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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. 

To the crucible: an Irish engagement with the Greek crisis and the Greek left

Syriza poster, Synaspismos office in Athens, Helena Sheehan on the streets with Syriza in Athens.

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By Helena Sheehan

January 21, 2013 -- Irish Left Review, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the author's suggestion and with her permission -- A monumental drama is playing out before our eyes. It is a true Greek tragedy. The plot: A society is being pushed to its limits. The denouement is not yet determined, but survival is at stake and prospects are precarious. Greece is at the sharp end of a radical and risky experiment in how far accumulation by dispossession can go, how much expropriation can be endured, how far the state can be subordinated to the market. It is a global narrative, but the story is a few episodes ahead here.

Greece: Stathis Kouvelakis on tasks facing SYRIZA following its electoral breakthrough

December 7, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- The London branch of SYRIZA hosted a public meeting, "Shock therapy and popular uprising: Greece at the Crossroads", on December 7, 2012. Videos of the four keynote speakers Costas Douzinas, Stathis Kouvelakis, Seumas Milne and Marina Prentoulis are available.

Above, Stathis Kouvelakis sets out the tasks facing SYRIZA following its electoral breakthrough.

Other speakers were (to view the videos click on the links below):

Seumas Milne argues that the neoliberal capitalist model is facing defeat due to the resistance it is creating and its failure to end austerity.

Marina Prentoulis explains the relationship between SYRIZA’s electoral advances and the movement on the streets.

SYRIZA activist Yiannis Bournous on historic responsibility of the left in Greece; Alexis Tsipras interview

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

December 14, 2012 -- Green Left Weekly/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Sibylle Kaczorek and Jody Betzien, from the Australian Socialist Alliance, interviewed Yiannis Bournous in Athens. Yiannis is a leading activst in the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza), Greek's rapidly growing left party.

Syriza came close to winning elections in June 2012 on the basis of rejecting the brutal austerity being enforced on the people of Greece. Instead, a coalition of three parties (Greece's tradition conservative party New Democracy, its social-democratic rival PASOK and a right-wing split from Syriza, the Democratic Left) was formed, committed to greater austerity measures.

Yiannis is also a member of the central political committee of Synaspismos, one of Syriza's affiliate groups, and a member of the executive board of the European Left party. He spoke on the situation in Greece and Syriza's perspectives.

* * *

'The Greek people are at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis'

Speech given by Eric Toussaint at the SYRIZA youth festival in Athens on October 6, 2012 (transcript below). More than 3000 people were present to listen to four speakers: Marisa Matias, EU deputy, member of the Left Bloc (Portugal); Lisaro Fernandez, miners’ union leader (Asturias, Spain); Alexis Tsipras, president of SYRIZA (Greece); Eric Toussaint, president of Committee for the Abolition of the Third World Debt (CADTM, Belgium).

* * *

By Eric Toussaint, translated by “Snake” Arbusto and Judith Harris

October 6, 2012 -- We are now experiencing one of the worst crises of the worldwide capitalist system. But capitalism will not die a peaceful, natural death. Crises are part of the metabolism of capitalism. Only conscious action by the people can destroy and supersede capitalism in order to open the way to democratic socialism.

The Greek people are currently at the epicentre of the capitalism crisis. The way in which the Greek people mobilise to confront and respond to this capitalism crisis will be a crucial factor for finding a solution at the international level. You are at the epicenter of both the crisis and the solution to this crisis.

Greece in the eye of the storm (the Greek left, SYRIZA and the limits of the concept of ‘left reformism’)

SYRIZA rally. Photo by SYN Flickr.

By Paul Kellogg

November 18, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, originally published as six notes at PolEcon.net. Republished here with Paul Kellogg’s permission.-- An economic crisis of enormous proportions has erupted in a first world country in the global North. The scale of the economic crisis in Greece has few modern equivalents, and is at the root of a massive social and political upheaval. Navigating that crisis poses difficult challenges for the social movements in Greece, and has important lessons for activists around the world. The article that follows is an attempt to provide information that can assist those, unfamiliar with the situation in Greece, in navigating this situation.

Europe: Greece, Spain, Portugal – the arc of resistance to austerity hardens

 On September 25-26-27, 2012, up to 50,000 demonstrators tried to encircle the parliament, calling for the resignation of the government and declaring “democracy kidnapped”. There were violent clashes with police.

Read more by Murray Smith. Read more analysis of Greece, Spain, Portugal and France.

By Murray Smith

October 16, 2012 -- Frontline, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- It sometimes seems as if Europe’s sovereign debt crisis has been going on forever. But in fact it really only manifested itself in 2010, a result of the bailing out of private banks with public money and other public spending due to the crisis. And in May of that year Greece became the first country to ask for help and to receive so-called “aid” – really, it cannot be repeated too often, loans that must be paid back – from the now infamous "Troika", the IMF-ECB-European Commission.

Richard Seymour: A comment on Greece and Syriza

Photo from Kasama Project.

[For more discussion of SYRIZA, click HERE.]

By Richard Seymour

October 9, 2012 -- International Socialism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal in the interests of promoting left discussion -- The “strategic perplexity” of the left confronted with the gravest crisis of capitalism in generations has been hard to miss.1 Social democracy continues down the road of social liberalism. The far left has struggled to take advantage of ruling-class disarray. Radical left formations have tended to stagnate at best. Two exceptions to this pattern are the Front de Gauche in France and Syriza in Greece. While the Front de Gauche did not do as well as many hoped, it did channel a large vote for the radical left in the presidential elections won by Hollande. Meanwhile, Syriza is potentially a governing party in waiting.

