Syriza's Victory In Greece Is To Be Welcomed ...

Mick Hall welcome's the outcome of the recent Greek election. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

Syriza's victory in Greece is to be welcomed, and there are lessons for the British left to learn from it.


Syriza supporters cheer as victory declared
The outcome of the Greek election is not only to be welcomed by the European left, it has important lessons for us all. Once again the opinion polls got it wrong. They continued to wrongly predict a very tight contest right up until the actual results were announced. After voting closed the Guardian was gleefully reporting if Syriza is set to return to power in Greece exit polls indicated it would be with a small margin. Earlier in the campaign they were confidently predicting the right wing party New Democracy would be able to lead a national government.

To say their correspondent needs to get out and about more and widen her contacts within all parties, communities and classes would be an understatement. Instead of relying on opinion polls and the old discredited so called Greek political and media elites.

In the end Syriza retained power with 36.5 of the vote, while New Democracy received 28'1%, which with the winners top up gave Tsipras's coalition government a massive 80 seat majority over the main opposition party. Something David Cameron can only dream of.

Indeed the remarkable thing about Syriza's victory was despite the defections of government ministers, MPs and party members who went on to form the Popular Unity Party, Tsipras lost just 0.8% of the votes cast for his party in January of this year. A remarkable achievement.

Popular Unity was an appalling misjudgement

Leaving Syriza and forming Popular Unity has proven to be an appalling misjudgement and a total waste of human resources. Unlike the PU leadership and those who followed them into the wilderness, those who voted for Syriza clearly understood the rock and a hard place Tsipras and his comrades faced when negotiating with the EU Troika. When the Greek people demanded Greece stays in the EU and the Euro, it gave Tsipras few viable options when the neoliberal Troika played hard ball.

They could yield, nay surrender to the terms offered in the hope of continuing the fight from within government, with the advantages political power gives, or refuse, and pull out of the Euro, which would almost certainly have meant leaving the EU also; and returned to the Drachma. Given time this may have been the better long term option, but time was something which the EU, the banksters and financial oligarchs were never going to concede. Nor in all probability would the Greek people who would have turned away from Tsipras in their droves when Greece descended into a scale of penury which would have made the cruel and unnecessary austerity measures look like small beer.

Not a single nation would have come to their aid and the money markets would have looked on with glee, and as is always the way it would be the working classes who picked up the tab.

The Golden Dawn

PU predicted by accepting the EU's odorous terms Tsipras had opened the door to the far right, especially amongst the working classes, oh ye of little faith. In the January election Golden Dawn gained 17 seat, on Sunday they had 18, a swing of only 0.7%.

Whether it is in Greece, Spain or now the UK with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party, Sections of the left need to understand this struggle cannot but be a long game. There will be setbacks and defeats in our attempt to destroy the scourge of austerity and neo liberal capitalism. This is not a game of tidily-winks. There are powerful forces involved who will defend their wealth, power, and privileges tenaciously.

It's how these set back are dealt with by the Left which will dictate the outcome of this class war, and make no mistake that is what the ruling class have declared against the citizenry. Sadly a section of the Greek left within Syriza fell at the first hurdle, believing their ideals and reputations were more important than the needs of the class they represent.

They cried traitors at Tsipras and their former comrades and stormed out of Syriza. Founding a party which had no core support base electorally, nor an administrative apparatus in the country at large. They parachuted themselves into constituencies after the general election was called, expecting the electorate to troop in behind their anti austerity banner. When rightly or wrongly that issue had already been decided, they were offering to re-fight the last stage of the struggle, not the next.

What have they achieved?

There presence in the coalition which is Syriza played a vital role, it helped anchor the party leftwards, they also had a public parliamentary platform which gave them an opportunity to reach out to the masses, which is not something to be scoffed at. All this is now gone. For all the hype of the opinion polls Popular Unity failed to gain enough votes to reach the 3% threshold which is set to gain access to the Greek parliament.

After years of hard work and struggle building Syriza, the leadership of PU have taken their membership into a political cul-de-sac which will be very difficult to re-emerge from.

Better to dissolve the party and return to the fold of Syriza becoming the left opposition within it.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

1 comment to ''Syriza's Victory In Greece Is To Be Welcomed ..."

  1. It is this type of perspective that alienates me from the Left - more than willing to call Blair a liar the lair spotting ability dissipates when it comes to Syriza and others who deliver the Pat Rabbitte punch to society. Syriza knew the lay the land and supported austerity anyway. Basically "we can do austerity better". What is the use of going into office if the only thing you can do is the same only tell people you can do it better or not as harmfully. Why not apply that to torture or repression? Syriza is a complete disappointment and should be challenged on their blatant deception.


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