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Syriza: a wake up call for the Left in Europe

It was a little disappointing to read Dave Osler’s piece about Greece. The present situation is not just a judgment call for the Greek Left but for the Left in Britain and the rest of Europe. I have also been in Greece recently and although my time was spent in Crete rather than the hell of Athens, it was very clear to me that there is an overwhelming mood of exasperation and determination to achieve fundamental change. Debates about whether this constitutes a “pre-revolutionary situation” are a bit of a luxury when you consider the reality that socialists are trying to come to terms with.

It should be pretty clear by now that there is a simple choice for Greek voters: a Syriza Government or the pro-memorandum coalition of New Democracy and the failed, corrupt and fading PASOK — still the Labour Party’s sister-party?! There is a serious possibility that Syriza will win and may even be able to form a government without the support of other parties. They are not one of a range of small, left parties. They have become the clear dominant organisation of the Left and are in fact, themselves, a very interesting coalition as opposed to a single party. They have ‘squeezed’ what was left of the KKE and the reason why, as Dave Osler points out, the old Trotskyists groups have hardly 1% of the vote between them, is because most Trotskyists who have transferred their brains into the 21st century are supporting Syriza themselves.

Talking to Syriza’s local leadership as well as one of two of their MPs and candidates, it seemed to me very clear that they understand the enormous challenge that faces them and the different ways in which the crisis may develop when they are elected, but above all I was struck by their genuine internationalism, their understanding that they are in the very eye of the storm, and that how they play their cards after the election may well be the defining issue for the whole of Europe for a long time to come.

We should all be giving them every support that we can. They are the greatest hope that the Left has had for years. They want and need to work with socialists throughout the rest of Europe. The highest priority for socialists in Britain at the moment should be the practical steps that we can take to support the comrades in every way from escalating the anti-austerity campaign in our own countries to providing practical aid to the people of Greece if they are punished for having the temerity to choose, democratically, to try to build an alternative system to the nightmare that capitalism has become for them.

That nightmare will engulf us all if we don’t seize this once in a lifetime opportunity and follow the lead that this small and courageous people are poised to create.


  1. Terry Crow says:

    How will a socialist government get a capitalist EU to play ball?

    If nothing else a win for Syriza will expose the reality of the EU as a capitalist machine and anything but a vehicle by which to move towards international socialism.

    Do the leaders of Syriza know this? If they do, then they are playing silly buggers. If they don’t, then they are naive.

  2. ASD says:

    NO EU BONDS for a FAKE EU leadership. STOP

    good EU PLAN B:
    EU Willing Of North UNITE.
    Northe can hire cheap greek labour from the south…
    Message to the SOUTH: then Greeks can come northe to work for real hard EURO’s . Solves the labour cost issue also.
    Please don’t post This SECRET on a headline….

  3. Chris says:

    If Greeks can’t stop austerity by voting SYRIZA, KKE or whatever, I guess they can at least raise a middle finger to their oppressors in Berlin, Brussels and London. That’s worth something.

  4. Vincent says:

    Does this suggest that when the class at large start to mobilise in this country, the Labour Party will go the way of PASOK? If we were to reach a similar pre-revolutionary situation in the UK in the next few years, can it really be argued that the Labour Party will not betray the workers as PASOK have – should we be building a Syritza here so the workers will have somewhere Left to turn (pardon the pun)?

  5. Jim Denham says:

    And, please note: Syriza do not call for withdrawel from either the Euro or the EU itself. Little-England anti-EU British “left”, please note.

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