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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.

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.

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: '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.

Grecia: las perspectivas de un gobierno de SYRIZA

Alexis Tsipras.

Para más análisis de la política en Grecia, AQUÍ.

[English at http://links.org.au/node/2861.]

Por Christos Kefalis

13/5/2012 -- Sinpermiso -- Las elecciones legislativas del 6 de mayo han producido un resultado sensacional, abriendo un nuevo capítulo en la historia política de Grecia. Asimismo, repercutirán significativamente en la situación política europea.

 El resultado muestra una clara polarización entre derecha e izquierda y una ruptura de las fuerzas políticas dominantes hasta el momento, el Movimiento Socialista Panhelénico (PASOK) y Nueva Democracia, el llamado "sistema bipartidista", que ha dominado la vida política griega desde 1974.

(Updated May 13) Greece: What prospects for a SYRIZA-led left government?

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.

For more analysis of politics in Greece, click HERE.

STOP PRESS, May 13, 2012 -- In the wake of the failure of the three first-placed parties to secure a parliamentary majority, it is almost certain that a new election will be held. New opinion polls released May 12 show that support for Greece's austerity parties continues to drop, while the radical left SYRIZA has increased its vote since the May 6 elections, and is now Greece's most popular party. According to a poll by Kapa Research, SYRIZA Coalition of Radical Left would receive 20.5% of votes, 3.7% higher than May 6. Support for New Democracy fell to 18.1% from 18.85% in the elections, while PASOK would receive 12.2%, down from 13.2%. Support for the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party fell to 5.8% from 7%, above the 3% threshold needed to enter parliament. The right-wing Independent Greeks was on 8.4%, while support for the Democratic Left party is on 5% and the KKE 6.5%. Another opinion poll published May 12 showed SYRIZA on 25.5% if elections were held now.

* * *

By Christos Kefalis, Athens

Το αποτέλεσμα των ελληνικών εκλογών και οι πολιτικές προοπτικές στην Ελλάδα

[English at Greece: What prospects for a SYRIZA-led left government?]

του Χρήστου Κεφαλή*

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Οι ελληνικές εκλογές της 6ης Μάη παρήγαγαν ένα συγκλονιστικό, εντυπωσιακό αποτέλεσμα που σίγουρα ανοίγει ένα νέο κεφάλαιο στην πολιτική ιστορία της Ελλάδας και θα έχει σημαντικές επίσης επιπτώσεις στην ευρωπαϊκή κατάσταση. Το αποτέλεσμα δείχνει μια σαφή πόλωση μεταξύ αριστεράς και δεξιάς και τη διάλυση των μέχρι σήμερα κυρίαρχων πολιτικών δυνάμεων του δικομματισμού.

(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.

(Updated April 1) Left statements on Libya: Stop the bombing, victory to the Arab revolution

March 24, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Below are a number of statements on the situation in Libya issued by left parties and organisations around the world following the start of the US-led bombing campaign. Statements include those by the Revolutionary Socialists (Egypt),  Via Campesina, Socialist Aotearoa (New Zealand), the Fourth International, France's New Anti-Capitalist Party, the South African Communist Party, Focus on the Global South, Sinistra Critica (Critical Left, Italy), Portugal's Left Bloc, Brazil's PSOL. There is also a statement signed by 58 communist and workers' parties. More will be posted as they come to hand. See also statements by Socialist Alliance (Australia), the Socialist Party of Malaysia, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (Philippines), the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the New Zealand Greens.

* * *

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!

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