without starting from the crisis, its multiple dimensions and its effects on the social and political field. Hitting head-on all the organisations and parties linked to the history of the workers’ movement, precipitating ruptures, it obliges political forces to recompose around new axes.

Alexis Tsipras in London: Q & A on lessons from Hugo Chavez, a left government, the euro, stopping Golden Dawn ...

March 15, 2013 -- Irish Left Review -- The following questions [in bold] and answers took place after a talk SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras gave to SYRIZA’s London branch in Friend’s House in Euston on March 15. The speech itself can be found here. Some of the questions have been condensed to remove lengthy preambles and/or tangents but they remain an accurate reflection of the query posed by the audience member.

Could you give us a few reflections on what we can learn from the left in Latin America and particularly the legacy of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela?

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras' London speech: 'Our pragmatism is subject to our vision for radical change'

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By  Alexis Tsipras

March 15, 2013 -- Left.gr -- Comrades and friends, Europe is on edge. Two worlds collide. On one side stand the productive forces of democracy, the people fighting to create a society of justice, equality and freedom. On the other side, a neoliberal biopolitical project unfolds. Its aim is to control bodies and minds through the politics of fear. To discipline human life in its entirety. To intensify the exploitation of labour and to increase the profits of capital. 

I am privileged to address you here in the heart of London today to declare that we are part of the experiment of democracy. 

We in SYRIZA believe that radical democratic changes are the only way out of the crisis for the people of Europe. 

This is not an optimistic illusion. 

It is the compelling conclusion of rational argument and detailed analysis. 

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