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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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

* * *

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.

Greece: 'For an anti-austerity government of the left'

By Socialist Resistance (Britain)

This statement was agreed to at a meeting of the Socialist Resistance National Committee on May 26, 2012. Socialist Resistance is affiliated to the Fourth International. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to promote left discussion. For more discussion and analysis on the political crisis in Greece, click HERE.]

May 28, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- Syriza’s stunning vote in the recent elections has shaken the Greek and European ruling classes to their foundations. It was a total rejection of the austerity package, on a progressive basis, by 60% of the electorate and has created not only the biggest crisis, but the most significant class confrontation in Europe since the Portuguese revolution of 1974.

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.

(Updated May 8) Greece: Austerity parties smashed, radical left makes big gains

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is calling on the non-PASOK left to unite to form government and abolish austerity policies.

By Yiorgos Vassalos

May 7, 2012 -- Ypsilo's Weblog -- The parties that have ruled the country since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974 -- New Democracy (Nea Dimokratia) and the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) -- have collapsed in the May 6 parliamentary elections. In all elections since 1974 (except 1990-91) one of these two parties was able to gain a clear majority in the parliament and form governement, jointly scoring from 70% to 90% of the vote. On May 6, their combined vote was 33%.

New Democracy has fallen from 33% in 2009  to 19%, and from 2.3 million votes to 1.2 million. PASOK has fallen from 44% to 13%, from 3 million votes to 800,000.

LAOS, the extreme right party that also supported the eurozone loan agreements and the anti-social memorandums, fell from 5.6% to 2.9% and from 386,000 to 182,000.

Greece: ANTARSYA statement on the parliamentary elections to be held on May 6

ANTARSYA, Front of the Greek Anti-Capitalist Left, is a united front of left-wing groups. It is separate from SYRIZA . There are a number of political differences between SYRIZA and ANTARSYA — including on whether to demand immediate withdrawal from the European Union.

The following was ANTARSYA’s position statement before the May 6, 2012, election. In the election ANTARSYA won 75,000 votes or 1.5% — which was not enough to  have one of its representatives enter parliament to use it as a platform. The text and notes were first published in English on the website of the Kasama Project.

* * *

Crisis, revolt and the left in Europe

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following presentation is a slightly edited and updated version of a talk given on January 20, 2012, to the eighth national conference of the Australian Socialist Alliance, held in Sydney. The slides mentioned refer to the PowerPoint presentation above, which accompanied the talk. Dick Nichols works in the European office of the Socialist Alliance and Green Left Weekly, based in Barcelona.

* * *

By Dick Nichols

Slide 1

Thank you, comrades, for the invitation to speak—what a pleasure it is to see old faces, and new ones, too! The class struggle may be more advanced in Europe, but I sorely miss what we have created in the Socialist Alliance, as should become clear later in this talk.

My aim is to sketch the present phase of the class struggle in Europe, assess the gains of our side along with the challenges it faces, and hopefully help us all think about what this might mean for Socialist Alliance and the socialist movement in Australia. But the opinions expressed are my own, of course, not the Socialist Alliance’s: so feel free to disagree vigorously!

Greece: Independent left MP – ‘The rulers are scared'

Sofia Sakorafa interviewed by the Greek journal Marxist Thought, translated by Christos Kefalis and Afrodity Giannakis for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

January 18, 2012 -- At the October 26, 2011, European summit it was agreed to slash Greece’s debt on the condition that a new, draconian austerity package and “memorandum”be carried out by the Greek government. After the agreement and a mass wave of protests on October 28, a referendum was announced by Prime Minister George Papandreou, only to be revoked a few days later. There then followed an endless series of negotiations, which led to the formation of a new coalition government headed by Loukas Papadimos. The new government was backed by right-wing capitalist party New Democracy, Papandreou’s social-democratic Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and LAOS, the ultra-right party.

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: At the forefront of Europe's class struggle

Athens demonstrators' banner, with photos of Greek PM George Papandreou and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, reads "Us or them -- Struggle for our lives". May 20, 2010, national 24-hour general strike. Photo: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU.

By Dimitris Fasfalis

June 7, 2010 -- Socialist Voice -- Workers in Greece today stand in the forefront of the converging European class struggles against big capital’s attempt to make working people pay the costs of its crisis.

Krise i Hellas – reaksjonær understrøm i Europa

Av Paul Kellogg

Den voksende massebevegelsen og åpningen mot venstre i Hellas er oppmuntrende.
Det er i den bevegelsen det ligger håp om at det en gang kan vokse fram et virkelig progressivt Europa.

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