(Updated Jan. 28) Greece: Venezuela welcomes SYRIZA victory; International left celebrates

[Please return regularly for updates.]

January 28, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Venezuela's government has congratulated Alexis Tsipras, leader of the left-wing SYRIZA party, who won a huge victory in Greece's parliamentary elections on January 25, 2015, reports TeleSur English. Tsipras has been inaugurated as the country's prime minister.

A Venezuelan government statement said: “Venezuela warmly congratulates the Syriza coalition party and Alexis Tsipras for their historic victory, wishing them success and complete solidarity and support.”

Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua tweeted: “The Greek people, after a long and historic battle against neoliberalism, has crowned itself a wonderful victory. Syriza is fresh air for Europe!”

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, reports Rachael Boothroyd in VenezuelAnalysis, described the triumph of the leftwing coalition, SYRIZA, as a "new wave of hope for Europe" after the party was elected.

"Alongside the Bolivarian government and the Venezuelan people, I congratulate the Greek people, who by fully exercising the sovereignty of the people, have declared through their participation and vote, their unquestionable democratic commitment, he said.

According to Maduro, SYRIZA's "historic victory" sends a message to the international right wing "to change their blind devotion to the theory of privatisation, of handing themselves over to global capital, to eliminating the rights of pensioners, the houses of the middle and working classes, and the right to education for the young".

Tsipras, who at 40 years of age will become Greece's youngest prime minister, has often commented on his admiration for the Venezuelan Revolution and hailed it as a successful example of a people's rebellion against neoliberalism.

In comments made on Venezuelan state TV channel on January 26, Maduro stated that the young leader had triumphed despite a huge international campaign against him. "They paid thousands of euros to try and prevent the victory of this young Greek, a leader who has emerged from the depths of the people and from the sectors demanding change in Greece. The Bolivarian Revolution emerged from the depths of the Venezuelan people, from Bolivar's people, from a leader, Hugo Chavez," he declared.

The party won just over 36% of the vote, securing 149 parliamentary seats. The party needed 151 seats for a clear majority and has formed a coalition. SYRIZA's focus is the reversal of austerity that it says has substantially damaged the Greek economy and living standards and its victory has been welcomed by progressive movements worldwide.

On January 27, the Party of the European Left (which groups together Europe's far-left parties) issued the following statement: "Greece and Europe are living historic days. Sunday, the Greek people gave a breathtaking victory to SYRIZA and our friend and comrade Alexis Tsipras. Greeks voted for him to implement an alternative policy to austerity in Greece and to open this debate in Europe. This clear popular mandate is a solid foundation for the new Greek government, whose composition is now known. It must be respected by the political and economic leaders in Europe.

"The Party of the European Left, including the president, Pierre Laurent and vice-presidents Maite Mola and Marisa Matias, were present in Athens these days, is now mobilised for the success of the 'government of hope'. In our countries and at European level, we will remain the solid and sustainable support that SYRIZA has always had at its side. Together we will build 'A Greece ahead in a changing Europe'."

Germany's left-wing Die Linke also sent a greeting of support to SYRIZA: "A victory is a victory for Greece and for ."

Jean Luc Melenchon, Member of the European Parliament and president of the French Left Party (Parti de Gauche), sent a message of support to the Greek people, saying, “It is a long path that they have chosen. The Greeks have made their choice consciously,” via his Twitter account.  

Left-wing British politicians Ken Livingstone and George Galloway also warmly welcomed the news of SYRIZA's victory.

Bolivia's state newspaper, reported Richard Fidler on the Green Left discussion list on January 28, has published a special 8-page supplement on SYRIZA victory, including greetings from Latin American left governments.

In the Philippines, the Party of the Labouring Masses on January 28 stated: "The Partido Lakas ng Masa-PLM congratulates Syriza on the tremendous election victory and extends its solidarity with the new Syriza government. This is a historic step forward for the working class and socialist movements. To mark this, we are organizing a forum, to discuss the international and national implications of the Syriza victory."

In Johannesburg, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issued a statement on January 28 in which it congratulated "the radical left-wing party Syriza on its historic victory in the general election in Greece...

"The wave of left-wing advances we have seen in South America in recent years has now swept into Europe, in a victory which could lead to a major shift to the left throughout the continent, where similar parties, like Podemos in Spain, are already building big support. The vote was a categorical rejection of the former government's policies of austerity and spending cuts which has left Greece with a massive crisis of unemployment and poverty...

"The Syriza victory is already reported to be sending shockwaves through global markets, with fears that the election result could undermine the euro, which immediately fell to its lowest since April 2003.

"COSATU wishes the new government well and hopes that this victory will be a turning point in the struggle for socialism in Europe and around the world."

Submitted by Terry Townsend on Sat, 01/31/2015 - 22:36


Invitation to a Forum

The Syriza Victory and the Rise of Podemos in Europe: What Lessons for the Philippine Left?

The anti-austerity left party Syriza has won the Greek election by a decisive margin. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras said his party’s victory marked an end to the “vicious cycle of austerity",  referring to the neoliberal conditions imposed on Greece by the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank. 

Syriza is a coalition of different socialist and progressive forces. Its governmental platform includes:
  • Audit of the public debt and suspension of payments until the economy has revived and employment return;
  • Raising the minimum salary to the pre-cut levels;
  • Free health care for the homeless and those with low salaries;
  • Elimination of privatization in the public health system;
  • Reunion of migrant families; 
  • Closure of foreign bases in Greece and withdrawal from NATO;
  • Elimination of all privileges of congress representatives;
  • Nationalization of the banks. 

Syriza's great victory marks a critical turning point in the struggle against neoliberalism in Europe and is an important gain for the working class and socialist movements.  It opens the way for a victory for the left-wing party Podemos in the upcoming elections in Spain.

We are arranging a speaker from Syriza who can join us via video conference. A panel of discussants -- Reihana Mohideen, Ric Reyes, Sonny Melencio, Josua Mata, Ed Tadem and others -- will assess the international and national implications of the Syriza victory, including what the potential lessons are for the Philippines movement. 

Date: Wednesday, February 4, 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Venue: Workers' House, 94 Scout Delgado, Brgy. Laging Handa, Quezon City

Sponsored by:
Bukluran ng Mangagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Focus on the Global South, Philippines
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM)
Transform Asia Gender and Labor Institute
World March of Women - Pilipinas