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Synaspismos

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?

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Richard Seymour: The challenge of SYRIZA

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

By Richard Seymour

"...this isn't just another election. The choice is between a New Democracy-led austerity government, which would be immensely demoralising, and a SYRIZA-led anti-austerity government, which would give the whole continental left a massive shot in the arm and open up a host of new possibilities. This is a key moment in which a great deal is condensed, which will be formative of a great deal of the political and ideological terrain for some time, and any formation that appears to bring the latter possibility closer isn't helping the industrial struggle."

Greece: SYRIZA, the Communist Party and the desperate need for a united front

A united front of the left and sustained mass mobilisation are desperately needed in Greece.

By Michael Karadjis

May 16, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This article does not aim to give a full account of the current Greek political crisis. Rather, the crisis will be discussed with a focus on the failure of the Greek left to form a united front in the hour of need of the masses, with a historical look at the nature of the Greek left and the parties involved in it.

The sensational outcome of the May 6, 2012, Greek elections, in which SYRIZA, a coalition of left-reformist and radical left organisations, gained nearly 17% of the vote, second only to the right-wing New Democracy (ND) party, comes on the back of the catastrophe being imposed on the Greek working class as it is forced to pay for the crisis of Greek and European capital.

Greece: PASOK, right wing in deep crisis; support for anti-capitalist left grows

By Tassos Anastassiadis and Andreas Sartzekis

December 2010 -- International Viewpoint -- Not so long ago the defeat of the right-wing candidates in the municipal elections in the two major cities in Greece, Athens and Thessaloniki, would have been followed by scenes of popular enthusiasm in the streets throughout the night. There was nothing like that this time, when the right was defeated in cities where it had ruled for decades!

Greece: Right-wing government defeated, deeper radical left unity needed

SYRIZA logo.

By Antonis Davenellos

October 14, 2009 -- Socialist Worker -- The results of the October 4 elections in Greece were a political earthquake that have created a new situation in the country.  Certainly, the top news is the electoral and political defeat of New Democracy (ND), the traditional party of the right wing, which has been in power since 2004. With only 33.4 per cent of the vote and 91 seats in parliament (down from 151 in the 2007 elections), ND had the worst showing for the right in Greece since the civil war of 1946-49. The same evening of the elections, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned from the leadership of ND.

The crushing defeat of the party has opened up a period of deep political crisis for the right, a crisis that by all indicators will be long lasting. There are a least four candidates to be the new leader of the party -- and they can't even agree on the manner in which a new leader should be elected.

Greece: Left prospects in the post-PASOK era

By Michalis Spourdalakis

In the last few years, the political alignments in the European Union (EU) countries have changed drastically. In the 1990s, social-democratic parties and centre-left political forces were dominant. Under the banners of “progressive governance” or “modernisation” these parties ruled numerous countries and dominated the political scene on the continent.

Today, it is no secret that after long years in government, these political forces, what some like to call the “governmental left” are, to say the least, in retreat. It is indeed no secret that social democracy is in deep crisis: the recent congress of the French Socialists proved that this party is going through a period of self-questioning over the issue of its leadership, but also that it had nothing new to offer or, as a conservative daily commented, it appears as if “it does not think any more”.

Left regroupment: issues and prospects

The left in Britain has been better at coming apart than coming together in the last year. Gregor Gall, a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, examines the prospects for left regroupment in Britain and Scotland, and looks to Europe to see if there are lessons to learn.

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