John Riddell: What would Lenin's Comintern have made of SYRIZA? The Comintern as a school of socialist strategy

[For more articles by John Riddell, click HERE; for more on SYRIZA, click HERE; for more on the Communist International, click HERE.]

By John Riddell

September 3, 2012 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his review of my edition of the Communist International’s Fourth Congress (1922),[1] Ian Birchall warns against a “scriptural approach” to the Comintern record, but also affirms that studying it “can be of great value”. Where can this value be found? A controversy among Marxists over this year’s elections in Greece points our way to an answer.

Eyewitness account: SYRIZA and the Greek grassroots challenge to the politics of austerity

SYRIZA leader Alex Tsipras before speaking at a large assembly in the working-class suburb of Peristeri. Photo by Joanne Landy.

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

By Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy, co-directors of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy (New York)

Thomas Harrison and Joanne Landy recently returned from a trip to Greece, where they met with activists and others to gain a better understanding of the popular upsurge against the Greek government's austerity program.

Greece: Syriza shines a light -- radical left organises for power

Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras serves food at an annual anti-racist festival organised by 250 civic organisations. Photo: Aggelos Kalodoukas.

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

July 2012 -- Red Pepper -- In Greece, a radical left coalition is actively preparing for power in society and in parliament. Hilary Wainwright reports from Athens.

Like a swan moving moving forward with relaxed confidence while paddling furiously beneath the surface, Syriza, the radical left coalition that could become the next government of Greece, is facing enormous challenges calmly but with intensifed activity.

'Green Left Report': Michael Karadjis on Greece, left writer Antony Loewenstein and more

July 11, 2012 -- GreenLeftTV -- The second episode of the Green Left Report features and discussion with Michael Karadjis on the political situation in Greece and the rise of far-left SYRIZA coalition; independent journalist, BDS campaigner and author of the new book Left Turn Antony Loewenstein; "commentator" Carlo Sands and much more.

The Green Left Report is a regular show produced by Australia-based GreenLeftTV and is supported by Green Left Weekly and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal.

Hosts: Mel Barnes and Simon Butler. Crew: John Reynolds, Jill Hickson, Paul Benedek, Viv Miley, Frank Lesha, Andry Andry and Katrina Channels. Graphics: Daryl Davies. Music: John Gauci. Thanks to all our guests, the crew and the live audience.

Subscribe to the GreenLeftTV You Tube channel

Visit and subscribe to the print edition of Green Left Weekly.

Contact us at GreenLeftTV@gmail.com

South Africa's Democratic Left Front: 'Solidarity with the women and workers of Greece'

Statement by the Democratic Left Front (South Africa)

July 2, 2012 -- The Democratic Left Front (DLF – South Africa) expresses its full solidarity with the women, workers, progressive mass movements and the SYRIZA party of Greece as they face the deep effects of the EU-inspired austerity onslaught. The Greek austerity plan involves cuts of 11.6 billion euros ($14.5 billion) by 2014. This amount will come from brutal cuts in budgets for health, wages and pensions. It will also mean hundrends of thousands of job losses in the Greek public sector. This austerity plan is meant to make the workers and the poor pay.

South African workers and unemployed people have faced a similar onslaught for the last 18 years under neo-liberal African National Congress (ANC) rule.

In the June 17 elections, the anti-austerity SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) came a close second with 26.9% of the vote. The right-wing New Democracy won the elections with more than 29%, amid huge blackmail and threats from major European governments and financial institutions.

Greece: Young revolutionary members of SYRIZA interviewed

Photo by Eric Ribellarsi.

June 18, 2012 -- Winter Has Its End/Kasama Project, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal at the request of the author. It has been slightly abridged -- Eric Ribellarsi met with 10 young members of the Communist Organization of Greece (KOE), which is part of the Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA. [The KOE comes out of the Maoist tradition and is the second-largest component of SYRIZA.] They discussed their backgrounds, experiences, the student movement, the orthodox Communist Party in Greece (KKE), revolutionary strategy and the political choices of revolutionary communists within the Greek crisis. Eric Ribellarsi is part of a reporting team in Greece.

* * *

Can you tell me how some of you became communists? How did you come to join KOE?

Greece: SYRIZA pipped at the post; photos, videos of SYRIZA's final election rally, Athens

June 18, 2012 -- Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Afrodity Giannakis, Green Left Weekly correspondent in Greece and an activist in SYRIZA, gives her first impressions of the result of the June 17 general election where the conservative New Democracy beat the left coalition SYRIZA into first place by just 3% of the vote. Younger voters voted strongly for the left while older voters tended to vote conservative.

Graphic from http://www.skai.gr/ekloges2012.

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

June 18, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, just failed in it's second attempt to become the largest party in Greece's parliament, winning 26.9% of the vote in the June 17 general election, up from 17%. The right-wing New Democracy party came in first with almost 29.7%. SYRIZA was up against enormous odds, with the weight of Europe's ruling classes unleashing an all-out propaganda offensive against it.

Greece: The making of SYRIZA

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras speaks at a rally in Athens' Omonia Square in early May. Photo: Kathemerini.

For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.

By Panos Petrou

June 11, 2012 -- Socialist Worker (USA) -- Greece's Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA, has a chance of winning parliamentary elections in Greece on June 17, which would give it an opportunity to form a government of the left that would reject the drastic austerity measures imposed on Greece as a condition of the European Union's bailout of the country's financial elite.

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